How to Read a Lease Before You Sign!

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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to help solve the do-it-yourself dilemmas that you may be facing. If there is a summer home improvement project that you just need to get done before it gets cold, well, you better get started because we only got a couple of months left. I mean we’re almost a third through the summer. I know. I hate to say that but it’s true. So if you’re getting hung up because you don’t know where to start, start right here by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up on today’s show, renting your first apartment is a big step. If that’s you or somebody you know, one of the scariest parts of the process is signing the lease. We’re going to tell you what to look for to make sure you or your loved one is protected.

    LESLIE: And kitchen counters serve as the work surface for family life. You know, it’s where you prepare food, eat your family meals. It’s also one of the easier ways to step up your kitchen design without spending a fortune. We’re going to tell you how to get that project done.

    TOM: And it’s a great time of year for outdoor living, so we’ve got some tips on creating projects, like grill surrounds and fire pits and benches, that are literally as easy to build as stacking blocks.

    LESLIE: Plus, this hour, we’re giving away the perfect product to help eliminate mold, as well as mildew, moss and algae. We are giving away Spray & Forget’s House & Deck Concentrate with hose and sprayer. And that’s going out to one lucky listener who calls in with their question to 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    That Spray & Forget is terrific stuff. It’s the best performing, no-rinse exterior cleaner. And it removes exterior stains without the need for rinsing. So, call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and a chance to win that nice package from Spray & Forget. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ray in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    RAY: I have a little problem. I had painted my bath – the walls and the ceiling – a few years ago and also put on a border. Well, the ceiling paint is peeling in big spots. And when I painted it, I used KILZ. And I don’t know why it’s peeling.

    TOM: So there must be moisture behind it or – how old is this house?

    RAY: Well, the house was built in ‘78.

    TOM: Because the other thing that can happen is if you have multiple layers of paint, sometimes you’ll get delamination of an older surface of that paint. So what might be peeling off might not be the paint from the KILZ or the KILZ from the prior paint. It could be a layer several layers back. And when you have such a severe adhesion problem, the best thing to do is to strip the old paint off of the ceiling, then apply an oil-based primer like KILZ or really any other brand that’s a name brand. And then apply a flat ceiling paint on top of that.

    RAY: Yeah. I did use a ceiling paint. But now that you mentioned it, looking at where it’s peeling, it does kind of – it’s a – let me think here – yeah, like a grayish color underneath the paint.

    TOM: Yeah. So, you see, it may not be what you painted that’s peeling. It might be a prior layer that’s peeling.

    RAY: Right. I follow what you’re saying. Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah. So you need to get all that old paint off and start from scratch, unfortunately.

    RAY: So now, do you have to just scrape it or sand it or do you have to …?

    TOM: Well, no, you’re going to need a paint stripper. You’re going to need a paint stripper because you’re not going to be able to scrape it. You’ve got to get that loose stuff off.

    RAY: Wow.

    TOM: OK?

    RAY: That’s a lot of work.

    TOM: Look, the other thing you could do is you could put another layer of drywall right on top of that and just skin it. You wouldn’t even need to use ½-inch drywall; you could use ¼-inch drywall. You’d have a seam or two to tape and spackle but then you’d start from scratch.

    RAY: Alright. Well, I appreciate the help on that.

    TOM: And I think we just filled up a couple of weekends for you, too.

    RAY: Yeah.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Donna in New York is on the line and is having an issue cleaning some showers. What’s going on, Donna?

    DONNA: Well, I work at a fitness facility. And boy, do I have a problem with one out of four of the shower stalls there. That one, of course, is in the men’s room. Oh, my God, it’s so gross. It constantly cakes up this slimy, brown, gross, moldy – I don’t even know what this gunk is on the walls. And I have tried everything. I used bleach, the bathroom cleaners, antibacterial scrub brush. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t even know what to do.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s just getting away from you.

    Well, first of all – and I know this is out of your control but the more humidity that builds up in that space, the worse this will continue to get. So if they don’t have good ventilation, they get dirtier and dirtier because it supports the growth of mold, mildew, algae and moss.

    But one product that I’ve had great success with is called Zep – Z-e-p. It’s a shower, tub and tile cleaner. It’s a commercial cleaner. It’s not expensive. It’s about seven bucks a jug at Home Depot. And when you spray it on, it foams up and does a really good job of cutting out that nasty combination of soap scum and then everything that grows in the soap scum. Because the soap scum is like a food to a lot of those materials and that’s why it just gets so nasty. So I would try the Zep – Z-e-p – and see how you like that.

