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: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We want to talk to you about your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. What are you doing? What are you working on? Look around your house right now. If your house has a color scheme that reminds you of Las Vegas (Leslie chuckles), call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for some painting advice. If your floors are squeaking call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT. Whatever you want to do, whatever you want to work on, we're here to help you get the job done.
We have a good hour planned for you. First up - wondering how you can stay in your home as long as possible? What changes can you make that will help you stay in that house as long as possible? Well, there's plenty you can do. You'll find these changes convenient now and essential as you go on. We're going to tell you what you need to know.
LESLIE: And do you know if you live in one of the top ten states that are at risk for mold? You would be surprised. Mold is not only growing in the states that you think it is. In fact, it's not just the rainy places; which is what you might be thinking about. We're going to tell you about which states are the most at risk and give you some tips to keep mold away from your home later this hour.
TOM: And if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you'll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a great prize from Ryobi; the new One+ 18-volt blower. Hey, it's spring. You want to get outside, clean up around your house? This thing is lightweight, it's powerful, it's perfect for light-duty cleanups on decks, sidewalks, driveways; all of those droppings from the trees that are falling at this time or have been lying there all winter long. Call us right now. It's worth 30 bucks. We're going to give one to one lucky caller to 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Sandy in New York finds The Money Pit on WABC. What can we do for you today?
SANDY: Hi. I just finished painting my kitchen cabinets inside and out. And some of the outside came out OK but some of it, it seems like part of the roller - the fuzz from the roller - came off.
LESLIE: Oh, you see some of the nap or the hair in the paint.
SANDY: The nap. Exactly.
LESLIE: Do you see the fibers or you just see the - sort of the pattern that they made?
SANDY: Yeah, it looks like little pieces or dots or something on the outside. It looks ugly.
TOM: Yeah, did you use new rollers?
SANDY: All new rollers.
TOM: Huh. That's rather unusual ...
SANDY: Is it?
TOM: ... for it to come and I can't imagine - I can't - I don't think it's ever happened to me. But you know, if you had a bad roller I guess it's possible. Unfortunately now, if it's embedded in the paint and the paint's dried there's nothing that you can do short of sanding it down to a flat surface and putting an additional coat on.
LESLIE: Yeah, redoing that area.
TOM: If you want to be super sure to not have the problem again ...
TOM: ... try the foam rollers. You know?
SANDY: I was going to actually buy the foam rollers but when I read the directions ...
TOM: Yeah, they work pretty good.
SANDY: ... it just didn't seem that it would give me the finish that I wanted. I wanted a very smooth finish.
TOM: Well, I think it - I think it gives pretty smooth, yeah.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Foam rollers give a very smooth finish.
SANDY: Do they?
LESLIE: Oh, yes. Sometimes they give a little bit of texture, depending on how hard you press into it as you're rolling ...
SANDY: Oh, I see.
LESLIE: ... but it's really great for smooth surfaces, to get a nice, good flow of paint and make things look really even.
SANDY: Can I go over this with a foam roller once I sand it down?
TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: And it's also nice for a small project like a kitchen cabinet, where you don't want to use a big 12 inch-wide roller. You can use the smaller ones that are only about four inches wide.
LESLIE: Yeah, the little hotdog roller.
TOM: Lot easier to - yeah, a lot easier to handle.
LESLIE: Also Sandy, make sure that when you sand down the area that's giving you some trouble, as you're repainting on top of the area that was problematic and then the area around it, make sure you sort of feather your paint out around it so you don't end up with this harsh line of where the new paint job and the old paint job are.
SANDY: When you say 'feather it' what do you mean?
LESLIE: Take - you know, roll it out and then take a brush and sort of wisp it away into the paint that's already there ...
SANDY: Oh, I see. OK.
LESLIE: ... so it's not just a harsh line. Let it sort of flow loosely into the other one.
SANDY: I got you. OK, I'll try that. And what number sand paper should I use?
TOM: About 150 first and then I would do a second sanding with about 220.
SANDY: OK, great. Oh, that sounds terrific. I'll give it a shot.
