Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
Hi, this is Tom Kraeutler and thanks for listening to the show. Hey, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cool contest we're running right now with our friends at Therma-Tru. It's called the Ugliest Door in America contest and two of our listeners could win a brand new, completely installed entry door worth up to $5,000. Entering is super easy, too, at MyUglyDoor.com. So if your front door, back door or patio door is looking a little worse for wear, log onto MyUglyDoor.com and you can enter to win a beautiful new entry door from Therma-Tru. That's MyUglyDoor.com.
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. We know that you've got some projects lined up for this weekend. We're here to help you get the jobs done.
Hey, here's something that you might want to avoid when you're tackling those outside home improvement projects: the whine; the bite; the ouch; the itch. The mosquitoes.
LESLIE: What is that? Working with me? (chuckles)
TOM: (laughing) See when I said 'whine' you just assumed ...
LESLIE: I thought immediately it was me. (chuckles)
TOM: You assumed it was you. No, I'm talking about mosquitoes. You know, they're back and they're definitely trying to take a bite out of your backyard fun, but we can help you make that backyard a no-bite zone because this hour we're going to have some tips to help you do just that.
LESLIE: Yeah, and along those lines, if you learn how to properly water your yard you can actually help to keep those mosquitoes away. Coming up a little later this hour we're going to tell you how to water so that you actually grow grass, not a bigger water bill and a larger amount of mosquitoes to annoy and bite you all summer long.
TOM: That's right and the only thing that grows when you water your sidewalk is the size of your water bill.
TOM: And we're going to have some tips on even more ways to enjoy those backyard spaces by learning the basics of outdoor kitchen design. Now these outside kitchens are getting super popular but you just can't take the stuff that's designed for an indoor kitchen and hook it up outside - well, you could but it probably wouldn't last that long. So we're going to have a great guest coming up at the bottom of the hour. Kevin Ireton, the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine is going to join us with nine essential tips for building your own outdoor kitchen.
LESLIE: And we've got a great prize for you all this hour. It certainly is an all-encompassing home improvement prize. It's the 12-volt lithium ion-powered drill driver from our friends over at Ryobi. You can do pretty much every home improvement project with this. It's worth 79 bucks but it could be yours for free.
TOM: So pick up the phone. Let's get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Wanda in Texas needs some help redoing some cabinets. What kind of project are you working on?
WANDA: I'm considering redoing my cabinets in the kitchen and in the bathroom and I heard of this project while listening to one of the do-it-yourself shows. It's called liquid sandpaper and I was just wondering if you've ever heard of the product and if so, do you recommend it.
LESLIE: Well what type of cabinets are they - are they solid wood, are they laminate? - and what are you trying to do to them? Do you want to restain them or do you want to paint them?
WANDA: I want to paint them and they're solid wood.
TOM: Well, you use liquid sandpaper a lot. We've talked about that before.
LESLIE: Yeah. I'm just trying to think, you know, if they're solid wood and you want to paint them, pretty much what you need to do is really give them a good cleaning because you want to make sure you get off any grit and dirt and yuck that's been on them over the years of usage, especially in a kitchen environment.
WANDA: Yeah, I know there's a cleaner for that; the TPS or TSP - is that what it's called?
LESLIE: TSP. That's perfect. Then the liquid sander, what that is you put it on with a sponge applicator or you can brush it on and it just sort of grits up the surface just enough; you know, rather than sanding it down to get to raw wood. But it does sort of open up the finish on the wood itself so that it's a lot more tolerant to whatever you're going to put on it; in this case it would be a primer. And you want to make sure you use a very good primer and then you want to go ahead and use a high-quality paint as well.
WANDA: I see. And you take out the doors and do you need to do the inside of the doors?
TOM: Not necessarily. It's up to you but, you know, it may look nicer that way because when the door is open it'll all be the same color.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, or what you can do - first of all, when you take off the doors you want to either leave the hinges on the doors themselves or on the cabinet base and then label every cabinet to every door exactly where it came from; like A-A, B-B. This way you know exactly where things go and you're not trying to be like, 'Oh, which hinge matches up to what?' and you know exactly how things go. Now for the backside you can either take some fabric on some cardstock, just so it's nice and thick or even some pretty wallpaper and you have like a nice surface to adhere to and then use upholstery tacks just to - so when you open the door you've got something pretty on the inside. Or you can use ...