    DONNA: Oh, my God. I am so glad I got through.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, your home décor question, maybe-you-want-to-just-get-something-done-before-the-summer-is-over question. Give us a call anytime at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to

    TOM: And just ahead, renting your first apartment is a big step that’s both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. And one of the scariest parts of the process is signing the lease. If that’s you or a loved one, we’re going to tell you what you need to look for to make sure you’re protected, next.

    Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by to take your calls, your questions to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. Find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.

    And we’ve got a great reason for you to pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT because we are giving away a fantastic prize from our friends at Spray & Forget. We’ve got the 32-ounce House & Deck Concentrate with hose and sprayer.

    Now, this is going to get rid of exterior stains that are caused by all that nasty green stuff – mold, the mildew, the algae, the moss and the lichen – without the need for any rinsing. It’s super easy to use. You just attach your hose to it and you spray. It works on flowerpots, on decks and patios and walkways and even outdoor furniture. It’s very eco-friendly. There’s no bleach, there’s no lye, there’s no acid, there’s no phosphates, there’s no heavy metals. It’s good stuff. is the website. We’re giving away the Spray & Forget 32-Ounce House & Deck Cleaner worth $27.95 to one lucky caller drawn at random. If that’s you, pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bob from Arkansas on the line with a flooring problem. What’s going on at your house?

    BOB: I was out of town overnight and our house flooded inside from a broken pipe. And it flooded the whole house. So, the company came in and tore out all my flooring and subflooring. And when they came back in, the contractor is about Pergo – or not Pergo – stick-together tiles that are like Pergo. Anyway, when they put them together or put them in, did not lock them together. They laid them on the floor and knocked them together and broke all my locks. Now they’re coming apart.

    TOM: Oh, we see – a lot of those laminate floor tiles, they’re not designed to be glued together. They’re sort of a locking joint.

    Now, if they did not install them correctly, if they tried to bang them together instead of – so you have to sort of like rotate them to click together. Then there’s going to be nothing you can do about that. They have essentially damaged the floor.

    BOB: OK. My question is – they’re going to replace it but should I have them tear out this whole flooring and put the new one in or just put this over that?

    TOM: Yeah, definitely get rid of the old stuff because it’s not going to be secure. There could be movement under that. No, I would go back to the way it was. Get rid of that old flooring and start again from scratch.

    Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Judy in Minnesota is on the line with a moisture issue. What’s going on?

    JUDY: Our house is about 40 years old. And it has – in the room that we’re talking about, we’re painting it. We painted it once before without a primer. And it turned out really – I thought it looked really nice. But now we repainted it a different color. And on the inside, then, is that rough paneling. And it’s separated by – it’s got the insulation in there with a plastic on it. And we noticed now – and we’re going to paint it – that there’s moisture halfway down on the paneling. We think that’s caused by condensation.

    TOM: It may very well be if it’s a damp space.

    Now, there are some things that you can do to reduce condensation in below-grade spaces. It’s kind of the same steps that you would take if you were having an actual flood. You want to make sure that your exterior drainage is set up so that no moisture is being trapped against the outside foundation wall. And that means making sure the gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended and the soil slopes away from the walls.

    If you’ve done all those things, then the next thing I would do is I would install a dehumidifier in that space. And try to find one that has a built-in condensate pump so that it collects water and pumps it out. Otherwise, you’ll be emptying buckets upon buckets of water.

    And then, finally, it’s also possible to install a whole-home dehumidifier, which is an appliance that is attached to your HVAC system. These are highly effective at pulling moisture out. In fact, most of them will take 99 or 100 pints of water out a day. So, those are three different ways that you can reduce moisture in that space.

    Judy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Celina in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    CELINA: Last week, I had estimates done on my home to have all my drainpipes replaced.

    TOM: Hmm. Why did you do that?

    CELINA: My house was built in 1944 and we’ve had some trouble here lately with clogs and everything. So, I just decided to go ahead and replace all the drain lines.

    TOM: Is that because the – you were getting roots and that sort of thing in the pipes?

    CELINA: I don’t think there’s roots in them, no, because we’ve had those – the pipe from the house back to the drain replaced already. This is just the inside pipe. And they’re old and yes, we have had a couple of them to rupture but I just decided to get them all replaced.

