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. You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Look around your house. We know you want to tackle some job. There's something to be done. There's painting to be done, there's roof leaks to be fixed. You want to make an improvement? Want to replace your windows, replace your doors? Maybe you want to add an addition on. Don't know where to begin? Call us right now. We will help you out. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey, would you be surprised to learn that there may be a sponge under your roof shingles? You know, Leslie, that doesn't seem like an appropriate roofing material.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Doesn't seem very sturdy or supportive.
TOM: It doesn't. But frankly, that's what tar paper - the standard material that we have been putting under roofs for years - is. It can be a sponge and it can actually cause structural damage. So, later this hour, we're going to give you some tips on some high-tech new underlayments that will definitely keep you dry.
LESLIE: Alright. And if there's one room in your house that you use your hands the most in, I would bet it's your kitchen. And this hour, we're going to give you a hand and help you cut down on the beating your hands take in this taxing room; the kitchen.
TOM: And if you're considering a remodel or renovation, you might want to think about going green. You know, when you're planning a home improvement project, there are a lot of little things that you can do to keep your family safe and healthy as well as help the environment at the same time. We're going to give you lots of ideas in just a minute.
LESLIE: And also this hour, we're going to give away a Wobble Light Jr. It's a compact but powerful light that's not going to tip over. And believe me, when you're doing a home improvement project, you're probably backing into a lot of things. So don't break that lamp. We've got a great prize for you.
TOM: And the tireder I get the sloppier I get.
LESLIE: (chuckling) I know.
TOM: I lose tools, I make mistakes.
LESLIE: Come on, you know you've stepped into a tray of paint.
TOM: Exactly. So I guess this is like the wobble toys - the Weeble Wobbles - that we had as kids. (Leslie chuckles) The Weebles, they wobble but they don't fall down. Well, this light will keep you standing up; keep you illuminated while you tackle those home improvement projects. You want to win it? Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. As Leslie said, one caller this hour is going to win that great prize.
So let's get right to the phones. Leslie, who's up first?
LESLIE: Listening on WABC, we've got James in New Jersey. What can we do for you today?
JAMES: Hi. Yes, I have a question for you. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to your show and you mentioned something about a website that listed certified home inspectors and where they were.
TOM: That's the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It's ASHI - A-S-H-I - .org. And the American Society of Home Inspectors is about a 30 year old organization that has - tests and certifies its members. And basically, you don't just sign up to join. There's a quite elaborate process that you have to go through to prove your competency ...
LESLIE: And you need to sort of be re-upped every year. So if there are any changes in guidelines or new building codes or new additives for things they should look for, they're educated on it.
TOM: That's right. They have a requirement for what's called membership renewal credits that forces all of the inspectors that are certified by the organization to really stay at the top of their game.
And the website is good. It's a nonprofit association and all you do is you can go on to ASHI.org, you enter your zip code and then it delivers back to you a list of certified home inspectors in your area. And then from that, you can start calling them and talking to them about their services and what they do.
JAMES: Excellent. That's very helpful because sometimes you just - home inspectors they really - sort of going through the motions rather than knowing what they're doing sometimes.
TOM: Well also you should know, James, that in New Jersey home inspectors are licensed. I actually used to be the chairman of the licensing board for home inspectors in the state of New Jersey and I can tell you that there's some pretty tough regulations in New Jersey. So if you choose an ASHI member who is also licensed in New Jersey, you are going to be in very good hands.
JAMES: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeff and the folks in Idaho can find The Money Pit on KMAX. What's going on at your money pit?
JEFF: Well, what's going on at my money pit is poor Dad's tired of getting scalded in the shower when everybody flushes the toilet in another part of the house or turns the sink on. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: (overlapping voices) Ah. OK. (chuckles)
JEFF: So what can you do? Do I need to put a green light/red light thing up in my house or what other solutions do you have for me?
TOM: (laughing) Well, while that sounds like a very fun idea, there is another option, Jeff. It's called a pressure balance valve. And basically what a pressure balance shower valve does is it maintains the mix between hot and cold even when the pressure on one side or the other side goes up or down.
LESLIE: Like say the kids flush the toilets vindictively or turn the faucets on.
TOM: Right. So what you ...
JEFF: I think it's my wife. It's even worse. (laughing) (Tom laughs)
TOM: Because she'll do it if she's mad at you, right? (chuckling)
JEFF: I just don't have the heart to return the favor, so you know.
LESLIE: No see, what you need to do is fill a pitcher with cold water and when she's in the shower just dump it over the top.
