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: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We would love to talk about your home improvement or décor project. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT or you can post your question, right now, to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Hey, if you are an active home improver, one thing that does seem to collect is leftover paint. I probably have 15 or 20 cans in the basement right now. Well, we’re going to have some great ideas, this hour, on projects that you can do to use up some of that leftover paint in some pretty unique ways.
LESLIE: And if you’re the type of person that’s always looking for ways to build a better mousetrap, well, there’s a new show that’s airing on PBS right now that captures that spirit. It’s called Make48 and it gives teams of inventors 48 hours to come up with a new product, build a prototype and get it ready to market. Tom Gray is the show’s CEO and he’s joining us with details of this really exciting and I think super-adventurous and kind of crazy program.
TOM: Absolutely. And if you’re a family that loves to play basketball, well, we’re going to have some tips on the easiest way to install a basketball net in your yard to hopefully foster those hoop dreams for your kids. So let’s get to it. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is on the line with a ventilation question. What’s going on at your money pit?
DOUG: I have two bathroom vents and also a hood exhaust vent over the cooktop. So I have two 4-inch vents and a 6-inch vent that I need to put through the roof somehow. And I’d rather not do it in three different vents. I’m wondering if there’s an option.
TOM: Well, the bathroom vents, if they’re near each other, could be brought together in the attic and then brought out to one termination point. You obviously don’t want to dump all that air into the attic. It’s warm, it’s moist, it’s humid and it’s going to ruin your insulation’s effect.
In terms of the kitchen vent, that I would keep separate because that could potentially be greasy. And you just don’t want to mix that in with the bathroom ventilation.
TOM: And make sure – in all cases, I would recommend you avoid the flexible vent ducting and use metal ducting. Not the flexible metal ducting but the smooth metal ducting, because it just has less resistance as the air blows through it and it’s easier to clean if you have to.
DOUG: OK. Now, do I have to use an insulated – to connect the hosing?
TOM: No, you don’t have to insulate the ducting. That’s not necessary.
DOUG: No, OK.
TOM: Nope. Just use a solid-metal duct to do this, OK? You can buy these in home centers and hardware stores. What I don’t want you to do is use those flexible plastic ducts or flexible metal ducts.
DOUG: OK. I gotcha.
TOM: Alright, Doug. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda in Ohio, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LINDA: Well, I had an old garage torn down, so I had a prior cement pad. And I had a steel building put up. I have gaps now from – the steel building is not – the metal is more like a corrugated – it’s got a little ripple in it? And where it meets the floor and they put a 2×4 base around the inside to screw the metal to it, well, I’m getting chipmunks in there and everything like that in between. What can I use to seal it but still keep it so when the cold weather comes, it expands like it needs to?
TOM: You must be having some pretty big gaps there if the chipmunks are getting into that.
TOM: How much space are we talking about?
LINDA: Some spots it’s not very big at all. But some it’s like maybe 2 or 3 inches high.
TOM: Oh, wow.
LINDA: Because the cement pad was not really leveled or throughout the years, too, it could have sunk down in certain areas. I don’t know whether to put another board …
TOM: Yeah. So, listen, if you’ve got 2 or 3 inches of gaps, you’re going to have to add some additional sort of siding-type materials to cover that gap. You could actually use additional galvanized metal and form it to fit in that space.
If you have smaller gaps, those could be filled with, say, spray-foam insulation or you could use steel wool. Sometimes, when we’re trying to plug up little gaps, especially when it comes to rodent prevention, I’ll have folks put steel wool in there that they are not apt to chew through. But you can’t have a gap that big and not expect those types of animals to get by.
LINDA: Awesome. I’ll try that: the steel wool and the foam.
TOM: Good luck with that project, Linda. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bob in South Dakota is dealing with a drywall issue. What’s going on at your house?
