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:
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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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got an improvement you want to tackle today? We're here to help. Got a repair you're dealing with? We'll help you with that, too. You know, if you're standing in water up to your knees you probably should call a plumber (Leslie chuckles), but if it's less immediate than that you can call us at 1 ...
LESLIE: But if it's only up to your toes.
TOM: That's OK. (Leslie chuckles) Then there's still hope. We can help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey, speaking of plumbing, you know, one thing I really can't stand is a wimpy shower. Is low water pressure getting in the way of your morning routine? We're going to tell you how to get that strong, refreshing spray you miss back in your showerhead in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also this hour, does your family like to hang out in the kitchen? I bet you they do. No matter what the rest of your house looks like and how comfy it is the kitchen is the one place everybody just loves to chill. Well, we can help you make that space way more comfortable. We're going to tell you how to make your kitchen into more of a living room.
TOM: Plus, if you're like me you have lots of stuff in your house. With my wife, three kids, a dog, a goldfish it's a lot of stuff around my house. (Leslie chuckles) We're always at a loss for space and our closets are where we end up hurting the most. Coming up, we're going to tell you how to maximize that closet space and get organized so that everyone in your household, including the fish, has a place for their own things.
LESLIE: That's right, we don't want to forget about the fish. (Tom chuckles)
And of course it wouldn't be the Money Pit show without a prize giveaway. That's right, this hour we're going to choose possibly you to win 4-in-1 ratcheting wrench from GearWrench. It's worth 30 bucks and it's a great hand tool that you can add to your toolbox.
TOM: So call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Terry in New Jersey's got a mysterious funk going on at the house. What happened? Tell us about it.
TERRY: Hi there. We have a finished basement. We refinished it two years ago. And we are noticing, without any rhyme or reason, a sewer smell.
TERRY: It has happened twice over the last three months.
TERRY: We do have an ejector pump in our basement ...
TERRY: ... because both the shower and the toilet are below the water level.
TERRY: We've had problems with the ejector pump not working consistently and not working properly. We've had a plumber in. He doesn't think, you know, it's any sewer gases escaping; you know, that the drains are all used enough that there's water so that that seal is there. And they also don't really know if it's the seal around the toilet because the plumber felt that we'd be smelling it far more often than we are. So we are at a loss and don't want to go on a fishing expedition. Help.
TOM: Have you talked to the plumber about the venting of this ejector pump? Do you know if it's vented correctly? Because if it's not vented correctly that could be a source of the problem.
TERRY: Huh. OK. He didn't even talk to us about that.
TOM: It's got to be vented. There's a vent - you know, the same way when you have a bathroom on the - higher up on your house and you notice that there's a big, wide vent pipe that comes up through the roof ...
TOM: ... well there has to be a vent pipe for the basement bath as well and with an ejector pump it typically comes off of the ejector pump and may hook up with the rest of the venting in the basement and bring it up into the house and up through the roof. So if the venting is not correct then that could be a source of the problem.
Something else to look at is the cleanouts for the drainway's vent pipe in the basement. Sometimes those cleanouts, I find them, are loose and you can get a smell from that as well. But you need to look further into the waste path for this bathroom and basically track it all the way from the toilet to where it goes out the house because it's going to be somewhere in there if it, in fact, is a sewer smell.
TERRY: OK. And would that be why there's no rhyme or reason as to when it occurs?
TOM: It could be based on the air pressure inside the house. If it turns out the basement maybe has a lower air pressure the sewer gas might tend to vent more into that space and that's going to change based on wind conditions and things like this that are going on around the house.
TERRY: Your guess would be that it has something to do with that bathroom and that ejector pump.
TOM: Absolutely. It's got to be looked at a bit more closely.
TERRY: Thank you. Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TERRY: Ren from Utah is calling about a problem at his place of work. How can we help?
REN: Hey, we've got a two-story building that I'm working at and I guess a year or two ago they had an add-on. They added a single story to the front.
