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 now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, with your home improvement question; your do-it-yourself dilemma. Are you a fiddler? Do you like to fix stuff in the house? Are you a person that thinks if it ain't broke, don't fix it? I say if it ain't broke, you aren't trying hard enough. (Leslie chuckles) So pick up the tools and let's get to work. We know there's something that needs to be done. 888-666-3974.
We have a very busy hour planned for you. Coming up on the program this hour, when the weather outside is frightful, slippery sidewalks can cause some serious harm. Do you like the way I ...
LESLIE: Whoo, that was a toughy. (chuckling)
TOM: ... banged out those esses? Find out which kind of ice removal products you should be using to season those sidewalks, because some of these products can damage the sidewalk and also damage the environment. We'll tell you how to do it safely, next.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, no doubt with winter already in full swing in many parts of our country, your heating bills are on the rise. Well, energy-efficient windows, you know, they can really make a big difference in your heating and your cooling costs. But with so many choices out there on the market, which windows are going to work for you and your home? We're going to help you figure it out in just a little bit.
TOM: And is that funky smell coming from your fridge not last night's leftovers?
TOM: It could be food particles clogging the drain pan. What the heck is that, you say? It's the source of the stink. We're going to tell you how to clean it out in just a bit.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you don't know where it is it's a good chance it needs cleaning.
TOM: Follow your nose. (laughing)
And also, one caller that we talk to this hour is going to win a digital security system from the folks over at Swann. It's worth 199 bucks and it's like having your very own personal security camera right at home.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Let's get right to the phones.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Lisa in New Jersey wants to refinish a fireplace. Tell us about what it looks like now.
LISA: Well, right now it's old looking.
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
LISA: It's red brick and it has - the cement in between the bricks is discolored and it's cracking. It has a couple old vents on the front of it. And it's about six - I think six or seven feet wide and as high as the ceiling, which is probably about eight or nine feet. And it just looks dilapidated and I think it detracts from the room. We'd like to refinish it with a stone front ...
LISA: ... or we're not quite sure what and we're not quite sure if it's something we can do ourselves our if we need to hire someone to do it. And I'm just looking for some pointers.
LESLIE: I think it really depends on the material that you're interested in. You know, there's a lot of products that are manufactured that are manufactured to be stone. Owens Corning, for example, makes one called cultured stone and their website simply is CulturedStone.com. And they offer a variety of different profiles, from a ledge stone to a river rock and these are fantastic for an application on a fireplace or even an exterior of a home.
If you want to go natural stone you're going to be dealing with something that's a lot heavier and therefore a little bit more of a feat of engineering and how to install it. I know even with the Owens Corning stuff - you know, I've installed it; it's easy to do - they do recommend that a pro does it just to make sure that it really is adhered well and done in a proper way. You can do it either way; on your own. Both really do deliver a beautiful look and if you're tired of that brick, it's the quickest way to update it.
LISA: Mm-hmm. Does the Owens stone come with instructions that might be fairly easy for a layperson like myself and my husband to follow?
LESLIE: Their website has amazing directions. They are very simple to understand. I think where it gets a little tricky is when we're talking about it for a home's exterior and you're dealing with certain types of adhesives and certain types of fasteners. You do need to get it through a distributor and they would also be able to talk you through the installation process and give you all of the installing materials as well. But also head over to a local building material and look at their stone yard and chat with them about the type of concrete to use as your adhesive and the type of stone that you're interested in. You know, one might be more cost effective than the other for your budget and one might be also easier to install, but both will give you a beautiful look.
LISA: Do you have any ideas for grates or - right now we just have - they look like old register grates that are on the front.
LESLIE: Are you looking for something a little bit more vintage or classic or architectural?
LISA: I would say - I'd say classic. Not vintage. I mean, you know, it's a stone fireplace. I don't want anything that's ornate. But just something that's more aesthetically more pleasing that what I have now, which I know you can't see but ... (chuckling)
LESLIE: There's a good website - it's Van Dyke's Restorers - and they have a lot of architectural elements, from hinges to doorknobs to registers to radiator grates that are a lot more aesthetically pleasing that just the standard stuff you'd find at a local home center.
LISA: And that's called Van Dyke's Restorers?
LISA: OK. I'll write that down. Well, thank you. That's a good start for us.
TOM: Lisa, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LISA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Steve in Alabama has a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?
