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Add Craftsman-Style Touches to Your Home, How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete, Tips on Installing Replacement Windows, and more

  • Transcript

    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: And Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all. It is the official start of summer and that means it’s also the official start of the summer home improvement season. It’s the time when you can get outside and get stuff done around your house.

    LESLIE: You don’t give anybody a break.

    TOM: No way, no way. This is a great time to be outside and work and take care of your house and fix it up. I mean the weather is just perfect right now. And we are here to help make sure that your project comes out perfectly. You’ve got to help yourself first, though. This is the first step in the project. It’s really not hard. You ready? Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    And you know what? If this gorgeous weather has you ready to throw open your windows, well, that’s great but only if they open. If the fear and the cost of replacing those windows is something that’s stopped you from tackling that project, we’ve got some good news. It actually is a project that you can do yourself and we’re going to have some tips on how to do that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, you could have the most perfect front lawn around but all eyes will undoubtedly go to your driveway, especially if it’s looking dirty or dingy or if it’s all cracked up. We are going to tell you how to get your concrete driveway looking brand-spanking new once again.

    TOM: Plus, you’ve heard the saying that “everything that’s old is new again”? Well, that is definitely true in architecture, as well. We’re now seeing a revival of American Craftsman homes and they are beautiful. We’re going to tell you how to get in on this trend by simply changing your entryway to one that will look beautiful and increase your home’s curb appeal and value.

    LESLIE: And for any father figure on your shopping list this Father’s Day, how about eight tools from Stanley to complete all of his do-it-yourself projects? We’re giving away a prize pack from Stanley worth 235 bucks. And it’s got everything from their FuBar Demolition Bar to a retractable utility knife in it. It’s a great gift for Dad or yourself.

    TOM: So, give us a call right now. We’re going to choose one name from The Money Pit hard hat of those that call the program with their home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call and let us help you get that project done.

    LESLIE: Keith in Illinois is on the line. How can we help you today?

    KEITH: I have a one-and-a-half-story house that has a – on the second floor is the – well, the rooms are basically half-heights. They’ve got the – in the middle, they’re full height but on the edges, they’re not. That’s where the closets are at.

    During certain times of the year, the trusses tend to expand and it lifts the drywall in the edges and causes it to curl along the seams. And the builder wanted to put crown molding up there to prevent that. And what I had wanted to do, obviously, was prevent the action completely. It had been recommended before to add ventilation above the attic to get good airflow through there. The builder has said that by adding additional venting, which would be – I would consider the side vents. He said that would actually ruin the venting system that’s already in place, which is in the eaves.

    Do you have any additional recommendations for that?

    TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, truss lifts happen when the trusses shrink and they pull up in the middle of the room and that’s why you get the ceiling cracks, correct?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: And the ventilation you have right now, do you have continuous soffit venting?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: And do you have ridge venting down the peak of the roof?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: Well, you’ve already got the best ventilation system out there. So as long as it’s working properly, it’s not blocked, there’s no point in putting additional ventilation in there.

    KEITH: OK.

    TOM: Now, is it possible for you to get above the trusses, down like right above the ceiling?

    KEITH: Well, I can’t get above that area. I mean it’s boxed off and of course, they have it insulated but they do have the Styrofoam blocks that prevent the insulation from blocking the truss vent. No, unless I cut through the top of the roof, I cannot get above the ceiling there.

    TOM: Well, if the trusses were installed correctly – which, of course, isn’t going to help you – there are some L-shaped truss clips that they would have installed that could have prevented this problem, that help as the roof expands and contracts. The reason I asked you if you could get to them is because they may be able – you may be able to install them after the fact.

    But if you can’t get to them, then I’m afraid there’s really not an easy solution to this. If you were to add a second layer of drywall over what you have and you were very careful to make sure that the seams didn’t line up with the seams you have now, you may create a roof that’s strong enough – or a ceiling that’s strong enough – to not show cracks like it is. I would also glue the new layer to the old layer. But again, I would overlap those seams, so to speak. Does that make sense to you?

    KEITH: Yes. So they don’t line up.

    TOM: And that might make it strong enough. Because right now, there’s no strength in the seams; you know, it’s just the paper.

