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: 1:00]
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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is moneypit.com; your home for the solutions to your home improvement projects. Have you tackled a project? Are you about to do one? Have you already started it and maybe it's not going so well?
LESLIE: (laughing) We get a lot of those calls. Don't be embarrassed.
TOM: That's right. Well, you know anything worth starting is worth starting over with us. (laughing) So give us a call right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We'd love to help you get through that job.
Hey, you know that upgrading a bathroom is probably the best home improvement project you can tackle. It's got a great return on investment. And you don't even need to spend an arm and a leg on it. Even something as simple as changing the faucet can really give that room a whole new look.
LESLIE: Yeah. And that's one DIY project you can really do yourself. So, coming up this hour, you're going to meet Dan Murphy from Peerless Faucets. And he's going to give you some tips and tricks to make sure your installation goes smoothly.
TOM: Yeah, they built a pretty cool website; faucetcoach.com. That's what we need; a faucet coach. Well, I kind of think of ourselves as sort of the coach for our home improvement listeners.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) The home improvement coaches.
TOM: Yeah. You know, we'll coach you through the project. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) We cheer you on and we heckle at the same time. It's all about love.
TOM: But first, we want to tell you about this hour's prize. It's $100 worth of Vigoro lawn and garden care items. There's everything from tools to decorative stone to mulch. It's a great way to get a head start on your spring landscaping. So call us right now to get in on the giveaway. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Mark in Texas finds The Money Pit on KFNC and you've got dust in the house. What kind of dust are you seeing?
MARK: Well, we're getting dust coming in ... I'm thinking it's coming in from the AC.
LESLIE: Are you seeing it ...?
MARK: (overlapping voices) Coming out through the air vents into the house.
LESLIE: Are you seeing it around the duct work itself or are you seeing it down on things below it?
MARK: Well, we're seeing it on the duct work and we're seeing it on the walls. And then, we're also seeing it on top of like the entertainment center and on the tops of pictures. I mean it's settling real high. So I didn't know if I had like, you know, a leak in my ... in my air ducts or if I needed to replace my air ducts. I'm not sure what the problem is.
TOM: What kind of filter do you have on the system now?
MARK: Well, I was using a 3M ... one of the $15 air filters that you can buy, you know?
MARK: The pleated air filters.
MARK: And a buddy of mine was saying that if you use ... if they're too pleated, if they're too much, then they make your AC run harder. I don't know if there's any truth to that.
TOM: No, I don't think so. The ...
LESLIE: And how often were you changing those filters?
MARK: I'm changing them about every 30 to 45 days.
TOM: Yeah. I think we're going to make a much more efficient suggestion for you. Get rid of the small, pleated filters and put in a whole house air cleaner.
MARK: Okay. Okay.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because what they do is this whole house air cleaner will go into the duct work in the whole system. And then every bit of air that circulates through the house is going to go through this cleaning system. And that filter you're only going to need to change once a year. And when you see how much dust and bacteria and pollen and dander that it collects, you'll be amazed.
TOM: Yeah. Leslie and I were working with one of the Aprilaire whole house air cleaners. They were rated tops by Consumer Reports for the last three years. And we saw one of the filters after it had been in the unit for a year and it's amazingly disgusting. So the filter itself is ...
LESLIE: Impressively disgusting.
TOM: Yeah. (laughing) Impressively disgusting. It's doing a good job. The filter itself, where when you take a small filter like what you had, these filters that are in the Aprilaire unit ... actually, if you unfolded it, it would be 70 square feet.
TOM: So it's a huge surface and the problem is that you're not collecting enough dust with a small fiberglass filter.
TOM: So I think you're better off spending some money and having a whole house air cleaner installed. It would probably cost you about, maybe, 750 to 850 to have one of those put in. I actually put one of these in my house and I'm really happy because we have allergy issues here and allergic reactions to different types of contaminants. And it really makes the house very, very clean.
I just think you're not cleaning enough dust in the house and most people don't, because they don't ... they use the small, thin filters. That's what I call a pebble stop. You know ...
TOM: ... it stops the big rocks, but it doesn't.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But it's not going to stop the particulates.
TOM: Right. It's not going to stop ... I mean, these whole house air cleaners can stop things that are virus size and particle size.
LESLIE: And Mark, the ... an added benefit of all this is that if you put in one of these whole house air cleaners, you'll be cleaning the air so much that by the time it recirculates back into the machinery, it will actually make things run more efficiently because those particles aren't getting into the units themselves.
