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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Happy Holidays, everybody. ‘Tis the season. It’s, in fact, almost time for that great American holiday where you get to stuff the turkey and then stuff ourselves: Thanksgiving. But you know what? If the dining room chairs that you have in your dining room are looking – well, let’s say that they’re causing you to lose some of your appetite, this hour on The Money Pit, we’re going to tell you how to do a makeover of those chairs. It’s really not hard and we’re going to give you the tools, the tips and the techniques to get that done.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And if you think having a house full of guests for the holidays is a strain, imagine how your plumbing feels with all that extra usage.

    TOM: Or how your wallet will feel once you have to pay overtime for the plumber.

    LESLIE: Oh, good Lord. Especially around the holidays? We’re talking like three times-and-a-half.

    We’re going to tell you how to avoid emergency calls to that plumber during the busiest and, should I say, most expensive time of the year.

    TOM: Also, if you’ve ever tried to install batts of fiberglass insulation, you know that it can be a giant, fuzzy, itchy mess. Kevin O’Connor, host of TV’s This Old House, is going to be stopping by with some expert advice on the easiest, mess-free way to install it and keep yourself warm through these chilly months.

    LESLIE: And one lucky caller to 888-MONEY-PIT is going to get an easy-to-use tool with a lot of muscle. It’s a PowerNow 40-Volt Cordless Chainsaw. And this is really one nice chainsaw. It can cut through big logs and it’s got a run time on its battery that is fantastic and super-long. And get this, it sharpens itself. How cool is that?

    TOM: I saw a demo with this thing where the guy that was demoing it ran it into the driveway and totally dulled it and then sharpened it like in 10 seconds. And it was cutting logs zip-zip-zip again.

    It’s worth 400 bucks. Going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their question. So pick up the phone right now and call us; it could be you. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We will toss all names into The Money Pit hard hat and if we choose your name at the end of today’s show, we could send that chainsaw off to you. So let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Johnna (sp) in North Carolina is on the line with an electrical question. What can we do for you today?

    JOHNNA (sp): We were wondering: how many 20-amp outlets can you have on one circuit?

    TOM: Hmm. OK. Well, it’s a 20-amp circuit, so Johnna (sp), it doesn’t really matter how many outlets you have. What really matters is how much you’re plugged into those outlets, because 20 amps is all the circuit can take. Does that make sense? In other words, if you have a 20-amp breaker and you plug in more than 20 amps, the breaker is going to trip. So, you can put in as many outlets as you feel like you need.

    LESLIE: Right. That’s the service for your house, correct?

    TOM: Well, it’s not the service for the house; it’s the service for the circuit. So like say the house has 150-amp service and you’re going to have some number of 15-amp circuits and some number of 20-amp circuits and so on. But Johnna (sp) is saying, “Well, how many outlets can I put in?” You can put in as many as you want. You can just only do – you can only power 20 amps or up to 20 amps at a time.

    JOHNNA (sp): Got it.

    TOM: How do you want – why are you asking the question? Where do you want to use the circuit?

    JOHNNA (sp): In our bedroom.

    TOM: Oh, I mean how many outlets can you possibly put in? You’re going to have one about every 6 to 8 to 10 feet, right?

    JOHNNA (sp): Well, we’re – actually, we’re redoing our whole house.

    TOM: OK.

    JOHNNA (sp): We’re remodeling the entire house and we’re running electrical and we’re putting plugs where we think we would use them.

    TOM: Well, that’s smart to do. And frankly, 20 amps is a big circuit for a bedroom circuit. Typically, the bedrooms and the lighting circuits are 15 amps. The circuits for the kitchen, for example, and for the garage would be 20 amps.

    JOHNNA (sp): OK.

    TOM: Alright?

    JOHNNA (sp): I think my husband – we’re putting 20-amp outlets throughout the house. I think they’re all 20 amps.

    TOM: Well, that’s because that’s what guys do; we like to go big on everything.

    Johnna (sp), thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got René in North Carolina looking to talk about duct work. What can we do for you today?