BOB: We have a 1990s home and we had sheetrock nails that were put in that began popping, mainly toward the ceiling area and corners – inside corners – especially. And we had a contractor do – redo some. We redid some ourselves. One of the things they did and we did is we just drove the nails in and covered them and put a screw maybe 2 to 3 inches from it. But the nails reappeared after we did it. What’s the answer?
TOM: Well, it would if you just drove it back in and didn’t put a second nail that overlaps it.
LESLIE: And then it’s in the same hole, so it’s given the same movement area.
Now, what Tom mentioned with the second nail is you’re right putting a screw in; a screw is a great way to do that. But if you’re putting a screw in, I would have taken out the nail instead of giving it the space to come back out.
But what you can do, if you see the nail to start backing its way out, you can take a second nail and overlap it so that the two heads would overlap. So when you drive in the second nail, it pushes that first nail back down with it and will keep it in its place. Because the new nail is in fresh wood, so it’ll stay there. And then you go ahead and cover over it and sand it and spackle it, everything. Make it nice and smooth to prime and paint.
But a screw really is the best way, because those won’t back themselves out.
BOB: What do you think, in your professional opinion – I’ve listened to your show a lot and just as a plug for you guys, thanks a lot for all of the helpful hints. But what do you think has caused those screws to pop like that – or nails, I should say?
TOM: Normal expansion and contraction. You know, the nails that are used to attach drywall have a glue coating on them. They’re like a rosin coating. And when you drive the nail in, it’s supposed to kind of stick in the wall but it doesn’t. And as the walls expand and contract, they very often will back out. It’s really typical. It would be unusual for it, frankly, to not happen.
But the key is that when it does happen, if you just drive it back in it’s going to happen all over again. But if you were to overlap the old nailhead with a new nailhead so that you’re now creating sort of a second nail and a second nail hole that’s holding it in place, that’s effective. Or you pull out the drywall nail altogether and replace it with a drywall screw and it will never pull out.
The fact that you put the screw 2 or 3 inches from the old one will help keep that board tight but it’s not going to stop the drywall nail from expanding and contracting and pushing itself back out, as you’ve learned. You just – you really need to sort of reinforce it by overlapping the heads with a new nail.
BOB: OK. Yeah, that sounds good. And I think, from what I’ve seen, if we pull the old nail and put a screw in a ways away, I think that’s the best solution. Because then we don’t have any possibility of anything happening there again and doing away with the situation completely.
TOM: Trial and error is the best, right?
BOB: Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Thank you for the great show.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we’d love to hear what you are working on, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com, where you can find top-rated home improvement pros that you can trust. And for those local pros out there who want to grow their business, HomeAdvisor is the easy way to get connected with project-ready homeowners.
TOM: And just ahead, if you’re an active home improver, one thing that we all love to collect is paint: the extra kind that just sticks around when you’re done with a project and you hate to throw out that last quarter of the gallon in the pan. Well, we’re going to have some great project ideas to help put all that leftover paint to good use, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find a home service pro that you can trust. You can read reviews, compare prices and book appointments, all online.
TOM: I recently recommended HomeAdvisor to my friend, Cheryl, who had a problem with her bathroom ceiling. She told me that it kind of collapsed and was a little bit perplexed as to what was causing it, because it was a first-floor bathroom. When I said, “Probably a roof leak,” well, she said, “Hey, it’s a first floor.” And I explained that the water can find its way down the pipe – the vent pipe – and show up on the first floor. Sure enough, she went to HomeAdvisor.com, she hired a pro. That was exactly what caused it. He fixed up the seal around the flashing, around the vent pipe in the roof, fixed her ceiling and she was good to go in no time.
So great service. And I know that she gave him a very, very good review on HomeAdvisor.com. And that’s the beauty of that system. You can go there and read those reviews from real people that use these guys and know exactly who’s going to be showing up at your door to get the job done.
LESLIE: Yeah. Water is the trickiest trickster. I mean it does find a way of going all over the darn place. So you do have to kind of think maybe it’s coming from, clearly, on the other side of the house.
