Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 1:00]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now. From coast to coast and wet basements to leaky roofs (chuckling), we are here to help you with those home improvement projects; to solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you've got a good set of tools for yourself and another set of tools to lend out, then you're one of us. So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We have a great show standing by for you. This hour, we're going to talk about the ABCs of home fire extinguishers. You know, all extinguishers are not created equal. You need to find out which one you should be using and for what type of fire. If you use the wrong type, it's not going to work.
LESLIE: And we've also got, coming up - is that squeaking that you're hearing not coming from loose floorboards? Well, you might have some unwanted guests. Later this hour, we're going to tell you how to get rid of mice. Ugh.
TOM: And if your wooden deck has been long neglected, now is the time to fix it up. So don't tear it down. You can make an old, weather-worn deck look good. Our friend Danny Lipford from CBS This Morning is going to join us to tell us exactly how to do a deck makeover.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller we're going to choose this hour is going to win the Eureka Uno Vacuum. It's worth 130 bucks and it's the only upright that's going to clean both horizontally and vertically. It's a vacuuming madman machine. So call in your home improvement or home repair question right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Bill in Arkansas, what can we do for you today?
BILL: Yes, I have a problem with some woodpeckers pecking through my siding and getting into my attic right beside my vent.
TOM: Oh, boy.
LESLIE: They're getting right through the siding and into the (chuckling).
TOM: Wow. They're eating their way right into the house, huh?
BILL: Yes, yes. I have to get up there and run them out and fix the hole. And I do it again right beside the place I fixed.
TOM: (laughing) Well, they certainly can be a nuisance. Now, if they're in your attic, the way to get rid of them is with a one-way door. Basically, if you can take - if you have a vent or a space like that where you can have a piece of screening that will open up from the inside but not let them in on the outside - sort of flapped close ...
LESLIE: It flaps outside.
TOM: Right, it flaps outside so they can ...
LESLIE: Unless that woodpecker can pick up that mesh screen and climb under it, then you've got a problem.
TOM: Right. The other thing that you can do in the area where they like to sort of peck is you can put some tin pie plates there; some flexible aluminum pie plates. Because they won't peck something that's really shiny like that.
LESLIE: Yeah, there's even - you can go ahead and buy something. It looks almost like prismatic Mylar but you could probably just get Mylar ribboning and make a little flag of dangly, pretty, silver, shiny Mylar. And they hate it for some reason. I guess either they see their reflection or they don't like it or - whatever it is, they don't want to go anywhere near it.
BILL: Wonderful. Wonderful. I knew there was something I could get. Just didn't have any clue to what it was.
TOM: Well, there you go. There are some ideas. Thanks so much for calling, Bill, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we hope we've helped you chase your woodpeckers away.
LESLIE: Jack in Florida finds The Money Pit on WCOA. And you have a deck situation. What's happening?
JACK: My deck is sick.
LESLIE: Your deck is sick.
TOM: Your deck is sick?
LESLIE: Is it coughing, allergies?
JACK: (laughing) I walk out on my deck and it's like walking across the Rocky Mountain range or something like that. I've got loose ends sticking up. There's uneven ... the boards are uneven. The top of the deck is slanted. In general, lately, it just looks like a very haphazard, pieced together ... something that I would build (laughing) as a matter of fact.
TOM: (laughing) OK.
LESLIE: Now, did it always look like this or has it just grown to look like this over time?
JACK: Since we bought the house, it's just gotten worse every year.
TOM: Well, Jack, you might be a candidate for a total deck makeover. It's possible, if the understructure of this deck is in solid condition, that what you could do is remove the railing and the decking boards itself and then replace just those parts with composites, like Trex or something of that nature or Veranda decking, which is at The Home Depot. And this way, you're preserving the structure. As long as the structure is intact - and by that, I mean, you know, it's ... first of all, it would be pressure-treated lumber, it would be securely attached to the building and it's well-supported. Then what you could do is use that structure but just replace the surfaces that you're touching and walking on and get a very, very nice finish that way.