    RENÉ: I have some older rental properties. And I noticed on one there was maybe seven duct lines – air-conditioning and heating duct lines – and about half of them were insulated. I wanted to know if I should insulate those that weren’t and what the impact is, maybe, on the bills for the tenant.

    TOM: I see you’re in North Carolina. Do any of these ducts run through a finished basement or crawlspace or any place where condensation on the ducts could be a problem for you?

    RENÉ: They’re in crawlspaces.

    TOM: OK. Well, insulating the duct does make it more efficient. And typically, today, when you install new ducts, you use an insulated flex duct, so the insulation is kind of already built in. When you have air-conditioning ducts that run through very damp spaces like crawlspaces, the other advantage of having insulation is that you don’t get the condensation, which can be quite dramatic. You can really build up quite a bit of water in a damp crawlspace by running a cold duct through it.

    So, if it’s already insulated, I don’t feel any need for you to take that off. Do you have to insulate any ducts that are not? I’d say at a case-by-case basis I would make that decision.

    RENÉ: OK. And what’s the impact of that? Would they – do they feel an effect of that with the bill – with the heating bill?

    TOM: I think there’ll be some effect. Whether it will be dramatic, I doubt but I think it will be somewhat effective.

    RENÉ: OK. So all in all, it’s a good thing?

    TOM: Yeah, all in all, it’s a good thing. If you’ve got the insulation, I would leave it. If you don’t have insulation, I wouldn’t necessarily add it. Does that make sense?

    RENÉ: OK. I’ve gotcha.

    TOM: Alright, René. 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. Well, we are a few days before Thanksgiving and we are here to help you get everything in tip-top shape before that doorbell starts ringing. We want to make sure that your oven’s going to work, that your kitchen looks good and that your dining room is fantastic.

    So give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Hey, do you look forward to the holidays? We know the plumbers do. You know why? There’s a 40-percent increase in business when the holidays roll around. If you don’t want to be part of that statistic, stick around. We’ve got tips on how to make sure your plumbing remains clog-free, next.

    (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 on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. And one lucky caller this hour is going to win an awesome tool. We’ve got the Oregon PowerNow 40-Volt Max Cordless Chainsaw.

    This is the biggest, the baddest, the best cordless chainsaw I have ever seen. It’s got all the brawn of a typical gas-and-oil-powered chainsaw but no smoke or cord. And it’ll chew right through heavy timber and it’s got a push-button start. And check this out: it’s got a built-in self-sharpener. First time a sharpener’s ever been built into a saw anywhere in the world. It’s really amazing. Saw it demoed. You’re going to love it. It’s worth 400 bucks.

    If you call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, you might just pick one up for your holiday season. Give yourself a gift to tackle the next big tree that falls on your property. Hopefully not your house or your car, as has happened to me in the past.

    LESLIE: Aww. Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to help you with everything you’re working on in this crunch to Thanksgiving.

    Well, with the holidays, you guys know: that means there is an increase in guests in your money pit and that means an increased strain on the plumbing system in your home. And that could mean a whole host of problems. You know, backed-up drains, clogged pipes, stuffed disposers add up, really, to the busiest time of year for plumbers. But there are ways that you can avoid those expensive emergency calls.

    TOM: That’s right. Now, in the kitchen, you don’t want to pour fats or oils down the drain. Instead, you want to wipe up the grease with paper towels and then throw them away.

    Also, don’t put stringy, fibrous food like pumpkin pulp, potato peels, celery and, as my family learned once, shrimp shells. Shrimp peels? Very bad idea to put those shells in your disposer, because they will clog it up and you have to call me, if you’re my family, or you just have to call a plumber. Because I’m not, sorry, coming to your house, because they will clog it up. So don’t do it.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And we want to make sure that you don’t get into hot water by running out of hot water. So you want to run your dishwasher and your washing machine at night. This way, that’s going to conserve the hot water and even the water pressure for your guests.

