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: We’re here to help you with your home improvement projects and décor dilemmas on this beautiful fall weekend. We’d love to talk about what’s going on in your home. Is there a project, as you look around, that you’re trying to figure out how to get done? Maybe it’s something you’re stuck on. Maybe it’s something you don’t want to do yourself but you want to know how to hire a pro to get it done or what it should cost or what to ask for. Hey, we’re here to help you with all of those topics. But you’ve got to help yourself first. Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 or post your question to Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve ever tried to pick colors for a painting project only to get stuck in, what, analysis paralysis, we’re going to have some tricks of the trade to help you choose a painting palette that can give your space a beautiful, new look.
LESLIE: And with all the smart-home devices – your phones, laptops and even TVs – hogging up all that bandwidth in your home, have you ever had trouble getting connected? Well, we’re going to hear about a new technology from eero that can extend wireless coverage to every nook and cranny of your home or apartment. And it’s as simple to install as plugging it into an outlet.
TOM: And also this hour, it won’t be long before trick-or-treaters are headed to your door. So don’t let an unsafe walkway, stairs or driveway turn their boos into boo-hoos. We’re going to have the full checklist for making sure your property is free of hazardous tricks, just in time for Halloween.
LESLIE: And when those trick-or-treaters do show up, you’re going to be able to see them before answering the door, with this hour’s prize. We’re giving away the Ring Video Doorbell Pro worth 249 bucks.
TOM: Yep. It lets you see and speak with visitors at your door, from anywhere, using your smartphone, your tablet or your computer. Going out to one caller drawn at random. The only way to qualify is to pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Mary in North Dakota needs some help with a concrete floor. What can we do for you?
MARY: We’ve got crumbling concrete on the basement floor after water problems this spring.
TOM: OK. Alright.
MARY: And it’s very crumbly and powdery. And there are places on it that I’d like to paint, if I could.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Do you want to try to stabilize the deterioration of the concrete?
MARY: Yeah. I was wondering if there was some kind of sealant that could be sprayed or poured on it.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. First of all, in terms of the water problem, is this a problem that happened after a heavy rainfall?
TOM: Alright. So if you’ve got water that comes in after a heavy rainfall, I want to make sure we try to slow this down so it doesn’t happen again. Adding sump pumps, things of that nature, is not going to stop this from happening again. What stops the heavy rainfall from getting in is outside, looking at your gutters and your grading, making sure the downspouts are discharging away from the house, making sure your gutters are clean, making sure soil slopes away from the house.
We’ve got extensive articles – actually, several of them – on MoneyPit.com. Just search “how to stop a leaking basement” and it’s the same advice. And we talk about the proper drainage improvements. So, do that first.
And then, in terms of the concrete itself, you can use a patching compound. QUIKRETE has a patching-compound product. You definitely want to use the patching compound, because it’s designed to stick to the old concrete. If you try to put new concrete over it, it’s not going to stick. So, the ready-to-use patching compounds are trowel-applied. They’re latex formulas, so it’s easy to clean up. But that will seal the old concrete.
Then, once that dries, then you can paint it. And what I would look for is an epoxy floor paint. The epoxy paints I like because they’re a chemical cure. When you buy the floor paint, you get the paint in a gallon can that’s about three-quarters filled and then a quart of hardener. You mix them together, stir them up and then you apply the paint. Sometimes, there is an additive that goes in after the fact that gives you some texture to the floor, helps kind of hide the dirt. But patching it first, then adding an epoxy paint will have that looking like new in no time.
MARY: OK. But the name of the sealant was called what?
TOM: QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E. It’s QUIKRETE Concrete Patching Compound. Good stuff.
Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ed in Colorado is on the line with a basement-plumbing question. What can we help you with today?
ED: Oh, I live in the area of Colorado that suffered from the floods. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of the persons that had a flood but some of my friends that did have had sewerage backup in their basements. And somebody mentioned that there was such a thing as a check valve that can be installed that still lets it act as a drain but will stop any backups. And I was wondering if you have a recommendation, if there’s any problem with them that you know of.
