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:
TOM: Hi, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you are tuned to the Money Pit podcast. We are so glad that you are.
Now all this month on the podcast we’re going to be talking about staycation tips throughout our show and these are some ideas to make your home a little more comfortable, a little more pleasant, a little more fun if you’re not going to take a vacation this year; you’re just going to sort of stay at home and enjoy the place you have.
Now if you head on over to MoneyPit.com, we’re also making available a free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s the outdoor living chapter available for free download at MoneyPit.com; chock full with lots of staycation tips to make your summer a lot of fun if you’re staying at home.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? All of this great information and all these great ideas are brought to you by our friends over at Fiberon Decking and also the WORX GT Trimmer/Edger.
Alright, folks. Let’s get started.
TOM: Now, on with the show.
[audio timestamp: 0:050]
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: And spring is wrapping up, summer is around the corner and we’re going to have some advice this hour on how to keep your family safe when it comes to windows, which is something that we love to throw open this time of year. I have one tip for you: they don’t build them like they used to and the windows of yesteryear were a lot stronger when we grew up and now, not so much; especially when it comes to the screens.
TOM: So I’d be real careful with that. We’re going to have some tips on how to keep your kids and family safe this hour.
LESLIE: And speaking of the summer, if you guys are foregoing an expensive vacation this year and, instead, choosing to stay home and enjoy your own backyard; I mean what a crazy idea. You’ve got a beautiful backyard, you should go out there and use it. Well, we are going to help you get your home ready for that getaway feel. Coming up in our staycation solution segment, we’re going to have tips on cleaning your outdoor furniture to get it looking brand, spanking new without spending a dollar.
TOM: There’s nothing worse than the dirty butt the first time you sit down on those chairs.
LESLIE: (chuckles) And the worst part about it is you do all that work and then you get a terrible storm and it gets all yucky again. (Tom chuckles) So it’s all about maintenance but it really does look fantastic after a lot of elbow grease.
TOM: Well, one big side effect of the ailing economy: crime is up, especially thefts. So coming up later, we’re going to have some tips on how to protect your home, your loved ones and your valuables from thieves. We’re going to have cheap and easy ways and even free ways to thwart those thieves and burglar-proof your home for good.
LESLIE: And we want to hear from you this hour, so pick up the phone and give us a call. This hour we’re giving away a battery-powered trimmer/edger from WORX GT to one lucky caller. Now this garden tool has no cords and no gas to worry about, so it will be quick and easy to trim and edge your yard.
TOM: So give us a call. Let’s get right to the phones. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Karen in New Jersey wants to talk decks. How can we help you?
KAREN: I have heard that BluWood is a green product and environment-friendly but I didn’t know if it was cost effective and what’s its composition.
TOM: Karen, BluWood is fairly new on the market. It’s been getting a bit of buzz. It was featured on an edition, not too long ago, of Extreme Home Makeover. It’s basically a product that is supposed to be environmentally friendly; it’s …
LESLIE: Well, it’s like a treatment process, correct?
TOM: It’s a treatment process and it has some of the green certifications. In terms of how long it lasts, the warranty is – what? – 30 years, Leslie?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, 30 years they’re saying.
TOM: But we don’t know, of course, if it’s going to be around 30 years because it’s a brand new product. Whether it’s cost effective or not is going to depend on that, but it does seem to be a pretty popular alternative now. It seems to have a growing audience. So it’s something you may want to consider and certainly price against the more traditional treated products.
LESLIE: And it’s a process than can be done to a variety of different types of building materials from oriented strand board (ph) to pine to all different kinds of things used for rafters and joists and sheathing and then for decking and for steps and for railings. So it’s a coating that’s applied to a variety of types of lumber.
KAREN: Yeah, I had heard that it’s not friendly to insects.
TOM: Yeah, it’s designed to protect against mold, rot, as well as insects. So I think that you’re going to start seeing more and more technologies that are like this as we get increasingly concerned about the impact of, especially, mold on our homes.
KAREN: OK. Alright, well I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Karen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a painting question from David in Oklahoma. What’s going on at your money pit?
DAVID: Well, we have a house that I guess the people before hired some just handyman kind of guy and they gave him latex paint and I think that he’s painted latex paint on enamel.
TOM: Where is the paint? Are we talking about the trim inside the house or outside? What have we got?
DAVID: No, no. It’s inside. It’s on the trim and also on some of the walls. Some of the walls are a natural wood but most of them are painted.