To try to refinish the deck that's this deteriorated, sure, you could repair the rotted boards, you could flip them over, you know, you could power wash the deck and try to put some new finish on it or something like that. But if it's that deteriorated, you might be a candidate for a deck makeover.
LESLIE: Well, and also, the composite decking materials - number one, they look fantastic. But number two, they're so strong and durable. My husband and I were in the Cayman Islands a few years ago and hurricane Charlie came through. And there were two decks - one was at our hotel, one was at the hotel next door - and our hotel had a traditional wood deck - it was gorgeous. The one next door had a composite deck. Woke up the next day, in complete disarray of the hurricane, the wood deck - gone. The composite one - standing there beautiful; people were standing on it admiring it. So in your neck of the woods, you might think about that anyway.
TOM: OK, Jack.
JACK: That's ... is ... now is the Trex or the composite wood, how does that ... let's see, I think you said Trex or ...
TOM: Or Veranda.
LESLIE: Or Veranda.
JACK: Veranda, yeah, decking. I can get it at Home Depot.
LESLIE: At The Home Depot, sometimes you can only find the gray color, which actually ages quite pretty; it stays a really nice gray. But it also comes in a variety of ones that look like exotic woods in different colors. And that can either be special ordered or you might be able to find a distributor in your area online.
JACK: How's that cost going to be when I compare it to just pressurized wood?
TOM: It's going to be more. But the advantage here is that you're not going to be replacing it, you're not going to be maintaining it.
TOM: It'll be about 50 percent more expensive than pressure-treated lumber.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) There's no painting it, re-sanding it, re-staining it. It's done.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Worth it.
LESLIE: Once it's done, it's done.
TOM: And remember, you don't replace the structural parts of it; just the surfaces with that.
LESLIE: And you don't have to worry about splinters anymore.
JACK: That's ... that was the biggest thing because I've really gotten to the point where I'm afraid to walk out there because of actually getting splinters in my feet.
TOM: Yeah. I think the pressure-treated lumber has seen better days. And definitely, the composites are the way to go. OK, Jack?
JACK: Well, thank you very much for your ...
TOM: You're welcome.
888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Phil in New Hampshire's steaming it up in the bath. How can we help?
PHIL: Hi, we have a 5x8 bathroom with a ceiling exhaust fan. And we have five people at home taking showers every morning and the walls are just - steam is just dripping down. And just wondering what we could do to try to correct this problem.
TOM: Well, the first question is do you use the exhaust fan, Phil?
PHIL: Oh, yeah.
LESLIE: Do you leave it running?
PHIL: Oh, yes.
LESLIE: OK, because you should leave it running about 20 minutes or so after you shower, just to get that excess moisture out of the air.
TOM: Yeah. And the next thing, Phil, is this fan that you have - is it exhausting outside?
PHIL: No, it is exhausting in the attic.
TOM: Ah ha! Big mistake.
LESLIE: Which is probably helping circulate that moisture right back into that room.
TOM: Yeah, big mistake.
LESLIE: And you're putting that moisture right up in the attic, which is going to encourage mold growth up in the attic.
TOM: And make your insulation ineffective.
You need to improve this ventilation system. First of all, it sounds to me - my gut is telling me that the fan is not big enough. You know, with that kind of heavy use of the bathroom like that - and especially if it's - if the attic is mounted right above it - what you might want to think about having is an inline exhaust fan. Basically, this is the kind of exhaust fan that you may often see in a hotel; where you don't actually hear the fan come on but you know it's working because the air is sort of getting sucked into it. It's a much more efficient way to do it and the way it works is the fan itself is mounted sort of in line with the exhaust duct in the attic. So when you throw the switch, the fan kicks on but you don't hear the whoosh of it. It also can move many more cubic feet of air than just the kind that's ceiling mounted.
PHIL: That sounds great.
TOM: Well, that's the least that you should do; connect a duct to that and duct it to the outside.
