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: 0:025]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Pick up the phone and call us. We're here to help you save some money around your house. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer, a direct-it-yourselfer or the do-it-to-yourselfers (Leslie chuckles) - especially you do-it-to-yourselfers - call us right now. We're going to help you get the job done once, right -
LESLIE: Put together a good first-aid kit? (chuckles)
TOM: Exactly - and not have to do it again. 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, we're going to have some tips on microwave oven safety for you. You know, our busy lives wouldn't be quite the same without them but most people mount them either on a countertop or up on a wall. Either space can potentially be dangerous. We're going to tell you why and how there's a whole new design coming out on the market now in microwave ovens that makes them a whole heck of a lot safer for you and your kids.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, all of you pet owners out there, we want to make sure that you keep Daisy and Spot safe during all of your do-it-yourself projects because paints, solvents, glue, nails, screws; all of these are like magnets to your pets' faces. I swear to you, if there is trouble those animals will find it. We've got a list of the most dangerous tools and supplies plus a solution to make sure that your animals are safe during your next DIY adventure.
TOM: And later this hour, we're going to talk to a guy who's really become somewhat of an American icon because he set out, back in the 40s, to sort of build a better mousetrap - well, not a better mousetrap; actually, a better vacuum. David Oreck is going to join us on the program with some information on how the technology has changed over the years and how you can continue to have a clean house, yet one that does not pollute the air inside your house all at the same time.
LESLIE: And we're giving away a great prize this hour. It's a package from our friends over at Kimberly-Clark and it includes everything that you need for cleaning up those tough DIY projects or perhaps those DIY projects that go awry: shop towels, rags, dust masks, everything you need to get the job done.
TOM: 888-666-3974. That package is worth 200 bucks. Want to win it? Pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Mike in New York needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what you're working on.
MIKE: Hi, there. I own two rental properties. I just wanted to tell you and Tom that your advice has really helped me several times already.
TOM: Oh, fantastic.
LESLIE: Great, thanks.
MIKE: Here's the question. When I'm installing a ceramic tile floor, if I have a cement floor underneath it - I stripped off the old floor -
MIKE: - can I skip the backer board - what some people would call mason's drywall step - and go right to thinset and lay the tile down?
TOM: You can, as long as the concrete floor is perfectly flat.
TOM: Sometimes, using the backer over that helps you ...
LESLIE: Gives you a more stable surface.
TOM: Yeah, helps you kind of smooth out the bumps and lumps that can occur naturally in a concrete floor because, remember, that ceramic tile doesn't bend very well and if you don't put it on perfectly flat ...
MIKE: Right, so the floor - if I level it out and fix any cracks, then I can ...
TOM: You can go right on top of it. Yep, sure, it's done all the time.
MIKE: Does it have to be scarified somewhat, also?
TOM: No, as long as you have - as long as you have a good adhesive, then I think it should be fine. You're probably going to put it down with a mastic.
MIKE: Yep, OK.
TOM: And as long as you have good adhesive, use a good glue trowel with like, you know, quarter-inch slots in it so you have good bonding of the tiles to the concrete floor, it'll be perfect.
MIKE: OK, you have helped me once again.
TOM: Alright, Mike. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Lot of people buying homes right now. It's a good time to buy investment properties. Prices are down; rates are great.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And you know what? It's amazing to me how many people have sort of abandoned the 'I'm selling my house' and have chosen to rent the property out.
TOM: Yeah. Well, it makes a lot of sense.
LESLIE: Because the rental market, they have not seen a drop in the amount they're charging for rentals per month.
TOM: And it's the same way when prices are really high. People don't buy; they rent and wait for the prices to come down. So now it's the flip side. Hey, as long as you can rent and pay your net (ph) every month, why not? I mean why should you sell the house for a loss. Especially people that are retiring and have a lot of their equity tied up in their house; they're much better off renting themselves and renting their house out and just kind of coasting for a while until the value comes back up again.
