Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. What are you doing? What are you working on? Call us right now. Let us talk about your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Let's get through those projects. Are you on the way to the home improvement center? Are you picking up some materials to tackle a project this weekend? Did you start one last weekend and maybe it didn't work out so well?
LESLIE: Ah, that's terrible. (laughing)
TOM: We don't judge. (chuckle) Call us - call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Because we've got a great show in store for you today.
Hey, coming up this hour, we're going to talk about the topic of universal design. 'Well, what exactly is universal design?' you might ask.
LESLIE: Well, I really like to think of universal design as more of inclusive design or design for all. And it's an approach to design so that the environment that you're creating can be usable by as many people as possible, regardless of age or ability or the situation. It's really so that everybody can best utilize an entrance, a space, a room. It's very smart and it really is the way of the future.
TOM: Absolutely. Well, I've got some great tips from AARP on how you can make some small changes to your home that's going to make it easier to use and easier to enjoy no matter what your age or physical condition might be.
LESLIE: And you're going to find out how a $10 investment is going to end up saving you hundreds of dollars on your energy bills this winter. Hmm, good to know.
TOM: Plus, do you need a new look for your bathroom or kitchen but perhaps you don't have a ton of money to spend. Who does? We're going to tell you how to stretch those dollars to update your space on a really tight budget.
LESLIE: Also this hour, one caller we choose is going to win a Eureka Uno Vacuum. It's worth 130 bucks, so call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and ask us your home improvement or your home repair question.
TOM: We'll tell you how to do the project and give you the tools to clean up from it. (chuckling) 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Richard in New York is the coolest. He podcasts The Money Pit. It's a fantastic option for listening. And you've got a question about attic insulation. How can we help you, Mr. Cool?
RICHARD: Hi. I live in an old home and it's - I have a large, unfinished attic that I'm going to be finishing.
RICHARD: It has, currently, no ridge or soffit vents. I've heard spray foam insulation will be a good product since I don't need to traditionally ventilate the attic. I was wondering if - what you guys think of this product and if it's right for me.
TOM: I think it's an excellent idea if - you know, spray foam insulation is a way to go. Probably the leading product out there is one called isonene. If you can find an installer and you're confident it can be installed correctly and properly, I'd say go with it.
However, I also want to caution you, Richard, that installing soffit and ridge vents does not have to be an extraordinary, complex project to do. I mean to put a ridge vent in, essentially you are going to cut open the ridge of the roof that's there and it's something that, although it sounds complicated, is fairly common for roofers to do. They use special circular saws with nail-cutting blades; can saw out that space. And then, on the overhang - do you actually have a soffit? Do you have an overhang on this roof?
RICHARD: Yeah, it's about a foot-and-a-half overhang. Yep.
TOM: Well, that's perfect. On the overhang, you can simply replace the solid soffit material with a perforated one because a fully ventilated attic is smart for a lot of reasons. It keeps the insulation dry and makes it much more effective and that, of course, is going to save you money in the end run.
So, the spray foam insulation is fine. I love isonene. But if not, you could also just install ridge vents and soffit vents and be good to go from there.
RICHARD: Great. You guys gave me a lot of options. I appreciate the call and I love the show.
TOM: Thanks, Richard. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and for syncing and go. Sync and go the Money Pit podcast 24/7 at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Jerry in Las Vegas is a gambling man. You want to paint something without priming. What can we do for you?
JERRY: I bought a whole bunch of siding. It's been primed. But my question is it's been sitting now - but it's been covered - and am I running into a situation where I should re-prime it? Because you know, that's a lot of expense.
TOM: Yeah. Well, if it's been primed once, I think that you're probably OK as long as that priming hasn't been exposed and has worn off. You know, the nice thing about primer is that it's designed to stick really well, but it doesn't stand up to any kind of UV deterioration. So as long as it's not been exposed to the sun and that siding is, you know, dried out before you paint it, I think the fact that it's primed already is great. And I don't think you have to put a second primer coat on it.
JERRY: Yeah, it's been under heavy tarps.
TOM: Yeah, I think you're good to go.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, it's good, I think.
JERRY: OK. I should be alright, then.
TOM: Yep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Scott in Wisconsin's got a messy problem on his hands. What happened?
SCOTT: Hi, I've got an old farmhouse. I've got a carpet that's been glued down to tile. And I'm trying to find something that will loosen up that glue so I can get it off and start all over again.
