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:
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TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: I have had 20 years of experience crawling through crawl spaces and basements, attics and roofs ...
LESLIE: And I'm 20. (laughing)
TOM: ... and - that's right. On my very first home inspection, there was a really cute little baby in the crib in the nursery, named Leslie ...
LESLIE: And you stole her away.
TOM: ... and I said, 'One day she's going to be my co-host on The Money Pit.' (chuckling) That's right. So all these years, I've been working to try to learn more about homes. And Leslie has not exactly been slacking around; she's been studying, too, in between playing with blocks and Legos and dolls and stuff like that.
LESLIE: (overlapping) (laughing) I wish I was 20. I wish. I just had my 31st birthday, so aye chihuahua.
TOM: So we are here to share our expertise with you, the listener. If you're tackling a home improvement project, call us right now. We'd love to help you. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I think this is really funny, Tom.
LESLIE: There was a new study and it says, 'Men are more prone to injuries when they're mad.'
TOM: That's a news flash?
LESLIE: (laughing) 'A doctor interviewed men who were injured and asked them to describe ...'
TOM: Are you serious?
LESLIE: '... how they were feeling before they got hurt. A lot of them used the words' and I quote, 'like 'irritated,' 'angry,' 'excited' and 'hostile.'' How funny is that?
TOM: Is that like when you get mad, you punch a wall and then you're surprised when you broke your hand?
LESLIE: Ah. Well you know, the worse thing is like when I was installing a new railing in the basement ...
LESLIE: ... and I was just having a hard time and something wasn't going right and I just like tossed it aside. And as I tossed it aside - I didn't mean to toss it aside -
LESLIE: - I punctured the drywall.
LESLIE: It's like you get angry and you end up causing a series, like a chain of events that just ruins one thing after the next. So it's much better to stay calm and focused.
TOM: You know, I had a friend that was a professional carpenter. And he had a good rule of thumb, literally. Whenever he hit his thumb or had any kind of injury on the job, he would not continue. No matter how intense the work was at that point in time, he'd put the tools down and walk away; just for a moment.
LESLIE: What? And take like a timeout?
TOM: Yeah, he would give himself a timeout. And it really makes a lot of sense because you know, you get mad because if something like that happens you're apt to hurt yourself again. So he'd always just put the tools down, walk away, say a few unkind words into the sky (laughing) and come back to work a new man. You know, I think it really made a lot of sense. So the ...
LESLIE: So all the times on While You Were Out when Andrew gets really upset and he breaks cabinet doors and chucks frames and destroys a piece that he worked really hard on (laughing) ...
LESLIE: ... he should just take a timeout? That'll help him out?
TOM: That's right. You should give Andrew a timeout. Bad Andrew. Put him in the corner, give him a timeout and then let him come back to work when he's ready to smile and be pleasant again.
LESLIE: It's so funny. I have seen so many beautiful pieces of almost-completed furniture ...
TOM: What, ruined?
LESLIE: ... just be tossed into the street and thrown away. (laughing) Lumber is wasted. You can't ... you know, there's no salvaging it. It's crazy.
TOM: Well, don't get mad; get even. Let us help you turn those rough edges on your home improvement projects into polished works of art. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: And if you call us and ask your home improvement question on the air, you'll be entered into our random prize drawing for a $100 stainless steel kitchen faucet from Peerless. So call in now.
TOM: Let's get right to the phones. Who's first?
LESLIE: Rick in Louisiana has an interesting problem. I've heard about sweaty palms but a sweaty concrete porch?
LESLIE: Is it nervous? Does it have a hot date? (laughing)
RICK: Well, it depends on what its temperature is. (laughing) We get some 45-degree days - quite a few in a row - and then all of a sudden we get a south wind and it's about 75 degrees and about 80 percent humidity. And it's like the outside of a glass of cold water; it just sweats to the point where it's ... this is a covered concrete porch.
TOM: Right. Yeah, it's condensation. It's condensation.
RICK: And it's just pure condensation. I don't think it's anything coming up from below it. And what can we ... and somewhere and on spot, it looks like something was spilled on it. And it does not condensate at that spot. I wish we could find whatever it was that got spilled on it. (chuckling)
TOM: Do you ... have you ever painted this with anything?
