Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: It's a great hour. It's a great idea. We're here to talk home improvement. Give us a call right now with your home improvement questions, your do-it-yourself dilemmas at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, in this economy you want to make sure that when you choose a home improvement project that it absolutely delivers the best value for your house and a bathroom makeover can do just that. But you want to invest in a great design before you get started to make sure that when any potential buyer comes down and takes a look at that improvement that it's worth every penny you put into it and more. We'll tell you how to choose a bathroom designer that can help you out in just a bit.
LESLIE: And if you are adding a new bathroom or working on any major renovations in your home it might actually be time to think about having your home reappraised. We're going to tell you everything you need to know before that appraiser rings your doorbell, a little bit later.
TOM: And also ahead this hour we're going to talk to a woman on a mission. She was expecting her first child when she learned that her home had a major mold problem and that started a concern for green living that has turned into a passion and a career.
LESLIE: So we're having Sarah Beatty, the founder of Green Depot, joining us this hour to talk to us about going green your way and also how expectant parents like me, which is any day now (Tom chuckles), can keep green ideas in mind when outfitting the nursery.
TOM: And we're giving away a cool utility knife from the folks at Rapid Tools. It's called The Shark. Comes along with an edge prize pack worth 60 bucks. It's going to go to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Mike in New Jersey's thinking about putting some carpeting in the basement. Mike, you know how we feel about that.
MIKE: I know, but I had carpeting in the basement and I'm remodeling the basement so I want to put new carpeting back down. But the old carpeting had padding and I'm told to glue the new one down. So I don't know what to do.
TOM: Ugh. Don't do it. Don't do it, Mike. If you put carpeting in that basement, I mean I'm glad you survived to make this phone call; having had carpet down there all those years.
LESLIE: Yeah, you've never had water down there?
TOM: Yeah, it's just not a good idea.
MIKE: No, no.
TOM: Even if you don't have water, Mike, there's so much moisture and humidity in that slab. That combined with the dirt and the dust that will get in that carpet is going to grow mold in a big way.
LESLIE: And it causes a whole host of respiratory situations.
TOM: Yeah, especially as you get older. I would definitely not put carpeting in the basement. Here are some more options ...
TOM: ... to give you something to choose from.
If you want something that's really good looking and is going to be dimensionally stable, you can think about engineered hardwood floor. It will look like a regular hardwood floor that you might have higher up in the house but it's engineered so it's dimensionally stable. It's made of alternating layers of hardwood. Now if you really want a carpet, put the engineered floor down and then put some throw rugs on top of it so you can still have that soft surface underfoot. But whatever you do, don't glue a carpet to that concrete floor. You're just asking for trouble.
MIKE: OK, I already did partial laminate in the kitchen area of the basement on the cement.
TOM: That was a good choice.
MIKE: Actually, on the old linoleum. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah, that was a good choice. Laminate floor is another good choice.
MIKE: Yeah, actually my wife wanted to do the whole basement with that but I wanted to do the carpeting. So ...
TOM: Well your wife's a smart woman. (Mike chuckles)
LESLIE: And you know what? The laminate all in the basement is going to make the space seem so much bigger. It's going to be easier to clean and you're going to find you enjoy hanging out down there a lot more because you're not going to feel like sneezy or allergy-ish without any explanation.
MIKE: That's true.
TOM: And Mike, remember, if you go for the laminate there are so many colors and patterns. I mean it doesn't have to look like a vinyl floor. It can look like hardwood. It can look like tile. It can look like stone. So you have a lot of choices.
MIKE: Yeah, that's true. I've seen that. OK. OK, very good.
TOM: Alright, Mike. Have we talked you out of the carpet?
MIKE: Yes, you have.
TOM: Good. (chuckles)
MIKE: Yes, you have.
LESLIE: He's like maybe.
TOM: Our job is done. (Mike chuckles) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Christine in Virginia is dealing with a siding situation. Tell us about it.
CHRISTINE: Well my house is actually wood sided and the wood is doing pretty well but the painted trim has turned a gray, spotted mess. I mean it's moldy, mildewy; I don't know what it is. And I back up to a swamp, which probably doesn't help matters.
LESLIE: (chuckling) What color is the house painted?
TOM: Yeah, is it a nice shade of gray? (chuckles)
CHRISTINE: It's not a bad shade of gray if it were consistent. The house is actually itself like a cherry-stained cedar.
LESLIE: So you would notice if there was mold or mildew on that, too.