JEFF: Oh man, you want a guy to go hungry for a month? (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) We like it, I swear.
JEFF: Pressure balance valve. Is that something I can put in or do I need to have a plumber come do it?
TOM: No, you really need a plumber to do that unless you're a pretty good plumber. You'd have to cut out your wall from behind it because you're basically talking about replacing the valves.
LESLIE: Unless you have an access panel.
TOM: Basically, what a pressure balance valve does, Jeff, is if the water pressure goes down the mix stays the same. So what would happen if somebody did flush a toilet while you were taking a shower, you would get less water in that shower but the temperature would not change. It would not go real hot or real cold. It would stay the same.
LESLIE: Yeah, we have that. And you'll see, until the toilet tank refills itself, you'll feel that that pressure is less, but the temperature never changes. And then once that tank readjusts itself the water comes back on full blast.
TOM: But again, at the same temperature that you left it.
LESLIE: Exactly. So there's never a temperature differential.
JEFF: What's the best way to increase the water pressure into my house?
TOM: Ah, well that's a totally different question. How old is your house?
JEFF: It was built in 1964.
TOM: Alright. So you have a copper water entry line?
TOM: And you have city water?
JEFF: Yes, I do.
TOM: Hmm. Well, the first thing you want to do is check the water pressure at the street.
JEFF: Not good.
TOM: Just make sure that you have adequate water coming in. And the shower itself, is this just an issue with the shower?
JEFF: No, it's kind of - we've had a bunch of people move up into this part of our town ...
JEFF: ... and the water pressure - I'm getting about 10 gallons a minute.
TOM: Hmm. That doesn't sound like very much.
JEFF: Into the house.
TOM: Well, another thing that you can do - and this is usually done if you have a lot of bathrooms in the house but it can help with a water pressure problem - is you can actually install a pump and a pressure tank. And this is would work much the same way that a well does. Basically, the water is filling up a pressure tank first and then the pressure tank is letting the water into the system and it maintains a constant pressure in the house that way. It can actually be stepped up from street pressure.
But I would suggest that you start with the water company because you really need to have like 50, 60 pounds of pressure at the main to be able to have, you know, a decent shower, a decent usage. And if you don't, then you may have to look into a mechanical upgrade there, which would involve a water pump and a pressure tank.
JEFF: So 50 to 60 pounds for ...?
TOM: Yes, that's right.
JEFF: Alright. Excellent.
TOM: Alright, Jeff?
JEFF: Thanks. Hopefully, you'll reduce my scalding. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: There you go. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And we saved his marriage at the same time.
TOM: What are you doing suggesting he throw cold water on his wife?
LESLIE: Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee! Come on, I'm the instigator.
TOM: Come on. You're diabolical. (chuckling)
LESLIE: I am.
LESLIE: Debra in Pennsylvania listens to The Money Pit on Discovery Radio Network. And we're going to get into the bath with her right now. What's going on at your bathtub?
DEBRA: Well, I am in the process of remodeling my bathroom. And I moved into a house about a year ago and the bathtub is just not looking real good. And I'm going to put new ceramic tile around the bath - inside the bathroom - and I was trying to decide if I needed to replace the tub or just have it like covered.
LESLIE: Is the tub in good condition? Do you like the shape? Do you like the size? Or do you just hate everything about it and want something completely different?
DEBRA: I can't get it clean. It won't come clean anymore.
LESLIE: And it's cast iron?
DEBRA: I believe so, yes.
LESLIE: Because you can have cast iron tubs reglazed, reenameled, refinished. That's something that a pro does. It makes it look good as new, if not better than new. Plus, the benefit of that is if you like the shape of the tub or if there's something special about it, you're able to keep the same. And the cost might be, unfortunately, around the same price, you know, or a little bit less of replacing it.
TOM: Yeah, the other option, Debra, is to use a tub insert. But what I don't like about tub inserts is they take an awful lot of room and they're going to make that a lot ...
LESLIE: You lose a lot of space.
TOM: Yeah, it's going to make that a lot smaller.
DEBRA: Yeah, that was my concern. That's why I wasn't sure if I should just go ahead and try and replace it or what I should do with it.
TOM: Well, if you're going to do so much remodeling that the tub is exposed and could easily be removed, you may be better off actually removing the tub.
TOM: But if you're trying to leave everything else in place and you're just kind of doing some cosmetic upgrades, then you might want to think about refinishing it in place. But if you took the whole wall apart and everything was torn open, then you're probably better off just going ahead and replacing the tub at the same time.