    Now, in the bathroom, you want to space out your showers to allow your water heater time to do its job. And keep that water-heater temperature set at about 125 degrees or below so that you avoid scalding, especially if you have an older guest or a younger child-guest in the home. You want to make sure everybody is comfortable with that water temperature and doesn’t get hurt.

    TOM: For more tips on how to avoid plumbing emergencies, you can just search that at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a great story on how to avoid plumbing emergencies, online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Pedro in South Carolina is having an issue with the tub. Tell us what’s going on.

    PEDRO: Our tub, it keeps clogging but there’s nothing in there because I’ve snaked it, I’ve liquid-plumbed it. But it’s one of those where it doesn’t have that normal elbow; it just immediately goes into like a 90-degree – some kind of plastic.

    TOM: OK.

    PEDRO: And it just – it’s annoying.

    TOM: Well, I wonder if the blockage is somewhere deeper than where you’re able to reach.

    PEDRO: Probably, OK.

    TOM: Have you – yeah. I mean sometimes, when you get a restriction in a drain line like that, it could be 10, 20, 30 feet from the fixture itself. So you may have to have this professionally snaked to get down deep enough to the point where you can actually remove whatever the obstruction is. In some ways, you may be pushing it further down every time you try to do it on your own.

    PEDRO: Oh and then making it worse, aggravating the situation.

    TOM: Well, that’s why it seems like it takes longer for it to happen but it might just be that you’re pushing the obstruction around.

    PEDRO: OK.

    TOM: Why don’t you give a drain-cleaning company a call and see what they could find for you. Most of them are going to guarantee that you’re going to solve the problem, so it’s not like you’re kind of opening up a can of worms there.

    PEDRO: Oh, OK. Great, great. I appreciate that, because it is annoying to get your feet – it doesn’t drain all the time.

    TOM: Yeah.

    PEDRO: Thank you so much, guys.

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

    LESLIE: Hiric (sp) in Colorado is on the line and has a bathtub question. How can we help you?

    HIRIC (sp): Yes, thank you for taking my call. I moved into old house in Colorado.

    TOM: OK.

    HIRIC (sp): And then – hello? I’m sorry, dogs.

    TOM: That’s OK.

    LESLIE: And you moved in some dogs, too.

    HIRIC (sp): That’s right. And I have a cast-iron tub.

    TOM: OK.

    HIRIC (sp): And should I refinish it or change it to California modern style, classic one and …

    TOM: Well, there’s really two questions there. If you love the old style, it’s definitely worth refinishing. They’re beautiful, they’re irreplaceable and if you decorate your bathroom around that, I think you’ll have a really beautiful space.

    If you don’t want to go that route, then, of course, you can always remodel. But I wouldn’t be in a hurry to do that because cast-iron tubs are few and far between.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s why you can buy them from architectural salvage shops at such a great cost, because they’re so desirable.

    TOM: Yeah. Yep, exactly.

    HIRIC (sp): Oh, really? So by refinishing it, do I chemically – should I (inaudible at 0:13:40)?

    TOM: Well, you can – listen, you can do it yourself, Hiric (sp), but you’re better off to have a pro do it. Because it really is quite a difficult job; there’s a lot of steps to it. You have to …

    LESLIE: And a process.

    TOM: A big process. That’s right. You have to make sure that the new finish binds to the old finish. And if you can have a pro do it, I think it’ll last a lot longer than if you do it yourself.

    HIRIC (sp): Oh, no, I have no plan to do it myself.

    TOM: Alright.

    HIRIC (sp): Oh, yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you very much for the good suggestion.

    TOM: You’re welcome.

    HIRIC (sp): Thank you. Good job.

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

    LESLIE: With the colder weather approaching, Al in New York needs some help winterizing his home. Tell us about it.

    AL: Well, it’s the end of the summer; we’re getting into that season now where it’s getting cold at night. And I was just wondering if you had any budget-friendly ways I could maybe save some costs and keep my house warm this winter.

    TOM: Well, it all comes down to priorities, Al. And the first place that I would look in any house that I wanted to reduce heating costs on is the attic. And I would be measuring how much insulation you have up there. Now, do you know how much you have right now?