RICK: No, it is just fresh concrete. I mean ...
TOM: Because I'm thinking that if you put ... you know, concrete is so hydroscopic. You have the moisture that may land from the air but you also have a lot of moisture that holds from below. So Leslie, I'm thinking that if he paints it with like an epoxy paint - you know, like an EPOXYShield or something like that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, EPOXYShield is a great option because that is like a paint but instead of being a paint with such a serious color, it's almost like a painted surface and then there's like a clear coat with like sparkles in it. It's so 50s and kind of retro; it's really cool. But you can also use an epoxy-based paint which can come in a variety of colors and even a variety of opacities to the colors. So you can really get a variety in the look that you're looking for; whether it's just a deep paint or a lighter paint, like a tint. And that'll seal it almost, in itself, and make it so that your condensation problem might be solved.
RICK: Is it ... but is it ... it appears to us that it's that the condensation is from the air onto the concrete
RICK: ...itself. And it's almost instantaneous if you get a change in the front ... weather front.
TOM: Correct. But you know what, that concrete that's unfinished is holding so much moisture, right now, that the condensation probably occurs quicker.
RICK: Now, is it holding moisture ... now we have cold dry air, so the concrete is probably ... I mean it's dry, cold air when we get the cold weather.
TOM: Well, it tends to be a very hydroscopic material. It's soaks up water very, very readily.
TOM: Another thing to look at is just your general drainage conditions around that porch to make sure you're not letting any water collect against the concrete where it's ...
RICK: No, it is ... it is pure condensation or ...
RICK: ... you know, the hydroscopic (inaudible).
TOM: I would suggest you paint the porch with an epoxy-based paint. So it'll give you a little traction and I think it's going to cut back on the condensation issue.
RICK: Now is there any other kind of materials that you can put over it to ...
RICK: ... (inaudible) like tile or something or ...?
TOM: Well, sure. Or you could put a wood deck over it or ...
LESLIE: Yeah, you build a wood deck over it; would be gorgeous.
TOM: You know, you could do something of that nature.
RICK: Okay. Now, if we put ... if we build a wood deck ... right now, the porch is actually ... it's actually screened in and if we built it up an inch or two, I mean we'd have to change the door jambs and everything.
TOM: Yeah, well you want to avoid that.
RICK: Yeah, how ... I mean ... but you ... can you lay decking right over wood or does it have to be an air ...
TOM: Sure, well what you could do, for example ... what would be nice is if you put, say, 5/4 boards down on the flat ...
TOM: ... and that becomes the base that's really just going to help tie this whole thing together.
LESLIE: Would you Tapcon those right into the concrete?
TOM: Sure. Sure. And then you can use a composite decking product on top of that. You can use Trex or Veranda. And so, between the two of them, you'd only be talking about - what? - like an inch and a half, right? Yeah, about an inch-and-a-half.
RICK: It will actually be two inches because the 5/4 ...
TOM: (overlapping) I'm sorry. Yeah, you're right. Yeah, it would be two ... it actually would be two-and-a-quarter about, all together. Yeah, (inaudible).
RICK: ... is an inch and the Trex would be an inch, right? Could you just have the Trex or something by itself? Or the wood ... or ...
TOM: Well, you could. But then, the thing is, how are you going to ... how are you going to nail it down or screw it down? You need something as a cross member to tie it together.
RICK: Right, okay. Course, with the Trex and stuff, would you need to tie it down? Because I mean if you put it in tight enough ...
TOM: Somehow it's going to have to attach. Yeah.
TOM: One way or the other.
RICK: You've given me some options.
TOM: Alright. Well, that's what we're here to do, Rick.
RICK: Thank you very, very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
RICK: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Did you miss a great product we recommended or want to hear, again, from the guest who had advice about your current DIY project? You can now listen to all of our past shows and even search our archives. And it's all at moneypit.com. So log on today.
TOM: Moneypit.com. In fact, not only archives. You can sign up to receive podcasts of the show every single week. So if you like the show - and we certainly hope you do - sign up to receive the podcast. Simply log onto moneypit.com or you could do that through iTunes or any of the other ...