REN: And anytime it rains it leaks. And I guess the roofers have come out and they've patched where the seam is. It's a flat roof. And they've patched where the seam is and it just seems to leak and I guess they came out like three different times and the roofer, I've heard, has just basically given up. So they - I don't know what to do. There's nothing we can do for it. I was just wondering if there's a way that we could figure out where it was going to be - where it was leaking from and what would you suggest to patch it.
TOM: Ren, since the roofer's have pretty much given up I think it's time to call in a roof inspector that can help pinpoint the area of the leak.
TOM: There are some tools that are available to help detect leaks in flat roofs below the surface and they're essentially infrared, thermal imaging detectors. They can be thermal imaging cameras or other sorts of infrared detectors and basically the way they work is because wherever the leak is there's a temperature differential between that and the surrounding area that helps pinpoint it. Once you pinpoint it then it's a matter of taking the roof apart in that area and putting it back together the right way. It's not really any more complicated than that. But figuring out where these leaks are is the trick and it might be that where it's showing up inside is not exactly where it's originating from so you may have to do sort of a ...
REN: That's what I was thinking because it can be - there's two ways of doing it. It wicks from a place ...
REN: ... and it also just follows the path of least resistance from another place.
TOM: Exactly. So I think if you did an infrared roof inspection you'd probably find it. There are a number of service providers that do that. One of them is called American Leak Detection. It's a franchise operation. They're on the web at AmericanLeakDetection.com. I am certain you can find a good quality roof inspector in your area that has this kind of equipment. But if it's frustrating the roofers I think you need to get an outside expert in there that can help pinpoint and specify the location and then design the repair.
REN: That's what I was thinking. It's a matter of detecting where it's actually coming from because if you slop it on - slop on the goop where you think it's going to be and it doesn't work that means it's somewhere else, right?
TOM: (overlapping voices) That's right. That's right.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Exactly.
TOM: You need something better than the goop slopping method of roof repair. (Ren laughs)
LESLIE: Before it just becomes goop coating.
Ren, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
REN: Thank you.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. All we're missing is you and your valuable call so call in right now with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, is low water pressure plaguing your faucets? Is your morning shower not so stimulating? Hey, we can fix that. You might be surprised to learn that it's very easy to do. A simple, inexpensive solution, after this.
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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, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win a super prize to help get those jobs done around the house. It's a 4-in-1 quad box ratcheting wrench from GearWrench. It's the hand tool industry's first five-degree ratcheting wrench with four different sizes in a single tool. It's easy to carry in a toolbox, clip to a tool belt; does everything that you need it to do. If we pick your name from the Money Pit hardhat today we'll be sending that along to you. It's worth 30 bucks. You want to qualify? You've got to call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Alright, well maybe your home improvement question is 'Why is there no water pressure?' We know how frustrating it can be and there really is a simple solution to that problem. Low water pressure is often caused by blocked screens at the faucet's head. All you've got to do is clean those faucets. So simply unscrew that faucet tip, clean the screen, reassemble it and you will see those results flowing.
TOM: And that's a good thing.
Hey, do you have a plumbing question? Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Aaron in New York is remodeling a bath and how can we help you?
AARON: How can I replace the bathtub in our bathroom without losing tiles? And pretty much the tiles, the style that we have, we can't really find it. We're trying to make sure that we can minimize that and make sure that the tiles don't fall off and break and I mean ...
TOM: OK, well here's ...
AARON: ... that's pretty much (AUDIO GAP) happen.
TOM: Here's what I think you should do, Aaron. What I think you should do is I think you should sacrifice the bottom layer of tile. In other words, if you have four-inch tiles that go all the way up and down the wall, let's assume that we're going to lose that first four inches and because we have to tear the wall out there we may lose some tiles in the process.
What you can do is after the new Jacuzzi is installed and the wall is repaired, you can put a new row of tile around the bottom and make it a complementary color to the tiles that are above. The trick here is to make it look like it was always supposed to be that way. So instead of having the same color all the way down to the lip of the tub, now you're going to have sort of a border color along the bottom of the tub. Does that make sense to you, Leslie?
LESLIE: Oh yeah and it could be an interesting choice. You could go with a natural stone or a tumbled marble or even those river rock or mosaic tiles. So it doesn't have to be something that's difficult to install and it can look really like a beautiful, decorative element.
