Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So, Leslie, you've been getting outside and tackling home improvement projects? What are you working on?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I have been. We've been really doing some nice work to the backyard because it's been this sort of barren, desolate wasteland of half-dead things. And we both rolled up our sleeves and put on some gloves and pretty much pulled out everything that just looked wrong. And ...
TOM: Starting anew.
LESLIE: Yeah, we're starting over. Pulled out the dead, planted some nice new things. I'm going to build a pergola. I'm going to put down a flagstone patio. It's all happening next weekend. So if I sound exhausted ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) And the barbecue ... the barbecue to follow. (laughing)
LESLIE: (chuckling) The barbecue's there. The barbecue's looking for a nice home to sort of show itself off in. But it's been a lot of work and you know, we're always looking for new tools to make the job go better. And it's exhausting, back-breaking work. But once it's done and you guys know, out there, when you're working on your yard, it's hard work but when you sit down and enjoy it, it makes it all worthwhile. So get out there. The weather's gorgeous, folks.
TOM: Well, you know, Black&Decker's got a really cool new tool out now; it's called the Alligator Lopper. It combines ...
LESLIE: I love the name.
TOM: It combines the ... sort of the operation of a lopper, where you have the sort of the scissor kind of action, with a chainsaw head. (laughing) So you'll love this thing because you could actually cut big, fat branches with it or little ones. And more power to you, you know. It just ... it cuts things up to four inches thick.
LESLIE: And the coolest thing is that the cutting chain is actually protected by these two sort of teeth grabbers, which is ... you know, I can't think of a better way to describe them. But if you have any question about it, go to MoneyPit.com and look under the cool tools. Because there's a picture of it and once you see it, you will understand exactly how fantastic it is. So check it out, folks.
TOM: Well, coming up this hour, we're also going to choose one caller to offer a ... to win, actually, I should say, a great prize. It's a set of three bionic wrenches from Loggerhead Tools.
LESLIE: That would be pretty mean if we said, 'Ooh, you could have this. Psyche.'
TOM: (laughing) No, we actually will give it away. You can pry it from my hands. These things blend the best of a wrench and a pair of pliers. They're about ... worth about 100 bucks. So call us now to get in on the action.
Leslie, who's first on The Money Pit?
LESLIE: Admir in Texas is doing some work in the bathroom. How can we help?
ADMIR: Hi. I'm working on some projects in the house that ... I moved into a brand new house and I want to do ceramic tiles in my bathroom. And I have concrete in the ... foundation is concrete. And I have vinyl on the top. And what am I to do? How that works?
LESLIE: Are these for the wall or for the floor?
LESLIE: For both. Okay. Well definitely, when you're buying tiles - ceramic tiles - make sure that when you purchase a floor tile, that they have good anti-slip resistance. You want to make sure that you don't fall down. Look for a slip-resistance rating on these floor tiles. That's very important. Because a floor tile and a wall tile are very different. If you put a wall tile on the floor, you're going to be falling down left and right. So first, look for that.
ADMIR: Oh, okay.
LESLIE: Tom, what kind of prep work should he do on the floor if he's going right to the concrete subfloor?
TOM: Well, Admir, with a concrete subfloor, you probably can go right on top of that with the tile. Probably the bigger question is when you move up to the walls. What kind of walls do you have in your bathroom, right now?
ADMIR: Oh, I'm not sure. I moved in the house when the house was finished. So I'm not sure.
LESLIE: So is there drywall there already?
ADMIR: Drywall, drywall.
TOM: I'll tell you, you'd be ... you'd be well suited to cut out the drywall and replace it with a more durable product like Gyp-Crete or Dens Armor; a place ... a product that's going to ...
LESLIE: Even a cement backer board.
TOM: Or a cement backer board, right. Because the problem is that if you put the tile on top of the drywall, it's not going to last you more than five or 10 years before you find that tile falling off and sort of melting with the drywall. So it's probably a good idea to cut out the drywall from above the tub or shower area and replace it with a cement backer board and then tile on top of that. That will give you a much better job, Admir, and it'll last you a lot longer.
LESLIE: And as far as adhesive goes, make sure you pick an adhesive that works right for the tile that you're buying; usually it's a tile mastic. You can get a tile mastic that also works as a grout, so just do some research; ask the folks in the aisle. Get a tile mastic. You want to put that on with a trowel using a back butter technique so you're getting the grid work into the mastic. Put your tiles on, let it set, grout it, seal that grout and you're good to go.