LESLIE: Ah, technology.
TOM: ... podcasts. That's right.
LESLIE: It's exciting.
TOM: We are into technology. Hey, it works pretty good. I've been getting my copy of The Money Pit by ... on my pod - and I'm a new podder. I'm a new iPoder. (laughing) I got it for Christmas this past year. It's good.
LESLIE: How are you liking it? (laughing)
TOM: I'm liking it good. I'm struggling through but you know. It's great. I can put all of my CDs on there. You know, I read, the other day, there's a service now where you can like drop off your 300 CDs to a guy and they have multi-speed CD burners and they can put it all on there for you?
LESLIE: Now that is the epitome of laziness. (laughing) Oh, my goodness.
TOM: (laughing) Just dump her all on the hard drive on the iPod.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, for those of you who are not lazy ...
TOM: (chuckling) That's right. You can go to the website - moneypit.com.
Okay, let's talk about another trend - year round gardening. It's a trend that's here to stay. Now one way to keep your plants and vegetables growing in season all year long, is to build your own greenhouse. And you don't need a green thumb to build a greenhouse. When we come back, we'll give you some tips to get started.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you're putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one - getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at faucetcoach.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So Leslie, are you a year-round gardener?
LESLIE: Oh, my god. I am the worst gardener in the world.
TOM: Are you? Well, I'm a pretty bad gardener, too. I kill silk plants. (laughing) Usually from over-watering but somehow they don't make it through the season with me.
LESLIE: When I was a kid, my mom killed a rubber tree plant. (laughing) And those are supposed to be indestructible. We lack green thumbs in this family. But I can build you a housing for your plants.
TOM: We used to have the most amazing ficus tree in our house; when we had a condo. And it was just gorgeous and green; I loved looking at it. But then it just started getting like dead and like sickly and like sappy. And then you had to clean the stuff off the hardwood floor. It was a mess.
TOM: But you know, there are those out there that have the green thumb. So we may not have a green thumb - neither you nor I - but we can help you build a greenhouse. So if the thought of having fresh garden vegetables at your table during winter meals is appetizing, you might want to look into building your own greenhouse so that you can have that garden going all year round.
Here's a couple of tips. The framing material - the framing material is critical to your greenhouse. Consider your options. Wood retains the structures heat; which could be very, very important in the winter. That's one of the reasons that so many greenhouses are made of wood. You can make it out of aluminum framing (ph). Some of the prefabs are made of aluminum, but that is not going to retain that much heat; but it does resist corrosion and helps keep its shape.
A newer option is rigid steel core PVC pipe and I kind of like that because it's not quite as cold as metal, but it's modular so it's really easy to put it together. It's kind of like snap it together, Lego blocks or an erector set; it goes together pretty quickly.
LESLIE: Well, even if you don't have a green thumb - or you do - we've got a great prize, this hour, for all of you thumb-having folks out there. It's a kitchen faucet from Peerless. It's worth over $100 and it comes stamped with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. It's a two-handle lever faucet and it comes in a beautiful stainless steel finish. And it also has a matching side spray, which is great for washing the dishes. And Peerless faucets are dependable and affordable and they can easily update the look of your kitchen. So call in now and it could be yours for free.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let's go back to the phones.
LESLIE: John in Michigan listens to The Money Pit on WKZO and wants to talk about cementing a driveway. What's going on, John?
JOHN: The driveway is a double-wide driveway and about two (inaudible) long. And it's gravel. And I wanted to know the thickness of the cement. How thick should the cement be? I've got a pickup truck so ...
JOHN: ... I want to know how much ... how thick should the cement be and does it do you any good to buy reinforced fiberglass.
TOM: Great question. You know, the thickness of the cement is not the most important place to start when you're thinking about putting in a concrete driveway. The most important place to start - and Leslie, I know you've been there done that (laughing) - is the prep. Getting that site prepped properly - and by prepped, I mean getting rid of the old stuff, making sure that the base that you're going to put that cement on is well-tamped so it's not soft, there's no rotten material in there.
LESLIE: Well, because if the base isn't tamped properly and something settles in the wrong way - and settling in any way is wrong when it comes to cement - is that it'll crack the cement and then you can't add to that and fix that. So prep is huge.