DEBRA: What if I find that it is not cast iron?
TOM: How old is your house?
DEBRA: The house was built in the 50s.
TOM: Yeah, it's cast iron.
LESLIE: It definitely is.
TOM: Yeah. (chuckling)
DEBRA: That's what I thought. (chuckling)
DEBRA: So I should look into having it just kind of ...
TOM: Refinished in place. Yep, professionally refinished. Reglazed.
LESLIE: And it's going to look beautiful.
TOM: Debra, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit on News Talk Radio 77 WABC. You live in the tri-state area, the king of multitaskers. (Tom chuckles) So we know you're busy. Call us any time you want; 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: That's right. If we're not in the studio when you call, we will get your message and call you back the next time we are. Everybody gets a shot at asking their question on this program. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Up next, when it comes to protecting your home from leaks, the best defense is a good offense. We're going to tell you how to keep the weakest link in your house safe from leaks; the windows and the doors. We'll stop up those gaps, after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:51]
[audio timestamp: 13:35]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: So, we're talking roofing underlayment. You know, it's the traditional paper. You call it tar paper. It goes underneath the shingles of your roof. It's usually known as 15 or 30-pound felt. That's what the pros call it. But you guys know it as tar paper. And I guarantee you it's probably under your roof right now if you don't know much more about it. And this could be a potentially very outdated practice because not only does this felt paper or the tar paper tear super easy, but it actually absorbs water. And this means that if water gets underneath your roof's covering, it could stay pressed against the wooden decking for weeks and slowly and very surely cause your roof's structure to rot and leak.
TOM: Absolutely. How many times have you seen roofing projects where the tar paper's been left outside and uncovered during rain storms while the roof is going up?
LESLIE: Oh and it's already wet while they're putting it on.
TOM: You know and, technically, if you have a good building inspector and they see that, they will absolutely not allow you to use that material. So, it really has some weaknesses and there are better underlayment options out there. For example, one product is a very high-tech synthetic underlayment. It's made by Grace. It's call Tri-flex 30. It works really well. And unlike these conventional roofing felts that absorb water, this kind of a product really sheds water when it's installed on a sloped roof. Now, it's not meant for flat roofs. It's meant for sloped roofs. It's stronger, it's more tear resistant. And the best part, the cost difference between something like Tri-Flex 30 and regular, old-fashioned tar paper is really very, very minimal. So it's really ...
LESLIE: But you have to ask for it.
TOM: Yeah, you do. Because it's really the high-tech way to go. One of the problems with a lot of contracting practices is that the pros get used to using the same thing day in and day out and they really sometimes need to be encouraged to try the new stuff. But I've got to tell you this Tri-Flex stuff is pretty neat. I used it on my garage and I was very, very happy with it.
LESLIE: And this is something that you and I have seen at the builder's show, where they take a nail and they puncture it and then they pour water completely on this roof structure and it never leaks. So it really does work.
TOM: That's right. It's like self-heating kinds of materials.
LESLIE: It's like a membrane.
TOM: Yeah, pretty high-tech.
You want more information on roofing underlayments, you can check out a website - GraceAtHome.com. Lots of tips on how to keep your house leak free right there.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, do you have a home improvement question? Maybe you want to know how to save money on your heating bills this winter without feeling a chill; although most of us are dealing with a very warm winter. We can tell you how to do that as well. Or how about a quick project that only costs a few bucks to save money on your water bills. Everybody likes that. Well, now you can find all of that and more at MoneyPit.com. If you go to the Repair & Improve section for tips, ideas, projects, they're all there and a lot of them are going to help you save money.
And while you're there, why not shoot us an e-mail with your home improvement project. We'll answer it on the air or we'll get back to you by e-mail.
TOM: Or you can call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you could win that Wobble Light Jr. we're giving away worth 60 bucks. It's a pretty cool work light because it's got a counterweight in the base that keeps it from tipping over. It's perfect for those dark work spaces. So call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to ask your question on the air.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Alan listening in on WABC has got an unwanted knocking at the door. It's woodpeckers. What's happening?
ALAN: Well, I don't know where he's coming from (Leslie and Tom chuckling) but he seems to like the corner of my house.
ALAN: Poked a big hole in the side. And it's cedar grooved shakes.
TOM: Well, here's how you evict the woodpeckers from your house safely. We're going to give you a couple of techniques that sort of freak them out. You can go out and pick up some of those aluminum pie pans.
LESLIE: Like the disposable ones in the supermarket.
