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:
[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: Welcome to your home improvement project. We're here to help you get through it. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Whoa! You didn't have a home improvement project? (Leslie chuckles) Well, we can fix that. Can't we, Leslie?
LESLIE: We can give you a dozen ideas. (chuckles)
TOM: Absolutely. I've been painting. I've been working on floors in my house. We've got some ...
LESLIE: And you got all that new furniture.
TOM: Some new furniture moved in. And so, you know, when you do new furniture of course you have to paint, you have to work on the floors. There's all these associated costs.
LESLIE: Well, everything needs to be fresh.
TOM: Yeah well, you know, home improvement has sort of this viral quality to it. I mean how many of us have started projects in one area and they just seem to grow. But you know what? Maybe you're getting the momentum up. That's great. Call us right now. Let's help you with the home improvement project. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Another good reason to start is, well, it's officially the spring home improvement season. Spring has sprung. And it still might be a little nippy where you are but if you want to enjoy the outdoors on your beautiful deck, you might need to pay a little attention to it. We're going to talk about how the hard winter can make your deck not look so great. We're going to give you a quick recipe for a sparkling clean deck that you can get out and do this weekend.
LESLIE: And I hate to be Debbie Downer but we are just a few short months away from hurricane season, if you can believe it or not. But even if you live inland you could actually benefit from some stormproofing. We're going to tell you everything you need to know a little bit later this hour.
TOM: And besides giving you home improvement advice, we like to give you the tools to get the job done. Because this hour we're giving away a Stanley FatMax hammer worth 20 bucks. It's got a shock-resistant handle. So if you want to win it, call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller to 1-888-MONEY-PIT will pick up that new hammer from Stanley.
So Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Listening in on WABC we've got John in New Jersey who's got baseboard heating, which is very popular in the northeast. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Hi, guys. Great show. Hey ...
LESLIE: Thanks so much.
TOM: Thank you.
JOHN: My question is do I continue with my new baseboard in my new bathroom or do I go with an electric heated floor. The contractor, he thinks that it would be easier, certainly less expensive to install. But (inaudible) heated floor. My radiant heat he wants to do it with electric.
TOM: Right now you have a hot water system, John?
JOHN: Yes, I do.
TOM: OK. The floor in the bathroom - it's awfully nice on those cold tootsies when you step on ...
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And we get those cold days.
TOM: ... that warm floor. It's a real luxury to have. It is going to be more expensive but, man, is it nice.
LESLIE: Yeah but can't you do the radiant heat in conjunction with your hot water system?
TOM: Well, it's actually - it's actually a hydronic heat but it's done ...
JOHN: Well, that's my question. Should I - should I have them use the hot water or should I let them use the electric?
TOM: Electric? I would much rather use the hot water if I could. There's a company called Uponor that makes a hydronic heating system. U-p-o-n-o-r. And I saw it demonstrated at the International Builders Show and they use PEX piping for that. And what's cool about this PEX plastic piping is the stuff is virtually indestructible. It's really interesting that you can bend and crunch and even heat this stuff to move it and then when you take the heat away it has a memory and it goes back to its original shape. So it's very durable underneath a floor. And it can be hooked up to one of the zones of your hydronic heating system - your hot water heating system - and then run on its own thermostat so it only has to be on when you're using that bathroom; you know, a couple of hours in the morning, couple of hours in the evening or whenever you need it.
JOHN: Now I wouldn't have to create a separate zone for it to do that?
TOM: You very well may have to do that. If you want the control of it, you do.
JOHN: I see. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What's your home improvement question? Call us now.
LESLIE: Mike in Alabama seems to have a home remedy for some white deposits. How can we help you sort this all out?
MIKE: Well, I have a red brick home that certain times of the year - seems to be in the winter time - that I have a white, chalky deposit on my brick in certain areas.
MIKE: So I have no idea - I've heard that you can put an antifreeze mixture on it and that would seal the brick, I guess, and keep the moisture from coming through.
