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: It's home repair because we care so call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We can help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well, the end of the summer is in sight and then it's a time when people start thinking about putting their house on the market. You know ...
TOM: ... there are certain times when moving is more common and the end of the summer is one of those times; especially in our area, where people want to stay, you know, throughout their entire summer season. But if you're thinking about putting your house on the market ...
LESLIE: You've got to be a brave soul.
TOM: You've got to be a brave soul right now. (Leslie chuckles) Because there is one guy out there that can sort of make it or break it when it comes to selling your house and it is the appraiser. The appraiser plays a big role in helping to determine how much money you're going to get for your house. So, what do you need to know to make sure the house gets top dollar? What preparations?
LESLIE: Have cookies and cakes for the appraiser waiting when they get there?
TOM: Yeah, well that always helps, you know? (Leslie chuckles) That always helps. Courtesy goes a long way with appraisers and inspectors and all that. But no, I mean how do you - how do get your house ready for the appraiser? We're going to talk about that on today's show.
LESLIE: And also, is doing laundry a dreaded chore in your home? Not because of actually doing the laundry itself but is it a chore because of that treacherous journey down to the laundry room? Do you have to navigate narrow basement stairs with your arms full of heavy, dirty laundry? Well, we're going to tell you how to bring your laundry room into the light in just a little bit.
TOM: We used to have that navigation problem. (Leslie chuckles) And then we moved the laundry room up to the upstairs next to where we ...
LESLIE: We still have that problem.
TOM: Ah. See, you need to have your laundry room where you generate the laundry. That's the key. (chuckling) If you can do that you're ...
LESLIE: Tom, we have one bathroom. We can't ask for everything. (chuckling)
TOM: Ah, that's true. That's true. Well you see, there are good things about laundry room improvements that I've discovered. First of all, having a laundry upstairs helps and also having children old enough to do their own laundry (Leslie chuckles), that pretty much just wraps it right up right there.
And if you call us this hour with your home improvement question we're also going to give you a chance to win a prize from Buzz Off. It's a set of bug repellant clothing. These guys make clothing with a repellant sort of built right into it so it's great like gardening gear. So we're going to give you a hat and a bandana worth 50 bucks. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who is first?
LESLIE: Jennifer in New Jersey tuning in on WABC. What can we do for you today?
JENNIFER: Do you advise powerwashing an outdoor cedar deck annually? I'm hearing a lot of different, confusing things. And of course a lot of people would love to powerwash our deck every year.
TOM: You know, there's a lot of services out there that just love to do that and it sounds like it makes a lot of sense. It's, you know, powerful; it's going to do a great job deep cleaning. But the truth is that when you powerwash, when you pressure wash a deck, you really take some years of life off of it. So you don't necessarily want to go after a deck with a lot of power. You want to go after it with some finesse.
LESLIE: Yeah, and Jennifer, you know, if you use a powerwash - because you should clean your deck annually. You know, if you live in a warmer climate where you're using your deck all year long you would want to do it twice a year. But for us in the northeast you want to do it either at the beginning of the season in the spring, after it's got all that dirt and muck from the winter, or at the end of the season in the fall before you go in. But once a season you do want to clean it.
And if you do use a pressure washer you want to make sure that you keep that pressure down. You don't want to be aggressive with it. And you also want to make sure that you don't keep the pressure washer nozzle - gosh, that's hard to say - so close to the deck surface because you can cause the wood to splinter up and then damage it.
What you do want to do is use a cleansing product and the folks at Flood make one called DEKSWOOD; D-E-K-S-WOOD. And it's a cleanser that works specifically to restore and refresh and renew so it's actually going to make the deck look brighter and cleaner and also serve the purpose of cleaning. Because water really is just going to push that dirt around where the cleanser's going to get down to it and get rid of some of that surface and that ground debris.
JENNIFER: And so do you clean it first and then - powerwash it first and then put the cleaner on or is it a combination product?
LESLIE: First you want to sweep; make sure you get all of that debris that's on there that you can see off. So sweep it well. Then you want to wet the surface, then apply the product. You can roll it on. You can put it on with the pressure washer. Let it sit there for about 20 minutes and then you rinse with the pressure washer.