    AL: Right now, it’s probably only 6 to 8 inches.

    TOM: So, perfect. This is where you want to start. What you really want to have up there is about 19 inches – 19 to 20 inches – of insulation. There’s a new insulation product out right now that’s available at Home Depot called EcoSmart and it’s made by Owens Corning. And it’s a very user-friendly insulation. The way they create the stuff, it kind of looks like cotton candy. It’s easy to handle, easy to install.

    I want you to get more insulation and lay it perpendicular to the existing insulation. You’re going to almost triple the amount of insulation that you have in that attic right now. You will see an immediate reduction in your heating bills. If you did nothing else, I would add insulation. It’s very inexpensive and incredibly effective.

    AL: Wow, that’s a great tip. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Denise in Tennessee is on the line about a non-slip floor coating. Tell us what you’re working on.

    DENISE: Leslie, I was just wondering – you were talking about the epoxy ceramic paint for cement floors, in garages?

    TOM: Yes.


    DENISE: Can you use a sand additive so you don’t slip as it gets wet?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean I don’t see why not. Are you concerned about this? In Memphis, does it get that snowy and icy?

    DENISE: It gets very humid, number one.

    TOM: Yeah. OK.

    DENISE: And when you have exhaust from your car or dripping A/C unit, which is standard, that can be a problem.

    TOM: OK.

    DENISE: I love the look of the painted floors but at the same time, I would like a sand additive added to it; that’s the idea.

    LESLIE: The epoxy coating.

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t see why you couldn’t do that, Leslie, right?

    LESLIE: Yeah. With the epoxy coating, you know, there are several different components that you have to mix together so that they will work and cure correctly. You may want to – there’s a website called NoSkidding.com, which I think is kind of a clever name.

    And they have a different series of products that you would put on after. Because I’m not sure where you would add that sand and if it might affect the curing and would it absorb one of the chemicals more than another. So you might want to do the epoxy coating with the chips first and then go ahead and add a product over it.

    And if you check out that website, NoSkidding.com, you’ll find a series of products for inside, outside. It goes on really easily and it does sort of fix that slipperiness.

    DENISE: Oh, that’d be great. I’ll sure go to that website. I appreciate you taking my call.

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

    LESLIE: Jim in Tennessee is doing some drywall work. Tell us what’s going on.

    JIM: Well, I’m finishing some drywall in my own house. I’m not skilled enough to end up with a nice, smooth finish using a trowel, so I always end up sanding and sometimes a lot of sanding, which makes a lot of dust and makes a mess.

    TOM: Lots of sanding, right? Right.

    JIM: Do you have any tips for how to minimize that mess?

    TOM: Well, there’s an attachment that you can put on a wet/dry vacuum that helps you sand and sucks the dust up at the same time. I see them all the time at home centers.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s almost like a giant, sanding sponge but it’s a rectangular piece that attaches to the hose on your shop vac and the sandpaper attaches to that.

    JIM: That’s for hand-sanding?

    TOM: Yes.

    LESLIE: Yeah, because you would hold, essentially, the hose on your vacuum and sand with that.

    JIM: Hmm. OK.

    LESLIE: And then that makes it – and a lot of the pros, because they’re sanding such long surfaces, they also put the sanding block – essentially, same thing: long rectangle with the sandpaper on top of it – on a painter’s stick to help them but that doesn’t minimize the dust.

    The other thing you could do is use those plastic sort of – is it called a ZipWall, Tom?

    TOM: Yes, a ZipWall. And isolate …

    LESLIE: And they sort of spring between your door frames and they create – they sort of trap you in that room and keep the dust all in there and keep it from traveling to the other rooms in the house.

    TOM: And if you do that, what you want to do is you want to stick a fan in the window and depressurize the space. And then open it up somewhere on the other side of the room so you get this sort of cross-ventilation. Then, when the dust gets in the air, it gets sort of pumped right outside.

    JIM: OK, good.

    TOM: That minimizes it from getting through to the rest of the house.