TOM: It doesn't even have to be the same size. I mean if you had four-inch tile ...
LESLIE: No, it shouldn't be, I think.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right, you could make it completely different.
AARON: One fast question. I mean what happens if the border is just like, I don't know, maybe like four, five or six inches over that? So the border's real close. It's ...
TOM: Whatever the space ends up being with that one layer of tile, treat that whole space as the border, whether it's four inches, five or six, and then make a selection of tile to fill that in so it looks like it was always supposed to be that way. I think it can look really cool when you're done and it solves the problem of helping your tub out without tearing out all of the tile walls.
LESLIE: And there's 1'x1' square tiles that are on mesh backings. You can put those on individually; tile by tile. There's even tiny little microdot button ones that are 1/4x1/4 that are just so adorable and rounded from Bisazza. I mean they're pricey but they're so cute and they can really make a great statement and you don't have to spend that much. You can go in any sort of price range and find something that'll work.
AARON: I understand. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome.
AARON: That was a great answer. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Aaron. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Barbara in West Virginia, welcome to The Money Pit. What's going on at your house?
BARBARA: I have cold doors. (chuckles)
TOM: Cold doors. OK.
BARBARA: Yeah. I can feel the air coming through them and I need your help.
LESLIE: Do you feel the air around the sides or through the door itself?
BARBARA: Through the door itself, where you close it. I tried putting the tape - you know, that has the sticky on the back?
BARBARA: And that seemed to work but it didn't stay. You know, it came off.
TOM: What I want you to do, Barbara, is check the gap of the door all the way around. If there's an even gap then that's good. The next thing I want you to do is to add some felt weatherstripping that you attach with brass brads. You don't stick it on. You actually physically nail it on.
TOM: Now, the other place that often leaks is the sill on the bottom and so when the door is closed, if you can put your hand under the door and still feel air coming through ...
BARBARA: Right, I can.
TOM: ... the other thing that you could do is you could add a sweep, which kind of looks like a long strip with a brush sort of attached to it and that's an easy thing, again, to attach to the bottom of the door. But the adhesives don't work so well so make sure that you nail it on or you screw it on. That will tighten that door up quite nicely.
Barbara, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
BARBARA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Now we've got Elba from Idaho who's got a question about a dishwasher.
ELBA: We bought a dishwasher and we realized that - I mean the electrical system wouldn't take one more appliance.
TOM: Oh, boy.
ELBA: And my husband, well, he says that we have to redo the whole electrical system and that will be very expensive to do that run (ph) your dishwasher for so many years.
TOM: Oh, it's just been sitting there because you couldn't get it wired? Well listen, I think there's another solution. Elba, how old is your house right now?
ELBA: I will say probably, gosh, maybe 50 years now.
TOM: Fifty years. Well, believe it or not that's not terribly old. I'm going to guess that you have at least 100-amp electrical system in your house.
LESLIE: Isn't that the minimum that the towns usually have to provide?
TOM: Well, sometimes. But I mean even if you had 60, are you heated by gas?
LESLIE: Actually, we have a system that is more like a (INAUDIBLE).
TOM: OK, that's a hot water system but do you pay a gas bill or an oil bill?
ELBA: Yeah, we pay a gas bill.
TOM: OK, so you have a gas heating system. You don't have a lot of heavy electric-consuming appliances in that house. So what I think has happened here, Elba, is that your total electrical system, in terms of its amperage, is plenty big enough for that dishwasher. What you might need is an additional circuit.
Now, in the electrical panel, if you have a standard electrical panel and every single circuit breaker space is taken up, there's a type of breaker that can basically put two circuits in the same space as one circuit breaker. And this is available at most electrical supply stores. I'm certain an electrician can find one for you. You need to find a way to get another circuit in that panel. If it turns out that you can't add another circuit to that panel then you simply add a subpanel. But there's a simple way; a simple electrical upgrade that you can make to add an additional circuit to your kitchen.