    However, today, my son told me that all of that is useless if I don’t get the main line coming into the house replaced, also. And I wanted to see what your take was on that.

    TOM: Well, we’re talking about two different types of pipes. You’re talking about drainage pipes versus supply pipes. And the supply pipe that comes into the house may or may not need to be replaced. The questions I would have for you are: what’s the pipe made out of and are we having any problems with it?

    Now, in an older house, you may have the original steel plumbing – steel main-water pipe – coming into the house which, if the house was built – did you say the 40s?

    CELINA: Right.

    TOM: That’s a super-old pipe that definitely is at risk of breaking.

    CELINA: OK, great. So when they come back out to do my plumbing, because they’re doing it in two weeks, I need to ask them to look at the pipe. And that means – because none of the people that gave me estimates even mentioned it was bad.

    TOM: Well, I would take a look at that. And typically, in a house, you don’t replace the drainpipes. I’m a little surprised that you’re doing that. Typically, in an older house with steel pipes, you end up replacing the supply pipes. And you do the horizontal pipes first because they’re the easiest to access. And you do the vertical pipes that go up through the walls last because they’re the hardest to access. And you can do it in stages.

    The first step of a steel-pipe conversion is to do the main. The second one is to do all the horizontals in the basement crawlspace and the third is to do the verticals. And so, typically, that’s what you do in a house that has that kind of plumbing.

    You mentioned you had some problems with clogging with the drainpipes but that’s pretty unusual. And I actually have never heard of anyone wanting to replace drainpipes. Typically, they replace supply pipes.

    So you might want to get a second opinion on this and not just take the opinion of the plumber that wants the work.

    CELINA: OK, great. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Well, renting your first apartment is a big step. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying and it does that all at the same time. And one of the scariest parts of that process is signing the lease. It’s important to be sure you don’t miss any details before you take that big step.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, first, when you get the lease, you’ve got to read it. Yes, all of it, every single line. Reading that lease is going to prevent you from getting stuck with unreasonable rules that you just don’t want to live with. And not only that, the initial lease, it’s negotiable. If you see problems, talk it through with the landlord. Often, they’re going to be willing to make reasonable changes to help you get moved in. If they aren’t willing to make those changes and the circumstances of the lease don’t work for you or your lifestyle, pick a different apartment.

    TOM: Next, you’re going to want to take pictures of everything. When you move in your first apartment, you’ll be expected to pay a damage deposit or a “security deposit,” as it’s often called. Now, ethical landlords are going to give that back to you if you don’t cause damage to the apartment before you move out. But unfortunately, not every landlord is eager to turn over that deposit money. Document the way the apartment looks before you move in, so if there are any problems you’ll have a photo proving it was not your fault.

    For more tips, check out our blog post, “8 Things You Need To Know Before Getting Your First Apartment.” It’s on right now.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Kansas where Russ has a roofing question. What can we do for you?

    RUSS: OK. I’ve got a farm that I bought eight years ago and on the farm, there’s a very large, very old barn. A matter of fact, the loft is large enough that you could probably fit a regulation-sized basketball court inside of it. According to the graffiti inside the barn, it was built in either ‘34 or ‘38. And it was done originally with cedar-shake shingles with 1×4 stringers, what, about every 4 inches or about a 3½-inch space in between them.

    TOM: Yep. I know the construction well.

    RUSS: OK. And as you know, those cedar shingles are not going to be in very good condition as of this point. So I know I’m going to have to go up there. Trying to figure out a safe way to work up there so I can remove the cedar shingles, so I can prep it to go back with, probably, a metal roof. The question is – I’ll have to screw the roof down. The question is: am I – will I be able to go directly with the 1x4s with the metal roofing or would I be better off nailing everything fully and putting down some plywood or OSB?

    TOM: Well, I think that a good roofer could work with the 1-by furring strips that are up there right now. Because, frankly, that’s the way metal roof was originally put down. It wasn’t put down on solid sheathing; it was put down on strips just like that. So I think that that’s a fine option for you. I don’t think you need to do the sheathing in this particular case.

    If you were going to put down asphalt shingles, I’d tell you you need to sheathe it. But for a metal roof, you may have to do some additional carpentry to get the strips where you want them, to make the seams on the roof and so on, but I don’t see a reason for you to sheathe this barn. I think the metal can go right on top of that.