TOM: Yeah, Ed, that’s called a “backflow preventer valve” and it’s a type of valve that is installed in the main waste line. And it does just what you explained. If the sewage flow reverses and there’s pressure onto the sewage pipe to kind of pump that sewage back into your house – which can get terrible, because it can come up through every drain in the house – the backflow preventer valve will stop that from happening.
But just keep in mind that it’s not to be confused with the sewer trap, which stops sewage gas from backing up. You actually need the sewer trap but you also need the backflow preventer valve, especially if you have an area that apparently is susceptible to this.
So I think it would be a good thing to do. You’re going to need a plumber to install it. It’s a bit of a project, because you’ve got to get access to the line to do it but it is a good idea to have it done.
ED: Do I have access through the drain and the little screen that’s over the top of it?
TOM: Well, the line has to be actually – this is a valve that has to be plumbed into it, so it depends on whether or not there’s enough room to kind of move the pipes around to get this backflow preventer valve in there.
ED: Oh, we’d have to bust up some concrete in that case.
TOM: Well, perhaps. Or certainly, you’d have to extend the line that’s there, OK?
ED: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.
TOM: Good luck with that project. 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. Give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are here to give you a hand with everything you are working on this busy time of year, 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, if you’ve got a room that’s all one color, it can kind of be a situation where you’ve got too much of a good thing. One easy tip to spice it up for a much better look is next.
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.
TOM: Loving my new Ring Video Doorbell, so much that we’re giving one away this hour. It’s very cool because when somebody comes up to your door, they ring the doorbell and then their mug shows up on your phone no matter where you are. It lets you see and speak with people at your door, really, from anywhere. We were driving back from Virginia after watching our daughter play a fantastic game of field hockey and we were talking to people that were coming up to our house. How about that? Trying to sell us stuff. Told them that we were washing the dog and couldn’t get to it.
But yeah, it’s a great product and so happy to have one here to give away to one caller drawn at random. If you pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, hey, that could be you. It’s worth 249 bucks, so what are you waiting for? Call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Stephanie in Colorado on the line who’s installing some French doors. How can we help you?
STEPHANIE: My husband and I have sliding doors in our bedroom that go outside. And we have French doors that we have – they’re all ready to put in; they’re framed. And I was just calling to see if you had any advice about putting them in.
TOM: Well, let’s presume that the French doors and the sliding doors are going to fit in the same opening, to start with. Is that correct?
STEPHANIE: The French doors are a little taller.
TOM: Ah, that’s a problem.
STEPHANIE: Just about an inch.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a tough inch to pick up, you know, when it’s in the height like that. The thing is, you’re going to have to figure out if you have enough room to get those French doors in, Stephanie, without having to cut or modify the header that’s going to be above the sliding door. Because the distance from the floor to the bottom of the header, that’s called the “rough opening.” That’s the rough, vertical opening. And that rough, vertical opening has got to be taller than the distance from the bottom of the French door to the top of the jamb of the French door. Because if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get that French door in that opening. It’s absolutely critical that the rough opening be sized properly.
So, you could probably figure that out by just pulling the molding off from the side of the slider. And you’ll see enough of the framing there where you could get a pretty good measurement as to how much room. Sometimes, there’s a fair amount of room above the sliding doors until you get to the header and maybe you’ll have that room.
Now, if you’ve got the room, putting that French door in is – it’s not a basic, do-it-yourself project. I’m just going to tell you that right off. But the way I would approach it is – the first thing I would do, if it was me, is I would take the slider out one panel at a time. You want to try to make this as light and manageable as possible. So you remove one panel, then the other. Then you pull out the slider frame.
And you put the French doors in the same way. You take the doors off of the hinges. And what you actually “hang” inside the opening is just the frame of the French doors without the physical doors in place. Just the outside jambs. Because that’s very easy and lightweight to handle and if that’s installed properly and square, then the doors will pop in right after that with minor adjustment. But that’s the way you approach it.
Again, not a basic, do-it-yourself project. Putting a door in is one of the more tricky projects. So if that’s above your skill set, I would definitely hire a carpenter or a handyman to help.
Alright, Stephanie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MIKE: I’m actually calling to find out the best way to remove the trim and old hardwood floor without tearing it all up.
TOM: So you want to remove just the trim? Is that what you said?
MIKE: The base mold, the quarter round and the existing previous hardwood. I’ve got new hardwood to put down.
