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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now for the answer to your home improvement question. You know, it's been a hot, hot summer. Are you thinking green lately? Do you want to see more green? Perhaps more green lawn, more green flowers. Just ...
LESLIE: Maybe you mean green environmentally.
TOM: That's right. Very, very green. Are you looking for ways to save water? Wondering what the best time is to water? The best time to run the washer? Call us right now with any water-saving question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or, for that matter, any question. We are here, standing by to help solve those home improvement problems for you.
LESLIE: Yeah, Tom and I aren't shy. We'll answer just about any question you've got. Plus, also, we like to talk and we know you like to listen, so thanks for the questions.
And one of our lucky callers this hour is going to win a great prize. It's the Super Stepper from Tomboy Tools and these are tools that are created for women by women, so they're very well made and they're made a little bit differently to suit women's smaller hands. Call in right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Well, we named the dog Indiana. Not Indiana Jones (laughter); Indiana the state. And that's where Keith's from. What's going on?
KEITH: This is Indiana Jacobi (sp).
KEITH: (laughter) OK, I have a concrete block home and what I want to do is put wooden walls on the inside or stud the inside of these walls, you know. And I want to know if there's something I have to do to make sure that that concrete doesn't keep sweating.
TOM: Ah, good question. Now, you have a concrete block home right now, so there's no wall studs on the inside whatsoever?
KEITH: None, none.
KEITH: And the reason I want to put the studs in is so that I can put electric in.
TOM: Mm-hmm. So what you want to do is this: you want to frame the wall using a pressure treated sill ...
TOM: ... OK? So that everything that touches the concrete floor is pressure treated. And then you're going to want to insulate those walls. And you would use a vapor barrier between the cold space and the heated area. So basically, the last thing that goes on the walls before the drywall is the vapor barrier. And so, you can have the vapor barrier that is part of the insulation or one that's applied separately. But that would be the way to seal out the indoor humidity from getting to the exterior walls.
LESLIE: But Tom ...
LESLIE: ... do you want to put the sill flush against the concrete wall or do you want to sort of float it out from the concrete wall a little bit and then build a new wall?
TOM: Yeah, my practice is to leave it out a little bit. So I'd like to have just a bit of space - you know, maybe an inch or so - between the wood wall and the concrete wall. I don't want it to touch.
KEITH: As long as I have a bit of an air space there, then I'm OK?
TOM: You should be good to go.
KEITH: Gosh, that's all I needed to know.
TOM: Alright, Keith, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Whether it's a technical question or a simple DIY question, we are here to help you. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we welcome David from Oregon and you've got a question about a sink. What can we do for you?
DAVID: I'd like to disinfect the trap that's underneath the sink and I have a black porcelain sink in the powder room that I wanted to put some bleach into to disinfect it but I was afraid that the bleach might bleach out the black porcelain ...
TOM: No, not if it's porcelain. And by the way, I understand what you mean about having to disinfect the trap. I had the unpleasant duty of taking one of those apart this weekend ...
LESLIE: Ugh. (laughing)
TOM: ... and it wasn't pretty. The stuff that gets stuck in there - yuck (chuckling) is the only way I can put it. But if it's a porcelain surface, then it's not going to be absorbent and it's not going to have any color that you have to worry about fading out. So I think using bleach in a situation like that is fine. I may not use straight bleach; I might use, you know, maybe a 50-50 solution and letting it sit ...
LESLIE: Bleach and water.
TOM: Yeah, bleach and water solution. But I don't see any risk to the sink in using that material on it. OK, Dave?
DAVID: The other question I had was I had heard that you shouldn't put bleach down piping that is plastic and the trap is made out of some type of plastic PVC ...
TOM: No, not an issue. We have plastic PVC pipes in our home all the time and the bleach is fine. I mean think of all the laundry systems that are out there that are dumping their water down a plastic pipe. Should be OK, David.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, Cathy from Wisconsin's got some questions on behalf of her husband. What can we do for you both?
CATHY: Hi, we're building a deck ...
CATHY: ... that's going to be 23x12 ...
CATHY: ... and it's going to be ...
LESLIE: That's a nice one.
CATHY: Yeah, well we have a very big house; it's 28x64. It's going to be 12 feet high and what his question was, was he wants to use 4x4s or 6x6s. He wants to know which would be better. And how would he do the concrete; to use tubes or ...?
TOM: Alright, well, first of all, this is a big, big project and if it's a deck that's 12 feet in the air, it's a pretty complicated project and, therefore, not for the faint of heart nor the average do-it-yourselfer. It's a pretty serious project and if it's not done correctly or even during the project it could become very, very dangerous. So I begin with those cautionary words to you, Cathy, and your husband. This is not an easy job.