TOM: As important as the kind of cement and the thickness of cement is that prep. So do the prep very, very carefully.
Now, back to your original question. I do think it's a good idea to use fiberglass reinforced cement in the driveway. It's a heck of a lot stronger. If you're not going to use woven wire mesh, which is like a really extreme way to go but a super-strong way to go, certainly use the fiberglass. And make sure you put it in in sections so that those sections have room to expand and contract. You cannot put a driveway in that is that big without having expansion joints in it.
JOHN: Well, how big should those sections be?
TOM: You said it's a double-wide driveway?
TOM: So that's going to be - what? - about, say, 16 ... 18 feet wide?
JOHN: I guess about that.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you're probably going to want to not go more than about 10 to 12 feet without having a joint. So ...
JOHN: Okay, well that's great.
TOM: So you're going to have several joints going across that driveway as you move up towards the house. Make sure it's tamped well because if it is tamped, it's going to not move and you're going to be happy with that for a long time to come.
JOHN: Can you rent a machine that helps you with that tamping?
TOM: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, a tamping machine is one that can be rented. And it's definitely worth it with a project of that size. I wouldn't dream of doing that by myself.
LESLIE: Oh, my god. Could you imagine? That would be the biggest 2x4 ...
LESLIE: ... ever in life. (laughing)
TOM: Your back would be like falling off. That would be so painful. No, you definitely want to rent a tamping machine for that.
JOHN: Well, what would something like that run? I mean is it a lot of money or ...?
TOM: To rent one? I don't think so. I'm sure it's going to be less than 100 bucks for the day. But definitely well worth it. Check around with your local rental yard and pick one out.
LESLIE: (overlapping) When you think about the doctor bills for your back.
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, exactly. Less expensive than the hospital visits, that's for sure, and the chiropractor.
LESLIE: You know it's like ... and it's hard if you're tamping it on your own. I've done just a patio with like a travertine tile on top of it. And just the patio - say it was 20x10. To do it on your own with a 2x4 with all the layers of sand and however I was doing it, you need a piece that's going to cover that whole width so you're making sure that everything is level. It's a lot of work. And it's a very strenuous movement. So even on a small space it's hard work. So with a huge space like that, think about it; it's worth it.
TOM: You never have too few power tools. Remember that, John. (laughing)
JOHN: Alright. Well, thanks again.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we're going to talk to Cathy in Ohio whose looking to update her kitchen. Cathy, what's going on?
CATHY: Well, I have some - I guess it's walnut finish cabinets. And I was interested in maybe getting them a lighter shade. So I guess ... is the only way to do that is to paint them?
LESLIE: Well, are they actual walnut or is it a walnut veneer? Is it solid wood? Do you know a little bit more about them?
CATHY: It's solid wood and I think it's a walnut stain.
LESLIE: Okay. And you want to sort of pickle them? Make them like a whitewash so you can still see the grain?
LESLIE: Well, it's actually not that hard and we did that in our kitchen with an oak cabinet, which worked out great because the grain really showed through so nicely and the pickling. And a good ... a good stain or paint remover is one called Rock Miracle. And you can get it at any sort of paint supplier or home center. And it goes on really thick. It's more of like a gel than it is a liquid. And when you put it on, it sort of changes color to let you know that it's working. And you can use a wire brush or a paint scraper. And you'll see it; you'll want to let it sit there for a while. And once it does change that color, scrape it off and then you may need to do it a couple of times and you can sand in between. But once you get it back down to that raw wood, it'll be really, really pretty.
CATHY: Oh, okay. And is that just one coat you need to put on, you think? Or ...
LESLIE: It depends on how white you want the wash to be.
LESLIE: And how much you want that grain to sort of pop out. And the nice thing is that the grain will appear really dark in contrast to the white. So ... try one and try a second coat in an area just to see if you like it.
CATHY: And then, would you have to top that?
LESLIE: Absolutely. Make sure you get a non-yellowing poly top coat. Because in kitchens, with the moisture, any sort of top coat you put on tends to yellow unless you get one that has a specific non-yellowing effect built into it. And that'll really help it. And you can get it in a glossy or a semi-gloss or even a satin finish. So just look for a non-yellowing and get the finish that you like.