TOM: Oh and by the way, Sandy, make sure you use a tack cloth to pull out all of that dust before you resurface it ...
SANDY: Oh yeah, I do. I have some left.
TOM: Alright, good girl. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
SANDY: (overlapping voices) Thanks so much.
LESLIE: Mark in Florida, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
MARK: I'm in Pensacola. I'm a fairly new homeowner. And I have an in-ground swimming pool in my backyard and I've got the stereotypical concrete decking around it but I'd like to liven it up a little bit and put down some porcelain tile. Do I have to worry about any type of additive to grout or thinset in order to be resilient enough to take on the battles of chlorine?
TOM: Oh, no. I mean chlorine is corrosive but, you know, sand grout or epoxy grout are both designed to stand up to chlorine. I mean chlorine is in all the water; not only the pool water but it's in the water that we drink and ...
LESLIE: In your drinking water.
TOM: ... you know, it stands up to it on shower walls and bath walls and things like that. So you don't have to worry so much about the chlorine.
LESLIE: You do have to make sure - especially with ceramic tile you're saying you want to put outside by the pool - you want to make sure you choose something that's specifically rated for floors and that can maintain stability during, you know, very wet situations; which is what you're going to have in Florida and around the pool. You want to make sure that people are staying on their feet and not slipping and sliding. So you need to make sure that that slip resistancy rating is appropriate for that.
MARK: Oh, absolutely. And it's probably going to be a porcelain tile because of the freeze rating. But I was worried about the chlorine; not just splashing on it but maybe pooling or puddling on it and sitting for a long time, if it could seep into the grout or anything like that and then cause it to lift up later.
TOM: No. I mean not really any more than any other moisture that could get on there. So I wouldn't worry about the chlorine. I think that'll be fine with any grout you choose.
MARK: That's the answer to my question, then. Not a problem.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: If you're in Chicago you can find The Money Pit on WYLL, just like Naomi does. What's going on at your house?
NAOMI: Hi. Thank you. During the early part of the year our old Chicago bungalow, which had sheet metal gutters, ice and snow melted and froze in the gutters and then, at one point, the gutter fell to the ground ...
TOM: (chuckling) Oh, no.
NAOMI: ... and the other part was still up there. My problem is I want to, you know, replace the gutters - the sheet metal gutters - by having a workman or two come and sodder it back together. Can I do that? I can't find them in the telephone book.
TOM: I think, Naomi, this is a job for a gutter repair company ...
TOM: ... that perhaps is accustomed to working with these. I think that you may be hard pressed to find someone that knows how to sodder but they may be able to do a mechanical connection.
LESLIE: Are you interested in keeping the sheet metal ones because of a historical aspect? Because it might be more cost effective just to get completely new gutters.
TOM: Yeah, that's what I was thinking as well.
LESLIE: Well, I don't want to replace the roof at this time and I think it would be difficult to replace the roof after getting new gutters put up, so ...
TOM: Why do you have to replace the roof to - why does it - why does that ...
NAOMI: No, I just meant when I am ready to, in a few years.
LESLIE: But you don't have to touch the roof to put new gutters up.
NAOMI: Oh no, I know that. My thought is if I put up the new gutters then the roofing will be difficult for the men without damaging the new aluminum gutters.
TOM: Well, not necessarily. And I would suggest this to you, Naomi. You can put the gutters up with - instead of using gutter nails, they can use lag bolts. There's a very long bolt that's specially designed for gutters. It usually has a Phillips head and it has like a lag screw on it. So you can physically remove the gutters when it comes time to replace the roof without worrying about damaging them.
NAOMI: Oh, is that right?
TOM: Yeah. So why don't you think about doing that because, you know, repairing gutters is usually not something that's cost effective. For the cost of getting somebody there to do that work you could probably replace them completely.
Naomi, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in Nebraska listening on KFOR. What's going on at your house?
PAT: Oh well, you would not believe this.
LESLIE: Uh-oh. Try us.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Try us.