JENNIFER: Great. And then, would you follow it up a few days later with a new coat of stain or ...
LESLIE: It depends on the condition of the deck. If you've had a finish on it that's finally starting to blister or wear, then you would want to. You want to wait til the deck is thoroughly dry; you know, a few days of good, hot sun on it and then you can go ahead and apply. If you've got, you know, built in solid stain that's peeling off you want to use a chemical stripper and get that off so you can get down to, you know, as new or clean wood as you can so it'll adhere well. But if you like the natural look and it seems to be in good shape you can just clean it and leave it. Otherwise, if you've got nothing on there, definitely get some sort of finish or sealer or protectant on there just to keep the quality of the wood stain where it is.
JENNIFER: OK, I think you've just planned a couple of weekends of work for me.
TOM: (chuckling) That's what we do. Jennifer, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Yeah, if you weren't what you were going to do this weekend, call us. We'll tell you. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Pete's calling in with a squeaky floor. Tell us about it.
PETE: My floors - I bought the townhouse and the upstairs bedroom right above our master bedroom is very, very squeaky. And the previous owners told me they tried everything from drilling in crooked and sideways and using wood screws and anything you can think of to get these floors to stop squeaking. And they're just not - there's nothing I can do about it really, at this point. I was wondering if you had any advice about that.
TOM: What kind of floor covering do you have on it right now, Pete?
PETE: Well, it's rug and under the rug it's - the subfloor is - I don't know how to explain it. It's probably the cheapest subfloor you can get (Leslie chuckles) townhouse ...
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
PETE: ... so they cut all sorts of corners to probably build this thing. So ...
TOM: Alright, well listen. The way to do this, if you've had such a severe problem, is to take up the wall-to-wall carpet. You've got to take it all up and then the next thing we hope that you can identify where the floor joists are under the subfloor. [But if it's just] (ph) one layer of subfloor it's going to be nailed to the floor joist. Then what I want you to do is to get some case hardened steel screws - about two-and-a-half inches long or so will do it - and you want to drill and screw into that subfloor. You want to attach the subfloor to the joist about every 12 inches across that whole room. That's going to lock down the floor to the joist.
Because the reason you're getting squeaks - there's two reasons that this happens: number one - the boards move up and down on the nails where they're attached to the joist; and secondly, if it's tongue-and-groove plywood - which very often some subfloors are - the tongues and the grooves move together. But regardless of what's causing it, the movement is what has to be stopped. That's why you have to eliminate the nails and go totally with screws; because once that pulls down nice and tight it's not going to move. And that's the best thing you can do to try to quiet that up.
PETE: Hmm. Alright, now do you think - just to add to this - I was thinking about actually tiling up there and, you know, going with a wonderboard first; screwing that down and then laying tile. Do you think that would help clear it up or should I do this project first with (INAUDIBLE)?
TOM: No, even if you're going to put tile down you definitely want to do this project first because if the ...
LESLIE: Because once you put that tile down ...
LESLIE: ... you're going to have to do the repair from the ceiling below.
LESLIE: And that's going to be a huge mess.
TOM: This is the easiest time to address this problem. When you just have to deal with carpet - of course it's a hassle to take the carpet up and put it back down, if you decide to go that route - but it's clearly a lot easier than if you put tile over that. Tile's not going to solve this. It will only make it worse unless you deal with the root cause which is the loose subfloor.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you don't deal with it and that subfloor becomes more loose and starts to move, you're going to see those tiles start cracking.
PETE: That's true. So two-and-a-half inch steel screws - case hardened - right through the floorboard into the joist? Is that right?
TOM: That's correct. That's correct.
PETE: I wrote it all down. I really appreciate your help.
TOM: You're welcome, Pete. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright, home improvement fans. There's only a few more summer weekends left. Well, we can help you make the most of them so call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, want to be fully appraised when the appraiser comes to your house? We're going to teach you the tricks of the trade to make sure your house gets top dollar if it's going on the market this fall.