The problem with a 50-year-old house is that the outlets on the walls in the kitchens and the outlets for the refrigerator and what you would ultimately hook the dishwasher into are all on the same circuit and that's why you can't put more on there because you're going to trip the circuit breaker all the time.
LESLIE: You're going to max it out.
TOM: Yeah, but you can add another circuit. So this is something that's completely doable. I would recommend you contact an electrician - it shouldn't be very complicated or expensive - and ask him specifically about adding a circuit to your kitchen. OK, Elba?
ELBA: Yes, that would be wonderful.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Poor thing's been sitting on that new dishwasher for years.
TOM: I know. (chuckles) Can you believe that? It's easy. Maybe your husband just wanted to replace the whole electrical system (Leslie chuckles) and that was his story. (laughs)
LESLIE: Or you could always just unplug the refrigerator every time you want to use the dishwasher.
TOM: There you go. That'll work, too.
LESLIE: Tim in New Jersey, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
TIM: I've got a 4'x8' concrete slab off the back of my house.
TIM: (INAUDIBLE) And it has a basement blocked off around it. And I wanted to surround the inside of this basement with ceramic tile to make it look prettier than the poured concrete that it is now and I wasn't sure what type of mix I should use to attach this house to the block and what type of sealant I should use as far as grout and stuff goes.
TOM: Well, you're going to use a tile adhesive to attach, that's for sure. You wouldn't use a mortar mix on a wall because it's not going to stay. So you're going to want to use a tile adhesive. Now, the other thing is about the poured concrete walls. They may not be even enough to get a real flat tile surface there. You may want to think about using something like cultured stone instead.
TIM: Well, I've already gone across it with a level and flat bar and so far all the walls look pretty nice.
TOM: Nice and flat? OK, because remember tile doesn't bend.
LESLIE: Yeah, because if you're finding any parts where the wall is bowing out in any way, over time you're going to get those tiles to crack or you're just not going to get them to go on smoothly.
TIM: Oh, I found out that the hard way the first time I did a tile floor. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) I learned my lesson. I found a really nice mosaic tile they offer on the internet where they have different shapes - compasses, sea animals and stuff - glued to a brown paper bag type of material and you can apply it from the bottom of the basement with mortar mix or whatever adhesive you're going to recommend ...
TIM: ... and when it dries you just wet the brown and it peels off and it leaves behind these beautiful shapes that I couldn't possibly make on my own. And then you just grout it and it's done and I was (INAUDIBLE) for my fountain.
LESLIE: Oh yeah, that would be really great. You want to make sure that you use a tile mastic, which is a tile adhesive made specifically for that type of tile whether it's glass or ceramic, depending on the mosaic. Some of them even come as a mosaic/grout combo which I don't know if you can use, especially with that fascial (ph) peeling that comes on those tiles that you're looking at. But I would just look at the type of tile that you're using and then just read the mastic box or the jar of it that you're looking at at the home center to make sure it's right for that type of tile.
TIM: When I do the grouting of the tile ...
TIM: ... is there a special sealant I should use after grouting the tile like I would use on my shower like a spray sealant? Or is there a special tile for this type of application with like a (INAUDIBLE)?
LESLIE: No, I think any grout sealer would work fine for this. Don't you, Tom?
TOM: Yeah, they're going to be - any of the silicone-based sealers would work very well, Tim.
TIM: That sounds great. I really appreciate that.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steve in Florida's doing some work in the bath. How can we help you?
STEVE: Yes, I'm down to the 2x4s in my bathroom. I'm going to redo it. Do I need a vapor barrier before I put up sheetrock?
LESLIE: I mean I don't think that's necessary but I think you need to think about what type of sheetrock you're using when you're working on a very moisture-heavy room like the bath. You know, there have been some advancements in sheetrock over the years and there's something new from Georgia-Pacific called Dens Armor Plus which is actually, instead of being a paper-faced drywall like traditional wallboard this has a fiberglass facing which means it's really super durable for high-moisture situations like the bath, below grade, even in kitchens.
