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:
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: What do you want to do? What do you want to fix? What do you want to tackle? What do you want to move? What do you want to improve? Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Because it's going to be a banner year for home improvement - that's according to the Home Improvement Research Institute - for two reasons: first, there is the hurricane rebuilding; and high fuel costs. They're leading people to fix up rather than move. Can you believe the price of gas is saying to people not ... it used to be just they wouldn't take vacations. (laughter) Now, people don't want to move. They don't want to leave their house. They want to stay at home and fix it up and enjoy that space. And it just so happens, that's the business that we are in.
LESLIE: Well, it's true because moving could mean, 'Well first, let's get in the car and go drive somewhere else and take a look at that beautiful neighborhood three hours away.' Now, it's like, 'Hmm. Let's keep our costs down and look at the neighborhood next door. Naw, let's just stay at home.'
TOM: And fix it up. So call us right now, with your home fix-up questions, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974; where the advice is always worth twice what you paid for it.
LESLIE: That's right. And one caller who we answer their home improvement question on air this hour will win the Weather Channel Storm Tracker Radio, which is going to automatically alert you to any weather threats. It's worth $40 but it could be yours for free.
TOM: Call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Ron in Alaska's up next. And Ron, we see here that you're friends with Norm Abram. So why are you asking us?
RON: (laughing) I appreciate the information you guys give on the radio. I ... you know, I listen to you primarily when I'm driving home from work.
Yeah, my problem is my sheetrock screws are starting to show through the paint. You know ... you know, they're not working their way out or anything, but I can see the dark spots where they're at. And my question was, you know, what causes it?
TOM: Well, I bet you what's happening is there may be moisture and you're probably getting a reaction and perhaps a bit of rust that's forming on those drywall screw heads and that's kind of showing through. What I would recommend in a situation like that is that you sand off the spackle that's covering it and then, I would use a primer - a bit of KILZ or something of nature - on top of that spot and spot prime them before you repaint your ceiling or your walls. And that should do it. There must be some reaction between the moisture in the air and the screw that it's helping that oxidate sort of right through the paint surface itself.
RON: Well, when I built the house, it was raining. And so I figure, well, maybe the studs retained some moisture and (INAUDIBLE) ...
LESLIE: And it's wicking through.
TOM: Or it could just be the humidity, Ron. It may not necessarily be a leak of that nature and certainly the water that got in the house when it was raining would have - you know, assuming your house is a few years old now - would have evaporated out. But I think that's probably what you're seeing and I think some primer in those areas where it's really starting to show is going to solve that. OK?
RON: OK. Sounds good to me.
TOM: And if it works, you pass that tip on to Norm, OK?
RON: (chuckling) OK, will do.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, he owes us a visit on this show. We've talked to ... we've talked to Tommy. We had Kevin O'Connor on. I think we need to get Norm on next.
LESLIE: Steve in Kansas is next, who finds The Money Pit on KFRM. And what's going on in your house?
STEVE: Well, I'm finishing up on an exterior of a ranch-style home and I've got an area where I did some ICS work and ... but I joined it with a gable that is made out of wood frame.
TOM: And that's the nice thing about ICS. We're talking, of course, about insulated concrete form construction. And even though it's a concrete foam form, you can put it against very traditional architecture and have it work.
STEVE: Well, the question I have for you on that is we'll be doing cultured stone on the front of this gable. And is there any type of material I need to use to cover that plywood exterior before we go on there with the lath work and the cultured stone?
LESLIE: Oh, like some sort of Tyvek paper to sort of just protect it from any moisture wicking through.
STEVE: Right, right.
LESLIE: Well, Steve, when you're doing this work, make sure that whatever you have for your sheathing - whether it's plywood; however you've built your home - that you cover it with some sort of protective barrier like a Tyvek paper or even tar paper. And then, you can go ahead and put your mortar and then the cultured stone. And that should protect everything for years to come. And enjoy your new house.
TOM: I love that cultured stone look; it's just gorgeous. And what's cool about that is it really works with any kinds of construction. If it's wood frame, if it's ICF - which is insulated concrete form - or even concrete block, it goes up very, very well; it's consistent and it's just gorgeous.
LESLIE: Mandy in Alabama finds The Money Pit on WRJM. And you've got a shower question. What's going on?
MANDY: My husband and I remodeled a bathroom ourselves and we installed a new shower and fixtures and everything. And when you turn the bathtub portion on, the shower part drips; even, you know, without turning it on for just the shower. If you get it beyond a certain pressure point - you know, like if you turn it on strong -
MANDY: - it drips and it's very annoying. (chuckling) When you're trying to bathe your children, you get a shower at the same time.