LESLIE: No, it's true. In fact, we've seen - where we live on Long Island, we've seen several people - you know, just on our block alone there were three homes that sort of were sold about a year ago and the people had yet to move in and it was because they could not sell their initial homes. And now they were stuck with two mortgages, two properties to maintain and it was sort of a struggle. And then chatting with them, you know saying, 'When are you going to move in? What's going on?' they all decided to rent. Everybody's sort of in a situation where they're earning money. Now they can move into their second home. They're not worrying about all of these financial situations. So it's working out. It's nice to see, you know, the silver lining and what's been going on in the crazy, economic situation.
TOM: Absolutely. 888-666-3974. Who's next?
LESLIE: Bonnie in Colorado needs some help with the curb appeal of her home. How can we help?
BONNIE: Yes, hi. I had a question about restoring some very faded vinyl siding. My mother put siding on the house probably about 20 years ago and it's a medium brown color. And where the sun hits the side of the house, it has turned into kind of a pale, greenish-tan, yucky, faded color. So I've heard of a couple of products that you can spray on that are supposed to bring it back but I didn't know if those really work or if you had a brand to recommend or ...
TOM: Well, you're talking about UV degradation and the color in the vinyl is solid. And while you can change sort the U (ph) of it - have you ever used a product called Armor All on your tires?
BONNIE: No, but I know of it.
TOM: Well, if you put Armor All on your tires - and those that have used it know exactly what I'm talking about - you can take the dull, gray tire and it sort of turns it to shiny, cool-looking black.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Shiny, dark gray.
TOM: Yeah, it looks like real neat. And that's kind of what those products do. They sort of give you a bit more sheen and they will change the color a little bit. But then again, they have to be repeated from time to time because as anyone who's used Armor All knows, it lasts until about the first rainstorm; sometimes less. (Leslie chuckles) But that's their marketing strategy. You've got to go out and buy more. So you're not going to change it permanently but it might make it a look a little bit better.
TOM: And so what I'm saying is, I wouldn't have unrealistic expectations that you're going to maintain a color change over the long haul if you do this.
BONNIE: Well thank you so much for you help.
TOM: You're welcome, Bonnie.
BONNIE: That covers what I needed to know.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone, give us a call and let us know what you are working on. We can help you before this project gets out of your hands. Any topic, any time - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, microwave oven safety. Do you have to reach up to use your microwave? Have you ever taken out a hot dish and spilled it and hurt yourself? We're going to tell you a new trend in microwave oven design that makes that whole process a lot safer.
[audio timestamp: 0:07:37.8]
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 we love to give you the tools to get the job done right the first time and also help you to clean up the disasters that go along with some home improvement projects. If you pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and ask your question on the air, one lucky caller is going to win a giant supply of products from Kimberly-Clark. It's going to keep all of your do-it-yourself projects clean and safe. You're going to get a case - get this - a case of Scott rags extreme and Scott shop towels, along with disposable gloves and a case of dust masks. All you have to do it call us, ask your question on the air and you will be entered into our hard hat to possibly be our great winner.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
Hey, are you thinking about remodeling a kitchen? Well, if you've got a newer home, there's most likely already a microwave in the kitchen. Builders, though, love to mount these microwaves above the stove or up high on a wall and these actually can be not only hard to reach; they can be a real hazard because they force you to reach above your head to get hot stuff out of the oven. Lose your balance and you could burn yourself, break a dish or probably both.
LESLIE: Yeah, and when you're pulling something hot out of the microwave oven, have you ever noticed that they're like nuclear hot? (Tom chuckles) It's either like lukewarm/not quite ready or just beyond boiling. So you do need to be careful. When you're working with a microwave it should be no higher than 48 inches above the floor and if your microwave is mounted to a wall, then put a little shelf underneath the oven where you can rest hot foods after they finish cooking. Better yet, just put your microwave on a countertop and leave plenty of room to place hot dishes all around. As you take them out, let them cool a little bit and then safely transport them to your table top.
TOM: Or better yet, you can even install a microwave drawer oven today. Yes, there's ...
LESLIE: They're so cool.
TOM: There's such a thing as microwave drawers. These kind of look like big bread drawers and they're mounted underneath the countertop of the kitchen counter and you simply slide them out, drop in your dish and then slide them closed to heat. And so this way, when you're reaching to pull something out, you're reaching in and up and placing it on the counter. They're just a whole lot safer appliance. So if you're thinking about getting a new one for your kitchen, look into these drawer microwaves. They're really, really good.