TOM: Okay, Admir? Good luck with that tile job. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeff in Maryland finds The Money Pit on WJFK Free FM. And how can we help you with your leaky ceiling? What's going on?
JEFF: Hi, how are you?
LESLIE: Good. Great. What's happening?
JEFF: Well, here's the story. We have a room that was originally a garage that was finished. And it has sort of a flat roof on top with some sort of rubberized roofing. We've noticed on the inside of the room, on the ceiling, there's some puckering in the ceiling along the drywall seam. We're figuring it's either leaking through the roof or I was also wondering if it might be caused by too much heat from the gas fireplace that's in that room. I didn't know if that could also cause puckering along the drywall.
LESLIE: Well, that could be the joint compound just drying out over the tape.
TOM: Well, that's what I was thinking, too. When you say puckering, Jeff, define puckering for us. Because in a garage situation, the building code requires only one layer of spackle and tape for fire resistance. But, typically, what happens is people don't know that and they paint right on top of it then, eventually, the tape falls off.
LESLIE: But in an interior situation you need three coats.
JEFF: I see. And that is what it looks like. It looks like the tape is starting to hang and you can push up on it and it's soft but there's no staining. You know, and that's what made us wonder if maybe it wasn't the water.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, well, this is ... this is ... no, this is very good news, Jeff. You just are the recipient of a lousy tape job.
TOM: So all you have to do here is just, basically, redo the tape. If it's loose, pull it down.
TOM: If there's an area that's loose and an area that's tight, take a razor blade or a razor knife and cut across it on an angle so that you are only pulling down the loose tape and leaving the stuff that's intact.
TOM: And then, when you go to retape it, go buy some of the perforated fiberglass tape. It looks sort of like netting and it's a little sticky.
TOM: It's a really good way to retape because you don't need as much skill. If you use paper tape, you have to get an even layer of spackle underneath ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mud, tape, mud, tape.
LESLIE: It's like ... it's hard.
TOM: Yeah, it's hard. And you get a little air bubble in there and then you just like want to hit yourself when you're done because it looks really bad but you don't learn that until the next day when it dries. But if you get that fiberglass tape, then you can just sort of build it up and you won't have to worry about because it's, basically, just wearing out. The tape is just loosening and falling off. But this does not sound to me like you have a leak. When you said flat roof, I was immediately thinking ...
TOM: ... flat Washington (ph) roof and man, I've seen a lot of those in my day and they do leak, very quickly. But I don't think it's happening to you yet. So fix the tape and move on.
JEFF: That sounds great. Now, quick follow-up. If I'm at all worried about the roof, is there an easy way that I could roll something on or apply it to do an extra coating on the roof; which I imagine hasn't been treated in years?
TOM: If it's not leaking now, don't set foot on it. (laughing)
JEFF: Got it. (laughing)
TOM: Chances are you'll step through it somewhere and put a little crack in it and then you'll be ...
TOM: ... you'll be upset. So, no, I'd leave it alone, Jeff, okay? Seriously though, if you want to coat it with something and it's a flat roof, the best thing to paint it with is a material called fibrous aluminum paint. Because it's a silver paint and it reflects the UV of the sun back out and that help ... that helps actually preserve it. It's a special roofing paint. That's about all I would do to that.
JEFF: Very good. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Jeff. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, with much of the country now enjoying the outdoor weather again, another barbecue season has begun.
LESLIE: But is your grill safe? Well, some hot tips, coming up next.
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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. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number.
Well, with so many Americans beginning another cookout season, here are some tips to make sure your grill is safe. First, take off the cooking grid. You've got to clean it and remove the lava rock. Then pull out the burner, check it for rust or cracks. It's amazing. You know, these burners work every time you put them on but the cracks form and they're very small and they get obscured by all of the gunk that forms on top of it. So take out the burner and check it out. And be sure, also, to clean out the venturi under the burner; that's the little hole that the gas goes through. You know, spiders like to form in that spot and it only takes a very small spider nest to actually back up the gas. So make sure you check all of those areas. Also, the hoses for leaks or cracks. You can do that with dishwasher detergent. Simply brush some on. If you see it bubbling up when you turn the gas on, you know you've got a hole. So check it very, very carefully. Clean those parts out. And you will be firing up a very safe grill for those thick and juicy steaks.