TOM: (growling) Never heard of that. I will say that that deposit is probably efflorescence. It's probably mineral salts that are leaching out of the damp brick and water's evaporating and that's that white - whitish, grayish, crusty stuff.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It's almost - it even almost looks just like a border; like you don't see a full deposit of the stain, you just see the edging almost even, right?
TOM: Yeah. If you want to clean that off on a dry day and make sure that the brick is dried out very, very well, what you could do is you could use a brick sealer on that. But make sure you use one that's vapor permeable because if you put the wrong type of sealer on brick it holds moisture inside of it and if you get a frost it's going to ...
LESLIE: It'll freeze and break.
TOM: It'll crack. That's right.
TOM: So it has to be vapor permeable. But this is a maintenance issue. It's really totally cosmetic. It's not going to affect the performance of the structure.
LESLIE: And what does clean it is white vinegar; white vinegar and water. You know, it's really simple. Make up a little mixture - it's usually equal parts - and then just spray it on there and you'll see it go away. Sometimes we get almost a little white buildup around our sink, our faucets; and that gets rid of it also. So white vinegar is a miraculous cleaner.
MIKE: Oh, great. Thank you.
LESLIE: Craig in Texas, you've got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
CRAIG: Yeah, I want to know what you can tell me about radiant heat barriers. They put them in your attic?
TOM: Well, radiant heat barriers are an effective way of reflecting - keeping some of that heat outside of your house. And the best way to understand a radiant heat barrier is to compare it to the foil that you often use when you pull something out of the oven, like a roast, and you cover it with foil to keep it warm. Because the foil reflects the heat back in to that space. And that's what it kind of does for your attic. When installed correctly, it will reflect the UV rays of the sun and the heat back out side so it sort of protects the home from overheating.
In an area like Texas, it's an excellent idea to put that in and - because it is going to give you a clear savings on your cooling costs. The installation on it is the most important; even more important than the product. There's a lot of good products out there. But I will tell you the installation, to make sure it's done continuously is really important. So spend a lot of time with good attention to detail to make sure the product does the job you intend for it to do.
LESLIE: Charlie in Alabama's got some problems with some French doors. Tell us what happened.
CHARLIE: Well, I've got French doors on my lake house and evidently some portion of it has settled and - to the point now where the one door that's operable won't unlock.
TOM: So now you can't even get into the lake house, huh Charlie?
CHARLIE: Yeah, really. (Tom laughs) Won't have to worry about burglars coming in. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: Yeah. Double doors like that, French double doors or any type of double door is really double the trouble when it comes to door adjustments. Because, you know, without having a solid center jamb, any movement in the hinge jamb ...
LESLIE: Can really throw things off square.
TOM: ... throws everything totally out of whack. So really, what has to happen here is you've got to get this door open one way or the other.
LESLIE: Well, can't you just take the pin out of the hinges and pull them off that way?
TOM: Yeah, certainly. And then what you're going to have to do is basically rehang or readjust each door. You do this one door at a time. You close the door with sort of the jamb side on it - you know, where you have sort of the overlap, the astrical molding. Close that first. Make sure that closes properly. Then bring the other door into it.
Now, if the other door, for example, is touching at the top, that might mean that the top hinge on that door has to move closer to the jamb, sort of closer away, which would pull the door away. When you move a hinge one way or the other, it has a direct impact on how the door operates. So you need to look at the door as it's closing and make those hinge adjustments. Sometimes it pays to pull the trim off and put some shims behind the whole jamb and pull it out. Other times it pays to take the hinge off and reset it deeper into the jamb to move the door the way you want.
LESLIE: Now Tom, should any of those materials be changed out; especially because it's in such a high moisture area of the lake house?
TOM: Only if you have decay. Only if you find that you have a rotted area of the jamb or something like that. But this type of swelling and movement of a door, Charlie, is not really unusual. It's just that it needs a lot of tender loving care to keep it really functioning for you. And if you do it right and you get a nice even closure of this door, it'll also be more energy efficient by keeping the drafts off. But I'm afraid there's no easy way to fix this. You're just going to have to play it by ear. Get the door freed up, close the fixed side first then bring the other door up to it and make adjustments as it's needed.