[audio timestamp: 9:25]
[audio timestamp: 12:07]
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 where home improvements are as simple as prime then paint. (Leslie chuckles) Got to get the order right. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
Alright, folks, are you like me? Are you trying to squeeze in every last minute of outdoor enjoyment before the summer is over? Well, if you are you're probably dining outside a lot and I bet you that you are sick of mosquitoes and other bugs just making a meal out of you and not the food at your backyard barbecue. One caller we talk to today is going to win a great prize that is going to solve that bug-biting fiasco of a problem while we can still enjoy the outdoors. It's a great prize. It's an insect-repelling bandana and hat from the folks at Buzz Off. The protection - all that anti-bug stuff - is built right into the clothing. It's invisible, it's odorless and it's just as simple as putting on the clothing. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and ask us your home improvement question on air and you could win.
OK, let's talk about the soft real estate market that we're facing right now.
LESLIE: Ooh, it's scary.
TOM: You know, it's been pretty bloody out there. But there are still those of us out there that are having good success selling homes. If you are going to put your house on the market you want to make sure your asking price is right on target. And one way to do that is to have your house appraised first. But before the appraiser rings your doorbell you need to have some documents on hand. This is going to help make sure that the appraiser has all the information that they need. First, a copy of the original plans and specs, if available, is wonderful to have. Also, a survey of the house and the property; the deed or the title report; your purchase date and the price you paid and a recent tax bill. That, plus a list of all the recent improvements that you've made, can really help the appraiser justify the price that you want to get for your house.
LESLIE: Now improvements, Tom, they don't have to just be structural or decorative. They can be like changing appliances and what-not, correct?
TOM: Absolutely. Not only changing appliances. It could be redecorating; all the things that make your house more attractive to buyers is a good thing to have listed out and ready on a handy sheet of paper to hand to that appraiser.
LESLIE: Good to know.
TOM: And we can help, too, so call us right now with your home improvement question. Perhaps you're thinking about putting your house on the market; want to make sure it's in good mechanical shape. We can help you. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Going to Pennsylvania where Rosemarie's ceiling is cracking up. How can we help you?
ROSEMARIE: Thank you for answering my question. I enjoy your program tremendously.
I have electric ceiling heat. My home is 37 years old. My ceilings have all cracked.
ROSEMARIE: And I was just wondering what is the best way to pursue this. Just go to a different heating system entirely? Get the ceilings repaired? If so, how do you repair them?
TOM: Well, you have radiant heat in the ceiling; is that what you're telling us?
ROSEMARIE: That's correct.
TOM: Electric radiant heat?
TOM: How are your heating bills, Rosemarie?
ROSEMARIE: Actually, very good.
TOM: OK. Well then, you know, maybe you should just repair it. These cracks that you're seeing, are they very long? Are they in the joints of the drywall where it comes together? Are they sort of allocated (ph) across the whole surface? Describe the crack for us.
ROSEMARIE: They extend along the whole ceiling and there's no particular pattern.
TOM: The best way to repair that type of crack is with fiberglass drywall tape. The fiberglass tape is perforated; it's easy to apply because it sticks up there. You apply the tape first and then you spackle on top of that. You want to use several layers, starting with, say, about a three-inch spackle knife and working up to maybe a six to eight-inch spackle knife. And the reason you're using the tape is because the ceilings are always going to be expanding and contracting and by using the fiberglass tape across the cracked area it's not going to crack again. If you just try to fill in the cracks they will show up instantly.
ROSEMARIE: I see. OK, I will, you know, try that method. Very good. I understand. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Rosemarie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Derrick in Arkansas, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DERRICK: Well, I'm buying a lake house and it's a house that has a lot of things I'm not used to dealing with. So I was going to try to get some advice on what you guys would recommend for, first of all, it has a well.
DERRICK: But it's a really sulfury water source.
TOM: Hmm. OK.
DERRICK: And I was wondering what, if anything, can be done for that. And also, it's a septic system and I'm not - I've never had a septic before so if there's anything special I could be thinking about on that as well.
TOM: OK, have you bought the house yet, Derrick?
DERRICK: No, I have not.
TOM: Alright, good. A couple of things. First of all, you're going to need both a well test and you're going to need a septic system inspection. Because there's no telling what kind of condition these mechanical systems are in. And when you have private wells and private septic, then you're kind of your own utility authority, you know what I mean?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. There's nobody there to make sure the maintenance is correct.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. And repairs can be costly; they can be unhealthy. So - if it's done wrong. So you need to get this inspected.