STEVE: Sounds good to me. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up after the break, but first, is your kitchen more of a gathering place than just an eating place or a cooking place? Well up next, we're going to make your kitchen comfortable for everyone in your family at more than just mealtimes.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by - well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That's 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and you, Money Pit fans, can have a little Tom and Leslie to go. That's right. We are indeed portable. Just visit MoneyPit.com and click on Listen where you'll find instructions to download our very popular podcast. And we are proud to say, if I don't say so, that it is the number one downloaded home improvement podcast on iTunes. How cool is that?
TOM: Very cool.
LESLIE: So see what you've been missing. Download the Money Pit podcast today.
TOM: One of the things you might learn if you download the podcast is a few tips about kitchens. You know, the kitchen, of course, if the great American gathering place. I mean face it, I know in my house you spend - we spend more time hanging out in there than we do in the living room and it's probably the same in your house. You know, whenever you have a party everybody gathers in the kitchen; doesn't matter how small a space it is or how large it is. It just always fills up.
Well, who says that you can't make that more a living space by perhaps adding some living room furniture? It's a new trend. An overstuffed chair for kids to hang out in while you're cooking or a small chest of drawers to store some linens or China are cool; create a very cozy, welcoming space. It's a nice way to soften up that kitchen look aside from just the hard line of the cabinets.
LESLIE: You know, it's true. People are going to end up in there anyway so you might as well give them a place to sit; otherwise, they're going to be over your shoulder picking at everything you're cooking.
TOM: Well, that can be a good thing, too. (Leslie chuckles) Little testing along the way. So there's a couple of kitchen tips.
The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let's get back to the phones.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Next up, we've got Joan who's got a leaky window. Tell us about the problem.
JOAN: It's not really a window. It's a skylight. It leaks around it into the attic and I've put a pan under it but I'd like to be able to fix it.
TOM: Well, tell us what type of skylight this is. Does it sit up off the roof a few inches?
JOAN: Right. Uh-huh.
TOM: OK. And how old is it, Joan?
JOAN: Ten, 15 years?
TOM: Alright. Well, typically what happens to the curbed skylight - that's called a curbed, c-u-r-b-e-d, a curbed skylight -
TOM: With a curbed skylight, they rely on sealants to become watertight between the skylight itself and the roof and typically those sealants will break down and it has to be reflashed. To do that you're going to have to have a roofer take the shingles off that are around it and then reseal it to the roof. It essentially has to be reset; unless there's some obvious reason that it's leaking, like a broken shingle or something of that nature. If it's just a breakdown of the skylight as it adheres to the roof, then it probably needs to be reseated.
There's one other trick of the trade that we can give you. If this skylight happens to have a lot of roof above it - in other words, if it's not right near the top of the roof so you get a lot of rain that runs down and strikes it - you can install something called a diverter which is a piece of metal bent into a 90-degree angle that sits right on top of the skylight. And the purpose of the diverter is to collect the runoff that comes streaming down that roof really fast and run it around the skylight a bit. It's the same thing that's done when you have a roof that goes into a chimney. In that case it's called a cricket. But you simply can construct a diverter and attach it to the roof with a couple of nails and seal underneath and that will stop the volume of water from coming up to it. And I think there's a lot better ways to do it than sticking that pan under it and that should solve it for you.
Joan, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Charles in New Jersey is looking to talk about some siding options. How can we help you?
CHARLES: Yes, I was just curious. I wanted to know the benefits in regards to stone siding as compared to like a panel siding or a vinyl siding.
TOM: When you say panel siding, what kind of panels are you talking about, Charles?
CHARLES: Well I know down in Texas a buddy of mine has - it's almost like a concrete panel.
TOM: Oh, you mean a fiber cement panel.
TOM: OK. Well, those are all real maintenance-free opportunities. I mean vinyl's going to be the least expensive. Fiber cement is a little more expensive but it probably gives you a better return on investment when it comes time to sell the house.
Now, in terms of the stone, that's probably - I would think that's probably the most expensive but, again, it's very maintenance-free.
LESLIE: But isn't it also the most energy efficient as well?
TOM: No. Well, you think the stone is going to be more energy efficient?