TOM: Yep. Absolutely.
LESLIE: Alright. We’re heading out to Delaware where Mary has got a question about a roof. What’s going on at your money pit?
MARY: I have a two-story house with three-tab shingles that are 25 years old. And I’m about to replace them with architectural. I have an attic fan currently. It’s about 30 years old and I don’t really have to keep that. But my question is regarding a replacement attic fan versus the ridge vent.
TOM: So, we would definitely recommend a ridge vent over a replacement attic fan, for a lot of reasons.
Here’s why. In the summer, many times folks will install attic fans to try to cool their attic thinking that it will lower their cooling cost. But what generally happens is when an attic fan kicks on, it will depressurize your attic. And then it needs to replace that negative pressure. So what will happen is it will reach down into your house and actually pull some of that air-conditioned air up into the attic.
Now, how that happens is interesting. It’ll pull it out from gaps around, say, where your attic door is or it’ll pull it through the walls, through gaps around plumbing pipes or electrical wires or outlets that go through. There’s usually some sort of thermal connection between the inside and the outside. And by using an attic fan, you’re going to potentially drive the cooling costs up, not down.
A better option is a ridge vent – a continuous ridge vent – that goes down the peak of the entire roof. And that will exhaust attic air. But the ridge vent should always be matched with soffit vents at the overhang of the roof so that the air will enter down low in the roof, roll up underneath the roof sheathing and then exit at the ridge. And that sort of convective loop will do a much better job of keeping your attic cool than an attic fan. It will not – and it will not drive up your cooling costs.
MARY: And you’d close off the current attic fan?
TOM: That’s right. I would actually – if you were going to be replacing your roof, I would simply take that whole fan out, tap off the wires and disconnect it. You don’t need it.
MARY: OK. The other question is I also have a whole-house fan, which I rarely use. Can you still use a whole-house fan with the ridge vent?
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. Now, let’s talk about the difference between a whole-house fan and an attic fan. An attic fan is just that: it draws air out of the attic. A whole-house fan is mounted, generally, on the ceiling of the upper floor of the house. And it’s going to draw air from your house itself, push it up into the attic where it will be exhausted.
Now, the key with a whole-house fan is you have to have enough exhaust ventilation up in the attic. If you end up having a continuous ridge vent and continuous soffit vents, I think you probably will have plenty of exhaust ventilation up there in the attic.
I would suggest, if you don’t have it already, to put that whole-house fan on a timer. Because it’s really effective, especially at night, when you can set it for an hour or so when you’re going to sleep, to kind of keep that air moving through the house. And then it’ll just go off by the time you fall asleep and the air gets cooler.
MARY: Vents in the eaves in the house, which were built in the house, are they closed off when you get the ridge vent?
TOM: Generally, yes. Those small vents that are on the ends of the gable walls, you do want to close those off and make sure you have continuous soffit and ridge vents. Because you’ll get some turbulence between the ridge vent and that end gable vent that can impact the flow of the air.
MARY: Alright. I hope we – that’s what I need and I’m about to call a contractor tomorrow.
TOM: Well, if you do home improving, you are likely to have a collection of leftover paint. But with a bit of imagination and creative flair, I think you can probably find some neat places to use that leftover paint and give your home a little bit of pizzazz in the process.
Leslie, this is your area of expertise. What do you do with all your leftover paint?
LESLIE: I generally get confused as to what goes in what room and then I can’t figure out where the samples are. So, first and foremost, when I am painting a room, I always make sure I take a little Tupperware, pour some of that paint in there, label the top Henry’s Room or whatever room it’s for so that if I have a touchup that I need to fix – and I keep that in the kitchen, under the sink or somewhere that’s readily accessible.
Now, all the extra paint that ends up in the garage, it’s probably from a variety of versions of my home’s decorating process. And I’m sure you all are in the same boat, as well.