With the well system, you're going to have a water test done. Based on the water test you'll be able to determine what type of treatment is needed, if any. If you're lucky, the water's pure but just smells bad. Then there's different types of treatment systems that can be put on that will make it not smell so bad anymore.
With respect to the septic system, especially being near a lake, that has to be thoroughly inspected. There's a type of test called a dye test. There's also an open pit inspection where the tank is opened. A good inspection company is going to do a very thorough examination and make sure the septic system is not flawed. You know, if you have a bad septic system in a lake, I'll tell you, one - you know, I remember this distinctly, some years ago, Leslie, when I was in the home inspection business.
TOM: I did a dye test where you basically introduce this green dye like into a toilet and you run a lot of water through a house. Well, it was along a lake. I remember going out into the back, standing on the deck and seeing the plume of the green dye work it's way out into the lake from the septic system.
LESLIE: (gasping) No!
TOM: Yeah. It was totally failed. So that's why you've got to have a really good inspection done to make sure the system is working properly.
LESLIE: And it's interesting because a septic system, you know, it's so delicate and it really relies on the stone and the dirt to sort of filter everything out once it sort of passes through the original tank. So it's got to work well and all sort of work together.
TOM: Derrick, here's what I want you to do. I want you to go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It's ASHI - A-S-H-I.com.
TOM: And enter the zip code in for the area that you're going to be buying this house. They will kick back a list to you of these ASHI-certified members. These guys are the best in the business. They really know what they're doing. Off of that list of inspectors make a few phone calls; find somebody you're really comfortable with and get a good home inspection done. And that's the best way to protect yourself and also to familiarize yourself with these unfamiliar systems.
DERRICK: Now Tom, I do have an option to bring in city water to this place. It's already stubbed out and just needs to be metered and brought to the front of the house. Would that be something you think I should really (INAUDIBLE)?
TOM: Absolutely. Absolutely.
TOM: If city water's available I would absolutely take advantage of that. You may want to keep the well working; especially if you're ever thinking about putting in a sprinkler system.
TOM: That would be a good option for that. But if city water is available it's definitely a better option than well water, in my opinion.
DERRICK: Perfect. Well, thank you so much, you guys.
TOM: You're welcome, Derrick. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, when you're buying a home and you're unfamiliar with it, that is one of the services that home inspectors ...
TOM: ... are really good at. I mean they're good educators. It's funny, in all the years I was doing that, Leslie, no one ever hired me to teach them about their house but that was truly a big benefit of having a good home inspection done. Because you really understand and know how to take care of it so that it can take care of you.
LESLIE: Well and you know to be prepared for certain things and what to expect. So it really is a huge service.
Calling in from Michigan, we've got Pat who listens in on WPNW. What's going on with those porch tiles?
PAT: I have porch tiles that I had cleaned last year. They are quarry tile. And they're kind of the orange colors. And they're very cloudy and dull and all the grout is also turned quite reddish. I'm not happy at all with how it looks. I wondered if there was any sealer that I could put on them; bring out the beauty of the tile and seal it from changing into these cloudy kinds of things.
LESLIE: So it's not as if you have a sprinkler system and you're seeing the discoloration from perhaps a sediment or something that's in the water.
PAT: No. Not at all. There's no water that gets in there.
TOM: Alright. Well, if you clean the tiles - the next time you clean them and clean them thoroughly - you certainly put a tile and grout sealer on there. And that is going to stop the absorption. I suspect what you're getting here is, you know, whenever the dirt and the water and the wear and tear gets in there, it kind of forms its own colorant ...
TOM: ... and that's probably the redness that you're seeing. So the trick here is to try to get them as clean as possible and then seal it when it's good and dry. Then apply a tile sealer to the whole thing. And that's going to probably double or triple the time that those tiles are going to stay clean. So instead of doing this once a year you might end up doing it every two or three years.
PAT: Is there any sealer that would not turn the grout white?
TOM: Oh, certainly.
PAT: I have had trouble with that.