CHARLIE: OK. Well, that's what I was afraid you were going to say. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, it's a Saturday project. You know what? And it's not - it doesn't have to be terrible. But go ahead and get it open. Work on it one side at a time. Take your time. You know, doors aren't really that hard to understand. Just think that when you move the hinge one way, whether it's in or out, it has the impact on the door. And the door will tell you which way it wants to go. You know, if you see the door is too close to the upper jamb, move the bottom hinge away. That will drop it down. Those types of slight adjustments will make a big difference.
CHARLIE: Alright. Well, I certainly appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Charlie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Is your home improvement project keeping you from actually enjoying the weekend and relaxing? Well, we can help because you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We're always here for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let it never be said that I don't do the laundry. (Leslie chuckles) Because I actually do. Well, sort of. I work ...
LESLIE: I love doing laundry.
TOM: I work with laundry soap except I don't actually use it in the laundry. I like to take it outside and use it on my deck. Yes, it's true. Laundry soap works great as a deck cleaner.
LESLIE: I don't think that counts as doing the laundry though. (chuckling)
TOM: It doesn't?
LESLIE: (chuckling) No, I don't think so.
TOM: Well, you know, I'm doing my laundry outside perhaps.
LESLIE: I think that's using the term loosely.
TOM: Well, whatever. You know what? But listen, there's a trick of the trade here and we're going to tell you all about it. When it comes to deck cleaning, laundry soap works good. We'll give you the recipe after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:51]
[audio timestamp: 14:10]
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. What are you doing? What are you working on? We want to help you get through those projects. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win a FatMax Xtreme anti-vibe hammer worth 20 bucks. It's a pretty cool hammer. I actually have one of these. And it's got this anti-vibe structure to it so that when you strike the nail it will take the vibration out of that and not kind of cause you all sorts of wear and tear.
LESLIE: Well yeah, because it does a lot of wear and tear on your body. All that repetitive sort of banging really sort of causes vibrations, even with power tools. So it makes a lot of sense to pick up ergonomic and smart tools.
TOM: But if you strike your finger it doesn't do a bit of good for you.
LESLIE: Yeah, it's not going to help you. (laughing)
TOM: It hurts just as much. So ...
LESLIE: It doesn't transfer the pain.
TOM: We'll give you the tool. The risk is all yours. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to ask your question on the air.
LESLIE: Alright, well as the weather is getting warmer you might want to think about cleaning your wood deck. Think about it. It's been out there all winter. It's seen a lot of buildup and a lot of abuse from Mother Nature. And like Tom said, he likes to take the laundry detergent outside; although, I'm going with your wife on this one. It does not count as doing the laundry. (Tom laughs) Don't even think about it. You still have to do your chores. But if you want to use that laundry detergent outside, you can use powdered laundry detergent and some hot water. And this usually is enough to spruce up that winter worn deck. It kind of acts like an abrasive and a cleanser at the same time.
And if you want to also eliminate some mildew that you might see building up on there, you can use a 10 percent bleach solution; 90 percent water, 10 percent bleach. Go a little bit heavier. You know, sort of play it by ear. And even use a power washer, if your want, for some extra impact and be sure you finish with a thorough rinse and you are going to love that deck all summer long.
TOM: And if you use the power washer, go easy because if you go too ...
LESLIE: Yeah, and watch your toes.
TOM: If you go too hard on that, you'll sort of blast away some of the wood fiber. And by the way, the power washer doesn't work well on the laundry either. (Leslie chuckles) Don't ask me how I know that but it doesn't.
1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Listening in on WABC we've got Cal in New Jersey who's got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
CAL: Well, I purchased a house and it turns out it has a bathroom that had a black water leak that was slow and chronic and layers of vinyl flooring under which this water seeped for years. There's a lot of mold. I did some mold remediation down in Katrina so I understand what I need to do. But this mold got on top of the subfloor wood. I busted out all the vinyl, all the - all the decking. And now I'm down to the subfloor. But I'm wondering can I just mechanically remove some of that subfloor layer to get it down to fresh wood, pour a cap with some kind of - some kind of compound polymer that would set up and seal it and then put hardy backer down and tile over that? Or am I somehow simply overlooking a path that mold is going to come back at me?