TOM: Well, there are adhesive solvents that are designed for this. And I've got to tell you though, Scott, it's a big, messy, sticky job. Now what kind of a floor covering do you want to put down?
SCOTT: I'm probably going to put a subfloor down and then either linoleum or tile on top of that. So I don't really care about flooring ... anything underneath the carpet. It's just that I can't budge that carpet up even a little bit.
TOM: Is it like an indoor/outdoor carpet?
SCOTT: It's more of a ... it's an indoor carpet. It's a real tight nap; a real thin carpet.
TOM: And you just can't ...
SCOTT: (overlapping voices) But the glue must have been cheap.
TOM: You just can't get any of that carpet off the floor?
SCOTT: No, I've tried everything and ...
SCOTT: ... I've tried even cutting it with an exacto knife and I ... still it ... glue must have been cheap in those days.
TOM: Mmm. (laughing) Well, if the carpet's very thin ...
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
TOM: ... why don't you just put the plywood on top of it?
SCOTT: That will work?
TOM: Sure. I mean, you know, it's not the best thing to do but I don't see any reason it won't work.
SCOTT: I guess I never thought of that.
TOM: Yeah. If it's thin carpet, you know, very often, floors are built up of multiple layers. We don't ... generally, don't like to suggest that. But if the carpet is that tight, you might as well just go with it. Put a thin layer of half-inch plywood on top of it or quarter-inch ply ... as long as you can get a flat surface, then you can go ahead and put new carpet over that or whatever you want to do.
SCOTT: Great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joseph in Virginia's a WJFK listener and you've got a flooring question. How can we help?
JOSEPH: Hi, my home - an addition was built back in about 1979 by the previous owner. I guess they were trying to save money. They put down some kind of particleboard. Then they put vinyl self-adhesive vinyl tiles over the particleboard. Over the past few years, from our girl mopping the floor, the water has seeped down under the particleboard; made it expand. My question is I really don't want to tear this floor out. It's a 30x15 foot room ...
JOSEPH: ... and it's a functioning office. It was a living room for the previous owner but it's a functioning office. I wanted to know if you thought maybe I could go over it with like marine plywood and screw it down with maybe like screw nails and then put another flooring over it. Or am I working on something unstable and I'm going to be really sorry in the long run if I do that?
TOM: Well, how swollen is it? Is it just a little bit swollen? Is mostly - is mostly the problem that tiles are popping off?
JOSEPH: It's only a little bit swollen ...
JOSEPH: ... and it's the particleboard underneath that's swollen.
TOM: I understand. So here's what I think you should do, Joseph. I think you should think about installing laminate flooring. Because I don't think you're going to have to put another layer of plywood. You could, if you wanted to put, say, some quarter-inch luan under it. But if it's not like deformed in any way, you could put underlayment down for a laminate floor - which is sort of like a soft foam or sometimes a laminate floor is actually backed with its own underlayment - and then the floor tiles themselves or the flooring strips, depending on what type you choose, actually lock together. So they make a very strong floor when it's all done and all installed properly.
LESLIE: And they're structurally stable ...
LESLIE: ... so that if it's in a moist condition or the way you're cleaning or whatever it is that's in there that might compromise the integrity of the flooring, it's not going to affect it in any way because it's a manufactured flooring. It's actually a plastic product that's made to look like whatever it is you want.
JOSEPH: OK, I'm going to go ahead and do that and I'll send you an email in a couple of weeks and I'll tell you how it went.
LESLIE: Alright, good luck with it.
TOM: Joseph, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bob in New Jersey, you're on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
BOB: Well, I have an older home that has hardwood floors with no subfloor. They're just over the joist and they're in - they're in great shape and they're beautiful. But they're squeaky in spots and I've tried shimming them up from underneath only to get a squeak elsewhere.
TOM: Well, you're on the right track because the reason floors squeak is because the boards move. But generally, I don't recommend trying to shim them from below because this is the sort of thing that happens. The other alternative is to secure them from above. So if you can identify where the floor joist is, underneath the hardwood floor, you can simply re-nail that hardwood floor. And you might be thinking, 'Well, how do I do that without the nails showing?' Well, you simply use a finish nail and you want to predrill the floor with the finish nail first. I would suggest a - sort of #10 or #12 finish nail. And you want to stick that finish nail in the end of the drill and use the nail as the drill. It sort of splits the fibers of the wood and sort of makes the path for it. Then release the chuck and tap the nail in the rest of the way. If you do that in four or five places right around where the floor joist is, it's going to secure those loose boards down and you'll be able to test it with every nail that you put in, Bob, and make sure that it's really holding up.