TOM: So basically we’re having an adhesion issue here?
DAVID: Oh, yes. You can just rub it with your thumb and it’ll come off. So of course if you’re ever moving things around and you bump something …
DAVID: … it really comes off.
TOM: Well, you bring up a common problem, David, and that is that you can’t put latex on top of enamel without you at least prepping the surface. Prepping the surface when you’re changing from an enamel to a latex means sanding it and also hitting it with a primer. The primer is the glue that makes the paint stick and if they’ve skipped that step then this is going to be a constant problem. So unfortunately there’s no magic solution here that’s going to stop the problem from happening. When you have a bad adhesion problem with paint it’s going to be a matter of you sanding off what’s there trying to get to a durable surface that’s not peeling …
LESLIE: What about using a stripping agent to sort of help you get further along than just sandpaper would?
TOM: Well, he certainly could do that but I don’t think you have to strip it down to raw wood. You certainly have to rough up the old surface. If this latex coat is coming off pretty easily you could probably do this all with sandpaper.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call because you can be part of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Just pick up the phone, ask us your home improvement or your home repair question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, your staycation solutions for cleaning a winter’s worth of grime and dirt off your outdoor furniture. We’ll give you the step-by-step, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:52.4]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the WORX GT, the revolutionary trimmer/edger that’s fully adjustable, runs on rechargeable battery power and weighs less than a gallon of milk. See the WORX GT in action at FreeLineforLife.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re talking staycation solutions, presented in part by WORX, makers of battery-powered lawn and garden tools. You know a nice, clean-looking lawn will make you feel like you’re at a lush resort in your own backyard. So one caller we talk to this hour is going to win the WORX GT trimmer/edger combo worth 160 bucks.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is a great prize. The garden tool, it’s got no cords and no gas to worry about; so you’ll just be able to pick it up and head right around your yard and do all your edging and trimming chores. Plus the coolest thing: they’re going to give you free line for life. If you want some more information about this great tool from WORX, head on over to FreeLineforLife.com.
TOM: Well, speaking of staycation solutions, here’s a tip to help get all of your outdoor furnishings clean because there’s nothing worse than a dirty butt; as we’ve discussed. (Leslie chuckles) You can freshen up that plastic furniture by mixing dish soap, borax and a half cup of peroxide into one gallon of water. Now test first to be sure the peroxide doesn’t react negatively on the furniture. You want to let that mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then scrub it with a nylon brush before rinsing well. So remember, we’re talking about dish soap, borax and a half cut of peroxide to one gallon of water. Now …
LESLIE: And it also makes your hair a very nice shade of blonde for the summertime. (chuckles)
TOM: There you go. For wood furniture, you want to oil the wood surfaces with a sealant or preservative and, after sealing, clean it at least once every two weeks with oil soap designed for wood.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now if you’ve got furniture that’s made of metal, you want to make sure that you clean it with simple, soapy water and basically just a lot of elbow grease. Now, while you’re doing that, if you notice any rust, make sure you remove it with sandpaper and then repaint the entire piece of furniture with rust-proof paint. Now if you only need to cover the area that was rusty, you can do that with a metal varnish. And get in the habit of wiping down all of your furniture after you use it; get rid of any bird droppings or pollen. And this way you’ll really be able to enjoy your furniture for many summers to come; not just this one.
Do you have a staycation project in mind? Give us a call. We’ll help you get it done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking to Dorothy in Texas who’s dealing with some holes in a floor. What happened?
DOROTHY: Yes, when we drive in our garage after we had a snow and we have the salt off the highways, our garage floor crumbles.
DOROTHY: I’d like to know what I can do to repair that or do I have to take the whole garage floor out.
TOM: Well, it depends on the level of deterioration. If it’s just some surface deterioration, that can be repaired with an epoxy patching compound. If the entire garage floor surface is really structurally deteriorated, then that might be a situation where it has to be broken out and replaced. But if it’s just minor …
DOROTHY: No, it’s only a small area.
TOM: Well, if it’s a very small area then you can patch it with an epoxy patching compound.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, like AboCrete or AboCast.
TOM: AboCrete, right. Mm-hmm, exactly.