In terms of the structure, if it's that tall, probably I would definitely use a 6x6. A 4x4 is going to twist and warp and be very, very twisty by the time that settles in. And you're going to probably need a lot of them. So I think that, you know, normally, the way I would build a deck that's up in the air is I would have one side attached to the house and the other side would be supported by a girder; a very healthy girder that runs the entire length. And then the girder would be supported by these very heavy columns and they would be tied into the footings.
Now, in terms of the footings, I think what you're talking about is something called a sono (ph) tube, which is basically a round concrete form. They're very convenient to use because you dig out the hole and shove the cardboard tube in there and then you pour the concrete in the tube and that actually becomes the form. And sure, those are nice and you don't even have to take the forms out. You can just sort of ...
LESLIE: No, you leave them in there.
TOM: ... leave them in there, cut the surface concrete out ...
LESLIE: Yeah, but how much of the 6x6 do you bury below ground? Is it two feet or does that vary ...?
TOM: (overlapping voices) I don't bury any of it below ground. I ...
LESLIE: You put the whole thing on top ...
TOM: I ...
LESLIE: ... so you just rest it on the ground.
TOM: I rest it right on top of the footing ...
TOM: ... and there's a special plate that can bolt them together if it's an area that there's a hurricane risk or if there's an earthquake risk, there's a way to tie those together. But no, I don't - I don't embed the wood into the concrete because that becomes like a hole where the water soaks in and that can cause deterioration even if it is pressure treated.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. Next up is David from Oregon who listens to The Money Pit on KBNP and tell us what's going on with your floor.
DAVID: Well, I had a workman work on a high area near the ceiling and he dropped a bunch of his tools on our hardwood floor and ...
TOM: A bunch, huh? (chuckling)
DAVID: ... and left some dents in it ...
DAVID: ... and I was wondering if there is a way that I could get the dents out without having to refinish the entire floor again ...
DAVID: ... or replacing the floor, actually.
LESLIE: Is it on one board or many boards?
DAVID: It's on several boards, actually.
DAVID: Maybe four or five.
TOM: Well, the problem is that the floor is now finished, David. If it was unfinished, I could give you a little trick of the trade for pulling out a dent. So if any of you are listening and wondering how you do that, you simple use a steam iron and you put a damp cloth over it and then you, basically, steam it because the steam will make the wood swell and that will take out a small dent. But if it's already finished, you can't do that because it's just going to mess up the finish even further.
So, what are your options that are left? Well, there are different types of wood fillers that are available. Some that are colored would work very well. And if the dent is small - I would say, probably, less than a quarter of an inch - one of the favorite ones I have are the Minwax filler pencils. They are like wax pencils and ...
LESLIE: It's like a crayon.
TOM: Yeah, almost like a crayon or like one of those old freezer pencils where you peel the paper back. And you can ...
LESLIE: China pencils. China markers.
TOM: Is that what you call it? China pencil. OK, so you can peel the paper back and you can buy one that if - you can't get one that matches it exactly, you buy one that's lighter and one that's darker and then take a lighter and melt - light the tip a little bit so you sort of drip the wax into the crevice that's the dent. You can mix both colors in there and then sort of take your hand and rub it really fast and the excess will rub off and the rest of it will stay in place. And I've done this and been able to fill up quarter-inch holes quite successfully.
So, that's one way to do it. If it's a scratch, then, of course, you could use something like an Old English or just a stain kit to touch that up and then follow up with a polyurethane using a very, very thin paintbrush; like the kind you would use in an art box. If it's bigger than that, then you have to look at a colored wood filler and you'd have to press it in there and then, again, touch it up with a polyurethane. But it really depends on how deep these dents are, which method of those three that I would use to attack it. Does that make sense to you?
DAVID: Yes, it does. I had a question. The wax - would the wax melt, then (chuckle), or does it harden so that - is it a durable type of thing after you put the wax ...?
TOM: It's not as hard as the floor finish but you could put additional finish on top of that. It will, however, fill up that - you know, that size of a dent and it does a pretty good job and it is absolutely invisible. And listen, David, you've got nothing to lose because the worst thing that could happen is you may have to scrape that out and go with one of the other finishes if it doesn't work out so well.
DAVID: Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, here's a project that's not going to take over your home. It's an easy project and it's actually going to help you clean up that clutter. We're going to tell you how to build your own bookcase.
TOM: Stay tuned for some simple tips, next.