LESLIE: Mmm. And then you can invite us over for dinner. And we always have grilling tips and recipe ideas. So don't hesitate to ask us, okay, folks?
Alright. Well, in our next e-newsletter, more great grilling tips; including the safest way to cook. We'll also tell you how to troubleshoot three common problems you may encounter the first time you use your grill this season. And if you don't already get our free e-newsletter, you better sign up now at MoneyPit.com. Remember, it's free.
TOM: Hey, maybe we should rerun your famous barbecue recipe and put it in our House Beautiful story. (laughing) Didn't we get you in trouble with that?
LESLIE: I got in so much trouble. It's actually my friend Adam's recipe and he has this other secret family recipe that he won't share with me. And he gave me this sort of to ...
TOM: Because he's afraid we'll publish it? (laughing)
LESLIE: ... chill me out. And what did I do? I go and publish it. You know ...
TOM: In House Beautiful. (laughing)
LESLIE: But it's delicious, folks. I mean it's amazing. It's not something that should be kept to one's self. It should be shared and enjoyed, so ...
TOM: That's right.
LESLIE: ... go to House Beautiful. You know what, I'm going to give it to Tom; we're going to put it up on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: Let's do that.
LESLIE: We're going to get it for you because you'll love it. It's delicious.
TOM: 888-666-3974. If you call that number right now, you could qualify for the free prize we're going to give away. This hour, we're going to give away a set of three bionic wrenches from Loggerhead Tools. These wrenches are very cool because they combine the way a wrench works and the way pliers work. They grip bolts, they grip screws all the way around and squeeze tight so you have the best leverage. They actually can handle 38 different fastener sizes. So call in your home improvement or home repair question, now, to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Roger in West Virginia's got a sticky problem. How can we help?
ROGER: Yes. I appreciate y'all taking the call here. I want you to know you've helped me pass many a mile out on the road, truck driving, listening to your show. And I thank you for the information you've helped us with.
LESLIE: And thanks for taking us on your adventures.
TOM: How can we help you, Roger?
ROGER: I've got a two part question for you. One of them is that I've got a basement that had some carpet that was glued to the floor; kind of that indoor/outdoor stuff.
ROGER: And we're wanting to go with tile. And we've scraped the rubber off but there's a glue residue there that I don't know if I can put regular tile over top of it. Or does the glue residue have to come off, too?
LESLIE: Can you lay an additional subfloor? Can you go ahead and put down some particleboard or some sort of exterior ply so that you don't have to worry about moisture? Or are you worried about losing the height?
ROGER: Oh, not at all. I'm not worried about the height or anything. I just want to make sure the tile and whatever you secure the tile with will stick to that.
TOM: If the glue is intact, that's the first thing. We want to make sure the glue is very intact so it's not going to separate from the floor itself. The second thing is, is the glue fairly flat or is it going to obstruct the tile - the new tile - being put on. If the answer to both of those questions is that it is intact and it's not going to sort of adversely affect the new tile in terms of height, then I think you could use an adhesive mastic and actually go right on top of that. I think that in the most - for the most part - you're going to get good adhesion to the old glue surface. As long as it's stuck well to the tile itself, I don't think you're going to have a problem.
LESLIE: Yeah, and as long as it's not too bumpy or uneven so that as you lay the tile, you don't want to be stepping on a tile and hit a glue part and then the tile rocks out of its setting. So you want to make sure that it's a uniform bottom. And if it's not, you can either try to remove it, which would be like a giant nightmare, or you can lay a new subfloor.
TOM: Okay, Roger? We hope that helps you out and thanks for taking us on your truck-driving journey. Now, when you get back home, you'll be ready to rock and roll with that tile project.
888-666-3974. Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: John in Montana's up next. And you want to talk about replacing nails with screws in your deck. What's going on? Are they popping up? What's happening?
JOHN: Okay. The nails are coming out of my deck.
JOHN: I want to put screws in it. But do I need to glue the screws in or can I just screw in ... because the wood is not bad.