LESLIE: And then once you fix this problem, you should think about re-insulating the attic; checking all of that wood and lumber in the attic to make sure there isn't any moisture damage; and then, also, looking at your drywall situation in the bathroom. Because if they've become too laden with moisture, it might be time to re-drywall.
TOM: PHIL, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey out there in Money Pit land, you can now call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It's the magic number, you know.
TOM: That's right. Our screeners are standing by. We are awful to work for because we never let them sleep.
LESLIE: (laughing) Holiday? What's that?
TOM: Live human beings standing by to take your home improvement question.
Well, do you know the ABCs of home fire extinguishers? Having one is a very good idea. But you have to make sure it's the right one. If you choose the wrong one, it's not going to work. Up next, we're going to tell you exactly how to figure that out.
[audio timestamp: 10:14]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit has been brought to you by Peerless. If you're putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one - getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at FaucetCoach.com.
[audio timestamp: 13:38]
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/UniversalHome to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well you know, buying a fire extinguisher for your home is a very good idea but you've got to know what type to buy. Fire extinguishers are actually designed to work on specific types of fires. A type A fire is sort of the usual wood and paper fire; type B is for flammable liquids; and type C is for electrical fires. So, when you buy these extinguishers folks, you have to look at the rating. They'll be rated for either an A fire, a B or a C. But to sort of cover all your bases, you can buy one that's rated - guess what? - ABC. And it covers all different types of fires and you will be totally protected.
LESLIE: Yeah, because what a surprise it would be to have a fire in your home and spray it with a fire extinguisher and have it not work.
TOM: (overlapping voices) And it doesn't work. You're like, 'But I had the extinguisher but it's not working. So what am I supposed to do?'
LESLIE: And try to have more than one. If you've got a fireplace, keep one near the fireplace doing the usable months and keep one in the kitchen and keep one out in your workspace in the garage or in your basement; wherever you're doing your home improvement projects. It makes sense.
TOM: And make sure you put it where it can be seen. Like don't just throw it up on a shelf. Actually hang it up. I mean, we have one in the kitchen. We have one upstairs in the hall. We have them actually throughout the house so that they're always there and they're always handy. So make sure you buy the right one and stay safe.
Well, Leslie, seasons are changing. What should we do about it?
LESLIE: Seasons are changing, which means you're going to be heading back indoors for the next four to six months.
TOM: The dark days of winter. And you know what? Other folks could be sneaking in behind you in the form of dust mites and mold and spores and stuff like that that could make you really sick.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's right. Ever since the 70s with energy prices soaring, 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 and cycle in fresh air.
TOM: Well, you're right, you know. According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. So, what are we going to do about it?
LESLIE: Well, if you've got forced air heating system, we've got a solution for you because October is indoor air quality month and The Money Pit's got your chance to win an Aprilaire Model 5000 electronic air cleaner. It's a whole-house air cleaner. It's going to do all that work for you. It's $1,000 value but it could be yours for free, so register right now at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: That's right. We're going to help you celebrate indoor air quality month. And Leslie, I expect a Hallmark card from you on that topic or I'll be very ...
LESLIE: But we've got the whole Money Pit line of home improvement cards.
TOM: I'll be very - I'll be very hurt. (chuckling) Register today at MoneyPit.com. There's no purchase necessary. You have to register by October 31st but you could win a $1,000 electronic air cleaner from our friends at Aprilaire. So do it right now at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Sharon in Chicago listens to The Money Pit on WYLL. And what's going on in your house?
SHARON: I'm having a problem with sweaty windows. And it leaves like a mildew residue there. And you know, I guess my house is filled with moisture. So, you know, what can I do about that?
LESLIE: What are your windows made out of, Sharon?
SHARON: That I'm not sure of.
LESLIE: Like the framing themselves. Are they aluminum, wood, vinyl?
SHARON: Oh, OK. They're wood.
TOM: And do you know that you have - if you have thermal pane windows? Is it two panes of glass thick?