    KEITH: Yeah.

    TOM: So that’s going to be the weakest part of the ceiling structure. If you were to put a second layer of drywall and glue across that, then I think you would have a really, really sturdy ceiling and it would be unlikely that it would continue to crack.

    KEITH: If I could sand on the – because I can get in the attic and get up to where the 2x4s come together in the truss. Would I be able to screw in a bracket there? That’s what you’re suggesting to basically strengthen that joint?

    TOM: Keith, if you can get on top of the drywall, so to speak, those trusses are going to be attached to interior walls in some places, correct?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: So what you would do is you would have to detach them from the interior walls and you would put an L-clip in place of the nails. The clip is attached to one side; there’s a slot on the other. And that allows the truss to move up and down and it will relieve some of that uplift and cracking.

    Now, when you do that, you might see – over the next year, if the truss starts to try to move again, you may see some nail pops that occur. And if that’s the case, you want to punch them up and through to kind of relieve the pressure and then patch the drywall.

    But I do think by the time you go through all that work, that it might be an easier solution just to put a second layer of drywall on. Because your problem is primarily with the seams and that’s going to be the easiest way to fix that.

    KEITH: Yeah, it does sound like it. Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Keith. 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. Now you can call in your home repair, home improvement, design, décor, outdoor – whatever you’ve got going on at your money pit, we’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, Craftsman-styled homes are seeing a revival. We’re going to tell you how you can get in on that trend, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows. Right now at The Home Depot, all special-order Andersen windows, patio doors and accessories are 10-percent off. Replacing windows or patio doors is always a big decision. Saving 10 percent on Andersen and lowering energy bills? Well, that’s easy. And Andersen makes replacing your old, drafty windows easy, with a new 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Replacement Window. Now 10-percent off at The Home Depot. Valid through May 27th, U.S. only. See store for details.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, when you pick up the phone and give us a call, you are, of course, going to get the answers to your home improvement questions. And you might also get the answer to your Father’s Day gift dilemmas. We are giving away an awesome gift pack from Stanley Tools worth 235 bucks.

    TOM: And it has eight different tools, including the FuBar, which is the next-generation hammer that lets you destruct like a pro. Yes, we said “destruct,” which has to precede the construct part of your project. It’s also got a heavy-duty tool box that is water-sealed.

    LESLIE: And you can find more great gift ideas in our Father’s Day gift guide online at MoneyPit.com, which is sponsored, in part, by Stanley.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Cynthia calling in from Brooklyn, New York is dealing with some wet-basement issues. Tell us what’s going on.

    CYNTHIA: I have a question I want to ask you about the waterproofing for the basement. Because I live here in a flood zone and then we had Hurricane Irene and was greatly affected by that.

    TOM: OK.

    CYNTHIA: So I had one company come in and they were asking like 21,000 – a little over 21,000 – to do that waterproofing. Does that sound reasonable or whatever going down there with that company?

    TOM: Absolutely, completely not reasonable.

    Now, the water problem that you had was associated with the hurricane?

    CYNTHIA: Yes, yes.

    TOM: The reason the water came in was because it was sourced on the outside of your house. In other words, when you have heavy rain like that, your gutters become overwhelmed. They dump a lot of water right at the foundation and then pretty soon the soil can’t handle the water and it drains into the house. And so I’m sure this is what happened.

    And if you’re only getting water when you have really heavy rain conditions like that, then you absolutely, positively do not need to spend $20,000-plus on a system to pump water out of your basement. What you do need to do, on a regular basis, is to make sure, first of all, that your gutters are – that they exist, that you have them, that they’re clean, that the downspouts dump the water at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house and even more than that or run them through underground pipes and take them out. And then your grading around the house, the angle of the soil slopes away. Those two things will go a long way towards preventing any further wet-basement problems.

    The problem with the waterproofers is this: they don’t make money by selling you gutter-cleaning services and extending downspouts; they only make money when they come in with their jackhammers and tear up basement floors and put in drain tile and sump pumps. And they do it whether you need it or not. And in this case, you don’t need it because you told me that this only happened when you had an extraordinary weather event like that. And that means you absolutely don’t need that service. What you do need is to make sure your drainage conditions are set up on the outside of your house. Does that make sense?