LESLIE: These are self-leveling. You mix them up. You pour it onto the damaged area. It’s going to fix itself and adhere to the area very well and make it nice and even and smooth. But keep in mind, Dorothy, that the salts, especially that the highway department uses, you know, you’ll see after a winter season, when there’s been a lot of salt deposits on that highway, a huge amount of potholes. You know, it does a great job of removing that snow and ice but it also does a wonderful job of damaging the concrete.
LESLIE: So you’ve got to, you know, know that this is a repair that if you’ve got a wintry season – you know, a snowy winter – it’s going to be something that you’re going to have to sort of stay on top of because it’ll continue to damage it.
TOM: You know what I would recommend, Dorothy? Fix the pitted areas, fix the deteriorated areas and then paint the entire garage floor with an epoxy paint. It’s a two-part mix; very easy to do. You mix it up. It cures pretty quickly. Paint that whole floor and that ought to protect it from that road salt.
TOM: Dorothy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: It’s taking a long time for Bob in South Carolina to get his hot water. How can we help you?
BOB: Well, last spring I bought a home down here in Myrtle Beach and we love the place except there’s one thing that’s just driving me nuts.
BOB: We turn the hot water on in the kitchen and, like most places if you don’t have a, you know, constant flow, it’ll take a minute for the hot water to get there from the hot water heater. I can put up with that but once I get the flow if I use it for a few minutes and, say, I turn the water off, it doesn’t have to be a minute and I turn it on again and it’s ice cold and I’m saying, “What happened to what’s in the pipe?”
TOM: Yeah, well you know, copper doesn’t make a very good insulator, Bob.
BOB: Well, it’s not even copper. We’re talking plastic pipe.
TOM: Plastic? Yeah, well that too. So it’s not going to stay warm for long.
TOM: You know, the farther the bathroom is away from the water heater the longer you have to wait. It’s a question of distance. What we’re seeing today in more and more newer homes is that we’re putting in multiple water heaters; typically using tankless water heaters because they’re smaller and they can be easily added to different areas of the house; doesn’t have to be centralized where all your HVAC equipment is and we’re shortening the distance that way. Now if you were to add a return loop that would sort of carry hot water back to the water heater, that’s a solution but it’s a real expensive one because you’re going to be heating water like crazy and it’s going to be costing you a lot of money to heat water that’s just circulating through pipes and not being used.
TOM: Bob, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Norma in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
NORMA: Yeah, hi. My kitchen, I’ve had like linoleum; like sheets of it and it’s glued like on the perimeter of the whole kitchen. This was like eight years ago. And it’s like shrinking from the perimeter of the kitchen.
LESLIE: OK, where the flooring meets the wall, is there a baseboard molding there? Is there a shoe molding? What kind of molding is there?
NORMA: Oh, I guess you’d say baseboard. It’s wooden.
TOM: OK. Typically, when you put a vinyl floor down, you would have a baseboard molding and then you would have what’s called a shoe molding which is sort of like a quarter-round molding.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like a quarter-round.
TOM: Because you’re going to have shrinkage in a product like that and it sounds to me like what’s happened is it shrank more than whatever molding was covering it. So the easy solution here might be to add a shoe molding which is like a trim molding that can go against the baseboard and cover that loose edge.
LESLIE: Would you need to reglue down those edges so that there’s not further movement?
NORMA: Well, because there’s also like rippling underneath even away from the perimeter. You know what I mean? Like it’s rippled.
TOM: Well, in those areas you may need to have a flooring installer come in because there are special tools – usually big rollers; heavy rollers – that they use to try to pull some of that out. That’s not something you’re going to be able to do on your own but if it’s just a loose seam you can add an additional layer of trim and cover that up.
Norma, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: If you’re tackling a tiling project you’d be like Paul in Texas. How can we help you with your money pit?
PAUL: Well, we had our master bath remodeled recently.
PAUL: And the contractor did such a lousy job on the tile that we ended up firing him …
TOM: Oh, boy.
PAUL: … and then we had to get another contractor to come in to finish the job and there were several gaps and those sorts of things and they sealed everything. And we started using the shower and some of the grout started coming out; like little gravelly, very small, sandy kind of pieces of grout would come out.
PAUL: So I started sealing it with DAP and I had a friend who told me you shouldn’t do that; you should tear all the grout out and start over and I’m wondering what the best approach is to solve this problem.
TOM: Well, if you’ve got tiny, little pieces that are falling out and it just happens once and it doesn’t seem to be a perennial problem, then using a bit of caulk to seal it up is probably not terrible. But if you’ve got grout, for whatever reason, that was not put in correctly, then in that case you may need to use a grout saw and sand out the entire joint and then regrout the whole thing to get the proper adhesion.