SHARON: No, it's not.
TOM: It's single.
LESLIE: Is it single-pane?
TOM: And what kind of a heating system do you have in your house? Is it forced air or hot water?
SHARON: It's forced air.
TOM: Is this a single family house?
TOM: The - there's a number of things that you can do here. First of all, the problem is humidity management and moisture management. So you need to sort of take a global approach to this, Sharon, and look at all of the places in your house where moisture gets in. So, for example, start on the outside. Look at the grading, the angle of the soil around the home. Look at the downspouts and make sure that the water is extending out well away from the foundation. If you keep those first four feet or so dry around the house, that means there's less moisture that's going to get into the house.
Now, is this on a basement?
SHARON: No - well, I do have a basement and I do have a problem in the basement as well. But ...
TOM: Yeah, I bet.
SHARON: ... this is mainly upstairs where I'm having the sweaty windows.
TOM: Yeah, I bet you are because if you have a moisture problem, it's going to evidence itself throughout the entire house. So look outside for the grading and the drainage issue. Now, in terms of inside the house, look at all the places where you can manage moisture. So for example, the kitchen.
LESLIE: Kitchen, bathroom.
TOM: And making sure that those fans are operational and also vent outside. And finally, look at the attic space. The attic needs to be properly ventilated because that moisture, that vapor pressure is going to work its way up through the entire house and end up in the attic space. And once it gets there, then it needs to be released. And the way it's released is through ridge vents and soffit vents and good, proper attic ventilation. So dealing with this isn't just a matter of replacing your windows; although that would help because it sounds to me like you have single-pane windows ...
LESLIE: Which are just not energy efficient at all. Since you've got forced air in the house, it might be a good option for you to think about getting a whole-house dehumidifier which works in conjunction with your heating and cooling system to pull all the moisture out of all of the air in your house, rather than just a portable dehumidifier unit. And this will pull out 90 pints of water a day. So it sounds like you've got a terribly moist situation in your house. It might be good for you to install one.
TOM: Probably the best brand on the market is Aprilaire - April-a-i-r-e. You can get more information at Aprilaire.com. And that will do a really good job of managing the moisture problem.
LESLIE: And it'll actually help keep your house cooler in the summer months because it's the humidity and the moisture in the air that makes you feel sort of clammy so you lower that air conditioning and actually, you know, crank up your cooling cost. But if you can get that moisture out, you can actually set the temperature higher; you know, thus making your cooling costs a lot less than they would be. So, those are some things to look into but I would do them all; not just one.
TOM: Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rene in Texas is building a new home and he's looking to save some money. How can we help, Rene?
RENE: Well, yeah. Like I said, looking to build a new home and I want to try to make it as energy efficient as possible. I live in West Texas in El Paso and it's a desert climate; very little rain; hot temperatures. So I just wanted to get some tips on, you know - I hear tankless water heaters with solar heating helps.
LESLIE: Oh my gosh, if you've got all that sun out there, it's definitely wise to harness the solar power. You can be collecting rain water and heating that through solar power. You can be heating your home through solar energy. There's lots of great options.
TOM: And there's really two versions of solar. There's active solar and passive solar. Active solar is when you actually have solar collection panels that are mounted on your property or on your roof. And the option is what's called passive solar which is simply using the idea of the heat from the sun in a design of the building. So, for example, on the north side, having few windows and on - having more windows, I would say, than on the south side where the heat is.
And the other thing to think about, Rene, is that you want to make sure that you're using, whenever possible, Energy Star products because the Energy Star program is an excellent program that's developed by the Department of Energy that essentially sets the standards for manufacturers to produce products that are very, very energy efficient. So when you're buying a water heater; when you're buying a washing machine; when you're buying a dishwasher you want to make sure that the product is Energy Star rated and also find out what level of Energy Star rating it has.