    JIM: Very good. Well, I appreciate the ideas.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, cold weather is here for most of the country and insulation is critical to keeping that chill outside of your house. We’re going to tell you how to install batts of insulation without the headache, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you in part by Arrow Fastener Company, the leader in professional fastening products since 1929. The makers of the iconic T50 Staple Gun, the world’s bestselling staple gun, Arrow Fastener has the right tool for every application. Explore Arrow’s latest product innovations at ArrowFastener.com.

    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: And hey, we want to tell you about a very cool contest that our friends at Owens Corning are running right now to help launch their new EcoTouch insulation which – by the way, had a chance to check this out at Greenbuild. Very cool stuff. Very easy to work with. Doesn’t release to the air. Nice stuff. You ought to check it out if you’re thinking about adding some insulation. Always a good project this time of year.

    But during the entire month of November, Owens Corning will be calling all handy homeowners to show how they take on everyday household tasks, in a video contest.

    LESLIE: Very cool. You know, it’s sort of a spoof in the new EcoTouch commercial, which is featuring a less-than-handy, let’s call him, homeowner struggling to complete routine projects. And the commercial can be viewed on Owens Corning’s YouTube channel, which is YouTube.com/OwensCorning.

    And the Owens Corning folks are encouraging you to create a parody video of the new Owens Corning’s EcoTouch Do-It-Yourself Guy television spot. So really get out there and have a lot of fun goofing around.

    TOM: I love the fact that they want you to poke fun at their own guy.

    And there are lots of great reasons to enter. The grand-prize winner gets a $1,000 Home Depot gift card. Think about all of the improvements you could make with that gift card. And every day, though, there’s also a chance to win a random drawing for a $25 gift card, too.

    To upload your video and get complete rules, visit Handy-Homeowner.com. That’s Handy-Homeowner.com.

    LESLIE: Well, no matter where you live, it’s hard to stay comfortable and keep your energy bills in check if you don’t have enough insulation in your attic. The truth is that most of us just don’t and adding more is almost always a cost-effective project.

    TOM: Yes. But as simple as it might seem to add insulation, it’s a project that many do-it-yourselfers just get wrong. With us to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi, guys.

    TOM: Now, insulation is one of those building components that’s always out of sight and out of mind. That is, of course, until you open your very first energy bill of the season. How much insulation do we need?

    KEVIN: Well, that’s a really good question and I think it is a great project for folks to do themselves but, as you say, they need to get it right. And how much you need is the first question. That depends on where you live.

    So in the warmer-weather states, you’re looking for something that’s like an R-38. And in the colder climates, that goes all the way up to an R-49. Now, these are metrics that come to us from Energy Star. And that means – I mean think about this: R-38 to 49, that’s about 10 to 16 inches of fiberglass insulation batts.

    TOM: That’s a lot of insulation and I think most folks, just taking a look up in their attic, are just not going to see that.

    KEVIN: Well, they’re going to see that they might have insulation but the rule of thumb is, more insulation is generally better, so add it on.

    LESLIE: Now, Kevin, increasing the amount of insulation you have in the attic really is a very, very helpful project that you could have in your home. But is it a do-it-yourself project?

    KEVIN: Oh, it definitely is a do-it-yourself project, whether you’re increasing the amount of insulation or you’re just adding insulation for the first time. Imagine when you’re working up in the attic, if you don’t have anything in those bays between the ceiling joists, well, these batts are designed to lay right down into those bays, 16 inches on center. So you can fill in those bays and add insulation.

    If it’s already there, it’s a great idea to increase the amount of insulation. The only tip that I would say is that you want to lay the second layer of insulation perpendicular to the first and to those ceiling joists so that you cover up any of those gaps.

    LESLIE: And you want unfaced-batt insulation, correct?

    KEVIN: You do. Because that facing is actually a vapor retarder and you don’t want that in the wrong spot. So you want to make sure that you use unfaced insulation. Lay it across, cover up all those gaps and cracks and pile it up.