TOM: No, you absolutely don't need to put any kind of glue in. The deck screws that are available today are, first of all, galvanized or otherwise plated so they're not going to rust. And secondly, because they're a screw, they just hold a lot better, they're a lot stronger than the nails. The problem with the nails is that the wood expands and contracts; it actually sort of spits the nails out, it forces them out. But the screws, that's not going to happen. And a lot of the screws today ... Leslie, you've built a lot of decks on While You Were Out. Aren't a lot of the deck screws have the square head, now, that you use the special tip for your driver?
LESLIE: They do. There's actually a brand of screws, specifically made for decks; they're called Deck Mate. And they come with a special blue tip. It's either a square or sometimes a star; it depends on which kind you buy. Mostly the square tips, though. It comes with the tip right for your drill so you don't have to worry about buying anything extra. And sometimes, the interesting thing is that on the backside of the head of the screw, they've almost put ... almost like a razor's edge. So as you drive that screw down, it sort of countersinks itself by cutting into the wood a little bit more. So it helps to sort of guide that screw head to be more flush with the surface or even drive it down a little further if you wanted to put a wood plug. So the screws are really a good way to go.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: William in Iowa's got a question about an air cleaner. How can we help?
WILLIAM: Well, I want to know if they're worth the money to get. I keep seeing this Ionic Breeze Quadra. Now they're going to give you two for the price of one and ... should I buy one of those or ... they're 350 bucks a pop, you know. I don't know whether I should or is there ...
LESLIE: Well ...
WILLIAM: ... something I can buy to hook onto my furnace or what?
LESLIE: Oh, William, you are a smart man. Tom, take it away.
TOM: Well, it's true that these portable units are getting very, very expensive. And the problem is that you need many of these to clean the air in your entire house. A better option is a whole home air cleaner; one that does install to your furnace, usually on the return duct side, William. The one that we recommend is Aprilaire. Aprilaire has an air cleaner called the Model 5000 which, for the last three years, was reported to be number one by Consumer Reports. And it's so efficient, it'll take out virus-size particles. And if you install an Aprilaire Model 5000, then you're going to scrub the air in the entire house and it'll actually cost you a lot less to operate that and to buy that than purchasing several of the portable units. Because you're right, they're very expensive and they're noisy and they're simply inconvenient to use. So a whole house ...
LESLIE: Yeah, you would need 10 of those portable units for a 1,500 square foot home.
WILLIAM: Do they do the job, though?
LESLIE: The portable units? No. Because what's happening is you get one of the portable units and you put it in the corner, say, of your living room. Now, the only air that it's going to clean is the air that passes through it. So it's the air that's directly in front of it or right in the vicinity. It's not doing anything for the air on the opposite side of the room.
LESLIE: So then you're going to need one for the opposite corner. And the other two corners. So now you've got four per room and now you're looking at 1,200 bucks. Where with the Aprilaire whole house air cleaner, for around $700 to $1,000 it's going to do every bit of air within your house because all of the air circulates through your heating and cooling system and all of it goes through the air purifier. So it's going to do the best job. And as an added by-product of this, it will reduce the dust in your home so you won't have to clean as often.
TOM: Now, William, we have, actually, one of these installed in my house and I have a hot water heated house, so I don't have ducts that are used for heating the home in the winter time. But we actually have it in the duct system that's used to cool the home in the summertime. So what we do is we actually turn on the fan for the air conditioner in the middle of the winter to circulate some of the air through and clean it. That's how efficient it is.
WILLIAM: (overlapping voices) Well, I'll be darned. I'm glad I called. I called the right people, then, to set me straight because I didn't order one of those off the television until I talked to you guys. And I appreciate your show and enjoy it very much. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, William. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If you want more information on that Aprilaire unit, you can go to their website at Aprilaire.com. It's April-a-i-r-e.com.
LESLIE: So, what do you do when you have to cut back branches that are too thick for pruning shears and too small for that big old chain saw?
TOM: You can use this new, cool tool that we were talking about earlier in the show, that combines the best of both. It's called the Alligator Lopper. It's made by Black&Decker. And joining us is one of the pros from B&D to tell us how they came up with this pretty cool tool, next.
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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 this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Waiting for your calls about your home improvement projects. And if you're enjoying the wonderful weather that different parts of the country are having right now, you might be thinking about getting outside and perhaps doing some of that pre-summer cleanup of all of the sticks and twigs and branches and trees around your house that have just sort of aged and got sort of saggy, I guess, is a good word (chuckling) over the ... over the long, cold winter.