[audio timestamp: 10:31]
[audio timestamp: 13:15]
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Put us in your toolbox right next to the duct tape because we are just as handy.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well, bookcases are not only a great way to display your personal library; they're also a terrific storage option because, you know, we all love stuff and we like to acquire more stuff and you're going to need a place for that new stuff.
So when you're building your own terrific storage option, remember to keep the shelf length 32 to 36 inches. This is going to help eliminate the need for extra supports.
TOM: And for the best support and a very clean look, use dados as joinery for the interior shelves. Those are the slots - you know, the slots - you make the slot?
LESLIE: Oh, they like interlock and slide in.
TOM: Interlocking slots where the shelves right in and lock in place. And don't forget to glue all the joints so that your bookcase will be strong and your books can definitely stand the test of time.
LESLIE: Yeah. And we've got a great prize this hour that's going to help you build your own bookcase and just about any other home improvement repair or project you might have going on. And one of our callers this hour is going to win the Tomboy Tools combination step stool and toolbox. It includes a hammer, a utility knife, pliers, a screwdriver, mini-hacksaw, mini-sander, measuring tape; so many tools you're going to just start doing projects everywhere. They're going to help you tackle just about any DIY project.
TOM: Got the right tool for every job. Call us right now if you want to win it. It's worth 105 bucks. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Well, Fred from Colorado's up next and you've got a leaky ceiling. What's happening?
FRED: Well, it's in my garage and I'm buying a house and the guy before me - had the house before me, put a ham radio antenna through the ceiling - I mean through the roof of the garage.
TOM: OK. (laughing)
FRED: And I'm taking that antenna down. And I'm wondering how to patch those holes so I don't have a leak, you know, to where it gets under the shingles or under the tar paper. How would you go about doing that?
TOM: Alright, Fred. Well, when you dismantle the erector set structure on your roof (laughter), that once was, and the ham radio antenna, is it mostly attached to the roof? It sort of bolts through the shingles? Is that how he did it?
FRED: They just drilled holes (laughter) and stuck the antenna down through there.
TOM: Oh, man. Alright, well, ...
FRED: Apparently, it didn't bother him that it leaks around there but I want - like I said, I want to take the antenna out of there. I ...
TOM: Well, he probably got an extra few thousand miles of distance out of that thing because of the water conductivity, with all those leaks. (chuckling)
TOM: I'll tell you what you want to do, Fred. First you want to remove the tower, obviously, and wherever it has broken through into the roof, the first thing you need to do is to pull the shingles off in that area. If it's just a matter of some holes in the plywood - for example, where a bolt went through - not a big deal. You can reshingle right over that. You want to pull out the old shingle. The best tool to use for that is a flat bar. You simply reach under it, find the spot where the nails are attaching it into the sheathing and sort of wiggle the flat bar from side to side and that will pick those nails up, slow but sure. And then you want to slide the flat bar on top of the shingle to pull it out the rest of the way. You can slip out an old shingle and in a new shingle pretty easily.
Now, if they've actually done some serious damage to the sheathing itself, then you patch that hole next. And the best way to probably do that is to pull off all the shingles in the area, to cut a piece of plywood that goes from impact point - which would be, for example, the top of the rafter (ph) or the top of the truss to the next one - from those two load points, you want to actually spread that with the plywood and then re-tar-paper and then reshingle in that area. But, for the most part, if it's just the holes, you can simply pull out one shingle at a time and make that repair.
TOM: Fred, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know, when I was a kid, my dad had a ham radio and he was ...
LESLIE: ... and he was WB2YOD and he actually talked to the space shuttle.
TOM: Is that right?!
TOM: That's pretty cool.
LESLIE: The space was accepting open calls from ham radio operators and my dad got to talk to them and he was very excited about it.
TOM: That is very exciting.
LESLIE: And he didn't need water to reach him, either.
TOM: And he had a ham for a daughter.
LESLIE: (laughing) Peggy from Minnesota is looking to remove some moldy sheetrock. What happened? Did you have a leak, a flood?
PEGGY: Well, I'm not actually sure if it's a true mold. We live in a house about 60 to 70 years old and we have a decorative sheetrock-type wall covering in our basement which was put in about, oh, 20 plus years ago. It's becoming discolored in spots. Although it doesn't smell moldy - there's no moldy odor ...
TOM: Is the basement damp and moist?
PEGGY: It possibly could have been ...
PEGGY: ... you know? It must have been, I guess. That's my only thought.
LESLIE: Well, do you run a dehumidifier down there?
PEGGY: We do. Not full time but I do try to run one when it's warm and hot and humid in the summer.