    RUSS: OK. So patch the rotted 1x4s and maybe put in some where the seams are and we should be good that way?

    TOM: Absolutely.

    RUSS: OK. Do you have any suggestions on how to safely work on a 45-degree pitch?

    TOM: Yeah. Call a roofer. It’s not a do-it-yourself project. I mean that’s a really high-end project and if you do it every day, you have all the appropriate safety gear and scaffolding and skill set to be able to work on that. That’s a very dangerous place to try out your do-it-yourself skills. Because handling those big sheets up there, you get a wind gust and you start flying off the roof. Those medical bills add up very quickly, so I would definitely recommend that you have a professional do this.

    RUSS: OK.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Scott in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    SCOTT: I put in a wood deck about a year ago. It’s treated lumber; cedar, I think. And the lumberyard or the mill, they stamped it with their stamp that tells the grade or the manufacturer or whatever it is. And I want to stain it with a transparent stain, so I want to figure out how to get that off of there. I’ve tried power-washing it but that doesn’t do any good.

    TOM: No, you have to sand it. It’s in the grain of the wood, so you’d have to sand it out. And you can do that without affecting it because the pressure treatment goes throughout the entire wood.

    But it’ll be a slightly lighter color. But why are you going to go with clear? Why not use a semi-transparent or a solid-color stain?

    SCOTT: So it looks more weathered.

    TOM: Yeah, you can do that. I will tell you, the difference between semi-transparent and solid color is probably about five years of longevity. Because the solid color just lasts a lot longer because it’s got more pigment in it.

    SCOTT: Is that right? OK. So, a solid color will last 10 years compared to 5 or something?

    TOM: Long, long – yeah, yeah, I think so. I think that’s fair. And by the way, you won’t have to worry about that stain because it’ll just go right on top of it.

    SCOTT: Yep, OK. Too easy.

    TOM: That’s what we try to do, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Occasionally, there actually is an easy solution.

    LESLIE: You know, your kitchen counter, it serves as the work surface for your entire family life. You prepare your food there, your kids do the homework there, you sometimes eat your meals there, maybe even pay the bills at the countertop. Well, being that you see this surface so often, did you know that it’s the easiest way to step up your kitchen design without spending a fortune? We’re going to have some tips to help you get that counter project done, next.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, or post your question to The Money Pit’s community at The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT and that’s presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.

    TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. Check out

    LESLIE: Rebecca in Alabama, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    REBECCA: We have a tree root that has grown into the foundation of our home. Did not realize it until we took the floor up. And we’ve got the tree down and the stump actually ground down so, obviously, the roots are still underneath the house. We have a lot of problems with the room that was damaged by the tree root, where it came – it has a big hump in the middle of the room. We’ve kind of covered it with furniture. It’s our media room. Used to be the garage of the house but it was enclosed when we bought it.

    We have a lot of problems when it rains. Water, mud comes underneath the rug. And I was wondering if there is a way that we could somehow patch the floor or if we need to get someone to jackhammer up the cement floor that’s in here – because, again, it was the garage at one point, so it’s poured cement – or what we can do to kind of help the problem: if we have to repour the entire section, if we could dig up just that one section and maybe patch it up or what.

    TOM: Well, first of all, there’s no reason you couldn’t cut out that one section and repour just that one section.

    In terms of the water issue, I suspect what’s happening is the water is collecting somewhere outside of that area and it’s finding that the path of least resistance. So it’s pushing down around your foundation, under the floor and up into the garage. So you need to try to track down what that issue is. It’s probably a drainage issue somewhere outside those walls, either with gutters or downspouts or for some reason you’re getting too much water that’s collecting in that area. I would look to that as a source of the water.

    But in terms of the floor, you can jackhammer it up in just a section and cut down – of course, remove all those tree roots. Because here’s the thing: now that the tree is dead, those roots will continue to rot away and you don’t want to have voids under that slab. Once the slab is up, you want to dig out as much of those roots as you can. And then you can put stone in there and repour that and cover it all up.

    So those are the two things I would do: I would remove the area where the bulge is, remove the tree roots and repour it. But also look to the source of the water, because I think that what’s happening is you’ve got a symptom there. The tree root is not causing the water to come in; it’s just following the path of least resistance and working its way in at that spot.

    REBECCA: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, kitchen counters serve as the work surface for family life. It’s where you prepare food, eat your family meals, perhaps even pay bills and help your kids with their homework.