TOM: Oh, you’ve got new hardwood to put down. But you said without tearing it up. I mean you’re going to have to tear it up to remove it.
MIKE: Yeah. Without destroying it to be able to repurpose it.
TOM: Oh, without – oh, oh, OK. Yeah, I see what you mean. You want to try to preserve it. Man, I’ve got to tell you, it’s tough because if it’s traditional ¾-inch hardwood and it’s put in with flooring nails – these are flat, long steel nails that go on an angle and they go in the tongue part of this and it’s very, very difficult to take that floor up. Generally, you have to cut it out and pry it up.
It would be an enormous amount of work for you to get that floor out. Even if you sort of cut out, say, a foot of it so you can get some flat bars in there and started working it, I think you’re going to find that it’s going to be a lot of work to try to work each one of those boards loose to the point where you could back the nails out and preserve it. It’s certainly worth a shot and depending on what kind of materials – what kind of hardwood they used to put that together, Mike, you may have a chance of trying to save some of that.
But it’s very, very difficult because if it was put down properly, it would have been put down with a flooring nailer. And the way that thing works is it’s a hammer that kind of fits right into the tongue side of the board. And then you slam the mallet down and it shoots the nail deep into the wood and then countersinks it. So, it’s a hard fastener to get out. It’s really only designed to go one way.
MIKE: Oh. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when it comes to choosing paint colors, too much of a good thing can be bad for your décor. So if the color in your wall seems to be too saturated, then look at it on the paint strip and go up one or two shades to find a lighter one for the ceiling. I’ve heard of people putting color on the ceiling. I usually do it in a small space that tends to give it a more cozy feel. And in that situation, it really does work for that. So you can really find some fun by going a lighter shade of the same tone for your ceiling.
Now, you can also spruce up a plain, white room simply by adding a pop of color to one wall or maybe even all four. And if your room has a soffit that makes it look too small, soften those sharp edges by painting it the same color of the ceiling. So often, rooms are designed with so many interesting angles from the ceiling, from different roof lines or connections for additions, that you really struggle with what’s ceiling and what’s wall. So, you’ve got to look carefully and think about what’s a continuation of the ceiling and what’s a continuation of the wall, because that truly can make a huge difference.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. We can help you make a difference on your next home improvement project.
LESLIE: Susan in Pennsylvania is dealing with a woodpecker, except it’s not Woody the Woodpecker giving her the heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.
Although he might be, as he’s making holes in your house. What’s going on, Susan?
SUSAN: Well, thank you very much for taking my call. I’ve learned so much from listening to this show. I live with my daughter and son-in-law and there is a woodpecker every morning. He comes and has breakfast, compliments of our home. And my son-in-law has looked and there is damage and of course, he’s going to have that taken care of. But we’re trying to find out how do we deter this woodpecker from coming back or just picking another spot.
TOM: Does he generally like to pick the same kind of spot?
SUSAN: Yeah. He seems to be right over top of their bedroom, right in that area on the side of the house.
TOM: Oh, great. So it can wake them up in the morning.
Alright. So, let me give you a couple of things that you can try that are really easy. One of which is to get some tin pie plates, like the aluminum pie plates. Hang them from fishing line or sort of a thin cord or something so that they sort of dangle in the area where the woodpecker likes to hang out. Because they really are annoying to the birds and they don’t like to see their reflection; they think there’s other birds around. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to make them go away.
Another thing that you can do is you could take strips of a plastic Hefty bag, cut it into 3-inch strips so that it kind of blows around in the breeze. That kind of has the freak-out effect. And neither of these, obviously, hurt the birds. You don’t want to leave them on for very long but they do work pretty well at keeping the woodpeckers away from your house. And maybe they’ll just decide that, you know, your neighbor’s house is a better place to be.
SUSAN: Oh. OK. That’s fantastic. Yes.
LESLIE: I had a woodpecker put a pretty nice-size hole in the soffit material of my home. And I was re-siding and changing out all of the soffit material for one of those AZEK type of extruded PVC product that looks like wood but obviously, the woodpecker is not going to eat it. So I didn’t bother repairing this pretty nice-size hole that the woodpecker made. And in the process of the work happening, before that soffit and fascia material came off, a whole family of squirrels moved in.
