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: 0:00:25.0]
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. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now if you'd like to fix up your house in time for the holidays. It could be the Halloween holidays, it could be the Thanksgiving holidays or you might want to get a start on the joyous holidays at the end of the year.
LESLIE: Either way, they are all right around the corner. (chuckles)
TOM: I know.
LESLIE: Holy cow.
TOM: I was just pausing as I thought about that, thinking, 'Oh my God, they're getting so close and I've got so much work to do.' If you've got some jobs to get done around your house, we're here to help you do just that. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up this hour, the attic is a rarely used place for storing old stuff that you don't care to ever see again, at least it is in my house. But ...
TOM: ... to energy experts, the attic is a big topic of discussion. You know, your attic might be the single most important room in your house when it comes to saving energy. We're going to tell you why and what you can do to increase energy efficiency and save money, in just a few minutes, including a tip why a drafty attic can actually cut your energy bills.
LESLIE: And also ahead this your, you know it seems harmless, just some fluffy stuff that you have to clean out of your dryer's lint screen but dryer lint - it can kill and it is no joke. To keep that lint harmless, you've got to clean your lint screen every single time you use your dryer. We're going to tell you the easiest way to do that in just a few minutes.
TOM: And not only your lint screen, you've got to clean the entire dryer exhaust duct and if you're wondering how to do that, we're going to share with you a very nifty tool that can make that very, very easy to do.
And it wouldn't be The Money Pit without a prize giveaway. This hour, call in for your chance to win a set of three rakes from Ames True Temper. Boy, could they come in handy this time of year.
LESLIE: A nice timely prize.
TOM: You're going to get the Collector Series rake, the shrub rake and the double plate rake. It's a great fall cleanup prize so give us a call right now if you'd like to win it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Now we're going to help our friend, Sidney, in New York get nice and toasty by a fire. How can we help?
SIDNEY: We have a fireplace that's 36 inches wide and 15 inches deep and we've been using wood and we really would like to put an insert in there ...
SIDNEY: And I'd like to pursue something that you might suggest in the way of a brand name or even an off-brand but something good that we could follow and chase with the price, et cetera, et cetera.
TOM: Sidney, are you a wealthy man? (chuckles)
TOM: Because you're going to need to be if you put a gas insert in that masonry fireplace. Those burners are enormous. Some of those burners can burn 80,000 BTUs.
LESLIE: Ooh, really?
TOM: Very, very, very inefficient. Yeah. It's going to cost you a lot of money. I know it's more convenient but man, putting a gas burner into a masonry fireplace is just a very, very expensive proposition when it comes to the amount of utilities.
What you might be better off doing is putting in a wood stove insert into that fireplace. Now, I have to tell you, I'm not sure that you can get a gas line that works inside of a wood stove but I will tell you that a wood stove insert itself would be much more efficient than burning the open fire and the heat would be more plentiful. And also, if you use an insert that has combustion air intake from the exterior, it won't steal as much air from the inside of your house as it operates.
SIDNEY: OK. I was going to go to my local gas company and ask them if I did put an insert in, how much gas it would burn but you kind of answered it for me.
TOM: It burns a lot, you know. Just look at the BTU rating on the different burners. You can tell right there.
TOM: You know, it's not unusual to see 60,000/80,000 BTU burners for gas masonry fireplace inserts.
SIDNEY: I don't want to get caught up in one of those things.
TOM: Yeah, they're real expensive, Sidney. You might want to think about going in a different direction.
SIDNEY: Yeah. You mean the ...
TOM: Heatilator - it would be a good brand to check out. They've been around for years and they're very, very durable.
SIDNEY: Oh, Heatilator.
SIDNEY: I'd like to check that out in like Home Depot or Lowe's - one of those stores.
TOM: Yeah or just check them out online and find a dealer near you.
TOM: You know, it might be a good idea for you to work with a local dealer on this because it has to be installed properly; it's definitely not a do-it-yourself project.
TOM: So why don't you go to your local wood stove dealer and see what they tell you?
SIDNEY: Yeah. OK. Thanks very much.