Now, think about it: when you design the color schemes for your home, you kind of want that design to carry on throughout the house. So using that paint from one room in another room is a really great way to help you achieve that. And it could be as simple as maybe painting a thrift-store find of a little nightstand or a side table or a small chair. Something like that is a great way to bring those colors in.
Now, if the finish isn’t the right finish for whatever you want to put that paint on, like maybe you’ve got an eggshell, you can always spray a gloss finish over it if that’s something that you might need for a piece of furniture or if that’s the look that you’re trying to achieve. But it really is a great way to tell that color scheme and that story, throughout the process of the home, by incorporating those colors.
Now, it can be those pieces of furniture. It can be a little accessory. It doesn’t have to be a big project but that’s a great way to use it.
TOM: Yeah. Great idea. And you know what? Chances are if the paint is more than a couple of years old – two or three years – it may not be usable, anyway. So why not put it to good use while you’ve got the extra there?
And I love your idea of putting it in a Tupperware container. Because I’ve got to tell you, if you put it back in the paint can, sometimes what happens is you’ll get a little bit of rust in that lid of the paint can. And that rust is a dye. It mixes with the paint and it changes color.
I actually had this happen to me once and I didn’t notice the rust but I couldn’t figure out why I kept painting a wall and it always looked darker than the paint next to it. And it turned out there was some rust in the paint. Completely changed the color of it. So, taking a little bit out and putting it in a really good, sealable container and well-labeled with the room it belongs in is a really smart idea.
LESLIE: See, I’m good for something sometimes.
TOM: Oh you’re good for many things.
Well, what can we be good for to help you with your home improvement project? Tell us, right now, 888-MONEY-PIT, or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Tammy in Arkansas is on the line and is having an issue with the bricks on her home. What’s going on?
TAMMY: OK. I’ve got a home that sits on a concrete slab. They’re made out of the cinder blocks. And the cracks are beginning to crack on the outside and the inside. And somebody told me to use concrete with it and I’m wanting to do it myself. So what do I need to do to seal those cracks?
TOM: Yeah, you don’t want to use concrete because concrete is not going to fill cracks very well. Are we talking about sort of hairline or fairly thin cracks here, Tammy?
TAMMY: Well, maybe a ½-inch. They’re kind of separating there but they’re separating into seams of the block.
TOM: But you really think it’s a full ½-inch? That’s an awfully big crack.
TAMMY: Well, you can put your finger up to it. It’s pretty deep. You can see on the outside and you can see on the inside.
TOM: OK. Well, listen, if you’re getting that kind of movement in the wall, you need to have this looked at by an expert. I would have a professional home inspector or a structural engineer look at it because that’s a huge crack in the building. A ½-inch crack is really big if it’s pulling apart. That means that the house is sliding apart at that wall or settling on one end of the building, causing that to crack. And I would like to know why that’s happening.
Are those cracks new or have they always been there?
TAMMY: No, no, no, no. They just started, because the place was built in 1969.
TOM: Yep. You’ve got to get to the bottom of it, Tammy, because there’s something wrong with the house for those cracks to occur like that.
Now, you’re not talking about mortar that fell out, are you? You’re talking about physical cracks; all the mortar is still there. It’s just separated.
TAMMY: It’s just separating. It’s all it is. The mortar is still there.
TOM: Yeah. I would – here’s what I would do, Tammy: I would go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Find a certified home inspector in your area or have a structural engineer look at it, get their recommendations and then you can take it from there. If the cracks are that big, I want to stop the building from moving before we begin to think about sealing them up, OK?
TAMMY: OK. OK. I sure appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, more and more of us are finding ourselves joining the maker’s movement: you know, we like to rethink the wheel and figure out new ways to do something. If that sounds like you, have we got an exciting competition program that you’re going to love to watch and perhaps one to take part in next season. We’ve got the CEO and the executive producer, Tom Gray, of Make48 joining us, so stick around.