BOB: Great advice.
TOM: Alright? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners, now you - yes, you - can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day; seven days a week - we never sleep - at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Up next, some tips on universal design from the folks at AARP. They've got some very interesting ideas on how small changes can make a big difference when improving the comfort and safety of your home.
[audio timestamp: 10:51]
[audio timestamp: 14:03]
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So, before the break, we were talking about the topic of universal design. Leslie, of course, as you so well put it at the beginning of the show, it's really the idea of creating a design environment using products and design ideas that are really universal so that no matter what your age or physical condition, you can really make use of that space. And it makes a lot of sense. I think it used to be called - what? - barrier-free ...
TOM: ... construction? You know, that is so limiting. We're really talking about whether or not you're a mom that comes home with a baby in one hand and the bag of groceries in the other or you're a grandparent trying to ...
LESLIE: Well, because there's such an overlap for needs, depending on your life situation. So rather than singling out one specific type of person and addressing that need, if you address it across the board, it becomes universal.
TOM: Well, the folks at AARP are the experts in this area and they've got some ideas for you to think about. Let's start talking about the bathroom.
Floors and bathtubs should have non-slip surfaces to help everyone stay on their feet. Now, there's a great idea. No matter what age or physical condition you might be, why not have non-slip surfaces on the all the floors?
You know, I fall just as hard as an adult (laughing) as my kids or parents do.
LESLIE: I tend to fall now more as an adult than I did as a kid. Or maybe I'm just clumsy.
TOM: Exactly. You know, they're not just for people that are frail. You ought to think about also putting in handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms. If you're going to build a bath, put the grab bar in. There's no reason not to have it.
LESLIE: That's right. And thresholds that are flush with the floor not only make it easy for a wheelchair to get through the doorway; it's also good for baby carriages, any sort of rolling cart you might have in the kitchen. And they also keep others from tripping. Remember also that good lighting helps people with poor vision and it helps everyone else see better as well. And remember also that lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for people with poor hand strength but others like them, too. Once you try using these devices with your arms full of packages or kids, you're never going to go back to knobs or switches again.
TOM: So the next time you're planning a home improvement project, think universal and add some of these universal design ideas to your plan. For more tips on universal design, you can log onto AARP.org.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if the seasons are changing where you live, you're about to head back indoors for the next four to six months.
TOM: Yeah, but who and what else is sneaking in the door behind you?
LESLIE: Ever since the energy cost shocks of the 70s, we've been making our homes more and more energy efficient. And in the process of tightening up our homes, we've actually made it harder for the homes to breathe.
TOM: Yeah, it's kind of an unintended consequence but it's welcomed a lot of uninvited guests to our homes. You know, guests like dust mites and viruses and bacteria. The plain fact of the matter is that the less ventilated your house is, the more susceptible it is to indoor pollution. Things like mold spores can become a problem. In fact, according to the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air.
LESLIE: Well, if you've got a forced air heating system, we can help. October is indoor air quality month and The Money Pit has your chance to win an Aprilaire Model 5000 electronic air cleaner. It cleans all the air in your entire house. It's $1,000 value and it could be yours for free if you register at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: That's right. And that was the unit that was ranked number one by Consumer Reports and we're ...
LESLIE: Three years in a row.
TOM: And we're going to give away the best to one lucky winner of this contest. So there's no purchase necessary. You have to enter by October 31st. For all of the rules and the contest entry form, simply log onto MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Bill in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What's on your mind today?
BILL: I have a grand piano that was covered with vinyl.
TOM: It was like an upholstered piano? (chuckling)
BILL: Yes. My wife purchased it and ...
LESLIE: It was from a piano bar, wasn't it?
BILL: (laughing) And it was completely covered with tacks.
BILL: The legs, everything; the stool - the legs on the stool.
BILL: And I took off all the vinyl; took off all the tacks. Now I have as many tacks as you can count (chuckling) and all the holes.
LESLIE: Well, you could just put a ton more holes all over the piano and call it, you know, art work.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and have it match. It could be like a distressed piano surface.
BILL: (chuckling) Yeah, so I was wondering what I could do to correct this problem. You know, to blend something in.
TOM: Well, what kind of wood is it?