TOM: No. You know, certainly if you use a sealer - usually the best sealers are silicone-based. They're going to be clear. They're not going to turn the tile white or the grout white.
PAT: OK, I will give that a try. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us, Pat, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You're saying, 'Hey, we got the number, Tom. But (chuckling) we're just too shy to call.' Well, you can log onto our website at MoneyPit.com; click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question. We might even answer your question on the air.
Up next, a cooling tip to keep your house warm this winter.
[audio timestamp: 22:47]
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by for your phone call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We're like your handy neighbors who know everything about home repair except we know better than to lend you our power tools.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And you know that people always want to borrow everything that we've got in our garage. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, exactly. I have a question for you. Have you ever bought a power tool just because you had a spot on the pegboard for it to fit?
LESLIE: (chuckling) Just you had that right spot?
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: You might not have a need for it but some day ...
TOM: That's the kind of collections that we have. (laughing)
LESLIE: ... you are going to. And you know what? It's always good to be prepared. That's what I always say when I'm in the home center. 'I might need this one day.'
Alright, I know it's August. You're hot. It's hot in your house. Maybe you've just had it with the heat. But it's really actually the best time of year to think about the heating of your home. And I know you don't even want to think about it. You're hot enough already. But take our advice. Do it now. It's the perfect time to check the things like attic insulation and leaks around your windows and doors.
If you want a complete list of where to look and how to get your home ready for the winter - because believe it or not, it's going to be here before you know it - you want to visit MoneyPit.com and click on Repair and Improve. And you can also search the site for specific topics and projects that you might have in mind or think about doing for the home. And actually, our attic insulation tip is part of our August Weekend Monthly Maintenance Projects that you can find right on MoneyPit.com. It'll keep your house in tiptop shape and it's right there on the homepage. So good advice. Good projects. We're going to keep you busy.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Joe wants to talk kitchen lighting. What can we help you with?
JOE: Yes, I'm a new homeowner.
JOE: And - thank you. And we've been in our home for about a year now and it's about 12 years old. And one of the things that it came with, in the kitchen, instead of recessed lighting was a fluorescent light.
JOE: And it has trusses, I know, underneath the ceiling and I'm looking to replace that with a round of maybe five or six recessed lights. And I'm just wondering what steps you'd suggest.
TOM: Well, it certainly can be done. It requires a bit of finesse because the electrician has to - the first thing is to locate those lights. And generally, when you're trying to locate those lights you try to figure out where you would really like to have them and then you discover that it happens to be a truss right above it and then you make some adjustments. So figure out where you want the lights. Do a little bit of investigation to figure out if you are trying to place them right where a truss is. You can do that with a stud finder and that'll tell you where the ceiling joists are or the trusses are. And then you cut the holes. Once you have them in place then it's a simple matter of snaking the wiring, starting with the circuit that you have right now, to each of those high hat lights.
So it's not terribly difficult but it's something electricians do everyday and it'll probably be easiest for you to hire a pro for this job.
LESLIE: And Tom, what about the lights that are specifically rated to be in contact with insulation? Should we think about that here?
TOM: Well, in this case - in this case, this is a two-story house so your ceiling does not have any insulated space above it. Is that correct?
JOE: That's correct.
TOM: So you don't have to worry about using an IC-rated light. You're referring, Leslie, to the lights that would typically be up and pressed in the insulation. You're right. If there was insulation above this you'd have to use a light that was rated IC, which stands for insulation contact. But since there's no insulation in there you can use a standard recessed lighting fixture.
LESLIE: And you know, Joe? Another idea, if you want to just take out that fluorescent fixture, because you've already got that power to that one spot on the ceiling you can do sort of a suspended track light where you have a ceiling plate that sort of hangs down to a vertical bar that, you know, maybe it waves; maybe it's straight and it has multiple fixtures hanging off of it. They don't look utilitarian. They can be really gorgeous. They can have multiple halogen heads. And then you can direct them to wherever you need for the kitchen and you don't have to go through all that electrical brouhaha.
JOE: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
TOM: You're welcome, Joe.
JOE: I took some notes here and I'm ready to go.
TOM: Alright, sounds good. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
We give you the ideas. We give you the inspiration. So if you're going to call us, be ready to get to work.
