Get answers to your home improvement, home remodeling, home repair and home decorating questions from hosts Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete. The Money Pit is where home solutions live.
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 2 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 right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question and we're here to help you out. Before you pick up the paint brush, before you pick up the saw, pick up the phone and call us at 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour we're going to talk about easy access to your house. For example, have you ever tried to open a round doorknob, like in the rain when it's really slippery and your arms kind of - and your hand sort of like spins right off it (Leslie chuckles) or if you've got like a handful of groceries or arm full of groceries or are carrying some kids or something like that? I mean around my house with the ...
LESLIE: Yeah, it just doesn't work.
TOM: It just doesn't work so well. So we're going to have some tricks of the trade to make access easier into your house.
LESLIE: And also ahead, I know we talk about this a lot, but moisture plus any organic food source like wood or drywall or paper or even insulation equals mold; that famous four-letter word that no one likes to hear about in their home. So coming up, we're going to tell you which states - and it could be the state you live in - have homes that have the most mold issues. So stick around this hour.
TOM: Plus, EPA studies show that the air inside your home can be much worse than the air that you breathe outdoors. So we're going to tell you about a new product that's going to help clear the air in your home 24/7 at the touch of a button.
LESLIE: And this hour we're giving away a great prize that's going to help you greenify - if that's a real word - your house while also greenifying your wallet because it is totally free. We're giving away $120 worth of compact fluorescent light bulbs from our friends at Sylvania. You are going to save energy, save money and save the planet; so you can feel really good about calling in this hour. But you've got to be in it to win it at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let's get to it.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Marilyn's got a question to help the sky fall. What's going on? Your ceilings are too high for you?
MARILYN: Yes. I have a house that the ceilings are ten feet tall. I'm 4'8'.
LESLIE: So that's really high.
MARILYN: Yes, very much.
TOM: So I guess tall heels are out of the question, huh?
MARILYN: (chuckles) Very much so.
MARILYN: What I want to do is I want to put tin - like you have in a building; on an old building. I've seen it done in a ceiling and I need to know how I go about lowering the ceilings where it would still support the tin and still look old. I don't want it to look new.
TOM: I have a better solution for you.
TOM: Armstrong makes some really high-end ceiling tiles for drop ceiling frames ...
TOM: ... that look just like tin if they're painted properly.
Leslie, what's that finish that they put on there?
LESLIE: Oh, on the - to make it look like it's patina?
TOM: Like tinny. Yeah, it's like a patina.
LESLIE: You can - I mean there are several ways you can do it. You can do it as a foiling. You can do it as almost a glazing. There are different ways that you can do it but they may even offer it as a tin ceiling tile and you might even be able - because they're replicas they're lightweight; they're aluminum and not tin ...
LESLIE: ... you can actually sheathe these drop-in tiles with those tin-style pieces to make it look like the real thing.
TOM: It really looks good and it's not hard to install; you know and drop ceilings don't look anything like the drop ceilings of yesteryear. These ceilings look fantastic.
MARILYN: OK. Thanks a lot for your help and I like your program.
TOM: You're welcome, Marilyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well usually we're asking you to call in and give us information about what you're working on. Well we want you to chime in on something of a far different topic. We've been talking about this for months. We're searching for the ugliest door in America with Therma-Tru and we want to hear about what you think about the finalists.
TOM: That's right. The judges over at Therma-Tru have come up with the ten ugliest doors from all the entries received by those folks and there are some really ugly doors out there.
LESLIE: Yeah, and it doesn't matter what we think about them - because there are some pretty ugly doors that have been entered - but it is your turn to vote, America. We want to know what you think. Visit MyUglyDoor.com and vote today for the door and the homeowner that you think are the most deserving.
TOM: You will be the ultimate decider of the ugliest door in America. Do it today at MyUglyDoor.com. That winner is going to win a $5,000 entryway makeover from Therma-Tru. So do it today. MyUglyDoor.com. It's the home improvement, patriotic thing to do.
888-666-3974. Let's get back to those phones.
LESLIE: Frank in New York needs some help with a flooring problem. What's going on at your money pit?
FRANK: Hi. Yes, I purchased a home recently and the home is over 40 years old, having 5,100 square feet of carpeting. And I removed and had help removing the carpeting up to about 1,000 square feet, which is glued - it's like a black glue - on to the flooring which is plywood. And one of the problems is that I'm scraping and trying to remove the glue. It's like a black, tarrish glue ...