TOM: Well, you know, probably the best thing that you can do, Bill, is completely refinish it. If you sand off the old finish and then use a good mahogany wood filler and then restain it and then re-varnish it, that's probably the best thing that you can do. It's going to hide the most number of those holes. Since there are so many, anything that we tell you, right now, to sort of patch it via, you know, wood fillers or wax fillers or anything of that nature, is - it's not going to hide it. If it's that damaged, you're going to really have to refinish the entire thing.
BILL: OK, as you said, sand it off and restain it and then refinish it. What would I refinish it with?
TOM: I would use probably - I don't know; what do you think? Probably the - in a piano store, they would use lacquer. In the piano factory ...
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: ... they use a lacquer for that. But, I probably would use a varnish if I was doing it by hand. An oil-based varnish.
BILL: (INAUDIBLE) brand name varnish or ...?
TOM: Yeah, I mean Behr makes some terrific products. Go pick one up at The Home Depot.
LESLIE: You can get one that has any sort of sheen level as a finish. You don't have to get something that's high gloss. You can go with something that's more satin in the finish as well, so it doesn't have to be super shiny. It's going to be a lot of work. Make sure you cover up those internal mechanisms; otherwise, you're going to be retuning and reconfiguring that piano.
TOM: Alright Bill, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Russell's next up on The Money Pit, from Ohio. And you've got a question about your chimney. What's going on?
RUSSELL: What I have is I had some moss growing on the shingles around the chimney. On the - like I think it's on the north side of the chimney. And the other problem with the chimney is some of the mortar between the bricks looks like water may have gotten behind it, froze it out, broke it out. I was wondering if that mortar is a job that I can handle myself or do I need to get a pro to retouch (ph) point that.
TOM: You know, chimneys sticking up off the roof there into the environment do really take a lot of abuse. So the things that you're talking about here, Russ, are not unusual. It definitely is totally a do-it-yourself job. What you need to do is this.
LESLIE: Well, as long as you feel comfortable up on the roof.
TOM: Well, good point. You need to get up there and scrape out the loose mortar. Now, if the bricks are coming loose, you're going to have to make a judgment as to how comfortable you feel taking apart part of this chimney. But you simply mix up a new mortar mix. You can buy some QUIKRETE at the store - premixed mortar; add some water; and go ahead, just put that back together.
LESLIE: You want the consistency of peanut butter.
TOM: Yes, the consistency of peanut butter.
LESLIE: Don't make it too runny.
TOM: Not the consistency of jelly. (chuckling) The consistency of peanut butter.
Now, in terms of the moss that's growing around the shingles, what you want to use there is a bleach solution - some water and bleach - and spray it on there; let it sit; and then scrub it away. That's very common to grow on the north ...
LESLIE: Especially on the north side.
TOM: On the north side. Exactly.
RUSSELL: Oh, OK. And that QUIKRETE, is that just the regular stuff I'd use to patch my driveway or a particular ...
TOM: Well, it's a different formulation. The mortar formulation might be different than the concrete formulation. Usually the stuff that they use for driveways has an epoxy component to it which makes it stickier.
RUSSELL: Oh, OK.
TOM: So you want to buy the mortar mix.
RUSSELL: Alright, thank you.
LESLIE: Lynn in Colorado listens on KZNT. What can we do for you today?
LYNN: Yes, hi there. I was considering two products; one is air conditioning and the other one was called Reflective Comfort.
LYNN: And it's an aluminum sheet that they install in the attic and it's supposed to reflect the heat from getting into the house and keep the heat in the winter from getting out of the house.
TOM: Alright, you're talking about a reflective barrier.
LYNN: Yeah, and the product's called Reflective Comfort.
TOM: OK, so that must be the brand name.
LESLIE: We thought it was a cocktail.
TOM: (chuckling) OK. Yeah, a radiant barrier, what - that's kind of like - you know when you take something hot out of the oven and you put tin foil on it to keep the heat in?
TOM: That's kind of what a radiant barrier does. So it is an effective part of your overall insulation system. But it's not like you would do that or air conditioning.
LESLIE: Yeah, but how is that a cooling system?
TOM: Yeah, well, it reduces the amount of heat that gets into the house. But it's not going to - it's not going to cool the house as well ...
LESLIE: And believe me, I was just in Colorado this past summer for a week and a half and I thought Colorado was going to be cool all the time. Colorado was hot.
LYNN: Getting hotter. (chuckling)
TOM: I would do the air conditioning.