TOM: Well, if you dry it out and you cut out all the damaged wood, then you shouldn't have to worry about mold thereafter. If you want to seal - what's the base going to be when you pull the plywood out? What are you going to be looking at?
CAL: It is old structural planking. It was an old hardwood. And so there's old structural but I can probably take an eighth or a quarter off and make sure I mechanically remove all the mold.
TOM: Well, I think if you get down that far and the wood is dried out and you clean it with a mildicide, I don't think you have to cut out any more than that. I think you can go on top of it, rebuild it. As long as you don't have moisture, you're not going to have a mold issue. I don't think you have to take off the top layer. I just think it has to be dry. And what you might want to do to make sure it's super dry is just go get a moisture meter. They're inexpensive. You can pick them up. And check what the moisture level is. As long as it's the same as ambient you're going to be fine.
CAL: Wonderful. Well my next question, do you have any recommendations for a product that I could use to basically pour a level cap; like a leveling compound or something that I could then put hardy backer right on top of to tile?
TOM: Yeah, there's a product called AboCast.
TOM: They have a number of different epoxy-based floor leveling compounds.
LESLIE: And they work amazingly well.
TOM: Really well.
CAL: Wonderful. Well, you all have made my day. Thank you very much.
TOM: We made your home improvement day. Cal, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ernie in Louisiana listens to The Money Pit on KEEL. What's going on at your Money Pit?
ERNIE: Well, we have started remodeling our home. And we really need more room and - so we want to add on. But I don't know if I want to - if it's better to add on or start looking for another place.
TOM: Well, you have to consider the neighborhood that you're in. It is possible to over-improve a neighborhood. If you, for example, have an average sized house and you're talking about doing a moderate addition that's not going to be too big for the neighborhood, then it generally makes a lot of sense to put an addition on. If your house is kind of maxed out, then maybe it might make sense to sell it and move on to a bigger home. If you over-improve for the neighborhood, you start to lose value on that improvement. If you improve to bring it sort of up to snuff so it's now the nicest house and the best house in the neighborhood without being, you know, overly gregarious with that home improvement project, then you'll be OK.
ERNIE: On our street it's a dead-end street. And we had some new homes built in the last two or three years; even though my home was 30 years old - actually 40 years old. That's what I was wondering if I - I mean to update it, it really ...
TOM: Well, if your house is on a - if your house is on a street that's on its way up, you've got some new homes there and your house is still one of the older houses, then it probably would make sense, Ernie, to go ahead and improve it; put the addition on. But I'll tell you what. Way to get a second opinion on this is when you have a good sense as to what you want to do, go talk to a few neighborhood realtors and get a sense as to what it might - what it might do to the value of your house if you add an addition to what it is right now.
LESLIE: Melvin in Georgia, you are on the line. What can we help you with?
MELVIN: There's a pipe - some kind of exhaust pipe, I think - and I have water that leaks down the side and I - when I go up in the attic, you can see the water leaking down beside the pipe.
TOM: OK. Is this pipe a narrow pipe; like one that's maybe two or three inches in diameter? Or is it a large pipe?
MELVIN: It's a small pipe.
TOM: OK, that's a plumbing vent that's going through your roof.
MELVIN: Plumbing, yeah right.
TOM: And there's a new - there's a piece of flashing called a plumbing vent flashing collar that basically has a rubber gasket that slips over the top of that. And I can guarantee you what happened was that gasket probably deteriorated, as they do over time; especially when you have a lot of - if the southern exposure of that roof, if this pipe happens to be on that side they tend to go very quickly.
There's two ways to fix it. The short term fix is to put asphalt cement around it and sort of reseal it. I say short term because it's going to continue to expand and contract and break free. The better fix is to go up there and remove a couple of the shingles that are around it and completely remove and replace the plumbing vent flashing and put the new shingles back on.