    CYNTHIA: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Saved another one from the perils of the waterproofing contractor.

    If you look at our website, Leslie, and you look at all the articles I’ve written about this and look at all the comments …

    LESLIE: They’re all from waterproofing contractors.

    TOM: Oh, they hate me. Oh, they totally hate me because I take business away from them, because I tell people the truth. They don’t – you don’t need sump pumps, you don’t need drain tile. All you need is clean gutters. It’s very, very simple.

    Well, one of the great features of many older neighborhoods in this country is houses that are built in the American Craftsman style. This is a style of architecture that began as a way to honor true American craftsmen back in the late 1800s. And it’s a very solid and beautiful style. There are many neighborhoods that are now, fortunately, seeing a revival of it. And the designers at one of our sponsors, Therma-Tru, have actually come up with a way that you can capture that very authentic-looking Craftsman detail for your front entry.

    They are suggesting a Classic Craft door with sidelights. And sidelights are the panels that actually are on either side of the front door.

    LESLIE: And these Classic Craft doors really do match that Craftsman style so well. They will completely enhance and update and really unify the look of your home to meet that Craftsman style.

    Now, when you go with their sidelights, they come in a fiberglass package that’s super-easy to maintain and way more durable than wood. And they’ve got glass panels to let in more light but the glass is still Energy Star-rated. In fact, there are nine different glass options. All are low-E. And they come in 12- or 14-inch sizes, so you can really customize that look for your front entry.

    Now, you can also get either a fir-grain texture if you’re going to stain it or a smooth finish if you’re going to paint it. And once these products are finished, you cannot tell that they are fiberglass; they really look like wood. And if you go ahead and finish up the entire look with the sidelights and a couple of sconces on either side of your front door, you have got instant curb appeal.

    TOM: To learn more about Classic Craft doors and the sidelights, take a look at the Therma-Tru website at ThermaTru.com. That’s Therma – T-h-e-r-m-a – Tru – T-r-u – .com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bill in Delaware who’s looking to install a new roof. How can we help you with that?

    BILL: What I’m looking for is some – a little guidance in the type of roofing material and the – as to the ventilation that they talk about. I’ve talked to a couple of people and they – one had talked about a roof vent which is, I think, in the peak of the roof. And the other contractor that I talked to said that you needed a thermostatically-controlled thing in there that would control the heat and the humidity in the – in your attic.

    TOM: Yeah, Bill, that’s a great question. You’re talking about the difference between a ridge vent, which goes down the peak of the roof, and an attic fan, which is mounted in the roof and is controlled by a thermostatically-controlled switch, as you said.

    BILL: Right.

    TOM: Now, what we would recommend is passive ventilation, so that’s not the attic fan. It’s a continuous ridge vent matched with continuous soffit vents. They’re actually far more effective than the attic fan. But there’s one additional, major benefit and that is the ridge and soffit vents working together are not going to steal air conditioning from your house.

    You have central air conditioning?

    BILL: Yes, I do.

    TOM: Well, if you turn that attic fan on, it will not only depressurize your attic but it can also dig deep into the living space of your house, because there’s all sorts of nooks and crannies where wires and pipes come through walls. And they’re all connected, thermally speaking, to the inside of your house. So what we’ve seen is that when you turn the attic fan on, it can actually depressurize into your house, as well, and steal away some of the air-conditioned air.

    So, attic fans are only recommended in the rarest of circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that – this contractor probably started putting them in when he first got in business and just never stopped and certainly is another profit center. But I just don’t think it’s a good idea except in very limited circumstances. I think what you want is continuous ridge and soffit ventilation. That will do the best job.

    BILL: OK. Alright. What about the type of roofing material? I’ve seen some that look like thatch and some that look – that they give an appearance of being thatch even though they’re the asphalt or whatever type of it.

    TOM: Right. Well, they’re all going to be asphalt-shingle roofs but you’re – what you’re talking about is something called a dimensional shingle. And a dimensional shingle can look like a wood shake, it could look like a slate tile, it could look like red-clay roofs. They’re all good – all made of asphalt. And they’re very good today at the way these shingles are produced to give you that effect.