PAT: I have a two-story house and my upper stairs bathroom - the toilet itself - will actually go ahead and drain itself down.
TOM: You mean like it'll just sort of flush on its own?
PAT: No, no. This is not a flush. The tank and stuff always stays like full ...
LESLIE: But the bowl empties out?
PAT: The bowl empties out. It's real frustrating when you have to go up there with a plunger, you know?
TOM: Yeah, I bet.
LESLIE: Is it - is it a toilet that you frequently use or is it sort of in a spare room that nobody really bothers with?
PAT: Oh, no, no, no. It's used quite often.
TOM: Well, I'm not sure if this will solve it but have you changed the fill and the flush valves?
PAT: Oh, yes.
TOM: Because once the bowl - the water should be steady because there's a trap there that basically the water fills - when the bowl is filled, it sits and there's a trap here that sort of holds the water in place until you lift the flush valve and the water drains and then it pulls out. But if your flush valve is leaking, that could cause this problem.
PAT: No, no. It doesn't leak at all. I've even put dye into it.
TOM: Oh, really?
TOM: What's probably happening in your house is you have a blocked vent. And because the toilet can't vent normally, it's trying to pull that air from the different traps around the toilet and that's what's causing the water to actually go down. The solution here is to snake out the drain pipe from the roof on down. Because somewhere there's an obstruction in the vent pipe and that's what's causing suction on the bowl, which is making the water go down.
PAT: Well, I'll have to give that a shot.
TOM: Alright, Pat. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Is your deck and yard perhaps looking a little bit less than summer ready? Well, we can help because now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, any time that question pops into your mind at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, a recent study finds that climate is not necessarily a major contributor to mold problems across the country. You'll be surprised to learn what states have serious mold problems and we're going to tell you that and how to prevent it in your house after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:50]
[audio timestamp: 14:09]
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And the survey results are in. Listening to this program results in 30 percent fewer trips to the emergency room (Leslie laughs) from home improvement faux pas. So call us right now. Let us help you get the job done once, done right and done safely. 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Not only are we helping you get the job done safely; we're also giving you the tools to get the job done. This hour we've got a great prize for one lucky caller who asks their question on air. So call in. Don't be afraid. We're kind and fun to talk to and we've got answers. We have for you the Ryobi One+ 18-volt blower. This is fantastic. They've just introduced some new lawn and garden tools at the International Builders Show this year. So this is brand new. It goes along with their One+ battery system. It is great for this time of year when you're straightening up and freshening up your yard to get out there and enjoy it. So call in. It could be yours.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
OK. We were talking about mold. There was a recent study by the Greenguard Environmental Institute that ranked each state for the risk of mold in homes and businesses. And check this out. According to the study, Texas is the number one state ...
LESLIE: I - see, I think that's a little bit surprising.
TOM: Why? Because it's too hot?
LESLIE: Texas seems kind of - you know, even though it's humid, it's kind of dry there.
TOM: Well ...
LESLIE: It never gets really too cold.
TOM: ... even more surprising - OK, Florida's similar to Texas. Oklahoma, South Carolina, Nevada and - you ready for this? - Arizona.
TOM: Arizona, which is mostly desert has a high risk of mold. So that should be a ...
LESLIE: Arizona's in the top ten?
TOM: Yep. That should be a reminder to us that mold can affect us no matter where we live. And because water's the main ingredient for mold, the first step in preventing mold is to prevent the water from getting into your house.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you really want to think about waterproofing your home and there are a lot of products available on the market that are going to help you to waterproof your house. For example, many professional contractors use premium underlayments underneath your roof coverings. This is going to prevent leaks that are caused by rain or ice damming and this all depends on where you are in the country. A nonadhering underlayment, such as Grace Tri-Flex 30, is something that can be unrolled and manually fastened to a roof with cap nails or even staples.
And no matter where you live you need to remember that your home is at risk for damage-causing mold. And not only can it depreciate your home's value, it can create a costly repair bill and not to mention pose some serious health risks to you and your family.
If you want some more information about waterproofing your home and some waterproofing products that are available on the market, there's a great website. It's www.GraceAtHome.com and you can find all the information there.