And we like to talk about new products that can help you do these jobs on this program. And there's a very, very cool one out, right now, from Black&Decker. It's called the Alligator Lopper. And you know what? It's really hard to explain what this is on the radio. (laughing) So we've turned to ...
LESLIE: You've got to see it.
TOM: You've got to see it. So you need to go to our website at MoneyPit.com and check it out because it's in the Cool Products section. But we're going to try because it is really an impressive cool tool. With us, to talk about that, is Monica Portman. She's the Senior Product Manager for Black&Decker. And I guess, Monica, this thing is your baby, huh?
MONICA: It definitely is.
TOM: Well, let's describe it for the audience. Now, we all know what a lopper is. It's that hand tool with the two long wooden handles and the sort of the scissor tip at the top and you use it for branches that are, maybe, anywhere from a half-inch to an inch thick. You guys have kind of taken two tools and joined them into one. You've taken a chain saw and a lopper and put them together. How did you come up with this?
LESLIE: It's like a scissor chainsaw.
TOM: Yeah, it's like a scissor chainsaw.
MONICA: Well, we basically came up with the idea based off of some research that we did on what people are using ... what tools are people using to cut up logs and branches. And we asked them what are their frustrations about those tools. And you know, between people using chainsaws and people using the manual loppers, we took people's frustrations and what people like and we came up with the Alligator Lopper.
LESLIE: Well, and I know with a chainsaw, if you try to cut any smaller branches or twigs, as soon as you get near them they start vibrating like crazy and you can't even cut them.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, they chatter.
TOM: They chatter, right?
MONICA: Yes. And that's the beautiful thing about the clamping jaws is that it'll actually hold those branches intact so they don't move and chatter or slip on you while you're cutting them.
LESLIE: And what about from a safety perspective? I know when I look at a chainsaw, I get a little bit wigged out, I'm afraid, the blade is moving, it's ... you know, I'm a little nervous with a chain operating so openly. This protects it. Does that make people feel a little bit more confident, you're finding?
MONICA: Yes. It makes people feel a lot more safe because that chain isn't open, as you had mentioned, and with the claws or the ... the jaws actually clamping onto the branches, there's no need to hold the logs or branches. Your hands aren't near the chain. And the fact that there's two switches that need to be engaged before the unit will start up, makes people feel a lot more comfortable in knowing that they're not going to accidentally start up their tool when they're not expecting it.
TOM: Yeah, what's cool about the handles of this lopper is there actually is a trigger in each handle. So your hands are well away from the blade and they actually have to have two hands on two switches. So you can't possibly have a hand in the way of where this blade is cutting. And what's also cool about this is with most loppers, as I said before, you can only do small branches. You can actually cut a branch up to four inches thick with this thing.
MONICA: That's right.
LESLIE: And up to really tiny as well, correct?
MONICA: Yes. It'll do any diameter up to four inches.
TOM: Well, it's a pretty cool tool and it's very ideal, it seems to me, for cleaning that brush and sprucing up the trees and even doing some bigger work. I'll tell you, we had a tree ... you guys sent me one of these and we had a tree that blew down, in the last storm, in my backyard. And so I ran my extension cord out there and I was able to cut all of the branches off the side of the main trunk with the lopper before I got to the really big heavy stuff that I went and turned to the regular chainsaw for. So it actually saved a lot of work. Normally, I would have been chopping at that chattering branch with a chainsaw and I felt a lot more secure using this Alligator Lopper.
MONICA: That's fantastic.
TOM: Monica Portman, Senior Product Manager for Black&Decker. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. And again, folks, if you want to check this out, go to our website at MoneyPit.com. Check on ... click on Cool Products; it's right there. And of course, you can also look at the Black&Decker website at BlackandDecker.com.
Well, Leslie, as a father of three, it's definitely one of our biggest fears. Drowning. It's the number one cause of death for small children. So up next, we're going to teach you how to protect your kids from the dangers of drowning.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by The Home Depot. You can do it, we can help.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, Leslie, every year close to 300 children drown in swimming pools; often, believe it or not, in their very own backyard.
LESLIE: It's a scary thought.