MARK: Is it something that's going to be installed, like, within the return air vent? Or ...?
TOM: Yeah, absolutely it would be. It's return on ... it's installed on the return side ...
TOM: ... of the duct system. And it should be installed by your heating and cooling contractor. Okay?
MARK: Hey, great. Well, guys, I'm going to ... I'm going to check into it. I appreciate it. I enjoy the show.
TOM: You're very welcome, Mark. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Dave in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And you've got a question. Why does the basement leak? Tell ...
DAVE: Yes, yes.
LESLIE: What kind of leak? What do you have? What's going on?
DAVE: Well, what I have going on is ... (clearing throat) Excuse me. It's a brand new house. It's ... the outside has been tarred with at least three layers of, actually, the black tar. The inside has been thermo-sealed at length. However, every time there's a good rain, it seems like the surface water seems to creek in through where the wall meets the floor. I ...
DAVE: I've done a lot of things to try to mitigate that, but nothing has seemed to help, at this point.
TOM: Well, the reason the water is leaking in between the block wall and the floor is because concrete block walls are hollow. And so, as water is exposed to the outside of the wall, it soaks through the outer layer and then gets into the core and falls. But the bottom couple of courses of the cement block is filled with concrete; they call it solid grouting, in the business. And so, as it hits that section of the spilled up concrete block at the bottom, the water sort of ponds there and then starts to leak through. So it looks like it's just leaking at that floor joist. It's really water that got into the wall. But the secret here, regardless of where it is showing up ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Is to look outside.
TOM: ... is how to slow it down from the outside. Exactly.
LESLIE: Dave, does your house have a gutter system?
DAVE: Oh, yes. Well, there was. There was not but I put those in as part of the mitigation process.
LESLIE: Okay. And you make sure that they're clean ...
DAVE: Yes, they're ...
LESLIE: ... and they're not overflowing.
DAVE: ... brand new and it hasn't slowed down anything. I've checked the out spouts - I only have one out spout. And ...
LESLIE: And where does that deposit the water? Is it sort of close to your foundation or is it depositing the water kind of far away?
DAVE: Kind of far away. And there's a little bit of water coming out but I can notice that the water is rising in the box. It's sweating about halfway up the nine foot wall.
TOM: Okay. Now, what about the grading on the outside of the wall? Is the soil sloping away from the wall?
DAVE: Yes, that was one of the mitigation things I did. (laughing)
DAVE: That was ... that was fix number eight.
TOM: Okay. Listen, the main ... two mains reasons that basements leak is because the gutter system is not right, you may not have enough downspouts if you're getting any overflow of that. The downspouts need to be extended four to six feet from the house. Do you have them out that far?
DAVE: At least. I did do that. I buried them ...
DAVE: ... and I piped them all the way from the house. Now, there's just a little bit of water coming out of the French drain piping that ... the four inch line that I have way, way away from the house. I don't know how much is normal. I don't know how much ...
TOM: I don't understand. What's the French drain for? That's part of the story I didn't quite get.
DAVE: Okay. That's just what we put around the house; the gravel and the piping, the four-inch line. We (inaudible).
TOM: Oh, oh. Well, wait a minute, wait a minute. So you trenched around your house and put a trench in with perforated pipe and stone?
TOM: Ah-ha. Well, that probably wasn't the best decision ...
TOM: ... because I think what's happening is the soil is getting wet in that area because you have this hollow area with the stone. I generally don't recommend that. I generally recommend solid tamping of solid soil. Usually clean fill dirt sloping away so it drops six inches on four feet; not just a slight slope but a pretty good, say, 10 degree or so slope.
TOM: The stone on the outside ... I don't think that probably was the best decision because I think you've probably hollowed out some voids there that's causing water to collect. Do you know what kind of soil do you have?
DAVE: It's very, very rich in sand and clay.
TOM: Ah. Clay soil is also very, very tricky to work with because it does odd things. It kind of creates shelves below the surface of the soil. And if you had sand and then you had clay soil that happened to slope in the wall, it could be like a shelf shooting water back into that house.
DAVE: Well, I was thinking about putting in - and I really wanted to see what you thought about this. I was going to put in a pump; maybe bury an exterior sump pump (inaudible) everything and try that.