LESLIE: Sounds like a valve problem.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds like the diverter has gone bad on that shower. It's basically a valve that controls the flow between the faucet and the shower head. And that valve has ... is leaking on you and you need a new diverter.
MANDY: OK. Because this is a brand new set. You know, we bought it ourselves and installed it (inaudible).
TOM: Well, then, I would go out and ... I would go out and take it back to the store if it's not working. It sounds to me like it's not ...
MANDY: The diverter.
TOM: The diverter's not working properly. Definitely should not be allowing water to pass up to the shower head.
MANDY: So take the diverter. And (chuckling) my husband wanted to ask ... wanted me to ask another very quick plumbing question.
TOM: OK, sure.
MANDY: Our two-year-old, at some point, flushed something down the toilet. (laughing) Same bathroom. And he ... we've tried ... you know, every time we use the bathroom, in any capacity, we have to plunge it. And it's very slow to drain. And he was wanting to know does this sound like something that is like a do-it-yourself thing or should we try to get somebody professional in to ... are we probably going to have to take the toilet completely off?
TOM: Well, Mandy, you know, being a home improvement expert, I feel your pain. Because one time, I had a toilet back up in my house before ... I think it was before my daughter's christening. So the next morning, before we go to church, I go outside because I knew - because I am a home improvement expert - that the cause was the clogged waste pipe that was going out to the street. I had a big willow tree and I was absolutely convinced that that was the problem with the toilet. So I dug a big hole in the yard before church that morning and I found the pipe and I broke the pipe open and I snaked it one way and I snaked it the other way. And that didn't do it. So, finally, out of total frustration, with hours to go before the service and the big party and everybody's coming over, I finally figured I had to access this thing from the toilet itself. So I pulled the toilet out and I snaked it down from the top. And guess what? I couldn't find anything. But as I went to put the toilet back on, I noticed something blue in the bottom of the toilet.
LESLIE: Oh, God. What was it?
TOM: It was a toy phone. (laughing) It was a toy phone that my son had stuffed into the toilet.
TOM: And so, that's how much I know. (laughing) Turn the valve off. Take the toilet off. Turn it on its side. Carefully drain the water out and you know, look from the bottom, look from the top. If it's obstructed, you're going to find it.
LESLIE: Oh, gosh.
TOM: It's not that hard to do. And then put a new wax ... put a new wax seal on.
MANDY: That's the whole reason we remodeled and we've got two bathrooms now. But we're basically down to using just one when we have company. (laughing) It's really embarrassing. OK. Well, great. So take the diverter on the shower and then just look for objects - which we know are in there - (audio gap) toilet.
TOM: That's right. Because, remember, there's nothing supposed to be blue inside of a toilet, OK? Alright, thanks very much.
MANDY: (laughing) OK. OK, thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome, Mandy. Thanks for calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gary in Tennessee listens to The Money Pit on the Discovery Radio Network and you've got something going on with your kitchen faucet. Tell us about it.
GARY: Right. The problem is I have diminished pressure at the kitchen faucet. All the other taps in the house have got, you know, an adequate water flow. In the kitchen, when you turn it on either hot or cold, it's just kind of (INAUDIBLE) ...
TOM: Gary, have you removed the aerator from the tip of the faucet and checked for obstructions behind it?
GARY: We recently remodeled the kitchen, so ... day one.
TOM: So, I guess you've not unscrewed that little cap at the end of the faucet. Is that correct?
TOM: OK. Well, when you remodeled the kitchen, did you do new plumbing work at the same time?
TOM: Very often, what happens is you get little pieces of solder that end up inside the copper pipes and as soon as you turn the water on, they advance themselves towards that aerator at the tip of the faucet. So this could actually be a fairly simple fix.
What I want you to do is to go to that kitchen faucet and unscrew the tip of it. Unscrew the aerator. Inside, you'll see a series of screens and washers. Take them apart and put them in a line, one after another after another, in the same ...
LESLIE: So you put them back exactly the same way.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right, exactly. The same order. Don't ask me why I know to do this. (laughing) It can get very confusing. But take them apart and put them in a specific order so that you can actually clean them one at a time. You may find pieces of solder or pieces of grit that are inside. But the fact that you have all of the faucets in the house that are really strong except for this one means it absolutely has to be the aerator. Or, if by some chance it's not that, then you need to check the valves that are feeding that. But that should be a very, very simple fix, Gary; one that will have you ... have that pressure restored in no time.