FRANK: ... onto a foam and it just sticks to my feet and everybody walks on it. They're like walking on flypaper.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, it's disgusting.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it's like terrible stuff.
LESLIE: What are you trying to put on top of that?
FRANK: Well, eventually I may go for a tile; ceramic tile. I'm not sure as yet but certainly I'm very disenchanted with carpeting after watching this and a lot of it was disintegration from just age and it's a lot of dust.
TOM: Is the glue lumpy or is it smooth?
FRANK: It's flat.
TOM: OK. Well, what I'm going to suggest then is why don't you go over it; just get off as much as you can.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, leave it.
TOM: Leave the rest and go on top of it. A laminate floor would be a really good solution here because you could lay down a very thin laminate underlayment, which is usually like a very thin foam, and then you put the flooring right on top of that and the foam will absorb any unevenness because of the glue that was there before and you'll have a nice, clean floor on top of it.
FRANK: Thank you so much. Do you have a book? Are you going to publish a book? (Leslie chuckles) Because all your ideas on your show are just fantastic.
TOM: Funny you should ask.
LESLIE: Not only are we going to tell you that we have a book coming out called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure but I think we can send you one.
FRANK: (overlapping voices) Can I get that at Barnes & Noble? Oh, you will? Thank you.
TOM: Yeah, we'd be happy to and yes, it will be available at Barnes & Noble and lots of other great bookstores.
FRANK: No, because everything you say, you know, like I'm conquering one thing and then maybe a week later I'll forget what I heard on your show about a particular problem. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Keep a pen and paper right by the radio.
TOM: You know, Frank, houses don't come with owners' manuals and that's the book we tried to put together. So it's called ...
FRANK: Thank you so much.
TOM: ... My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and if you hold on we'll send you a copy just for asking us about it. Thanks so much.
FRANK: Thank you.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Something going on at your house right now that you just cannot figure out? That mystery pinging in the wall? The nonstop toilet flushing? Well we can help. Call us with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, we're going to deliver easy access to your house. Are you tired of wrestling with doorknobs when your hands are dirty or full? We've got a solution that'll get you right in there, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:07:33.5]
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, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller we talk to on the air this hour will be automatically entered into our random prize drawing. This hour we're giving away 120 bucks worth of new micro-mini CFL bulbs from Sylvania and what does CFL stand for, Leslie?
LESLIE: Compact fluorescent light bulbs, sir?
TOM: Ah, good job. You've been studying.
TOM: These are actually great for any place around your house that takes an incandescent light bulb; one of these mini CFLs will fit. You want to win it? Pick up the phone and call us right now. The number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well maybe you've just finished working on a super-messy outdoor project and you're trying to think about what you need to do to get inside and clean up quickly and you're racing towards the door because you don't want to get whatever is on your hand on the doorknob and you're trying to use the elbow and it's just not working. Well, all of that stands between you and your kitchen sink because you just can't quite grab that knob with your hands covered in garden dirt or paint or engine grease because, number one, you know you'd be getting yelled at by somebody else in the house for making a giant mess on that lovely finished door knob. OK, folks? So don't even think about it.
When you're thinking about replacing door hardware - if you're updating the look or thinking about a new finish, because finish styles come and go like jewelry; one week it's gold, the next week it's bronze, the next week it's brushed aluminum. There are lots of different choices out there so if you're thinking about updating, people are getting rid of round doorknobs and they're thinking about lever handles which are so much easier for folks of all ages; young and old; weak hands, what-not; slippery hands; dirty hands. They just work better.
TOM: That's right. You know you don't have to twist or turn those lever handles. You don't even have to grab them. All you do is press down on the handle's flat surface and push. It only takes a touch of a closed fist or a finger or an elbow, if your arms are full and you can open doors ...
LESLIE: (chuckling) Or the bag of groceries.
TOM: That's right, you can open doors in a flash and they're actually pretty easy to install. All the instructions come in the package. They rarely need any carpentry work. Basically you just unscrew the old handle and screw in the new lever handle and you are good to go.
888-666-3974. We're good to go to answer your home improvement question.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Fred's got a plumbing question. Let's see what we can do for him?
FRED: Yes, I live in a 1933 house and I installed a tankless water heater a couple of years ago.
FRED: My primary complaint is in the winter time not being able to get hot water in any kind of immediate fashion when I want to wash my hands and the water is really cold.