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: Well, if you’re the type of person that’s always looking for ways to build a better mousetrap or maybe you’re the kind of guy that spots a new product and thinks, “Hey, I wish I thought of that.” If that’s you, you’re going to love a new show that’s airing on PBS right now that’s all about the invention process.
LESLIE: That’s right. This awesome new show is called Make48 and it features teams that compete over a 48-hour weekend to plan, build a prototype and pitch a new commercial product idea. I mean that’s jam-packing a lot of work into a very short amount of time. Tom Gray is the CEO of Make48 and co-executive producer of the show Make48. And he’s here to tell us all about it.
TOM GRAY: Hey, guys. How are you?
TOM: We’re awesome. This sounds like a really exciting weekend. How many of these do you do a year?
TOM GRAY: We do two Make48 competitions per year.
TOM GRAY: And a lot of it was fully filmed for television so it could be an exciting, new documentary series.
TOM: So where do the teams come from, Tom?
TOM GRAY: We have 17 teams in our Season One and we have teams all over America. And we also have a team from Canada. And then, we actually have an open casting call right now for Season Two and it’s 12 teams. They’re going to be representing 12 different states. So it’s a good spread of people of all demographics and ages and from all over the country. So it’s going to be really good.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, these are teams that are already established. They kind of have this idea when they’re coming into production? Or are these people you’re throwing together and they have to come up with an idea all on their own as a new group?
TOM GRAY: Yeah, it’s a bit of a mix of both. Teams can apply by themselves as a team or they could apply as an individual and we will place them on a team. But they have no idea at all of what challenge we’re going to call. So, as you can imagine, it’s very daunting that you’re going into a competition. You’ve always been intrigued by inventing and you always wanted to do it. And five minutes before that clock starts, we give you a challenge and up to five [paying points] (ph) and you have to solve that challenge. So, yeah, it’s a very fun concept.
But the best thing we do and the teams really appreciate is that we have a whole bunch of tool technicians and machinery to help you build your product. So, if these teams are struggling or if they’re working in a category that they’ve never been in before, we have a lot of support to help them execute their invention.
TOM: So, with a 48-hour timeframe, what’s sort of the normal flow for the invention? They spend, what, a few hours just kind of roughing out the ideas and then get right to the prototype?
TOM GRAY: Yeah, correct, Tom. You’ve got teams who will spend anywhere from, yeah, two to six hours just brainstorming. We then have patent attorneys on standby so they help them review their idea to make sure it’s not already on the market. And yeah, after about 12 to 24 hours, they should have their idea very much in their mind and on paper and brainstormed.
And then that last 24 hours is very much building the proof-of-concept prototype with all the equipment supplied. So, it’s an action-packed 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours, they have a working prototype to produce to the judges – to show to the judges. They have a one-page website, they have a pitch video. It all has to be done in that timeframe. So it’s nonstop, nonstop action.
TOM: Man. Hey, you mentioned the patent attorneys that are standing by. I imagine that probably these teams put some number of hours into polishing a concept and then find out that maybe it’s not patentable or somebody had actually done it before. Does that happen?
TOM GRAY: Yeah, correct. Yeah. A patent attorney can only find so much in a short amount of time. But with all the technology these days and of course, Google, you can find pretty much any invention that’s out there already in the marketplace. But yeah, they get penalized. If there’s a product already existing or they’ve copied some other product, they’re not going to score greatly at the end of that 48-hour competition. So, it’s an extremely important piece and we’ve had many teams in the past have to stop halfway through and restart over again because they’ve found that the product already exists.
LESLIE: I mean it’s stressful. I was watching your trailer online and one of the teams, it seems, Day Two, almost end time of the whole competition has to completely restart their prototype. And I know what it’s like working against a clock like that. That’s got to be so stressful for these contestants, yet super exciting for the viewer.