LESLIE: Janice in Iowa, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
JANICE: I was wondering about putting a steel roof to replace a regular shingle roof.
JANICE: What are the advantages? Is it a good thing to do? And just put it over the top of the old roof.
TOM: Yes, certainly it's a real good idea to install a metal roof. The metal roofs today are ...
TOM: ... really nice; are beautiful; they're high-tech. The finishes on them actually can reflect the heat of the sun back out so they're a little cooler than asphalt shingle roofs and you don't have to strip the original roof off. You can go on top of that.
The only disadvantage is that it's pretty expensive. You know, it's going to be two to three times the price of an asphalt shingle roof but ...
LESLIE: Is the website, Tom, MetalRoofingAlliance.org?
TOM: I think it's just - you know, it might be MetalRoofing.com. Let's check that out for you.
LESLIE: Because it's a great website and they show a lot of different examples as to the different types of metal roofs that are out there on the market. I mean if you've got a Victorian home you can have sort of those fish scales shingles. You can have something that looks like terracotta tile. They're going to last 50+ years. They're practically maintenance-free because they're so durable. And from a green standpoint, you don't have to worry about disposing of the existing roofing tile that's already there because, you know, it's so lightweight it can go on top of it. And they really do look fantastic.
JANICE: And I understand there's an energy thing; like there's a benefit to your taxes if you do.
TOM: Well, I don't know about the taxes but I know that there are finishes on the metal roof that make them more energy-efficient. And that website is, Janice, MetalRoofing.com. Great site from the Metal Roofing Alliance and got lots of photos there and information about the different metal products.
JANICE: OK. MetalRoofing.com. Thank you.
TOM: You got it. Janice, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, Money Pit listeners, we keep it hidden in dark basements. (eerie laugh) We climb down dark, narrow stairs to reach it.
TOM: What could it be?
LESLIE: (eerie laugh) It's your laundry room, of course. (Tom chuckles) Well, don't you think it's time to bring the chore and the room and the supplies to the light? We're going to tell you how to move it up a level, next.
[audio timestamp: 29:16]
[audio timestamp: 32:25]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for a chance to win a Buzz Off insect shield hat and bandana worth 48 bucks. It's a great idea because the repellant is actually on the clothing. You don't have to spray it on you. It's on the clothes. So you throw the hat on, put that bandana around your neck and head out to the garden and you can be bug free while you get all of those home improvement jobs done. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well we were talking laundry before the break and if you find that you're constantly navigating those narrow stairs with your heavy laundry basket in your arms, it's really time for you and for your own safety to bring that laundry room to where you need it most. You know, a lot of new homes are having washers and dryers in the hallways, in the kitchens, it the bathrooms; all on the first floor. And it's never been easier to move your laundry room upstairs. For example, a stackable washer and dryer; they're small enough to fit into any closet that you already have.
TOM: That's right. You know, another combo unit washes and dries clothes without any help from you. This unit looks like a normal washing machine but it actually does the work of two machines. You won't have to move wet clothes from the washer to the dryer because the washer is the dryer and the dryer is the washer. Think about that. Does it all in one. So bring your laundry room to you instead of you having to go down to the laundry room and cleaning your clothes; it'll be a lot less of a chore.
If you want more great design tips just like that, go to the website for AARP and that is at AARP.org/HomeDesign. AARP.org/HomeDesign. Or call us with your home design question right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Tuning in on KZNT we've got Jackie from Colorado. What can we do for you today?
JACKIE: Hi. I was listening to your program a couple of weeks ago and you mentioned a product that repairs the first - the top layer of the driveway; the cement driveway.
TOM: Yes, mm-hmm.
JACKIE: And I'd like to know what that is. I ...
TOM: And what's wrong with your driveway?
JACKIE: It's crumbling on the top.
TOM: OK. That kind of deterioration can be repaired with one of the epoxy patches that are available at different home centers; epoxy patching compounds. I think the one that you heard us talk about was made by the Abatron company. A-b-a-t-r-o-n is their website; Abatron.com. They have a lot of concrete resurfacing materials there. But generally we're talking about an epoxy patching compound. Not a pure concrete product because the problem is that when you try to put that on as a second layer it doesn't stick and the first frost the water's going to get under that; it freezes and chips off. But if you use an epoxy patch it will last a long, long time.