FRED: And the plumbing to the house is (inaudible at 0:10:39.0) but it takes quite a while for the hot water to reach all the different faucets.
TOM: OK, the tankless water heater is not going to solve that problem. That's a problem of the distance between the water-heating appliance - be it a tankless water heater or a tank water heater - and the actual fixture. Now, the way a tankless water heater could help you is if you zoned it. Because a tankless water heater is so small and it's so easy to install in places that a tanked water heater would not fit, if you were to put a second tankless water heater closer to the bathrooms and create a second zone, then it would get there that much quicker. But it's a factor of the distance.
FRED: I guess that's what I'll have to do to remedy the situation.
TOM: Alright, Fred. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Beverly in Indiana needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
BEVERLY: Yes, thank you for taking my call. I'm dealing with an old frame house that has aluminum white siding on it and it is faded out and it just looks bad and I want to know if I can paint it and what would be the process.
TOM: Hmm. Well you certainly can paint it and aluminum does start to fade, of course, over the years. What you're going to want to do is you're going to want to pressure wash that house to get as much of the loose paint off as possible. The next thing you're going to want to do is prime it. Now priming is the most important step, Beverly.
TOM: If it's not primed properly the paint is not going to stick. I would use an oil-based, high-quality primer that's designed to stick to aluminum and then I would put a topcoat over that.
Now the best way to apply both a primer and the paint when you have aluminum siding is to have it sprayed.
TOM: Because it can flow on much nicer than you can possibly brush it and get into all those nooks and crannies.
BEVERLY: Oh, OK. Well, I thank you for taking my call and I had been told that I could not paint it because the paint would not adhere.
TOM: Oh, no. That's not true at all.
LESLIE: The only thing you need to be concerned about is with latex paint because latex paint contains ammonia and sometimes when the ammonia comes into contact with the aluminum it can create a gas and then the gas causes bubbles and then that causes are to get underneath and then that sort of causes the whole thing to crack from underneath itself.
BEVERLY: OK, I wrote all this down.
BEVERLY: Thank you and have a good day.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don in Maryland is dealing with some mold in the bath. What can we do for you?
DON: I've got a recurring problem with mold and mildew - I think it's basically mildew - on the ceiling in the bathroom. We've used KILZ brand paint to try and cover it up. It comes back through. We've used the heavy-metal additives in the paint. We've sanded off and repainted and we're out of options. It comes back after about two weeks. We've bleached the ceiling and I just don't know what else to do.
TOM: Alright, well let's talk about the ventilation that's in that bathroom space. Do you have a vent fan that's venting it outside?
DON: No, it's an outside bath with just a window.
TOM: With a window. OK, well this would be part of the problem. We need to manage the moisture, OK, and the best way to do that is if you could install a bathroom exhaust fan that's on a timer so that when the light goes off the fan stays on for another ...
LESLIE: Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes.
TOM: Well, no I wouldn't say that long but at least another minute or two. So ...
LESLIE: Because I've always heard 15 minutes after a shower you want to run that fan.
TOM: Nah, I don't think you have to run it that long. But basically you do have to run it because you have to purge that area of the moisture and that's the biggest issue you have going for you there; that you have a lot of moisture with no place to go. I mean obviously - there is an exception in the building code that says if you have a window you don't have to have a bath fan but it's a stupid exception because this is what happens.
TOM: Don, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: David in Kentucky, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DAVID: Yes, I have a question on putting a utility sink in my basement. I don't have a drain ...
LESLIE: Because you want to wash that dog? (Tom and David laugh)
DAVID: You're right! That's one thing I could do. I didn't even think about that.
LESLIE: Of course.
DAVID: But I don't have a drain there. I just have a sump pump hole.
DAVID: (chuckles) Can I put my waste drain - drain it into the sump pump hole and have the sump pump pump that waste water out?
TOM: Well, let's just say that that is not technically correct but I've seen it done. The better solution is something called a lift pump and what that is is it looks like about the size of a sump - maybe a bit smaller - and it's kind of like a sealed plastic bucket that is sort of underneath the utility sink and what happens is it's float actuated so as the water drains into this reservoir a float comes on when the water gets to the top and kicks on a pump and then it pumps the waste water up high enough so that it could be drained into the main drain waste vent pipe that's going out of the house.
DAVID: And that's right there so that wouldn't be a problem. Are you talking about - I mean how does it get into that pump?
TOM: Well, it actually sits right on the floor under the sink.
TOM: It's about the size of a small trashcan is kind of the way to describe it.