TOM GRAY: Yeah, you’re right. You’re right. It’s good for both sides. You know, you’ve got teams that have near invented before and they’ve got nothing to lose because they’ve never invented. They’ve never – there’s no pressure on them, so they let their mind run freely. And the other teams, you’d be surprised. They come up with some of the best innovations compared to a top design firm. See, it’s a really good mix and it’s very, very, very good to watch.
TOM: We’re talking to Tom Gray. He’s the CEO and executive producer for Make48, a new program that gives teams 48 hours to invent a new commercial product.
So, Tom, what’s the cherry at the end of the whole process? If they invent something and they try to get it to market, can these guys actually make some money on this?
TOM GRAY: Yeah. Tom, what the big cherry at the end of the whole thing is that they get a licensed agreement with my company, Handy Camel, and then we commercialize those three products. So, we’re going to see the good, the bad, the ugly and show that on the TV series. We’re going to re-prototype the products with the fictional firms. We’re going to make really cool marketing videos.
And then we’re going to prepare them and get them ready for their launch. And that launch is a big part of crowdfunding with Indiegogo. And that’s the documentary and that’s where it’s going to end until Season Two. And when – we rewind and see what happened to those products from Season One.
So, they’ll get a royalty. They’re not – we’re not forcing these inventors into business like you see on some other shows. So they’ll get to see the good, the bad, the ugly with products and innovation and get a five-percent royalty of wholesale at the end of the day. So, it’s a very cool prize.
TOM: Fantastic. Tom Gray, the CEO from Make48. You can learn more at Make48.com.
Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Tom.
TOM GRAY: Thanks, guys. We’ll talk to you soon.
LESLIE: Alright, Tom. That sounds like a super-fun show. And don’t be surprised if Team Money Pit shows up for Season Three. Just saying. Got some ideas. We’re going to make them.
Alright. For everybody else, give us a call now with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.com, where you can find top-rated home pros you can trust.
TOM: And for local pros who want to grow their business, HomeAdvisor is the easy way to get connected with project-ready homeowners.
LESLIE: Alright. If you are a family out there that loves to play basketball – now in my house, we play Horse because that’s about as skilled at basketball as we get – we’re going to have some tips on the easiest way for you to install a basketball net, right in your yard, to foster those hoop dreams for those kids in your house or adults with dreams of getting out of the easy chair with the remote and joining the mix. Because God knows they could use some help. Ugh. Stick around.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, have you heard about our new sweepstakes? It’s with Speed Queen and it’s called the Speed Queen Lovin’ My Laundry Sweepstakes.
These are fantastic machines. They’re basically tested to last 10,000 cycles, which is 25 years’ worth of use. And we are giving away two sets of washers and dryers, including delivery and hookup.
Now, that pair is worth over two grand. Going to go out to two lucky winners. But if you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe I won’t win that,” well, you could win 10 first-place prizes – that’s a $200 Amazon gift card with a few laundry supplies tossed in – or 40 of the runner-up prizes, which is by itself a $50 gift card. So we’ve got a lot of stuff going away, courtesy of our friends at Speed Queen. That website is LovinMyLaundry.com, LovinMyLaundry.com.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a family that loves to play basketball, installing a basketball net in your yard can really help all your kids foster their hoop dreams. But the hardest part of the project is to set the pole. So, here’s an easy way to do this. You can use a product called QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete.
TOM: Yeah. What you do first is you dig the post hole.
Now, you need to make it so the diameter of the hole is three times the width of the post. So, if it’s a 4-inch post, that’s a 12-inch wide hole. And you want to make it at a depth of about one-third of the post height above ground.
Now, once you’ve got the hole dug, you just throw about 6 inches of gravel into the bottom of the hole, then you tamp that down solid maybe – you don’t have to use a post-hole tamper, because you might not have one of those. I use the butt end of a 2×4. It works just as well.
LESLIE: It just works the same.