SUSAN: Oh, aren’t you lucky? Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: William in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
WILLIAM: Well, I’ve got a wood stove in my living room. And I have my stovepipe coming out the back, through an elbow, going straight up about 5 or 6 feet and then got another 90-degree elbow. And it’s going through the wall, through an insulated piece of stovepipe, to the outside and then another 90-degree bend and going up about 4 or 5 feet to my – to the cap (inaudible at 0:16:24).
TOM: You have three 90-degree bends in the wood-stove pipe?
WILLIAM: One, two – yeah, got three in it. And what’s happening is right behind my wood stove, I have a big, 3×6-foot plate-glass window that’s framed in. And we’re getting some leakage of black creosote liquid. It’s condensation or water of some type. It’s got creosote in it. It is actually dripping down and running down the inside of the frame of the window.
So the leak is in the – is inside the wall somewhere. And I have sealed and done everything that I possibly can and I don’t know how to stop this leak or what could be causing it or where to go from this point.
TOM: So, does the pipe exit the wall above the window?
WILLIAM: Yes, it does. Just above the window, to the left.
TOM: Alright. Well, see, here’s what could be happening. First of all, I really don’t like the fact that you’ve got three 90-degree bends in this stovepipe. That’s a lot of resistance to kind of overcome. And also, with the three 90-degree bends, that pipe has lots of time to cool. And so the cooler the pipe gets, the more condensation you get. As the condensation forms inside the pipe, it basically washes down the pipe, comes out the seams of the pipe and carries away all of the charcoal debris that’s inside the pipe with it. So that’s probably the source.
And I guess what I would be more tempted to do – it’s not so much the kind of thing where you’re finding a leak. I’d be more tempted to replace my stovepipe with at least a double-wall pipe that was insulated. Because then you’re not going to have that difference in temperature and it will – you will never have any of those kinds of condensation issues. And it’ll be a lot safer, too.
My concern with that pipe is it’s really hard to clean and every time you have a 90-degree bend in a pipe, William, that’s equivalent, resistance-wise, to 20 foot of straight pipe.
WILLIAM: Wow. So I might be better off just running that thing straight up through the roof rather than taking it out the side of the house.
TOM: That’s the best thing to do, with an insulated pipe – a triple-walled, insulated pipe – straight up through the roof and out, without all those bends. Just make sure you’re following the National Fire Protection Association guidelines for this. Get it inspected. And I think you’re going to be a lot happier with it.
William, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, in many ways, WiFi is becoming an essential utility, much like electricity. But since it’s often in such high demand, many homeowners are faced with dead zones and sluggish connections. There’s a new technology that promises to help and it’s as easy to install as just plugging it in. We’re going to share all the details, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, with the increasing number of smart-home devices coming online and the rapidly growing use of video- and music-streaming services in the home, can a single WiFi router support the amount of internet activity competing for that bandwidth?
LESLIE: Well, our next guest says no. Nick Weaver, founder and CEO of eero, is joining us now with details on how we can increase our WiFi bandwidth without adding more routers to your home. This sounds like a mystery of science.
NICK: Thanks for having me, guys.
TOM: So, Nick, it’s true that with the development of the WiFi network at home, we’ve certainly been able to increase, exponentially, the demand on that bandwidth from what it was just a few years ago. Are you seeing that we’re at the point now where a lot of these home WiFi networks simply can’t keep up with the demand?
NICK: Yeah. There’s a few things at play here. So one is people are using their networks more than they ever have before. They’re also connecting more devices than they ever have before. And then the third and probably biggest nuance point is the connections coming into our homes have increased dramatically. And so, when you get all three of those things together, what ends up needing to happen is you need to have a much more robust WiFi network to deliver faster speeds to more things, all at the same time. And so, what we’ve built at eero is a really easy-to-use system that allows you to do that at home.
TOM: OK. So how does it work? Does it basically take the signal and allow you to kind of have more geographic coverage?
NICK: Yeah. That’s a good way of putting it. So, instead of having one big router in the corner of your home, we give you a few smaller units that you plug in everywhere. And so what that does is then you have more points in your home that are broadcasting WiFi. So, any device in your home will be closer to something broadcasting the internet. So that improves the signal strength, it improves the speed, it improves reliability.