TOM: OK. Well, if it is mold, you have to be very careful about how you approach it. I'm going to send you to our website at MoneyPit.com. We actually have an entire mold resource section there. If you click on Ideas and Tips then click on the Mold Resource Guide, you can actually see all of the tips for cleaning up mold and there's some links to the EPA pamphlet that's online, also, about cleaning up mold and there's a lot of great information there. You have to approach it very carefully because you don't want it to become airborne but, essentially, you're going to - what you're probably going to do is spray it down with a bleach and water solution and then clean it up if it's a small area like that. If it's a larger area, then you really have to take some personal protective measures so that you don't breathe that stuff in. But the quicker you get to it, the smaller the problem is going to be, OK? So I do suggest you go to MoneyPit.com, click on the mold resource section right there and then read through all the tips and you'll be good to go.
PEGGY: Great. That's what I was hoping to find out; what kind of, say, face and nose protection we might need or ...
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Click on there. You're going to want to use a respirator while you do this and one with a charcoal filter works best. But, again, go to the website - MoneyPit.com - and click on the mold resource center.
Peggy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. Ronny from Kentucky's next and you're thinking about replacing a water heater. Is that what's going on?
RONNY: Yes, that's right. I was wanting to know if - I know the gas would probably be better but electric would be a lot more convenient and less work to put in.
LESLIE: Now, are you thinking about a tankless water heater or a tanked one?
RONNY: Tankless; yes, tankless water heater.
TOM: And what do you have right now, Ronny?
RONNY: I have a 40-gallon.
TOM: It's gas or electric?
RONNY: No, it's electric.
TOM: Well, listen, you can replace - you can use a tankless electric or you can use a tankless gas. Gas is certainly going to be more efficient than electric and it will be less expensive, of course, to run, accordingly. Now, I will say, though, that a tankless water heater's going to be more expensive than a tanked water heater that you have now ...
TOM: ... but the advantage is efficiency is far superior and also longevity; they're just going to last a lot longer. So you'll spend a little bit more money now but you will, hopefully, save it in the long run; especially if you're going to be in that house for quite a while.
There you go. Ronny, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, in Illinois, Jamie listens to The Money Pit on WLBK and you've got a countertop situation. What's happening?
JAMIE: Not much. I actually - it's more of a countertop cabinet situation where I think I'm going to have to be replacing the entire thing. I mean it's a small kitchen - I've never done it before but I'm kind of like, 'Well, I bet I can.' (chuckling) But I ...
LESLIE: You can do whatever you set your mind to it.
JAMIE: That's the way I look at it but I just didn't know where to start, you know?
LESLIE: So tell us what's happening with the cabinets and the countertop right now.
JAMIE: They're just so old. Probably ...
LESLIE: So you don't even want to try to repair them. You want to take them out and get all new.
JAMIE: You got it.
TOM: Because, Jamie, there's really two levels of improvement you could make here. You could do sort of just an inexpensive kitchen makeover by, say, taking the old countertop and removing and replacing that but perhaps repainting the cabinets, changing all of the hardware on the cabinets and then sprucing up the floors and the walls to match. Or, of course, you could do a total ...
LESLIE: Yeah, that would be a face lift, Tom. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, sort of a facelift. Or you could do a - you know, a total makeover where you pull everything out. But you know, here's the basics on doing a total cabinet replacement. The easiest thing to do is, when the new cabinets happen to fit the layout of the old cabinets, there's no additional structural work involved, there's no additional plumbing work involved; you know, it all kind of goes back the way it was. So that would be the first thing for you to decide; whether or not you're going to sort of mimic the existing layout.
If you're not and you're going to get into sort of moving things around, that's when sort of the complication level goes up. Why? Because you could end up having to move the sink plumbing; you might have to move some electrical outlets; you may have to move the gas hookup for the stove or the electric hookup for the stove; the duct that takes the smoke from the stove outside. All of those other things sort of add to the complication level.
So I would say, if it's a simple sort of cabinet-for-cabinet replacement, that's probably the easiest. But when you start changing the layout, that's when it gets more complicated and you might want to have an expert help. And you know, there's a lot of design services out there. All of the home centers will do designing for you, as long as you're buying their cabinets. You might want to go out there and get a few ideas on the designs because there are a lot of neat new cabinets out that could really make a difference in that kitchen.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you're going to put them up yourself, remember, put the uppers in first.
JAMIE: (chuckling) Gotcha.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It saves a whole lot of headaches, believe me.
TOM: Yeah, it's a lot easier to not have to reach over those bottom cabinets. Wall cabinets always go on first.