TOM: Well, typically, if you have a wet basement problem that can't be solved with grading and drainage, you put that kind of drain tile system in but you put it on the inside of the house. You basically dig out the concrete floor at the interior perimeter. You lay in gravel, perforated pipe and then a sump pump on the inside so the water has a place to go. So before you put in an elaborate drain system outside, I might suggest that you do it on the inside. I think that's going to get you where you want to be a lot quicker.
DAVE: Yeah, I will definitely do that. I'm just about at my wit's end. It hasn't rained in a while, so I'm thankful for that.
TOM: Yeah, well when ... see, whenever the basement leaks consistent with rainfall, it's always, always, always grading and drainage. Now, in your case, if you've got some odd soil conditions, that might be why you can't get this under control quite that quickly. But I guess, if nothing else, you definitely have slowed it down. You must have slowed it down by putting the gutter system on.
DAVE: I hope so.
TOM: Yeah, I think so. Okay, Dave?
DAVE: Listen, I certainly appreciate it and anything else that comes up I will definitely call you fellas back and ...
DAVE: ... everybody there back.
TOM: Alright. You're very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And Leslie, he meant fellas in the royal ...
LESLIE: I know.
TOM: ... the royal sense.
LESLIE: I know. I'm like I'm a fella.
TOM: You're a fella.
LESLIE: That's okay.
TOM: (chuckling) You're one of the guys.
LESLIE: I am one of the guys.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Alright, well here's a burning question, Leslie. Deck or patio. Which one is the best choice for your home sweet home?
LESLIE: Coming up, we're going to help you decide which fits you best.
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[audio timestamp: 14:28]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being 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 prices. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, Leslie, in all those years I spent in construction, I used to see patios put on homes that really deserved decks and decks put on homes that really deserved patios. How do you know the difference?
LESLIE: Well, here's a couple of things to consider when you've got that burning deck/patio question. So here. If your back door is close to the ground - say, within a foot or two of the ground - go with a patio. Because decks require more vertical space for posts, beams and joists and it makes no sense to build those below grade. If you go with a patio, you can build one with concrete pavers. And those are modular bricks and they fit together like puzzle pieces and they're really attractive.
TOM: That's right. And if you have more vertical height off the back door or if your yard slopes off so much that a patio wouldn't be practical, think deck. Now, when you design your deck, first decide whether you want one level or two. There are lots of great material choices as well. You've got natural wood. You've got pressure-treated lumber. You've got cedar. You've got redwood. You've got composites like Trex, which is made out of plastic and lumber combinations. They're also becoming very, very popular. So think about, really, how much space you have off of that door. That's really the key determining factor. Little bit of space, patios make great sense. Lot of space or a sloping off yard, then go with the deck.
LESLIE: Coming up in our next Money Pit e-newsletter, we'll lay out patio installation for you step by step. Read how to prep the base of any patio and how to create different patterns with pavers or stones. And if you're not a subscriber, well you better sign up now at www.moneypit.com. Come on, people. It's free!
TOM: And another outdoor project that many of you are probably dreading is yard work. But, this hour, we're giving away a great prize. It's one that certainly will inspire you. It's $100 bucks worth of Vigoro products. It includes Weed Stop mulch which is infused with herbicide, along with some tools to get the jobs done; even some plant food and some decorative stone. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Steve in Tennessee finds The Money Pit on WFHG. And you've got a noisy shower. What's happening?
STEVE: Hi. Yeah, it just like ... when you turn it on, sometimes, it like ... or ... well, when you just turn the regular water on, it's fine. But then, when you hit the shower thing, it starts squealing like crazy. I mean, it don't do it all the time but it just like during a shower it might do it four times.
LESLIE: And it's only happening in the shower.
STEVE: It only does it when the shower's turned on. If you just have the actual faucet in the bathtub turned on, it don't make any noise. But when you turn on the shower, it just like squeals; like wheeeeerrrrrrrrr!
TOM: Well, it sounds like it's the shower diverter valve and that's what reroutes the water from the tub faucet up to the shower head. Or it could be the shower head itself. One thing you could try, Steve, and that is to remove the shower head itself.
TOM: Just unscrew that and then turn the shower on. The water's going to come out in one solid burst.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And it's going to hurt so don't stand near it.
TOM: Yeah. You'll be amazed how much water comes out of that pipe. But try that and see if it's still noisy. If it's ... if it's still noisy, it's the shower diverter. If it's not, it's the shower head.
LESLIE: How difficult is it to replace that shower diverter?
TOM: Aw, it's kind of a hassle. Yeah ...
LESLIE: So a plumber's got to do it?