TOM: I would definitely do the air conditioning. Because it's going to - you're going to have a lot more comfort out of it and it's also going to improve your value of your home a lot better than the radiant barrier would.
LYNN: Well, that answers my question.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you could do one thing to breathe new life into your kitchen or bathroom, what would it be? If you said, 'Replace the old, dated and leaky faucet,' that's a great and inexpensive way to do just that. Up next, an expert's going to tell you exactly how.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of 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. Well you know, bathroom and kitchen remodels are right up there at the top of the list for getting the best return on your investment. But what you might not know is that you don't have to take on a very major renovation to get a new and updated look.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's right, Tom. Actually changing out your cabinet hardware or adding a fresh coat of paint or even installing some new plumbing fixtures can have your kitchen looking pretty snazzy in no time flat. So joining us with some tips is Carol Ann McVeigh (sp), a product manager for Peerless Faucet.
Welcome, Carol Ann.
CAROL ANN: Thank you.
TOM: Carol Ann, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
You know, I'm looking at an article on AOL right now and it's talking about a gold toilet that's available in Hong Kong for 4.8 million dollars.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Wait! Solid gold?
TOM: Solid gold. (chuckling) But you don't have to spend tons and tons of money to really change the look of your bathroom. Why do you think it's important to keep that space looking up to date?
CAROL ANN: Well, I think a lot of people are drawn to - these are extensions of their personality. And Peerless recently this year, we just relaunched the whole brand and it's a lot more stylish; there's a lot more options; there's different finishes; different types of handles. And I think, you know, people spend a lot of time in those rooms in their homes, so they want something that's going to, you know, kind of give them that relaxing type atmosphere. And like I said, I do think people are kind of stepping up and they want more style choices ...
CAROL ANN: ... and finish choices.
LESLIE: What are some of the trends you're actually seeing for the bathroom and so much so in faucet design?
CAROL ANN: We're seeing a lot more - for the bathroom, a lot of the higher arching type spouts; more decorative finishes. Peerless actually has come out with a brushed nickel finish that's been very popular; our tub shower line; our - we have a widespread lavatory; we have center sets. So you can kind of mix and match these new styles and do your thing; do your tub shower; do - we're actually even working on a Roman tub; like a garden tub ...
LESLIE: Oh, nice.
TOM: Oh, very cool.
CAROL ANN: ... model that we'll be launching next year. We're trying to kind of - and offer more products at an affordable price point and really give you some more style options.
TOM: We're talking to Carol Ann McVeigh (sp). She's a product manager with Peerless Faucets.
Carol Ann, I think when folks think of home improvement projects, plumbing is something that really scares them because they're afraid of really disrupting something ...
LESLIE: Oh, big mistake; huge mess. That's the potential.
TOM: They're afraid of disrupting something that's so critical to the operation of their house. How hard is it to simply make a faucet replacement?
CAROL ANN: Actually, the good thing about Peerless is we've taken a lot of that out of the equation. Actually on our website, there's a little coach - a faucet coach - that actually can show you how to uninstall your faucet - you know, step by step instructions - and kind of assist you through the whole, entire process. And really, you know, the hardest part is getting the old faucet off. Once you've gotten that off, you're gold. I mean hooking it up is - I mean, this is designed to be easy to install. It's something you can - you can definitely tackle like on one day or a weekend, depending how many fixtures you have to do.
LESLIE: Are you having good response to the faucet coach?
CAROL ANN: Oh, yeah. Yeah, there's actually, on our website, there's a little area that customers can post, you know, kind of their stories; called the Faucet Showoffery. (chuckling) And so, they can, you know, post their stories. And some of them are funny; you know, about husbands that don't want to, you know, read the instructions and ...
CAROL ANN: ... all that kind of stuff. So ...
TOM: Not true. (laughing)
LESLIE: It's not just husbands either.
CAROL ANN: (laughing) But anyway, I mean it's very interactive. It - the whole concept is kind of - help you through the whole process; getting the old faucet off, putting the new one on. And then, you know, if there - it has a design area if you want to like look through different style choices based on how many holes you have in your sink. There's just a lot of information there, you know, to assist you; in choosing your product and installing your product.
LESLIE: Carol Ann, is there a recommended time frame? Say nothing is going wrong with your faucet. Is there a recommended time frame where you should think about replacing it; like, 'Don't ever keep it longer than 10 years'?
