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:
Hi, this is Tom Kraeutler and thanks for listening to the show. Hey, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cool contest we're running right now with our friends at Therma-Tru. It's called the Ugliest Door in America contest and two of our listeners could win a brand new, completely installed entry door worth up to $5,000. Entering is super easy, too, at MyUglyDoor.com. So if your front door, back door or patio door is looking a little worse for wear, log onto MyUglyDoor.com and you can enter to win a beautiful new entry door from Therma-Tru. That's MyUglyDoor.com.
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Take a look around your house. We know that there are projects you want to get done and you just need a little bit of a helping hand; you don't know where to begin. We're here to help you do just that. 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour on the program, are you thinking about selling your home? Well, you should be aware that you could be actually inviting danger into your home along with those potential buyers. We're going to tell you how to protect yourself from thieves or con artists that could show up when your home is on the market.
LESLIE: And if you don't have enough things to worry about with your house perhaps being up for sale you might be worrying about whether or not this housing market is ever going to rebound. But you may be overlooking a more immediate problem. Have you checked your homeowner's insurance policy lately? I just did. You really want to make sure - you need to know what your policy is, is it up to date, are you fully covered or everything and anything that could potentially go wrong. It could really save you a ton of money.
TOM: We'll tell you what to look for in just a bit. Plus we've got a trick-of-the-trade to help you keep those pesky seams on your vinyl floor from curling up and a great prize.
LESLIE: Yeah, our great prize this hour is called the YETI. We're giving it away to one caller who reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and the YETI is a portable security system and you can take it everywhere you go; like maybe to the beach or a campsite this summer so that when you do go for a swim and you leave your wallet and your keys and everything sitting in your shoe - I know it's in your shoe; no one's going to think to look there (Tom laughs) - you'll actually be protected.
TOM: It's worth 200 bucks. You know it could also be a great Father's Day gift for those regifters in our audience so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let's get right to the phones.
Leslie, who's up first?
LESLIE: Heading out to North Dakota to talk to Paula about a decorating woe. How can we help you?
PAULA: Hi, I'm calling because I have a bathroom that is covered in popcorn (Leslie chuckles); the little stucco that's supposed to be on the ceiling is actually on the walls, too.
TOM: Wow. Well it's a good thing it's a bathroom because it's a small room.
TOM: Getting rid of it is a bit of a hassle but not impossible. What you want to do, Paula, is first of all you want to spray it down with some water and what works well for that is one of those pump-up garden sprayers. Get it sort of saturated and then you're going to carefully scrape it off and the best tool that I've found to use for this is a spackle knife. And after you get it all off and you get it as smooth as you possibly can, two things. First of all, make sure you prime the wall with a good-quality primer and then secondly, when you put your topcoat on, make sure you use flat paint. Don't use anything with a sheen. Even if you do a really super-good job at trying to get all of that popcorn off it's still going to be somewhat uneven on the wall and if you use a paint with a sheen it'll show up whenever the light hits it. So if you use a flat paint it'll look really good.
PAULA: Right. But there again my problem too is that being a bathroom it needs to be really scrubbable, too.
TOM: Then I would use a scrubbable flat. I would use a washable flat and I would use one with a mildicide.
PAULA: OK, thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Paula. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Paul in Florida has a question about granite countertops. How can we help you with your project?
PAUL: I've got countertops here that are covered with Formica but I've seen advertisements for a skimming of the countertops with granite and they just come in and put over it. I was just trying to find out whether this sounds like a good idea or not.
TOM: Well, you could certainly have it covered with a granite tile; like a granite floor tile. That can be used for a slightly less expensive way to come up with a stone countertop, Paul.
TOM: As long as the substrate, which is the old countertop, in this case, is solid enough to ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Is in good shape.
TOM: ... prevent movement; then it will be OK. If you have any movement, remember; the granite doesn't bend, it cracks.
PAUL: That's correct. OK, well thank you very much. You've given me what I needed to know.