TOM: Sidney, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, why your attic is the key to saving money, energy and the environment We'll tell you all about it, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:05:30.1]
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. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete. And I love heading over to my local home center and buying all of the materials that I need for whatever project I'm working on and I'm sure you all love to do that as well. And maybe you've had this problem: you pick up a bunch of 2x4's or some lumber that's eight feet long, ten feet long, twelve feet long but it doesn't quite fit your car.
TOM: (overlapping voices) And you strap it to the roof of your Honda?
LESLIE: (Tom and Leslie chuckle) Doesn't fit in the car, gets on the roof; suddenly, you're driving with this thing on top of your car. It's just a disaster waiting to happen. Well, we have got a solution for that problem: it's the all new Lifetime fold-up utility trailer. It's from our friends over at Lifetime products. And this trailer holds over 1,000 pounds and it can be easily hooked up to your car to tote home your home improvement purchases - all of them. Then once you empty it out and get it home, it folds up into half of its size to be put away until you need it again. And the best part, you could win it for free by playing the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Game and Sweepstakes.
TOM: That's right. We're celebrating our brand new book in a big way by giving away hundreds of prizes just like that with this promotion, which is sponsored by Rinnai. Also, along with the Lifetime utility trailer, we've also got a shed from Lifetime; we've got, from EasyWater, a water softening system; and from Monkey Hook, we've got over 100 kits with wall-hanging hardware in there. All of that is available if you win the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes. But as we say in radio, 'But wait, there's more,' (Leslie chuckles) because the grand prize is $5,000 cash.
Hey, if you want to play the game, go to MoneyPit.com right now. It's fun and it's free.
LESLIE: Yeah, and the game is really fun because as you sort of - you see this virtual house, which is adorable. I have to say the graphics are fantastic and good work from Team Money Pit; it really looks great. You sort of scroll over a room in the house like, say, the attic and you can answer a whole bunch of questions about energy efficiency and as you get them right, then you get your chance to enter in.
And the attic is really an important place to think about in your home, this time of year, as far as energy efficiency goes because it plays a huge part in keeping your heating bills down. And that's something that's going to be very important to all of us this winter because energy costs are continuing to soar and skyrocket and having enough insulation is a huge factor.
In fact, it is the single most important thing you can do to cut energy costs and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions from your home. And the experts over at Owens Corning say that you need 19 inches of fiberglass batt insulation or 22 inches of blown insulation in your attic to be perfectly energy efficient and toasty.
TOM: Now, here's where people get it wrong. Just as important as having enough insulation is having enough ventilation; if you don't have a dry, well-ventilated attic, the insulation just doesn't work right.
So you want to make sure that your bath exhaust fans are not venting directly into the attic and if you find that you need to add more insulation, make sure you use unfaced insulation - unfaced fiberglass batts. Get some more of that pink stuff; make sure it's unfaced. This is going to help you avoid trapping moisture between the original insulation and the new stuff that you're adding.
Now, if you need some more tips on how to properly insulate your home - whether you need more insulation or not - all of that is available at this great website called InsulateAndSave.com. Check it out today - InsulateAndSave.com.
888-666-3974. Let's get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Taking a call from Cathy in Idaho. What can we help you with?
CATHY: Yes, I have a wooden deck on the back of my house. It's 12 years old and until three years ago I always treated it with a transparent stain.
CATHY: But about three years ago I put a semi-transparent stain on it and I hate the color and I would like to go lighter than it is; at least a different color. Can I do anything or am I just stuck with this color forever?
LESLIE: And you want to keep in the semi-transparent family or are you ready to go to the opaque stage?
CATHY: I'd rather go back to transparent. Is it too late?
LESLIE: Well, it depends. If you want to go lighter or you want to go to the transparent, you're going to have to strip off the existing stain. And that's not hard; you just need a chemical product that's made to specifically remove any of the stain that's on there. Flood makes one called Stain Strip. There are a lot of different manufacturers who make chemical strippers. You want to apply it according to the manufacturer's directions. The autumn is a perfect time to do it because it's very dry outside, so it's really a good time of year to tackle this project. You want to apply the stripping agent, allow it to really penetrate into the surface, then you can pressure wash it away and if you have to you might have to go back to a couple of areas that maybe the stain didn't come off.
But once you get to a raw surface and it dries, you can go back to either a transparent - if you find that it's really picked up from a lot of the spaces. If you find that there are a lot of areas where you have some remaining semi-transparent stain, then you might want to go with a semi-transparent in a different color. But if you're going lighter or you want to go back to transparent, then you have to strip it.