WANDA: Oh, that's a great idea.
LESLIE: ... rolled up cork so you have someplace to put little notes or even chalkboard paint.
WANDA: That's a wonderful idea. Thank you for that.
TOM: You're welcome, Wanda.
LESLIE: You're so welcome.
WANDA: OK, I appreciate that.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in New York, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JIM: Well a fella did some cement work in my front yard ...
JIM: ... and he put down mortar. He was filling in some cracks, you know, and the mortar is so bright compared to the cement and I don't want to put paint on it but I would like to, you know, just tone it down where it - you know, as it is it's glaring at you, you know?
TOM: Yeah, it's hard to be strategic on this and just recolor the areas that were patched. What might be a better solution might be a concrete dye.
LESLIE: There's a great website you should check out. It's called ConcreteSolutions.com; all one word - ConcreteSolutions. And they have all of the dyes, the tools, the products, the instructions on how to do it and everything is very reasonably priced. I mean you can do simple things and you can go ultra creative and make some really beautiful, almost artistic installations with the concrete. It's totally up to you. Since it's sidewalk you probably just want to make things uniform, but they have great products there.
JIM: You know, I love you guys. (Tom laughs) Thank you very much and I'll be listening.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, mosquitoes; they can take a real bite out of your backyard fun but you know, there are a few simple things that you can do to totally reclaim your yard and your summer season. We're going to give you the buzz on those tips after this.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Well, if the last building inspector that showed up in your house ran out the door screaming, that's probably not a good thing. Maybe you should call us because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We're going to give you a tool to help tackle some of those home improvement projects around your house because one caller this hour is going to win the 12-volt lithium ion drill driver from Ryobi. It holds a charge four times longer and you always have power when you need it. It's lighter, it's more compact so it's totally easy to handle. It's worth 79 bucks. If you want to win it you must call us right now and have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah, pick up the phone; give us a call; tell us what you're working on. Maybe you're getting ready to get outside and enjoy all of this beautiful, almost-summer weather that we've been experiencing across the country. And if you're doing so and getting outside, you might be noticing some pesky little pests ruining pretty much any outdoor activity, especially if you're me. I get bit by mosquitoes like crazy. I swear they just love me. I don't know about you, Tom, but I'm always walking around with welts because, of course, what do I do soon as I get a bite?
TOM: Well, Leslie is one of their favorite flavors, I hear.
LESLIE: I hear. Yeah, thanks. (Tom chuckles) But anytime I get a bite I immediately start scratching so you really want to prevent the mosquitoes forming and coming to life in your yard before you get to the scratching phase. And it's true, mosquitoes only need a few days and freestanding water - that can be in a bucket, a kiddy pool, a toy turned upside down - to go ahead and then lay their eggs and then they wreak havoc on your backyard. So to prevent this, eliminate any areas of standing water that you're going to find around the yard including clogged gutters, flower pots, birdbaths, kid play toys. Even the amount of water that collects in a plastic bottle cap - you know how tiny that is? - can be a breeding ground for hundreds of mosquitoes. So get rid of that water and then you'll see immediately what a difference you will have in mosquito population in your own backyard.
TOM: And you know, there's another backyard pest that's not a nuisance but it can be pretty dangerous. In the next edition of The Money Pit's free e-newsletter we're going to talk to you about why you might be concerned about fire ants and we're going to give you some tips to help get rid of them. If you don't get the e-newsletter go to MoneyPit.com right now and sign up today. It's free; comes out every Friday morning. No spam. We guarantee it and I think you'll find lots of useful information there. Again, that's the Money Pit's free e-newsletter at MoneyPit.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where you can also call in your question right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Randy in Texas needs some help with a brick project. What happened?
RANDY: Well, I have recently downsized houses and I've got this place that was built, I guess, in the late 70s and it's got a neat fireplace in it that goes through - it's double-sided. It goes from the living room area into the dining room area and I guess whoever had the place before me decided they didn't like the brick look and painted it all white.