LESLIE: Well, wouldn't it be because it sort of acts like a fuller layer of insulation because you're dealing with the mud base and the stone itself?
TOM: (overlapping voices) No, I don't - you know, there could be some trapped air inside the stone but I'm telling you, I wouldn't think of siding as my insulating layer. I would concentrate on the insulation in between the wall cavities. When it comes to siding what you want to do is stop the drafts and if you have a good vapor barrier underneath that - you know, something like Tyvek or something of that nature - that's going to stop the drafts.
So, in terms of ranking these: vinyl - perfectly acceptable, inexpensive; fiber cement - looks great, very strong, very durable; and stone - if you like that look I would kind of put that right up there with fiber cement. Either way I think you'll be in good shape, Charles.
CHARLES: OK. And what about durability as far as where I live there are a lot of rocks and when I mow the lawn sometimes rocks will shoot out and actually put holes in the vinyl siding.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) In the siding.
TOM: Yeah, well that's a real good point and it's very difficult to repair siding. We occasionally will get calls from folks that do have holes in their siding and usually we tell you to swap out the piece with the hole for another good piece somewhere else on the house; possibly in an area that's not quite as obvious.
LESLIE: Margaret in Georgia's looking to sell her house and needs some help from us. What can we do for you?
MARGARET: Yes, ma'am. Hey, I love y'all's show.
TOM and LESLIE: Thank you.
MARGARET: My question is in the past I had a leak in my roof and I've since - I've gotten the leak fixed but now I've got this water stain that's on my ceiling.
MARGARET: And I've just tried - you know, I've gotten that - it's called KILZ; the water - you know, like you spray on the ceiling and then shake the can.
MARGARET: But I found that it just makes it look like a wet look. It hasn't really covered up the water stain. Is there something else that I could do?
TOM: Yeah, what you're going to need to do is I want you to go out and pick up some oil-based KILZ - oil-based primer - and I want you to prime not only the spot but the entire ceiling. Because you're right, it does make the one area look perhaps a bit shinier because that's what it's doing; it's sealing that in. And then even if you paint on top of that you're going to find that the paint has a different sheen in that area. So when you have a big water stain like that you're going to need to prime the entire ceiling and those primers come oil-based and water based and the tougher the stain the better the paint. So I would use an oil-based primer. I would prime the entire ceiling and then I would put the finish on right over that; put the topcoat of paint on top of that.
MARGARET: And of course I'd have to let the one coat dry.
LESLIE: Of course.
TOM: Yes, please do, OK?
LESLIE: Unless you want your topcoat to be one shade lighter.
TOM: Right, and then quick, sell the house before the next roof leak, OK?
MARGARET: (chuckling) Yeah, because there's only like about 100 million shades of white. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Right. OK. Margaret, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MARGARET: Thank you.
TOM: Margaret putting her house on the market there in Georgia. Get those roof leaks fixed first.
LESLIE: More great home improvement calls coming up but first, are your closets overflowing with stuff? You know who you are, out there. You've probably got one or two hiding around your house and you know what happens. You try to locate something in that mess. Either you can't find it or you just can't reach it. Well coming up we're going to give you some tips to help you get organized.
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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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT so call us and ask us your home improvement question on the air. If you do we are going to throw your name into the Money Pit hardhat for a random prize drawing and you could win the 4-in-1 quad box from GearWrench. It's great for tight spaces and over-torqued fasteners. This tool is worth 30 bucks. It's available at a ton of different retailers out there but it could be yours for free if you ask us your home improvement question on the air so call us now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Now it is time to get organized. Is your closet stuffed full and a mess to navigate? Can't find anything? Or maybe you can but it all topples over on you when you try to reach for it. (Leslie chuckles) Well, the AARP has some tips. They say it's time to organize. It will save your sanity and can one day save your independence.
First, get rid of stuff you don't need or use. Well, yeah. Hello. Toss, sell or donate as much stuff as possible. Now, there is a good idea. And in terms of selling, we learned a very good tip from our friend Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep. He says if you want to make some big money sell it on eBay, skip the garage sale; which I thought was a really good idea because you never make money with garage sales and people always come early and bug you, too.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, they're knocking on your door at 4:00 in the morning. Plus it makes the item seem a lot more special and then you get competitive bidding, which is nice.
