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, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement projects. We are here to help you get the job done. We're like your home improvement guides. You can do it yourself but you might need a little help along the way. That's what we are here to do. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Driveways to dormers, crawl spaces to chimneys, whatever you're doing, whatever you're working on we can help you get the job done.
So Leslie, Valentine's Day has just passed.
LESLIE: Yeah, you better not have forgotten.
TOM: Did you have a romantic Valentine's Day?
LESLIE: We did. We had a lovely dinner for two at our favorite restaurant in the city. It was nice.
TOM: Well you know, I discovered that nothing says romance like a gift card to the home improvement super center.
LESLIE: (chuckling) At least you know you would like it. Is that what you got?
TOM: Well, you know - listen, I got a lot of jewelry and a lot of dinners over the years but I'm thinking, you know, we need a few things done around the house. (Leslie chuckles) Maybe that would be an appropriate gift.
LESLIE: (laughing) Maybe it's a subtle way for your wife to say, 'Get this done.'
TOM: And surprisingly enough, I was not kicked out to the doghouse that evening, so I got away with it.
LESLIE: Oh, wait. You gave it. (laughing)
TOM: So guys - hey guys, give it a shot, you know. Women want to be part of the home improvement project. They could use a gift card.
LESLIE: They also like diamonds. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, a diamond-tipped carbide blade. You can buy it with your gift card. Come on, nothing says home improvement like a gift card. (chuckling) Says you care.
Well, if you need more common sense home improvement tips just like the one you just heard (chuckling), call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We have got a lot of great information in store for you this hour.
First up, do you hate waiting for a hot shower on a cold morning? We're going to tell you how you can have your hot shower in the morning with one turn of the faucet and zero waiting time. You won't have to wait for all that cold water to run out. You can hot water instantly.
LESLIE: Also, choosing durable and low maintenance materials for your next project is one way that you can go green. We're going to have tips on picking green building materials coming up.
TOM: And we're going to tell you why most fatal fires happen when the victims are asleep and what you can do about it. There are new smoke detectors on the market that can wake you up even from a deep, deep sleep.
LESLIE: And this hour we're going to be giving away a Ryobi One+ hand planer. It's worth $60 and it's part of the 25 new tools that Ryobi has that all work off of one battery. So it's pretty great. You're never searching around for the right battery for the right tool.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You'll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning that great prize from Ryobi. 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Hey, we've got Ralph calling from Long Island, New York which is where I live. Ralph, how can we help you?
RALPH: I built a house in 2001 and we did it [custom to instruction] (ph). And a couple of years ago I started to notice the trim wood around the posts of - we put the wraparound porch with a deck in the back and I wanted all the white - I used all natural materials. I didn't want to use any plastic or anything like that. I started to notice some fungus on it. Bottom line, it has progressed and the wood is rotting out. And then, as I started looking further around where they would box out the structure ...
RALPH: ... of the (inaudible), down at the bottom it was starting to absorb water. It was starting to rot out. And as I looked closer, almost all of the fascia around the house - and it's a 4,400-square-foot house; two stories. And it's all rotting out.
Now, I called the builder up and the builder said that he bought - it was a premium product that came out and it was from Canada and it was pre-primed. And we paid a premium dollar for it. It would have been less expensive to buy the standard issue. And we had the company come down; they sent somebody down. And naturally, the company said that it was not installed properly. So now I'm stuck between the builder and the company.
TOM: First of all, it's a 2001 house and it has a wood fascia? Is that correct? It's wood?
RALPH: That is correct, yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, it's wood and this is, you know, 2007. So it's lasted six years or five to six years. Wood is going to only last maybe six to eight years when it's properly painted before it needs to be repainted and it's going to start to rot.
RALPH: I painted it two years after the construction. I was told that where there was a cedar - cedar doesn't hold paint well because the oils come out. They said, 'You need a paint job.' I painted the whole trim two years later.
TOM: Why do they - how do they say that it's installed wrong?
RALPH: I think they said that it - the company said that if they didn't, I guess, paint or seal the ends ...
TOM: I think you're going to have a really hard time convincing ...