PAUL: Alright, we’ll try that. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joan in California wants to talk bathroom flooring. How can we help?
JOAN: Well, I want to put hardwood in my bathroom and when I mention that to people they think I’m crazy. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Well, you might be, Joan, because if you use full-thickness hardwood in the bathroom and it gets wet it’s going to warp and twist and you will not be able to repair it.
LESLIE: Well, it doesn’t even have to get soaking wet. It could just be from moisture.
TOM: Right. Exactly. So we’ll give you two ideas. The first one is a product called laminate floor. Now laminate floor can look just like hardwood up to and including the graining in the wood. Now laminate floor can be completely submerged and it won’t twist. If you are actually convinced that you do not want laminate; you want some real wood product, the only choice is engineered hardwood.
LESLIE: And the reason why engineered will work in a high-moisture environment is it’s built in the same way that plywood is built, so it’s put together in layers of opposing grains which makes it structurally stable and then that topmost layer is the actual veneer of that hardwood that you want in the space.
TOM: But whatever you do, Joan, don’t use solid hardwood in the bathroom because, believe me, one spill; one toilet that overflows; situation like that, you may not have planned it, it just happens …
LESLIE: Poor ventilation.
TOM: That’s right. It could really be a big mess.
JOAN: Ah. OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Joan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Michael in New Jersey about installing a bathroom in a basement. What can we do for you today?
MICHAEL: Hi. I bought a four-bedroom house with only one bathroom and it’s a family of four (Tom and Leslie chuckle); so we’re having a little bit of problems with that.
TOM: (chuckling) I bet.
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah.
MICHAEL: Right, exactly. Mother Nature always calls at the same time. Our basement has an eight-foot ceiling and it’s a huge basement.
MICHAEL: But the sewage pipe is three feet off the ground.
MICHAEL: Is there anything I can do to install a bathroom down there?
TOM: Yeah, you absolutely can. What you need is a type of pump …
LESLIE: Is it a lift pump? Yeah.
TOM: Yeah, and basically what happens is the waste flows into this pump in the floor that is about the size of a sump pump but it’s different; it’s all sealed and it grinds the waste and then lifts it up high enough so that gravity can make it flow into the typical drain line for the house.
LESLIE: Would you need one lift pump per fixture or can a lift pump in one bath handle like a toilet and a shower?
TOM: No, it would be one pump for the entire bathroom.
MICHAEL: Oh, OK.
TOM: And it’s a fairly big job. I mean don’t get me wrong. Because you have to break out the floor to have it installed and have all the lines installed and it has to be vented and of course it has to be, you know, drained into the house drain waste vent pipe.
MICHAEL: OK, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit.
Up next, we are going to share with you cheap and easy ways to keep burglars from targeting your home this summer, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:22.2)
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are your home for home solutions; speaking of which, here’s a solution you might need if you’ve ever been broken into: “How do I make the thieves stay away from my house? What can I do to make myself unattractive to crime?” Well, we’ve got a guest on the phone that can help us do just that.
LESLIE: That’s right. Here to tell us how we can easily and inexpensively – being the key word – protect our homes, we’ve got Sue Perry and she is the deputy editor of Shop Smart magazine.
SUE: Oh, hi. It’s good to be with you guys.
TOM: Got a great article online called “Home Safe Home: Cheap and Even Free Ways to Burglar-Proof Your House.” I think when we think about crime prevention, most people think it’s real expensive. But it doesn’t have to be, does it?
SUE: No, it doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s something that all of us should be thinking about. You know crime rate is going up. It’s been down for quite a while now, a number of years; but in this kind of economy, we’re seeing a spike in it. So it’s something that we should all stay attuned to.
LESLIE: Now what are some of the things that we can do that will not cost our wallets a cent; something that I can just go outside and take care of right now?
SUE: Well, the first thing you can do is – and this may seem like a really no-brainer – but close and lock your doors and windows whenever you leave the house. And it sounds so obvious but unlocked doors and windows are the main entry points. One-third of all burglaries occur because somebody didn’t lock their doors and their windows. So that’s a no-brainer right there.
TOM: I’ve heard that time and time again. Over the years I’ve interviewed police detectives that were experts in this field and they all say the same thing; so, apparently, a lock of us walk out the door without turning the lock.