LESLIE: It's not hard. Let the product do it for you.
TOM: Cathy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Fran in New Jersey needs some help with a caulking project. What can we do for you today?
FRAN: Hi. Yeah. We had our bathroom redone about five or six years ago.
FRAN: And it seems that the bathtub - where the tiles meet the bathtub, the cork?
FRAN: It keeps on - not cracking, exactly - but ...
LESLIE: But pulling away?
FRAN: Pulling away. Thank you. And we've had it redone. Now, we had it done professionally and we've had it redone a few times and it keeps on happening. And it's driving me crazy because it always looks dirty because you see the black, you know, from coming (inaudible at 0:11:42.3).
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Gunk that gets in, yeah. Yeah, Fran, we have a great trick of the trade for that. Here is what I want you do. The first thing you need to do is to remove all the old caulk. Now, if it doesn't come off easily ...
LESLIE: And this is a project you can do yourself. No more hiring somebody for this.
FRAN: OK. We've done that; we've done this a couple of times.
TOM: Alright. So you know how to get rid of the old caulk and there's a product called a caulk softener, which is sort of like a paint stripper for caulk that makes it really easy to get the old stuff out.
TOM: Now, after it's out you need to wipe it clean. I want you to use a bleach and water solution to do that and then we want you to fill the tub with water, all the way to the top.
TOM: Now, the reason you're doing that is because it weights the tub down.
TOM: While the tub is filled with water, then you caulk the tub, let the caulk dry and then let the water out of the tub. What happens is the tub comes back up and compresses the caulk and this way, when you stand in it, you don't pull the caulk apart.
LESLIE: It causes the caulk to sort of be springy and grow with the tub and tile as there's movement.
TOM: That's what you need.
FRAN: So about how long should it take before it dries? A couple hours?
TOM: Yeah, a couple hours. You know, maybe you do it at night, let it sit overnight and then let the water out the next day.
LESLIE: Tim in New Hampshire, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
TIM: Oh, hi. Well, I have a possibility of recycling a wood stove ...
TIM: ... from my sister's house and I want to know if - it's a smaller stove than my opening. I have an existing fireplace - a brick chimney.
TIM: OK. It was part of my mud room but frankly, we only have a few fires a year because it's just not that efficient to have the fireplace running. I think most of my heat is going up the chimney. So I have the dimensions of a wood stove which, again, is being recycled. I just want to know if this would work or would you highly recommend getting another wood stove?
TOM: So, Tim, what you want to know is whether or not the insert that was in your sister's house could be used in your house and the answer to that is, it depends. It depends on the size of your fireplace. One of the things that you might want to do is compare the hearth of her fireplace to yours and see how closely it matches in height, in width and in depth.
The next thing is that you want to make sure that your chimney is safe. You need to make sure that that chimney is lined before you put a wood stove into it. If you have some questions about this, you may want to subcontract out the installation to, perhaps, your local wood stove store installer/expert type of person that does this all the time. And I also would recommend that you get a permit before you put it in because this way the fire marshal can come in and take a look and make sure it's nice and safe. Wood stoves are fantastic; inserts are great but you have to be very careful with the installation. If you get it wrong, it could be very, very unsafe.
LESLIE: Donna in Wisconsin is doing some tiling or un-tiling. What's going on over there?
DONNA: Well, I have a main entry in my kitchen and dining area and I have, right now, ceramic tile on the floor. And we bought a very inexpensive tile, which I will never do again, because the surface is very porous and the crevices are deep. It's very difficult to clean.
DONNA: And I'm thinking of putting a flooring over that and I'm wondering if I can use a - what type of flooring would be the best without taking up the ceramic tile?
LESLIE: Now, Donna, is there a front door or doors that are in this area that might be hindered if you go up a little bit in thickness?
DONNA: No, they would not be hindered.
LESLIE: So this is a completely freeform area - so you can just go right on top?
LESLIE: Alright. There are a lot of different choices, actually. If you're looking to do -so you don't want tile or you're going to go with another tile?
DONNA: I don't want another ceramic tile, no.