TOM: Next, go shopping for closet organizing systems and they're getting more sophisticated every day. They have space for clothing, for rods, for shelves, for drawers. They'll help you put your hands on everything that you need without you having to kind of like pull out one thing from the bottom of the pile and have the rest fall over.
LESLIE: Yeah, and also, when you're thinking about organizing your closets or any other storage area within your house, really think about the people who are using it. You know, does someone in the house use a wheelchair or is this a child's closet that you're organizing. If the answers to either of those questions are yes then don't place the drawers more than 30 inches from the floor. You want to see if you can find full extension drawers. This way you can pull the drawers out far enough to see everything that's stored in there. And think about making higher drawers more shallow and lower drawers can be super deep. If you choose wooden drawers use D-shaped or U-shaped handles because they're easy to grip.
And finally, make sure that your closet is well lit so that you can clearly see that beautiful order you've created for however long it's going to last you. If you want ...
TOM: Yeah, a week or two. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Exactly. (chuckles) If you want some more tips on closet organizing and lots of other tips on keeping your home nice and safe and user friendly, visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign.
TOM: That's AARP.org/HomeDesign or pick up the phone and call us right now if maybe you need to make your closet bigger because no matter what you do it's not going to fit. We can help you. (Leslie chuckles) The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Hazel in Minnesota has a question about mold in her cistern. What can we do for you?
HAZEL: What I was wondering, I have a cistern that we used to use but now we drained it and I'm using a water softener. So, do I have to worry about mold getting into this cistern?
TOM: Well, it's not part of your domestic water system any longer, is it? You're not using it for drinking water, correct?
HAZEL: It was just like an empty room in the basement, you know,
TOM: Yeah. No, you shouldn't have to worry about it. If it's a concrete surface there's no organic material to grow mold. You know, if it was covered with any sort of a drywall surface or if you converted it from its use, originally, of the cistern to any kind of finished living space then you'd have to worry about it.
HAZEL: No, it's just like cement blocks, you know.
TOM: Yeah, you really don't have to worry about it. If it's not a - if it has no organic material on it you don't have to worry about it causing mold. It's dry now, right? It's all drained out?
HAZEL: Yeah, mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah. Shouldn't be an issue, Hazel.
HAZEL: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Mary in New Jersey's got a kitchen situation. What's going on over there?
MARY: Hi, I have a thermafoil - white thermafoil kitchen cabinets. I moved into the house a year ago and I spoke with the original owners just before they sold their house to the previous owners that I bought. They said that the cabinets changed colors. I have some doors that are white and I have some doors that are sort of yellowed. And I didn't know if there was some way of - if you know of some way of either getting them all yellowed or all white; kind of, you know, get them - because I have drawers. I have four drawers in a row. The middle drawer is yellow. I have three drawers that are white.
TOM: You know, we've heard this many times before and I don't think we've ever been able to identify a specific solution short of refinishing. It seems to be a condition that's endemic to a thermafoil type of finish.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) With the thermafoil process, yeah.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.
MARY: OK, so there's probably nothing that I can do about it? Just ...
TOM: I don't think so because I think that the physical condition of the - the physical material has changed colors. There's nothing that you can add to it that's going to bring it back. It's a function of its exposure to daylight and ultraviolet radiation that leaks in from the sun and it does physically change the color of the foil.
MARY: OK. Because I - it also happened in the bathroom.
MARY: The cabinet that's in the bathroom, which has no daylight at all and one door is yellowed and one door is white.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think a lot of it also has to do with moisture and in a kitchen situation you're dealing with a lot of grease and moisture. It just tends to happen over time. It's just a reaction.
MARY: OK, so I just end up having to replace my kitchen at some point.
TOM: Well, you could possibly replace just the fronts. I mean you could reface the cabinets and you could replace the doors and the drawers. So it doesn't have to be a total replacement. But of course that's always an option.
MARY: Right. OK.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where hitting the nail on the head is not just a saying; it's a way of life.