TOM: It's not a terribly big job. I mean a roofer can do it in 15 or 20 minutes. But it's something that unless you do it all the time you may not be familiar with. But that's what is causing it. It's not a big deal. It's basically wear and tear on the roof and it should be relatively easy to fix, Marty (ph).
MELVIN: Oh, OK. Now - OK. One other thing. Now, I didn't notice the leak until it came - it got in the inside ceiling. And right where I have a ceiling fan it started to leak there and is - do I need to change that plaster or that roofing? Because it's warped a little bit.
TOM: What you'll need to do is if it's warped, you're not going to be able to straighten it out. So if it's so warped that you don't like the way it looks, you're going to have to cut it out. But if it's just slightly water damaged, what you could do is prime it, prime that spot, and then put some new paint on top of it. But you have to prime it. If you don't, the stains will pull right through the layer of paint.
MELVIN: OK. I had thought about that but I wasn't real sure if I need to replace that or not. I'll see what my wife has to say. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, that's the boss, [will you] (ph) Melvin? (Leslie chuckles)
MELVIN: Yeah, you're right. (chuckling)
LESLIE: That's a smart man.
TOM: That's right.
Well, call or click, The Money Pit is available any time you need us. You can even have a little Tom and Leslie to go when you download the most popular home improvement podcast on iTunes! Well, that's us of course. Just go to MoneyPit.com and check out the Listen section. Our podcasts are free and you can even search them by topic.
What's your home improvement question? Call us right now. 888-MONEY-PIT.
[audio timestamp: 22:47]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation's leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer. And add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: If you like to fix stuff that's not broken, you are in the exactly the right place because 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.
Alright folks, well you love your home but there's always something you've got to do - whether it's decorate, repair or even wonder about like a wet basement or maybe how much paint you're going to need for that project. Well, whatever your home repair or your home improvement question is, the answer is at your fingertips whenever you want it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at MoneyPit.com. You can search anything and everything that we have ever written about, from fixing up your money pit; you can even listen to past shows or even e-mail us your question and we will answer it ourselves. So check it out at MoneyPit.com today.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Jen in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. Welcome. How can we help?
JEN: My son-in-law bought a great big, new riding lawnmower and decided he was going to cut my grass every week.
TOM: Well, that was nice of him.
JEN: Yeah. (chuckling) He did me a really big favor. And anyway, he was cutting the grass and evidently he hit a stone that ricocheted off my window. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Uh-oh. (laughing)
JEN: The window's wooden with two panes. Only the outside pane broke. The inside pane is OK.
LESLIE: So you got a free lawnmowing and now you have to replace some glass.
JEN: Yeah. (Tom laughs) Yeah. I want to get that window out and take it to have it repaired.
JEN: And I don't know how to get it out.
TOM: Is it a sliding window? Does it slide up and down? Is it a casement window that's on a crank? What kind of window is it?
JEN: No, it goes up and down. It just goes up and down.
TOM: The best thing for you to do is to not pull it out yourself. Call a reglazer. They will come to your house and pull the window out for you. Most of these windows are removable. Usually you have to loosen part of the jamb and take it out. But they'll have to take the whole window out; that whole sash out. And then, while it's out at the shop, you're also going to have to have something in there to keep the water out, of course, to keep the ...
JEN: Like a plastic bag or ...
TOM: Well no, something more than that. You've got to keep the house secure at the same time, Jen.
JEN: Yes, yes.
TOM: So, I would have the glazer come to your house and remove the window. Get that as part of the service. Don't try to pull it out yourself. You could cut yourself. If you do it wrong you could break something. Have them come out, pull the window out and replace it. This two panes of glass; this is a thermal pane window assembly. And so, that entire glass has to be replaced because it's a vacuum seal.
JEN: I'm surprised they both didn't break.
TOM: Well, that's not unusual because it's in a vacuum seal and sometimes it'll only crack the outside of it.
JEN: Yeah, that's what happened.
JEN: Well, thank you ...
TOM: You're very welcome.
JEN: ... ever so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: And tell your son to stay away from those windows with the lawnmower, will you? (chuckling)
JEN: I will. (chuckling) I'll tell him to stay away from that lawnmower.
TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Washington, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MICHAEL: I'm wanting to know how to get rid of hard water ring in a toilet. We've got extremely hard water here.
TOM: Ring around the toilet.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It's actually not that difficult. There's a great product that tends to deal with, you know, those stains in the bathroom that just don't seem to go away and it's something called CLR. Have you tried this yet?
MICHAEL: Tried it. Don't work.
TOM: Don't work, huh?! Hmm.
LESLIE: Is the ring a dark ring or a light ring?
MICHAEL: Oh, I guess you would call it dark. It's pretty well orange.
TOM: Michael, if the CLR is not working, you're probably going to need to use a bit more elbow grease than just the chemicals. What we would recommend is plumber's pumice. This is an abrasive that will actually scour some of that - some of that hard water stain out of there.
LESLIE: But you have to be gentle in the way that you use it.
TOM: Yeah, you're going to have to sort of buff it out of there and really scrub it out of there. And once you get that out, you probably will be able, on an ongoing basis, to maintain it with CLR if it doesn't get too terribly bad. But it sounds like its gotten so bad you're really going to have to use something that has a real abrasive quality to it like a plumber's pumice.
LESLIE: Even sort of as a prep for going at it with the plumber's pumice, you can take some paper towels and saturate them with a citrus cleaner and maybe some vinegar; mix it together. And sit that on the stain in the toilet overnight. You know, if you can keep it so that it's not in the water but sort of where the stain is, even better. Then try, you know, brush it; use a nylon brush to get rid of it. If that doesn't work, then go with the pumice.
MICHAEL: This house is only a little over a year old.
MICHAEL: And I mean we've tried vinegar, we've tried CLR, Lime-A-Way, just about everything. And ...
TOM: Have you had your water tested, Michael, to see if there's a way to make it softer?
MICHAEL: No, I haven't.
TOM: Is this city water or is this well?
MICHAEL: City (ph) water.
TOM: Well, it doesn't sound right. I would contact the water company, have the water tested, see if there's a water softening system that can go on the home. Because you're building up that stain awfully quick and it doesn't sound right to us.
LESLIE: Kay in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WFHG and your question is making Tom so happy because he spent 20 years as a home inspector. Tell us about the beetles. (Tom chuckles)
KAY: Well, we built a home about - it'll be three years in June. And we wanted wooden floors in the house so our contractor had put in oak floors. And about, I guess it was last August I went in and I usually clean around the carpet I had down and I don't pick it up all the time and I had this time. And I noticed about - oh, it was about two inches by a quarter inch and it looked like it was rotting but yet there was a hole in it. And I couldn't figure out what it was and called the contractor and they didn't know. They came over, didn't know. And I called an exterminator that I have come in monthly and he had told me I had powderpost beetles. And so, I called the agriculturist and he came out and he said, 'Yes, you do' and he said to get some Timbor and put it in the holes, which I did recently with a syringe. But I'm, of course, totally upset not knowing what else I need to do.
TOM: Well, it's very unusual to have that in hardwood floors. Now, these holes that you saw, if it's active the holes have a little bit of dust around them caused when the beetle backs out of it; sort of like a doughnut-worth of sawdust that's around it. It's a very, very fine, like a yellow-orangey powder.
LESLIE: Are these beetles that you can see or are they ...
TOM: Generally you don't. If you happen to be there when they're backing out you could see them.
KAY: Let me ask you, do these things fly, too?
TOM: I don't think so. Normally we find powderpost beetle in the structural members of the house; not so much the floor. And in the very, very worst conditions they can infest so much of the house that the home has to be tented. It's also not unusual to have beetles infest this lumber at the lumber yard and actually be in the wood or have had been in the wood when it's milled into flooring. So what I'm thinking is that you may not, in fact, have an active infestation.
LESLIE: Well are the holes - let me ask you this question. Are the holes light in color and clear in their appearance or are they dark in color?
KAY: The holes that I have are very tiny. And there was like a little white powdery substance not around it but in the hole itself. And when I picked up the carpet that one time, I kind of threw it aside and when I threw it down it was kind of like a big puff of ...