    TOM: And if you’re thinking of replacing your countertop, there’s lots to think about when it comes to choosing the right materials. Here with tips to help us sort it all out is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Thank you, guys. Great to be here.

    TOM: Now, the most basic countertop material is laminate. But that conjures up images of kitchens that can qualify, truly, as antiques. That’s a material, though, that’s making a comeback.

    KEVIN: Well, it has been around for a very long time but it is completely different today than it used to be. And it has got some great features to laminate. You can get a lot of better looks out there right now. It’s very durable and one of the most attractive features: it is not expensive at all.

    TOM: And lots of colors besides avocado green and Pepto-Bismol pink.

    KEVIN: That’s right. I have to confess: I’ve got it in my own house.

    LESLIE: On purpose or you sort of moved into it?

    KEVIN: Well, I moved into it but I haven’t changed it. And I may update it at some time but I’ve got three young kids and it takes a beating and it looks alright.

    TOM: It does. And we should talk about how laminate is made. It’s a resin with a transparent layer that protects it. And laminate is used not only for countertops today but for floors. And it can actually be quite durable with the new technology.

    KEVIN: Yeah. It’s going to withhold against scratches, it’s going to take a beating over the years, it’s actually going to put up with some heat. And so it’s served us very well and there’s no reason we should dispense with it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that, really, today you could have it look like anything. I’ve seen beautiful laminates that look like butcher block, really creative colors and patterns. So, it’s a really interesting lifestyle choice for your kitchen and one that’s affordable.

    Now, I think one of the countertop materials that people really sort of look up to when it comes to kitchens are natural-stone surfaces. How do you feel about those?

    KEVIN: I love them. I’ve got laminate in my house right now but my previous house, when we renovated, we upgraded to granite. I think it’s a great way to actually put a big splash in a particular room and there a lot of great features. Stone is very durable, as well. There are a lot of choices out there. And people just like the look. It’s a good feel and it’s a good look.

    TOM: Now, ceramic tile is actually pretty popular these days and I think it is because it’s a very do-it-yourself kind of a project.

    KEVIN: Do-it-yourself, lots of choices out there. You put it down in small pieces, you lay it out. The one thing I would say with ceramic tile is that you’re going to have grout between the individual tiles.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: And that’s going to be a surface that needs to be sealed and could potentially get dirty after a lot of wear.

    TOM: And the best time to do that is right after you put it down.

    KEVIN: Absolutely.

    TOM: Because wait a week and you can be sure there’s going to be tomato sauce or something worse spilled on it.

    KEVIN: No doubt.

    LESLIE: Now, Kevin, one other counter material that’s really growing in popularity and certainly is gorgeous would be concrete. But is that a do-it-yourself project?

    KEVIN: Well, it’s interesting that you bring this up, because we have actually put in several concrete countertops on This Old House over the last couple years, so I agree. I think they are becoming more popular.

    Now, in 90 percent of the cases, I would say, it has been done by a professional. But there are some kits that you can buy that allow you to create a form, pour the concrete in, trowel it down and you’ll have yourself a nice concrete countertop.

    TOM: Now, that’s a fun project. But one that you can’t do yourself is solid-surface material. Now, I’ve got those in my house. They’re beautiful but it’s not DIY.

    KEVIN: No, it’s not DIY. But the material is incredibly durable. They’re typically non-porous, so they really put up with a lot of wear and tear. You’re not going to have to worry about things like bacteria. And again, the choices? Every year, there seems to be more choices out there. It’s a sharp look.

    TOM: And because it’s solid-surface, if you get a little ding or a scratch, you can actually sand it out.

    KEVIN: Sand it out and patch it.

    TOM: Something else that you can sand is butcher block.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I think that’s really sort of a classic kitchen touch: a butcher-block countertop. But they really require a lot of maintenance to sort of keep your family safe, right?

    KEVIN: On the scale of sort of maintenance, this is probably highest up there right now. They’re not going to be as strong, so the knife cuts are going to get in there. But also, you want to make sure that you don’t get any bacteria buildups. They have to be kept clean all of the time.

    TOM: Now, speaking of safety, there was a concern some years ago about granite countertops containing radon. I never really made very much of it. What do you think?

    KEVIN: Well, radon is typically found in our basements and there are systems out there to mitigate any radon buildup. They actually have fans that pull the air out from underneath the slab and then they exhale it away from the house. I’ve heard these reports that the EPA has found trace amounts but generally, I think the final analysis is they haven’t determined that you can actually have enough radon from a granite countertop to cause any health trouble.