Gary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you're thinking about moving to a new home, you know the three most important things to consider: location, location and location. But if you're staying put and you're wondering what are the best investments that you can make, in terms of remodeling your house, they are kitchens, baths and landscaping.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you might hire an architect to help you with any of your kitchen or bathroom makeovers. But what about using an architect for your yard? Well, it might not be a bad idea. Find out why, next.
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[audio timestamp: 12:48]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.
Well, if you're thinking about working outside, you may not think you need an architect. But you know what? There's a very specialized kind of an architect - in fact, one that I have personally used the services of - and that's a landscape architect. Landscape architects are very good - especially when you're doing a lot of work - because they can help you design a unique, very eye-pleasing outdoor. From trees and shrubs to the perfect complement for your deck or entryway, these pros can show you the tricks of the trade to add beauty and convenience and value to your home.
LESLIE: Well, if you're thinking about doing some yard work at your house, what landscape improvements might bring the best return on your investment? Is it a sprinkler system or is it a water feature? Well, find out in our next e-newsletter which is free, folks, and it shows up every Friday in your inbox. So sign up now at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And if you call now, one caller on the program, this hour, is going to win the Weather Channel Storm Tracker by Vector. It's a weather alert radio and flashlight all in one; worth 40 bucks. So call now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: James in Tennessee finds The Money Pit on WNWS. And what can we do for you?
JAMES: Well, my main question is have y'all heard about the BioSeal, which is the foam insulation?
LESLIE: Like a blown-in insulation?
JAMES: Well, actually, it's not blown-in. They spray it in and it expands and then they come in and they shave it off to where it's even.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. I've seen that done and I've seen it done with good results. It's an expandable foam insulation. Basically, Leslie, they spray it into the house before the drywall's up. They spray it on the studs. And so it expands to fill the stud bay.
LESLIE: Oh, it's like a giant Great Stuff.
TOM: Yeah, it's like giant cans of Great Stuff. Exactly. And then they saw it off flat and they trim it off and then they put the drywall on top of it.
LESLIE: How does that affect wiring and plumbing and ...?
TOM: Well, you've got to have that all done ahead of time, obviously. But think about it. Once it's in it really does a great job of sealing up all of the gaps. And I'm sure it would make for an extremely energy efficient house, James.
JAMES: Is it more efficient than, you know, your conventional insulation?
TOM: I think it would be more efficient than fiberglass insulation. It would also do a better job of sealing up the frame. I think you're going to get a much tighter house with a product like that.
LESLIE: Plus, it probably doesn't condense over time like a foam ... like the ...
TOM: Settle, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, it wouldn't settle.
JAMES: We're building a house, right now, and that was being presented to us. And my question to you all was would it be beneficial to do it in the long run because it is a substantial amount of cost to it. It's about $1,800 to $2,500, depending on whether you spray the root (ph) deck or the ceiling deck.
TOM: I have a feeling that for the extra two grand, it's going to be worth it.
LESLIE: Well plus, also, think over time, in the future as the fiberglass insulation does settle, you're going to have to replace that or add to it. So there's additional cost to that as well.
TOM: Yeah, I think there's going to be a lot of benefit. And you know what? You're in a good space right now, James, because the house is being built and it's wide open and you can only do this once.
JAMES: That's right.
TOM: I think it's a real good idea.
JAMES: Well, that was my question and I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, Leslie, a lot of people are gun shy about foam insulations because years ago - I mean many years ago - the early 80s if I'm remembering correctly - there was a type of foam insulation called urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, where basically ...
LESLIE: Ooh, that sounds bad.
TOM: Well, what happened was they'd mix these two components together and they'd inject this foam insulation, which would like expand inside the base between the dry wall and the sheathing, and do a good job of insulating the wall. The insulation wasn't the issue. The problem was that when it got damp, it would off-gas this urea gas.
TOM: And people were allergic to it and they had to move out of their house. Now, the off-gas ...
LESLIE: Wow, and there's no way of knowing until it happens. And so many things have an off-gas that I don't think people are even aware of, such as paint.
TOM: Exactly. But the good news is that that would only happen for five years. So even if you have that right now and if you're living happily in your house, you have nothing to worry about. But that was a big faux pas, that's for sure. And today, you know the insulations are so much better. You know, we have isonene and we have these bio-fill materials. And they're just so much better and they're so well-perfected that I think it's a really good way to get a really airtight house.
LESLIE: Now we have Mitch from Texas who's got a question about a window in a sunroom. What can we do for you?
MITCH: In regard to ... we're thinking about adding on a sunroom. Some windows are better than others as far as thermal efficiency and ...