TOM: Or you can call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Bill in Arkansas is remodeling a bathroom. How can we help?
BILL: We have a two-story house with one bathroom. And we're trying to take the approach of remodeling the bathroom ourselves and trying to figure the best order of things to be able to do it without inconveniencing our neighbors (Tom laughs) and friends too much for using their shower or facility.
TOM: Yeah. Boy, that's a risky project, huh; redoing the only bathroom you have in the house. Yeah.
BILL: (laughing) Yeah, we're a little trepidacious regarding that.
LESLIE: I mean you can really take things down - I mean are you taking things down to the studs and retiling and rewallboarding and ...
BILL: That's what we're wanting to do. Basically, when they remodeled the house before we bought it, the bathroom had some plywood and threw carpet over top of it. And of course, that's the last thing you want in the bathroom. (chuckling) So, we know we want to pretty much start from there up. And it's an old clawfoot tub and we want to keep that, but obviously it's going to have to come out. And whether we can tile half the floor, get the bathtub part of it and then connect the - that's what we're not sure whether we'd be able to do and have a good finish where it looks professional.
TOM: Well, the first thing is that you need to kind of work this room from the bottom up. So I would start by exposing the subfloor right now and seeing what kind of condition it's in. If it's in solid condition you can tile over that.
LESLIE: And obviously I would keep the floor under the tub until the last.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. But if you have a continuous surface that's nice and flat, then that's a good thing. Now, in terms of the walls, are you going to go down to the studs?
BILL: Well, since we have the claw foot tub/shower combination with the hanging, old-time ...
BILL: ... shower curtain, we've debated whether we truly are going to need to go ahead and put up our backer board and tile everything or whether we just want to go ahead and use one of the more resistance ...
LESLIE: Wallboards that are covered with like a fiberglass; like a Dens Armor.
TOM: Yeah, you know, you could use Dens Armor ...
TOM: ... from Georgia-Pacific as a backer board on that fiberglass face. And they also have a Dens Armor tile backer that's not organic so it's not going to grow any mold. So I think you could possibly go on top of that.
TOM: And that takes care of that.
Now, you know, in terms of the toilet itself, that's actually not so difficult to take out, tile and then put back within a fairly short period of time. Then the last thing is the sink. And if you're going to have to not be able to use the sink, just arrange that you don't have (inaudible) ...
LESLIE: The sink and the tub out of commission at the same time.
TOM: (overlapping voices) At the same time, exactly. So you could use one or the other.
BILL: And the sink's a little easier to - bottom line, we could brush our teeth down in the kitchen. (Bill laughs)
TOM: Well, that's right. Yep, and you know, you could do a sponge bath if you had to. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Even if it's just for a day.
BILL: Oh, it is one of those big double sinks so, hey, that's ... (chuckling)
TOM: There you go. (chuckling) Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
BILL: Thank you.
LESLIE: J.D. in New York wants to get some paint off a brick. How can we help? What's going on?
J.D.: OK. I've got multiple layers of paint on exterior brick. And what I'd like to do is I'd like to get it off and restore the brick to its original look.
TOM: Well, you can do it with a chemical stripper. It's a boatload of work.
LESLIE: But I think that's the most effective way.
TOM: Yeah. If you try to sandblast it ...
LESLIE: You can really damage the brick.
TOM: Yeah, you can damage the masonry. I mean it is attractive.
LESLIE: Even if you try to powerwash it you can damage the masonry.
J.D.: I've tried powerwashing.
LESLIE: Well, you want to make sure - the key to being able to effectively remove the paint, you want to use a gel or a paste type of paint stripper. And it's going to be a lot of peeling and a lot of tedious work. But those are going to be the most effective and if the brick was in good condition when the paint was applied, then it should come off more easily than if the brick was in pretty bad shape.
J.D. I would imagine this paint's been on - well, let's go 50 years. It's been on probably since the house was here. So I would imagine the underlying brick is probably fine.