TOM: Yeah. I wouldn't ... I would recommend ear plugs; you know, like the kind you use in swimming pools.
STEVE: Yeah, right?
TOM: (laughing) So you don't have to worry about ...
STEVE: Right. And I have one other question if you could maybe answer it, too.
TOM: Sure. We'll run the two-for-one special just for you, Steve.
STEVE: Well, thank you. I've got an older home, also. And in the bathroom in it, the tub is the only thing in the whole house that doesn't drain good. And I've tried, you know, putting stuff down it and everything. I ran a snake down it and nothing happens. But it just ... it don't ... it's the only thing in the house that don't drain. Everything else drains perfect.
LESLIE: It could be that the house just wasn't ... when you ... when that tub was put in, it just wasn't graded properly.
STEVE: What does that mean?
TOM: The angle of the pipe might not be pitched properly.
STEVE: Oh, okay. I never thought of it ...
TOM: What's underneath this tub? Is it under a ... is it over a basement or a crawl space?
STEVE: Crawl space.
TOM: Alright. So can you visually ID the plumbing pipe, there, to make sure it's pitched properly?
STEVE: Yeah, I could ... I could do that. I just didn't ... wasn't sure why. I guess I'd have to ask somebody what pitch it should be or something or ...
TOM: Well, another thing that you can do ... I know you mentioned you snaked it.
TOM: Are you relatively confident there's nothing in there?
STEVE: My brother works for like the water place and he come ... he give me some stuff to pour down it. Said if it ... if there was anything stopped up in it, it would definitely eat through it. (chuckling) And like I said ...
LESLIE: He's got the secret potion.
STEVE: It'll drain, but it just drains real slow.
TOM: Hmm. You know, what about the overflow valve that lets some air into the line? If that was blocked, then you may not be getting enough return air on the drain pipe and it might be slowing down the drain. When you let the water up to the point where it goes over the overflow ...
TOM: ... if there's any obstruction in that or if that thing is blocked off ... you get a lot of gurgling as it goes down?
STEVE: No. We don't hear ... it just drains so slow you ...
STEVE: ... if you sit there and watch it you would think it wasn't moving at all.
STEVE: Yeah, I mean it takes about 20 minutes for it to drain out.
TOM: Well, look, something's got to be in there. Let me give you one more trick of the trade to check that drain for any obstruction.
TOM: Do you have a wet-dry vacuum?
TOM: You can use a wet-dry vacuum to vacuum out the drain. Put it right on top of the drain and vacuum it out. With a good wet-dry vacuum, you'll be sucking any debris that's in that pipe right back into the vacuum.
LESLIE: That needs some serious suction, though.
TOM: Naw, it's a good trick. I've done it before. It works well.
STEVE: Well, somebody else had told me something but I would have thought that that would have made other ... they said something about the valve that goes out of the house. You know, the big pipe?
STEVE: Said that it could be stopped up or something but wouldn't that make all the drains not drain if it was that?
TOM: Yeah, you would think. Yeah, absolutely. You would think. It's only this one piece of pipe between the ...
TOM: ... tub itself and the drain.
STEVE: Yeah, that's the only time.
TOM: So, yeah. Try that. You know, wet-dry vacuums, the way they're ... way they're building them today, they can actually suck about a gallon of water a second.
STEVE: Oh, wow. Wow.
TOM: Yeah, they're pretty strong. So try to vacuum out that drain and see if you pull any debris out of there. I suspect that it's either obstructed or it's not pitched properly, like Leslie said. Okay?
STEVE: That's great. Thank you very, very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Robert in Illinois has an insulation question. How can we help you?
ROBERT: Yes. I was wondering if you know if anyone's got any products on the market that you can use to insulate walls without actually having to tear the walls apart like you used to years ago.
LESLIE: Well, yeah, that's blown-in insulation.
ROBERT: Oh, okay. So they do have ... because the only insulation I had ever worked with was the old pink stuff that you had to tear the wall out and roll ... unroll it in between the studs. Okay.
TOM: No, you can use blown-in insulation. The way it works is a small hole is drilled in the walls. Then the insulation is blown into that wall cavity and then the hole is patched and spackled and touched up. So when you're all done, you have completely insulated walls. It's a good idea to have a pro do that because they have to put it in around ... with the right density so that when it settles, you don't end up with voids that are uninsulated.
LESLIE: Yeah, and it could be really messy.