888-666-3974. Call us right now with your kitchen questions, your bathroom questions, your roof questions, your floor questions. We're here to help you get those projects done. Whether you're going to do it yourself or hire the project out, we'll help get you started right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Linda in New York, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
LINDA: Yes, hi there. My daughter has a pine dining table and some deep scratches are in it. We were wondering how she could sort of fill them in, other than just trying to put a piece of glass over the top so we don't get anymore scratches.
TOM: Minwax has a scratch-filling pencil that's sort of like a freezer pencil; you know, where you peel the paper back and sort of ...
LESLIE: China markers.
TOM: China markers - and it kinds of unwinds; the paper comes off and then you have sort of the wax underneath.
TOM: And what you can do is you can get - if you can find one that's the same color, that's great. If you can't, you know, find one that's a little lighter and another one that's a little bit darker and mix them together. When I use them I usually take like a butane lighter and I'll heat the end of the pencil to make it really soft and sort of dip it in there. And you can be a little bit sloppy with it. And then with your finger or like with a credit card, you can kind of rub off the excess and it really blends in very, very nicely. And I've used this stuff to fill everything from a scratch to a quarter-inch size hole in wood.
Now it's not real durable in terms of, you know, washing the table and rubbing stuff on it. That's the only downside to it. But it does do a really good job of hiding scratches.
LINDA: OK, well thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Time to jump in the tub with Bill in Missouri. How can we help you?
BILL: Well, I have a problem with my tub and let me preface this call by telling you I'm not that much of a handyman.
BILL: I have a bluish-grayish tub ...
BILL: ... with pink tile and it's just not acceptable; I mean the people that lived there had five girls or something. And what I want to do is - I heard about acid wash or acid - dip it and have it all one color; like make it all white and just change the fixtures and that would save me a lot of money and aggravation. And I just wanted your recommendation on that idea.
TOM: Well, you're talking about do-it-yourself glazing where you use an acid wash to kind of wipe it down and get it real clean and then you put a glaze on top of that and it will look white and it will look pretty. The problem is it'll only look that way for a couple or more years because the reglazing that you can do yourself is just not as durable after that time. You know, you'll still be able to use it but you may get some chips and stuff like that. So there's basically just more maintenance.
BILL: Right. Tom, would you recommend that maybe I, for that part of the bathroom job, have a professional come in and do it?
TOM: It might be a little bit easier on you. You're still going to not have the same durability that you would if it was originally a white porcelain tub, Bill.
LESLIE: It would be far more durable, though, than a do-it-yourself kit.
LESLIE: Mike in New Jersey has a question about insulation. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: Hi, I have a home that was my family's homestead. My parents passed away and my brother and I inherited it and he's been living there for a few years and now we're intending to sell it. And I remember as a child, in the mid-50s, they added what's called rock wool blown insulation ...
MIKE: ... and I remember that they dumped large bags of this material into a fan type thing and ducted it into the various cavities in the house.
MIKE: I was wondering if this is asbestos based; something to be concerned about. Are we looking at a large cost to remove it and clean the place up or is it just something (AUDIO GAP) when you stay there?
TOM: Sometimes. Some forms of rock wool insulation can contain asbestos fibers. It has to be tested for you to be sure.
LESLIE: But is it only a concern if you start, you know, breaking into the walls and moving things around or if it's encased it's fine?
TOM: I agree. If it's stationary inside the walls, then I don't think it's an issue. If you start tearing things open, that's when it becomes a problem.
MIKE: Well, it's lying between the joists of the attic area.
TOM: OK, so it is exposed. Yeah. You know, it's very, very common, Mike. Generally it doesn't stop real estate deals in their tracks. I used to find it all the time when I was a home inspector. I would always raise the issue that it could contain asbestos. But I can't recall it ever sort of stopping a transaction or leading to a very expensive repair. But I do know that in order to confirm whether or not it does have asbestos, you need to have it tested. And you probably could do that on your own ...
MIKE: Just take a sample to a lab?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. You could probably grab a sample and mail it off to a lab and have it analyzed.