TOM: Yeah. And you know, it doesn't really wear out. So I - you know, just taking your time and using a chemical stripper and working that paint off - you know, do it a small area so that you can get some of that paint away and evaluate the brick and see what condition it's in. But you may find that it's very attractive and you're encouraged to keep going.
LESLIE: And if you find that you have some stubborn areas where the paint and the chemicals are just not coming off after your initial cleaning and removal, you want to scrub those areas with a stiff bristle brush - not a wire brush - to help get rid of some things and just rinse with clean water. And when you paint or you're going to repaint or if you're leaving the brick and you're happy with the way it looks, you want to make sure that once you do this paint removal it has months to dry out. Now is the perfect time of year because you want to make sure that that moisture doesn't stay within the bricks because if it gets really cold and it freezes, you could break all those bricks.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we like to talk about four-letter words (Leslie chuckles) like mold. M-o-l-d. Yuck. You know, it can often turn up in bathrooms and - especially on the ceiling. I've got some on my ceiling right now, as a matter of fact. It kind of matches the mold that's in my refrigerator. (Leslie chuckles) But basically ...
LESLIE: I think that's penicillin.
TOM: Anywhere where there's - and that's the good stuff, right?
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly.
TOM: Anywhere where there's condensation that can accumulate, you can get a mold problem. If you have questions about mold, you want to prevent it from growing in your house, you can go to MoneyPit.com; go to the Ideas and Tips section and look for our Mold Resource Guide. It's free. It's available right on MoneyPit.com.
We'll be back with more tips after this.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
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TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we believe it's OK to fix stuff that's not broken. (chuckling) Do you agree? Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Any excuse to have a project and break your tools out. Really.
TOM: Absolutely. 888-666-3974. Let's talk about the jobs that you want to get done in your house this spring. 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, did you hear something today that made you say, 'Well, that's exactly what I wanted to know'? We hope so. And if you missed the answer or you want to hear it again you can go to MoneyPit.com and play it again online because all of our shows are available; they are searchable and they're available for free at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And you don't even have to write it down. You can just print out the transcript and all the information you need is right there.
TOM: Absolutely. Or you can call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Richard in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What's going on at your money pit?
RICHARD: I have a new home and a new attached garage. However, the water keeps seeping through a crack in the new foundation. I have had it chiseled out. They put hydraulic cement in it. They said that would alleviate the problem. I subsequently took my backhoe and tried to grade and divert some of the water away from the house. And the heavy days of - heavy, rainy days, I should say - the water still seeps through that same crack that they 'fixed.'
TOM: Mm-hmm. You said they put in a hydraulic cement there.
TOM: I would prefer an epoxy patching compound or a flowable urethane.
LESLIE: Because it will adhere better to that concrete ...
TOM: It sticks better.
LESLIE: ... that's already there.
TOM: You see, you've got a crack, so that's always going to be the weak link. I mean when you get water that collects on the outside of the foundation, it's going to find a weak link and find its way in. But rather than a cement I would have much preferred to have used an epoxy in that. And how far did you have to dig down to expose this?
RICHARD: It was all the way down from grade level down to the base, which is about seven to eight feet down.
TOM: Oh, boy. So well, at this point, you know, short of you digging that out again, this is really just going to be a water management issue. I mean you could epoxy patch it on the inside and that might help a little bit. But keeping the water away from this - such as the grading that you've done - is going to be the best way to slow it down.
LESLIE: What about your gutters, Richard? Do you have gutters on the house?
RICHARD: Brand new gutters, actually. But what happened was the guy - the excavator - ended up putting the boulders along the foundation. He said, 'Oh, that's fine' and I'm sure the water's finding its way back through there somehow.
TOM: Wait a minute. Say that again. He put what along the foundation?
RICHARD: Boulders of the surrounding ...
TOM: Oh and he pushed boulders back in? He pushed stone back in?
TOM: Yeah, listen. If you don't build up your grade correctly and that soil is not properly tamped down, clean fill dirt tamped all the way up to the surface covered with just a tiny bit of topsoil and sloping away from the wall so it drops off, say, six inches on four feet; if you don't have letter-perfect grade like that and if you have a lot of loose stone and loose fill and boulders in there, what's going to happen is no matter what you do to that crack, water's going to collect on the other side of it.