STEVE: I've got a 50-year-old house that's the original part of the house. And I want to put down a laminate floor, but in taking up the carpet realized the floor is very unlevel.
TOM: What's the subfloor made out of, Steve?
STEVE: I'm on a slab ...
STEVE: ... and then there's a - I call it hardwood squares.
STEVE: It's not the little parquet. It's kind of 12-inch squares.
STEVE: I call it the poor man's hardwood floor.
TOM and LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
STEVE: And that's what's down. But now, because of taking out a closet and taking out a wall, you know there were some vacant spots that I filled in with a vinyl cement patch.
STEVE: But then, because of settling - it's on prairie mud -
STEVE: - and maybe just general construction of the house, over one corner, from the middle of the room, probably drops as much as an inch.
STEVE: Alright. Well, first of all, laminate floor is fairly forgiving when the underfloor is a bit off level. Dropping an inch - if it drops an inch evenly over ...
LESLIE: Is not terrible.
STEVE: Is not terrible if it drops it pretty evenly. If you want to try to level the whole thing out, there's a material called floor leveling compound, which is sort of like a lightweight concrete; sort of a slurry mix that finds it's own level and that could be added on top of that concrete slab.
LESLIE: We used one at my house called AboCrete.
LESLIE: I mean it worked nicely.
STEVE: I actually was planning to just put the laminate over the wood.
TOM: OK. Yeah, and you can do that. Yeah.
STEVE: So the self-leveler can go over the wood as well?
LESLIE: No, what I would do in the wood situation is you're going to have to use some sort of underlayment with the laminate flooring of your choice. Some of the laminate floorings have the underlayment directly to the backside; others, you're going to need a roll of this foam-type substance that will serve as the underlayment. And I think in the areas where you see it sort of tapering off, you might just want to add a couple of extra pieces of the underlayment to sort of build it up in that area. But it's really not going to be a big deal.
STEVE: (chuckling) You make it sound so easy. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, well it's easy for us. We don't have to do it. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It really is easy. Laminate flooring is the easiest technology.
TOM: It really is.
LESLIE: It comes together so beautifully. It snaps and locks together. You don't even need to glue it. I mean it really works great.
STEVE: Well, listen. Thank you for your help.
TOM: You're welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit.
Well, it's a new year and that means a new you and that also can include your home and we can help get everything back in order after these crazy holidays. So call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at our magic number - 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Why is that a magic number?
LESLIE: Because it gives you all of the answers (Tom chuckles) and we have nice, super-friendly people waiting - waiting -
TOM: Who never sleep. (laughs)
LESLIE: Exactly. To answer those phones.
TOM: You heard it. 888-666-3974.
Up next, slippery sidewalks making dangerous conditions at your house? Keep the rock salt handy but make sure it's just melting the ice and not the sidewalk. We'll tell you which kind is the least corrosive, next.
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[audio timestamp: 12:44]
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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and you know the number and if you need to write it down, grab that pen and paper. The magic number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, you know what happens when you call that number. Not only super-friendly people waiting to talk to you but you will get an answer to that burning home improvement question. And if you ask that question on the air you get a chance to win a pretty cool prize because this hour we are giving away the Swann Digital Private Eye Security System. It's worth 199 bucks and it looks just like a simple alarm system. But here's the cool trick. It's got a motion-triggered digital camera that will catch anyone setting it off right in the act of doing whatever it is they are not supposed to be doing. So give us a call. Ask your question on the air and we'll put your name into the Money Pit hardhat for your chance to win.
Alright, the weather outside is frightful and the part of that that's not so delightful is the slippery sidewalks; all that ice forming on those sidewalks. Now, most of you may be ready to go grab your bag of rock salt, throw it on the sidewalk and see that ice melt away. Good? Not so good. Because the ice does melt away but the icy, salty water that remains starts to eat through the surface of the sidewalk. You don't want to use rock salt. What you want to use is another type of sidewalk salt called potassium chloride; sometimes sold under the brand name Safe-T-Salt is one that we've seen. It's Safe, the letter T and then Salt. And it's a type of Salt that is going to be less corrosive to the sidewalk so you can get rid of the ice and not have those sidewalks get all sort of pock marked. And that's what happens to those things when the rock salt starts to eat into them.
Now, a good thing to do is to take that salt, that potassium chloride, and mix it in with some sand. Maybe some playground sand.