ROBERT: Yeah, I can imagine it would (laughing) (inaudible) probably a lot less messy than ripping the walls apart like (inaudible) used to do.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
ROBERT: Well, that answers my question real well. Because I hadn't heard of anything on the market for that, so ... because I've got an old house and I need to reinsulate the walls but I really didn't want to tear them up.
TOM: Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, a great way to update the look of your bathroom is to change out the hardware. You know, the towel racks, the cabinet handles and the poles and faucet.
TOM: But the hardest part of replacing your faucet is taking out the old one. For tips on how to do that, we're going to talk to an expert from Peerless Faucets, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by The Home Depot with a guaranteed low price and the know-how to make every dollar work harder. You can do it, we can help.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website, moneypit.com. You got a question for us? You can pick up the phone and call us at 888-666-3974. Or you can log onto moneypit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us your question that way.
You know, it's amazing how a new faucet can change the look of any kitchen or bath. And although it may not be the easiest home improvement project you'll ever undertake, it's certainly not the hardest. Peerless Faucet was created especially for do-it-yourselfers in 1971 and the company is still at it today, giving homeowners the motivation, the encouragement and the answers they need to install their own faucets.
Joining us with some tips and tricks of the trade is Dan Murphy. He's the sales director for Peerless. Hi, Dan.
DAN: Hello, Tom. How are you?
TOM: Oh, I guess that you have probably installed a lot of faucets over the years. I will tell you that the last faucet repair I did was on my own kitchen, where I had to squeeze my large body into the (laughing) ... the cabinet ... the kitchen cabinet that's like divided ... the two doors with the stile in between, then get the arm up behind the dish ... behind the garbage disposer to unscrew the sprayer and replace it. And let me tell you, it was painful. (laughing) It was just sheer pain.
LESLIE: On the back of the new fixture it should say, 'Contortionists only, please.'
TOM: (laughing) Exactly.
DAN: Yeah, I've done those ... those types of Cirque Du Soleil moves myself (chuckling) ...
DAN: ... trying to get in and out of a faucet. So I know exactly what you're talking about.
TOM: So what does a manufacturer do to make this process easier on consumers that want to be do-it-yourself faucet installers?
DAN: Well, one ... I think, for Peerless specifically - kind of a value, affordable line - it can help you all the way from stem to stern; from the beginning of the project to the end of the project. And really, in the faucet industry, ourselves and our competitors, really, up to this point, have not done a good job explaining and walking a consumer through, in their language, on how to repair - get into and get out of - an old faucet and repair a new one.
TOM: Well, it seems to me that the hardest thing is probably getting the old one out.
DAN: Yeah, absolutely. It's ... there's two things about getting the old one out. It's actually just physically removing the faucet. With the story you just told, there's a lot of that that goes on every single day under lavatory faucets and ...
LESLIE: Hey, you said 'lavatory.'
TOM: That's right. Yeah, Leslie and I were discussing the word 'lavatory.' What's wrong with 'bath faucet?' (laughing)
DAN: Well, sometimes we get (inaudible) and a lavatory is a specific type of faucet. When you talk about bath faucets, you could be talking about Roman tub or you could be talking about ...
TOM: Oh, I didn't know that.
DAN: ... other areas. But ...
TOM: That's a good point.
DAN: ... generically, you can talk about bath faucets and, if you're not in the industry, it could ... it probably means a lavatory faucet for us. We just .. we're a little bit closer to the business; we talk about lavatory faucets as a specific sink application.
TOM: Yeah, but when you have to use the restroom, do you tell your colleagues that you have to go to the lavatory?
DAN: No, I don't. (laughing) Unless I'm overseas. Then ... then I ...
LESLIE: No, then that would be the loo.
TOM: That's right.
DAN: (laughing) Exactly. That's right. Um ...
TOM: So once we get that old one out - and we all know that it's rather difficult, sometime - putting the new one together, is that fairly idiot proof today or are there mistakes that consumers commonly make?
DAN: Well, the number one mistake, when you remove the old faucet and ...
LESLIE: Forgetting to turn off the water.
DAN: Exactly. There are some practical tips, if you want me to run down those. Certainly, check the stops or where the water comes into the faucet. Make sure that those are cranked down and turned off. And the easy way to check that is turn the handles on, hot and cold side. If you don't have any water running out of them, then you know you're in good shape to take the old faucet out.
TOM: Now, if you do - because as you know, many times, those valves perhaps don't turn off all the way then your next step is probably just to turn the main off temporarily, wouldn't you agree?