TOM: Yeah. And tack them up in the area around the hole. We're not making a permanent decorative addition to your house here but ...
LESLIE: (chuckling) But they hate it.
TOM: ... they really hate it. And if you could put them all like on a string so they kind of twist in the wind a little bit, better yet. When [it hits the reflection of that] (ph) it really turns the woodpeckers off.
LESLIE: Also, if you go to a party store, they make something called a rain curtain which is silver pieces of mylar. It comes in a ton of different colors but get the silver one. And it's almost like a hula skirt but you hang it up in a doorway or somewhere. You can hang that where it is and just cut it shorter so you're not dealing with the length of it. And that would be really inexpensive and very shimmery.
TOM: And I actually spoke to a naturalist from the Poconos not too long ago who told me that, in fact, fake owls do work at scaring away woodpeckers; but not the plastic ones that, you know, kind of fool people.
ALAN: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) Tried that. The plastic one doesn't - didn't work.
TOM: Yeah. No, the real fake owls that actually have feathers. The better quality ones will work as well.
TOM: But I think, you know, using the mylar and the pie plates, that'll probably freak them out and send them over to somebody else's house to knock, knock, knock.
ALAN: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: Woody Woodpecker go home.
ALAN: Oh, I need that for sure. I don't want to - I've replaced the shingle once already and now he's come and he poked a hole through the thing again.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well you gave him more to do.
TOM: There you go. Alan, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: The woodpeckers might not like plastic owls but one time I was in a parking lot out by our summer house, at a restaurant, and there was a big, plastic owl sort of on like a pylon on a dock. And I was like, 'Look at that owl. It's enormous. Oh, my gosh.' And it was so fake. (Tom laughs) I took a picture of it and everything and then I looked closer. I was like, 'That's plastic.'
TOM: She's over there petting it, you know. 'Oh, it's so tame.' (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) And I'm like, 'Maybe it's time for eyeglasses.'
TOM: Well, owls scare woodpeckers. Apparently they don't scare Leslie. (Leslie laughs)
LESLIE: Ottie (sp) in Illinois is having a plumbing problem. What's going on?
OTTIE (sp): Well, I'm redoing a bathroom and there are three plumbing fixtures in the bathroom. On one side of the wall there is a toilet and a sink. On the opposite side of the wall there is a bathtub. When we opened the wall up what we found out was that the toilet is vented to a pipe but the sink - there's a pipe that goes up. It's capped off but it's not vented into any type of vent pipe. And sometimes when you have the water going you hear the gurgling sound when the water goes down in the sink.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
OTTIE (sp): I'm trying to figure out must that pipe that's - it goes up, it's capped off. Should it be vented to (inaudible) pipe also like the toilet is?
TOM: Yeah, it should. That's why you're hearing the gurgling. Because the sink is basically gasping for air ...
OTTIE (sp): OK.
TOM: ... is what that sound is. So it should be connected up to the main vent pipe or, you know, it ought to have - there's a type of a valve that can go on top of that vent pipe that basically lets air in but doesn't let sewage gas out.
OTTIE (sp): OK.
TOM: But either way, whatever the easiest way is to vent that, it should definitely be vented. Otherwise, you're going to have a slow, gurgly sink for as long as you have that house.
OTTIE (sp): OK. OK, so it must be vented. OK.
TOM: Yep. OK, Ottie (sp)?
OTTIE (sp): Thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in California finds The Money Pit on KSRO. And you've got a flooring question. What's going on?
JUDY: Well, I've had a linoleum floor for 10 years and it was put down over concrete. In the past couple of years, I've noticed some dark spots appearing on the floor. And at first I thought it was dirty but it wasn't. And I've tried to remove these spots with bleach and all kinds of things and I'm - I know it's mold coming up.
LESLIE: So there was no vapor barrier or any sort of coating or ...
JUDY: That I don't know. I don't know if there was or not. But my question to you is I want to put a new floor down and I want to put tile.
JUDY: Do I have to remove this linoleum or treat it in any way or can I just tile over it?
TOM: I would think you probably have to remove it because you're not going to be able to get good adhesion for the tile adhesive with linoleum.
LESLIE: Especially if it's containing a ton of moisture.
TOM: Yeah, I would take it up.
JUDY: And what would be the process of that? Is it really difficult to remove it?
TOM: It depends. If the linoleum is glued to the concrete it could be very difficult. But most likely it's not. It may just be glued at the edges. And once you get it up, hopefully it'll peel up pretty easily.
LESLIE: And then, Tom, would you put an underlayment or just go directly; building a subfloor out of some ply?