TOM: You're very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Up next, loose, grime, gathering, seams in vinyl flooring could be peeling away at your patience but you can actually fix them. We'll have that trick-of-the-trade, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:05:29.2]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and that's what we do. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we want to hear from you, so give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. One caller who gets on the air this hour is going to win our weekly prize; a YETI portable security system worth up to 200 bucks. It's a pretty cool system. It's brand new, it's unique and you can take it with you and set it up wherever you are; like your campsite, your worksite, your beach blanket or your boat. It works sort of like a traditional burglar alarm but it's portable. Call us right now if you'd like a shot to win. It goes to one caller chosen at random to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright and maybe you're calling about flooring, which is the number one topic asked here at The Money Pit and if you've got a vinyl floor there's a good chance you're dealing with seams that are peeling up and buildup of yuck and grossness that you see in all of those joints on your floor. Well, here's good news. A special sealer that gets applied to the seams in sheet flooring can actually hide a repair or prevent that loose seam from getting worse and then tearing up the floor itself. You want to glue down loose seams and then go ahead and apply a seam sealer to prevent any dirt from getting beneath it. It's also going to save you a ton of time of trying to clean out all that gunk that you see in there. And vinyl flooring repairs can take practice. So if you find that you've got several to make it might actually more worth your money to hire a pro to fix them all at once rather than trying your patience and your dollars and going out and getting more product as you keep trying to get it right.
TOM: Or practice on the one that's like under the kitchen table before you do the one that's in the middle of the floor.
LESLIE: Yeah, in the middle of the room.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We're here to help you get those pesky projects done. Pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Betty Lynn in Arizona, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BETTY LYNN: I remodeled my kitchen and I need a microwave that opens to the right. I've searched everywhere; stores, internet, everything.
TOM: Where is the microwave mounted?
BETTY LYNN: It's over the range.
TOM: Oh. When we saw your question we had one suggestion for you but it's not going to work.
BETTY LYNN: OK.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean ...
TOM: There's a ...
LESLIE: ... even just doing some research myself, Betty Lynn, it seems like everything opens to - you know, controls on the right and then opens to the left because, you know, manufacturers assume everybody is right-handed.
BETTY LYNN: I know. If you ...
LESLIE: So now you've got the door opening with your left hand and your right hand is placing in whatever and then operating the controls, which is unfortunate because there are lefties in the world.
TOM: I don't know if there's another place that this microwave could be installed but the only other type of microwave that we've seen, that's actually fairly new on the market, is made by Sharp and it's a microwave drawer.
BETTY LYNN: Right ...
TOM: And it kind of operates like one of those bread drawers and they're cool they they're great to be put below countertops or in the space of one of the cabinets, that kind of thing. But up above the range you're really limited in what you can find for that.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Terry in Minnesota needs some help building a house. What can we do for you?
TERRY: I have a rather unique situation. We have an option of purchasing a large lot in a rural area but it has a small house on it that would not comply with code.
TOM: Why would it not comply with code?
TERRY: Electrically, plumbing or any other way; insulation-wise or anything.
TOM: Well, when you buy a house that's non-code compliant is the local municipality going to force you to bring it up to code?
TERRY: Well, that's part of what I'm calling about.
TOM: Yeah, the first thing that you should do is really talk to the municipal authorities; the code enforcement authorities; the zoning authorities. Find out about the house and find out what's going to be required because you understand that it's in very poor condition and very important, make sure, make sure, make sure that you get a home inspection because what you see; that could be the tip of the iceberg. Get a professional home inspector to go in there and do a detailed inspection for you. You may find out that it's got fatal flaws that make it totally not worth buying or you might find out that the things that you see are not so bad and may be easier to fix than you imagined. But I would recommend a home inspector.
The way to find a good one is to go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org - A-S-H-I.org. You can put in the zip code for the area you're buying the home in. They'll come back with a list of ASHI-certified inspectors and I'd call the guys on that list; choose one of the few that they send you and then find someone to go inspect that house.
Terry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, flooring repair is on Ken in North Carolina's mind. What can we help you with?
KEN: We moved into a home that is a custom home last summer and it's on a crawlspace and the first floor is completely hardwood floors. There are some different elevation changes throughout the floor and I started noticing a couple of months ago, in our eating area, where the hardwood seems to be separating in a couple of places and I was really trying to figure out what might be happening that's causing this ...