LESLIE: Well, I've heard about ring around the collar, but ring around the toilet? We've got a natural, quick way to get rid of it, right after this.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
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. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
Alright, folks. So you've got that unwanted ring around the toilet. It's gross. You know how it got there. We're not talking about that. But I'm going to give you a nice, natural way to clean those toilet bowls.
You want to coat the bowl with lemon juice and borax. Let it sit there for a while and then scrub it with your toilet brush. Then, when you flush, you're going to flush away all of those stains and you're going to save a ton of money because you're getting rid of those expensive commercial cleaners. It's a great tip. Give it a try.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You have a home improvement question? Perhaps you have a home improvement tip you'd like to share. Call us right now. 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Alright. John in Savannah, Georgia, I think you called just in time. Tell us about your problem.
JOHN: Yes, I can usually fix almost anything in the house and I have a gas dryer - clothes dryer. And it continually is burning my clothes in all the creases.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, no.
LESLIE: Like, to a crisp?
JOHN: No, no. Just in creases. It's almost like - it looks like wherever the clothes are folded over, there's a little crease and where that crease is, is a burn mark on my clothes.
TOM: Does it look like a black burn mark?
JOHN: Yes, black or dark brown.
LESLIE: Like when you burn a marshmallow.
TOM: No, actually, I know exactly what's wrong. I - here's the good news. I don't think that it's burning it. What I think is happening is I think that there's a rubber roller that the dryer tumbles around and in some types of dryers, what happens is the clothes actually get tangled with those rollers ...
TOM: ... and it actually leaves like a rubber - it's almost a tread mark on the clothes. I've seen this before. That's one thing that comes to mind. The other thing is, if there is any kind of a burning issue, then A - you may have a problem with the thermostat that controls the amount of heat in the dryer if it overheats.
TOM: Or B - you could have a simple venting problem. Now, is this a single-family house that you live in?
JOHN: Yes, and I did clean the vent out so maybe it's the thermostat.
TOM: And it is venting? OK, so it could be the thermostat or it could be the rollers.
TOM: Either way, you've got to get this fixed quick; especially if it's - if it's burning.
Let me give you a resource - a web-based resource - that's pretty good. It's RepairClinic.com. These guys maintain a database on pretty much every repair problem out there and every brand of dryer and can tell you exactly what to do and what part you'll need to fix it based on the brand that you have.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And get you that part in 24 hours.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. OK?
JOHN: Alright, well we - we don't use it anymore and it's one of those things where as soon as I can get it fixed - it was a decision do you buy a new one or do you try to fix the old one.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
JOHN: Very good. Thank you and thanks for answering my question.
TOM: You're very welcome.
JOHN: I love your show. Take care.
TOM: Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Nevada finds The Money Pit on The Discovery Channel Radio. How exciting. Tell us what's going on in your house.
MICHAEL: Well, hi. I have a steel home and I wanted to make the outside of it look a little more traditional; like a stucco finish.
TOM: Well, sure, it is. In fact, (chuckling) because it's a steel home, you're probably like one of the only homes in America that actually could successfully use an exterior insulated foam siding system. (laughter) That's that eave system that's dreaded in the east because people put it on houses that are made of wood and it causes the wood to rot. But it has been used successfully in commercial construction, which is much like - built in the same way that steel homes are built.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That steel homes are.
TOM: That's right. If you don't have organic material, you have less of an issue there. It's attached to the steel siding and then it's covered with a stucco-like material - these foam panels that are attached first and it's covered with it. The most important thing is you want the kind of siding that has drain channels in the back of it so any moisture gets in there it'll drain out the bottom.
Installation is key. You really need to find somebody that's extremely experienced with it because it is a fairly difficult product to install. I think you're going to find that once it's installed, it's drop-dead gorgeous. It is - no one's ever, you know, complained that the stuff doesn't look good; just that it holds moisture and it causes wood buildings to rot. But if you don't have a wood building, then I think you can go ahead and put it on.
LESLIE: OK. So the party's over and the cleanup is underway when you spot - dun dun da!
TOM: (overlapping voices) Dun dun da! (laughing)
LESLIE: Water rings - oh, no! - on your prized end table.
TOM: Oh, I hate those things. Well, you know what? There is a really simple way to get rid of them and we will give you that DIY secret, next.
[audio timestamp: 27:54]
[audio timestamp: 30:07]
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.
So, the party's over, the guests have left and they've left behind the water rings all over your furniture. Well, guess what? The water rings can be dealt with.