TOM: ... anybody that this wasn't installed correctly because it wasn't painted properly. I mean wood rots. That's why we don't use wood too often. And even if you use the best wood available, it's still not nearly as good as some of the synthetic materials. For example, there is an extruded PVC product that's called AZEK - A-Z-E-K. I had a garage that was being absolutely ravaged by carpenter bees. And after we treated the bees we replaced all of the damaged wood with AZEK, which looks just like painted, primed wood fascia. And it was interesting. When the bees came back the next year, they sort of hovered around it but they couldn't drill into it. There's nobody can tell that that's not real wood the way it looks because it looks just like it.
LESLIE: Because they're even grained to look just like real wood grain.
TOM: Yeah, you're not going to convince anybody that your wood is bad because it's rotted after five years. I'm sorry. It's just not going to happen.
So, in this case, what I would tell you to do is rather than repaint it again, to replace it with a better quality material; one of these high-tech materials that's just not going to rot because it's not wood. If it's wood it's organic, it's exposed to water; especially on a fascia. You know, your gutters get wet; they back up a little bit. The water drips off the roof. Fascia is subject to rapid rotting. It's just not going to change.
You're not going to change nature. So you're not going to convince somebody that you've got a claim against the manufacturer, you've got a claim against the builder. You know, this is what happens to wood. It rots. I would recommend not using wood fascia. I would recommend using - you know, you could use hardy plank or you could use AZEK. But use something besides wood if you want it to last a long time.
RALPH: Great advice. And even though I wanted nothing but natural products, this is a time when maybe that's not the best.
TOM: Nature can wear out in this case.
Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, this is an example where green construction is not exactly what it's made out to be. He wants to use a natural product but he probably was better off with a manufactured product.
LESLIE: Well, and think about it. By replacing it for something that's synthetic and it's not going to break down and it's going to wear well, think about the resale value. It's going to really boost things because you know it's going to last.
TOM: Yeah, by the time you hire an attorney and go down - let me tell you what. If I was the expert ...
LESLIE: Oh years later nothing would happen.
TOM: If I was the expert witness on a case like this - because I've done that; I did that for many years as a home inspector - I was like, 'What are you kidding me? It's wood. It rots. It's nobody's fault.'
LESLIE: They're like, 'Who brought this guy in.'
TOM: You know, blame Mother Nature. OK? Yeah, and I would get tossed right out.
LESLIE: And if you can subpoena her, you win.
TOM: (chuckling) That's right.
Alright Leslie, who's next.
LESLIE: Betty in Massachusetts, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
BETTY: I had a question regarding a summer home that we have. It's near the ocean. It has - it's an older home. There's no basement at all. There's dirt below the summer home. And there is a smell of mildew. We don't heat it during the winter. We shut it all down. And what I've been doing is putting those little packets that absorb the moisture in the summertime. And I notice that there is some mold that's beginning to develop on the - you know, near the floor and kind of starting up on the baseboard. So I'm just wondering what we could do to minimize that or to ...
TOM: OK, well there's a couple things you can do.
First of all, you want to take a number of steps to minimize the moisture that's getting into that space. So the first thing you do is you look at the gutter system outside the house. You make sure that you have a gutter system, that the downspouts are clean and free flowing and that they're diverted away from the foundation by at least four to six feet.
The second thing that you want to do is look at the grading. The angle of the soil around the house is really critical. You want it to slope away about six inches over four feet so you have a slight slope. You also want to make sure that the soil is not very organic. It's not topsoil. You want clean fill dirt so any water that lands is going to move away from the foundation area.
And next, you should go in the crawl space - and I don't know how much room you have to work in there but if at all possible, what you want to do is cover the dirt surface of the crawl space with viscuine; with plastic sheeting.
LESLIE: And that's a vapor barrier.
TOM: Use as large of a piece as you possibly can with as few seams as you possibly can and get it across the entire surface. This stops ...
LESLIE: Tom, to seam it do you sort of meet both seams and then roll it over and staple it or do you just overlap them?