TOM: Little rough around the hands but wear gloves. And that’ll get the hole just good to go.
LESLIE: Now, here’s what you want to do next – is you want to set the post into the hole and then attach 2×4 braces to adjacent sides of the post. And that’s really just to help keep it in position.
Now, since you can’t nail the braces into a metal pole, you can use a large, adjustable clamp to hold those braces in place. And you can use a level to make sure that you’re positioning the post perfectly vertical, because it does not make sense if you can score a 3-point basket on a pole that’s kind of crooked. Doesn’t really help.
TOM: Crooked post. Exactly.
Now, here’s the trick of the trade: the next thing you want to do is to fill the hole with the QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete. But you don’t have to mix it first. You can basically pour it right out of the bag, into the hole. And you want to come up to about 3 or 4 inches below grade. Then all you do is pour about a gallon of water for every 50-pound bag you used, into the hole, and you allow that water to kind of drain down and saturate the concrete mix. It’s going to set solid in 20 to 40 minutes, meaning you can get the game started in pretty much no time at all.
LESLIE: Yeah. QUIKRETE has made projects like this a lot easier with their fast-setting concrete. Now, it’s in the red bag. It’s available at home improvement retailers nationwide. And right now, there’s a bonus bag available that has 20-percent more of that fast-setting cement right in it.
TOM: This way, the pole definitely won’t come down.
TOM: Hey, look for it in the red bag or learn more at QUIKRETE.com.
LESLIE: Sherry in Georgia is on the line and needs some help revamping a dresser. Tell us about your project.
SHERRY: Yes. I’ve got this dresser that my father found in a garage. It’s all wood and it’s beautiful but somebody has painted it white. And I would like to get the white paint off.
LESLIE: For good or to put stain on or to paint over it again?
SHERRY: Yeah, I’m thinking to put stain on. I think it’s all wood. It looks like a really nice piece of furniture. But it also has framed drawers. I don’t know; I guess that’s what it’s called. It has the wood around the drawers. So I’m thinking that’s going to make it really hard.
LESLIE: So it’s like a glass front door with a wood frame?
SHERRY: Well, it’s not glass. It’s all wood but the wood has a good frame around it.
LESLIE: Alright. It shouldn’t be a problem.
What you have to do is if there’s any doors or drawer fronts or things, you want to either pull out the drawers or just take off the drawer fronts. You really want to make it easy to work on things, so you need a lot of flat surfaces.
So with the doors, with the framework, try to take them off if you can. Leave the hinges either on the door back or in the dresser itself. And then get everything on a flat surface. And you need to find a good paint remover, a stripper product. I’ve used Rock Miracle before. I like it because it’s got a really thick consistency and you kind of slather it on there. And you can actually see where it is, rather than brushing something on and making – wondering if you’ve covered all spots. And then you really want to follow the directions.
So you have to let it sit on there as long as they tell you to. And then you want to use a paint scraper to gently sort of scrape the paint off the surface, because you don’t want to gouge anything into it. Because that will show up when you start working on it in the future. And you could have to do it a couple of times.
Now, depending on the type of wood that’s underneath that white paint, you might not be able to get all of the paint off. So you really have to kind of experiment with it and see how well it is removable.
And then once you’ve done that a couple of times, you’re going to wipe it down. Then you might still have to sand it in a couple of places with a very fine sandpaper, to make sure that you get all the last bits of the paint off. Then you want to wipe it down with a tack cloth and then prep it for staining.
So, that’s when you really want to make sure that you’ve got it perfectly beautiful and clean and ready to go before you put the stain on. Because once you start to put the stain on, everything’s going to show.
SHERRY: OK. Now, what was the name of that product again?
LESLIE: I like one called Rock Miracle. It comes in what almost looks like a turpentine can. But there are all different kinds. So, you know, you might want to pop into your local home improvement center. Ask them which one they like to work with, because you might not be able to find Rock Miracle at your place. But definitely feel it out and ask somebody at your local home center what they recommend. But that’s the one I like; I’ve used it a lot of times.