DAN: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that's the second ... that's the catch-all. And some people like to do both just to cover themselves. But absolutely, you can turn the main water off as a safeguard there, as well. The practical tip I would give on taking the old faucet out is some kind of penetrating oil - like a WD40 or something - the night before. This I can speak of in practical terms. I just replaced my own kitchen faucet about six years ago. And this was a timesaver step that was invaluable.
TOM: So, soak it down the night before with some WD.
DAN: Right. Get in ... get in there. Get a pillow on your back and a flashlight and get some WD40 on those tightening nuts - whether they be lock nuts or bonnet nuts - and make sure that they can come off easily once you get into the repair. And the other practical tip, I would say on that, is get a basin wrench or a plumber's helper wrench that, in a very cramped space, can give you enough leverage to get those nuts off because they can be very, very tight.
TOM: Now, that's a good point. We probably should explain what a basin wrench is. It basically allows you to reach into those very tight spaces that your hand cannot, where the actual part of the wrench that grabs the fastener is separated from the handle by a stem that could be, you know, several inches long. And I tell you, that makes a big difference when you're trying to reach in behind a disposer, like I was.
LESLIE: Now, Dan - I'm sorry to interrupt. But all of this, you know, is a lot of information to digest. What if I'm about to do this project and I still seem a little concerned or confused? What can I do to sort of walk me through it?
DAN: Well, one of the resources that we are going to launch here very shortly is the faucetcoach.com which walks people through an uninstall in layman's terms; doesn't use technical terms like escutcheons and bonnet nuts and cartridges. It tells them exactly what they should be doing in their ... in a language that you can understand. And that's been the big difference; is nobody has really helped you from the beginning of the project to the end of the project. You go to a retailer or a wholesale showroom or any other location to buy faucets and they're very good about telling you the differences in faucets, the quality levels of faucets. But they don't help you with the uninstall which is, really, by percentage of the project, is ... probably over half of the project is getting that old faucet out.
So faucetcoach.com walks you through in your own language. I've looked at the site and it's very easy to follow, adds a little bit of humor, adds some graphics to it and just walks you through things that you may not have thought about if you don't live around faucets all your life, as we do here at Peerless Faucet.
TOM: Terrific. Dan Murphy, Director of Sales for Peerless Faucet. Thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
DAN: Well, thank you.
TOM: You want more information, you can go to their website at faucetcoach.com.
Well, Leslie, maintaining a sound roof literally tops the list of home repairs. It keeps you and your family warm and dry along with everything else in your house.
LESLIE: Well, if you think you've got some roof issues going on, how do you know whether you should replace it entirely or just fix it up a little? Well, we'll tell you, that's how. Right after this break.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you're putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one - getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at faucetcoach.com.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well, Leslie, when it comes to home repairs, there are few repairs you need to get on quicker than a roof leak.
LESLIE: Yeah, when you're talking about something as important to the safety and well-being of your home as your roof, any damage or signs of wear call for immediate action. Because if water seeps under your shingles, it could cause rot to the wood sheeting underneath them. So if you see any damage, how do you know whether you should re-roof or repair?
TOM: Well, if your roof is more than 20 years old and most of the shingles are damaged or badly worn, it's probably a worthwhile investment to replace the whole thing. But if your roof is basically sound and the pitch is, you know, not that steep so you're comfortable doing the job yourself, you can probably just pull out a few shingles - it's not hard to do - and you'll be good to go. But remember, people, most of the time, when a roof leaks, it's not the shingle that breaks down; it's the flashing. So always look at those places where chimneys come through the roof and where pipes come through the roof and things like that because that's where the roof is probably leaking. If you fix the flashing, you'll probably fix the leak.
LESLIE: So most of you listening, right now, are probably thinking about venturing outside and getting started on that dreaded spring chore - yard work! Well, we're giving away a great prize package, this hour, and it's sure to inspire you about your yard.
TOM: That's right. One caller is going to win the Vigoro products worth $100 including Weed Stop mulch - which has some herbicide in it - tools, plant food and even some decorative stone. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in California wants to talk about tankless water heaters. But, Mike, on the little note I get from our call center, it says that your wife is due with a baby any minute. What gives?
MIKE: That's true. Actually, we were due yesterday, so (laughing) could be any minute now.
TOM: Mike, are you standing by with a catcher's mitt on?