CATHY: Okay, that sounds great. Well, I appreciate all your information.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, you wouldn't jump in your car and tear down the driveway if the car had been sitting idle all winter long, would you? Well, the same is true for your lawn mower. We'll give you tune up tips right before you hit the turf, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, just like a car that may have been sitting idle, you can't rev up your lawn mower and use it if it's been stored away all winter. So before your lawn gets its first trim of the season, check the spark plug wire connection then check the blade and sharpen it with a file. It's actually a pretty easy job to do and it'll help to give you a really clean cut.
LESLIE: And make sure you clean it inside and out. Make sure you lubricate all moving parts including the wheels. And don't use last year's gasoline. Empty the tank and start fresh. And for a head start for next spring, repeat the steps before you stow it away for the fall.
TOM: Do you know how long gas lasts without going bad?
LESLIE: I think it's 30 days.
TOM: Yes, 30 days. There's like this natural reaction to the gas when it gets bacteria in it ...
LESLIE: Even with that extender? The liquid that you put in there?
TOM: (overlapping) Well, with the extender in it can go like ... it can go like a year. That's why it's good to put that fuel stabilizer in before you shut it off and like actually if you're going to run it out, put the fuel stabilizer in first. But if you don't put it in, it like gets ruined in like 30 days. So gas does go bad very, very quickly.
LESLIE: And that can also be damaging to the equipment itself.
TOM: Well, yeah. It kind of gums up the works and that's why it doesn't start the next year.
LESLIE: Al in Georgia's got a problem. You've got little or no water pressure? Where is this happening, Al?
AL: Oh, what I've got is the city has come out and checked my water pressure coming in to the ... into the main shut off area where they check how much water you use.
AL: And they're telling me that I have plenty of water pressure coming in there. But inside the house itself it's ... I imagine it's probably only running maybe 20, 25 psi.
TOM: That's pretty low. Well, what kind of plumbing do you have, Al? Copper or steel?
AL: It's just primarily city.
TOM: But I mean in the house ... is it steel pipes or is it copper pipes?
AL: Copper pipes.
TOM: How old is your house?
AL: About nine years now.
TOM: Oh, well it's a new house.
LESLIE: And this is happening at all of your faucets or on just some faucets or ...?
AL: No, it's on all of them; both upstairs and downstairs.
TOM: Well look, here's what's happening. You've got a restriction in the valve. Somewhere.
TOM: Now, if they changed ... they checked the pressure on the street side. You want to check the pressure ... the closest place to the main that you can get inside.
TOM: And see what the difference is. If you've got a dramatic difference in pressure between those two points, then your main valve is bad. You may have a situation where you have a ball valve, for example, or a gate valve that's partially closed. And that might be what's restricting the water. Because there's really nothing else, in a copper plumbing
system, that should be obstructing it. If you had old steel pipes, we would be talking about interior rusting in the pipes and if - as Leslie said, if you -
LESLIE: Almost like a clogged artery.
TOM: Right. As Leslie said, if you had it in just some fixtures we could be talking about other things. But if you have it through the whole house and you've got a nine-year-old house with copper pipes ...
LESLIE: You shouldn't have this problem.
TOM: ... it's got to be ... it's got be a valve; there's nothing else left.
AL: Yeah, because I'm ... because I also see it on my water outlets for using the hose and all that stuff outside the house also.
AL: And what I'm curious - I haven't crawled under the house in a long time and I'm wondering if there may be like some shutoff valve ...
TOM: Well, you know, it's funny you mention that because in all the years I spent as a home inspector, I very often found main water valves that people didn't know existed. They may have had one inside the house and not known that there was a second one in the crawl space.
TOM: So it's quite possible that this could be as simple as opening a valve. You definitely need to do some further investigation on both sides of that supply - on the street side and also on the house side - to try to figure out where the obstruction is.
AL: Okay. Now, how would I check the water pressure inside the house? Because I know the city does outside but I don't ...
TOM: Yeah, there's a pressure meter that you could use. I mean a plumber has one as sort of a standard part of their plumbing tool kit.