DAVID: I see.
TOM: And not too hard to install and not terribly complicated or expensive to buy.
DAVID: Well, I appreciate that. I didn't even know such a thing existed.
TOM: Yep, it does and you'll find that online, in a plumbing supply house or probably even a big home center.
DAVID: OK. Awesome.
TOM: Just describe what you want to do and they'll hook you up with the right parts.
Well allergies, asthma and other illnesses can all be the result of bad air quality. Up next, we're going to tell you about a new system that can scrub the air in your house 24/7 and prevent all of that yuckiness when we return.
[audio timestamp: 0:16:32.5]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and it is officially air conditioning season, if you haven't noticed.
TOM: (overlapping voices) It definitely is.
LESLIE: It is hot across America and according to the EPA, indoor air quality can be much more dangerous than the air outside. Now that's something to think about as you've got all those windows shut and the air cranking. And millions of Americans are taking notice and installing whole-home air cleaners. Now these are especially beneficial to those who suffer from allergies, as many of us do, and used mostly in the spring and the fall when allergies are the most bothersome; especially to me.
TOM: Well unfortunately, in the past, the whole-home air cleaners out there have been tied in with the heating and cooling system which are not that much used in the spring and the fall for most of the country. But Aprilaire now has a brand new product that allows you to run the whole-house air cleaner when you need it most and to tell us all about it is Dave Reifsteck from Aprilaire.
DAVE: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
TOM: Now this is really a unique breakthrough. Talk to us about how the new unit works and why we can get year-round comfort out of it.
DAVE: Well, historically, as you mentioned, when you install a whole-house air cleaner you have what's called passive control which, in short, means it operates when your furnace or your air conditioner is running. As Leslie just pointed out, a lot of times when allergies are at their worst - in the spring and the fall - is when there is no need for your furnace to be running or your air conditioning to be running. So with a historical air cleaner installed with passive control, in essence what it meant was it wasn't working ...
LESLIE: When you needed it most.
DAVE: ... because there was no way to turn it on. Now we have - with this new product we have what's called an active control; meaning the consumer has the ability, at the push of a button, to turn the air cleaner on when they need it for the specific reasons that they need it.
TOM: Now how do you control the time on that so it's not sort of running 24/7? I mean I used to just, you know, take the fan switch and put it onto the on position from auto but I always had to remember to turn it off.
DAVE: That's right. Now you have what we would call four different preferences or buttons on a control. The control would mount right by your thermostat. The four buttons would give you the type of operation that you want. For example, you might want constant cleaning, which means the air cleaner will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If that's what you want you push a button that says Constant Cleaning.
DAVE: If you have allergies, this time of year when the pollen is thick - and in a lot of areas of the country you get that yellow stuff all over your cars and your eyes water, et cetera - you have a button that you might push that gives you 24 hours of operation and then will turn off. You also have the option of event cleaning. Event cleaning might be when you vacuum you stir a lot of stuff up, so an event clean will give you three hours of air cleaner operation ...
TOM: Or the day after a big party. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
DAVE: The day after a big party or the day after you cooked a whole bunch of fish or something like that.
DAVE: And the final option would be automatic, which means if I choose that option the air cleaner will run for 30-minute cycles; so 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off.
LESLIE: But then Dave, when you get into the heating or cooling season when your furnace is on, do you then go back to sort of a passive operating style where it just sort of kicks on with the system?
DAVE: Yes. The answer to your question is exactly as you said. When I'm back to getting a demand call for conditioned air, the air cleaner goes back to operating with the system.
TOM: We're talking to Dave Reifsteck from Aprilaire about some new advances in indoor air cleaning technology.
Dave, you know we've heard this stat time and time again from the EPA about indoor air becoming more dangerous than the air outside. Is that because we're making homes much tighter these days and we just have more contaminants to deal with; they don't have other ways to get out of the house?
DAVE: That's exactly right. You know years ago the homes were fairly loose so you had what was called a lot of air changes. Air would seep in underneath doors, through windows. Any time you cut a whole in the cavity, the outside of the wall, you had the potential for air to come in; infiltration. Nowadays, as we tighten everything up for energy conservation, we caulk all the nooks and crannies, the home no longer has the ability to breathe like it used to.
LESLIE: And houses - I mean we've all seen those freestanding units and think, 'Oh, it's cost effective. I'll just buy one of these for the room that I hang out in most in the house.' But I mean, really, is there a big difference between cleaning everything and just the one room? Is it noticeable?