JACKIE: Wow. That's wonderful. And what - can you put anything on top of that to, you know, kind of finish it off?
TOM: Yeah, certainly. You know, it depends on how badly deteriorated the concrete is. I mean it's possible to retrowel this across the entire surface of the old driveway. Or if you just want to patch that one area and then you could acid stain it or you could ...
LESLIE: Well, I would think since you're using a patching compound on top, something like an acid stain or a concrete stain where you would see through it, you'd - it would sort of just be a translucent color ...
LESLIE: ... you're going to notice, perhaps, difference in colors from where the patching compound is to the rest of the natural drive.
JACKIE: Mm-hmm. So you have to stain the whole drive.
LESLIE: Well you would want to because you're going to finish the whole area.
LESLIE: You wouldn't want to just do the new area to match the old unless you're trying to sort of conceal it better.
LESLIE: But probably ...
JACKIE: Well, it isn't really an old drive. It's only like about seven years old.
TOM: And is the deteriorated area fairly concentrated?
JACKIE: It's fairly concentrated, yes.
LESLIE: I mean it's not going to be something where you're going to walk by and hate that patched area all the time. It's going to be in similar color. It's going to look uniformly gray or concrete.
LESLIE: If you wanted to do something more you could use concrete paint; you could use concrete paint to make it look like, you know, slate tile by doing some fun taping tricks. You know.
LESLIE: There's a lot of different options. But you don't have to do anything.
JACKIE: Well, we need to first do the epoxy patch ...
JACKIE: ... and then maybe stain the whole thing.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Or do a concrete paint or do a concrete acid stain if you're comfortable knowing that you might get a little bit of different tone where you've got the patching compound. But there are options.
JACKIE: OK. So I first do an epoxy patch compound. And where do I get that?
TOM: The website is Abatron.com. A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com. Jackie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking garden talk with Tom in Illinois. How can we help you with your project?
TOM IN ILLINOIS: I've got some arborvitaes that are - I guess there's about 12 or 15 of them I planted about, I don't know, eight months ago.
TOM IN ILLINOIS: And I'm just wondering what the correct height is when you transplant these things. Because you know you pop them out of the bucket and then you dig the hole. And some people say to bury it like flush or below and then there's other guys that say, 'No, no. You've got to keep it like a little bit above ground and you've got to break the root ball.' So I'm just kind of wondering. Do you break the root ball and do you - you know, do you plant them a little bit above ground or do you sink them all the way?
TOM: A couple of things, Tom. When I plant those I don't break up the root ball. What I do is make sure that when I dig the hole I dig it about twice as wide and deep as I need it ...
TOM: ... so that you have lots of loose soil around it.
TOM IN ILLINOIS: OK.
TOM: And then, typically, I'll try to bring it up just a bit above grade so you have a bit of a slope away from the - from the plant itself. But it will sort of still stay in that area that's dug out. Do you follow me? So you kind of have like a little bit of a moat around it. That will keep the water focused in that root ball and give it plenty of water to start growing again.
LESLIE: And I know, Tom, that - both Toms, actually (chuckling) - when we moved into our home we had arborvitaes planted along the entire sideline between our house and the neighbor's property. And they grow incredibly fast but we had the nursery, because they would insure the plants if they installed them themselves, they did keep it, I would say, about three inches above ground.
LESLIE: So it did, like Tom said, slope away.
TOM IN ILLINOIS: OK, great. And do they require a lot of water?
TOM: When you first plant them, absolutely.
TOM: Make sure you keep them plenty watered. And you know, when are thinking about doing this, Tom?
TOM IN ILLINOIS: Oh, I've already planted them. But the problem was a couple - you know, there were a few that didn't make it and I was just kind of ...
TOM: Oh, OK. So you want to replace them.
TOM IN ILLINOIS: I couldn't kind of figure out why they died.
TOM: Yeah, well ...