SHERRY: OK. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome. Good luck with it.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Coming up, your doorbell tells you when someone’s out front but what if it could say so much more? We’ll tell you how to customize your doorbell’s ring so it says or plays whatever you want it to, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: But if you’re looking for some advice right now, head over to MoneyPit.com and post your question, just like Brielle did who writes: “My 1984 Colonial home has no exterior door or window surrounds and I’d like to add surrounds to both. Must some of the clapboards be removed to install the surround or are there products available to avoid this step?”
TOM: Well, there certainly are a wide variety of products available that are designed to go right on top of that siding. And usually, they’re synthetic. There’s a company called Fypon that makes exactly kind of what you’re after. These are polyurethane and PVC exterior surrounds. And the advantage of the polyurethane is that you never risk rot or warp. That’s almost inevitable with wood. So, you really don’t have to remove any of the home’s clapboard to do that, which is – also means you don’t have to sort of break that seal that’s keeping the walls watertight. These can go right on top and it’ll look great and be good to go in no time.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Rex saying, “I plan to paint the interior of my parents’ home before listing it for sale. The problem is both were smokers for many years. How should I treat the walls to eliminate smoke stains and odors?”
TOM: Well, first of all, it’s beyond the walls. Because, remember, the carpet or any of the furnishings or curtains, those are all going to have to be probably replaced. But for the walls, you want to scrub them down with TSP – trisodium phosphate – you want to prime them with an oil-based or solvent-based primer and then you want to topcoat the paint. That will seal in any odor that’s sticking into those walls. But as I said, you’re going to have more to deal with than just that. In fact, if we take that carpet up, you might want to prime the subfloor below it before you put new carpet down, because that will also help seal out any odor.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps and good luck with the sale of the home.
TOM: Well, whether you dread the sound of it or can’t wait to hear it ring, your doorbell is an important part of your home. And now, there are lots more ways to make it actually fun, as well as functional. Leslie has got some creative ideas, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, your doorbell is one of the first things that your guests see when they visit, so you want to make it something that they’re going to remember. Why not swap out the status-quo cover for a sophisticated, engraved or even a hammered metal, perhaps a custom plate that might have your initial on it or your house number or – if you know it or you’ve got one – a family crest? That really personalizes this first entry into your house.
Now, if you really want to get the visit started off right, you can greet your guests with something that’ll give them a chuckle before they’ve even stepped inside. There are all kinds of ideas online for witty DIY doorbell covers, including one made of the Enter key from a computer keyboard and another for Halloween where it’s a squishy, plastic eyeball placed over the doorbell button for an eye-popping, spooky, scary way to announce your arrival. And since you’re the one who’s got to hear the doorbell every single time it rings, you might also consider bringing that customization indoors.
Now, wireless doorbells rely on radio waves and some of the models come with a variety of customizable sounds or chimes instead of that traditional ding-dong bell that everybody’s so used to. There are even models that let you use songs or voice recordings to announce someone’s arrival, similar to a customized ringtone on your phone. So, if this were in my house, every time the doorbell rang, a Coldplay song would play in my house.
TOM: Of course.
LESLIE: And I would be so happy instead of so annoyed every time the doorbell rings. I mean it really is great. But let’s take it one step further, guys. If you want to add some safety for you and your guests, you can put a doorbell camera, like those from Ring. It’s going to let you see and talk to anybody coming up to your door from wherever you are, anywhere in the world. You can see what’s happening, whether you’re right in the house or totally across the globe. So lots of ways to update the safety and the fun at the front of your home.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, some home improvement tools can be more dangerous than others like, for example, a plumbing torch. Heard so many stories about plumbing torches burning down houses. It doesn’t have to be that way. We’re going to have tips on a safer way to tackle those plumbing projects and more, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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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