LESLIE: Are you open to a laminate floor choice? Something that looks like wood, that installs very easily, that's not terribly thick but very, very durable?
TOM: I think that's probably your best choice because there are so many options in laminate floor. You could clearly find something that looks like tile or looks like hardwood ...
TOM: ... or looks like stone and you could put it down right on top of that existing tile and it's going to be incredibly durable.
LESLIE: And if you have any transitions from that area to other parts of your house where you're going from, say, this new flooring to tile or to carpeting, there are different transitions that you could put to end that part of the room and continue into the next that would vary on the height - what would be underneath from the new laminate then going to the carpet or tile or whatever it is in the surrounding areas. It's very easy to do.
DONNA: What type of - do I have to put an underlayment? If I use laminate, do I put an underlayment down first?
TOM: It depends. Some laminates have an underlayment built into the tile themselves.
LESLIE: Right on the back side.
TOM: And some have a separate laminate or separate underlayment that could be like a thin mat or could be foam-like and you lay that down first and put the laminate on top. Now, the laminates - they also are lock-together so you don't have to worry about gluing them; they snap in place. And so I really think this couldn't be easier for you, Donna.
DONNA: OK, is that good for when you have pets? I do have a dog.
TOM: Yep, absolutely. It's a great flooring.
DONNA: (overlapping voices) OK, great.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because they're not porous so it's not going to absorb anything.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep.
DONNA: Oh, wonderful. OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome, Donna. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking vinyl siding with Eli. What's going on? What happened?
ELI: Well, my children were playing in the backyard and they threw a hard object against the siding and poked a hole in it. (Leslie chuckles) And I'd like to repair that or somehow make it look a little better.
TOM: Well, here are a couple of things you can do. If you can find a piece of siding in a less obvious place on your house, you can swap out the good siding for the bad siding and move the piece that has the hole to an area that's less obvious. If you can't identify - if you cannot identify any replacement for this, that's one way to address it.
ELI: Can you take out a small piece of siding in the middle of a whole wall?
TOM: Yes, you can. There's a little tool called a zipper tool.
LESLIE: Oh, it's going to save your life.
TOM: It disconnects that piece of siding and it can be removed without disturbing the rest of it. Now, if you can't do it yourself, you may just want to have a siding contractor do this. It shouldn't be more than sort of a service call charge.
ELI: Well, great. Sounds good.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
ELI: Thank you.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we've had some pretty bad storms already this fall, which have resulted in a lot of power outages. If that has happened to you, we've got some tips coming up next on backup generators. They are a fantastic addition to your home and they can repower your entire house in just a few seconds of a power outage. We're going to tell you all about that, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:31.8]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Owens Corning. It's easy to insulate your home and save money. What's stopping you? Learn more at InsulateAndSave.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and it's hard to believe but I can't believe it's Old Man Winter is knocking on our door.
TOM: (chuckling) I know.
LESLIE: It's so crazy. It seems like we were just enjoying the summer and now the autumn and then it's going to be freezing. And last year, we saw a ton of ice storms across the country - blizzards. Heck, what did they have, 190 inches of snow in the Midwest? I mean, some things were really crazy last year.
And if you lived through those big snowstorms, you know that a bad storm can really knock out power in your home or even your entire area. But you don't have to be left out in the dark or the cold this winter season and now might be a good time to think about installing a backup generator.
TOM: That's right. Millions of Americans already have backup power in their homes and in fact, we've got a backup generator here at The Money Pit studios as well as at my home to make sure that A - we never go off the air and more importantly, my milk doesn't go bad. (Leslie chuckles) So I am a believer and because of that, we've invited Dan Giampetroni, the senior marketing manager for Generac, to talk to us about what's new in backup generators.
DAN: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
TOM: Now, Dan, I understand that there's been some technological changes with generators over the years and now the prices seem to have come down. What does it actually take to get a generator for a home these days?
DAN: Well, our smallest model that's fully automatic starts out at less than $2,000 and that does not include installation. Installation might run about another $1,000 on top of that.
LESLIE: And you know, last year - I mean, it's crazy. We saw so many ice storms. We saw a tremendous - I mean, record amounts of snow. Is there ever a situation when there would be such extreme winter weather that the backup generator would fail to come on or is this really a surefire solution?