So, one good way of thinking about it is WiFi is a radio wave. And so the further you get away from it, the less strong it’s going to be, the less reliable it’s going to be. So, with our system, by having multiple points throughout the home broadcasting the internet, it’s always going to be faster and more reliable.
LESLIE: Now, the multiple points that are broadcasting the internet, how does this really work? You know, are they all connected to your modem? Do they sort of speak to each other and transmit to one another?
NICK: Yeah. So both. The first unit you have in your eero system, that plugs in with an Ethernet cable into the back of your cable or DSL modem. And then the other units in your home, all they need to do is plug in to power. And they’ll either mesh wirelessly together or if you have structured wiring, like Ethernet, in your home, you can plug in Ethernet into those devices, as well.
TOM: So why is it that these devices can communicate the WiFi signal or distribute it or repeat it, so to speak, whereas standard WiFi routers can’t? Why would you put one of these devices in as opposed to multiple routers? Is that because you’d have to have another Ethernet point to kind of get the feed to it, so to speak?
NICK: Yeah. So in the consumer market today, there’s kind of two options that people typically have had. One is you can go buy a range extender, which just repeats the signal, cuts the strength in half and you’ll then have two different network names. And then the other option is you could go run Cat6 throughout your home and have everything run over an Ethernet backhaul, which is really expensive to do and really complicated to set up. And so with eero, we’ve blended those two approaches.
So when our units are plugged in to power and power only and they’re connected over our mesh network, we actually have two radios on the device. So, we don’t cut your network connectivity in half. And then on the flip side, if you do have a couple points in your home that have Ethernet, you can plug eeros in and it’ll detect automatically that it’s connected to Ethernet and join the network in exactly the same way.
TOM: We’re talking to Nick Weaver. He’s the founder and CEO of eero, a system that now enables us to have WiFi connectivity pretty much throughout our entire homes.
So, Nick, we get a lot of questions on the show about smart-home technology and I think that’s been a real challenge, with respect to this topic. Because let’s say, for example, I want to have a smart garage-door opener where it might tell me whether or not my door is open or closed as I drive away from the property. Well, to do that, we’ve got to be able to grab a WiFi signal in the garage and that’s traditionally kind of a dead zone. So, I guess this technology would help eliminate those dead zones throughout the entire home.
NICK: Absolutely. As we have all these connected devices coming online in our homes, you have to have coverage everywhere. It’s kind of like having running water or power in every room of your home. And yeah, with our product and our technology, we’ll allow you to just keep plugging in additional eeros until you have the coverage you need everywhere in your home, whether that’s in your bedroom or living room, garage or even your backyard.
LESLIE: Now, how do you know how many eeros that you need for your type of home or your size home or maybe even just the kind of furnishings you have in your house?
NICK: Yeah. So, a great way to start is – or a good rule of thumb is one unit per 1,000 square feet. So, our base system that the vast majority of our customers buy, it’s a three-pack: three identical eero units. And that’ll cover a typical home that’s 2,000 to 4,000 square feet. And what’s great there is you can start with three and you can always add on from there.
So, with most customers, we say, “Try the system. If that fits your needs, then great. If you’re finding that you wish you had even better coverage in another part of your home, you can always buy another unit or two units or three units and just continue to increase your coverage.”
TOM: Nick, I was looking at your website at eero.com. It’s e-e-r-o.com. I notice you also have an app where you can kind of walk around the house and check your signal strength. Is that correct?
NICK: Yeah, what our app does is it’s collecting information from your eeros all the time. So if an eero is connected, if it’s updating its software, if there’s connected devices that are joining your network, you’ll have all that information in your phone. And what’s great is it works not just in your home, when you’re on your network, but it’ll work anywhere in the world. It just needs access to the internet.
With that app, we also have parental controls. So you can set time limits for your kids and have devices shut off at, say, 8:00 p.m. on school nights and turn back on first thing in the morning. So you can start having more control over how the internet is being used in your home.
TOM: That’s fantastic. I remember when my kids were young. The internet in my house always broke around 8:00 and we just couldn’t figure it out. And it broke the same time every single night.