TOM: Life is happening, Ken. It's expanding and contracting because of temperature changes and humidity changes in your home and there's not a lot that you can do about that. You know it happens more with some flooring; less with others. It also has to do with the installation. But if the maximum gap is a quarter-of-an-inch I wouldn't worry too much about it. Sometimes in very old homes it gets very large and we'll tell people to fill it with jute or something of that nature and then finish over that to fill big gaps, but a quarter-of-an-inch max in floor that's not too old; I wouldn't worry too much about that. I think that's fairly typical.
KEN: Now would you expect the flooring to expand in more humid types of conditions?
TOM: Well, it depends. Typically it's going to be tighter in the summer and wider in the wintertime.
LESLIE: When it's drier.
TOM: But you know, the floor being as dynamic as it is and all of those pieces being interlocked, you never know where the movement is going to show up.
LESLIE: William in Indiana is having some chimney situations. William, how can we help?
WILLIAM: Hi, we just bought a brick house - it's a one-story Cape Cod; all brick - and we have some bad what I've been told is called spawling ...
WILLIAM: ... on top of our chimney. Just, you know, sections of the brick are - well it's one or two bricks where a chunk of the brick is actually popping out of the chimney.
TOM: Fairly common in an older house. What is it, like a 50-year-old Cape or something?
WILLIAM: Built in 1951.
TOM: OK. Yeah, so pretty close. (chuckles)
TOM: Fifty, sixty years old. Very common. What happens is as water gets into the brick and it freezes it kind of breaks apart the brick; happens most commonly at the top few courses of brick and generally you have to do a number of things here. Number one, you have to make up a concrete mix to patch the brick and you can actually dye some epoxy patching compound ...
TOM: ... to match that brick so it'll be red - I'm assuming it's a red brick - and then repoint the mortar joints. But most importantly, the very top of the chimney is going to be a crown made of cement that goes from the liner to the outside edge of the brick chimney and I'm going to guess that that crown is cracked. They very, very commonly do and it needs to be either replaced or certainly those cracks in that top crown should be caulked because that will slow the water that's getting down into that space and if you slow the water you're going to slow that spawling effect and keep those bricks intact for as long as possible. But nothing too complicated; nothing terrible for you to have to worry about. Fairly normal wear and tear for a 50 to 60-year-old brick chimney.
WILLIAM: OK. So that chunk of brick that's actually popping out, it's not an entire brick; it's just a rather large chunk. It's like a four-inch, you know, long chunk.
TOM: (overlapping voices) If it's clean - if it's clean you may be able to mortar it back into place.
TOM: If it's really broken up then I would fill that kind of like you think of filling like a hole or a cavity and I would mix up a mortar mix and I would tint it to match the brick. If you go to the home center or hardware store you'll find out that there are concrete tints; they're usually powder.
TOM: I just did this not so long ago; repairing a brick step on my dad's patio and I was able to mix it up very carefully to get a color that was fairly close to what was there. And it's not going to match exactly but it's better than having a gray patch on a red brick chimney.
WILLIAM: OK. Great, thank you.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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.
Hey, we've got a great contest going on right now; it's called the Ugliest Door in America. It's sponsored by Therma-Tru Doors and you could actually win a new door makeover for your home, worth up to 5,000 bucks. Details are at MyUglyDoor.com. You could qualify if perhaps you don't like your back door or your patio door or your front door and all those details on how to enter at MyUglyDoor.com.
LESLIE: Alright, well whether your home improvements are a prize or made from your hard-earned cash, you really want to make sure that anytime you're taking on any kind of large-scale home improving that you want to look into your homeowners insurance. You want to make sure you've got the right kind and the amount. You don't know if all that work you've done on to the house would be covered in the event of a catastrophe like, say, having to rebuild your home from scratch. We're going to tell you what you need to know about your home's insurance, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:17:06.4]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us now with your home improvement question. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and many of you out there might be wondering what the heck is going on with this real estate market and really starting to think about whether this housing market will ever rebound. But you may be overlooking a more immediate and potentially devastating problem. Have you checked your homeowners insurance policy lately?