TOM: Yeah, that's a powderpost beetle. But unless you see the dust on the outside of it, it may not be active. Listen, if you hit it with Timbor then that's probably all you need to do.
KAY: Well, I really appreciate it.
TOM: No worries. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners, if you find yourself listening to The Money Pit in one of our states that's sort of prone to hurricanes and some bad weather, well you better pay special attention after the break. But even if you live in an area where you might not get those super strong storms, you should listen to us as well because we're going to tell you what you need to do to prevent damage from any weather, next.
[audio timestamp: 31:00]
[audio timestamp: 35:03]
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: We'll hold the ladder while you climb it. 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, making good homes better one call to 888-MONEY-PIT at a time. What are you doing? What are you working on? Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT because one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a Stanley FatMax Xtreme anti-vibe hammer worth 20 bucks. It's a precision balanced tool. It feels comfortable. It takes the wear and tear out of your arm. That's why it's an anti-vibe hammer.
LESLIE: I mean that's great because a lot of people are doing a lot of home improvement projects; especially this time of year. So anything you can do to reduce that stress on your body parts will keep you in the game longer, you know? (chuckling)
TOM: So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, it's time for us to talk a little bit about stormproofing your home and ways to make your house safer from hurricanes. And this is advice that applies no matter where you live. You know, there are thousands of miles of U.S. coastline that are at risk for hurricanes every year. But even if you live inland, even a mild storm can wind up costing you thousands of dollars in repair. So here are some places to begin.
First of all, inspect your home's roof and gutters. Now, you don't have to climb your roof to do this. You can use a pair of binoculars. You want to look for loose, torn, damaged shingles because if you have just a little bit of a lip it's kind of like giving a - giving like a thread a place to pull out. It's not just going to pull out. It could unravel the whole thing. So make sure you have those shingles very, very tight to the roof. If you see them up - lifted up a little bit, you can add some asphalt cement, a little bit of weight on top and press them back down. This is going to reduce the chance of water seeping into your home.
Next, look for loose shutters, siding or anything else that sort of could become airborne in a storm.
LESLIE: A projectile. If you (chuckling) ...
TOM: Yeah, any projectile. I think you've had a couple of projectile storm shutters around your house, haven't you?
LESLIE: Yeah, it was amazing. I could hear it like ripping the shutter off of the run of my house. Thankfully it went up quite easily, you know, a few days later but I could hear them coming off. So you really need to make sure that things are secure.
If you do realize - after you do all of your inspections, of course, pre-storm - that you need to make some roof repairs or if you're deciding to install some storm-resistant windows or doors, that's the time to also consider extra waterproof protection for your home because you're getting down to the base of everything so you might as well add some additional layers. And you want to make sure you select premium building materials that are going to help maximize your home's resistance to, say, wind-driven rains or even other hazards like ice dams. And it's up to you to request any of these specialized underlayments to keep all that water out. If you want something special, you've got to ask for it.
TOM: You know, one of the common sites we saw after the hurricanes was the shingles ripped off of roofs. And on the better homes, you saw material under that that was made by Grace. It was called Ice & Water Shield and it doesn't matter if you live in the north. This will protect you from ice or it will protect you from water. Ice & Water Shield is a great example of a self-adhering roofing underlayment that will actually protect you even if your shingles blow off. It's made by Grace.
And actually, they have a really good website that has all sorts of waterproofing tips; whether that water is getting in through your roof, around your flashing or even around your windows and doors. It's GraceAtHome.com. Check it out. There are great tips there on how to keep that water at bay.
LESLIE: Art in Virginia is listening in on WJFK. 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 can 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.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners, did you see those beautiful icicles along your roofline this past winter? Well, if you noticed them, you were smart not to climb up on your ladder and repair those issues with your roof then. But now is the time that spring is here. After the break, we're going to answer an e-mail about how to fight that ice buildup when the weather is right, next.
[audio timestamp: 39:48]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Small kitchens. Let's talk about that. They can be a challenge, hard to work in, hard to work with when it comes to design decisions. But in our next e-newsletter we're going to teach you how to make the most of what you have. We'll have big ideas for your small kitchen.