MIKE: OK, well thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to North Carolina to chat with Paula about a flooring project. What can we do for you?
PAULA: Hi, we have a huge room when you come into our house and it's the living room and the dining room and the kitchen. And right now there's vinyl tile in the kitchen and the rest is carpeted. And we want to pull it up and put something else down and we want to change the floor in the kitchen ...
PAULA: ... but we have two large dogs and we're not sure just exactly what the best thing to put down would be.
TOM: What do you want the floor to look like? Do you like tile look? Do you like vinyl look? Do you like hardwood?
PAULA: Kind of probably hardwood.
TOM: OK. I think the best product for you to consider putting down, especially if you have pets, is laminate flooring because it's absolutely gorgeous and you can choose from a variety of hardwood patterns. And today the laminate flooring has gotten so good it actually has grain sort of printed into it; sort of pressed into it where it actually has some texture to it. It looks really fantastic and it really, really takes a beating.
LESLIE: And of course, depending on your price point, Paula, the photo quality of how that wood floor look is achieved on that laminate planking varies. So you can get ones that are, you know, ultra high-end that look really fantastic and you get ones that are low-end that look great but not the best. So you can find something in the middle of the road that really looks fantastic and is ultra, ultra durable and it is something that you can do yourself if you're feeling kind of handy.
PAULA: Yeah, that's what I thought. I've been thinking of laminate. That's what I've been thinking. I've been trying to nudge my husband (Tom and Leslie chuckle).
TOM: Well, I tell you what we'll do to help you out, Paula. Flooring is actually the number one topic that we get asked about here on the show and it plays a big role in our new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. So we're going to send you a copy of My Home, My Money Pit just for calling in today and then you can show that to your husband.
PAULA: Well, thank you very much. That would be lovely.
TOM: Alright, stay on the line. We'll take your contact info.
PAULA: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You're welcome.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we're going to talk to a guy who proves that getting there is half the fun. David Oreck is going to join us and this guy has been selling vacuum cleaners since the 40s and when you hear some of his stories, you'll know exactly why he's so successful and most interesting, how this machine has actually become so modern today. Not only can it clean your house; it cleans your air at the same time. That's coming up, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:17:45.4]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.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 and sometimes we get to have very well-known guests on the show and this is a very exciting moment like that. In fact, our next guest is certainly an American icon and his name is synonymous with a household item that was invented in the last century but his products are far from old-fashioned. We're talking about David Oreck. He is the founder of the Oreck Corporation and the vacuum pitchman who, at 84 and sounding like a chipper young man, is still going very, very strong.
TOM: And more importantly, David is bringing his products into the 21st century by incorporating new technology and consumer-driven demand for high-tech vacuums that are still lightweight, still powerful, excellent cleaning tools.
David, thank you for coming onto the program.
DAVID: Well, thank you for having me. Appreciate that.
TOM: You know, your vacuums have been around for a lot of years right now. I want to ask you how you got started. What was the story behind your inspiration to create sort of a better mousetrap when it comes to vacuums?
DAVID: Well, just to back up a tad, I was born in a small town in northern Minnesota and when I was, I don't know, I guess about 18 or 17, Pearl Harbor came along and I ended up in the 20th Air Force out in the Pacific on B29 flying missions over Japan. And the war was over with and I got out, which was in 1946. Why, I went to New York City to get a job - you know, fools rush in where angels fear to tread (Tom and Leslie chuckle) - and I got a job as a salesman for the RCA wholesale distributor in New York. And frankly, I don't think I ever sold anything in my life up to that point except the Saturday Evening Post and, of course, there, when you ran out of relatives you ran out of sales. (Tom and Leslie laugh) And so anyway, I ended up as a salesman there and I worked my way up and I ended up running all the sales of the company. I was involved in the introduction of black-and-white television, of color television; the first automatic washer, which was Bendix. We had to bolt those things to the floor or they walked all over the basement.
TOM: Oh, is that right?
DAVID: They were incontinent as well; they wet the floor. (everybody laughs) And we also wholesaled, to retailers throughout that area, vacuum cleaners. So I was - I had a knowledge of that product category. And so, at age 40 - which proves, I guess, it's never too late to start - age 40, why, I decide I'd leave the company and we developed this eight-pound vacuum cleaner that weighed a fraction of what these other (inaudible at 0:21:02.1) weigh and I went out and introduced that and I went around the country like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.