TOM: Well, most likely not. You need to know if it offers coverage enough to replace your home should a catastrophe strike. Your policy needs to be updated from time to time and here to give us the ins and outs of exactly what you need to know is Angie Hicks, the founder of AngiesList.com.
TOM: Now homeowners insurance is one of those things that you learn about once when you buy the policy and you tend to stick it in a drawer and forget about it except when it comes time to pay the bill. How can you get sort of behind the times with this?
ANGIE: You absolutely do. A lot of times homeowners stick their home insurance policy on autopilot. You know, they get the renewal notices each year but, you know, say, 'OK, great. It's just going to automatically renew.' But you really need to be, you know, doing an assessment - you know, even once a year isn't a bad idea - of what your coverage is and whether you need to make any updates. You know, according to our recent Angie's List poll, 60 percent of our members say they're going to update their homes this year; you know, spending on average about $11,000. And what people don't realize is if you're going to be doing some remodeling, adding on to your house, you want to make sure you've got enough coverage there. You know, you don't want - certainly don't want to find out after, you know, a fire happens or something like that that you never put the room addition on the house and you're not covered for it.
LESLIE: But where do you draw the line, Angie? How do you know if, say, it's a small-scale design update or not even a major addition; where do you know when to contact the insurance company? What constitutes them sort of reevaluating the situation?
ANGIE: Yeah, I think you should have an agent that you can talk openly with regularly. If you don't have an agent that's willing to chat through these types of items with you, you know, you may not have the right agent. So just be in open communication about it and I think it comes down to, in a lot of ways, is understanding how much you're willing to potentially be at risk on. (chuckling) You know? You know some people - because a lot of times people also insure the contents of their house and maybe have a rider for electronics or for jewelry or things like that and you know, I get asked the question like, 'Well, should I put my engagement ring on the policy or not?' and it really comes down to if something came out stolen or something like that would you have the money to replace it.
TOM: We're talking to Angie Hicks - she is the founder of Angie's List - about what you need to know when it comes to evaluating your homeowners insurance.
Angie, let's say that you have not done an addition or made any major changes to your home. How do you make sure that you're covered just for your basic sort of cost-of-living increases? I mean it costs more to build a house every year. It costs more for the labor; it costs more for the materials. How do you make sure that you still have enough money to replace your home?
ANGIE: That's a really good point and that's where the annual review becomes important. You know, because sometimes people even ask, 'Well, I have a brand new house so I'm sure it's covered fine for replacement' but the key is you want it covered for the replacement cost; how much would it be to build from scratch. You know, for example, at the time Hurricane Katrina hit, the price of lumber and a lot of petroleum-based products; those prices really started getting high on those. So even if your house is only six months old, you might need to reevaluate what the replacement cost is on it.
TOM: So the bottom line is that every year you really need to reevaluate. Don't just take the bill and pay it but evaluate your coverage and make sure you have enough and make sure that you've got the options that are available because they change from time to time and, gosh, every time I get a new exclusion it makes me wonder, you know, what I need to do to sort of cover myself for that potential loss.
ANGIE: That's right. You know, so - and also, one of the things that can trip some people up is whether - is the language about equivalent and like-kind replacement. You know, so if you have a wood-shingled roof, for example, and a hailstorm comes through and you've got equivalent insurance you may not get a wood-shingled roof when you get it replaced.
TOM: Good point.
Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ANGIE: Thank you.
TOM: If you'd like more information on Angie's List you should go to their website at AngiesList.com.
LESLIE: Alright, Angie, very valuable information. I'm going to go check my policy as soon as we're done with our session. (Tom chuckles)
Alright, folks. Coming up, how to protect yourself when your home is for sale. We're going to tell you what steps to take to make sure that potential buyers are legitimately interested in your house and not your family or your belongings, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:22:11.4]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. 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: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, especially if it's how do I get rid of that ugly door I've got on my house because if your front door is a disaster we can help you right now with that because there's a super contest going on from our friends at Therma-Tru. It's called the Ugliest Door in America and they're giving away a $5,000 door makeover; it could be your front door, it could be your side door, it could be your back door, it could be your patio door. If you think you've got the ugliest door in America they could take care of that for you.