SUE: No, you don’t think about it. And you know something else that you can do easily is that you can trim your shrubs so that they’re too small for a burglar to hide behind them while he is – or she – is looking for a place to break into your house. So that’s another thing that you can do so that they’re not hidden and they’re easy to spot from the street; a neighbor peeking out the door could see, “Hey, that doesn’t look right” and notify you or notify the police. So that’s something else totally free.
TOM: We’re talking to Sue Perry. She’s the deputy editor of ShopSmart magazine online at ShopSmartMag.org.
Sue, in your article you talk about five places you never, ever want to hide valuables. I see some things on this list that are common that we’ve all probably been doing for years. Of course, number one, never hide a key under a fake rock. (Leslie chuckles)
SUE: Right. You know you think, “Oh, nobody’s going to know. Everybody puts their spare key under a fake rock or that little lawn ornament that’s sitting out there that nobody’s going to pick up the rabbit and see that there’s a key underneath there. Well, that’s definitely not a good place to put a spare key where a burglar would automatically go look for it and …
TOM: Here’s the burglar’s checklist. When the burglar arrives he says, “OK, now where’s the key. Alright, here are the five places I’m going to check. Under the fake rock.”
LESLIE: Under the doormat.
TOM: “Uh, no fake rock. Let’s check that doormat.”
SUE: Under the doormat. And you know what? Once they’re in the house, what they’re going to be doing is all those magazine articles that told you to stash your jewelry and your cash in the freezer or in a stock drawer under the mattress …
SUE: … well the burglars have read all those, too, and that’s where they’re going to go. (Tom chuckles) They’re going to go to the fake orange juice can; the fake peanut butter jar; you know the fake can of cleanser in the freezer where it’s all wrapped up in aluminum foil. They’ll go there. The other place that they automatically will go to is your sock drawer and, you know, under the mattress while you think, “Oh, no, they’re not going to really look under the mattress. it’s too heavy.” Sure they will. And the other thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to leave your stuff out in plain sight: checkbooks, passports, credit cards. Don’t do that because any of that kind of financial information that’s just left out and if you did have an intruder that’s – they get it right away.
LESLIE: So what are some of the places in our house that are safe to put our valuable items and cash – whatever we might have lying around – that will still be tricky enough that no one’s going to look for.
SUE: Well, one thing you can do is you can – you can do this yourself – you can hollow out a book yourself or you can buy one. You know you’ve seen those fake books. But the tip – the real key is if you have a whole shelf full of computer books or really nerdy science books or something and then all of a sudden there’s this like bodice-ripping novel, that’s going to be a tipoff. So the books should all sort of – nothing should stand out. It should just look like a row of books and you can put your valuables there.
Also, if you have a whole lot of stuffed animals, you can take one of those animals and rip the seam open and stuff some valuables in there. If you have a slew of stuffed animals, nobody’s going to take the time to rip through all of them.
TOM: I have a better idea. How about a safety deposit box or a safe. (chuckles)
SUE: That’s a great one. You can’t go wrong with a safety – if you really have valuables around the house, really good jewelry, they should probably not be around the house. You should get yourself a safety deposit box.
TOM: Good point. Sue Perry, deputy editor of ShopSmart magazine – online at ShopSmartMag.org – thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
SUE: Oh, great to talk to you.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, now that we’ve got your home all locked up tight and safe, up next we’re going to talk about window safety. You know leaving your windows open in warm weather, it certainly lets air in and those screens do keep the bugs out. But those screens are not going to protect your kids from a potentially dangerous fall. We’re going to tell you what will, right after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:24:18.6]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now. We’ve got all your home solutions covered and one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is really going to win a great prize from our friends over at WORX GT. We’ve got a battery-powered trimmer/edger combo. Now you’re going to get longer run times and added power without the hassle of extension cords or messy gasoline engines and the best part is that you will get free trimmer/line replacement spools for life. Just visit FreeLineforLife.com for more information. But you should pick up the phone right now and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win one. And make sure you’ve got your home improvement or your décor question ready for your chance to win.
Well, now is the time when we love to have the windows open. It’s very, very pleasant outside. But you have to be careful because window safety is a concern for people of all ages. Here are some tips on keeping your family safe at any age, from the folks at Simonton Windows.
First of all, keep furniture – especially cribs – away from windows. If you open a window for ventilation in a child’s room, make sure you open the top sash of a double-hung window. Teach children that window screens are there only to keep insects out of the home; they cannot sustain the weight of a child or a pet pushing against them.