    I would take a look at some of the roofing products made by Owens Corning. They do a really good job with this. And they’ve got roofs, especially in the coastal area of Delaware where you live, they’ve got roofs that can stand over 100 mile-an-hour winds.

    BILL: OK. I’ll look at that. And I appreciate it and I thank you for your time.

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

    LESLIE: Sharon in Illinois is on the line who’s dealing with a lot of leaky copper pipes. Tell us what’s going on.

    SHARON: We have a concrete slab for our home, with copper pipe in it. And we’ve been having some leaks – some bad leaks – and I have paid a plumber a lot of money. And he mentioned that there was a year that there were some defective copper pipes. And I’m trying to find out what year.

    TOM: Are you suffering from pinhole leaks? Is that what he said?

    SHARON: I believe so, yes.

    TOM: Pinhole leaks is a condition in copper plumbing that’s caused by the acidity in the water. And the problem is that there’s not a lot that you can do about it, short of replacing your pipes.


    TOM: It’s something that develops slowly and the strategies for dealing with this are to either repair the leaks as they develop or to simply plan and budget for a major upgrade of all of the parts of the plumbing that you can actually get to. Because over time, they’re only going to get worse.

    SHARON: Yeah. Well, we fixed the leak on the south end of our house and now, today, we finished the leak on the north end of the house. But I just wondered if there was some – we’ve had two other structures that were built on a concrete slab that have never had one problem.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not the slab; it’s the acidity of the water. If you head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com and you search “pinhole leaks in copper pipes,” you will find a detailed article that I put together on this a couple of years back, that will give you all of the different types of pitting that are associated with copper pipes.

    SHARON: Yeah. Oh.

    TOM: But it really has to do with the pH of the water.

    SHARON: In the water.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.

    SHARON: Well, I just thought maybe – as the plumber said, he said there was a year that there was defective copper – rolled copper – and we thought, “Well, maybe that was the year this house was built,” you know.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s necessarily a specific year of defective copper; I think it’s just the pH of the water that’s going through those pipes that’s causing it.

    SHARON: Thank you, sir.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We hope that you are enjoying this beautiful Memorial Day weekend. We will give you one day off of your home improvement projects to take it easy but the rest of it, you’ve got to get to work. And we’re here to help you get that done. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Up next, is most of your air conditioning heading right out your windows? If so, now might be a great time to think about replacing them. And doing it yourself is actually not as scary as you might think. We’ll teach you how that can happen, after this.

    (theme song)

    TOM: Where home solutions live, 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, are you thinking about replacing those old, drafty, wood windows: the ones that you have to scrape and paint and maybe some that don’t even open anymore? Well, if replacing those windows is moving up the to-do list, then you should know that replacing windows with beautiful, energy-efficient, low-maintenance windows does not have to be a major project and certainly not one that you absolutely have to hire out for.

    LESLIE: That’s right.

    Now, you might be thinking that replacing your windows yourself really isn’t a possibility, because maybe it scares you just to even think about taking out your old window and leaving a gaping hole in the side of your house.

    But if you’ve got some basic tools and skills and get satisfaction out of completing home improvement projects like we do, Andersen has a great solution for you. Here to tell us more is David Nix from Andersen Windows.

    Welcome, David.

    DAVID: Well, thanks very much. Good to be here.

    LESLIE: So, David, is replacing windows really something you can do yourself? Because I know the measuring is critical and I’d be nervous to leave that in the hands of a not-so-skilled homeowner.

    DAVID: That’s a valid concern and a lot of homeowners have that, even myself as a do-it-yourselfer. But it is something that can be done with basic skills and basic tools. And you’re right: the measuring component is a very important part of this, because the windows are custom-made to fit right in that opening and that’s a part of how we make them easy.

    TOM: So walk us through the process, David. If we want to replace windows, we are feeling competent and capable to do this ourselves, as opposed to hiring a pro, take us through the process. Measuring, obviously the first thing that you need to do. But when it comes to actually deciding which windows you want, selecting options, is that something that you guys can walk us through on your website, for example?

    DAVID: Well, absolutely. And that’s a great place to start. So I think with any replacement project, just like many home improvement projects, you want to educate yourself, learn about that project: what’s required, what are the steps.