CHRISTINE: Right. Well there had been on one side and I had somebody come in and power wash it down and ...
CHRISTINE: ... and take stuff off, but he didn't want to touch the white paint and I didn't know why.
LESLIE: Well it's just a maintenance issue. Perhaps he doesn't want to touch the white paint because maybe it's been a while since it's been painted and he's fearful that if he gets at it with the pressure washer it's going to start chipping away at some of the old paint and then cause you to have to paint it again and you might think that it's his fault; which, you know, can happen if you're working with a pressure washer. But you can - if you can access those trim areas; if you feel comfortable on a ladder in some of those regions where you need to reach it, you can mix up a bleach-and-water solution and get a stiff bristle brush and I usually go - I mean if it's heavily saturated with the mold and mildew I'll go 50 percent bleach/50 percent water but if it's not so bad I usually go 30/70. I sort of gauge on, you know, how moldy, mildewy it is. And then I take that stiff brush and I sort of slop it onto the area; let it sit for a few minutes. If I can do it on a day when the sun is hitting that area as best it can - you know, I know it probably doesn't hit that area so great; that's why you're getting a lot of this mold and mildew - then I'll scrub it and give it a good rinsing off and that usually does the trick. But you're going to do it again next year or the year after.
CHRISTINE: And is there anything I can put on it to prevent it from happening again?
TOM: Well, if it's painted with a mildicide-based paint, then that actually will slow it down. The other things that you can do, sort of naturally speaking, is that the more light you get to those sides of the house - the more sunlight - the less chance you're going to have that it grows mold or mildew. So if you can cut back overhanging trees and have it a little bit more exposed to daylight, that will slow the growth. But in terms of paint products, use an exterior paint that's got a mildicide on it. That will slow it.
Another product that works well is one called Jomax - J-o-m-a-x - which you mix up with bleach and with water and it becomes a very, very strong mildicide. It's a siding wash and you can buy it as home centers. It's made by the Zinsser Company. Works very well.
CHRISTINE: OK, excellent. Well thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone. Let us know what you're working on because we can help you get the job done. Call us with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, whether you want a powder room or a luxurious master bed, poor planning when tackling those bathroom upgrades can really leave your project at a wash. We're going to have a few tips for success, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller who asks their home improvement or repair question on the air this hour has got a real chance to win a $60 prize package from Rapid Tools. It includes the Shark. It's a combination utility knife and wire stripper. It's got edge-serrated utility blades and even a utility knife with an LED light. That package is worth 60 bucks. Going to go to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Yeah, give us a call; especially if you're thinking about doing a big project in your home and maybe that big project could be upgrading your bathroom, which we all know really adds huge value to your biggest investment which is your home. But if you're planning a functional and still attractive bathroom you know it can be a challenge. So we want to help you flush out all of your ideas, your budgets, your needs, everything. To do that, you might want to think about hiring a professional bathroom designer. Their experience plus their access to a range of fixtures and detail options that you might not be able to find regularly out in the store, it's going to help you set the stage for beautiful results that are just going to add value to your home. That's what it's all about. In this economy you don't want to do improvements that aren't going to come back to you in the long run and a bathroom always offers a big return on investment.
TOM: And make sure you look for a certified kitchen and bath designer. That is a certification program that assures you that these folks know exactly what they're doing.
888-666-3974 where we know what we're doing when it comes to some home improvement questions. So pick up the phone and call us. We're here to help you out.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Irma in New York is thinking about replacing the front door. How can we help?
IRMA: What is the best kind of a door to get?
TOM: Well, the best kind of door to probably get today is a fiberglass door and the reason I say that is because wood doors can crack and warp and metal doors ...
LESLIE: And they need a lot of maintenance.
TOM: Yeah, they do. And metal doors can ding and dent. But a fiberglass door doesn't need any of that. There are a lot of options in fiberglass doors. You can have a smooth one with no grain on it. You can get one that looks exactly like wood; I mean to the point where it's like stained like wood and the grain is almost indistinguishable from real wood.
LESLIE: And they come in a variety of styles with raised panels and multiple lights and a big glass sort of oval in the center. Truly it's up to your design choice; there's a fiberglass door that matches that. They're durable in storm situations and they really do stand up well to environmental and weather conditions.
TOM: You know, Irma, a really good brand to look at is Therma-Tru. That's their website as well; Therma-Tru.com. They're also sold at Lowe's.
TOM: And they really make a nice fiberglass door. You can buy one for - you know, anywhere from a few hundred dollars and up.