First of all, what are they? Well, they're the result of moisture trapped underneath the finish or the wax. To take the bite out of these stains, you need to rub a toothpaste solution onto a damp cloth and into the ring. When finished, buff the entire surface and then buy yourself some coasters so it doesn't happen again.
LESLIE: Yeah, folks. Coasters are key. If you come over to my house, you have to use a coaster. I've had one too many experiences with these white rings and I'm kind of a stickler for keeping things tidy; just FYI when you're next invited over to the Segrete household.
Alright, folks. Ladies - Money Pit ladies out there - you're calling us, you're writing us, you're doing things and we are so happy for it. That's why this prize this hour is especially for the women. It's a wonderful thing. It's from Tomboy Tools and it's the Super Stepper, which is a combination step stool and toolbox.
TOM: It's worth 105 bucks. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: In Tennessee, Walter listens to The Money Pit on Discovery Channel Radio and you've got an electrical question. What do you want to talk about?
WALTER: Yes, I've got a security light that I wired to - you know, just like where a regular outside light would be wired to a switch.
WALTER: And I ended up buying an additional one to put on the back side. I have a guest house behind my main house and it's kind of dark out there on my property. I was wondering, will I overload the circuit - far as if I join those two in together ...
WALTER: ... and put them on the same switch? It's like the mercury vapor light and ... one is a mercury vapor and then there's another one that said it was more economical than a mercury vapor, that I bought a few weeks ago. I put it in the guest ... I don't even remember which ... what they said it was; what kind of bulb it was.
TOM: Probably a compact fluorescent.
WALTER: That could be it. I haven't taken it out of the box. It's just one of those big old ... like you almost would see in an industrial business park.
TOM: Right. Well, what else is on this particular circuit? Is it just a lighting circuit? Because, frankly, adding two lights to a lighting circuit is not very likely to overload it.
TOM: You know? Your typical minimum size circuit in a house is 15 amps.
TOM: And, typically, a circuit ... a lighting circuit almost never pulls more than a couple of amps altogether.
TOM: So I wouldn't be overly concerned about overloading the particular circuit. I can't tell you for sure without knowing what else is on there. But it's not likely that adding one light to an existing branch circuit is going to cause a problem. And if it does and it starts tripping, you're going to know right away.
WALTER: OK. So basically ... I just, basically, run like a conjunction box and run some conduit down and then tie it all in and I should be fine long as that's the only thing on that circuit.
TOM: Yeah, but don't tie it in ... don't tie it in at the breaker because that would be what's called a double tap. You can't put two wires into the same circuit; you've got to tie it in before that in a properly secured and wired junction box.
WALTER: OK. So the same thing would basically apply if you've got a single security light, far as a spotlight coming off of your house, and you want to take that down and put a double security light? And I just found some economical ... like the fluorescent bulbs that only burn like 26 watts, as opposed to the 90 watts.
TOM: That's going to use less electricity, not more. Yes, the compact fluorescents use a quarter of the electricity compared to an incandescent.
WALTER: So, basically, it wouldn't be a problem at all, then ...
TOM: Not an issue.
WALTER: ... if I went around all four corners of my house and upgraded to a two ... two sockets, if you will?
TOM: No. No, especially if you're going to use a compact fluorescent like that. Because the actual consumption is so much less than what you had now.
WALTER: OK. And I should get brighter lighting also. OK. Well, yeah, I was just wondering about that because I'm not ... on the electrical aspect, I'm ... obviously, you don't want to burn anything up, you know, so ...
TOM: Well, yeah. And I will say, if you're uncomfortable doing this wiring and you don't really know exactly what's going on, then this is a smart thing to hire a professional to do. We don't usually recommend that people who are not totally familiar with electrical wiring do jobs like this. I mean, certainly, it's easy to remove and replace a couple of wires ....
LESLIE: Yeah, the consequences when something is done wrong are very great.
TOM: Yes, exactly. So we want to have you approach this very, very cautiously. Because, Walter, we need every single listener we have, OK? (laughter)
WALTER: Right, right.
TOM: You hear me? (laughing)
WALTER: I understand.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tom in Oregon is looking to paint his basement floor. Tell us what the floor is now.
TOM IN OREGON: It's a concrete basement floor. And I cleaned it up pretty well. And I'm just trying to figure out what kind of paint I should use. I was going to stain it but I think there's just too many marks on the floor to really stain it and have it look nice. Because I thought stain might hold up better. But I just want an idea of what kind of paint to use, really.
LESLIE: Well, it depends ... are you looking for something that has more of a stain look effect? Because you can get a lot of interesting looks whether you use a concrete stain or whether you use something that has more of a chemical reaction, like an acid stain.