DAVE: There's a noticeable difference. With the portable air cleaners that you're talking about, they really are only good for a - within a couple of feet of the area that they're setting or the specific room that they're in. With whole-house air cleaning you have the ability to clean the air whether it's a two-story - multiple systems but you clean the entire air up to four air changes per hour when your system is running. So we're bringing all the air that's inside that house and running it across a high-efficiency air cleaner which, in essence, scrubs it; removes all the contaminants - the allergies, the pollens, the dirt, the dust, et cetera.
TOM: Well the new product is called the Aprilaire Model 4000 with Active Control and it definitely sounds like it's solved one of the problems that I've had around my house, Dave, and that is that I no longer need to leave the fan switch on 24/7 to clean my air. It's so smart to have this automation available so that we can clean the air when we need it and I especially like the event-cleaning function because we have a lot of parties around here. (Leslie and Dave chuckle)
Dave Reifsteck from Aprilaire, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you want more tips on how to keep your house air clean you can visit their website at Aprilaire.com.
DAVE: Thanks so much.
LESLIE: Alright, well along the same subject of things that could make the indoor air quality in your home not so great, when we come back we're going to be talking about mold and if you think that living in Arizona gets you off the hook for mold in your house your are absolutely wrong, my friend. We are going to tell you why climate is not necessarily a major contributor to mold problems across the country. Be back with you in a bit.
[audio timestamp: 0:23:20.0]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to 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. Call us right now for the answer to your home improvement question and the opportunity to win this hour's prize. We're giving away one dozen double-packs of micro-mini CFL bulbs from Sylvania and with as long as these light bulbs last you are going to be good to go; probably for the next 20 years. They're smaller in size than regular CFLs and they're going to fit just about anywhere that an incandescent bulb fits. They're going to save you some money; they're going to help save some energy; they're going to help save the planet all at the same time. Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we choose your name out of the Money Pit hardhat we'll send 120 bucks worth of CFLs to your door.
LESLIE: Alright, well if you're picking up the phone to call us to find out where exactly your state ranks in the list of moldiness - (chuckling) that's a fun way to describe it - we have got the answers for you right now. There was actually a recent study that ranked each state for the risk of mold in homes and businesses and according to this study, Texas is the number one state where you will find the most amount of mold in homes and businesses, followed by Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Nevada and Arizona. That's right, we're talking about Arizona and that's mostly a desert state. It should be a reminder that mold can affect any of us no matter where we live.
If you want to learn more about mold and how to tell if you've got mold in your house and, more importantly, how to get rid of it if you do, we've got a great resource for you; it's called the Mold Resource Guide. It's on our website, MoneyPit.com. It's totally free and it is chock-a-block full of information that will keep you and your family healthy.
TOM: 888-666-3974. If you have a mold question pick up the phone and give us a call right now.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Rose in Pennsylvania needs some help with a concrete situation. What's going on?
ROSE: Hi, I have an old house and the steps going down to the pool are concrete but are falling apart. Do I have to dig them all back up and put new in or is there some way I can repair them to make them look good?
TOM: Well, I think you definitely can repair them. Is the concrete surface deteriorated?
TOM: OK. You can use an epoxy patching compound ...
ROSE: ... OK.
TOM: ... and basically recoat those and sort of build out all the deteriorated sort of pitted areas.
TOM: You can buy epoxy patching compounds at home centers or you can buy it online. There's a good industrial website that sells products for the home as well, called Abatron. They have a great line, very extensive line of concrete repair products there.
ROSE: Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You're welcome, Rose. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ray in North Carolina is dealing with a moldy situation. Tell us about the problem.
RAY: I keep getting mold in my garage. It's an unfinished garage and my dog stays out there a lot and I keep getting mold around the door frames and on the floor. How can I clean it and keep it from coming ...?
TOM: (overlapping voices) On the floor? On the concrete?
RAY: (overlapping voices) Yeah, on the floor. It's a concrete floor. Yeah.
TOM: That would be very unusual because mold doesn't grow on inorganic places like floors.
LESLIE: But it does grow on dust and dirt.
TOM: Well, that's true. Well, what you need to do is you need to wash everything down with a mildicide. I would use a bleach-and-water solution or I would use a commercially available mildicide and the common mistake is that people sort of scrub this stuff away but they don't leave the mildicide product on the surface long enough for it to really do it's job. You need to spray it on and let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes so it really goes to town and kills all of the fungal spores that are left behind and then you can clean it off.