IRMA: How about a storm door, too?
TOM: Well see now that's the other thing. If you put in a fiberglass door you don't need a storm door anymore.
TOM: The doors are so insulated. In fact, the fiberglass doors are eight times better insulated than a wood door. So you no longer need a storm door. The only reason you might want to have another door on top of that is if you wanted a screen door but you definitely do not need a storm door if you put up a fiberglass door.
LESLIE: Well and Irma, let me tell you, as a New Yorker who has a new door on the front of their home, I opted to go without storm door ...
LESLIE: ... and when you open the door people feel compelled to walk right in. (Irma chuckles) Pizza delivery guys, strangers, neighbors. You open that door, they see a blank space and they're right on it. (Tom chuckles) So you might want to even think about having one anyway, just for that extra layer in between you.
TOM: Irma, good luck with that home improvement project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jack in Florida has got a grouting issue. How can we help?
JACK: Yeah. Hey, I've got a - redoing a bathroom, a shower area, and - actually I've got a contractor doing it - and it's a marble shower. We left a spot for a stone detail. For some reason - and I guess - I don't know if they didn't know how to grout but they like put the grout on and didn't wipe it off the stone and it dried. So now I see them up there kind of like chipping with a putty knife and making a lot of mess but it's really not coming off and I'm just wondering if there's anything we can do other than just tear out the old stone detail and put a new one in.
TOM: I've never successfully been able to get out grout that was put on an unfinished, unglazed surface like that.
TOM: I mean the stuff is designed to last forever and it does just that.
LESLIE: Yeah and it's something that when you're installing the grout you have to be, you know, super-duper on it as far as removing the clouding and any extra grout; especially on an unfinished tile.
JACK: Wrong answer. (chuckles)
TOM: Sorry, Jack.
LESLIE: Aw, sorry.
LESLIE: It's just so porous, that raw stone; it's just sucked it right in.
JACK: Right, right. Alright, well thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I think Jack had a hard time saying thank you. (Leslie chuckles) It's like, 'Thank you. That's not what I wanted to hear but thanks anyway.'
LESLIE: Listening in on WPRO in Rhode Island we've got John. What's going on at your Money Pit?
JOHN: I'm talking about an old Victorian that's been in the family since the 20s and 30s; probably built by an aunt in Cumberland, Rhode Island here. And it has a kitchen and a breakfast nook area ...
JOHN: ... that have an old rug that's, you know, so dirty I can't stand the sight of them anymore. (John and Leslie chuckle) Under it appears there's linoleum but under that linoleum it appears that somebody put down - decades ago, before they installed the linoleum - I assume like black tarpaper on top of the hardwood flooring.
JOHN: And I took off the old rug; the linoleum lifted right up; some of the black tarpaper came off but large spots were like, I guess from the pressure of the traffic over 30, 40, 50 years maybe - almost like bonded too the - you know, to the hardwood floor and I'm getting it off but, you know, it's like hard rock labor; like one square inch at a time on my hands and knees.
TOM: Well you're going to probably end up refinishing that hardwood floor, aren't you?
TOM: Well then I wouldn't worry about it because when they come - when you come in with a belt sander, the floor sander which is a 12-inch-wide belt sander that runs across the floor, the grit on that is very, very heavy - usually start with a very, very heavy grit like a 40-grit or something like that - and you will cut right through that paper and right through whatever's on top of that floor. So I would just get the most of it off, the loose stuff off, and then let a professional come in and floor sand that. I generally don't recommend that people do their own floor sanding because it requires sort of some ... the touch.
LESLIE: An evenness.
TOM: Some practice.
JOHN: Yes, I know. I tried that once.
TOM: Yeah, if you don't practice and you don't have the touch what can happen is you're going to really damage that floor. So I would - I think you're doing the right thing. Just get the most of it off that you can and then have a floor sander come in and do the rest of it.
LESLIE: Alright, well Ann in Utah is considering something interesting; changing the exterior of a home before she's even purchased it. Alright Ann, what's going on?
ANN: Well, my husband and I looked at a home. It's 100 years old.
ANN: And it's originally a brick home with some, you know, wood and the eaves and all of that. And somebody has just gone and sprayed it with like stucco everywhere.
ANN: Under the eaves, everything. And we were wondering if there was a safe way to get the stucco off.
TOM: Gosh, I can't think of one because you know if you use anything that's abrasive you'll damage the bricks and you'll damage the mortar that's underneath that; especially on an older home because the bricks tend to be fairly soft, as does the mortar.