TOM: The kind you buy in the bag - like the 50-pound or 80-pound bags - and keep it near your door. This way you throw down a little bit of traction with the sand and then the potassium chloride will melt that ice away. Keep a supply near each door of your house and you will be safe all winter long.
Got another exterior home improvement question? Pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Darryl in Maryland, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DARRYL: Hi. I was giving you guys a call because I have a very unusual problem.
DARRYL: The problem is that I seem to have squirrels running in between my floors.
TOM: Hmm. Well, stop throwing your walnuts down there, Darryl. (all chuckle)
DARRYL: I think what happened is that previously I had a shingle issue ...
DARRYL: ... where I replaced the facing board and - just recently - and I was able to repair that. But I think what might have happened is that they might have either left one of their young here or they found another access point ...
DARRYL: ... to get in through the overhang.
TOM: So right now, do you think you actively have the squirrel up there?
DARRYL: I notice that there's very little activity ...
DARRYL: ... but it seems to only happen like at certain times of the day; like ...
DARRYL: ... in the afternoon or something like that.
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, you want to make sure you do thoroughly examine the outside of your house to try to figure out a place where the squirrel is getting in and deal with that.
TOM: If you can find an obvious access place, one of the things that you might want to do is put a Havahart trap at the edge of that and bait that with food. You know, apples work very, very well. Also a good idea, if you use one of those Havahart traps, to wire the apple in. Take a sturdy piece of wire ...
LESLIE: So they don't grab it and run. (Darryl laughs)
TOM: Well, actually they are pretty tricky, you know. But if you wire it to the bottom of the trap by taking maybe a hanger wire or a piece of picture hanging wire and sort of thread it in there so it's sort of tied off through the trap ...
TOM: ... then they're a lot less likely to get out of that. And of course, you've got to check the trap everyday to see if you've caught them and then you can take them out to the woods and let them go on their merry way ...
TOM: ... where they can go haunt someone else's attic. (Darryl and Leslie chuckle) If you can get into the attic space and get access to that, another thing that you should do is throw some moth balls around because that tends to dissuade them as well.
DARRYL: OK. I never thought of that. OK.
TOM: Alright. Well give it a shot. Darryl, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
DARRYL: Thanks, guys.
LESLIE: Rose in Indiana has a question about odors in the house. What can we help you with, Rose?
ROSE: Well, you know, I got a new microwave for Christmas last year and it's got a popcorn button. You know, it says one to make popcorn.
ROSE: And the popcorn maker says three minutes. So I put it in three minutes and I said, 'I better check it.' I went in the kitchen. My kitchen was full of smoke (Tom chuckles) and the popcorn was black like charcoal.
TOM: Oh, boy.
ROSE: And I can't get the smell out. I used vinegar.
TOM: And you've been using this microwave for a year now?
TOM: I think you're out of luck. That smell has gotten into some part of it and, you know, there could be a filter, perhaps, inside of it but I doubt it. I think if you've been using it that long you're stuck with it.
ROSE: Well, excuse me. The popcorn incident just happened a month ago.
TOM: Oh, it's a month ago!
ROSE: You know, and I haven't used it more than a couple times since then.
LESLIE: Alright, Rose. I've heard that this trick works sometimes but you do need to be cautious with the popcorn because they can, if you over-pop it, cause fires and, you know, leave a horrific scent around the house. What you want to do is get a large, four-cup microwave-save bowl and put in it one cup of water. Then you're going to add a quarter-cup of white vinegar or you can go with a third cup of lemon juice and allow this mixture to boil in your microwave for a full five minutes. Don't open the door. Don't move that bowl for 15 minutes so that water cools. Once it cools down, remove that bowl; wipe out the microwave; leave the door open; let it air out; open a window; anything you can do to help dissipate the smell. And that should do the trick. If not, just be cautious and get an air popper.
Well gee, I listen to your program every time and I think it's really, really got some good pointers.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, Rose. Have a great day. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
ROSE: Thank you.
LESLIE: Red in Utah has a question about roofs; specifically, how long they should last. What kind of roof you talking about, Red?
RED: I've got an asphalt roof.
RED: Yeah, it's - I've got a house and it's been added onto and then - but this roof has been on for, you know, 20 years?