LESLIE: That's because all I've ever had is a small kitchen. So we've got big ideas ...
TOM: We do.
LESLIE: ... to help you make the most out of that little space.
TOM: You can sign up now if you don't get the newsletter at MoneyPit.com. It is free. You can also, while you're there, shoot us an e-mail question by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. Let's take a question from Joan in Zeeland, Michigan right now.
LESLIE: Alright. And Joan writes: 'We live in snow country and had an ice buildup on the edge of our roof this past winter. When we reroofed a few years ago, they advised us to put lots of vents in and we've got heat tape around the edge but we're still seeing that ice buildup. Help. What can we do?'
TOM: Well, putting lots of vents in is a good idea but you have to make sure the ventilation is working correctly if you want to avoid ice damming. And that's the risk here. If you don't have proper ventilation in your roof, ice will freeze at the roof edge in the winter time ...
LESLIE: Because it's really cold down there, right?
TOM: Right. It will damp up and then you'll get water behind it that will leak into the roof and it's just a - it's a big mess. So, here's what you need.
First of all, you need continuous ridge and soffit vents. The soffit is the overhang of the roof. The ridge is at the peak of the roof. Those two vents work together to let air in at the soffits ...
LESLIE: Yeah, and one's no good without the other one.
TOM: Right, you can't have half and half. So if you just put a bunch of roof vents in without having soffit and ridge venting, it's not going to work.
The second common mistake is that the insulation - sometimes in your zest to insulate your attic, you tend to over-insulate and some people will push too much insulation into the outside edges of that roof and sort of pinch off that airflow.
So two things to check. Make sure you have soffit and ridge venting and secondly, make sure the insulation is not blocking off the soffit vents. If it is, you can install something called an insulation baffle which is easy and inexpensive to do. It may be a little itchy because you have to crawl the insulation to get there but after you get there, well that's - the battle is done. Put the baffle in.
LESLIE: Just wear gloves and long sleeves.
TOM: That's right. Put the baffle in and you are good to go. And that should straighten out that icing problem.
LESLIE: Alright, here's the next one from Jack in Turlock, California who writes: 'We have a house on our property that is 105 years old.' Oh, it's like your house, Tom. 'No one's living there right now but we still have the electricity and the plumbing turned on. What's the best way to put this house in a vacant or storage mode? Right now I go down and run each faucet once a week, turn on all the lights. We're concerned if we turn off the water and electricity we may never get it back on again.' I don't blame them (Tom laughs) but man, running out there every week. What a pain in the patooty.
TOM: Well, if you want to actually sort of deactivate the house, there are a couple things to do.
First of all, obviously, turn the water off. And if you have good quality valves you shouldn't have any problem getting it back on. If you're concerned about it, replace the valves while you're doing this.
Secondly, you need to blow all of the water out of the plumbing pipes. Now, once you set the house up to do this, you may need to add another drain valve at the lowest area of the house. You may need to use an air compressor or some other device to sort of push some of the water through that gets hung up. But once you get the plumbing working right and it's in a position where you can easily drain the water out, then that's all you need to do with that.
The next thing is in the toilets make sure you add some antifreeze because water gets trapped, sometimes, into the bowl or into the trap and then it will freeze.
LESLIE: Just a splash? Whole bottle? How much?
TOM: Just a splash. And lastly, I would not turn the heat off all the way. I'd turn it down to about 60 or 62 so that you have a little bit of heat; otherwise, the house gets too humid, everything swells and moves and it can get pretty ugly.
LESLIE: Then you could end up with mold, mildew, lots of moisture and any situation there. So really do keep that heat on. It's going to help you save a bundle.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better 24/7/365. That means that although we may be going offline right now with the live radio show, we will be online waiting to take your questions, your calls, your comments anytime of the day or night at MoneyPit.com. Just call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or log on to MoneyPit.com. You can even search every old show, every transcript or simply search for the topic that you're most interested in. And it is there for you 24/7/365 at MoneyPit.com.
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 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 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.)