LESLIE: You know, it could also be a lack of sun situation. Because we had three on our lawn that didn't make it only because they were completely overshadowed by a pine. We replaced them once; same thing. Decided not to put them there. Did something else. But it could be they're just not getting enough sun. But they're awesome and they will be like 15 feet tall before you know it.
TOM IN ILLINOIS: OK. Great.
TOM: Tom, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lots of great calls as always this hour here at The Money Pit.
Well, is a leaky roof causing your wallet to leak also? We're going to help you track down that leak and fix it for good, coming up next.
[audio timestamp: 39:44]
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
And hey, did you know that you can listen to The Money Pit anywhere, anytime? Only if you download our very popular Money Pit podcast. It's true. It is the most popular home improvement podcast on iTunes. How kick-butt is that? You know, a little Tom and Leslie on the go but you've got to visit MoneyPit.com/Listen to sign up for the automatic download. And while you're at the website, if you're too shy to pick up the phone you can shoot us an e-mail with your question at HelpMe@MoneyPit.com or click on Ask Tom and Leslie.
TOM: And Chuck from New Jersey did just that and he writes: 'Last weekend we were trying to track down a roof leak and discovered extensive water damage in our attic.' That's not good.
LESLIE: Ooh. That's not good at all.
TOM: 'Contractor came over to estimate repair cost. Said that even though metal flashing had been used at the roof detail areas, the heavy rains had found their way around the flashing and into our home; especially around the chimney. What's the best way to prevent this from happening again?'
Well Chuck, metal flashings are good but probably the high-tech flashings that are flexible are better today. These can be used around chimneys; around vent pipes; around skylights. They're self-adhering; they're flexible; and they're waterproof. There are a number of manufacturers. Grace makes a really good one.
LESLIE: Yeah, you know, it's the Grace Roof Detail Membrane and you're right; it's flexible, it's self-adhering, it totally conforms around odd-shaped and misshapen areas. And really those areas of the roofing that tend to leak the most are the most vulnerable.
TOM: Yeah, you know, in those severe storms you not only have to have the roof protected from, you know, rain that happens to follow the path of gravity; but also the wind-driven rain. And with metal flashing sometimes it can blow right in; blow right past. So that's why you need flexible flashings, like those Grace products, that are really going to bend and stretch around that space.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? They stick so well. If you want some more information about proper roof detailing and flashing you can visit their website at GraceAtHome.com. It's very useful; very helpful; lots of good ideas.
TOM: Well, Leslie. I don't know about your neck of the woods but where I live we've been getting lots of power outages as a result of the summer storms; lots and lots of them. And that's why I'm very glad that today's edition of Leslie's Last Word is about just that.
LESLIE: Yeah, you really want to protect yourself and your belongings from any sort of wandering electrical storms that could pop up at any time no matter where you live in this country. So really, think about taking some steps to some safety issues in keeping yourself and your items at home safe.
You know, it's not a good idea to shower or bathe during a major electrical storm. Water and electricity does not mix and it has been known to come in through the pipes because the current traveling from that lightning can actually come in to you. So again, water and electricity don't mix. Plus, if you do lose that power, you probably don't want to have soap in your eyes when it does happen because then how are you going to see to get it out? (Tom laughs) Exactly. It'll be like, 'My eyes are burning.'
Also, you want to avoid talking on a hard-wired telephone because the telephone lines can conduct electricity also. And it's a good idea to unplug air conditioners and any other major appliances to protect them from lightning strikes and electrical surges. Of course, keep in mind that you want to stay away from any major appliances from telephone poles, from power lines, metal outdoor structures. You also might want to think about, for your home - especially with stereo and computer equipment - get a surge protector. It makes a lot of sense. Because if you've got the item on and a surge does come through, you could burn out a lot of things within the system. So be smart; be safe; and stay inside.
TOM: Good advice. And if you want the ultimate protection, get a backup generator.
TOM: That is actually powering The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show because we actually have been, in the past, knocked off the air because of power and vowed it would never happen again. And so we have a backup generator and that's a good thing to have. What you need to do is install a transfer switch so it automatically switches the power to the backup. And I'll tell you, it saved us a couple of times.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show available 24/7/365 at MoneyPit.com and by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 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.
[audio timestamp: 44:30]
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.)