Nick Weaver, the founder and CEO of eero, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. What fantastic technology. Can’t wait to get my hands on some eero units and try it out in my home. Thanks, Nick.
NICK: Thanks for having me.
LESLIE: Well, that’s super awesome. Great product, Nick.
Alright. Still to come, you guys, you want to give out Halloween treats and no tricks? Well, make sure that your walkways, stairs and driveway are safe. We’ll tell you how, after this.
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.
Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get help with whatever you are working on this busy autumn season. I’m sure there is a lot to tackle around your money pit. And you know what? We’re going to be inside a lot more and people could be ringing your bell. It is the holiday season. Alright. I’m just going for it. It’s Halloween, I know, but let’s call it “the holiday season.” People are going to be ringing your bell. You might not be home. We’ve got a great prize called the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
Now, that’s going to let you see and speak with whoever is ringing your bell, from anywhere in the world, even if you’re just in your house right on your smartphone, your tablet or your computer. You know, Tom’s got one of these at home and we were just talking about how surprising it is when you’re not there seeing who shows up at your house. And what the heck are they doing there? So it’s some good information to have, especially when you’re thinking about the security of your home.
It’s a great prize. It’s worth 249 bucks.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us, right now, with your home improvement question. You might just win the Ring Video Doorbell.
LESLIE: Isaac in Alaska is on the line. What can we do for you today?
ISAAC: Yes. I want to know – I have a basement that sometimes leaks sometimes. And I want to know, is there such a thing, like a basement window or another basement exit, you can install on your basement which will carry the water away from your basement and it also acts just like a window, also?
TOM: So, is the basement leaking whenever you have heavy rain?
ISAAC: Yes. It’s some sort – we have this certain times, not all the time. But certain times, they do. It leaks in certain parts of it.
TOM: OK. That’s actually good news. Because the reason that it’s leaking is that you have a problem with drainage at the foundation perimeter. And if you solve that drainage problem, you’ll stop it from leaking. Whenever you have rain that reacts – when a basement that floods in reaction to rain, then that is always, always, always caused by a problem with drainage. And that’s easy to fix.
So I want you to look at your gutter system. Make sure it’s clean, make sure the downspouts are extended and make sure the soil around the house is sloped away. If you do those three things, you’re not going to have to worry about a flooded basement. The idea of trying to channel water away is not such a good idea because we can stop that water from forming in the first place, OK?
ISAAC: OK. OK. Thank you for taking my call. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’ve got it. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, fall is in full swing, which means one thing: Halloween. But as you get ready to hand out those treats, make sure your house isn’t serving up any unwanted tricks.
TOM: Now, if your neighborhood is anything like mine, the average trick-or-treater is a young child on a sugar high, in a costume that’s probably obstructing their vision and making them prone to tripping. So that could all add up to a homeowner’s worst nightmare. So you want to make sure your property is free of problems that could lead to falls or worse.
LESLIE: Yeah. You want to start by checking out the path to where you’re going to hand out your candy. You’ve got to make sure that all your steps that are there are in good condition. Repair any loose bricks or paving stones or just simply uneven areas.
And even the most well-maintained property can afford good lighting on a night when it might be overrun with excited kids. So add the brightest bulbs that are rated for the fixtures you have. And you might even want to consider some strategic illumination of a walkway. You can do low-voltage lighting kits or even motion-activated security lights.
TOM: And if your house is all decked out in Halloween décor, we applaud your spirit but you want to make sure those decorations don’t interfere with safety. So make sure the handrails are clear and don’t forget about your pets. They can also get spooked by all of those dramatically dressed visitors and all the sounds they make. So make sure they’re tucked away safely indoors and away from trick-or-treaters.
888-666-3974. If you’d like to get your house tricked out for the fall and winter season ahead, give us a call right now. We’re here to help you get that job done at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sandra in South Dakota has a question about tile flooring. How can we help you with your project?
SANDRA: We bought a house that was built in ’78 and I don’t think it’s been updated since then.
SANDRA: And I want to start my redo with my bathroom.
SANDRA: And I’ve been wondering – I don’t know whether I should go porcelain or ceramic or – I’m stuck on what type of tile I should use.