DAN: This is a surefire solution. In fact, there was a thank you letter that we received from a happy customer one time after the fires in San Diego where it actually saved their house because it kept the well pump on and the sprinklers.
TOM: Oh, wow.
DAN: So yeah, there's a lot of good stories out there where these keep on ticking.
TOM: Let's talk a bit about how a backup generator actually functions. First of all, I think the first thing that many people might think is it works on gasoline but that's just not the truth.
DAN: No, they run on either natural gas or propane, whatever you have at your house for your home heating supply.
TOM: So you don't have to worry about messing with gasoline in a can or - you know, I think we forget, too, when we get a power outage in the neighborhood, the gas stations can't pump gas either so you couldn't get it. Not to mention the fact that they will actually go bad after about 30 days.
So it runs on natural gas or propane. There have been some advances in the transfer switch too, so why don't you talk a little bit about what a transfer switch is and what the advantages are that you guys have developed with the new Guardian transfer switch?
DAN: Well, we've got what's called a GenReady transfer switch and with this GenReady transfer switch, if you're building a home or you're remodeling a home, it actually takes the place of your main electrical distribution panel and it has a cavity built into it that accepts a transfer operator.
TOM: OK. So before, you had to have two panels. You had to have your main panel and you'd have this transfer switch but now it's all built into one.
DAN: Correct. And sometimes even a third panel if you have a 'subpanel' of protective circuits for that transfer switch.
DAN: So yeah, now it all basically goes from either two-to-one or three-to-one. It's a lot cleaner installation but most importantly, it's the least expensive installation.
LESLIE: And these are on a permanent basis. I mean, this is permanently installed, it constantly clicks on when you need it to and it comes on within about 30 seconds of your power going out, so it's really sort of - I want to say user friendly, almost brainless for the homeowner.
DAN: Yeah, and actually the homeowner can be away on vacation, say, with winter coming up and people are heading down south to warmer weather. One of the reasons I think a lot of people in the north buy this product is to prevent their pipes from freezing. In case power did go out, your furnace isn't working, the temperature of your house is plummeting and all it takes is a couple days of sub-freezing weather and you could have pipes burst.
There are a lot of people that have suffered because of power outages and the costs that they incur because of the flooding in their basement or the ruined drywall and hardwood floors more than makes up for the cost of a generator.
TOM: We're talking to Dan Giampetroni. He's the senior marketing manager for Generac. They're the manufacturers of the Guardian standby generator; same generator that I have installed at my home.
Dan, I noticed I'm starting to see more and more people that are actually installing these standby generators as a benefit to the home when it comes time for resale. It seems like that makes a lot of sense, if you're trying to sell your home, to install something like this that really would have some value and some convenience that you could pass on to a potential homebuyer. Is that a source of business for you guys?
DAN: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, there was an article in Remodeling magazine where they have the cost-versus-value study every year ...
DAN: ... and they added standby generators, because of their growing popularity, to that study and they found - I mean, in certain parts of the country, they actually retain - I saw in some parts - up to 90 percent of the value of the expense or of the cost.
TOM: So you get that kind of return on investment. Dan, if you're trying to figure out what size generator you need for your house, is there a calculator of sorts that could be used?
DAN: Yeah. We actually have one on either GuardianGenators.com or on our company's website, Generac.com, where one can go and actually select the circuits in your house that you want protected. It's got an area to enter in the square footage of the house and the different part of the country that you live in, to help calculate air conditioning load if you want air conditioning covered. It's a pretty slick system and it'll tell you exactly specific range of size generator, based on your input.
TOM: GuardianGenerators.com. Dan Giampetroni, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
DAN: Thanks, Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks, Dan. Always great to have you on the show.
Up next, we're going to talk about eliminating one of the most common causes of household fires and it's not one that you really think about when you think of a household fire. We're talking about lint from your clothes dryer. We're going to tell you how to keep that lint from becoming a major fire hazard, so stick around. It's very important for you and your family.
[audio timestamp: 0:25:34.9]
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. And you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. All we need is you. You are the big factor here at the show; we love to answer your questions. And in turn - you know, in answering your questions - we give you some prizes, too, and this hour, we're giving away a very wonderful prize for this time of year.