Up next, a quick fix for quiet floors that squeak.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters you can trust Rheem. Learn more at Rheem.com. That's R-h-e-e-m.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And Leslie, I've discovered the four elements of any remodel. Are you ready?
LESLIE: Alright, lay it on me.
TOM: Earth, air, fire and credit cards.
LESLIE: (chuckling) True.
TOM: If you're planning a major home improvement project and having a hard time managing the budget, we have a suggestion for you. First of all, you don't have to do it all at once. So coming up in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter, we're going to tell you how to take on major renovations a little bit at a time and how to manage those costs a bit better. There are ways to get big projects done without laying all the cash out at once. We're going to teach you what those are in the next edition of the Money Pit e-newsletter coming out every Friday morning at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And while you're visiting MoneyPit.com, perhaps to check out some valuable project information or to sign up for our free e-newsletter, you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie and ask us a question via e-mail if you don't feel like picking up the phone. And Dylan from Austin, Texas did that. They write: 'We own a three bedroom ranch home built in 1965 that we purchased in 1994. We replaced the roof 10 years ago. Last year we noticed mold appearing on the ceiling in the master bedroom just above the north wall. We cleaned it, even painted it with KILZ but it would keep coming back. An expert checked it out and said we had inadequate ventilation, ice dams on the roof and too much moisture in the house.' Wow, that's a whole ...
TOM: Oh, is that all? (laughing)
LESLIE: That's a slew of problems. 'We then tore out the sheetrock on the north wall and ceiling and found the attic insulation and inside of the roof were all dry yet we've seen moisture coming down the wall. There was also a lot of mold at the top of the walls and on the insulation. Could you please tell us what's causing this? How can the mold be stopped without tearing down the walls?'
TOM: Wow. Well, there's some truth to what the expert told you. The fact that you're seeing moisture running up and down the wall indicates that water did back up behind the ice dams. But what probably is happening is it's just a point-in-time occurrence. The roof and its insulation are dry so the leakage didn't spread in the attic and that's a good thing.
What you need to do is to strip off the first two to three feet of roof shingles and add something called Ice and Water Shield. That's going to prevent that ice dam from collecting water behind it and pushing that moisture back up into the room. Ice and Water Shield is made by Grace. It's a good product. There's information at GraceAtHome.com. And it basically seals that first edge which is very, very important because that's where the water piles up and can really get in and cause leaks and if you stop the water you'll stop the mold and that'll solve your problem.
LESLIE: Alright, good to know.
TOM: So Leslie, let's talk squeaky floors. Now, in my house it's a useful low-tech alarm system because I have a teenager (Leslie chuckles) and so it's always nice to know when he's arrived a bit past curfew. Can't sneak by the squeak, so to speak. But they can also be a pretty big nuisance that you don't really have to live with and you've got the solution on today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, there's actually a pretty simple reason behind why floors are squeaking. It's because the floorboards are loose and the sound you hear is made by the friction of those boards rubbing together or the nails used to attach them being pulled in and out of the floor joists or the subfloor. So that's that squeaky noise you're going to get and if the squeak happens to be coming from underneath a carpeted area you can use a stud finder to locate the floor joist in the area of the squeak then you can renail right through the carpet using a hot-dipped, galvanized finish nail; you know, the ones that have the edges that are a bit rough and bumpy? You want to drive it in at an angle to prevent the future loosening - more future squeaking potential there - and you want to finish by grabbing the carpet by the nap or the pile and pull it up until the head of the nail passes through the carpet. So you're not even going to see what happened. That squeak is going to be quieted once and for all.
TOM: I used to do that exact trick of the trade when I worked in new construction as a service technician ...
TOM: ... but I could never nail the carpet when the homeowner was watching.
LESLIE: Because they'd be like 'Aaahhh!!! What are you doing?!'
TOM: 'What are you doing to my carpet?!' But trust us, it works.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
If you've missed something that you'd like to hear again or if you're looking for a specific question on something we've already addressed on the show visit MoneyPit.com where you can search a year's worth of the transcripts of the program.
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 2007 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.)