TOM: Absolutely. I mean in a climate like Texas, you want to be very, very careful what kind of glass you put in the sunroom. Because if you don't have energy efficient glass, that's going to become such a hot space you won't be able to use it four or five months of the year.
LESLIE: Well, low-e glass seems like a good solution for this space.
TOM: Absolutely. What you want is Energy Star-rated glass. That's going to have several components to it; most important of which is what Leslie just mentioned, low-e glass. And that stands for low emissivity. And basically, what happens with low emissivity glass is the ultra-violet rays of the sun are reflected back out. It's as if the sun is hitting a mirror and that heat doesn't penetrate the glass into the sunroom. The other thing, of course, you want is thermal pane glass. That is glass that's made with two layers of glass with a gas in between. Generally, it's krypton or argon gas. It's a high insulating value to that kind of gas.
So, if you use low-e Energy Star-rated windows, then you're still going to be OK. Even though, if you do, remember that you also need to consider how much HVAC you might want in that space. It's possible that you may want to add additional air conditioning to cover that.
LESLIE: Russell in Ohio finds The Money Pit on Discovery Radio. What can we do for you?
RUSSELL: I was wondering ... I have a problem with my gutters. The board that the gutter is actually attached to is rotting in some places. And I'm wondering is that something I can do myself and how difficult that is. And is there a special type of pressure-treated lumber or something I have to use for that?
TOM: It definitely is a do-it-yourself job. But, Russ, get a friend, OK? Because ...
LESLIE: Yeah, because it's a big job.
TOM: Now, as far as the wood that the gutter's attached to - I would not replace that with pressure-treated lumber. I would replace that with a material called AZEK - A-Z-E-K - AZEK.
RUSSELL: AZEK. OK.
TOM: It's extruded polyvinylchloride. It's extruded PVC. The same PVC that plumbing pipe is made out of; except it looks and it feels and it cuts just like real wood. But it's completely impervious to water.
LESLIE: So it'll really stand up.
TOM: But the AZEK is a really good solution.
Now, another trick of the trade is, Russ, when it comes time to putting the gutter back up, don't use the gutter spikes. Don't use the nails. Use gutter bolts; gutter lag bolts. They're very long screws - usually square-headed screws - that have like a lag bolt end on it. And that really puts it in tight to the AZEK and you never have to worry about them loosening or coming off.
LESLIE: Thomas in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And you've got a remodeling project at hand. What's going on?
THOMAS: I'm looking to make a big hole in the wall is what I'm trying to do.
LESLIE: (laughing) OK.
TOM: (laughing) OK.
THOMAS: I guess most remodeling projects start that way. I have a wall that has two doorways right next to each other. And there's about a foot of wall between the two doors. And what I would like to do is to combine those two doorways into one or perhaps even open the doorway wide enough to create pocket doors there. And what I'm concerned about, though, is I can't tell if that's a load-bearing wall. So I'm hoping to get a rule of thumb on how to figure out if a wall is load-bearing or not.
TOM: Alright, well, first of all, Tom, how old is your house?
THOMAS: It's about 10 years old.
TOM: OK. And the wall that has these two doors in it, is it parallel to the front and rear wall of the house?
THOMAS: No. It's perpendicular to that. But it is ...
TOM: That's good.
THOMAS: ... an external wall.
TOM: Because ...
THOMAS: Or it used to be, anyway.
TOM: Oh, it is an external wall?
THOMAS: Well, it's ... I believe I'm standing in a new wing to the house. Obviously, I didn't build the house; I bought it the way it is now.
THOMAS: So, it is not the front or the back wall. It's a side wall but I believe it used to be external and then they added a wing on and that became the room that I'm ...
TOM: What happened to the roof on top of that area?
THOMAS: A new roof was built.
TOM: Because generally speaking, certainly all exterior walls are load-bearing. However, the front and the rear walls are more load-bearing than the end walls.
TOM: Because the end walls are only holding the triangular section of the gable roof above it.
TOM: But the front and the rear walls are taking the weight of every roofing rafter. So ...
THOMAS: OK. Does it matter if it's a two-story house?
TOM: Well, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Because ... I mean, certainly you're going to have more weight if it's a first floor wall. Even if it is load-bearing, though, you can rebuild that and make it bigger.
TOM: And by the way, the biggest job you just described was the pocket doors because to do the pocket doors, you have to open it up like twice the size ...
TOM: ... of the actual door itself ...
TOM: ... because you need the space to run in there. But conceptually, here's what happens. You build reinforcing walls next to the wall you're going to take apart and that stands to hold that wall while you take the ... take the doorways apart.