And lastly, it is possible - now, I don't know if you're buying this home from a builder or you're building it yourself, but there is a program that's called the Energy Star house program which basically rates the entire house as being energy efficient and Energy Star rated. And that basically is a program where the builders have to agree to build homes to a certain energy level and then have the homes tested upon completion to make sure they are as energy efficient as they are supposed to be.
LESLIE: And generally, you can get a major tax credit in addition to the tax credit on using Energy Star rated appliances or windows or any home improvement. If you build your home to an Energy Star rating from scratch, you actually qualify for a whole different tax rating and benefits just by making your home energy efficient.
I think you're right, Rene, about thinking about tankless water heaters. When looking at windows, look at windows that have low-e glass; especially in such hot temperatures where you live. It's going to keep that hot air from coming in through the windows. They're just a great idea to have so they'll keep your heating and cooling costs down.
RENE: Well, great.
LESLIE: You know what? And look into, if you can, any sort of green building materials. Look for renewable resources. If you can make your home totally self-sustaining by collecting rainwater, by using the sun, you will be so happy and doing a great benefit to this earth.
RENE: That sounds great.
TOM: Alright, Rene. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Coming up next, we're going to have CBS This Morning's very special Danny Lipford joining us with tips on cleaning your wood deck. So stay with us.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
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 this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you working on inside, outside? We're here to help you tackle your home improvement projects.
Speaking of the outside, you know, with cooler weather fast approaching, we are all trying to take advantage of those last few nice days by spending more time outdoors. Now you guys have heard us talk about this before, but outdoor living is where it's at. More and more of us are spending time in our own yards.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's right. In fact, lounging in backyards has become so popular that residential architects report a big increase in the popularity of outdoor living spaces, upscale landscaping and outdoor amenities. And you know, Tom and I have talked a ton about building outdoor spaces. But what do you do to maintain your outdoor space that you already have?
Well, now we're going to take some time to talk about just that with Danny Lipford, host of Today's Homeowner and the CBS Early Show's home improvement expert.
DANNY: Hey, hello guys, how are you doing?
TOM: Great. So Danny, my fantasy for my backyard sort of guy space is to put in a gorgeous hot tub. Because the fall's the right time to do that in my mind - it's way too hot to use it in the summer - and just use that sucker all winter long. Is that - is that a can-do project?
DANNY: Hey, without a doubt and a lot of people are considering the same thing. You know, I used to think that a hot tub would be just as maintenance intensive as a swimming pool but ...
TOM: That's a good point because that's the reason that a lot of people avoid these. I know that my wife and I have had that discussion many times. I'd love a swimming pool but she's not interested in the maintenance for something you can only use three months of the year. But with a hot tub, you can use it a lot longer.
DANNY: Exactly. And we bought one about five years ago and I'm amazed at how little maintenance it is. You only have to drain it about every three months and the small amount of chemicals that it takes to maintain the water quality is just minimal. And it's just very convenient; very easy to jump in. Of course, I always feel like we have to caution people a little bit though, because they do weigh a lot of poundage there with up to 6,000 pounds for a six-person hot tub. So the foundation's very important when you're positioning that and concrete slab's good for that. If you put it on a deck, of course you really have to support that additionally underneath; maybe have a structural engineer, a good, qualified contractor to check it out real carefully, make sure that it can withstand that weight.
Actually, there's an industry website - HotTubLiving.com - that has all these great guidelines and answers to a lot of questions homeowners may have about hot tubs.
LESLIE: Well Danny, what if you integrate the hot tub into, say, a wood deck that you might already have in your yard? Besides structurally maintaining that deck, is there any special treatment you have to put on the deck in case that water splashes over?
DANNY: Well certainly. Not only that, but all the dirt and the grime and all the things that are - the elements that are against wood staying healthy looking has to be addressed. And a lot of times, people think of that as a spring time project but so many people that live in northern climates and are dealing with a lot of snow over the winter, it's really good to have a nice sealer or penetrating wood finish on the deck itself. So, first step is to get it really clean; allow it to dry and look for any repairs that may need to be done.
LESLIE: Well Danny, most people think that just attacking the deck with a power washer is really going to do the trick. Is that true?