CAROL ANN: Well, I guess it depends on what your - you know, what you are replacing. Now, Peerless has a lifetime warranty. I would say if it's a dated look, you might - if you're thinking of like putting your house on the market, you might want to look at updating some of your fixtures. That'll help with the sale of your home.
TOM: Hasn't the technology of the finishing of faucets with, for example, the PVD finishes - is that, if I remember right, physical vapor deposition?
CAROL ANN: Physical vapor deposition.
TOM: Right. That's the technology that gives us these amazing chrome and brass finishes that really can stand up to everything up to and I think including steel wool.
CAROL ANN: That's right, Tom. Actually, in the past, before this technology was available, you'd see a lot of pitting, a lot of tarnishing; especially, you know, from all the cleaning products that you would use just to clean your ...
CAROL ANN: ... sinks and your faucets. And this is a lot more durable so it increases the life span of your faucet.
TOM: So, add some bling to your kitchen. Add some bling to your bath. Change the faucet. Especially if yours is looking dated because it doesn't have up-to-date finishes. You can get a better look and really, just with a few simple improvements like that, can really change the look of that space and improve it's value at the same time.
CAROL ANN: Right.
TOM: Carol Ann McVeigh (ph), product manager with Peerless, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you want more information on how to tackle your own faucet repair project, you can log on to Peerless's website at FaucetCoach.com. They give you all the help you need right there.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners, do you want to know a way that a $10 home improvement tip is going to take hundreds of dollars off of your energy bills? Of course you do, so stick around. We're going to tell you how, next.
[audio timestamp: 28:48]
[audio timestamp: 32:25]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you're staring at green shag carpet and pink walls (chuckling), you need us. Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Although the preppy thing is back in, so it might work for you.
TOM: Is that right? Yeah? I had orange shag carpet and mustard-yellow paneling in my home when I bought it.
LESLIE: Ooh, that's so 70s.
TOM: It was. (chuckling) Yeah, next to my love beads (chuckling) and the peace signs.
1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us with your decorating dilemmas. That's ours. Let's hear about yours.
Well, speaking of home improvements, here is a $10 idea that can save you hundreds. You know, water heaters lose plenty of heat through their outside shells. Even though they're insulated, they're just not insulated well enough. But for about 10 bucks, you can buy an insulating jacket that keeps the heat from escaping. Insulating jackets are easy to install and they can save you hundreds of dollars on your energy bills over the life of the water heater.
LESLIE: Hey, you like that idea? Well, coming up in our next e-newsletter, we're going to give you more easy and inexpensive ways to save money on your energy costs, including how to find the hidden leaks in your home. Our free e-newsletter comes to your inbox every Friday, so sign up now at MoneyPit.com. It's free, folks. Do it.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call now for the answer to your home improvement project and a chance to win a great prize. We're giving away, this hour, the Eureka Uno. It could be yours just for asking your home improvement question on the air. One caller we choose is going to win this full-sized upright that tackles all the surfaces in the home; not just the floor. It's got the Power Paw brush that cleans vertically and horizontally. It's worth 130 bucks but it's free for one caller we choose this hour. Call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Kendra in Kansas, you're on The Money Pit. How can we help?
KENDRA: We have a problem with our air conditioner. Our upstairs bedroom -we have like an attic bedroom that's very cool but yet our kids' bedrooms, which are downstairs on the main floor, are not getting cool. We just got it put in - central air - about two years ago.
TOM: And is the air handler upstairs in the attic?
KENDRA: No, it's actually downstairs.
TOM: Really? That's odd. That's like completely opposite of what you would expect.
KENDRA: Yeah, exactly. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, I'm guessing where the kids' bedroom is, Kendra, is that that's probably like the farthest room from the air conditioner. Because generally, the farthest room away is the one that's going to cool the worse. It also might be - is it on the south side of the house or the west side of the house or a side that takes ...?
KENDRA: It's on the south side of the house. There's a pool on the other side which has got pure tree coverage.
TOM: Yeah, so what's happening is you're getting a lot of solar gain there. Basically it's out of balance. You need to have the HVAC contractor come back in and tweak it. I will say that in some cases, especially when you retrofit an existing home, it's not always possible to get sort of a letter perfect flow; the same kind of flow and balance that you could have if you were building this house from scratch. You know - and I have an older house, for example, and we put central air conditioning in and it was great. But there were a couple of areas of the house - and especially my office, which is on the west side, that - we just got so much sun it just never cooled properly. So we had to put, actually, a second system in there to kind of make up for that. So it sounds to me like there might be some additional balancing to be done. And that's something that a pro should do for you.