TOM: Yeah, and that's about as long as they normally last, but it depends on a number of factors. You know, in a real hot climate you may only get 15 years. In a cold climate, you may get 25 years. It also depends on the level of roof ventilation. If the attic under this roof is well-ventilated so that the attic stays cooler in the summertime, that can add some life to the roof. If this layer of shingles is a second layer as opposed to a first layer, typically, the second layers don't last as long because they kind of stay hot or retain more heat because of the first layer underneath of it. So, 20 years is a good average.
Are you seeing signs that this roof perhaps may need to be replaced, Red?
RED: Well, you know, I've had that guy say, 'Oh, you need to replace it because the shingles are curling up on the edges.' But you get up and look on the top - you know, get up on top of the roof - I mean it still - the sand that they put on for coloring and stuff like that ...
RED: ... that isn't coming off. It's not showing bear asphalt on it. It's just the curls of the corners of it.
TOM: OK. If your shingles are curling up, I'll tell you right now, that roof's probably older than 20 years. Because the shingle technology has changed and the new ones have been out for a good 15, maybe more years ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And they don't even curl regardless of the wear.
TOM: ... and they don't curl anymore. Yeah, the older ones that are 20, 25 and older are the ones that curl. And so, if your seeing the edge of those shingles curl up - now, the fact that you don't - that you still have sand on there, that doesn't mean the shingle is not worn because what happens is the oil in the shingles evaporates. The asphalt becomes more porous and then it holds more water against the roof. So, if your shingles are starting to visibly deteriorate and curl and crack like that, then I would think that a new roof is in your future. Now, we're not talking about an emergency; you've got to do it next week.
TOM: But certainly within the next year that would be a good time for you to start thinking about replacing that. And if your shingles are curled like that, I would absolutely not recommend an additional layer because the next layer will look uneven and unsightly. I would definitely strip down the existing one or two layers that's one there right now and put only one layer on.
RED: (overlapping voices) Oh, this is an original layer. There's only one layer.
TOM: I would still strip it off. I wouldn't put a second layer on if the shingles are curled like that.
RED: What about putting a metal roof over top of them?
TOM: That you could do.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Now that you could do.
TOM: Yeah. That you could do. And that's - you know, that's going to be a very expensive solution but metal roofs are terrific and they last, you know, 50, 100 years.
LESLIE: Fifty years.
RED: And they're cheaper in the long run, though.
TOM: Yeah, if ...
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: If you live that long. (laughing)
RED: Well, I won't live 50 to 100. I'm already 69. (Tom and Red laugh) Alright, thank you.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974 and we certainly hope that Red makes it through the next roof and the one after that.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit.
Well, we've told you before that selecting the right replacement windows really can make a huge difference in your energy savings. But up next, we're going to tell you how to choose the ones that are going to make the biggest impact for you in your home.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by - well, by us. Get a $1,000 guarantee that the contractor you hire gets the job done right with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That's 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Now, if you're standing in water up to your knees right now you probably should call a plumber. (Leslie chuckles) But for less immediate home improvement questions, call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Yeah, maybe your question is how the heck do I lower my ever-increasing energy bills that keep coming in and keep going higher. Well there are so many things you can do, from weatherstripping and clock setback thermostats. I mean there are really a ton of different small things you can do around your house. But maybe one of those things that you're thinking about tackling is replacing some of those windows. Maybe not all of them at once or maybe all of them in the whole house at one time. It depends on you and your budget. So if you're in the market for some new windows, you might be super overwhelmed at the sheer amount of choices that are staring you in the face every time you go into those manufacturer stores.
So one thing that you want to look for is something called the U value. This is the measurement of a window's ability to insulate. Makes a lot of sense. It's something you really should look into because it's super important. Now, the lower the U value, the more efficient the window is going to be.
Also, you want to look for windows with double panes; low-e coatings; low conductivity gas, which is filled in between those panes, that is going to help insulate as well; and then the framing can be wood, vinyl or fiberglass. No aluminum, folks. OK?
TOM: Now here's the cheat sheet. If you can't remember all that, remember this: look for windows that are Energy Star rated. Because you can rely on the Environmental Protection Agency to have a good recommendation and a good rating system before they give out the coveted Energy Star label. So if the window is Energy Star rated, it is probably going to be a good window.
And no matter which windows you go with, installation is equally important if you want to have windows that don't leak and windows that are energy-efficient. That's why we always recommend good quality, self-adhered flashing. We like Grace Vycor Plus. It's a pretty cool product because it protects against water. It protects against air. It protects against moisture leak. And it really seals that entire space around the window to keep it draft-free and leak-free.