TOM: It really is. Children under five are the most at risk. And the most important thing to remember is that a drowning can happen suddenly and quickly and silently. In fact, it can happen in the time it takes to answer a phone. Most kids who are drowned weren't even anywhere near the pool when they were last seen by their parent.
LESLIE: Well, properly designed pool fencing is the best way to keep small children from dangers of drowning. Fence height should be at least 48 inches and spacing between chain links should be only one-and-a-quarter inches to prevent climbers from getting a toehold. And most importantly, be sure all fences have self-closing hinges to prevent gates from accidentally being left open. It's very important.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the telephone number. MoneyPit.com is the website. And we're giving away a set of three bionic wrenches today from Loggerhead Tools.
LESLIE: And the bionic wrenches are really cool because they combine the way a wrench works and the way pliers work. They grip the bolts and the screws all the way around and squeeze tight so you've got the best leverage while you're working on your project. And this set of three is worth about 100 bucks and will fit about 38 different size fasteners. So it's just about great for any project you're working on. So call in now and it could be yours for free.
LESLIE: Debbie in Michigan has a problem. How to hang a heavy clock. How can we help you? What's going on?
DEBBIE: I got a clock as a gift. It's one of the pendulum clocks. It's like a wall clock; like a grandfather clock. And I haven't hung it yet and I just want to know the best way to hang it so I ... it won't fall off the wall.
TOM: Does it have a ... does it have a wire across the back? Does it have like a keyhole slot? What's the ... what's it look like on the back?
DEBBIE: It has ... it looks like a ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) She's like, 'I never looked on it.'
DEBBIE: ... keyhole.
TOM: (laughing) Okay. Well, the best way to hang that, Debbie ...
LESLIE: Wait. What's your wall surface? What's your walls made out of?
DEBBIE: It's just drywall. Uh-huh.
LESLIE: Drywall. Easy-peasy.
TOM: Alright. The best thing to do is to see if you can get into a stud.
TOM: Now, you can easily find a stud with ...
LESLIE: So grab your husband. (laughing)
TOM: You can find a stud with an electronic stud finder.
DEBBIE: Stud finder.
TOM: Or you can use the trusty knuckle method and tap on the wall.
DEBBIE: (inaudible) (laughing)
LESLIE: Yeah, but sometimes they all ... it all sounds the same, sometimes.
TOM: I don't think so.
LESLIE: So trust a stud finder.
LESLIE: I mean, you and I know it, but some ... when I didn't know what I was listening for I was like, oh, knock knock knock knockety-knock knock.
TOM: Yeah, then you put a lot of holes in your wall. (laughing) But really, if you can find the stud or if that happens to work out, that is absolutely the best way to hang it. Because drywall is just not that strong; it's plaster and paper. And there are different types of fasteners that you can use to affix to drywall but drywall is drywall is drywall. And you know, it's still not going to be as strong. If you had to use drywall, then I probably would suggest a toggle bolt with, basically, a hook on the end of it. So you're attaching a piece of hardware to the wall, on top of which you hang the clock. But the best thing to do is simply to go right into the stud. I would use a ... probably, a two to ... probably a two-and-a-half to three inch drywall screw that was (inaudible) ...
LESLIE: Make sure the head fits into that key slot before you go and attach it to the wall.
TOM: And then just ...
DEBBIE: Drywall screw.
TOM: ... hang it. Screw it right in there and hang it right up. Set the clock.
LESLIE: That's if you're going into the stud. Only if you're in the stud.
TOM: That's right.
DEBBIE: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you're welcome, Debbie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Marie in Florida finds The Money Pit on WWBA. And you've got a question about a big porch.
LESLIE: How can we help?
MARIE: I have this big porch and it's like the whole length ... the whole length of the ... of the back of the house. And it's kind of getting old and it's kind of like I don't use it because either it's too hot or it's too cold. And I'm thinking what should I do. Maybe you can give me some advice. Just like the screens are kind of getting a little deteriorating and I thought, well, shall I maybe put glass or ... I don't want to make the taxes go up and ... and I just thought maybe you could ...
TOM: So you want some redecorating advice for your porch. Is that what you're saying, Marie?
TOM: Alright. Well, Leslie, what do you think? First of all, a big porch is a rarity so I would encourage you to preserve it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, a big porch sounds wonderful.
MARIE: Doesn't it? And you know, it goes off the living room and then it goes off the kitchen and then even the bedroom. So it's ... and it's really long and ...