TOM IN OREGON: Oh, well, I ... there's a fair amount of like marks and there's a little bit of paint on the floor. And I'm just thinking that it might not ...
LESLIE: It might make it more pronounced.
TOM IN OREGON: Right. Yeah.
TOM: Well, you know what, Tom. You can ... the nice thing about stain is what's the worse thing that could happen? You decide you don't like it and then you're back to paint. (chuckling) If you go paint first, and you really can't go the stain route.
TOM IN OREGON: Right. And stain will hold up better, won't it? Generally?
TOM: Well, I don't know. What do you think, Leslie? I mean I think because it sort of fades, it doesn't really break down. That it probably will hold out better; as opposed to paint, which is a surface that abrades.
LESLIE: Right. And the stain, you can go as translucent or as opaque as you like. Because concrete stain comes in a variety of opacities. So you can go with something that's as heavy, almost, as a paint. Or you can go with something that's a little bit more sheer - like a wood stain - even though it's a concrete stain. And you can get that tinted to just about any color.
TOM IN OREGON: OK, great. Yeah, I think I'll ... maybe I'll give it a try with the stain first; maybe on a small area and see how it looks and if it doesn't look right (inaudible).
LESLIE: (overlapping) Yeah, and there's also another interesting choice for a flooring covering; especially for a basement or even an outdoor area. It's something that Tom and I love. It's called EPOXYShield.
TOM: It's a paint that is specifically designed for concrete. And it's epoxy-based. There's two parts that you mix together and then it hardens. And it's really tough stuff. And it has sort of like a decorative sort of a sprinkly coating that you put on, when you're done, that gives it some ...
LESLIE: Kind of like 1950's but it's really cute.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. But it's really tough stuff.
TOM IN OREGON: So it sort of looks like linoleum or something like that?
TOM: A little bit. Yeah, a little bit like the old-fashioned linoleum. You know, we painted ... my son has a Boy Scout troop here - it's very active - and we needed to redo their kitchen and painted the whole floor with this stuff and ... and it was an old, nasty floor and we cleaned it up really good and put the EPOXYShield down. And it really is standing up well. And boy, take it from me, those kids can really abrade that surface and ...
TOM IN OREGON: Yeah, right.
TOM: ... wear and tear the surface. So that's a good product, too. But again, as we were saying, you can start with a concrete stain because I think you may be pleasantly surprised, Tom, at the colorful effects that can come from a concrete stain or an acid stain. And maybe that's something you'll just do and be very happy with.
TOM IN OREGON: OK, great. I'll give that a try. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Evelyn in Georgia has a problem with her door. What happened?
EVELYN: The paint is chipping on the back door. I have kept the heat on but when I went to open the door to check on the house - back door - it's the white enamel and it's been several coats and it's all over the floor and it's kind of bustling up on the door itself.
TOM: What kind of door is this, Evelyn? Is it a wood door?
EVELYN: Wood door. Uh-huh.
TOM: OK. If you have a lot of coats of paint on that door - and especially if the heating and the cooling in the home is running inconsistently because it's a vacant house - what you might be finding is that that door simply can't hold anymore paint. And so, it's stripping. As that wood starts to get moist, especially, a lot of that wood will fall off. So if you're not running the air conditioning all the time or if you're not running the heat on a regular cycle, it's not going to stick very well.
At this point, the best thing to do is to strip the paint off the door and to repaint it. Because if you try to put new paint on top of that, Leslie, I think it's not going to stick.
LESLIE: (overlapping) It's not going to stick. And your best bet is to take that door off of its hinges; you know, pull the pins, pull the door off and lay it down on some horses outside and work on it on a flat surface. Because it'll really help you to strip the paint more efficiently.
EVELYN: I figured that much but I didn't know what to use. That was my question.
TOM: Well, the best thing for you to do is - once you get the old paint off - is I want you to prime it next. Don't put a top coat on it, directly, without putting a primer first. And for a wood door, I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ.
EVELYN: But how am I going to get the paint off to start with?
TOM: Well, you're going to scrape off all of the loose stuff and then you're going to sand whatever's left. You don't have to go right down to the raw wood, but get as much of it off as you can.
LESLIE: And get it to as smooth as you can.
TOM: Yeah. You know, you don't want to leave any loose stuff on there is the bottom line. But then you want to put a primer on it. I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ. And then, use a surface paint over that. Just use an exterior grade trim paint, is the best thing to use, because the trim paints on the exterior grade, they have more pigment in it. They have more titanium dioxide, which is the colorant in paint. And that tends to stand up and be a lot harder and tougher; especially in a problem paint area.