DAVID: I figured they'd pick me up on the floor of the St. Louis airport or something.
TOM: Yeah, but it would have been a really clean floor. (Leslie chuckles)
DAVID: It would have been very clean, which - absolutely. Thank you.
TOM: Let me ask you a question about the eight-pound vacuum. This idea of doing something that was so lightweight. Back then it must have been much more difficult to get the weight down in an appliance. I mean today we have so many high-tech composites and high-tech materials. Back then you didn't have nearly the materials that we have today. Was that a real big design challenge for you?
DAVID: Well, it really was but it works - our vacuum works on a different principal and the dirt goes up the handle and drops into the top of the bag; very much like filling a silo.
DAVID: So you don't have to have a lot of weight and yet the vacuum works very well; in fact, our top-of-the-line model is guaranteed for 21 years. That's four times longer than a Rolls Royce. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
TOM: Well, David, you're an interesting guy and what I think is also fascinating is that you've continued to improve the product over the years. Now it seems that consumers are more and more concerned about indoor air quality and I know that you've incorporated some antimicrobial protection into your product. Talk to me about that.
DAVID: Well, we have about nine filters that capture dirt and we do not release it back in the air. You know, most vacuum cleaners sold today - particularly these bagless vacuum cleaners - are utterly unsanitary. They're filthy. They will aggravate your allergies. The Oreck will not. The principal behind our vacuum you have to exhaust as much air, obviously, as you take in and we have a very high filtration. We're hypoallergenic and we've just come out with something new. You know, people don't realize this but the filth that's on the street contains bacteria and bacteria doubles itself every 20 minutes. Hard to believe but it's the way it is. And our vacuum is now treated so that bacteria cannot double itself.
LESLIE: Even when it's inside its canister?
DAVID: Yeah, it cannot - it does not grow and that is treated and that treatment will last the life of the cleaner. We're the only ones that have it. It's very unique.
TOM: Well, that's fantastic.
DAVID: And treated the brush and the housing, everything, so that bacteria will not grow in there.
TOM: David Oreck, you're an American icon. Congratulations on all your success and for keeping our homes clean for all of these years. If you'd like more information about Oreck products, you can go to their website which is simply Oreck.com.
DAVID: Right, or you can call our 800 number, Tom. It's 1-800-989-4200. And we send them the vacuum cleaner and it doesn't cost them a dime. We pay the shipping. They use it for a month. If it isn't everything that we say and more, they just tell us and we come and pick it up. It doesn't cost a dime.
TOM: Well, you're a man that's confident in his products. You send them out at no risk to the consumers. Thank you ...
DAVID: Yeah, well I think it's a good way to buy and, of course, I have to emphasize a fact - something I'm very proud of - we manufacture our vacuum cleaners here in the U.S. and they're built better, they last longer and I think that, this day and age, you know, it pays to support our own country.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It's a rarity.
TOM: Absolutely, David Oreck, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
DAVID: Well, I'm glad to do so and it's nice talking with you folks.
TOM: Nice talking to you, too, Mr. Oreck. Take care of yourself.
LESLIE: Well, it's always nice chatting with David Oreck and having him bend my ear with some great tales of history. Thanks so much.
Well, when we come back, you know it can be very easy for Daisy or Spot - your favorite pet at home - to get into some trouble during your next do-it-yourself project. When we come back we're going to give you tips and advice on how to avoid the most dangerous tools and supplies for your pets.
[audio timestamp: 0:24:57.5]
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. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us right now; not only will we give you the answer to your home improvement question but if you make a real big mess we'll help you clean it up. Because one caller we talk to is going to win a Kimberly-Clark prize package worth more than 200 bucks and nobody knows how to make a home improvement mess more so than Leslie or me. (Leslie chuckles) We do that very, very well.
LESLIE: And generally, if I get anything on my hands, I like to wipe it on my pants. (chuckles)
TOM: (chuckles) That's why you don't really need the shop towels.