LESLIE: Yeah, and maybe your question is how do I get this for free. Well that addresses it there as well. (Tom chuckles) Everybody loves home improvements but by gosh darn it, if it's a free one it's even better. It's worth 5,000 bucks. They're picking two. There are two ways to enter. They're looking for a written essay and two photographs or get super creative, get our your video camera and record a one-minute video talking about your door; you know maybe add some creaking sounds and some like ultra close-ups that are like (creaking sounds). (Tom chuckles) You know, really make it look scary and it's not just looking for ugly doors; they're looking for wear and tear as well.
TOM: Absolutely. Remember, that's at MyUglyDoor.com.
And speaking of great prizes we're giving away one to a caller today. It's a cool, portable security system called the YETI. It's going to go to one caller we talk to this hour on the program, so let's get back to those phones.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Gary in Utah has a question about concrete staining. How can we help you with this project?
GARY: I'm finishing my basement and I would like to stain my concrete floor. How do I prepare the floor for the stain?
LESLIE: I think you really want to make sure that it's a clean, fresh surface; so it depends, really, on the product that you're using. There are some that are a concrete stain that's almost as thick in viscosity as paint and there's a certain primer that goes with it. There are some that are translucent. I think the best thing would be to give it a good cleaning and really then make sure that it's dry ...
LESLIE: ... before you go ahead and apply.
GARY: OK, great. Great. Do you think there's any kind of acids or anything that I could use or ...?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, gosh yeah.
TOM: Sure, acid stains are great. They have somewhat of an unpredictable result, so you've got to be prepared for an unknown finish but you start small in a corner and work your way out they can look pretty cool.
LESLIE: There's a good website, Gary, for you to check out -it's ConcreteNetwork.com - and they not only give you the step-by-step to concrete staining and acid staining but they also give you links to the products to help you do it because I know with acid staining on a concrete, like Tom says, it really depends on sort of the chemical structure of the concrete itself when it was made. So you can get a variation of the effect that you're trying to get. It might turn out looking something completely different but they really do talk you through and help you get the best sample kits so you can really test it out before you commit. Because it could be beautiful.
GARY: Great, great. Well thank you for your help.
TOM: You're welcome, Gary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Amy in Ohio, you've got The Money Pit. What's going on at your house?
AMY: Yes, I wanted to find out - my husband and I have one of the ugly, one-piece shower inserts in our bathroom ...
AMY: ... and I wanted to find out could we do something more creative if we took that out, using the studs of the wall to try to make something unique; you know, so we can add like a little seat in there and make it like tile and do it ourselves.
TOM: Oh, absolutely. I mean it's a big job. If you take that out the next thing you're going to want to do is put in a shower pan and you would probably still use a fiberglass shower pan for that; although you could, you know, construct one out of wood, line it with fiberglass and cover it with tile.
LESLIE: But you can easily blend tile with the fiberglass shower pan. It's still going to look nice.
TOM: Absolutely. But certainly you could build your own shower stall. You would do that simply by covering the studs with an underlayment material that's designed to have tile installed on top of that.
LESLIE: Like a cement backer board?
TOM: Yeah, like a cement backer board, for example. Or you could do it the old-fashioned way where they actually did concrete on the walls; they called it mud walls. But certainly you could do that and then adhere the tile right to the walls.
AMY: And that's something your average homeowner could do?
TOM: No. (laughs) I don't think so.
LESLIE: I think so.
TOM: That's a big job.
TOM: You know, if you're real handy with tile and you don't mind doing the demolition, sure you could do it but let's look at the steps. First of all you have to disassemble the plumbing and get the old system out. You've got to disassemble the walls; get it all roughed out and ready to take the new shower pan. Put the new shower pan in. You've got to run the plumbing up the wall so it comes out where you need it. Then you have to put the cement backer board on everything. Then you have to tile it all. So I mean there's a lot of steps involved. Now if you're a pretty good do-it-yourselfer you could do it yourself but there's a lot of jobs.