TOM: And the other thing that I would do after that is I would use a bathroom-type paint that has a mildicide in it. I would prime the surface and then I would use a mildicide-based paint on top of that and that will help slow this down.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. What about an epoxy coating for the floor?
TOM: Yeah, that as well. That's a good idea. Because it makes it easier to clean.
RAY: Well, thank you so very much. What would the - what's the ratio of the ...
TOM: Bleach to water?
RAY: ... the bleach to water?
TOM: I would probably go about 20 percent bleach.
RAY: Twenty percent?
RAY: Thank you so very much. I appreciate it. Love your show.
TOM: You're welcome, Ray. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Up next, it's time to jump into the e-mail bag. Say, have you been staring at a deck all summer long and it's not getting any better looking? (Leslie chuckles) Well, you might know how Justine feels from Reston, Virginia. She's got a question about a deck that looks pretty nasty; wants to know how to restore it. We'll answer it, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:28:27.4]
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home's exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That's B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and if you've got a home improvement question that maybe requires a lot of explaining or a photo to go along with it, why not visit MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie, e-mail us your question and then listen to the show every week because we may answer it like we're going to do right now. We've got one from Justine in Reston, Virginia who writes: 'We recently bought a home with a very large deck. For some reason, a prior owner had painted the wood decking with latex paint which is now blistering and peeling badly.'
TOM: Go figure. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Yeah, totally. But you know what? It could be a solid stain. Those things react the same way. 'Short of stripping the old paint and sanding it down, both of which would seem like a major undertaking, do we have any options?'
Alright, well Justine, those are the two options. If you're dealing with a paint or a stain - you know they both look very similar; especially a solid stain looks similar to a latex paint - and it's blistering and it's peeling off, you've got to get off whatever is not sticking. You can do that with a pressure washer. You can do that with a scraper. You want to make sure you get down as much to raw wood as you can. The best way to do it, though, is with a chemical stripping product. Get off as much as you can; get to as fresh raw wood as you can; let it dry out really well then go ahead and use the solid stain. Make sure you pick something that has a primer base to it as well to the stain so it really does adhere well to the surface, especially if it's an older deck.
If you hate the look of it, pull off all of that decking; go with something like a composite, like fiberon decking. It's beautiful; it looks like real wood. You will never have to refinish it again; once and it's done. If you paint or stain you're going to be doing it again in a couple of years.
TOM: And also, if it's an older deck, make sure you do a good deck inspection, Justine, because we'd hate to see you put all of that work into the cosmetic areas only to find out that you've got some pretty serious structural problems.
LESLIE: Alright, Frank in New Jersey writes: 'I'm planning on converting my home heating system from oil to gas. It's a hot water system. I've been told that it's better to get a boiler that is oversized so it doesn't run as much. I've also been told undersized is better so it will always be running.'
TOM: Oversized is bad; undersized is worse; right size is the right answer, Frank. You want to make sure that your heating contractor does a heat loss analysis of your house that will determine exactly how many BTUs you need. Buy the boiler that's the right size. This way it'll do the job without wasting a lot of energy.
LESLIE: It's the Goldilocks of the equation there, Frank.
TOM: Well, if you've been doing some cleaning this summer and discovered a big old box of old photos; wondering how to display them with pride, Leslie's got the answer in today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That's right. If you have run out of space for another picture frame in your house, this is a great project for you that will allow you to display all of your family photos and have everybody see them. You can just be proud as punch of all the little munchkins you've got in your house. You can create a very personal family-photo mural by arranging all of your photos on any flat coffee table or end table and then go ahead and cover that table with a piece of glass or even Lucite so you don't have to worry about anything breaking. And you can hold that glass in place with a dab of clear caulk in each corner. That'll just stick it right in there. And this can also work to show off your favorite mementos from a favorite vacation including your photos, museum entrance tickets, foreign currency and even a pressed flower that maybe you picked up while hiking around and your honey gave it to you and you wore it behind your ear all day. (Tom chuckles) Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything. But you know, it's a nice way to show off everything and it keeps your family trips and your family right there with you and it's good to brag a little bit in your own home.
TOM: Well, speaking of bragging, that tip comes from our brand new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, which we will be launching next week live from Book Expo America in Los Angeles, California. Can't wait to get out there and tell everyone about this new book. We're really excited about it and we could not have done it without you.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)