LESLIE: Well, Marie, I think there's a couple of things you can do. You might want to, in the area where you have screens - and you say the screens are coming out a little bit - maybe you want to get somebody to rebuild those frames for the screens, so that they put nice fresh screening on there. And then, make it so that that panel with the screens on it is able to be removed. So maybe there's just sort of nailers or supports that go on the inside or the outside that are removable so you can take that screen away. And maybe even have a framed piece of glass so if the weather turns and you want to make it more of an indoor room, you can pop those pieces of glass in there as well. Or just keep it strictly screened in.
And then, Tom and I always recommend something that's really interesting and it's a heated fan; which is a ceiling fan that heats and cools. And it's great for exactly this type of application, like a covered porch, because you can turn it on and control the heating thermostat and make it as warm under there as you like or even use it as a straight cooling fan. So that will extend your usage of that area a lot.
MARIE: Okay. And it's a heating fan? I never heard of it. But that ...
TOM: Yeah, it's called a Reiker Room Conditioner - R-e-i-k-e-r - and it's basically a ceiling fan that also has heating coils in it so it can cool you in the summer and then the heating coils can be flipped on and it'll blow warm air down in the winter or in the cooler months. So, it's a nice way to get a little extra space, a little extra comfortable time out of that porch when it just starts to cool off a bit.
MARIE: That sounds good, too.
TOM: Okay, Marie?
MARIE: (audio gap) your help.
LESLIE: Enjoy that porch.
MARIE: Okay, I will.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Donna in Florida has been neglecting your tile work. What's going on?
DONNA: Well, not really neglecting. We just moved in here and this is ...
TOM: Somebody else was neglecting it, huh?
DONNA: Yes, badly. (laughing)
LESLIE: We love it.
DONNA: And the grout has been badly neglected. It's kind of a like putty in the clean areas. But, for the most part, it's very dirty and grungy. And we would like to know the best way to clean it, (screeching sounds) without messing it up to where we have to reseal it and everything.
LESLIE: Do you have a bird? What's going on over there?
DONNA: Yeah, I do. I have seven birds.
TOM: Oh, man. (laughing)
LESLIE: Are they talkers?
DONNA: I have an Amazon that's quite a talker.
LESLIE: They're so funny. And when they learn to talk, they actually start speaking in the same exact voice as whoever they've picked it up from.
DONNA: Yeah, pretty much.
TOM: Yep, yep.
DONNA: She does sound like a lot like me. (laughing)
LESLIE: That is so funny.
So you're pretty sure that the grout is just dirty. It's not like we need to scrape it out and start all over.
DONNA: I don't think so. It's just dirty. Because a few places my husband has cleaned, he got some stuff called Krud Kutter.
TOM: Right, that's pretty good stuff.
DONNA: And actually, we got it to get the tile ... well, they painted the woodwork and got it on the tile. (chuckling)
TOM: Oh, boy.
DONNA: So he's using that all the way around the house ...
DONNA: ... (audio gap) paint off the floor. And he tried it on the tile and it actually works pretty well. But to do the whole house with that would be a mess. (laughing) I don't think he can do it with the ... it's a spray bottle of stuff, so ...
TOM: Well, there's usually two levels of a grout cleaner. There's grout cleaner and there's grout stripper. Grout stripper is a lot tougher than grout cleaner and you can buy both in the home centers. And really, trying to get that grout clean is a big job but I mean, the idea here would be to mix it up and do it once.
DONNA: Someone told him not to try to mop ... like when he puts something on there, not to try and mop it up because all it did was move the dirt around and put it back into the tile. And they told him to use a wet/dry vac.
TOM: Well, I wouldn't suck the excess cleaner up because you don't know what's in there. And a wet/dry vac ...
LESLIE: And it could be volatile.
TOM: Yeah, it could be volatile. Exactly. So I wouldn't do that. But I think if you use a lot of fresh water, then that shouldn't be an issue.
DONNA: So, any kind of the stuff you buy in a home ...
TOM: The grout strippers I think is better than a grout cleaner.
DONNA: Okay, grout stripper.
TOM: Okay? Yeah.
DONNA: Okay. Great.
TOM: Well, Leslie, coming up next, one listener feels like she's smack dab in the middle of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Remember the one called The Birds?