TOM: It's simply a water pressure meter. It's a little dial that you screw on and you open up the faucet and it tells you what you got.
AL: Oh, okay.
TOM: But it doesn't sound like it should be too terribly complicated to fix. You just have to figure out exactly where the restriction is.
AL: Right. (inaudible) My wife's been complaining about it for a while and I drive a truck for a living and by the time I get home I have so many things to do at the house that (laughing) these little things ...
TOM: Well, fix it for her, will you? Fix it for ... fix it for her. (laughing)
LESLIE: (overlapping) She's just going to continue to give you a hard time about it.
AL: Well, of course. My honey-to-do list sort of keeps growing.
TOM: (laughing) That's right. Yours and mine both, my friend.
LESLIE: Well, earn some points and cross this one off.
AL: Yeah. Yeah, it's probably going to be the first thing I'll have to do.
TOM: Al, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Is your honey-do list growing (laughing) like mine is? So Leslie, since you're the home improver in your house, do you have a honey-do list from Ed?
LESLIE: Mmm. It's called the Leslie-do list and I usually tack things on myself.
TOM: (laughing) Alright. Yeah, you probably ... you probably do more work to add to that list than he does, huh?
LESLIE: Yeah, I'll be like, 'Ooh, I should fix this. I need to do that.' And it's like I'll make work for myself; it's not like I don't have enough things to do. I'll be like, 'Oh, I'm going to organize that' or 'I'm going to fix this.'
TOM: Well, let us help make some work for you. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We promise it'll be easier than when you started.
Well, let's talk about something that could perhaps add some value to your home. One of my favorite home improvement projects is a deck.
LESLIE: I just built an 18x20 deck.
TOM: You did?
LESLIE: Yeah, I did. It was a lot of hard work. It came out beautifully. If we would have had another three hours, all the railings would have been done. But it was really a nice project.
TOM: Yeah, it's a fun project and it's one that you can do in a fairly short period of time. But if you have a deck, keeping it in good condition means cleaning and sealing plus nailing down all the finishing touches. We'll give you the details on those improvements, next.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. Study after study shows that as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, more contaminants become trapped inside. Aprilaire's technologically-advanced electronic and media air cleaners are the best choice for maintaining healthy indoor air. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The website is moneypit.com. The telephone number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So Leslie, you like decks ...
LESLIE: I love decks.
TOM: ... I like decks. But maintaining decks is constantly a challenge.
LESLIE: It's hard work.
TOM: It definitely is. Your deck definitely needs regular maintenance. And if your nails are slowly working loose, pounding them back in - as you may know - is only a temporary fix. So here's what you need to do. You need to remove them and replace them with deck screws. That's right; those weatherproof screws that are now used for everything from affixing drywall to repairing all sorts of things in your house. Deck screws are the galvanized version of them. Sometimes they have a Phillips head; sometimes they have a square head. But that's definitely the best way. And if you're using the composite lumber today; you know, the Veranda lumber, the Trex decking, that sort of thing - I love deck screws. Did you ever notice, Leslie, when you put them in that the nail heads - I mean the screw heads - disappear into the wood?
LESLIE: Well, some of them - especially the one for the composite materials - on the back side of the screw head, they almost have not like a razor-like finish but a sharp piece to the back of it so that as you screw it down, the head will also bite in and countersink itself.
LESLIE: So they're really great. And the attachment that you need for those square head ones or even the other shape ones that come on the heads - they come right in the box with the screws.
TOM: Yeah. And you know what? I like the square drives better than the Phillips because they don't strip as easy.
LESLIE: It's true. And you won't get the wear and tear on the attachment itself, either. So you'll really get a good, smooth drive on every screw. So it makes sense to do it. It's a good, good addition.
TOM: Right. So remember, forget the nails; use the screws. Once you put it down, it will never come back out. And by the way, that's also a good way to fix a squeaky floor. If you ever have the carpet up and you have some loose floorboards. Don't drive it back in with nails. Always use the screws. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you call us right now, you'll get a chance at winning this hour's prize.