TOM: And then, after you rebuild those doors with new headers that are going all the way across, you can pull out the temporary walls and you've basically temporarily supported it while you've created the new header.
THOMAS: OK. Is there a rule of thumb for the header, in terms of thickness and ... thickness based on distance covered?
TOM: Yes. And it has to do with the span tables.
TOM: And I would recommend that before you do this, you trot on down to your local building official and ask him to pull out the span table and tell you what's acceptable in your part of the country.
TOM: OK? But it definitely can be done. If you're not sure, treat it as a load-bearing wall and just rebuild it that way.
LESLIE: Well, all of that beautiful exterior trim work certainly says a lot to your home style. But you might only think about it when that exterior trim is starting to crack, rot or peel.
TOM: Yeah, but what if you could do something, today, so you never, ever had to think about that trim rotting, cracking or peeling again? Well, there is an improvement you can do. We're going to talk about that one, next.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by BEHR From Home, where you can select from over 3,700 paint colors and order samples online for home delivery. For more information, visit Behr.com. That's B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you working on? Call us right now. Let us help you tackle that home improvement project.
Well, if you're standing outside with the paint brush in hand and looking at all of this rotten, cracked, nasty trim that's all around your house, here's an improvement you might think about doing. Replace that with composite trim. There's all sorts of architectural trim details that are available today that are not made of wood. They're made of different types of composites; different types of plastics that look so good, you would think that they're wood.
There's products like AZEK, for example, which is a PVC trim. You would think that PVC is for just plumbing pipes. Well, they actually make trim out of it. And then there's Trex and there's all kinds of outside products that don't rot, don't peel, don't crack and once you put them up, you are done. So think about improving the exterior of your house by replacing the old-fashioned wood with some high-tech composites.
Now, have you got a high-tech home improvement question? We are here to help you. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: We've got Luke in Maine who's got a question about installing a wood stove. What can we do for you, Luke?
LUKE: I only have one chimney in my house and I'd like to add a wood stove to the same flue that my furnace is on. How safe would that be?
TOM: Very not safe. (laughing)
LESLIE: Ooh, because they both operate on different chimney systems.
TOM: Yeah. If this chimney has one flue, as opposed to a chimney that has two flues, you could have one chimney with the wood stove on one side and, I presume, gas or oil on the other. But you cannot mix the combustion. So you can't have a fireplace or a wood stove using the same flue as your gas-fired, oil-fired or propane-fired furnace. That would be very dangerous.
So the other thing to think about is whether or not you might want to put in, say, a direct vent fireplace; one that is zero clearance; one that can go against a combustible wall or surface and vent right to the outside. Or you can run the vent pipe up the exterior of your house. Or you could always build a new chimney but, of course, that's the most expensive way. But no, you cannot share the same flue with both gas combustion and wood combustion at the same time.
LUKE: Now ... okay. So I can have my hot water tank with the same ...
TOM: Yes, because that's the same fuel. Yes.
TOM: You just can't have a wood stove.
LUKE: Okay, great.
TOM: Luke, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Art in California's got squeaky floors. Tell us about them.
ART: I need something on the floor and before it was not squeaking; not until the carpet was laid - a new carpet.
TOM: Isn't that the way it always goes? (chuckling) The floors are fine until you put the wall-to-wall carpet down. Then, all of a sudden, you find a noise.
ART: Yeah. (laughter)
LESLIE: Well, what's the room underneath the squeaky room? Is it a basement? Is it a finished ceiling below there? Tell us about that.
ART: It's the garage.
LESLIE: It's the garage. So can you see the floor joist when you go downstairs into the garage?
LESLIE: OK. Is it squeaking all over or is it squeaking in one significant spot?
ART: Just in one spot.
LESLIE: Tom, will a deep scan stud sensor go through carpeting?
TOM: Yeah, it absolutely will. And once you identify where that floor joist is, what you could actually do, in this case, is nail through the carpet using a finish nail set at a slight angle. Because what's happening here is you're getting movement between the subfloor and the floor joist. And so, if you use a finish nail, you can nail right through the carpet and then set the nail right through the carpet with a nail set. Then sort of grab the nap and pull it back up and it will be ...
LESLIE: And you won't see that nail head at all.
TOM: No, it'll be totally invisible.
ART: Oh. OK. Ah.
LESLIE: You just have to locate where the floor joist is to make sure that you're actually nailing that subfloor into something.
ART: Yes, OK. OK, hey, thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: You could almost hear that light bulb turning on.