LESLIE: It still freaks me out.
LESLIE: Still afraid of birds.
TOM: Definitely. Well, we're going to help her figure out why her home is actually under attack from birds and figure out how her story can end differently than that one that was in Hitchcock's, which I don't think worked out too well for the people of that small town.
LESLIE: Yeah, it doesn't usually fare well.
[audio timestamp: 39:42]
[audio timestamp: 39:55]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. But if you can't pick up the phone right now - perhaps you're driving, perhaps you're busy, perhaps the kids are screaming (laughing), for whatever reason - remember this, you can log onto MoneyPit.com and you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie and you can shoot us an email question. We will do our best to get back to you and many are chosen for this edition of The Money Pit, which is the email edition.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, Cathy from Indianapolis, Indiana writes: 'How can you stop birds from constantly running into your storm door, into your window and windows, hurting themselves and leaving bird droppings all over the place?'
TOM: A mess.
LESLIE: At least she's concerned. She wants the birds to not hurt themselves. So what can she do and why are they doing this? Why do they want to climb into her house so much?
TOM: Well, Cathy, to tell you the truth, we have no idea. (laughing) Well, we went to the pros on this; the folks at www.WildlifeHotline.org. And it turns out that male birds commonly attack windows during the mating season. Now, you have to wonder what they're seeing on the other side of that window or door. (laughing)
LESLIE: Maybe they think Cathy's attractive. I'm sure she's a good-looking lady.
TOM: Perhaps they do. But the folks there at the Wildlife Hotline tell us that the bird wrongly assumes that his own reflection is a rival bird (laughing) in his territory. That nasty bird. He looks just like me and he's here to take over my territory.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) There's a guy and he looks just like me and if we both look the same, how are we going to get the girl birds?
TOM: That's right. So we'll fix that.
LESLIE: How funny.
TOM: But you can actually prevent this problem from happening and probably save a bird from a bruised beak by hanging - temporarily hanging - squares of aluminum foil outside the window to sort of break up the reflection. Or you could put Post It notes (laughing) all over the inside of the windows. Now, who would have thought that when 3M invented Post It notes they would have ... it would have an impact on saving a few wild birds out there?
LESLIE: So, when my husband and I were on vacation, we were staying at this sort of apartment that had this terrace that opened up. And there were always pigeons on the balcony. And we woke up one morning and we opened up the door and we're brushing our teeth in the bathroom and I hear, 'Broo broo.' And I'm like, 'Maybe I should close that door.' And we go in and there's pigeons all over the living room. Now how about that, Cathy?
TOM: Well, the heat of the summer and the heat that it brings to our attics and our roofs and our homes is just around the corner. So a lot of people might be thinking about installing attic exhaust fans. But you know what? It's not all that it's cracked up to be. There are some specific things you need to know before you do that and that is the topic of today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: So the question is when shouldn't you have an attic exhaust fan in your home. And the answer is when properly used, attic exhaust fans can help reduce your energy costs. Great. But not if you have central air conditioning folks. Even though attic fans remove the hot air from the attic, they don't just stop there. They go on and suck up all that expensively cooled air from the rest of the house and then go ahead and just blow it outside. Might as well just cool the outside. Seems good if you're going to sit outside and have a nice barbecue dinner and cool yourselves out there. But you're wasting your money, folks. So if you've got central air, just say no to attic exhaust fans.
TOM: Yeah, you're much better off ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And that's my public service announcement:
TOM: (laughing) That's right. You're much better off with passive vents. Ridge vents and soffit vents than a powerful attic exhaust fan. You know, if you ever wonder how strong those things are, if you had one turned on in your house, you can actually feel the cold air being sucked like through the (inaudible) ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, all around you. It's amazing.
TOM: Yeah, it really does a job of stealing a lot of the air conditioning. So, not just a very good idea.
Well, coming up next week on The Money Pit, they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Not true! (laughing) We're going to rat them out. We're going to tell you the secrets because we're going to blow the lid off an industry secret and that is the annual event in Sin City. It's the National Hardware Show.
LESLIE: Oh, and I'm sorry guys. The show is for insiders only. Regular folks just can't attend. But we can. And we're going to tell you what's new in tools and products for your home and that's all happening next week on The Money Pit from Vegas, baby!
TOM: 888-666-3974. The website is 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.
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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.)