If you want more information on that product, you can go to the Grace website at GraceAtHome.com. And if a window installation is in your future and you have more questions, pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Welcome, Stacy of New Hampshire to The Money Pit with some questions about refinishing kitchen cabinets. What's going on? What do you want to do to them?
STACY: Well, I'm looking to possibly update my kitchen.
STACY: And I didn't know what a better choice would be; to reface them or replace them. They're very old; kind of the old-fashioned look and I was looking to get a little more modern.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, do you know what they're constructed of currently?
STACY: I don't - well, they're solid. I believe they're solid wood as far as the inside part, but I think the top, the actual cabinet front part, is ...
LESLIE: Like the doors.
STACY: Yeah, it's more like a pressed type ....
TOM: Typically, it would be the other way around. Typically, the doors would be the solid wood and the fronts would be solid wood but the cabinets may be plywood or some sort of a composition wood. But if it's all wood, you know, you have some options. You could refinish them as they sit now, basically by replacing the worn finish that's on them. But if you want to dramatically change the color, painting is not a bad idea. We just took a kitchen that we worked on, this project where we did a kitchen makeover, and it had cabinets. Those cabinets must have been there - what? - from the 1950s? The old birch plywood boxes of that ...
LESLIE: Oh, they had to be. And they were probably like home-made. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, yeah, by a carpenter that was hired to come to the house and build them. I mean that's how old they were.
TOM: But we painted them and changed the hardware and they really looked great.
STACY: Well, that was another option. We were thinking of painting them. Now what is your suggestion as far as if you're doing like a darker cabinet? I mean a darker countertop. Obviously, you'd want to do a lighter cabinet, is that correct?
LESLIE: Stacy, if your cabinets, the boxes themselves, are in pretty good shape but it's the doors that stylistically are not what you're liking or sort of are too retro for you ...
LESLIE: What you can do is refinish the body of the cabinets themselves; strip down the stain; get to a raw wood surface if you want to put a new stain on it. Otherwise, I would use a liquid sanding just to sort of scuff it up a little bit.
LESLIE: Get rid of any dirt and debris that's on there, prime them and paint them. And then what you can do is buy new doors from, you know, IKEA or a home center that sort of matches the look that you're going for. And you can do full overlay or split the box and make it so that it's two cabinet doors to one space or even go with the library style doors that open upward. I mean there are a lot of choices if you want to keep what you've got and just sort of enhance it.
STACY: Mm-hmm. Now, price-wise, is that more expensive or - you know, which is the better - I guess it kind of depends what you're picking. But I'm looking to spend the least, I guess. So I didn't know whether I should just replace them or ...
LESLIE: Well, replacing them is going to be, by far, the most expensive.
LESLIE: Refinishing them on your own is going to be the least expensive. And sort of doing a combination of the two, in between, will be a good middle of the road. Of course it depends on the type of door that you choose.
LESLIE: You know, Tom and I have both worked with IKEA cabinets and they offer a clean, very modern look that comes in interesting finishes. You could even sort of mix and match and do a painted cabinet box with a stained wood door. I mean there's a lot of options and, you know, how were the prices, Tom, on the cabinets themselves?
TOM: Not so bad. Let's see. I spent about $600 on four cabinets and some pretty cool options for those cabinets. So it wasn't terribly expensive. You know also, the big box stores - you know, Home Depot; Lowe's; places like that - they have a pretty good supply of a decent quality, sort of generic kitchen cabinet. But by far the most cost-effective way to change that look of the kitchen is to do a refinish on those cabinets; change the hardware.
On our website, Stacy, at MoneyPit.com, there is an article. If you go to one of the search boxes and search for Cheap Tricks for Cool Kitchens, there is a story there with all sorts of tips on how you can improve the look of your kitchen without spending a whole lot of money. So hopefully that gives you a few ideas.
STACY: Yes, it does. I'll check out the website.
TOM: Thanks very much for calling as at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up, including refrigerator maintenance. Yeah, it does require a little bit of work because food particles and other debris - you know, crumbs and what not - they can raise a ginormous stink in your refrigerator's drain. We're going to tell you how to keep things clean, after this.
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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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we discuss the four elements of any remodeling project: earth, air, fire and credit cards. (Leslie chuckles) Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you could win the Swann Digital Private Eye Security System worth 199 bucks. It looks kind of like a simple alarm system but it has a motion trigger digital camera that will catch intruders in the act and it can record up to 20,000 images. For a chance to win, you must be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We'll throw your name into the Money Pit hardhat for our random prize drawing and maybe we'll be sending that camera out to you.