TOM: Yeah, you could. (laughing) But you know, it's just funny that he didn't have squeaky problems until he put the wall-to-wall carpet down and then all of a sudden he's got a problem. You know, the best way to avoid that is if you are going to put wall-to-wall carpet down ...
LESLIE: Just nail that subfloor to the joist before.
TOM: Yeah. Nail that sucker down first; before you put the carpet down. Because you know, chances are the problem's going to happen after you put it down. Or better yet, screw it down using the drywall screws. Then it'll never move and if it's not going to move, it won't squeak.
LESLIE: Alright, all you Money Pit listeners. You probably have a resin chair somewhere in your yard right now. Am I right? You know, it's that cheap plastic sort of seating - it's usually white.
TOM: Yeah, but the problem is they get very grungy looking very, very quickly. So up next, we're going to teach you how to bring them back to their original shine.
[audio timestamp: 27:55]
[audio timestamp: 30:35]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. This is the show that puts improvement right back in home improvement. So call us now with your home fix-up questions.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. If you've got some resin patio furniture which is looking kind of dingy - you know, maybe you've left them outside a couple summers in a row and they're not as sparkly as they were - here's a couple of things to bring them back to life.
If they're lightly soiled or just featuring a little bit of wear and tear, you can use an orange oil - there are so many out there in the supermarket; take your pick - and a soft cloth. If they're more heavily loved or worn, depending on how long you've had them outside, you can clean them with a rubbing compound. But remember, the main ingredient, when you're using the rubbing compound, is lots of elbow grease. Really, really work it very well. And you should be pretty happy with how it turns out.
And remember, if you want to preserve them and keep them looking as good as you've just gotten all of your resin furniture to look like, stack them up and cover up all of those pieces of furniture; especially if you know it's going to rain. But even if it's not, when not in use, cover them up and they'll stay looking like new for a long time.
TOM: And, as luck would have it, we are giving away a product that will help you know when the storm is coming. It is the Weather Channel Storm Tracker by Vector. It's a weather alert radio and a flashlight. It's worth 40 bucks. It's got an automatic alert signal of all hazard warnings and it's got an AM/FM/NOAA weather radio alert, a five LED flashlight and a cell phone charger built in. And it even has a hand crank so if you don't have power, you can crank it up and get enough power for it to work. It's worth 40 bucks. We're going to give it away to one caller this hour. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Bobbi in Tennessee. You're an interesting caller. You're a carpenter. Tell us about yourself.
BOBBI: Well, I am a female carpenter; have been one for the last 15-20 years. And there's not very many of us out there.
LESLIE: What's your specialty?
BOBBI: Well, scaffold builder, actually.
TOM: Oh, interesting.
BOBBI: (chuckling) Yes. (laughing)
TOM: Does that job have a lot of ups and downs? (laughing)
BOBBI: Oh, yes. More ups than downs. Unfortunately.
TOM: (overlapping voices)Yeah, well, as long as you don't come down quickly. So how can we help you, Bobbi?
BOBBI: Yes. Well, my question is I have a well going into my home; water well. And ... which contains a lot of lime in our water. And my question is what can I do to help prevent lime buildup in the lines going into the house?
TOM: What kind of lines do you have going into the house, right now? What kind of plumbing lines are they using for that? Is it a plastic line?
BOBBI: Oh, I have PVC.
TOM: You have a PVC. And has lime buildup been a problem in the PVC pipe?
BOBBI: Well, my neighbor ... we have had to take his toilet up and replace it because they had a lot of lime buildup in the toilet itself; in the trap.
LESLIE: In the trap, but ...
BOBBI: And so we had to take his toilet up and replace the toilet. And we're looking at how can we prevent that from happening to us.
TOM: Well, I don't think you can prevent it on the supply side unless you put in a filtration ... a water conditioning system. You put in a water conditioning system with a filtration unit, you may be able to reduce the amount of particulates inside the water. But, you know, when it's pressurized like that, you have to catch it once it gets inside the house.
BOBBI: Oh, okay. Yeah, I was hoping we could be able prevent it from actually getting in. I didn't know if we could put an inline filter before it actually gets to the house itself or ...
TOM: No, you put it right inside the house. Now, have you ever had this water tested?
TOM: Well, that would be a good thing to do. Because, this way, you'll know what you're dealing with. And depending on how the water test comes back, you'll know exactly what kind of filtration system to put in.
BOBBI: Okay, yeah. Because I was looking at possibly putting in an inline filter before it actually came into the house.
TOM: Well, it doesn't matter where you put it but, generally, you're going to want to put it inside the house because, this way, the equipment's not going to become deteriorated by the outside, by the environment.