LESLIE: Yeah, it's a great prize. It's from Peerless. It's a stainless kitchen faucet that comes stamped with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. It's got two handle levers and a beautiful stainless finish with a matching side spray. And we've learned from one of our engineers that when April Fool's Day rolls around, you can put a rubber band on it (laughing) so that the first person who turns on the faucet will get a little surprise. Just make sure it's somebody who's got a good sense of humor.
TOM: (overlapping) That ... there's going to be like hundreds of people getting squirted by kitchen sprayers (laughing) because of you right now. You're a devil.
LESLIE: It's a good trick. (laughing) Well, it's yours for free and you can play the trick or not. It's your choice.
LESLIE: It's worth 108 bucks. Call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Who's next?
LESLIE: Nick in Illinois has a noisy problem. The floors are making some noise. What kind of floors do you have now, Nick?
NICK: (clearing throat) Excuse me. On the first floor of my home I have hardwood floors - cherry wood. And ... but on the second floor, there - which is where the problem is - there is plywood; unfinished plywood.
LESLIE: So there's ...
TOM: Do you have carpet down on top of that, Nick?
NICK: Yeah, and unfortunately I pulled all the old carpeting up and had new carpeting put down.
NICK: And I tried to eliminate the problem myself by like pounding nails into the plywood; into the rafters or whatever you call those.
TOM: Right. Into the joists.
NICK: Joists, right.
TOM: Yeah. How would you feel about relaying that carpet upstairs? I mean you wouldn't ruin it; you just have to relay it.
NICK: That's ... in other words, you really do have to pull the carpeting up, right?
TOM: Well, yeah. I mean if you have a major squeak problem, the best way to do it is to pull the carpet up and - you were close - don't renail the floors, but use screws ...
TOM: ... (inaudible) screws. And the deck screws work right ... work great for that with the square heads.
LESLIE: Because the screw will really secure the plywood subfloor to the joist; whereas the nail will be a temporary hold but, over time, you'll end up with the same situation by ... through movement.
TOM: Yeah. And if you could go through those rooms and screw the floor down, as opposed to nail it, you would definitely quiet them down. Because there's really two kinds of squeaks in floors. They're caused either by the nails pulling in and out of the wood. Because a lot of the flooring nails are coated with glue; it's called rosin. The name of the nail - the sort of nickname for it - is called a cooler. And the reason they call it a cooler is because it's a rosin-coated nail - it's like a glue-coated nail - and as the ... as the carpenters drive the nail through the wood, the friction melts ...
LESLIE: Heats up.
TOM: ... the glue. And it's supposed to make it sort of stick in place. But when it doesn't and it pulls out with all that glue on it, it has all this extra friction and it just makes a really terrible noise as the nail pulls in and out. So that's one reason. And the other reason they squeak is because a lot of the plywood today is tongue-and-grooved. And so those tongue-and-grooves on the loose boards actually rub together and make that noise.
LESLIE: And make noise.
TOM: Yeah. So for all of those reasons, the best way to do this is to pull your carpet up and to rescrew the floor and put it down. Now, for those of you that are listening and are thinking, 'Oh, man, I have squeaks but I don't want to go through that major hassle. There's one other trick of the trade that we can give you and this is for small areas only. And that is if you can locate the floor joist under the carpet - and you might do that, for example, with one of these electronic stud finders.
LESLIE: Yeah, a deep scan one.
TOM: Deep scan stud sensors, right. Then what you can do is you can take a number 10 or number 12 finish nail - and I prefer the galvanized ones because they're a little rougher and they have better holding power - drive it through the carpet, through the plywood, and into the floor joist at a slight angle - about a 15-degree angle. Now when you're done driving it down, you'll notice that you've sorted your carpet down into like a ... like a bullet, where it's like a dimple. What you'll ...
LESLIE: Grab that carpet.
TOM: Yeah, grab it by the nap and pull it up through the head of the nail and you might brush it with your hand and it'll go away. And so there is a way to nail through carpet and sort of conceal what you've done. And ... but again, that's only in narrow areas, you know? You can't do that for a whole room.
NICK: And if the problem is with the wood itself - like that it has separated, as you were explaining -
NICK: - then, really, all you can do is replace it then, right? The wood ...
TOM: No, not really. I mean you can just secure it down. Once you tighten it down it's not going to move anymore.
NICK: I see.