RICHARD: Incredible. Is this epoxy, rather, going to adhere to it? Can I have them reapply that ...
RICHARD: ... or will it not do so because of this hydraulic cement?
LESLIE: No, it'll stick.
TOM: No, it'll stick. Check out the products from AboCast - A-b-o-C-a-s-t. They make some really good quality epoxy patching compounds that I think this would be perfectly suited for.
RICHARD: Wow, thank you so much.
LESLIE: Talking windows with John in New York who listens on WABC. How can we help?
JOHN: I have a 4x4 picture window which is insulated and I bought two years ago. And at the bottom corner especially it leaks water, I would say, during the warmer months of the year. During the winter it hasn't leaked.
LESLIE: And it's always - you've seen this leaky condition the entire life of the window or this is a new situation?
JOHN: It began, I'd say, almost immediately; you know, maybe three or four months.
LESLIE: Was it installed in the season where you have the problem or was it installed in the winter and then you saw the problem in the summer?
JOHN: It was installed in September of that year.
TOM: John, what kind of siding do you have?
JOHN: I have asbestos shingles.
TOM: Because obviously there's a problem with the flashing here. And what we're going to recommend is that you remove those asbestos shingles and that doesn't sound like it's as terrible a job as you might think. There are - there's a trick of the trade to removing asbestos shingles and that is to not try to pry them off as you would if it was wood clapboard or any of the other type of siding. Basically you take a nail set and you drive the nail that's holding the shingle actually through it to the other side and sort of pull the shingle off and use a slightly larger nail to put back in. But once you pull the shingles off you're going to have to redo the flashing around the windows. And there are new high-tech flashing materials that can help you with that.
LESLIE: Because it sounds like it's a movement issue. As things are expanding and contracting seasonally, the flashing just doesn't cover the gap that needs to. So there are more flexible membranes that are going to move and adapt to situations depending on the climate, as the building shifts, that'll really help alleviate this problem.
TOM: You know, Grace makes a lot of really good, flexible flashings. Their website is GraceAtHome.com. And these are premium, high-tech flashings that can kind of go around unusually shaped areas, like around windows and doors, and seal out the water. But obviously this is a flashing problem. It probably gets worse when you get rain from a certain direction. It's not that unusual. But the best way to fix this is to stop caulking and things like that, John, and just take the siding off and reflash it and then replace the siding.
LESLIE: Listening in on WENI, we've got Tim in New York. What's going on at your money pit?
TIM: Yes, I just had a question regarding restoring the original luster of a black porcelain sink. It's about five years old and, you know, the color is supposed to go all the way through. And I wanted to find out how to go about doing that.
TOM: Well, unfortunately, the darker the color the shorter the life. That's what it seems to be. You know, when you have a white porcelain product it seems to last, you know, indefinitely. But the darker ones seem to wear and haze and that's what makes them kind of look lighter.
TOM: There is no way that I'm aware of that you can restore the original luster of that short of reglazing, which is a costly and time-consuming process. But when you have dark fixtures like that and when you're - if you're absolutely sure that there's no - there's nothing on there in terms of a lime deposit or calcium deposit - right -
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, there's no like lime buildup or hard water deposits.
TOM: - that's causing this, then there's really no easy way to bring that to the original color short of a repeat of the glazing process.
TIM: Oh, I see. So it would be really involved. OK.
LESLIE: I mean have you tried like a C-L-R or something that's made to remove calcium and lime and buildup that you would see in a sink situation?
TIM: Yes, I've tried those products and it just - you know, like you were saying, it has a hazy look to it; you know, almost like oxidation on an older ...
TOM: Yeah, exactly. That's going to be normal wear and tear on a dark sink like that, Tim. Sorry.
TIM: I see.
TOM: Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's not. But you know what? Maybe now you'll learn to live with it, right? (chuckling)
TIM: That's exactly right.