BOBBI: Yes. Because right now, the shower heads themselves are starting to get lime buildup in those.
TOM: Yeah, well, the way to deal with that is you take them apart and you soak them in a little vinegar and water.
BOBBI: Vinegar and water?
TOM: Yep. That'll melt that lime deposit right away.
BOBBI: Oh, okay. Well, yes, I haven't heard that. This is all new to me because I just moved to Tennessee and I've never had this problem before. (laughing)
TOM: Well, home improvement is always a new adventure, Bobbi.
BOBBI: Yes. (laughing) Yes it is.
TOM: Well, think of the bright side. If you ever want to replace your roof, you could easily build your own scaffold and get up there and do it. (laughter)
BOBBI: Oh, that is true. And do the work myself, so I'm good to go.
TOM: There you go. Bobbi, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in New Jersey finds The Money Pit on WCTC. How can we help you?
JIM: I have a question about vinyl siding. I'm in the process of talking to some contractors about putting some vinyl siding on. I've got a couple of conflicting messages from the contractors and I was just wondering if you might be able to answer some questions.
TOM: Alright, let's see if we can sort it out.
JIM: Okay. I've got natural cedar shakes (pc) on the house.
JIM: The house was built in '69 so I guess that puts it around 37 years old. Both contractors are going to rip the shakes (ph) off, which ...
TOM: That's good.
JIM: ... sounds like a good idea. They're talking about wrapping it with Tyvek ...
TOM: That's good.
JIM: ... and then putting a ... kind of like a blue styrofoam insulation on.
JIM: The problem differs ... one guy is trying to tell me that a styrofoam bonded to the vinyl is good. Another guy says no. The problem is the first guy I talked to, that has the bonded siding to the ... to the styrofoam, I don't know if it's the same siding that the guy was showing me that says it breaks.
TOM: So contractor number two is basically saying that contractor number one's product is not going to work because it's defective or it breaks. Is that what you're saying?
JIM: That's correct.
TOM: Well, look, here's the situation. Siding is usually sold with an option for a foam backer. I personally don't think that adds that much R-value to the wall structure. If you're removing the cedar shingles and you're putting Tyvek vapor barrier around it, that's great. If you do have siding with a foam backer, it will tend to lay flatter; as opposed to being sort of concave. So it does tend to look a little stiffer and a little more like real wood. But it's not going to really add a lot as far as insulation is concerned. So I would make the decision based on looks; not necessarily based on whether or not it was going to be a better insulator.
JIM: Now contractor two is telling me that the bonded styrofoam is not good. And he showed me what looks like ... looked like a white styrofoam ... kind of like turns into pellets as soon as you touch it.
TOM: Yeah. And that's probably because ...
JIM: (overlapping voices) He's telling me moisture is going to break it down.
TOM: Moisture is not going to break it down. Sunlight will break it down but sunlight's not going to get to it. That would not be a concern for me. If you left that styrofoam out in the sun for a couple of months ... he probably got that demo piece that he's been carrying around with him for (laughing) ... you know, for all ... for all these years.
JIM: (overlapping voices) That's a good possibility. Sure, OK.
TOM: I would probably not spend the money on that. I would just have regular, plain vinyl siding on top of the foam board, on top of the Tyvek.
JIM: OK. Sounds good.
TOM: Alright? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Sometimes it can be intimidating, Leslie, when you have two competing contractors like that, telling somebody that the other guy's work is bad.
LESLIE: Well, also, you don't know if contractor two is aware of what contractor one is offering and is just trying to make that offer look bad.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. And that's another reason, when you're doing a home improvement project that's big enough, that it's a really good idea to have an independent third party, like an architect, spec out the entire job. Because, this way, you know that when the contractors come in they're all bidding apples to apples and you won't have ... be in the situation that Jim was in, trying to figure out who was making the most sense or not.
888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number. 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Matthew in Texas listens to The Money Pit on KGKL. And you've got something that spilled on your driveway. Tell us about it.
MATTHEW: I have motor oil on my driveway. I'd like to know how do I get it out.
TOM: Well, there's a good trick of the trade for that and it's called trisodiumphosphate; it's TSP.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) TSP.
TOM: It's a great cleaner and it ...
LESLIE: You can find it in the paint aisle of your home improvement center. That's where they usually keep it.
TOM: And you mix it up like a paste. Make it pretty thick. And then brush it on that motor oil stain and you will find that it does a really good job of cleaning up those nasty stains. In some cases, it does such a good job that it's going to be brighter than the dirty concrete that's around it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it's going to clean it too well.