You know the window screens that we got used to growing up – they were very strong, heavy, metal screens – well, today they’re not designed that way because they don’t really have to be. The windows are actually a lot stronger, just the same, without having those metal screens. But the screens aren’t designed to have any pressure put up against them whatsoever. So just because you have a screen down, pretend it’s not there if you’re a parent. Kids can go right through it very, very easily. So be careful to keep the kids away from those windows.
Also consider window guards, then use soft landscaping like shrubs or plants or bark and mulch directly underneath windows to reduce impact should anyone fall out of the window. And never, ever paint your windows shut because you need to be able to open them in the event of an emergency.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now if you find yourself considering replacement windows, you want to make sure that you look into models that have multi-point locks. Now, for seniors, you want to consider easy-to-operate windows like casements with a crank or even slider windows. For added security, consider ordering impact-resistant glass in your windows. And for ease of maintenance, you want to order windows with vinyl frames because they are very easy to clean and you never have to paint them.
Now this is a great time right now to replace your windows because there are federal tax credits being offered on many energy-efficient styles. And we have got all of the details in a chapter of our new book, My Home, My Money Pit, and that chapter is actually available free right now at MoneyPit.com. All you need to do is download your guide to replacing the windows in your house for absolutely nothing. It is totally free at MoneyPit.com right now and do it quick before Tom changes his mind and starts charging everybody. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Tom in West Virginia is thinking about a ventless gas fireplace, which is not always a great idea. What’s going on? How can we help you?
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: Yeah, having survived another winter, and in expectation of another one coming up, I have a rather older system with the eight-inch exhaust pipes that comes off the furnace and I wanted to replace that and my neighbor has something that he calls a ventless gas furnace but actually there’s a vent that comes right out the side of the house like a dryer vent. But online I saw reference to a gas furnace that’s ventless and I’d like to get your idea of what the good, the bad and the ugly is over one of those.
TOM: Well, we don’t recommend ventless anything. I’ve never seen a ventless gas furnace. I mean there may be a very small ventless gas heater but …
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: Yeah.
TOM: … not a ventless gas furnace. What you’re describing, that your neighbor had, is known as a direct-vent furnace …
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: OK.
TOM: … and many of the high-efficiency furnaces do just that. You know, we’re used to seeing furnaces that vent into big, brick chimneys that take all of those heating gases up to the top of our house and away.
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: Yeah, that’s what I’ve got.
TOM: But the high-efficiency furnaces, the reason they’re called high-efficiency is because they take so much of that heat out of that exhaust gas and use it for your house that the gases that are left are relatively low-temperature and that’s why they can be direct vented out the side wall of your house through, sometimes, plastic pipes.
LESLIE: Yeah, or even if you’re going to continue venting through your chimney you need to then line it because it’s such a difference in temperature that now you’re dealing with condensation.
TOM: That’s right and the condensation is very corrosive. So high-efficiency gas furnaces are great. We do not like unvented anything. You know, unvented gas furnaces, never heard of it; but unvented gas fireplaces we hear a lot about and absolutely don’t like those.
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: (chuckling) I appreciate that.
TOM: Too much moisture inside the house, Tom.
TOM IN WEST VIRGINIA: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joe in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOE: I have a problem with my basement. It’s finished and last year we had a bad storm and water came up through the floor; not the walls, the walls are fine. And the carpet I had down there was ruined and I picked it up and now, you know, I want to put something down there. Well, I saw this product. It’s a rubber carpet, I guess you could it. It’s called Coin Grip. They’re in a lot of buildings on staircases and all. And I was wondering if I could lay something like that over the concrete floor that I have.
TOM: OK. First of all, carpet; very bad idea for basements for a whole bunch of reasons. It traps moisture; it is a food for mold growth and for other types of allergens. So carpet, definitely a bad idea. If you just want to cover the concrete floor, why put any kind of flooring down at all? You could use an epoxy finishing system and paint it. The epoxy systems look pretty good today. They seal the floor and they do a nice job. They’re two-part epoxies. You mix them together. You put them down. They cure within a couple of hours. Sometimes they have color flakes in them. There’s a product called EPOXYShield from Rust-Oleum. There’s another one from QUIKRETE; works the same way.
LESLIE: And they’re very durable and they’re easy to maintain.