TOM: Alright Tim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TIM: Thanks for your help.
TOM: You're welcome.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit.
So, do you want to stay in your current home as long as you possibly can? Well, why not? You love it there. And in fact, most older Americans are telling our friends at the AARP that they definitely want to do so. Coming up, we're going to find out what you need to do today so that you can stay in your home for lots of tomorrows. So stick around.
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[audio timestamp: 35:19]
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We're like your handy neighbors who know everything about power tools except we won't loan them to you.
LESLIE: That's why we give them away. We're going to be giving away a great prize this hour. One lucky caller who calls in and asks us their question on air will not only receive an answer but they are going to also receive the Ryobi One+ 18-volt blower. It just came out this season so it's brand new. It's part of their One+ 18-volt tool lineup, which means one battery works on all the tools. It's lightweight but it packs a powerful bunch of airflow. So as you're cleaning everything up around that yard, getting ready for the spring and summer, it's really going to help you do the job well. It's got a grip zone overmold handle. It's really comfortable to use. And best of all, for you it's free. So call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home care questions. Speaking of which, you know, taking care of your home will not only keep you safer and more comfortable; it will also allow you to keep up its value and allow you to stay in it as long as possible. So it's always a good idea to take care of your number one investment.
LESLIE: That's right, Tom. And here are a few things that you can do to help keep your house in tiptop shape. You want to make sure that every month you test your smoke detectors. It's very important to make sure you keep your family safe. So do that. Also, test and reset your ground fault circuit interrupters. And also, check the gauge on your fire extinguishers. You should have one in the kitchen; if you've got a fireplace, you should keep one nearby there; if you've got a workshop, keep one there as well. Keep them where they make sense.
TOM: And if you're wondering what a ground fault circuit interrupter is and probably don't even know that you have one, it's the outlet with a test and a reset button in it. (chuckling) You know, we use these words and sentences without regard to the fact that you may not know what we're talking about. So, every once in a while we'll stop and clarify it. Or you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You know, some other things that you can do? At least twice a year you want to check all of your faucets and under the sinks for leaks. I can't tell you how many times, in the years I spent as a professional home inspector, that I found leaks under sinks that had been going on for a long time. How do I know that?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like a lot of water or just a drip?
TOM: Well, the rotted bottom of the sink cabinet is a clue.
TOM: You've got to check down there. And I'll tell you how to do it. You want to plug the sink and then run it up to the overflow because sometimes the overflow rots out, too.
LESLIE: Is where the leaky is.
TOM: Exactly. So you really need to check those sinks periodically.
Also, clean the coils in the back of the refrigerator. That's a good idea because it makes the refrigerator more efficient. Without that dirt on it, it actually cools easier; uses less electricity.
And you also want to drain a few gallons of water from your water heater periodically to prevent sediment buildup which can basically sort of be an insulator between the flame and the water itself.
LESLIE: Yeah, these are some great ideas. And if you want some more quick checks and repairs that are going to help ensure your future in your home now and for years to come, go to our friends at the AARP. Their website is AARP.org/HomeDesign. That website again is AARP.org/HomeDesign. They've got a full calendar based on what you need to be doing, when you should be doing it. Really helpful information there, so check it out.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: John from New Jersey finds The Money Pit on WABC. What can we help you with at your home?
JOHN: Actually I'm in the process of putting on a two-car garage. We're in the process of actually getting a variance for it. But my question is I'm going to be putting, possibly, a loft above it with potential to put - turn it into a room if we need so down the road. My question is would that impact my taxes if it's just a loft for storage unfinished?
TOM: If it's unfinished it probably won't. If it's finished living space it probably will. But you know, make sure that when you build this that you do get a permit so that it's built correctly because I'm also concerned about structurally you getting it right, John.
JOHN: Oh no, I have an architect on the books. I'm going to be having a hearing in the next week or so as far as the variance is concerned. Now this is going to be done correctly; and with permits and variances and what-not. Everything is (inaudible) ...