TOM: I would probably go right on top of the concrete with the tile adhesive. Because that's the best way to get a good bond.
JUDY: Since I'm putting tile on concrete, I wouldn't have to seal the concrete, would I?
TOM: No, absolutely not. No, you should be able to glue it right down on top of the concrete.
JUDY: OK, with just some mortar.
TOM: Well, you're going to use a tile adhesive and it's specifically designed to glue tile to concrete or wood floors.
JUDY: Oh, OK.
TOM: Very gooey stuff but it does the job. And stinky stuff, too.
TOM: Lots of windows open when you do that one.
LESLIE: So ventilate well.
TOM: Or you'll be floating away, if you know what I mean, Judy.
TOM: (chuckling) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, you probably know about keeping the air clear at home from things like dust and mold spores and pet dander. If you want to keep yourself healthy, you've got to keep the air clear. But what you might not realize, there are potentially hazardous materials that we use to build your home. Not the hazardous materials that are generated by all the things that you do inside your house, like breathing. (chuckling) (Leslie chuckling) But actually, the products that we use to build your home could be hazardous.
Up next, we're going to teach you how you can go green at home and keep you and your family healthy.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
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.
LESLIE: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit. I'm Leslie Segrete.
Well, if you are considering a remodel or a renovation, you might want to think about going green. And there are lots of little things that you can do to do your part to help the environment and to help keep your family safe and healthy as well.
Well, joining us with some ideas on how you can do just that is Robin Pharo from Healthy Home Reports.
ROBIN: Thanks, Leslie. It's great to be here.
LESLIE: So Robin, how can the average consumer make green choices without doing a major overhaul or a major renovation to their home?
ROBIN: Well, I think that they need - we like to say make small changes every time you make a decision about a product or - you're going to use in your house. Say, an easy way is replace your showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
LESLIE: Well, that's a smart green choice. But what about when you're thinking about something that's a little bit more harmful for your indoor air quality? A lot of people aren't aware that products - even furnishings, carpetings, even just the finish on something they might already have in their home - could be hazardous. How are people to know?
ROBIN: With, actually, the new California indoor quality standards, most products are now labeled with items that are considered hazardous. You really have to just to start to read the products that you're using in your home.
LESLIE: Oh, actually look at the labels that are on things? (laughing)
ROBIN: (laughing) Especially with building products. Now that's different when you talk about cleaning products and things where they don't have to disclose information.
LESLIE: Well, it's amazing. I was noticing that on hand soap and dish detergents. There's not one listing as to the ingredients. And those are responsible for major indoor air quality issues in your home.
ROBIN: Right. Yes. Even a common soap, manufacturers don't have to disclose any of the chemicals that are within those ingredients. And even paint manufacturers taking it to building products as well. They don't have to tell you that ammonia is in paint because it's not a controlled substance.
LESLIE: But that does offgas and cause some things like headaches and asthma. Is that true?
ROBIN: That is true. That's very true.
LESLIE: So how do you know? Do you just look for more and try to read the labels and get things that don't offgas and buy soaps and indoor products that are safer for you?
ROBIN: I think that's one thing. I think just being a better educated consumer is a really good first step. And I thing getting hooked up with organizations that are really kind of on the forefront of what's going on within the indoor air quality environment is a good thing as well. Pay attention to what the EPA is doing. Pay attention to what, you know, companies like Healthy Home Reports are doing.
LESLIE: Well that's a really good idea. How do you know what might be a good green product for you? Because it's really about making choices that are right for you and your family. Because something - you know, maybe a rug that's made out of corn - might work for me but if you have a corn allergy that might not be the best thing to put in your house. So what's the best way to do some research and start thinking about these things for your home?
ROBIN: Well, we really tell people to think about green products and put them into categories and then rank those categories on what's important to them. So we look at how renewable the resource is. We look at how much it affects greenhouse gases and greenhouse emissions. We look at how healthy is the product. Because some products that are green have a lot of additives in them that can be unhealthy for the environment.
LESLIE: Well, I noticed you were even saying that bamboo flooring - which everybody thinks of as such a major good green product because it's such a renewable resource in Asia - but it's sprayed with a pesticide before it comes to the states. So how does that balance itself out?
ROBIN: Well, bamboo's a great - everyone asks, 'Oh, is bamboo the greenest flooring because it's a renewable resource?' But it has to come from China. It only comes from China today. So what's important for people to realize is what's important to them. Do they care about how quickly the resource grows back? Or do they care that it takes a lot of greenhouse gasses to bring that into the country? And neither is a wrong choice for them. It's just what's important to them. Because both of them make an impact on our environment but thinking about it before they just say, 'Oh, it's green so let's buy it.'