LESLIE: Yay! Terrible. (Tom chuckles)
RANDY: Yeah, it's nice and ugly now and I'm trying to decide whether I want to just take it down to the brick or put on some slate tile or something like that that would make it look better and I just know that I need to get that paint off before I can do anything to it. So I'm trying to find the best way to get that paint off of there.
LESLIE: How much time and energy you got? (Tom and Leslie laugh)
RANDY: I got all kinds of time and energy-wise; well, it depends on what day you catch me. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: I tell you there is not a thing out there except professional sandblasting that's going to get that paint off.
RANDY: Alright. That's what I was afraid of.
TOM: Yeah, you might just want to think of a new decorating scheme. (laughs)
LESLIE: Can't you adhere a slate or some sort of stone facing on top of the paint?
TOM: Sure, what about one of those Owens Corning products? That would look good.
LESLIE: You know, that's true. Owens Corning came out with a new interior product. They had one outside called cultured stone veneer but there's an interior version of it that's far lighter weight and it's made - I mean it's not real stone. It's like compressed concrete to make it look like real stone and the color is all through it and it comes sort of in a swatch of different colors to make up this beautiful tonation and they do river rock and flagstone and it installs super easy and that's a great application for a fireplace.
TOM: And the thing is, Randy, if you did go through all of that work to remove the paint you might find out that there was a reason that they painted it to begin with.
RANDY: Right, that's the other thing I'm afraid of.
RANDY: Now what do you have to do to make that product adhere to it, then? I mean do you use a regular mastic?
TOM: It's a mastic adhesive. It's very lightweight, it's easy to do and it's easy to cut and I think that that's probably the best solution for you.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and their website gives a ton of very detailed directions including what type of adhesive and, you know, how to apply it; depending on which cultured stone you choose. But make sure you look at their interior product.
RANDY: Alright, well I appreciate your help very much. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Randy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kim in New Hampshire, welcome to The Money Pit. What's going on at your money pit today?
KIM: Hi, I have a closed-in porch but it's attached to a mobile home but it's not really attached.
KIM: It's like one roof but ...
LESLIE: So the roof connects the two pieces but the main body of the porch is not connected.
KIM: But we have to keep lifting it up every couple of years because it's on cement blocks right now with the ...
TOM: And they keep - what? - sinking in the soil?
TOM: Yeah. Well, that's because it doesn't have a foundation. So that's not uncommon.
KIM: Is there like a more permanent way to ...?
TOM: Yeah, if you had the ability to dig down into the soil there and you would want to get at least, if you could possibly, three feet below the soil ...
TOM: ... and you poured some concrete footings and then you had a column that went down right to that that would support it without moving. Because it's on top of the soil, with rain and everything, it's going to continue to move.
KIM: OK. Yeah, that's great advice. Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dorothy in Illinois, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DOROTHY: Yes, I was basically calling about a problem I'm having in my dining room.
DOROTHY: I'm living in a home that is about 65 years old and I decided that I hated the wallpaper in the dining room and thought that I would just remove the wallpaper. I just didn't realize the problem I was going to get into. First of all, I had to go through seven layers of wallpaper.
DOROTHY: Once I got all the wallpaper off I realized that as I was taking the final couple layers off ...
DOROTHY: ... actually what was underneath that I thought was drywall was actually plaster.
TOM: Hmm. Do you know if the plaster is on wood lathe?
DOROTHY: Yes, it's on wood lathe.
DOROTHY: And pieces of the plaster have fallen off with the wallpaper.
TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah that doesn't surprise me.
DOROTHY: So now I have these holes and my concern is how do I repair the holes so that I can paint or re-wallpaper.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, you're going to obviously have to repair the plaster and the best way to do that is with a plaster mix. You can use spackle but if you got real plaster and mixed it up it's probably going to adhere better than the spackle would to the old plaster.
LESLIE: Is there any prep that needs to be done to the edge of this, you know, tear in the plaster, if you will, to make sure that it's susceptible?
TOM: I would probably - because you don't know what's on that surface, I'd probably sand it a little bit as a final step before I patched it. But here's a really important step after you get it all patched up. I would recommend that you prime the entire wall with a good-quality oil-based primer; not a water based one - oil-based primer. Because that's going to seal that in. You're going to have different levels of porosity on that wall. Some is going to be absorbent than others and if you don't prime it you're going to find that the paint on top of that is not going to have an even finish.