It is a pack of rakes from our friends over at Ames True Temper. You're going to get three different kinds of rakes that are designed for all different kinds of raking chores, including a shrub rake and all different kinds of things; some sort of collectible rake. Really, a very usable prize pack we're giving away this hour, so call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
TOM: 888-666-3974. It's time to talk about house fires. You know, fires that start in the clothes dryer are one of the most common causes of house fires and many have been deadly in some cases. So if your clothes seem to take too long to dry or if they seem hotter than usual when they come out, you could have a recipe for disaster brewing.
You want to make sure that you clean your lint screen after every use and use a vacuum to regularly get any lint that's been accumulating behind the dryer.
LESLIE: Yeah, and as long as you're back there doing those chores, you want to check out what type of exhaust duct that you have. If it's plastic, stop everything, run to the story and replace it with a metal one. It's much safer, it's easier to clean and it does not overheat and burst into flames as the plastic ones can do. It's a simple job; you can do it easily yourself. And twice a year, you want to clean your exhaust duct from the dryer to where it exits your home. You can have a pro do this or you can do it yourself with a lint dryer brush. They're fun to use; it's actually a really fun chore and you will be amazed at the amount of lint that comes out of your house. It's crazy.
TOM: Yeah, I bought something called the lint eater, which is like a dryer brush on the end of a long fiberglass rod and you attach it to a drill; you run it into the dryer exhaust duct and pull it out. And when I did so, the lint was like falling over my head; I could have used like an umbrella because it was so bad.
LESLIE: Oh, it's crazy. And you helped me at my house; like I was amazed at the amount of lint that came through. I mean, granted, it was when we bought the house and I'm very ...
LESLIE: ... tidy so I keep things clean.
TOM: So it wasn't your lint.
LESLIE: It wasn't my lint. (Tom chuckles) No, no, no, no.
TOM: It was old lint.
LESLIE: That's right.
TOM: Yeah. When you buy a house, you want to start off with your own lint, you know?
TOM: I think that that's kind of like living with somebody else's DNA in your house.
LESLIE: Well, you know, I mean it was funny. We had just moved into the house. It was autumn, the leaves were falling and yet so were these lint dust balls rolling through my driveway and I'm thinking, 'What is that?' And of course, you knew exactly what it was and you knew how to fix it.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let us help fix up your house.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Diane in Wisconsin is looking to change her garage into a snowmobile garage. How awesome is that? What's going on? Tell us about it.
DIANE: I have a detached garage and it would appear that there is enough room, when you open up the sliding door, to pull in both snowmobiles. And right now there's sort of an indoor/outdoor pet containment area and I just don't know how to go about it; like what the floor surface should be. One of the snowmobiles has reverse and the other one doesn't. And as far as when you pull in, perhaps if there are certain colors of paint that would help with exhaust fumes and that type of thing.
TOM: Well, you know, we don't have snowmobiles out here in the New York/New Jersey area, although I think it would be kind of cool to go up and down the parkway on one.
LESLIE: Yeah, it would be pretty awesome.
TOM: You know, my hand would get really cold when I have to reach in for the toll money out of that warm glove. (Leslie chuckles)
DIANE: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah, that's a problem.
LESLIE: That's what the EZ-Pass is for.
TOM: (chuckling) On your snowmobile.
You know, I think what you want to really look into here, Diane, all kidding aside, is an epoxy floor because that's going to be the most durable type of floor surface and ...
LESLIE: And it's going to clean super easy.
TOM: And it's totally do-it-yourself.
TOM: I mean, basically, these epoxy paints, when you buy them, they come in two parts; there is the paint and there's a hardener. And you clean the floor, you apply them. Some of them have these color flakes that you can sprinkle in so it looks really attractive, even when the snowmobiles are not there.
TOM: And it hardens up real nice and I think it's going to be real durable for you. So I think that's the solution here.
DIANE: I love that idea. And I did not - you know, I didn't even think about - I mean I thought about a floor surface and I thought more about ...
TOM: Adding something on top?
TOM: Yeah, not necessary.
DIANE: But I like this idea better.
TOM: Yeah, it's a lot more durable than that. Made by a number of manufacturers. Rust-Oleum has one and QUIKRETE has one.
TOM: Yeah, look into the epoxy floor coating systems.
DIANE: Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Now, where do you use those snowmobiles? Do you use them to run up to the corner store for a quart of milk or what?