    TOM: And another thing to watch out for are the light fixtures, especially those high-hat sort of ceiling can lights that protrude up into the attic. If you don’t have the right kind and you cover them with insulation, it could cause an overheating situation.

    KEVIN: It can. And so there are basically two different kinds: those that are rated to be in contact with insulation and those that are not. You need to make sure that the cans or these recessed lights that you have up there are rated to be in contact. If you don’t know, err on the side of caution and don’t cover them up with insulation.

    TOM: Now, Kevin, besides putting a lot of insulation in an attic, we also have to have enough ventilation so we don’t make the attic either too hot or too moist in the wintertime or too hot in the summertime. So I think it’s important to be very cautious, despite the fact that you want a lot of insulation, to not block your ventilation, correct?

    KEVIN: Right. A lot of these attics are designed to be vented, as you say. And that means the air will come in through the soffit through a soffit vent, go up through the rafters and then out either a gable vent or a ridge vent. And if you block those, your roof’s not going to – your attic’s not going to perform like it should. So they have cardboard baffles that you can use and you actually put the baffles in there to make sure that the insulation doesn’t cut down on any of that venting.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, what if you have any sort of open areas or cracks where you might get some air leakage between your living spaces and your attic? How should you fill the …?

    KEVIN: Well, you want to fill all of the cracks as much as possible. You can do it using caulk or you can actually use expanding-foam insulation. You’ve seen these cans at the home center; you can actually use those to fill in those gaps and cracks. Because it’s not just about the R-value but it’s also about the movement of air. So air sealing is a great way to go.

    TOM: So this could be the areas where pipes come through the walls or wires come through the walls. All those little holes add up.

    KEVIN: They sure do add up.

    TOM: Now, what about the difference between blown-in and batt insulation? It seems that blown-in insulation is great because it absolutely covers everything and you don’t have to worry about positioning it as much. But because it covers everything, you can’t get to anything once you’ve installed it.

    KEVIN: Yeah. Blown-in insulation is great, as you say, because it covers all those nooks and crannies. But imagine if you have to go back to that place to do some work: you either have to fix a light or you want to run some new wires. Well, it’s not easy just to peel out of the way like a fiberglass batt.

    So if you think you’re going to need access to that space, fiberglass batts may be the way to go. And in terms of storage, if you want to use that space for storage, well, maybe you carve out a little area for storage and don’t insulate it with the blown-in but blow in around that area.

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

    KEVIN: Thank you for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and some great articles on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your house and the insulation, as well, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Well, a beautifully prepared Thanksgiving meal can really become less beautiful when you’re putting your guests into seats that look really ratty and old. Well, we’re going to have some tips coming up on an inexpensive way to keep your dining room chairs looking like a million bucks, so stick around.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Hometalk.com. Join Tom and Leslie on HomeTalk.com and log on to become part of the community of folks who love taking care of their homes, at HomeTalk.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 we want you to give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We are giving away a really amazing prize this hour. It’s a cordless chainsaw from Oregon and it’s a PowerNow 40-Volt Max. It’s powered by a rechargeable battery that’s got a ridiculously long life and 40 volts of power, so you’re going to get constant power that is not going to fade. And it’s also got a built-in chain sharpener, which is completely first-of-its-kind.

    And this powerful tool, get this, is worth almost 400 bucks. So don’t miss your chance to win this great prize. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your help with your home improvement project and, of course, a chance to win this great prize.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, as we turn to the Thanksgiving holiday – at least in my house and probably in yours, too, Leslie, because I know how many people you have over – seating always seems to be an issue, right?

    LESLIE: Oh, good God. Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You never have enough seats. And if you want to give your guests some extra seating, you might want to think about restoring the chairs that you have, especially the ones that you are not proud to put out because they look so ratty. There’s an easy way to do that.

    Staple guns that are made by the trusted Arrow brand can help and they could make updating the look of your dining room very simple by just changing the fabric on that seat cushion, right?