TOM: OK. So, I see here that you told our screener that you want a tile that can hold up to cats, dogs and kids.
TOM: Either porcelain or ceramic will work but porcelain will be very expensive for you. And ceramic tile, there’s so many options in it. As long as you get a glazed tile and that you use an epoxy grout, that combination will be very easy to clean.
SANDRA: OK, great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, holiday celebrations mean a lot of food and that means a lot of cooking. You want to make your kitchen a safe and functional place to make food prep easier? We’re going to share some advice on how to do just that, when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues 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.
TOM: And as temperatures drop, it is a good time to think about getting your house ready for winter. And I think one place to start is your chimney. You want to make sure it’s safe for toasty fires, if you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, but you also want to make sure that it’s safe if it’s just handling your furnace and your water heater.
Now, the best thing to do is to have it inspected on an annual basis. But I would caution you to make sure you use a certified chimney sweep and not anybody that’s kind of fly-by-night. And if anybody tells you that your chimney is in horrible, terrible, dangerous, crazy, structural broke-down piece-of-junk condition, get a second opinion. Because in that business, there’s a lot of people that lie. And I’m only saying you’ve got to be really careful. Anyone tells you you need a – you have a terrible thing going on, you’ve got to get it fixed right away, get a second opinion from somebody who is not in the business of doing the cleaning. Important to get done but just be careful.
LESLIE: Well, Steve, it’s as simple as good prep. A good painter’s tape is really going to do the trick. You want to paint your base coat first on the walls and then go ahead and tape everything out. And if you’re trying to get a crisp stripe, you want to go over with that same paint color because that’s going to seep underneath that paint. Or you can buy a tape that has an additive that sort of seals the edge when you put that first coat on. Either way, crisp lines.
TOM: Well, many of us will be spending more and more time in the kitchen as we get ready for holiday celebrations of all sorts throughout the rest of the year. So, if you’re looking for some shortcuts to help ease that workload, you’re in luck. Leslie has advice on how to create a kitchen that is safe and functional, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, I love to cook for my family and friends and oftentimes, I have to cook for things at work, as well. But there are several tips and tricks that I always keep in mind to make sure that I’m working safe and smart.
First of all, guys, you have to remember that raw poultry, it can carry salmonella and prepping it does require an extra step of disinfecting. So you want to wash your hands often, use a plastic cutting board, not a wood one. Because the wood ones can hold germs in all those small cuts on the board surface and it’s really just difficult to get the germs out of there. For a quicker cleanup, you can simply flip the board over after the poultry prep but don’t forget to wipe down the counter with the disinfectant afterwards.
Next up, heavy pots and pans. They’re tricky to move from place to place. So when filling, place the pot on the stove first. Then add your ingredients. You can actually get an extra-long hose for your sink’s sprayer so you can fill your pots with water but you don’t have to move them.
Now, lighting is also key in your kitchen. And it’s not difficult to achieve good lighting in your kitchen spaces. You can use those stick-on LEDs. They run on batteries and you could have them just under cabinet lighting. And that’ll give you a faster look-see at everything that’s going on in the counter space.
I’ve got to admit it, guys, I turned 40 and suddenly I can’t see anything. My sisters told me that this was going to happen and I was like, “Ha ha. My vision’s amazing.” Well, sure enough, it does get harder to see things as we all get older. And of course, I’m not that old. So under-cabinet lighting is hugely helpful, especially this time of year as it gets darker earlier and we’re preparing bigger meals for so many friends and family.
Finally, guys, you have to remember that half of all burns that are treated in the ER do result from a scalding injury. So you want to set your home’s water heater to about 120 degrees. And that’s going to avoid the water from coming out of the tap at a super-dangerous high temperature. I mean also think about it: you have a lot of visitors this time of year. They may not be used to how your shower works. So adjust the water just to make sure everybody’s safe and sound and has a happy holiday.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about that electric bill. Is it giving you a sticker shock? We’re going to teach you how to reverse that trend, starting with a solid understanding of where all that power is going and how you can trim it back to save big bucks. That’s all coming up, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
Happy Fall. Hope you are enjoying this beautiful weekend. That’s all the time we have. We’ll see you soon.
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.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2016 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.)