LESLIE: Yeah. And maybe you can train that private eye to find out who's been making that mess in your fridge folks. (chuckling)
Alright, well if you find that you've got a messy icebox, you really want to keep all of that debris from clogging your refrigerator's drain and then settling into the drain pan. So really, you do need to clean this whole system regularly.
So to do that, you want to start by removing the drain stopper and then use a pipe cleaner - you can get them at the craft store or you can get them at the hardware store - to push debris through the drain and into the drain pan. Then go ahead and follow-up with a solution of soap, ammonia and water and then empty and wash the entire pan. That ammonia is going to kill any sort of funk that is growing in there and stinking everything up. If you do this once in a while, you will find that your fridge smells lovely and not atrocious.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Toby in Kansas has got a flooring question. What can we do for you?
TOBY: We have hardwood floors in our kitchen hidden under several layers of other things.
TOBY: We've got - it's hardwood floor. I peeled up a corner of it and it's got that real old, first generation-type linoleum stuck to the hardwood itself.
TOBY: And then - and that's basically what we're getting down it. It has like that kitchen carpeting and then a bunch of other stuff on top of that.
LESLIE: Holy cow.
TOBY: I know. The home was built in the 1920s. It looked like all they did was they refloored over everything instead of peeling it up and starting over again.
LESLIE: Toby, if you can get everything off of that floor you're going to gain at least four inches of ceiling height.
TOM: (laughing) Yeah.
TOBY: (chuckling) Tell me about it. And they're already nine-foot ceilings, so ...
TOM: Toby, what I would do here is I would absolutely try to remove that flooring. And what's going to happen when you get down to the linoleum, you'll get the top layer off but there'll be a lot of glue left behind. And that's just going to come off through hard work. You're going to scrape as much off as you can and the last step is you're going to have that floor professionally sanded with a belt sander; the big floor sanders that they use. They have 12-inch wide belts. You can get a very, very coarse grit on that that can cut right through that adhesive. It's a little more work than if it didn't have it on but it absolutely can be saved. And you know, the best thing about this is all of that other flooring material, think of it as a nice drop cloth that's been protecting that hardwood for years. So you ought to have a lot of life left in it and it's going to look fabulous.
TOBY: Cool. So, what is the best way, though, to get that - that linoleum's really stuck on there. I've bent several putty knives trying to get some of it up.
TOM: No, you're going to need - you're going to need a floor scraper that kind of looks like a shovel ...
TOM: ... except it has a flat blade.
LESLIE: It's got a long handle and it has a very, very durable, tough blade on it.
TOBY: OK. And then just come at it as - what? - as flat as I can to get in there?
TOM: Yeah, that's right. Get as much of it off as you can. You may use a scraper after that to pull any of the big chunks of glue off. But really, those belt sanders; we often caution people against them because they are so aggressive. This is one of those situations where you want a belt sander that's going to take a good bite out of that floor to get rid of that glue for you.
TOM: It can definitely be your friend.
LESLIE: But monitor it. You know, when you're using it you want to make sure that you get all that adhesive off but you don't sort of dip down into the wood. Because if you leave it in one spot too long you can really create a divot. So be cautious.
TOM: Yeah, Toby, I would not recommend you do this belt sanding yourself. I'd do everything else but that. In the hands of a pro that floor's going to be beautiful.
TOBY: So, it'd be better to have the pro take care of the last step?
TOM: Just the last step, that's right. You do all the - you do all the grunt work. Let them do the finish work. OK?
TOBY: That sounds great.
TOM: Toby, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tuning in on WJFK, we've got John in Virginia who wants to talk epoxy grout. What can we do for you?
JOHN: I'm putting in a brand new ceramic floor down in my new bathroom. And I heard about epoxy grout on your show and I didn't know anything about it. And I was wondering if it cleans up like regular grout and where you purchase it.
TOM: Actually, it cleans up better than sand grout because it's a lot harder. It's a lot harder surface and it doesn't absorb stains as well. So it's probably a good choice.
JOHN: OK. When you're applying it, though, does it clean up well also?
TOM: It's a little harder to apply, for sure, than sand grout. But you know, once it dries and you get it in there, for a floor, I think it's a great choice.