    LESLIE: You know, it really is just a super-easy project, especially if you’ve got the right tools. And it can be very inexpensive, because you might even be able to get three of your old cushions looking brand-spanking new with as little as a yard of fabric. Of course, that’s going to depend on the pattern and the price per yard but you can really get three chairs out of one yard.

    So to begin, you want to turn that chair upside down so that the back of the chair is hanging over your work surface and the legs are up in the air. And you want to remove the four screws that hold that cushion onto the chair.

    And then you’d want to try to remove the fabric that’s on there by prying out the original staples. And if you can get all of them off, you can use it as a pattern if you get back down to the original one. And then what you want to do is lay your new fabric face down on your table and then place the cushion that you took off the chair onto the area of the fabric that you want to show and then trace that cushion using chalk.

    And you want to add the thickness of your cushion, plus about 1 inch, to the measurement. So then draw out another line outside of that first one before you go ahead and cut that out. And then what you want to do is fold the edge of the fabric over about a ½-inch – this is just going to give you a clean edge when you staple it onto the cushion – and then pick it up and over and use your Arrow T50 Elite Staple Gun.

    And it really is great for these jobs because it’s easy to hold, it uses six different sizes of staples. So depending on how much fabric you’re able to get off or if you’re dealing with an extra-thick something, it’ll go through and hold onto that cushion really well.

    And when you start stapling, you want to put your first staple in the center of the cushion, on the side far away from you so you really get a good chance to pull it tight. And then work your way toward the corners. And you’re going to have to gather the fabric at the corners but gather it evenly because when you reattach it, you’re going to see that. But it’s an easy project; don’t let it intimidate you.

    TOM: Now, if all that is a bit too much for you to remember, no problem because we’ve got a new download for you on MoneyPit.com. It’s called “A Fix For Every Season: Fun Fastening Projects for Throughout the Year.” It’s a free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, and it’s presented by Arrow Fastener. It’s got a ton of inexpensive and easy project ideas just like this.

    LESLIE: Howard in Texas lost a skylight to an unfortunate hailstorm. And you’re thinking about replacing it. How can we help you with that project?

    HOWARD: Well, I have to replace it.

    LESLIE: Well, yeah.

    HOWARD: And my question is: I had a bubble-type skylight and I’m wondering if that’s what I should replace it with or should I go with a more flat surface on a skylight?

    TOM: Yeah. I’m surprised the bubble skylight lasted that long, Howard. They’re really not very good skylights.

    HOWARD: The bubbles?

    TOM: They’re very minimal in terms of quality and they frequently leak or they get foggy. So I would definitely not replace it with a bubble light again.

    What I would use is either an Andersen, a Pella or a VELUX: all great brands. And what I like about all of them is that they have a mechanical flashing system, so they don’t rely on adhesives to seal them to the roof and remain leak-free. You install it much like you install a roof.

    LESLIE: Can you, with a skylight, get your glass to be impact-resistant since Texas is known to be a storm kind of area?

    TOM: Absolutely. You certainly could order that. It will be a more expensive skylight that way but you certainly could order impact-resistant glass on the skylight.

    HOWARD: OK. So Andersen, Pella or – what was the third?

    TOM: VELUX – V-E-L-U-X. All great brands.

    HOWARD: V-E-L-U-X. Thank you very much.

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

    Hey, are you struggling to insulate your home properly? Lots of people have the same problem and it’s one of the many questions that Leslie and I are now answering as the newest featured panelists for Hometalk.com.

    Hometalk is great. It’s a community of regular folks and home improvement pros who just love to talk about home improvement. And we’d invite you to join us on Hometalk and tell us about your money pit.

    Now, in particular, if there is something that you’d like to change in your house – like a drafty-window situation, a leaky basement, a floor that’s been decimated by termites or a bathroom that’s stuck in the 50s – tell us all about it at Hometalk.com. And if we pick your project to talk about on the air, we will send you a copy of our book, autographed: My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac, makers of the number one-selling Guardian Series Home Standby Generators. Now introducing a full line of consumer and professional power washers. Whether you need to power it, clean it or protect it, Generac can help. Visit Generac.com to learn more.