LESLIE: (chuckling) No.
TOM: These are ideal for painting and wiping up spills when you don't want to use your pants, plus you get some disposable grip gloves and a case of dust masks; basically everything you need to handle the cleanup after any home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call. We'll toss your name in The Money Pit hardhat and might send that prize to you.
LESLIE: Give us a call, especially if you're thinking about starting a home improvement project - maybe a big one, maybe a small one - and suddenly the thought crosses your mind, 'Gosh, I haven't really thought about what to do with my pet during this process.' You know, you do really need to think about taking precautions; especially when you're tackling any type of home improvement project because your pets, they like to be in the danger zone. If something's going on, they want to be right in the mix. It might even be worth it to board your cat or dog or even just have it stay at a neighbor's for a couple of hours while you're doing the work or even throughout the whole project and here's why: paints and solvents, they can cause anything from a minor upset stomach, if they eat it or even just lick it, to chemical burns; and if your dog or cat mistakes a nail or screw or something small - a washer - as a Scooby snack, it could cause damage to their intestines or even a blockage that you might not find about until too late. Even fresh cement can irritate or even be corrosive to the skin of your favorite animal.
TOM: So be real careful with your pets when you tackle any of those home improvement projects and, just in case, keep phone numbers handy for your vet as well as the ASPCA poison control center; very great resources, very helpful. If you ever have a pet that gets into some type of poison and you don't know what it is, the pet's having some symptoms, you can pick up the phone and call the ASPCA poison control center; just like you can call the poison control center if you or one of your children happen to accidentally ingest something. It's a great service just for pets.
888-666-3974. Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Brian in New York needs some help with a flooring choice. What can we do for you?
BRIAN: Hi, thanks for taking my call.
LESLIE: Our pleasure.
BRIAN: I own an old house in Brooklyn. It's a row house, two-family. It was my grandfather's house. Now what happened was the tenant finally moved out after, I guess, 20-something years and there was an old rug on it. When I took the rug up, the floor underneath is pretty shot. So I'm looking to put in a hardwood floor and there's so many new choices now between solid all the way to laminate. And I was just thinking what is the most durable, easy - I'm going to do it myself. It's about 600 square feet so I know the prices are very different. I just want to get ...
TOM: Brian, are you going to rent this or are you going to live in the house?
BRIAN: Oh, no, it's a rental.
TOM: Alright - yeah. If it's a rental, we're going to recommend the most indestructible product out there, which is laminate floor. Now, laminate floor is not really wood; yet the laminate floor today, though, it looks so good it easily can be construed as wood.
TOM: We would recommend laminate floor because it's very, very durable stuff. You want to buy a good quality-grade laminate. You absolutely can install it yourself. Most of it is click-together or lock-together. You can get patterns that look like old wooden floors. You can get patterns that look like tile. You know, whatever you want it's out there.
TOM: But if it's a rental property, I definitely would not use a natural material.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, good Lord no.
TOM: I would not use engineered. (clears throat) I wouldn't use solid. I would definitely use laminate.
BRIAN: OK, great. Thanks a lot for your help.
TOM: You're welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: David in Louisiana needs some help with siding. What can we do for you?
DAVID: Yes, hi. I have [just a] (ph) frame house that I'm considering to put siding on, but a neighbor's been telling me, 'Do it this way, do it that way.' Like for instance, I have some bad boards and it might be a little dry rot or et cetera, so I just go ahead and cover it up; the vinyl will take care of everything. I'm kind of concerned that, well, I had to replace everything. Meanwhile, everything is blistering real bad. Should I go ahead and scrape it, paint it and then put siding on it? Because I figure ...
TOM: No. You don't have to go through that much work. I can appreciate what you're saying but I would just tell you that if the siding is rotted to the point where it will not hold a nail, I would repair those areas, David.