MIKE: I'm ready to roll. (laughing)
TOM: Alright. (laughing)
MIKE: Yeah, I do have a question on tankless water heaters. Because right now we're running two 50-gallon LT tanks; one on either side of the house. And the one side of the house that I'm considering replacing, runs all of my major appliances that have the highest water usage. And my questions regarding that are if there's a particular brand that you guys have experienced that have, I guess, a lower failure rate. Because I've heard about a number of brands - specifically, Noritz is one of them - but also, whether or not that's something that, if you're handy, if you can do yourself. Because I'm getting a lot of push back from the plumbing companies about venting and the settings and that type of thing.
TOM: Yeah, you know, it's not a good idea to become a do-it-yourself tankless water heater installer. (laughing) You know, it can be pretty complicated. And it sounds to me like, Mike, you're going to have enough complications in your life in the next couple of months (chuckling) with a baby due any minute now, literally.
TOM: But it is a good idea because tankless water heaters really heat water on demand. So they're not storing hot water; therefore, you're not paying for water ... to heat water that you're not really going to use.
TOM: In terms of the brands, I don't think that tankless water heaters have been out long enough for us to develop a real strong repair history. One of the more popular ones is Rinnai and they have a great website - it's foreverhotwater.com - that fills you in on what size water heater you need based on how many bathrooms in your house. And the one thing that I do like about them, especially with kids on the way, is they have a remote control panel that you could mount, say, someplace that's accessible. Like, typically, you'd have the water heater in your utility room or your basement but you could have this control panel in the kitchen. And if you wanted to dial the temperature of the water from, say, 115 degrees down to a 105 degrees - because maybe one of your children is up ... going to take a shower by themselves or something like that and you want to make sure they can't scald themselves - you could control the water that quickly. Just by quickly dialing it down, it instantly changes the temperature of the water. You've got a really nasty set of dishes that you have to clean; maybe you want to step it up a little bit.
So it's very convenient. It is more expensive than a tanked water heater but, I think, in the long run it's going to give you a better return on investment. It's certainly going to be a lot more convenient to use. But I don't think it's a do-it-yourself installation. I would definitely hire a pro for that.
MIKE: Okay. Alright, great.
TOM: Alright, well ...
LESLIE: Hey, good luck with the baby.
MIKE: Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with the baby.
TOM: Thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I don't think Mike had much time to hang out and chat.
LESLIE: Yeah, Mike's like, 'I want this question answered but I'm also keeping a close eye on my wife.' (laughing) 'And I'm boiling water as we speak.' I don't know what it's for but I've always seen that on TV shows.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Tom in Alabama's doing some tiling work. Tell us about it.
TOM IN ALABAMA: Yes. I'm laying some ceiling ... some floor tile and I'm using those peel and sticks. And I was ... they're not sticking real good and I was wondering what kind of glue I could use to make them stick better.
LESLIE: So they're just not sticking at all or once you get them down they're just popping back up after a couple days?
TOM IN ALABAMA: They're just popping back up after a couple of days. I went ahead and sanded the floor real good where we were putting them and everything but they're just ... they're just not wanting to hold.
TOM: Yeah, peel and stick doesn't work too well.
LESLIE: Probably a good fix would be contact cement. Wouldn't you think?
TOM: You think so? I was thinking more ... because contact cement, once he puts it down, you know, it's a one shot wonder.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It's down. (chuckling)
TOM: There actually is vinyl tile adhesive. You know, because vinyl tiles, for years, were sold without being peel and stick. And there are special adhesives that are done ... that are designed for those and special trowels that you put them down - usually, a very, very thin notched trowel you put it down with. But I don't think you can do it individually. If you're going to do it, you have to do the whole floor that way.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You'd have to do the whole floor.
TOM IN ALABAMA: Well, that's what we're doing. But like I said, some of them are holding real good but some of them - like around the corners and everything - they're starting to come back up.
TOM: Why don't you pick up some vinyl tile adhesive, Tom, and glue the loose ones down and see how that works for you. And if that works, though, I imagine what's going to happen is you're going to be doing a lot of patching. It would have been better if you did the whole floor that way, frankly. If you had a chance - a choice - next time you buy tile, don't buy self-stick. Buy the regular tiles and put them down with a vinyl tile adhesive. It works a lot quicker and it lasts a lot longer.
TOM IN ALABAMA: Okay.
TOM: Alright, Tom?
TOM IN ALABAMA: Okay. Well, I'll check that. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The website is moneypit.com.