    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: You know, Leslie, when it gets chilly out, those that suffer from seasonal allergies, they’re thankful, right? Because there’s no more hay fever?

    LESLIE: Oh, goodness. Thank God.

    TOM: But the problem is that we are trapped inside and there’s mega-dust – dust clouds – that form inside the house when that happens. And there is one product out there, that we’ve discovered, that can help with that, at least in some small way but an effective way. And that is called this: it’s an ODL Door-Glass Blind.

    I actually have these installed on our front door and also on our sidelight. And it’s really cool because they are enclosed door-glass blinds. They’re enclosed behind glass, so the dust collects on the surface but you can easily wipe off the glass. If you’ve got traditional horizontal blinds, you know that they have to be dusted regularly. These don’t get dusty inside because they’re protected by a sheet of glass.

    And so, they’re really great, they’re really tough. Every day when my son comes down to go on the bus – out to the bus in the morning – he slides them up and down very hard, very firmly.

    LESLIE: So they’re durable.

    TOM: And he hasn’t been able to break them yet, so they’re super-durable, as well.

    But I was thinking about how great they are, because you’re really not going to have dust that gets exposed – released – to the air during this winter season when we’re all trapped inside.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? They’re a lot safer because there’s the no cords, there’s nothing hanging around that you need to worry about: your kids or your pets. And they’re super-easy to install, whether you’ve got a full glass or a half-glass. And then the trim on it, you can actually paint to match your door. So it’s just going to look seamless and it’s super-functional. And you should check them out today at ODL.com, because it’s really a great product that you can do yourself this weekend.

    TOM: Head on over to MoneyPit.com when you get online, too, if you’ve got a home improvement question and you can’t reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT. You can post it at MoneyPit.com, just like D did in Ohio who says, “What type of dirt should I use to build up the dirt around my house in order to slope the water away from it when it rains? The water is flowing back towards the house instead of away from it and it gets into my basement.”

    Very common problem, D, and actually a very good question. And the answer is the cheap kind of dirt; it’s called fill dirt.

    Now, many people will use topsoil to do this job but that is a mistake because topsoil is very organic. Fill dirt is not. Topsoil will hold water; fill dirt will allow you to compact it and then the water will run over the top and away.

    Now, once you get the slope sort of established, you can put a little bit of topsoil to sort of hold seed and grow some grass. But the main slope gets built up with fill dirt and then the water strikes that, it rolls away and it stays away from your house. If you keep that first 4 to 6 feet dry around your house, that’s going to do a good job of keeping the water from getting into the basement.

    And also, don’t forget – as you learned, Leslie – you’ve got to clean the gutters and extend the spouts, too. It’s really a two-step approach.

    LESLIE: Oh, completely. And when you clean the gutters, don’t just think about the actual gutters that are right there on your roof line. You want to think about those downspouts because so much can get clogged in there. So do snake those out because if it does get clogged, it’s going to find its way through the path of least resistance and it’s going to end up in your basement.

    So don’t ignore your gutters, do the proper grading and your basement’s going to stay dry.

    TOM: And how did you learn that, Leslie?

    LESLIE: I had a flood in my basement.

    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. As we roll into the holiday season, imagine what you could do with a $10,000 budget at your disposal to decorate a room. You’re thinking, “Where am I going to get 10 grand for that?” Well, Arrow Fastener is going to give one lucky contest winner just that: $10,000 dream room plus the assistance of one designer that I know very, very well.

    LESLIE: Yay! Is that me?

    TOM: That’s you. That’s you. So tell us about this contest.

    LESLIE: It’s super-exciting. All you have to do is go to ArrowDreamRoom.com. We want to hear from you. We want to know what room is just bugging you that you need help with and we are going to pick one lucky winner for a $10,000 makeover. And come the new year, I’m going to be knocking on your door and we’re going to do it.

    So, enter today. We’re running out of time. I can’t wait to see all of these entries. So enter today, because I want you to win that 10 grand.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    The website is MoneyPit.com. The show continues online right now.

    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 2011 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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