TOM: Well, what you can do is you can overlap them by maybe three or four feet. And this stops the evaporation of soil moisture up into the air into the crawl space and that stops the moisture from getting up into the house. Yeah, because the house is unoccupied, you're always going to have that sort of damp smell. But if you reduce the volume of moisture that's getting up there, then it's going to be a lot less likely that this house will develop any sort of a problem as a result of it. Those packets that you're throwing down - waste of money. (Betty chuckles)
LESLIE: Yeah, they don't really do anything. And I can't tell you how many times we've almost accidentally eaten them thinking it's candy.
TOM: Betty, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Not only does team Money Pit give out free advice, but we also give you the tools to get the job done. Because you know, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement, even your home design questions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because - and if you do that - one caller this hour is going to win a Ryobi One+ 18-volt hand planer. It is a great tool.
TOM: And you can never have too many power tools.
Hey, going green is a trend that is growing fast. But as all of these new green products sort of flood the store shelves, you've got to ask yourself which products are truly green. Which ones are going to be good for the environment, good for the house and going to last a long, long time? We're going to help you sort it out, after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:50]
[audio timestamp: 13:38]
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: Call us right now with your home improvement question to 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because home improvement is an adventure. In fact, it's a chance to run power tools unsupervised. (Leslie chuckles) And if you enjoy running power tools, we've got a great prize we're giving away this hour. It's the ...
LESLIE: You're a trouble maker, Tom, I swear. (chuckling)
TOM: (laughing) It's the Ryobi One+ hand planer. Now it's part of this Ryobi system of 25 different tools that work off the same 18-volt battery. Very handy because you don't have to go looking around for different batteries. One battery runs all these tools. We've got the hand planer to give away so you can trim down the doors, you can trim the floors, you can trim whatever you need in your house with the hand planer and one battery. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now. We will toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat if you have a home improvement question.
LESLIE: You know, and it really is a money saver because those batteries can be quite pricy if you keep trying to switch batteries and different voltage for different tools. So it's a great prize and a good leap pad to fill up your tool shed. And everyone loves saving money.
And the idea of saving money while also cutting down on the use of natural resources is also known as 'going green.' You're probably hearing a lot lately. And it makes a lot of sense. And in home improvement and in living it's the idea that's becoming very, very popular. Unfortunately right now, there's no widely accepted standard when it comes to what actually makes green building materials green. But one factor should be the products durability. Because if you have to replace something because it didn't last as long as it should have, you're going to be shelling out a second round of resources and money. Not good.
TOM: Absolutely. So how do you choose durable, green building materials? Well first, you've got to make sure it lasts a long, long time before it has to be replaced. If you're going to have to spend over and over again for the same product, that's going to waste the wrong kind of green; the green that's in your wallet.
Also, you want to make sure the products are low maintenance. Typically, they are the best choice for green building. And finally, make sure that everything is working in tandem; working in a system.
LESLIE: Exactly. For example, if you're thinking of installing insulated windows and doors, which are going to help cut energy costs, you want to make sure that they're installed with a good flashing because that's going to keep out the moisture. Something like Grace Vycor Plus is going to keep out the elements so your fancy, new energy efficient windows that you just bought don't end up leaking air and energy dollars.
TOM: I've got to tell you, there have been many, many times in the years I worked as a contractor that I had to make flashing leak repairs - not on my own work, mind you (chuckling), but on other work - because the original installer didn't use a product like Vycor, which really stays around for a long, long time.
If you want more information on weather barriers, you can check out Grace's website. Lots of information on how to seal up windows and doors at GraceAtHome.com.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Sherry in Illinois wants to talk carpeting. What can we do for you?
SHERRY: Well, I'm looking to put my house on the market and my carpet is in kind of bad shape. And I was wondering would it be more cost effective to have the carpet dyed or replace it?
TOM: Gee, I've never - I've never seen carpet dyed. And I have seen an awful lot of homes being put on the market where the carpet was in bad shape. And generally, what most folks do is replace that with a very basic grade carpet; not great stuff but OK stuff. New carpet is new carpet, regardless if it's, you know ...
LESLIE: And it has that new carpet smell which everybody loves.
TOM: Yeah, whether it's the economy brand or the super duper brand, you know, I think new carpet is probably a real good thing to put in your house if your carpet's worn out.
LESLIE: Just go for a neutral color, a short pile or even a berber; something that's neutral and is going to work regardless of what the d