TOM: So repair it with plaster and then prime it and you'll be good to go.
LESLIE: Time to talk flooring with Vince in Colorado. What's going on at your money pit?
VINCE: Well, I have a galley-style kitchen and - I guess it's a galley-style. It's long and kind of narrow.
LESLIE: Long and narrow.
VINCE: It's about 200 square feet. I did measure it and - so anyway, I'm looking at flooring options and we've been looking at laminate flooring.
TOM: Yeah, it's a great choice for a kitchen.
VINCE: One of my biggest things was I had a local company here that they provide installation as well and they had some material that I was interested in and they sent one of their installers out who was actually a contractor and he went through the - looked at the flooring and walked around on it and checked it out and he said it wasn't flat enough and he suggested pulling up the existing linoleum floor and pulling up the subfloor and using a leveling compound and his bid before installation of the floor was about $1,600 and then another, I think, 400 more with the installation and then I would buy the materials.
TOM: Wow. How old is your house?
VINCE: Well, that's what I was wondering because it's not that old. I think it was built in '82 if I'm not mistaken.
TOM: Man. I tell you something. I put laminate floors down in lots of houses including in my 122-year-old farmhouse ...
VINCE: Oh, wow.
TOM: ... and those floors got more waves in than the Atlantic Ocean. (Leslie chuckles) And it laid over it just fine. I mean I can see where it sort of bent over the saggy parts ...
TOM: ... or the parts that were sort of humped but it worked just fine. It was very durable; especially the lock-together kind. And so unless your floor is grossly out of level ...
TOM: ... then I don't think you need to go through all that and, in fact, you can go to the website of the manufacturer; you can look at the installation instructions and they will tell you exactly what the tolerance is that they recommend. It's usually going to be like, you know, an eighth-inch out on four feet or something of that nature and if your house was built in 1982 it'd be very unlikely that you had a seriously out-of-level floor. The worst thing that you could have is perhaps a floor joist that was crowned and maybe is a little high in one place, but it sounds to me like what this guy is recommending is total overkill and perhaps just an opportunity for him to get another job out of you.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) For more work.
VINCE: That's kind of what I was thinking.
TOM: Yeah, you know what? If it smells like it, it probably is.
LESLIE: Alrighty, Money Pit listeners, coming up next we are going to have for you nine rules for outdoor kitchen design that you're going to want to follow because they will make sure that your outside eatery looks great, works right and lasts a super-duper long time. Stick around.
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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: 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 now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us if you love to cook outside because that's what we're going to talk about next. You know, we've all seen the photos of the sleek cooktops and the mahogany ice chests that look like they have no business living outside exposed to the elements year round. In many cases they don't.
LESLIE: Well, if you're even thinking about planning an outdoor kitchen you need to remember that the key word here folks is 'outdoor.' That's why we've got Fine Homebuilding editor Kevin Ireton joining us to outline the essentials of longlasting and practical outdoor kitchen design. Do those even go hand in hand, Kevin?
KEVIN: Well, they do but of course it takes money. Now, when I put in a light over my grill I thought I was, you know, living high on the hog. (Tom and Leslie laugh) These days we're publishing outdoor kitchens in our magazine that look better than the kitchen I've got indoors.
LESLIE: And they're full rooms. They're sort of these outdoor hangout zones with firepits and the most amazingly well-stocked kitchen in the world. So how do you start? What kind of materials do you even lean towards to make sure you're getting something that's durable?
KEVIN: Well, you are exactly right. Key word is 'outdoors,' so you've got to make sure that whatever materials you use outside are going to be bulletproof; whether it's the sun, the rain or freeze-thaw cycles in the north. You can't use laminated materials outside because they're going to come apart. You want to stick with vitreous tile, stone, concrete, stainless steel or tropical hardwoods.
TOM: Now Kevin, when you use these materials outside, I mean I would imagine you also have to take drainage into account. A flat surface may not necessarily be one that wears the best if it's outside because the water's just going to hang there. So do you have to sort of build in a slight pitch even to, say, workspaces?
KEVIN: You sure do. You want every surface that could possibly get wet - even if it's under a roof you're going to get windblown rain, so you want to slope of about