So that would be the way to do it, Evelyn. And I think if you do that, that door's just going to look good all over again.
LESLIE: So, are you thinking about putting up your home for sale in the near future? Well, what should you do now to help you get the best price?
TOM: One of our Money Pit e-mailers had that exact question and we have the answer, next.
[audio timestamp: 39:47]
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. The website, MoneyPit.com, where you can visit us. You can research just about everything we've ever written about home improvement. No matter what project you're tackling, there is a solution on MoneyPit.com to help you out. And you can always call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. But if you don't want to call, perhaps you want to email, you can simply click on Ask Tom and Leslie. So let's jump into that email bag right now.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. Sheila from Matawan, New Jersey writes: 'If we want to put our house on the market within the next 18 months, what improvements should we be looking at? We're considering patching the roof since we lost some shingles in a recent storm, a new furnace and hot water heater which are both original to our 18-year-old home or more cosmetic upgrades like new carpeting in the upstairs hall and master bedroom and paint touchups. What should we do?'
TOM: Hmm. Well, all of those things are good improvements, Sheila, but I would say, first of all, to get your house ready for sale, you want to get rid of the stuff that's in it. As much as possible, you want to try to empty your house. Here's why.
Remember that the new buyer that's going to look at your property is probably coming from a rather crowded space because that's why people buy new houses (chuckling); so that they have room for more stuff. But if they see your stuff in the house, they're not going to be able to envision their stuff in your house so as much stuff as you can get rid of, the more money you're going to make.
Beyond that, what I would do is I would have a professional home inspection done up front, before you put the place on the market, to get a real sense as to the structural condition of that property in the eyes of a buyer. Because the worst time to find out that something's wrong with your house is after you've got a contract.
LESLIE: And I was going to say, I think replacing the water heater is probably a really smart thing to do; especially because of it's age, it's almost on its way out anyway. A furnace you can get - what? - 30 years out of?
TOM: You potentially could but I would rather have them do the home inspection first because what if something else that's more expensive pops up? This way, you can prioritize.
LESLIE: Yeah, but say things are OK and the hot water heater is just, you know, what's old? Your inspector's going to go in and tell you, 'That thing really needs to be replaced: and then you're going to be negotiating to get rid of those costs for the new buyer.
TOM: (overlapping voices) So you're better off ...
LESLIE: So just go ahead and put a new one in.
TOM: Yeah, you're better off doing that early on before you put the house on the market because once the buyer's involved, there's a lot of tension and they're always worried about whether or not you're going to repair it properly and - or whether you're just going to put the cheapest old thing in there. So get the information quick, do it first and then you'll be good to go to put that house on the market and you'll make the most money for it.
LESLIE: Yeah, and stick to neutrals.
TOM: Well, it's a little known secret about Leslie Segrete. The first three things on her shopping list for every holiday meal includes a turkey, stuffing and a fire extinguisher. (laughter)
No, seriously, fire safety is something that you know and that's the topic of today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: You know, I keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. I also keep one next to the fireplace in the winter months when we're using it. But, you know, I have one of the inspection tags on it ...
LESLIE: ... and I actually inspect it once a year and I write down the date and my name. Like, who else is looking at the thing? (laughing) I look to make sure it's charged, it's full, you know? If I need it, it's ready to go.
TOM: Alright, well that sounds smart.
LESLIE: (inaudible) I mean, what more could you do? But folks, when you have a fire in your house, the first thing you want to grab is not the fire extinguisher. It's actually the phone. And I don't mean your wall phone or your cordless phone. I mean your cell phone. Grab those kids, grab the pets, get whatever you can family wise - not object wise - and get the heck out of Dodge. And use your neighbor's phone or your cell phone to call the fire department. You want to get out there as quick as possible because you never know how volatile the fire's going to be.
And when you do reach for the fire extinguisher, make sure you get one that's rated A, B and C because they all mean that they fight different things but one that's rated A, B and C will tackle just about any fire. But try not to tackle anything that's larger than a trash can. Remember, only small fires because too large of a fire can be pretty dangerous and it also wastes precious escape time for you and your family.
So stay safe, keep an extinguisher on hand and remember - 911. It's a good number to know but call it from a friend's.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, coming up next week on the program, Rebecca Cole is going to join us; the gardening expert, Rebecca Cole. You've seen her, you know, on the Today Show and read her books and columns. She's excellent. She's going to have some tips on how to keep our kids safe while playing outside this summer.
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.
[audio timestamp: 44:30]
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(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.)