LESLIE: Well, it's also - it's interesting. You've almost seen green building and green choices. It seems like it's kind of a trend but we're hoping that it's a trend that's going to stick around because it is such a major impact on our daily lives, our future and our children's future. So it's very important to decide what your issues are and then address them in your own way.
ROBIN: That's correct. Yeah, we really - we caution people all the time that small steps can make a big difference and don't do something just because it's the hot new thing to do today. Do it because it's right for you and right for your family.
LESLIE: What are some tips you might have for folks who are working with a contractor or working with an architect or designer to make sure that they're feelings are sort of met? To make sure that you're getting the right things?
ROBIN: One of the most important things, as we say, is get away from the green labels and just articulate what's important with your house. Is it that it be healthy? Is it that it be comfortable? Is it that it uses less energy so it's more energy efficient. Those are all great green goals to get to. But which one is most important to your family and why is it important? So you're just not throwing labels around for the builder and architect and subcontractors are especially very important to be in that loop as well.
LESLIE: But also let them know if you have concerns. Say, you're painting a new nursery and you want to make sure that the paint that you're using in there doesn't offgas. Make sure that they use the proper paint and that they use the proper products. Because it can even be in prefinished items like furnishings because there's formaldehyde in a lot of those finishes, correct?
ROBIN: Yes, in mattresses; in couches; in - you can find them in particleboard cribs and nursery furniture. So you just have to be aware of what goes into the things you're bringing into your house.
LESLIE: What if you sort of can't get around it and the product that you're using you know offgasses? Is there any sort of duration you can do? Leave it outside? Do something to sort of help keep the amount of, you know, toxicity that'll get into your home?
ROBIN: You know, you can always leave things to outgas outside if that's possible. But really, the biggest critical issue we see in houses is making sure you have enough fresh air coming into that house so it can dilute the volatiles that are in - and the other chemicals that are in your environment.
TOM: Robin Pharo, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you have more questions, you can learn about Healthy Home Reports at their website, HealthyHomeReports.com.
LESLIE: Up next, there's hardly anything that you do in a kitchen that does not involve your hands. Well, it's time to give those hands a break. We're going to have some tips for you after this.
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[audio timestamp: 32:22]
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. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement project, even if you started it because anything worth starting is worth starting over with us. (chuckling) Especially if you're having problems kind of getting through those rough spots. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, if you want to give your hands a break, the place to start is the kitchen. The first thing to do is to change your faucet. If you have a two-handled faucet at the sink, tell your plumber you want just one. Then you can turn on both the hot and cold water with one hand.
LESLIE: Yeah and I can't tell you how many times I've had a handful or been doing something and the water got tremendously hot and you can't quickly run to change it. It would be so much more helpful with a single lever.
TOM: There's really no reason to have two levers. You always want to have one. One is always better than two. Our lives are already complicated enough (Leslie chuckling), so the fewer valves we have to operate, the better. So ask the plumber to put a lever handle on the faucet so it's easier to grasp. You can also ask for an extra long handle on that faucet so that you can turn the tap water on, perhaps, with an elbow or arm (Leslie chuckling), which could be very helpful if you're - you know, let's say you're carrying a very heavy pot over to fill it up with water.
LESLIE: Or if you've got a pot full of like boiling spaghetti water and it's steaming in your face and you're getting the Italian spaghetti facial. It's like how do you get that water going? It happens all the time in the kitchen.
And if you find that you need both hands free at the sink, you can also get something that's called a pedal valve. And this valve is going to sit on the floor and it lets you turn on the water with your foot, which is kind of high-tech and cool. And it really comes in handy when you're already using both hands, getting the Italian pasta facial with that big pot of water. And these few changes could really spruce up your kitchen and they could also help keep you safe as well. Things don't have to be just for style. They can also be for safety reasons. But they can also look good, too. So it really helps you in a lot of ways.
If you want some more information, go to www.AARP.org/UniversalHome. That website again is AARP.org/UniversalHome.
TOM: One caller to our show today is going to win that Wobble Light Jr. worth 60 bucks. It's a great work or it's even a good outdoor light. So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah, this fun light has got a weight in the base so anytime you bump into it or knock it down by accident it's going to right itself. So if anything happens, those home improvement mishaps, you will always be illuminated. So call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Calling in from Waterbury, Connecticut, we've got Michelle who's got an unsticky floor situation. What's happening?