    And we’ve got some great resources on AndersenWindows.com. You can go online, look at the Replacement Solutions link. You can look at videos that take you step through step. There’s an actual measurement guide that takes you step by step, so you do get that precise measurement, because these products are custom-sized.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, typically, when we’re thinking about a replacement window, we’re generally talking about a double-hung window or a hung window?

    DAVID: That’s correct. So what we’re talking about here today, there’s a number of types of windows out there in the many homes across the U.S. But we’re talking primarily double-hung windows. It’s those old, wood windows that require scraping and painting from the outside and they might not even open. But that’s the type of window we’re talking about today.

    TOM: And really, energy efficiency is one of the most important things you’re going to pick up here, because those wooden windows just can’t compare to the technology that we have today.

    Now, you have a certain line called the 400 Series that’s designed specifically for this project, correct?

    DAVID: That’s correct. We took our most popular-selling window series and made it and designed it for easy window replacement. We basically made it and it’s called an insert window for a reason: it just basically inserts into the existing opening.

    The trick is you’re basically using – you’re going to leave your window frame in place. And on a double-hung window, if you just imagine that window, you’ve got two moving parts and it’s the two glass frames. They move up and down to let you let air in, for instance. You’re basically going to remove that old, not-very-energy-efficient glass and you’re going to pull those frames out. Then you remove the tracks in each side where those frames move up and down and then you’re ready for your new window.

    So, if you watch the video on AndersenWindows.com, you can see these precise steps. It’s really easy and it’s doable.

    LESLIE: And I notice that you didn’t mention anything about removing any trimming or exterior siding. You don’t have to touch that at all.

    DAVID: Yeah, the exterior is usually the most painful but in this case, you’re installing from the inside, so you don’t have to crawl up a ladder with a heavy window. And basically, from the inside, you’re going to remove the small trim pieces that you’ll end up replacing, so you don’t have to buy new trim and restain it to match. So you’re going to reutilize that and basically you’re working from the inside. There’s no messing with your siding and no messing with the exterior trim. That’s what takes time and costs a lot of money.

    TOM: And you’ll pick up a lot of benefits. This 400 Series has a tilt-wash feature, correct? So you can tilt the windows in to wash them and keep them nice and clean.

    DAVID: It does. Thanks for mentioning that. Hence the name “Tilt Wash.” Now, a lot of people aren’t aware of that and it’s a convenient feature. Think about cleaning those second-story windows and sometimes third-story windows. Tilt Wash allows you to take those two, moving glass panels – or sash, as we call it in the industry – and you basically have a mechanism that allows you to simply tilt those back towards you inside the home and clean your windows from the comfort of your home, once again, not on a ladder.

    TOM: Well, there you have it. Replacing your windows is truly a do-it-yourself project if you use the 400 Series from Andersen Windows.

    David Nix from Andersen Windows, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on the process.

    DAVID: Hey, thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.

    TOM: And if you’d like to learn more, visit AndersenWindows.com and you can buy Andersen Windows at your local Home Depot store.

    LESLIE: So, do you have a big, black smudge on your concrete driveway from an oil stain? First of all, fix your car, guys. Then go ahead and make sure you get rid of that stain or it will become a permanent fixture. We’re going to tell you how you can do that, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Flood. Know how to open a can of wood stain? If it’s Flood Wood Stain, you’ve already mastered the hardest part. From the first board you brush to the last, Flood products make it surprisingly simple to protect and beautify your deck, fence and more. Find a retailer at Flood.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, do you want a great Father’s Day gift for the father figure in your life? If so, pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Because one lucky caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to win a prize package from Stanley Tools. It includes eight awesome products from Stanley.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And one of the coolest tools in this awesome package is the FuBar. And that means Functional Utility Bar, alright? Let’s get our heads out of the gutter. And it’s a demolition bar that lets you rip through drywall as if it were paper. I mean this thing looks menacing. It is completely awesome.

    You’re also going to get the 3-in-1 Flashlight and a 201-piece Mechanics Tool Set. Wow. This is an awesome prize. It’s worth 235 bucks, so give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. And you can also find more great gift ideas for Father’s Day in our Father’s Day gift guide online at MoneyPit.com, which is sponsored, in part, by Stanley.