DIANE: You could. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) Actually, we live in an area north of Madison, Wisconsin - about an hour north - and we actually can take the snowmobiles right out of our - well, right now they haven't been in the garage but they're like just in the top of the driveway and there's a snowmobile path and you can go to the grocery store or you can go to a bar or the hardware store ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Wow, how cool is that?
DIANE: ... wherever you want. And then we're right across from a lake so you can go down the lake, even if there's not snow.
LESLIE: Wow, that's amazing!
DIANE: Yeah, it's really amazing. Really is.
TOM: Well, that sounds like fun. Diane, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You can go to the bar on your snowmobile. How about that? (Leslie chuckles) That can be pretty dangerous. (chuckles) You don't want to get in the path of one of those guys at closing time.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, crumbling grout; is it making your bathroom look just like crummy? We're going to tell you how to fix it, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:05.7]
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: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete. And many of you know that I'm a new parent recently. Over the summer, my husband and I had a little baby boy and I'm discovering, especially as he's becoming more mobile, that nothing short of a rubber room can actually keep your child completely safe.
But there are things that you can do to reduce common hazards around your home and we're going to list them all for you and for me (Tom chuckles) in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter. I've signed up for it; I've always been a member. You should sign up for it; it's free. It comes in every week, right into your inbox on a Friday. It's available to you at MoneyPit.com. We value your privacy so don't be afraid to sign up today.
TOM: Because we never, ever give out your e-mail address. But we do give you lots of home improvement advice, especially if while you're there, you click on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like Diane did from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She says, 'I moved into a brand new home last year. The grout in my shower stall crumbles off to the touch. It has done so since day one. Someone told me that the crumbling is an indication that the grout was not of the right consistency or was old when first put on. What's the appropriate solution? Can I put silicone over the grout or should it be regrouted?'
That is exactly what I was thinking about as I read that, Diane. I think that it was probably too dry - don't you, Leslie? - that it never completely activated when it was mixed.
LESLIE: Do you think too dry or not - too wet? You know, it's hard to think - if you water it down too much, it's not going to adhere, you know, as well as it should; it's not going to fill in the spaces that you want it to. I think the best bet is to probably just remove all this crumbly, old grout. It doesn't sound like it'll be a difficult chore. Get a grout saw; they work quite efficiently. Get everything out as best you can and then go ahead, apply new grout, mix it up appropriately, float it at a 45 degree angle. It's actually a fun and easy chore to do. And once it's dry and cured properly, go ahead and seal that grout so you don't have to worry about cleaning it as often.
TOM: Yeah, that's right. Let's go to now Stan in Idaho who says, 'My garage door does not seal when down and anytime it rains or snow, water comes under the door. How can I seal the gap?'
Well, Stan, aside from adding big garage door weatherstripping to the bottom of that, take a look at the door itself. I bet you the floor has settled and is no longer striking square to the floor. If you adjust the garage door, that problem should go away.
LESLIE: Alright, Stan. Thanks for writing in at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: Well, many of us like to take vacations in the fall and in the winter, when it gets a bit chillier out. But before you do, you ought to consider who has the keys to your house. That's a question you ought to seriously consider because think about how many times you've given out your key last year and to whom. It's not the safest practice and Leslie tells us why in today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, and we're not just talking about, you know, giving a babysitter a key to the house or maybe, you know, the folks who come to clean your house a key. We're talking about you give your keys to the valet or you drop your car off at the service station and they've got your key with your house key on it. You know, that's what we're talking about.
A lot of keys are out there; nearly two thirds of American homeowners have knowingly circulated their house keys outside of their immediate family, including workers like painters, service techs - the list goes on and on. And this makes your house super-vulnerable to invasion. You want to be smart about issuing spare keys and take care when you're carrying your set through everyday chores like the valet, auto shop visits.
And if you think hiding a key outside your home is a good solution, think again. Most burglars know all of the best places that you've thought of, including those fake rocks. (Tom chuckles) So be smart, be careful with your keys and just do everything you can to keep your family safe, especially this time of year when you tend to not be home as often as you should.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next week on the program, you want treats without any tricks? On the next show, we're going to have some great ideas for keeping Halloween pranksters away.
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 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.)