MICHELLE: We had vinyl flooring put down a few years ago and it's peeling at the seams. And even though we've lifted it up and put down new adhesive and resealed it, it still keeps peeling.
LESLIE: Are these the tiles or are they full sheets? Like a full flooring?
MICHELLE: It's full flooring and it's vinyl. It's not - it's not the little squares. It's sheets.
TOM: Have you had any moisture issues in the floor that this is on top of?
TOM: You've just got a plain, old poor adhesive situation. What kind of glue have you been using?
MICHELLE: The regular vinyl adhesive glue that the flooring company told us to use.
TOM: I have a feeling that once that stuff starts to stick, there's probably something happening there; some reaction with the floor that no matter what you do to keep putting more of this on it, it's probably not going to work. Have you considered, Michelle, using contact cement?
MICHELLE: No, I haven't.
TOM: Yeah, that would probably be my next step. There's not much ...
LESLIE: The only thing with - when you're using contact cement is you're going to have sort of peel back this area by the seam, apply the contact cement to both sides ...
TOM: And let it dry.
LESLIE: The floor and the back of the flooring; of your vinyl. Then let it set up. So you're going to be holding up or propping it up for a little bit of time.
TOM: There's a reason it's called contact cement. (chuckling) OK?
MICHELLE: (chuckling) OK.
LESLIE: It's going to stick.
TOM: You get one shot. There is a solvent that can break the seam loose if you really mess up. But once you get it on with both sides of this, you press it down where you want it; make sure - and what you could also do is get a - well, you're probably not going to have access to this. I was going to say a floor roller. But you can even take a rolling pin and roll over the area. Put a towel down and roll over the area so you get really good pressure along the whole area. And that will hold it. And by the way, don't buy the water-based contact cement. Buy the solvent-based contact cement.
LESLIE: And open all the windows.
TOM: Yep. And buy a throw-away brush. Not the [foam kind] (ph); just a cheap bristle brush so you don't have to save it.
MICHELLE: Great. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Robert in Illinois has an insulation question. How can we help you?
ROBERT: I was wondering if you know if anyone's got any products on the market that you can use to insulate walls without actually having to tear the walls apart like you used to years ago.
LESLIE: Well yeah, that's blown-in insulation.
ROBERT: Oh, OK. So they do have. Because the only insulation I had ever worked with was the old pink stuff that you had to tear the wall out and roll - unroll it in there in between the studs.
TOM: No, you can use blown-in insulation. The way it works is a small hole is drilled in the walls and the insulation is blown into that wall cavity and then the hole is patched and spackled and touched up. So when you're all done, you have completely insulated walls.
It's a good idea to have a pro do that because they have to put it in around - with the right density so that when it settles you don't end up with voids that are not insulated.
LESLIE: Yeah and it could be really messy.
ROBERT: Yeah, I can imagine. (Leslie chuckles) (inaudible) probably a lot less messy than ripping the walls apart like we used to do.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
ROBERT: Well, that answers my question real well.
TOM: Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Listening in Illinois on WYLL we've got Jim. What's going on at your money pit?
JIM: I've got a roof leak that kind of comes and goes. I'm not sure exactly how it - you know, it seems the way the wind blows or something. It's right where they have, you know, two different roof lines and then I also have a chimney in that kind of area.
TOM: Now, have you actually been on the roof looking at it, Jim?
TOM: One of the things that you can do with a partner is have somebody inside the attic with a flashlight and perhaps a walkie-talkie and then you on the roof with a hose. And if you work sort of in five-foot increments, start low with a hose and then sort of start down on the roof and bring the hose up very slowly. Let it saturate the area where you think it's leaking up to and including the intersection of the two roofs and the area where the chimney is. You may get a better idea of exactly where the water is coming in. It's tricky when you just see it on the ceiling because very often that water will leak in; it'll catch the edge of a rafter; it'll run down, you know, two feet, three feet, even 10, 20 feet and then drip off into the ceiling. So, if you're only checking under the ceiling or right above the ceiling that may not be the area where it's leaking.
But I have to caution you. This is obviously dangerous because you're standing on top of a roof. So if you're not comfortable with it, don't do it. But you're identifying the areas where it is most common to find a leak and that is where roofs intersect and especially where the chimney is.
How old is your house?
JIM: Four years old.
TOM: Four years old. So the flashing is probably fairly new and it may not have been done correctly. Because I find, over the last decade or so, that many times there have been a lot of shortcuts made in the flashing, especially around chimneys. Is this a brick chimney?