    TOM: Makes sense. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: My pleasure.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on many projects, you can visit

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Marvin Windows and Doors.

    Still to come, we’ve got step-by-step tips on how to build a fire pit in your own backyard, s’mores included. The Money Pit continues, after this.

    Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we would love to hear from you, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call with your home improvement question presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: And hey, here’s another reason, outside of amazing home improvement advice, to give us a call or post a question: we’ve always got the best tools and products to help you keep your money pit in tip-top shape.

    And this hour, we’re giving away Spray & Forget’s House & Deck Concentrate with a hose and sprayer, which really makes it super easy to apply. You can remove all those exterior stains caused by mold, mildew, algae, moss, lichen. You never have to rinse the product away. It’s really easy to use for flowerpots, decks, patios, your walkways, paver stones, outdoor furniture. You know that little area on the bottom of your garage that gets that splatter of the mold? All of those places will be sparkling and shining in no time.

    You can check them out at but give us a call, right now, for your chance to win Spray & Forget’s House & Deck Cleaner.

    TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Rob in Iowa is on the line with a bug/creepy-crawly question. Tell us what’s going on.

    ROB: My wife and I picked up some bed bugs from a hotel we were in.

    TOM: Oh, no.

    ROB: Even though it was – oh, gosh, it’s been a mess. And we’ve had a professional come in. We’ve done – we’ve moved everything out of the room. We’ve bagged up all of our clothing and run it through the dryer. And we still – they’ve sprayed and we’ve still got residual bed bugs. Is there anything else we can do?

    TOM: There is a system out there where a professional can pretty much super-heat your house; they kind of turn the house into a bit of an oven inside. It’s a pretty big deal, because you have to take out your plants and all that kind of stuff. But they pump in hot air and basically, what they do is they drive up with this, essentially, like a furnace on a truck. And they put these big supply ducts into the house and they overheat the house. And I forget what the temperature is they have to get it up to. It’s not a dangerous temperature but it basically …

    LESLIE: No. I want to say it’s like 120 degrees or something.

    TOM: It’s something like that but it heats everything up in the house for some number of hours and that completely wipes out the bed bugs, no matter where they are. So you don’t have to find them with the spray to catch them; you just overheat the house.

    So if you can find an exterminator in your area that does heat treatments like that, that’s proven very effective at wiping bed-bug populations out for good.

    ROB: Very good. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, I’m a big hiker and after a long day on the trail, there’s nothing like relaxing around a campfire. You can have that campfire feeling, though, all year long in your very own backyard when you build your own fire pit.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? It’s not a difficult project. And it’s made even easier when you use RumbleStone from Pavestone.

    Now, RumbleStone is an outdoor building block, basically. And the RumbleStone fits together quickly and easily and truly, the only limit is your imagination.

    TOM: Yeah. Now, for a round fire pit that’s about 10 inches high and about 45 inches across, you’re just going to need two sizes of the RumbleStone blocks: the mini-blocks and the trapezoidal-shaped blocks. All you do is you create a stable, level project area and then you lay out those trapezoid blocks and mini-blocks in a circle and you alternate each one. They can even be secured with construction adhesive, so there is no mortar ever needed.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, three layers of RumbleStone is all you need. For the second and third level, you want to offset the blocks from the layer beneath it. Then just line the bottom with sand and you’re going to be ready to fire up the s’mores in no time. I hope you’ve got some scary stories, too.

    TOM: Absolutely. Now, for a complete materials list, instructions and more info, you can visit And look for the RumbleStone videos under the How-To Guide tab.

    LESLIE: Laurie in New York is on the line with a gardening situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAURIE: I have a tea-rose bush in my backyard, which attracts a lot of Japanese beetles. And I was wondering if there is something that I can do to get rid of the Japanese beetles, to save the tree.

    TOM: Well, yeah, I mean there’s traps for that. And the traps work very well. They’re usually scented or they have some sort of a chemical attractant for the beetles. And the beetles are essentially – will essentially walk into the trap, fall into a bag and that’s that.

    One company that makes them is called Rescue – R-e-s-c-u-e. You can go to and take a look at the Japanese and Oriental beetle trap. I’ve used the Rescue products on wasps and bees and always found that they worked really, really well.