LESLIE: Or you could have a pro get it to the point where it's ready for tile and if that helps you with costs at all, tiling is a fun project that's manageable by the average homeowner and if you want to feel like you're doing something, go for it.
AMY: Great. Well, if the tile's not perfect that's OK; it's my fault, then.
TOM: That's right. You can only blame yourself. (Tom and Amy chuckle)
LESLIE: You'll do a great job.
TOM: Amy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So you're thinking about putting your house on the market. Well, how do you keep your house safe when all of those people - the buyers, the realtors, the home inspectors - are trouncing through it? We'll give you some tips, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:28:03.1]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation's leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
Hey, we've got a quick and easy way for you to save some money on your energy bills. Here it is. Get ready. Grab a pen. Write it down.
Insulate your hot water heater with a blanket. And we're not talking about the afghan that my great-aunt Antoinette's knitting for me right now (Tom chuckles) or you know you've got one kicking around your house. If you're not sure what we mean you can find step-by-step water heater blanket instructions in the repair and improve section on our super-helpful website; MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And if you have a question for us while you're at MoneyPit.com click on Listen and then submit it to the Ask Tom and Leslie form there just like Jennifer did from Tampa, Florida. Jennifer says: 'We're putting our home on the market and are concerned about keeping it secure while it's being shown to potential buyers. Any tips to make sure we don't get ripped off?
Well, I've got to tell you, Jennifer, I spent 20 years as a home inspector and I was one of those folks that went through houses just like yours and of course I was an honest home inspector.
LESLIE: Yeah, and in every crevice, too.
TOM: Yeah, I was. But there could be folks out there that are not honest including, you know, people that are, say, pretending to be buyers. So you need to be careful. One of the things that I was always very happy when I came to a home that someone would ask me for was identification; you know, make sure you check the ID of all the folks that are coming into your house. Now, if you're inviting buyers into your house that are not associated with a real estate agent you need to make sure they're preapproved. That will be your indication that they're serious and not up to no good. And make sure you lock up all of your valuables and hide those collectibles before people start trouncing through your living room; to make sure you keep that stuff safe.
LESLIE: Yeah, also don't allow your kids to open up the doors to strangers and if you've got pets make sure you keep them controlled on a leash right near you at all times.
There are some great tips online at Century21.com that'll help you get ready for all these folks about to come in and hopefully buy your house quick.
LESLIE: Alright, we've got one here from Sam in New York. 'I'd like to remodel the bathroom and kitchen in my summer home with ceramic tiles. It's now vinyl stick tiles. The house is empty and is winterized but it's cold, upstate New York winters. Would it cause the ceramic to crack?
TOM: No, it absolutely won't cause the ceramic to crack; great, durable material. Pretty chilly though, I will say, as a floor surface; but it definitely will not have a cracking problem. Another product you might want to consider is laminate floor and that's also a good way to get a very durable floor for a summer home.
LESLIE: Yeah, and even with those chilly summers in upstate New York, why not think about radiant heat for those floors? Keep that tile nice and toasty.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. It's now time to help you conquer the clutter in your life. Think it's impossible? Think not because Leslie has got the tips in this edition of today's Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is a pretty easy one. This is meant to address all of that clutter and electronic equipment that seems to gather in your living room, family room, wherever you guys hang out and watch television. You know, we've got so many entertainment-based items - remote controls, game controllers - that all just sort of flood around your coffee table into the couch, between the cushions, you can't find anything. It's a disaster. Well, clean it up. Go ahead and pick up a decorative tray and put it all inside of that. It's the perfect catch-all. It really does make the clutter look planned. All you want to do is gather up all the necessities; pick a tray that's got deep sides big enough to contain all of those remotes for whatever electronic components you've got; put it on your coffee table; make it look like you meant to do it and suddenly life just got a lot more organized.
TOM: Great advice.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, you got a buck? Well, save it because next week we're going to teach you how that one dollar could help save a $1,500 repair bill on your air conditioning system.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:53.1]
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2008 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.)