    LESLIE: Carol in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a driveway repair. What’s going on?

    CAROL: We have a single-car, asphalt driveway that goes out of the farm market road, past the front of the house to the back of the house. And it goes between the house deck – I mean the deck on the house – and the storage with a carport. And it’s a single-car, asphalt drive. Goes around a tree and then comes back out. Makes a circle and comes back out and it’s very important to this property. And it’s on a slope. And we want to redo it but we don’t exactly want to dig up the whole thing and start over.

    TOM: OK. What’s the condition of the driveway right now, Carol?

    CAROL: Well, I wouldn’t call it very good; I wouldn’t call it the worst I’ve ever seen.

    TOM: Well, here are your options when it comes to restoring an asphalt driveway. If the driveway is in structurally good shape, it is proper maintenance to repair the cracks, patch any holes and then reseal the entire surface. However, if the driveway structurally is in poor condition – if it’s got really broken-out sections, washed-out sections, if it’s sunken – then all of the sealing and patching in the world is not going to change that.

    So it might be that there’s a combination of things that you’re going to do here but you can do the sealing and the patching yourself. If you want to replace it then, of course, that’s a job for a pro. And there’s sort of an in-between step, too, and we’d have to have a pro look at this to determine if this is possible. But sometimes, you can add an additional layer of asphalt to it and leave what you have in place but put another layer on top of it that’s maybe an inch to 2 inches thick, that could be less expensive than tearing the whole thing out. Does that make sense?

    CAROL: Right. Well, more than anything, we just want it to look better than what it does because we plan on putting our house on the market this summer, because we’re 69 and 71. And so what we’re going to do is downsize because the farm is a lot of work.

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

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time for our Project of the Week, presented by Sakrete, makers of concrete, mortar and stucco mixes.

    It never fails that somebody comes over in an old car, parks it in your driveway and then leaves you with their calling card: a lovely oil stain that will be there forever. “Oh, thank you for visiting and thank you for that.” Or you know what? You could ‘fess up. It might have been your own car having some issues. Either way, this really is the perfect time of year to tackle those stains.

    And to do so, we love to suggest using TSP or trisodium phosphate.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. And you can find that in the paint aisle of most home centers and hardware stores. You simply mix it up into a loose paste and then you apply it to the stained area and let it sit for a good 15 or 20 minutes. Then scrub it clean. It does a pretty good job of lifting out those oil stains. And if they’re really, really old and it’s really, really stained, it’s not going to perform miracles but it does a pretty good job of lightening it up.

    Now, you don’t want to put the TSP directly on your landscaping but you are going to dilute it enough with water so that it’s OK if a little washes off into the grass.

    Now, if all else fails and you really can’t clean the driveway any further, you can also consider resurfacing it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you want some more ideas, visit Sakrete.com. They’ve got a wide range of products for any concrete, stucco or masonry job that you might need. And that’s Sakrete – S-a-k-r-e-t-e – .com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project question.

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

    ANN: Hi. I was wanting to ask some questions on doing shelving, like what’s the best choice to do some shelving in a pantry – I want it to kind of be able to hold some serious weight – and maybe any pitfalls I should watch out for.

    LESLIE: OK. So you need a lot of depth and a lot of different-height shelves, correct?

    ANN: Yeah. Well, mostly canning and then, of course, your standard [candy goods store-type] (ph) heights for shelves.

    LESLIE: OK. And are you looking to do one wall or create an L-shape or shelving on all three sides?

    ANN: I’d like to do an L-shape because the pantry runs under the stairs.

    LESLIE: OK. There’s a couple of different options. When you head to your home center, you’re going to see individual brackets or you’re going to see a tracking system that would be like a vertical track that you would attach to a stud in the wall. And that’s really important, because you want to make sure that you get into actual structure since you’re going to have so much weight on it, rather than using a system of anchors. So you want to make sure that you can get right into the studs.

    Now, when you figure out where those studs are on the wall, that’ll help you sort of determine which system might be better. Because the individual brackets, you place those in the stud and hope that they space out and sort of fit very well in your L-shape. Or those tracks could run up the entire stud and then it’s a bracket that sort of locks into it and the shelf sits on top.