TOM: That's really unfortunate that they've essentially painted the whole thing with a stucco-like material.
LESLIE: And there's no way to sandblast it or have a pro sandblast it to try to ...
TOM: The problem with sandblasting is it's - that's the worst thing you can do to an historic building. (Leslie groans) Because it will definitely cut into the brick surface and it's not going to be pretty. So it's very difficult to remove that. You know you may just have to put more of it on there if you don't like the color or something or maybe it's just not the right house for you.
ANN: No, I don't think it is.
LESLIE: I mean you know what you can do, Ann, is you can find somebody locally who's into brick restoration who does this as a service and just bring them over there as a consultant and ask them their opinion. Because you know, they'll see it firsthand and understand it and since it's not your home yet, you know, they're not really looking to make a buck because you don't own it yet.
TOM: It depends on what this stucco material is. I mean I guess it's possible that there could be like a paint-stripping type of a chemical that might be able to loosen it up. So it might be worth a little bit of investigation but my initial gut reaction is it's going to be a tough job.
ANN: Yeah, that's what I thought and it probably would be expensive, wouldn't it?
TOM: Yeah, a lot of labor which means a lot of money.
ANN: OK. Alright, well thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Ann. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, more and more of you want to know what you can do to really go green and what's going to make a definite impact in your homes and in your lives. Well, coming up we're going to talk about a one-stop online resource for green products and great info. We'll have that, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and maybe you've become familiar or at least heard of a term called green or the greening of America or the greening of your home. Well I'm sure you've heard it in some capacity because green is everywhere and if you're an expectant parent like I am you're probably paying a lot of attention to everything; from the kind of paint that you're using in the nursery to the flooring; even the furnitures, the finishings, the toys, the clothing, everything that's going to be around your newborn.
TOM: Yeah, basically what you're saying, Leslie, is that as a parent we all become a bit neurotic. (chuckles)
LESLIE: I'm already beyond neuroses at this point and I'm not even there yet.
TOM: Well if you find yourself in that position you're going to love our next guest. Joining us now with the top 10 things expectant parents should look at in the home is Sarah Beatty, founder of GreenDepot.com. And Sarah, we understand that your entire venture into the green arena started when you yourself were pregnant and I guess perhaps a bit green-neurotic (chuckling) at that time. Tell us what happened.
SARAH: Hi. Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom.
I definitely was a bit neurotic and I was very pregnant. I was about eight - actually into my ninth month of pregnancy, expecting to head to the hospital within five days to delivery. And I noticed that in our newly renovated apartment our floorboards were popping up in our kitchen.
SARAH: And Leslie, as you may relate to this, you know when you get into that final month you have your list of everything you have to get done.
LESLIE: And you're on a strict deadline. (Sarah chuckles) You know? It's like nesting to the extreme.
SARAH: Exactly. So I had a floor specialist come in. I really had no experience; you know, I was just a homeowner who had renovated her home. It wasn't a part of what I had been doing before. And someone came in and they sat me down with my mother and said, 'I don't want to scare you but I'm very concerned that you have mold contamination throughout your home and if that's the case I really think that you should leave until it's tested because it could be dangerous for you as well as for your unborn child.'
TOM: Now Sarah, was this a contractor that perhaps was trying to sell you some services?
SARAH: That's a really good question. It wasn't a contractor. It actually was a gentleman who specializes in flooring and works with a lot of contractors. But this guy was a very reputable, trusted person who we had been referred to through an architect who we knew and he said, 'I don't want to be an alarmist but I think you should have this checked.'
TOM: Well it sounds like it was good advice.
TOM: Well Sarah, let's get to some of your tips. First you've one about lighting. You say that parents should consider full-spectrum light bulbs. I don't think I've ever heard of that. What do you mean by full spectrum?
SARAH: Well, a full-spectrum light bulb is not a compact fluorescent bulb, which many people think of when they think of green building.
SARAH: But actually a full-spectrum bulb mimics natural light.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yes, we've seen these.
SARAH: Yeah, they're shown to reduce eye fatigue and also with young babies, where they're developing a lot of things, you don't want to have harsh light. So that is why we recommend full-spectrum light bulbs.
LESLIE: Now what about mattresses and bedding? As I'm shopping for the things for my own crib for the house there are so many options and they're organic options but they're kind of pricy. Is it worth it?