NICK: Okay. Boy, I hope it works.
TOM: I'm sure it will. Nick, it'll be much quieter in your house when you listen to us, okay?
NICK: Great. Hey, thanks.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The email address, though, is firstname.lastname@example.org. And Leslie, you know, a few weeks ago you mentioned your favorite stain remover for dealing with those nasty pet stains that get into the floors and the carpets. And we have been getting pounded - I mean pounded - with requests, by email, to repeat that information. So up next, we're going to have you revisit the topic of solving those stain problems with your favorite do-it-yourself pet removal stain trick, next.
[audio timestamp: 39:42]
[audio timestamp: 39:58]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being 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 prices. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The website - moneypit.com. The email address - email@example.com. So say that you're a bit shy and you don't want to pick up the phone and call us. Well, that's okay; we don't judge. You can email us. Lots and lots of folks do and that's why, right now, Leslie, I think we should dive into the Money Pit email bag.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. This ones comes - uh bluh - this one comes from Kim and Rick in South Dakota. And Kim says: 'Rick was listening and heard something about installing your own generator and was interested in more information.' It's a couple team.
TOM: Yeah, and Rick doesn't want to write himself so he had ...
LESLIE: And Rick doesn't want to write.
TOM: ... he had Kim do it for him. Alright. Well, that's fine. Let's talk about that. Leslie, have you ever had a situation where maybe you're working on your computer and the power went out and you lost something that you were working on?
LESLIE: Yeah, and that's terrible.
TOM: Yeah, it really kind of ruins your day.
LESLIE: It wrecks your day in a major way. So always remember, save your files often.
TOM: You know, backup generation is a very helpful thing to do in a lot of different ways. Now, if you're talking about something like your computer, of course you would have a battery backup that might buy you, say, five, 10 or 15 minutes for that immediate power need. But if you want something for your house, you need something called a whole house backup generator. I am fortunate to have one here at my home. And the way it works ... it's natural gas powered so there's no gasoline to mess with. And if the power goes off in the house, it repowers the entire house within 15 seconds. Now, it requires something called a transfer switch, which is basically a second electrical panel to which you wire only the circuits that you want on the backup generator. So the idea here is, folks, you only put the mission critical appliances on that backup generator. That might be, say, your furnace, your refrigerator, your lights and so on. Maybe you might want to leave the air conditioning off.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you can even include your sump pump on it and, this way, you'll be the only person on your block with the lights still on when the power goes out.
TOM: Well, in keeping with our spring cleaning theme of today's program, thought we might dive into the Money Pit email bag one more time, Leslie. And as the topic of today's Leslie's Last Word, you need to share with us your trick of the trade for getting rid of pet stains; because we've been getting so many emails on your experience with some products in doing just that.
LESLIE: And it's not just pet stains. It's pet odors, as well. If there's an accident that happens - you know, everybody's little dog makes a mistake once in a while. And I love this product. So, many of you probably know that you think that you just have to live with these stains and the odor; but you don't. There's a great product that gets rid of the source of the odor. It goes down through the carpet padding right down to the subfloor, so the odor disappears. And it really works. I tell you, I've used it - not to rat out my little dog but I swear.
TOM: Little Daisy.
LESLIE: And it's called - Little Daisy. She's not always the best behaved. And it's called 123 Odor Free and you can get it online at justrite.com. And that's j-u-s-t-r-i-t-e.com. And the product uses a special application of an enzyme bacteria culture and it feeds on the source of the stain and the odor. And it gets rid of that food source so the odor disappears. And it's pretty amazing. It comes in a great kit that you can order. And it's the way the professionals remove stains. And it takes care of everything from pet accidents to red wine. So go to justrite.com - j-u-s-t-r-i-t-e.com - and learn more about this and order it and you will be so happy. And I swear to you it works.
TOM: Great advice. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
We're just about out of time. But speaking of professional tricks of the trade, you know spring is the perfect time to check your AC system to make sure that it's running properly. Because if you wait until summer, you may just find that you have to stay in a long, long line to get that done. So coming up next week on The Money Pit, we're going to give you the tricks of the trade to make sure your AC is running even when you don't need it like right now.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2006 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)