DANNY: Well, I'll tell you, it sure makes it look good. But it won't - it won't look good very long. So, having to follow up with a couple coats of a penetrating wood finish that will protect it; protect it from the UV rays; will keep the moisture from penetrating. And one I've used a lot over the years is CWF-UV5 which is a Flood Company product and it can be clear or - if you really like the natural look of wood. Or there's a ton of designer colors that you're able to utilize there to kind of give it a little bit of a different look than your neighbor's deck.
TOM: We're talking to Danny Lipford. He's the host of Today's Homeowner and the home improvement expert for the CBS Early Show.
So Danny, besides decks and hot tubs, what else do you think is a good project for the fall that will help people maybe get a little - a few more days outside before it gets too cold and be something that'll really help extend the summer when the spring comes?
DANNY: Well of course, any type of landscaping certainly enhances a backyard. Landscape lighting is also something has become so do-it-yourself friendly that a lot of people are embracing that project; both with the solar lights that have gotten better and better as well as the low voltage lighting systems. So, any of these things can certainly add to the look of the yard and of course, with those cooler nights that will be around the corner, any type of chimenea or open type fireplace is something that's also very appealing to a lot of people.
TOM: Yeah well, you just mentioned two things that Leslie and I both have. She just did some beautiful lightscaping, I call it, in her backyard and ...
LESLIE: Oh, it looks fantastic.
TOM: And the outdoor fireplace that we put in is so popular with our kids. We're - they're roasting marshmallows on every cool night now.
DANNY: It does exactly like you mentioned. It extends your opportunity to use the outdoor area quite a bit. And there's nothing wrong with that. I see a lot of the guys out in California, when they have those cool nights that you can drive down through a neighborhood and there's just fires everywhere going on their back patios.
TOM: Yeah, for the right reason.
Danny Lipford, host of today's homeowner, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
DANNY: OK, thanks for having me.
TOM: For more information on getting your deck in tiptop shape, you can log onto Flood.com.
LESLIE: Alright Tom, thanks for that info.
Well, is that squeaking underfoot something other than a loose footboard? Ugh, yikes! No, don't even say it! Are furry little friends trying to use your home as their winter resort? Coming up next, how to get rid of those unwanted visitors - mice!
[audio timestamp: 29:05]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit has been brought to you by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
[audio timestamp: 33:08]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you're putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one - getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at FaucetCoach.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well, Mickey Mouse may be your friend but the (laughing) rodents that live underfoot certainly are not. They spread disease ...
LESLIE: I can remember when I had apartments in the city.
LESLIE: We would call up my dad, you know, all petrified, being a little girl; like, 'Ugh, mice in the house!' And my dad would say, 'Does it have red pants and gloves.' We'd be like, 'No, kill it.' (laughing) 'It's not Mickey.'
TOM: It's not. And they really can be very destructive and very unhealthy. So here's what you need to do about this.
First of all, you have to remember that mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a nickel ...
LESLIE: Ugh. That's gross.
TOM: ... so you have to try to find all of those little spaces and seal them up. You can use sheet metal; you know, steel wool works really well for the small holes; or you know, you could pay particular attention to those areas around vents and ducts where you have the little gap between the duct and the wall. Seal those all in so that the mice cannot get through.
Also, traps and poison bait designed for rodents are very effective. They can help eliminate those mice that have already set up housekeeping in your house. If you buy the bait packets - I really think those are the best - you want to throw one behind the range. Sort of tilt the range out gingerly, throw it behind there. Put one behind the refrigerator. Now, if you have pets, you have to be very careful because if pets eat the poison it could make them ...
LESLIE: They're made for pets to like them.
TOM: Yeah, that's right. They taste like human food; just don't eat it. But you can use these containers that basically lock the bait inside. It's sort of like a bait trap. And it's big enough - they have holes big enough for the mice to get through but not for the pets to break through. So just use your head. But the poison works really, really well.