TOM: And of course - I probably don't need to tell you this but the quickest way to stop that concrete from getting stained is to catch that motor oil when it's fresh. And you can do that with sawdust or cat litter. But assuming, in this case, that it's not fresh - it's old - a paste of TSP is probably the best way to go. And it's very inexpensive and it's very easy to do.
MATTHEW: OK. And if I use it in my garage, can I paint after I use the ...?
TOM: Yes. Absolutely. Once you're done, it'll wash away. It gets very soapy. Dry it really well, apply a primer, and then you can paint it. And fix that leaky oil can, too, will you, Matt?
MATTHEW: Sure, sure, sure.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright.
MATTHEW: Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, folks, if you're looking to spend even more time outdoors - maybe that screened-in porch just isn't cutting it for you - one of our e-mailers wants to know how to extend the outdoor usage by creating an inexpensive roof. That's next.
[audio timestamp: 39:48]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Also, watching the email stream in from MoneyPit.com. You got an email question, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and we will get right to it.
Leslie, who's first in the email bag?
LESLIE: Alright. Here's one from the inbox. It's from Madri (sp) in Florida, who writes: 'I have a screened-in pool area and would like to add a corrugated plastic roof over the area where we have a set of outdoor wicker furniture. This would give us an extension of the inside to outside and also help to protect our furniture. My idea is to place the plastic roofing over the screened-in metal bars. I have the idea in my head but I don't know how to materialize it. Unfortunately, my husband is not very handy. Thanks in advance for your help. I'm a faithful fan of your show.'
TOM: Hmm. Did you say she was in Florida?
TOM: Well, I'm ... first of all, I'm not a big fan of plastic roofs. And for her to add a plastic roof to a screened-in enclosure is going to turn into a kite in a storm.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It's true.
TOM: You know, really, think about it. So, I would say that it's ... as nice as that sounds and as easy as that sounds, it might be OK until you get a bad storm then it could easily, you know, get blown around; potentially even be dangerous. So, if you want to build a roof, I say build a roof. But I don't think the plastic sheeting is probably the best way to go.
What do you think?
LESLIE: Well, I wonder is it easier to install a retractable awning above where the screened-in structure starts at the house point? So that, this way at least ...
TOM: Yeah, that's a much better idea because then you could pull it in in a storm.
LESLIE: Yeah, pull it in in a storm. It's safe. When it gets a little too hot or the weather is turning a little bit different and you want to protect that furniture, just unroll that awning. And they're not that expensive these days.
TOM: Yeah, and the plastic roofs look kind of cheesy, too, so this'll probably bring some more value to your house as well.
Alright, Michael, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is writing: 'I have copper gutters and there are a lot of small holes forming in them that let the water run through to the wood underneath. Is there a way I can repair the copper?'
Well, Michael, mm, you probably could but the problem is one of the downsides of copper is that it's extremely soft. So when copper is used as a gutter, with all of the water that runs through it, you get a lot of erosion ...
LESLIE: And the debris.
TOM: Yeah. You erode it away. So it's very difficult to even patch a copper gutter or a copper downspout because there's really not enough metal there for you to solder to. If you start soldering, what's going to happen is you're going to blow even more holes through it.
So, I would say, no, probably a bad idea of doing any kind of copper patch. If you want to do something temporarily, you can put some asphalt roof cement on the inside. But again, it sounds like these gutters are pretty much on the end of their life cycle.
LESLIE: Is it possible at all to put any sort of plastic liner in there?
TOM: Probably not. When the copper gutters get like that, it's probably time to change them.
Prada? Armani? Wondering what's in? Wondering what's out? Well, not with your clothes. With your gardens. That's the topic of today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That's right. There are ins and outs, even when it comes to your exterior spaces and here are a couple of the ins and outs for '06.
In: lived in gardens. Out: show place gardens. Folks are looking for lived in gardens. People are buying outdoor plasma TVs, entertainment tents. All of these things add personal style to your outdoor spaces and really make it look like an exterior room. Fussy gardens are out. Simple elegance is in. Look for pieces that really feature your style; comfortable spaces that all suit your exact needs for that space.
Small space gardening is in. Colossal gardens are out. That's right. As lot sizes are getting smaller and smaller, people are looking to garden on their patios, decks, rooftops and even container gardening. In fact, annuals and perennials are now being bred for smaller spaces.
And lastly, unsafe gardening is out and green gardening is in. Get your plants off those chemicals and give them a nice, holistic lifestyle and they'll be good to you.
TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where Leslie and I are like a pressure washer for your to-do list. Hopefully, we've helped you blast away some of those projects today. Call us again; same time, same place next week.
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.)