SARAH: Oh, it's absolutely worth it. You don't want to have plastics and other things that have been finished with formaldehyde in a mattress that your baby is going to sleep on. I think it's probably one of the most important things. If you're going to take the time also to make sure that you use a nontoxic adhesive carpets and you use no-toxic paints, of course you'd also want to consider a mattress that doesn't have any of those toxins as a part of the makeup.
TOM: Let's talk about some of the cleaning tips that you offer. You say when you're buying a vacuum use a HEPA filter, which makes good sense. But with cleaning products themselves, do you think you can mix them up yourself or are there products out there that are natural enough for the babies?
SARAH: The great news is that there are both.
SARAH: If you want to make your own, you know, it really is going back in time but great stuff like vinegar and baking soda work very well and if you are a new mom and you don't have that kind of time, the good news is right now there are so many new-found fantastic, natural cleaning products that are on the market. You can get them in the grocery store. Look for natural enzyme formulas and you want to make sure that there are not many long chemical names on the ingredients on the back and you'll be all set.
TOM: Great advice. Sarah Beatty from GreenDepot.com, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
SARAH: It's a pleasure. I'll keep on listening. It's great tips from you guys.
LESLIE: Thanks, Sarah. You've certainly helped me get my head wrapped around what's going to make my nursery just perfect and green for my little one who should arriving any moment.
Well if you've done some work in your house it might be time to get your home reappraised but we want to make sure that you're ready when the appraiser comes to your house. We're going to give you a simple checklist of what you need to have on hand so that you are ready for every question asked, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and the number here at The Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a very useful prize. We're giving away a $60 prize pack from Rapid Tools and it includes a Shark knife and you know sharks have pretty sharp teeth, so I can tell you that this knife is pretty darn sharp. It's the first and only tool to combine a utility knife with a wire stripper and it's got a one-button quick-blade change system that is so easy to use; it takes away all the apprehension of, 'Oh my God. I'm going to cut my fingers off.' (Tom chuckles) It really does make it easy. Give us a call. You've got to be in it to win it, so pick up the phone. Let us know what you're working on at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you've decided to stay put because you can't sell your house so you've been improving it diligently over the last couple of years, you know, another thing that you ought to be doing at this point in time is having it reappraised. Why? Well, for tax purposes; for insurance purposes. It's always good to know what your house is worth. But before the appraiser rings your doorbell, here are a few things you need to have on hand.
First of all, it's helpful if you have a copy of the original plans and specs of your home, if that's available, but more important is a survey of the house and the property because he's got to know or she's got to know how much house and how much land you own. Also, you need to pull together the deed or the title report and your purchase date and the price. Also helpful to have a recent tax bill and that all-important list of home improvements that we hopefully have helped you get through because all those things can add up when it comes to valuing your house and then you'll know what it's worth and maybe with that information you can upgrade your insurance; perhaps apply for a home equity loan or whatever else that you need to do to protect and maintain the value of your home moving forward.
And for those of you that are in the midst of your home improvement projects we can help you by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Annette in Virginia, what can we help you with at your money pit?
ANNETTE: We moved into our house about four years ago and there was water in the basement and we've since dried out and finished the basement and we have carpet on top of the subflooring upstairs and the walls and the floor squeak and crack really bad when you walk across them.
TOM: This is a carpeted floor that squeaks?
TOM: OK. The best way to fix a squeaky floor that's under carpet is to pull the carpet up. Is that a possibility for you?
ANNETTE: Yeah, other than the fact that it's only four years old [like that] (ph).
TOM: Alright. Well this is going to depend directly upon how annoyed you are (Leslie chuckles) by those squeaks. OK, Annette? But if you pull the carpet up what kind of flooring is underneath that? Is it plywood or is it hardwood?
ANNETTE: It's plywood.
TOM: OK, perfect. When you pull the carpet up what you're going to want to do is renail it or, actually, rescrew it. There probably aren't screws in it yet so you want to screw it down to the floor joist. You'll see where the nails are that'll identify where the floor joists are and you want to screw it down using drywall screws. They're hardened screws. Because the reason you're getting squeaks is because the plywood is moving and if you could screw it down it's not going to move, hence it will not squeak. Usually when floors are installed they're put in with a kind of a nail called a cooler and it's a seven-penny; like a thin common nail that's covered with a glue. And the reason it's called a cooler is because when you drive the nail in the friction of the nail moving into the wood very quickly melts the glue and then it's supposed to sort of freeze in place but that doesn't necessarily happen. The wood loosens up and then it rubs up and down on the nails as you walk across it and that makes a terrible squeak sound. So by tightening up the floors by screwing it down that stops that from occurring.