JOHN: OK. Well, I'm going to try it, I guess. Thank you.
TOM: Yeah, give it a shot, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JOHN: Thank you.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The website is MoneyPit.com.
Up next, a leaky roof and a popcorn ceiling are not a good combination. We're going to talk to one listener who needs some help getting through this tricky repair to a damaged popcorn ceiling. We'll have the solution, after this.
[audio timestamp: 39:48]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by - well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That's 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you know, you're going to be making some resolutions very soon, if you haven't done them already and at least one probably has to do with losing weight or perhaps getting organized. Well, you might be able to get your house to help you keep those same New Year's resolutions. Find out exactly how to put your house on a diet in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter. There's a fun story there on how your house can help you keep those New Year's resolutions. It's available for free on MoneyPit.com. You can sign up right there off the home page.
LESLIE: Yeah, and MoneyPit.com is a super website. If you don't already spend a lot of time there, go to it; snoop around; go to the project finder; put in whatever it is you're working on and get tips, ideas, products, everything that is going to help you get that job done efficiently and fantastically. And also, you're going to see a little button there that says Ask Tom and Leslie. You can e-mail us your question and we'll answer them right now at this portion of the show like we do every week and we've got one here from Andrea in Andalusia, Alabama - that's a lot of As - who writes: 'We had a leak on our roof that damaged part of my ceiling. The drywall was patched in two separate two-foot-square areas. Unfortunately, I have popcorn ceilings. What can I do to try to match the texture of my ceiling and these patched areas?' That's not that bad.
TOM: Well fortunately, Andrea, you are not the first one that's ever had to repair a damaged popcorn ceiling. In fact, there's so many folks out there that have had to do that that there are manufacturers that make products to do just that. There's a company called Homax that makes a textured ceiling spray in a can. I think it covers like 15 square feet. And I've found it online but I've also seen these at the major home centers.
TOM: These popcorn ceiling repairs. Now remember, even after you spray that, the bad thing here is you're probably not going to get it to match the color because that popcorn ceiling of years ago tends to ...
LESLIE: Well, it's going to be brand, spanking new.
TOM: Yeah, and it tends to get dirty from just the soil in the air that's just sort of normal; part of the environment. So it's not going to match. So you probably will have to paint it. If you've got to paint it, Leslie, probably this is a good idea for one of those slit rollers, don't you think?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean it really is the only thing that works when you're painting popcorn ceiling or a texture that's soft like the popcorn ceiling is. It's a foam roller. It's fairly thick foam and you'll notice that it's spiral-cut all the way around the entire roller from end to end. And it really works so that as you're painting the ceiling it sort of opens up to allow it to go around the popcorn texture without pulling it off. Because if you use a regular roller you're going to pull it right off.
Alright, we've got another here from Shirley in DeKalb, Illinois who writes: 'Our roof has been turning dark. There are black marks all over it. What's causing this problem?'
TOM: Probably shade trees around your house, Shirley. If you tend to have a roof that's surrounded by a lot of shade, generally that's a good place for moss to grow and you're going to have to use a wash now and clean that roof. You could use a product like Jomax, which is available at hardware stores and home centers, and wash the roof down. But then look to trim the trees and the shrubs away so you get more light on the roof. If you get natural sunlight on that roof, you'll find that it stays a lot cleaner.
LESLIE: Yeah, and Shirley, if you're doing any roof work or if you just feel like taking the extra step, go ahead and add a nickel or a copper ridge vent and that will sort of release natural materials that'll help you tackle all that mold that's growing up there every time it rains.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com where the show continues 24/7. You can also call that number 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you have a disaster in your house, a home disaster. And you know what happens. You go down the basement. Pipes are leaking. We had a disaster not too long ago. Woke up to cold water. Yeah, can you believe it? The audacity of my boiler to leak. (Leslie chuckles) In the home of a home improvement expert. See, it happens to us, too.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Did you make the kids take cold showers?
TOM: No, I made my son go down and reset it. (chuckling) It was cold in the morning. You go down and do it, kid. (chuckling) Pays to have teenagers around. No, we fixed it up. But it happens to us too and if it happens to you and you need some help, you can call us anytime of the day or night at 888-666-3974. The number goes right to Leslie's home phone. (Leslie laughs) Hey, instant replay available also on our website. That's all the time we have.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone and don't call me! (laughing)
[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.)