TOM: Super durable. If you want some sort of a finished floor we would recommend laminate.
JOE: I think that’s my solution then.
TOM: Yes, sir. Joe, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, something is rotten in a listener’s laundry room. What could it be? Probably some old socks, I think. (Leslie chuckles) We’re going to help her sort out where the foul odor is coming from, next.
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TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you can listen to The Money Pit when you want and where you want when you download our free podcast. It’s available at MoneyPit.com/Listen right now.
LESLIE: And while you are on the very informative website, MoneyPit.com, you can e-mail us your questions by just clicking on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon. And we’ve got one here from Pat in Macon, North Carolina who writes: “I have a rotten egg smell in my laundry room. You smell it when the water is running into the washing machine or into the laundry room sink. It doesn’t have the odor that’s associated with any other water supply in our house.”
TOM: Hmm. A rotten egg smell in the laundry room. I wonder if it’s a biofilm situation. You know, sometimes when you get water that sits in a pipe, you’ll get a biofilm that will coat the inside of the pipe. What I might try to do is to run some straight bleach down that drain pipe, let it sit for a while and see if that takes it out.
LESLIE: Would you just run the washing machine with no clothes in it and a ton of bleach?
TOM: You know it’s possible. That does sanitize the washing machine as well.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) The bin, right?
TOM: Yeah, and in fact, sometimes when you have mold problems in a house, that’s a step that we suggest taking; is running the washing machine basically empty but with a lot of bleach in it because it sanitizes everything it touches.
LESLIE: Alright, I hope that works for you, Pat.
No we’ve got one from Steve in Georgia who writes: “We are about to build a home and I’ve talked to the architect and he thinks I should have a closed or sealed crawlspace with spray foam insulation and a dehumidifier to remove any moisture. What do you think?
TOM: You know a sealed crawlspace is a very, very common way to build homes; mostly up in Canada where they actually are a little farther advanced than we are in terms of energy efficiency. But the builders down here aren’t accustomed to that. They’re usually accustomed to a very drafty crawlspace. But the sealed crawlspace idea is a very solid one that’s got a lot of years of testing behind it and I think that if I was building a house today I would do exactly that. So I congratulate your architect. I think it’s a good idea, Steve, and I think you should take his advice.
LESLIE: Alright, Steve. I hope that helps and good luck with your new home.
Alright, we’ve got one from Sandra in New York who writes: “I have tile in my kitchen and the grout and mortar are very thick. I’d like to replace the tile but I’m afraid of ruining the walls in my attempts to remove the tile. My husband suggested that we tile over it. Can this be done and how do I do it?”
TOM: Absolutely. You can put a second layer of tile on top of the existing layer.
LESLIE: Yeah, absolutely. You want to make sure that you – would you use just a really strong adhesive right on top of the tile or would you give it a backer board?
TOM: Yeah, I would use thinset adhesive right on top of the existing tile. I would not put backer board in between. I think it would work fine.
LESLIE: And as long as your old tiles are adhered really, really well, you are going to get great adhesion of those new tiles right on top.
TOM: Well, spring is just about over but if you’ve still got some spring cleaning to do, not to worry. Leslie’s got some tips on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and this one is all about organization. You know even the best thought-out organization can make clutter look like it was planned. All you need to do is pick out the perfect catch-all for your everyday necessities in all areas of your home. If you’ve got, say, an entrance to your house that’s a nice foyer – your kids drop off their schoolbooks there, you’ve got shoes, you’ve got mail coming in – think about a nice, deep basket that you can drop the kids’ backpacks in or put all your beach-going supplies in there. This way, whatever you need, it’s all at the ready right at the front door.
Now if you’ve got your living room is just cluttered with magazines or remote controls or newspapers, look for a large, flat tray with deep sides and then you can put all of those items – your magazines, your remotes – nicely stacked in there, all organized so it looks like, “Hey, I meant to do this.” And even in your bathroom, look for a basket or a tray for the back of the toilet or a little side table or something in your bath that you can put your extra toilet paper or your washing supplies for your face or your cosmetics. If everything sort of looks like it’s supposed to go there, clutter suddenly becomes very stylish.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Hope you’re all having a great weekend.
Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to tell you how to add square footage to your home without a costly addition; how to use your outdoor living space wisely. You know a deck or patio can extend your living space in warm weather. We’re going to tell you what materials work best and how to get that project done on a budget on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 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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