LESLIE: Well, sometimes a shower just doesn't cut it. You need that relaxing soak in a tub full of bubbles. So what do you do when you have to have that bubble bath but you don't have a tub?
TOM: Well, up next, we're going to help Shannon, who emailed us about a problem, and tell her the best way to get her bubble bath back.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. Study after study shows that as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, more contaminants become trapped inside. Aprilaire's technologically-advanced electronic and media air cleaners are the best choice for maintaining healthy indoor air. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. You can call us 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Or you can email us by going to our website and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. And so, right now, let's jump into that email bag.
LESLIE: Alright. This is a great email. I love this one. It's from Shannon. She writes: 'We just bought our first home a year ago and although we're loving every minute of it, there are a few projects that need to be done. The previous owner was disabled and, therefore, certain rooms were adapted to meet their needs; one of them being a large shower stall so they could get into the shower with the wheelchair. And that's nice, but there's no tub in the house and sometimes a girl just needs her bubble bath.' (laughing) I love it. 'The shower stall that's in there now is a one-piece stall with sides. Is there a way to replace this with a tub? If so, could you suggest a one-piece or a tub and sides that separate?'
TOM: Well, you probably take more bubble baths than I unless you consider the ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Ah, you've got to love them.
TOM: ... unless you consider the time I spend in the pressurized plumbing vessels. (laughing) You know, the ones that are known as hot tubs. (laughing) But those create bubbles a whole different way. (laughing) I can ... I can certainly relate, Shannon, with your interest in getting into that bubble bath. But needless to say, this is a big job. A very big job. You know, because if the old stall is a one-piece, it will probably need to be cut out. Then you need the walls and the floors opened up and prepped for the new plumbing and then the new tub installed. But the work doesn't stop there. Because then you're going to have to do tile and all this other stuff.
So I would suggest that you might want to think about buying not a one-piece but a two-piece, prefabricated tub. Because this way, you can put it in ... the two-piece is easier to get in because it comes in sections. You can put the tub in then you can assemble the walls. And that's probably the quickest way to get your butt back into that bubble bath.
LESLIE: Sometimes, you know, a bubble bath really - at the end of the day - is worth all of that construction nightmare; especially if you're just aching for a bath. I'm telling you.
TOM: Well, yeah, I can absolutely relate. But the thing is, in Shannon's case, you know, it's just very, very difficult. There's no quick fix from shower stall to bathtub. There's a lot of work that has to go into it. But it sounds, Shannon, like in your case, it's definitely going to be a big necessity.
LESLIE: You know, it's worth it. After all that trouble, when you sink into that hot, bubbly bath, you are going to be so thankful. So, there's light at the end of the tunnel, Shannon.
Well, if you're ready to tackle any paint job, you know that preparation is key. Now, Leslie, you, on your ... in your career on While You Were Out, I have seen you reface a lot and repaint a lot of furniture. Is the preparation any different when it comes to furniture? That is the topic of today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, what's interesting is when you watch us redo furniture on While You Were Out, you might not see the whole process. So you might think it's okay to just go ahead and slap some paint on that ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Slap it on.
LESLIE: ... already finished piece of furniture, but it is not okay. There are a couple of things you need to remember and preparation is that great key. And let me tell you, what you want to do for a great paint job, if your furniture is already stained or if it's lacquered, you want to start off by giving that furniture a nice bath. You want to clean it with a nice cleaning solution and then rinse it well with clean water. Next, dry it all off. And you want to give the cabinets or whatever piece of furniture you're working on that's already finished a good sanding with a 320 grit sandpaper. And once you're happy and everything seems like you've got it - you know, just get that finish off and you've got a good surface to work on - wipe it all down with a tack cloth. And a tack cloth is great because what that's going to do is get rid of any sort of dust particles that are on that furniture. And once you've done that, your furniture's ready for a fresh coat of paint and a whole new look.
TOM: So it's a little bit of preparation but if you do it once, you do it right, you won't have to do it again.
You know, I like the idea of doing projects once and not having to do it again. So coming up next week on this show, we're going to talk about a new technology in roofing. Imagine a roof that actually could save you energy. There is a roof out there that can do that and one that will last 50 years. It's metal roofing and what's old is new again. And wait until you hear the way metal roofs are being built today so they stand up and they save energy. They reflect the sunlight through special coatings and special paints. It's really a fascinating interview. We're going to talk to the president of the Metal Roofing Alliance. That's coming up next week on this program.
But for now, that's all the time we have. 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 2006 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.)