TOM: Stucco? Alright. It's very possible that the issue is around the chimney area. So again, use the water test to try to locate it and then, once you know where it's leaking, we can better talk about how to fix it. But if it's the flashing, the best thing to do - even though it's a lot of work - is to strip the roof off around that area and reflash it.
Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rust stains driving you crazy? Well, coming up, we're going to answer an e-mail question about how to remove those rust stains so stick around.
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ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/UniversalHome to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: It's a great hour. It's a great idea. Call us right now with your home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or log on to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom & Leslie and e-mail us a home improvement question. Let's jump right into the e-mail bag.
LESLIE: Alright, we've got one here from Ron in Hudsonville, Michigan who writes: 'How do I get oil and rust stains off of the garage floor and driveway?'
TOM: First of all, fix the oil leak in your car, Ron.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Make sure the leak has stopped and then deal with the stains.
TOM: That's right. And as far as the stain is concerned, a good way to deal with that is with TSP - trisodium phosphate. You can buy that, usually, in the paint aisle of a hardware store or a home center.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because they assume you're going to spill it and need to clean it up. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Actually, it's a good cleaner for washing walls down before you paint as well. But make a paste out of the TSP and spread it on nice and thick on that oil and rust stain. And it tends to lift out the oil, lift out the rust stain and sort of bleach clean that concrete spot.
LESLIE: But make sure you rinse it really well because it can be really slippery because it's very, very soapy. So once you're done and you've gotten that stain out, make sure you rinse super well.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. So that ought to help you out and keep - and again, fix that car will you? (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) We've got one from Jean in Bonita Springs who's looking for a way to safely lock up her keys outside her house.
TOM: Well, there's a good product I spotted from Master Lock. It's a key safe and I actually have it in my house. And basically you slip the key inside and you lock it closed. Somebody could break this key safe off of your wall where it hangs but they can't get it open. So that's a quick way to do it. And it beats those fake rocks.
LESLIE: Yeah, and why not ask a neighbor that you trust to hold a key for you as well?
TOM: Do you love the look of natural stone countertops?
LESLIE: Who doesn't?
TOM: Well, perhaps they don't like the looks of those price tags. They can be pretty steep. But the good news is that those price tags are not necessarily written in stone. And you have the solution on today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That's right. There is a more affordable, natural stone countertop selection choice available to all of you out there. You can use smaller sections of the stone that you love, which are sometimes sold as large squares. They look like super-big tiles. Sometimes they're 20x20. Sometimes ...
TOM: Is that sort of like the remnant version of, you know, like the good stuff.
LESLIE: Kind of. You know, when they cut the slab, you end up with these pieces. So a lot of times they're cut down into smaller squares, which can be absolutely used for countertops. You can place them side by side; you can fill the joints with grout or not; you can butt them up really close together. And these smaller stone squares are so much less expensive. They're easier to install. You can actually do it yourself without having a pro bring it all in. And they provide an equally attractive look at a fraction of the price of these solid stone countertops.
If you don't feel like getting into a stone project on your own, you can also find great options in laminate choices. If you're thinking that laminate countertops are sort of, you know, retro, 60s, Brady Bunch, kitchen-looking boomerang thing, not so much. You're way off there. These new laminates that are available today come in thousands of colors, choices, patterns, options. So many things. You can get something that looks like a granite. You can get something that looks like a solid stone. You can even get something that looks like that diamond-plated metal. So get out there and look. There's lot of options.
TOM: You know, the depth of those colors have come so far from the almonds and the avocado green tops that I grew up with. (chuckling)
LESLIE: I mean they really are beautiful; the laminates today. And if you go into a store that sells, say, like Lamin-Art or Wilsonart, which are just some of the brands ...
LESLIE: ... there is a wall filled with chips and it so fun to check them all out. And they come in a variety of sheens as well. So they don't have to be glossy or matte. There's a variety. Check them out.
TOM: Great ideas. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us anytime, 24/7, with your home improvement question. If we are not doing a show at that time, we'll call you back the next time we are and we'll answer your question.
Well, coming up next week on the program, have you ever gone about and perhaps cut down some beautiful trees that maybe lightning struck one on your property, you saw some gorgeous wood and thought, 'Gee, I'd love to be able to make some furniture out of that'? Well, there's a very talented cabinet maker that kind of has that down to a tee. And next week he's going to be on the program to teach you how to make your own furniture out of stuff perhaps you find around the yard.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2006 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.)