LESLIE: Great advice, Tom.
Coming up in our next e-newsletter, we're going to have tips on how to get rid of pests of all varieties before you seal up your self in your home for the winter. Make sure you've got the bugs and rodents that you want to spend winter in your home out of the picture before you weatherproof the house. That's in our next e-newsletter. It comes into your inbox every Friday morning. And if you're not a subscriber, well why the heck not? It's free. Go sign up right now at MoneyPit.com. You'll be so glad you did.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement or home repair question. We'll give you the answer and a tool to help you clean up from those messes that you make in your house because we've got a Eureka Uno vacuum to give away. It's worth $130 bucks and what's cool about this thing is it can handle all the surfaces in your house; the horizontal surfaces and the vertical surfaces. It can work all of the stairs. It can work the couch. It can work the upholstery. It's got this thing called the Power Paw brush that cleans both vertically and horizontally. You want to win it, you got to call and have a home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. One caller on today's program is going to win the Eureka Uno vacuum.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: If you listen to The Money Pit on WCTC, you might be Jim in New Jersey who's on the line.
JIM: I have a problem with a condominium roof - aluminum - between the rafters and it runs - it's a (INAUDIBLE) and it runs down to the base three rafters in on each side of the condominium. And when summer - or mostly in winter, condensation seems to be forming and then running down the aluminum or the ridge - the rafter - and then spilling into the insulation in the attic.
TOM: So what's happening here is because the metal is a better transfer of the cold temperature, the moisture that's in your attic is condensing on that and then that's what's dripping down onto the insulation, Jim.
So what you need to do is improve the ventilation. You can't slow down the amount of moisture that's getting up there, but you can manage it properly once it gets there. So since it's a condominium, I'm presuming there's going to be an association involved. But the options here would be to improve the ridge ventilation which goes down the peak of the roof and then match that with improvements of the soffit ventilation at the overhang. Because if you do those two improvements together, what happens is the air will enter under the soffit; go up under the roof sheathing, including that metal section; then exit out the ridge. And that will take that moisture away. That's important for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is dealing with this leak that you're talking about. But more importantly, if you have a lot of humidity in the attic, you can get mold. And also if the insulation gets damp, then it's not going to insulate properly. So, for all those reasons, you need better insulation and that'll solve that problem.
Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Listening on WPRO in Rhode Island is Tom who's working on the outside of the house. What's going on?
TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: I have a white cedar shingle roof and it's about 25 years old and just about need of replacement right now. My question is there's a lot of controversy about using white cedar shingles or red shingles.
TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: On top of the roof, we have plywood; no tar paper or underlayment.
TOM: So you're cedar shingles are nailed right to plywood?
TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: Yes, they are.
TOM: That's a rotting situation waiting to happen. It's completely wrong.
TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: The nails corroded and they're causing the shingles to rot right out.
TOM: Yeah, that's just - it's just all wrong. That's just not - that's not the way you install a cedar shingle roof. You have to put cedar shingle roofs on lath. You basically have to put strips of wood across the rafters and then you nail the shingles to that and they have to be exposed to the air below and above. If you nail cedar shingles to plywood like you would an asphalt shingle, you're basically creating a moisture sponge that's going to rot the shingle or rust the nail or cause mold and moisture damage. And so it's - it was done wrong to begin with.
So now that you're going to take these off, are you committed to putting a wood roof back on or would you consider a, for example, a dimensional shingle that sort of looks like cedar?
TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: Actually, wood roof.
TOM: Alright. Well, if you're going to do that, what you're going to probably have to do is pull the plywood off and put a - put wood lath on. Because you can't go on top of the plywood. You just can't do it. And if you don't take it off and put wood lath strips on, it's going to rot once again and you're going to get a roof that's going to last you like five or six years. And you know, that's a lot of money to spend on a roof that's only going to last you a few years.
Tom, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, we're going to reach into our email bag to answer a listener's question about tile flooring. Valerie wants to know if she can lay that down directly over linoleum. We're going to answer that, next.