LESLIE: You guys get the craziest mix of weather. It's so funny. In the summer, Kansas can be so unearthly hot. And then in the winter, you guys get these crazy snow storms. It's like this strange vortex of the universe.
KENDRA: And ice storms, too. It gets very cold. (laughing)
TOM: Well Kendra, if you've only had this system for two years, do you still communicate with the HVAC contractor that put it in?
KENDRA: Yes, I do.
TOM: Well, I think that you need to have him come back and let's look at some - first choice would be can the existing system be tweaked to deliver more air - both supply and return air - to that room. And if it can't, what other options do we have for improving the balance in the kids' room so that everyone in the family's just as comfortable.
LESLIE: You know, it might just be the location of the vent in the room. It might be the location of the vent - the duct - to the return. There's so many things that they can fix, Kendra.
TOM: Yeah, I mean I can't tell you how many times in the years I spent as a professional home inspector that I found disconnected ducts and silly things like that. So bring them back; let's talk about it and get it straightened out.
Kendra, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Russell in Ohio's putting in a new floor. How can we help?
RUSSELL: Hi, I've got a question. I am putting in an engineered type laminate flooring in my daughter's bedroom and I'm wondering if there's anything in particular I need to do to prepare that surface for that floor.
TOM: Well, some of the engineered floors have underlayments - don't they, Leslie? - that they sell that matches the system.
LESLIE: Well, it depends on the system. Some have a separate foam underlayment, which is a very thin sort of roll out foam product. And some of them have actually attached this underlayment to the back of the planking. So it depends on which one you're working with. You just want to make sure that you have a level, stable subfloor as a great start and then you can go right ahead and install that.
RUSSELL: OK, thanks.
LESLIE: Richard in Delaware's got some mold on the roof. It might actually be moss but why don't you tell us about it, Richard.
RICHARD: Hi. Yeah, I have a white shingled asphalt roof. And I have these black streaks and they're maybe about 12, 14 inches wide. And they're only on one side of my house, though. But it ... I was ...
LESLIE: Is it the north side?
RICHARD: The north side, exactly. And I went into a local store and they told me ... I thought there was something that I could spray on it to get it off and there's nothing I can spray on it. They told me it's mold and I was surprised to even know that.
TOM: It's probably not mold, Richard. As Leslie said, it's probably moss. And moss will adhere ... you know, the plant growth - the little seedlings that are out there - basically stick to the roof and they start to grow and that's what forms those ... the staining on the shingles. There are cleaning solutions that you can use for that. It's a bit of a tricky job, only because the roof is, you know, up high and it's pitched. So you have to be careful about what you use to ...
LESLIE: Yeah, have to make sure you really feel comfortable up there.
TOM: Yeah, what you wash it down with.
TOM: One thing that you could use is a product by Zinsser called Jomax - J-o-m-a-x - which is a solution that you mix with bleach and does a good job cleaning. And once you get the roof cleaned - and you can do it, you know, by hand with a scrub brush if you can reach it or with a pressure washer set very gently so you don't like blast the shingles off.
RICHARD: Right, mm-hmm.
TOM: But here's a little trick of the trade. After you get it clean, what you might want to do is take a strip of copper flashing and put it across the entire ridge - the entire cap of the roof. What that does is it causes ... once the water - the rain water - hits it, it releases some of that copper and that becomes sort of a natural mildicide that goes down the roof and keeps it clean. A little bit of a ...
LESLIE: Tom, is nickel also another option?
TOM: Yes. Yes. And in fact, you can buy nickel ridge vents and copper ridge vents, too, or you can just by the metal itself and just tack it up there along the peak of the roof so that the water - the rain water - hits it and just washes right down. And you know, if you're wondering how this works, next time you're by one of these copper flashed chimneys, take a look at the shingles underneath that copper flashing. You'll notice they're the cleanest shingles on the roof. Because the water hits the copper, it releases some of the copper, it runs down the roof and it cleans it.
So Richard, we hope that helps you out and leaves your roof sparkly clean. Thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Are your cabinets sticky from years of cooking up a storm in your kitchen? Well, we've got some tips for one of our listeners on how to clean greasy, sticky cabinets, next.