    And you’ll find, also, in the home center – in their aisle – you’ll find shelving panels that are made out of melamine; they’re white on all sides and all finished. You’ll find unfinished wood. The price points are going to vary depending on what you choose but it’s not a difficult project. Basically, get yourself a stud finder and really make sure you get into the structural components in there.

    ANN: OK. I appreciate the information.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Many home improvement projects are costly. Paint, however, is not. It’s the least expensive way to add pizazz and really totally change the look of any room in your house. We’ll have some tips to make that project go super-easy, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you know who else are big fans of The Money Pit? Deer and rabbits. No, I’m kidding.

    TOM: Is that true?

    LESLIE: Of course. They’re listening so that they’ll stay out of your yard. But of course, we love to see them because that means it’s spring and the weather is nice and nature is blooming and evolving for the season. And it’s great until you notice that they’re in your yard and eating up all your beautiful landscaping.

    Well, head on over to MoneyPit.com, search “local wildlife.” You’re going to get some tips there on keeping these lovely, yet annoying, animals away from your hard work.

    TOM: And while you’re online, you can post your question at MoneyPit.com’s Community section, just like Jake in Delaware did who says, “How do I know if my downspouts point my gutter drainage far enough away from my home?”

    LESLIE: Well, do you have water in your basement?

    TOM: Exactly. Downspouts that leak into a basement have a very distinct pattern. If you’re in your basement and you look at the corner of the basement, say, right below where the downspout is, if you see a triangular-shaped water stain that looks small at the top and then sort of widens out across the corner, that’s a good sign that you’ve got a problem with a downspout in that corner.

    But generally, the rule of thumb is 4 to 6 feet is where we’d like to see those downspout discharges. That puts it away from what we call the “backfill zone.” And that’s the soil that was excavated when the home was built and tends to be a little more porous than soil farther away from the house. So if you extend them 4 to 6 feet away from the house and then hit a splash block and make sure they run off after that, you will be in good shape.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Jake? If you have to extend a little bit further than that 4 feet and it’s not the most attractive thing, you can get some tubing to bury underground. But just don’t get the perforated kind; otherwise, you’re putting that water right back where you don’t want it.

    TOM: Well, the most cost-effective improvement you can make that delivers instant results is painting a room. Painting projects continue to be the number-one home improvement project among both seasoned and inexperienced do-it-yourselfers. No matter what your experience level is, though, the key to a good painting job is the prep. Leslie has some tips on how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the number-one prep tip that I can share with you – and it’s really a simple one and it tends to be overlooked often – clean the walls. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve seen crumbs and dust painted right over and then they’re permanently sealed into your wall. And if you like that textured look, sure, that’s one thing. But let’s take the step here and really take the time to wipe down your walls with a damp sponge. Not that difficult. Now, your baseboards and trim, those are top culprits for catching the dirt and the dust. So give them a good wipe-down, too, when you’re getting ready to paint.

    Now, avoid painting edges and corners freehand. Even with a steady hand, prepping is easier than going back in and doing some touch-ups. Now, 3M has come out with a new way to make that prep work a lot easier. It’s called Edge-Lock Paint Line Protector. And it’s a treatment for the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape that avoids seepage and it’s going to ensure that you get super-sharp paint lines.

    Now, with this tool at your disposal, you can go bold and paint something other than a solid color on your walls. Come on, why not? Have fun with it.

    TOM: Those are great products. ScotchBlue tapes are all made to rip off easily. That doesn’t mean you can take them off the store shelf, by the way.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: What it means is they come off easily. And there are several types of ScotchBlue for any project or surface that you’re working on, including a Delicate or a Multi-Surface formula. And they work well for patterns or stripes or other paint treatments. You can really go for it, take the time to prep and enjoy your results.

    If you want to learn more, you can check out their website – it’s ScotchBlue.com – or follow them on Facebook or on Twitter.

    Coming up next week on The Money Pit, would you like to add curb appeal without breaking the bank or your back? We’re going to tell you how and where to add landscape that delivers style, 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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    (Copyright 2012 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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