TOM: Well, the bottom line is if it improves the value of the house it can affect your taxes at reassessment. But I will say that storage space is going to be less valuable than finished living space. But nonetheless, you know, when it comes to reassessment, it probably will make some contribution but not as much as if it was finished living space.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit. Up next, we're going to answer an e-mail question about crawlspaces and whether sealing one up is something that you can do yourself. So stay with us.
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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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We're like having a plunger in every room. We're helpful (Leslie chuckles) and nearby. So call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or e-mail us by logging onto MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright. Here is one from Billy in Burbank, Illinois - not California; Illinois. He writes: 'I would like to seal my crawlspace myself. I'm having a problem finding a place to purchase the heavy duty liner. Everywhere I've called wanted to do it for me and at a price way out of my range. Please help.'
TOM: Well Billy, there are a couple of things you need to think about when it comes to sealing up your crawlspace. First of all, before you even go down there, I want to encourage you to look at the foundation perimeter and make sure your gutter system is clean; make sure the downspouts ...
LESLIE: Try to keep that excess water out of there.
TOM: Yeah, you know. If you keep the water away from it that means that all that much less water and moisture and humidity is going to find its way down to the crawlspace. So look at the grading. Make sure the soil is sloped away. Look at the gutter system as well.
After that, finding this material, it shouldn't be that hard. It's simply viscuine. It's plastic sheeting; like plastic drop cloths. It's available on large rolls at home centers. And the goal here is to try to put it in with as few seams as possible. Normally you can get this stuff in a width of around 12 feet and sometimes up to 20 feet. It's folded on the roll then you unfold it in the crawlspace. We would encourage you ...
LESLIE: So you can really make it work.
TOM: Yeah, we would encourage you to put in as few sheets as possible with a big overlap. And you want to go all the way edge to edge on the crawlspace floor. Now, the other thing that you're going to want to do is make sure you have enough crawlspace vents. You're going to have at least one or two on each side of the house. And they need to stay open for most of the year. And the only time we recommend ...
LESLIE: Is there a rule for the amount of vents per square footage that he should know about?
TOM: There is. And generally you're going to have one vent for about every 600 to 800 square feet of floor surface down there. But what I would recommend is you want to have one or two vents on every side of the foundation and you keep them open except in the very coldest months. So maybe January, February perhaps, December you close them. But for the rest of the year leave them open so you always have clean, dry air going through the crawlspace and ventilating out that moisture.
LESLIE: Alright Billy, that should help to get the job done for you by you; just the way you wanted to do it.
TOM: Well, technically it's been spring for almost a month now. But it seems only recently that it's finally starting to actually feel like spring where we are. If that's the case for you too, it's time to get your yard ready. And Leslie is going to tell you how right now in today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That's right. Even though it might not feel like it everywhere, it is officially spring. So let's get that yard and garden bed ready for it. If you've placed mulch on your flower beds to help protect those garden beds from old man winter, now is a great time to gradually start removing that old mulch and this is going to allow the warmth of the sun to reach that soil and help get things growing under there. If you live in warmer parts of the country where the mulch is pretty much continually there to provide moisture all year round, you want to start to refresh those upper layers to keep those beds really thriving. And you also, at this time of year, want to make sure to trim back any winter shrubs or plant growth to make sure that you're making room and preparing for that burst of growth that's about to happen. I know it looks a little desolate right now but believe me, it's about to start blooming. So enjoy it.
TOM: And any moment now it's going to start to bloom.
LESLIE: I know. I'm waiting for it.
TOM: I know. You know, it smells like it. You can smell it in the air and it's ready to rock.
Hey, would you like more tips like that one? Well, they're available at MoneyPit.com. In fact, you can sign up for our tip of the day. We actually give you a very simple piece of HTML programming, if you have your own website. You can put it on your website and it will give you a new tip every time you go there. It's all available for free at MoneyPit.com. There's also a month-by-month home maintenance calendar which will help you always stay on top of those jobs that you need to do. And remember, you can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are always there. This show goes off the air but it's always online; always lots of stuff happening at our website at MoneyPit.com.
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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END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 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.)