[audio timestamp: 39:48]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Roto-Rooter, for all your plumbing and drain cleaning needs. Whether it's a small job or a big repair, request the experts from Roto-Rooter. That's the name and away go troubles down the drain. Call 1-800-GET-ROTO or visit Roto-Rooter.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. You know, some talk radio shows think you should pay to download podcasts. But we think otherwise. We think that podcasts should be just like a radio show. Free. So help yourself to our entire library of Money Pit podcasts. You can even search them by topic. Just hit MoneyPit.com and it's all there; it is all free.
Alright, let's jump into the email bag. We've got one from Mary in Detroit.
LESLIE: That's right. Mary writes: 'We moved into an 18-year-old house that smokers lived in. The beautiful oak kitchen cupboards are very, very sticky. We're not sure if it's smoke related. Is there a cleaning solution we could use or do they have to be stripped down to the wood and refinished? I love your show.'
TOM: (chuckling) Well Mary, thank you very much.
You know, the problem with trying to remove cigarette smoke is the tar and the nicotine in there is really hard to get off of surfaces ...
LESLIE: Ooh, and it's discoloring as well.
TOM: It is. You know, there are commercial products that work well, like Simple Green. Or you could purchase TSP, which is a terrific cleaner.
LESLIE: Well, the good thing about Simple Green - before you get onto TSP -
LESLIE: - is that because it's nontoxic and biodegradable, you don't have to worry about using it in the house. It's just a general good and easily accessible product. And if that doesn't work, try the TSP.
TOM: Yeah, and the TSP is available in any home center or hardware store; in the paint aisle, generally. It's a very concentrated soap and you should be able to clean those cabinets quite nicely with one of those two products.
LESLIE: Yeah, there's another product that's similar, I think, to the TSP. It's called Soil Axe - just like how it sounds; Soil Axe. And that one's not a soap but it's similar. You dilute it in water and then you use it and it doesn't need rinsing. One of those should do the trick.
TOM: Alright Mary, thanks so much for writing us at MoneyPit.com.
If you have a home improvement question, you can log onto MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie.
Time for another one? Let's take this email from Doug in Dubberly, Louisiana.
LESLIE: Alright. 'How do I get rid of a smelly kitchen sink drain'?
TOM: Hmm. Well.
LESLIE: You move out. (chuckling) No.
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, exactly.
You know, baking soda is a really good drain deodorizer ....
LESLIE: And it's an amazing thing, baking soda. It cleans your teeth. It freshens scents. It's - how fantastic is that?
TOM: Has everything.
The first thing I would tell you to check, Doug, though is to make sure that you have a trap properly installed in that kitchen sink so that you're not experiencing a sewer gas. That is simply done by looking under the cabinet and look for that u-shaped pipe that sort of traps water.
LESLIE: And it could be that the trap is dried out, correct?
TOM: If the sink's not used for many, many years. But if it's a sink that you're using like everyday, then that shouldn't be the case.
But if you have a trap and it is filled with water, then you simply need to clean it. You can do that by dumping a couple of cups of baking soda down that drain, followed by some vinegar. It'll fizz up and it'll scrub out that drain and should leave it smelling quite nicely.
LESLIE: Ooh, it's like a volcano for your drain. It's like a science project (INAUDIBLE). (laughing)
TOM: That is a fun science project. You know, any - all you parents out there know that when your kid goes to science fair or any kind of science project or science class in school, it almost - at some point, everybody has to make ...
LESLIE: Has to make a volcano. (chuckling)
TOM: Has to make a volcano. You've just got to do it. And when you want to make it really, really fun you put some food coloring in there so it like bubbles up with like green ooze. (laughing)
LESLIE: Ooh, lava. And yet another use for baking soda.
TOM: Well, you don't have to have a big budget to take on a major home improvement project. There are ways to break up these big jobs into more financially manageable chunks. Leslie's got a terrific tip on just that on today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: That's right. If you're considering replacement windows but don't have the budget for the whole house, don't completely reject the idea. If your budget is limited, begin by replacing the windows on the side of your house that takes the worst seasonal impact. Easterners, you should start with the northeastern windows. And southerners, replace your southeast windows first. And so on. Then you can replace the rest as your budget allows. So don't just put it on the shelf. Do it now and save the rest for later.
TOM: Great tip. For more information, you can log onto our website 24/7 at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up next week on the program, have you been thinking about tackling a fall painting project? Don't do it yet. Because next week we're going to give you the tips and the advice you need on how to make sure that surface of the outside of your home is prepped perfectly that when you apply the paint, it doesn't fall off for many, many, many years.
That's all the time we have. 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.)