    And we’ve seen these folks at many of the trade shows that we go to and they always seem to have a very good-quality product line and they’re very serious about making sure their products work well. And I think that you’ll – that would be a good place for you to start. The Rescue Japanese Beetle Trap,

    LAURIE: Very good. Thank you very much. I’m going to try that. As soon as I get off the phone, I will look at their website.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit. Coming up, have you ever had a door leak during a heavy rainstorm? Well, then, you might know how Whitney feels. We’re going to solve her problem and maybe yours, as well, when we take questions from The Money Pit community, next.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your question to the Community page at, which is what Whitney did.

    LESLIE: Alright. That’s right. Whitney writes: “The winds in my coastal-area home often hit windows at an angle. The problem is we have a leaky, sliding-glass door where the sliding-glass door meets the ceiling. We’ve tried adjusting the gutters by pitching them but the leak continues. I was told a leak can start anywhere, so I’m not sure how to go about fixing it. Can you help?”

    TOM: It can start anywhere and the crazy thing is that when you have wind-driven rain, it can – you know, gravity doesn’t necessarily play the normal role. So you would think you would have a leak right above wherever it showed up, like in your ceiling. But with wind-driven rain, it can be driving in sort of one side of the sliding door and sort of work its way across to the other side. Or it could be driving in somewhere above and get in through the siding.

    If you’ve done the normal, obvious things, which it sounds like you have, by adjusting any – or cleaning gutters and making sure there’s no obstructions that are causing this, I’ll give you a couple of hints or tips. One of which is this: if you just want to simply reduce the amount of water that is sort of landing in that area of the roof, with the hope that that might stop this leak without you having to do any further major repair, you could attach, to that roof surface, what we call a “diverter,” which is simply a bent piece of aluminum flashing. It kind of looks like what we used to call “angle iron.” It’s maybe a 2×2. You can find it in a home center and it’s the kind of drip edge – a drip edge is another word for – that you would put over your trim, if you were working on the roof, say, on the fascia.

    But you put it flat on the roof and it basically catches the water as it comes down. You’d seal it down with some asphalt cement. It would catch the water and sort of divert it around that area where the door is. And yeah, if it’s on the back side, who cares what it looks like? If it’s on the front side, it’s not that attractive, I’ll tell you that. But the alternative is – to really figure out why this is happening – is you’ve got to pull the siding off around the door. And of course, that’s a big job and then you have to seal the whole thing in.

    Now, there are a number of different flexible types of flashing products. Grace makes one – I’m sure there are others – where it’s like a 12-inch-wide sort of rubbery strip that seals all around the door. It goes up under the siding and then you put the siding back over that. But you really have to seal this whole thing in.

    The truth is that even after you take it off, you may not be able to see exactly why it’s leaking. And when you flash it, you kind of cross your fingers to make sure you’ve got it. Because you can’t always see exactly the reason it’s coming in. But what you could do is go back to basics, in terms of making sure that door is properly flashed. And hopefully, one of those two tips will help you stop that leak for good, Whitney.

    LESLIE: Alright. It is a bit of work but once you find the source, it’ll be totally great.

    Next up, we have a post from Jason who writes: “The combination of hot weather and very little rain has my lawn looking more like a hayfield. Is the grass dead and can I save it?”

    TOM: Actually, it’s not dead; it’s dormant. When the grass goes yellow like that, like hay, on hot summer weeks, it’s actually going dormant.

    Now, it is more delicate at that point, so you want to not walk on it. If you walk on it, you will kill it and it’ll have to grow up from scratch. But if you stay off it, it will actually come back. So, try to be very careful not walking on the dead grass until it’s time for the rain to start greening it back up again. If you can stay off the dead grass, it’ll come back as good as new.

    LESLIE: Now, I would imagine the way you mow your lawn probably affects how it grows back, too, and how quickly it will. I mean should you cut it short? Should you let it be a little bit longer? It’s probably like deciding what kind of haircut you need.

    TOM: Everybody wants to cut their grass as low as possible but the truth is that leads to a shorter life for the grass, it leads to more weeds. So, no, you want to have 2½ to 3 inches all the time, in terms of your lawn height. If you do that, your lawn will survive and thrive, even through those hot summer days.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Hey, if you’ve got questions that come up any time of the day or night, you could simply log on to the Community page at or post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at or call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    That’s all the time we have this hour. The show does continue online.

    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.


    (Copyright 2018 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.)

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