ANNETTE: And what would cause the walls to squeak; like when the temperature changes outside?
TOM: Probably ...
ANNETTE: Because sometimes they'll just pop on their own.
TOM: Well, when you say the walls are squeaking do you hear sort of like a crick sound?
ANNETTE: It's like a creak and a pop.
TOM: There could be a number of things happening. First of all it's expansion and contraction. Are you sure it's not due to plumbing pipes in the walls? Because very often what happens is if you have hot or cold water pipes in the walls, as you turn them on they will expand and sort of draw across the studs and make sort of a squeaking or a cricking sound.
ANNETTE: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it's not. It's in one of the bedrooms up in the front of the house.
TOM: Yeah, then it's probably just expansion or contraction based on the temperature that's outside. Not likely to be a problem.
ANNETTE: OK. And this didn't happen when we bought the house because of the humidity in the basement - is that correct? - and then it just probably dried out?
TOM: Well, certainly indoor air - the indoor air humidity has an effect on that, but the squeaks and the noises are mostly an annoyance and they seldom indicate a structural problem.
ANNETTE: OK, great.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Art in Virginia, what's going on at your house?
ART: Well, I've got a 20-year-old house and the insulating strip on the bottom of the front door has gone away and I can't make the people at the local home stores understand what I'm looking for if they do have it. (Leslie chuckles) Any idea where I can look for something to fill in that about half-inch gap?
TOM: Yeah, now this is the actual strip on the bottom of the door itself? That's called a sweep and Frost King I think would be the manufacturer that you might want to look into. It's usually available at the big box home centers as well as hardware stores and you're simply looking for a door sweep. Now you may not be able to find the exact door sweep that was on there originally. If that's the case you could find one that attaches to the back of the door and sort of hangs down a bit. One way or the other you'll be able to find a sweep that's going to work for you and seal out air and water from getting under that door.
ART: OK, I'll check it out. Thanks a million.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit and if you are thinking about refinishing your kitchen cabinets, well you know that cleaning those old, grimy kitchen doors and everything that's involved in all that cabinetry is a task that requires a lot of elbow grease. We are going to tell you exactly the step-by-step of what you need to do, next.
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ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home's exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That's B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and did you know that you can listen to The Money Pit where you want and when you want? Only if you go ahead and download our very free podcast. It's a year's worth of shows we've got available online at MoneyPit.com; goes right into your MP3 player. You can bop around town, listen to it while you're working on your home improvement project and you can even search the shows by topic so you can find exactly what you need when you want it. And while you're online go ahead and click on Ask Tom and Leslie - especially if you're feeling kind of shy and not wanting to pick up the phone - and you can e-mail us your home improvement question.
We've got one here from Marilyn in Crestview, Florida who writes: 'We love your show.' Thanks, Marilyn. 'Our kitchen cabinets have an indent on the top and there is about 13 years of dust, dirt and grime in that space. How should I top it off? Is there anything I can do to make the cabinets so that they're flush on top and then the grime doesn't have a place to go to?'
TOM: Well, if you seal them off the grime will just fall to the floor. I mean it's called a vacuum, Marilyn ...
LESLIE: (chuckling) At least it's a grime catcher.
TOM: ... and the way those cabinets are built is very, very common. They're usually recessed on top and that's just normal for them. Now of course you can, you know, put an additional shelf above that, sort of seal it away, but it's really not necessary.
LESLIE: Yeah, I think with just a little bit of maintenance you can solve that dirt and dust problem once and for all.
We've got one here from Derrick in Dallas who writes: 'Whenever I turn on the air conditioner I hear a high-pitched squealing noise coming from the unit outside. It sounds like the squeals come in intervals as opposed to one continuous squeal. What's causing this noise?'
TOM: Bad bearings in the outdoor condensing unit. The reason it's coming in intervals, Derrick, is because that unit is going to come on and off; it's going to cycle as the unit basically cools your house. So you've got some bearing problems there and you really need to fix that now because if you don't what's going to happen? Well, it's going to get a lot worse and it could actually fail and seize.
LESLIE: Alright, we've got one here from Patty who says: 'We started prepping and painting our older wood doors around our home last year. Once we got all the loose paint off then we primed and put on two coats of paint; however, now all of the hardware is rusty, which wasn't rusted before. What can we do?'
TOM: You know, all wood doors are really pass