TOM: But if it's just blistered and looking bad, I wouldn't worry about it at all because it's all going to be covered by the vinyl; it's not going to help it or hurt it by doing any kind of prep work to that old siding. You can go right on top of it with the vinyl. The only concern is if it doesn't hold a nail because it's rotted, that needs to be addressed. Now remember that when the vinyl siding goes on over older siding, it's a little bit harder; that you've got to have a really good siding company that knows how to nail the stuff and the key is to not nail it too tightly; to leave some - leave it loose, leave a bit of flex so that the siding, if it's done right, will actually sort of - you can actually take a piece and slide it back and forth in your hand. Because vinyl siding expands so much in the sun that if you don't do it that way, the first really hot day the stuff will buckle like crazy and you will not be a happy camper.
DAVID: I see. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
TOM: You're welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. When we come back, we're going to have some shocking news about your electrical system. One out of every four homes needs an electrical upgrade. Is your house one of them? When we come back we're going to answer an e-mail on just that question, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:31:24.9]
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TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, especially if it has to do with closet organization. Do you know, do you open your closets only to have half of the contents like fall out on you? I seem to go through that in my house all the time. I notice when I get done organizing it, then it becomes disorganized even quicker than what it took to put it back together. Well, if closet organization is not your strong suit, I've got some simple and inexpensive solutions in my latest AOL column. It's called 'Smart Closet Organization for Less.' Read it at MoneyPit.AOL.com. And I hope my kids read it, too.
LESLIE: (chuckling) So they can help get the closets organized at home?
LESLIE: Yeah, good luck with that one, Tom. And while you're snooping around on the web, go ahead and visit MoneyPit.com. Lots of topics there for you to search; from all sorts of projects to things you might just be about to start to that bathroom remodel. Whatever it is you're working on, we've got the answers for you there and the advice to go along with it. And if you don't feel like picking up the phone and asking us your question on the air, you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and e-mail us your question. We always jump into the e-mail bag with this part of the show and we've got one here from John in Bedford, New York, who writes: 'My house recently lost power and when the power was restored, I found one of the circuit breakers had tripped. I reset the breaker and it tripped again. The breaker controls the living room, which has eight outlets. I unplugged everything and tried to reset the breaker but it still pops. I went around to each outlet with a tester; all outlets indicated correct but the breaker keeps tripping. Do you have any suggestions as to what to look for next?'
TOM: First of all, John, I would assume that the breaker is doing its job in tripping. There obviously is a short somewhere in this circuit. It may not necessarily be at the outlet itself. It could be a wire in the wall, at a junction box, perhaps as it comes into the electrical panel. Any place in that circuit, there could be a short and that's what's causing this. Remember that what breakers do is they measure the amount of current going into the circuit and if there's more current than what the breaker is rated for, the breaker trips. Why does it trip? Because it's stopping a fire from occurring. If you have a 15-amp breaker, you start pulling 16, 17, 18 amps, the wires can overheat and they can cause a fire. So don't assume that there's a problem with the breaker. There's definitely a problem with the circuit and you need to figure out where that is. How do you do that?
Well, generally you do it step by step by sort of checking each section of the circuit at a time and that's probably, now, beyond the scope of what a talented DIY-er can do him or herself. This is probably a good opportunity for you to call a professional electrician and have them take the next step. You did what you could by checking your outlets but this has obviously gone deeper than that. It's somewhere in the walls, most likely, and you're going to need to figure it out so that you prevent a fire from happening.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and be thankful that that breaker is tripping.
Alright, Louise in Florida writes: 'How can I keep my vinyl floor covering from turning up by the two doors and around the tub?'
TOM: Ah. You know, there's a lot of mildew that gets into those spaces and so this is really a two-step process, Louise. First of all, you need to turn that vinyl over and try to clean as much of the dirt and mildew off as possible. Then make sure it's ...
LESLIE: Like even peel back more than what's already curled up?
TOM: A little bit more, right. Then make sure it's really dry - maybe even use a hair dryer - and then use contact cement - probably two coats: one on the floor, one on the back of the vinyl. Press it down, weight it for about 24 hours and you should be good to go.
LESLIE: And Louise, make sure you allow the contact cement to become tacky on both sides before you adhere them together.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by for your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We're just about out of time for this hour of the program but the good news is the show does continue online at MoneyPit.com or you can shoot us an e-mail question. Sign up for our free Money Pit e-newsletter or call us anytime of the day or night at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we're not on the air when you call, we will call you back the next time we are. Thank you so much.
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.)