[audio timestamp: 39:48]
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Making good homes better. Well, you can call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT or you can call us later because that phone is always answered. We are awful to work for. Our screeners never get a break. (chuckling) They're always there to answer your home improvement questions. And perhaps you're the shy type. You could log onto our website at MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an email question just like - who's this from? Victoria?
LESLIE: This is from Valerie ...
TOM: Valerie. Valerie.
LESLIE: ... in Alameda, California who writes: 'We are sick and tired of our linoleum floor in the kitchen. The linoleum is in pretty good shape. Can we lay that tile directly over the linoleum or do we need to put down a new subfloor? And can ceramic tiles work?' Ooh, lots of things; tiling floor. (ph)
TOM: Mm, that's a good question. Well, certainly you can leave that linoleum in place.
LESLIE: If it's in good shape, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. As long as it's not like ripped up and torn and the floor, structurally, is in good, solid shape, you certainly can go on top of that with a variety of surfaces. If you want to put laminate floor down, you can go over it. If you want to put ceramic tile down, you can put woven wire mesh over that. And you could put a mud floor on top of that or you could simply put, perhaps, another layer of plywood underlayment and then glue the tile right to that. The key here is to make sure, Victoria, that the floor is solid. If it's weak in any way - especially if you go with that ceramic tile route, Leslie, that could cause those tiles to crack, huh?
LESLIE: Yeah, because you know, if anything is unstable, as you walk on it, it's going to cause movement in that underlayment; in that cement or that mud base you're going to put there and you're going to get those tiles cracking. And another thing to keep in mind, that as you add all of these layers to your new floor, you're creating height in the space that wasn't there before. So make sure your dishwasher or any appliances that you've sort of built into cabinetry - pull them out, floor underneath it, put them back in. Don't trap them in there because you never know what's going to happen.
TOM: Yeah, good tip. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the phone number. MoneyPit.com is the website.
Got time for one more.
LESLIE: Here's from Erica in Pineville, Louisiana. 'We're looking at a house that has a cracked slab. Is this something that we should just leave alone or try to fix?'
TOM: Well Erica, if I'm reading this correctly, it sounds like you may be looking to buy a house with a cracked slab. If that's the case, I definitely think you need to get it checked out by a professional home inspector. You can find one that is tested and certified and will do a good job by logging onto the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org. If you own the house with the cracked slab and you've just discovered it, I would say that you probably shouldn't panic because most slabs do crack. If the crack is displaced - if one side is higher than the other - it could be a tripping hazard. Or if it seems to be moving and opening up and getting wider, then you need to get some professional advice to figure out what to do about it.
LESLIE: Yeah, because you don't want that crack to open up and eat your house. So get that home inspector.
TOM: Time to shed some light on your home improvement projects. Is your lighting on track? That is the topic of today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: So when you think about track lighting, you might be reminded of a dated like totally 80's look. But track lighting has come a long, long way and it actually offers flexibility, ease of installation and some pretty dramatic effects. With track lighting, you can spotlight a room's decorative points of interest or just plain shed light for utility or safety. Plus, installing track lighting fixtures is easier than ever, thanks to their modular design, which can allow different tracks and fixtures to be snapped together in an endless variety of patterns and ways. And it's become quite stylish. And it really is a do-it-yourself, project so get to it.
TOM: Yeah, electricity doesn't have to be intimidating. You can tackle some of these projects again.
LESLIE: It's ridiculously easy how to do it.
TOM: It really, really is if you just use your head and follow some common sense tips.
Well you know, we talk about small home improvement projects and big home improvement projects on this show. If you're thinking about tackling a big one like replacing windows, we've got an expert coming up next week on the program that's going to tell you exactly how to survive that home improvement project. It's not quite that traumatic; even though your house is temporarily being opened to all the elements during the replacement process. If you do it right and in the right order and communicate correctly with your contractor, you could make the process really, really simple and that's what we're going to talk about next week on the 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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(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.)