00:00/ 00:00
  • Transcript

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is 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: So happy to be here with you on this beautiful day for home improvement. Are you taking on a project in your neck of the woods? We’d love to help. Pick up the phone and let’s talk about it at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Hey, coming up this hour, severe summer storms can strike at any moment no matter where you live. Are you ready with an emergency supply kit at home, at work or even in your car? We’re going to give you some tips on what you need to keep in all three locations, coming up.

    LESLIE: Plus, using recycled or reclaimed wood for projects, it’s a great idea. In fact, reclaimed wood is usually heavier, stronger and – this is my favorite part about it – it has a ton of character, so it looks great. If you don’t just happen to have old wood lying around, it’s actually not that hard to dig up. We’ll tell you where to look.

    TOM: Plus, if you’re planning a deck project this summer, you’d better get started with the right foundation so it’ll last for years to come. We’re going to share some tricks of the trade to make that part of the project go super smoothly.

    LESLIE: And one lucky caller this hour has cooler, quieter days ahead with a Haier Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s not just a little bit quieter. The Serenity Series is more than 50-percent quieter than most air conditioners. It’s a prize worth $299, so give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    MARTHA: I had throw rugs on my kitchen and bathroom floor. And the backing, you know, had turned yellow from being washed so many times. And the yellow from the backing went onto the linoleum and I cannot get it off.

    TOM: It did. Yeah. And you know why, Martha?

    MARTHA: Why?

    TOM: Because the yellow didn’t go from the throw rug to the linoleum. When you put a rubber-backed throw rug on linoleum, you get a chemical reaction called “oxidation” that physically changes the color of both products.

    MARTHA: Oh.

    TOM: And so what you have is a stained – a permanently-stained floor. You’re not going to be able to clean it; you have to replace it. And when you buy new linoleum, some of the manufacturers even warn you about this, because so many of us like those rubber-backed throw rugs as a place to stand on near the sink and whatnot.

    LESLIE: And you’re not going to go slipping and sliding.

    MARTHA: Yeah.

    TOM: Exactly. But it’s really bad for that kind of floor.

    MARTHA: I see. OK. I guess I’m stuck.

    LESLIE: Well, you can always get a bigger rug.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. To cover the stain.

    MARTHA: Yeah, OK.

    TOM: Martha, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tom in Nebraska on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?

    TOM IN NEBRASKA: I’m building a cedar deck and I’m trying to figure out which products to use in order to preserve the life of it.

    TOM: OK. Well, cedar is a good choice because it’s naturally insect-resistant, so you don’t have to worry so much about decay. But if you want to stop it from cracking and checking and splitting, which it’ll do simply from exposure to the sun, then you really need to think about putting a product on it that’s got a UV protectant in it, like a stain.

    Now, since it’s brand new, I might suggest, in this particular case, a semi-transparent stainthat’s going to give it some UV protection. It’ll help even out the color and it’ll protect it from the cracking and the checking that goes on.

    You can pretty much put it on right away but sometimes when people put – build cedar decks, they want to enjoy them for a few months, just until they start to gray a bit and then they’ll stain them. So the choice is yours but a semi-transparent stain would be a good option for you right now.

    TOM IN NEBRASKA: OK, cool. I wasn’t sure what to do, you know? I appreciate it, man.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re here to lend a hand at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, severe summer storms can come out of nowhere. Are you ready no matter where you live? We’re going to have some tips for preparedness at home, at work or in your car, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, what are you working on today? Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT because we’d love to talk about that. And if you’re not working because it’s so incredibly hot and you’re really uncomfortable, then you absolutely have to call with your question because we’re giving away a fantastic product. It’s a Haier Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner.

    It delivers all the cool you expect from a room air-conditioning unit with less than half the noise. Plus, it’s ENERGY STAR-qualified and uses about 15 percent less energy than conventional models. It comes in a 8K version for 399 or a 6,000-BTU version for 299. And guess what? If you win, you get to pick which one you want.

    You can learn more at HaierAmerica.com. That’s Haier – H-a-i-e-r – America.com. Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ron in Kentucky is dealing with some ants. Tell us about the problem. And it’s not like your mom’s sister, right?

    RON: No. No, I’ve got problems with ants, like on my kitchen counter, and I just can’t get rid of them. I’ve tried spray, I’ve tried the little ant baits and I just can’t get rid of them.

    TOM: Do you want a natural solution or a nuclear solution?

    RON: Whatever works. I’m open for suggestion.

    TOM: Well, first of all, on the natural side, you can do something like, for example, planting mint around your foundation perimeter is a pretty big ant-deterrent. And mint grows really quickly and it smells nice and the ants hate it. So, that’s something that will deter ants from coming in.

    Once they get into the countertop, what’s good for that? Bay leaves, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Bay leaves, yeah. You can take, you know, little canisters of bay leaves and just sort of place them just loosely in pots around your countertop. Or if they’re coming in through a windowsill, you can even crush up some of the – in a spice section, bay leaves, the dried ones. Crush them up and drape that – some of – across your windowsill. For some reason, they hate that, as well.

    TOM: Now, if you want a pesticide that can take care of ants, there’s a number of them that are out there that are non-detectable, in the sense that once they’re applied to, usually, the foundation perimeter, the ants will walk through them and get the insecticide on the ant. And since they’re social insects, they take them back to the colony, pass it to the rest of the ants and that wipes them out. And that’s something that would have to be applied, though, by a pro.

    And that said, they’re very effective, so I always recommend pros over do-it-yourself pesticides, because I think that people tend to over-apply the do-it-yourself pesticides and actually give themselves more exposure to those chemicals than they would – that they would have had if they had a pro do it from the get-go. Does that make sense?

    RON: OK. Thank you very much.

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

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

    JAN: We have a – it’s a very small bathroom and they had built a tile shower in this – like the middle of the room. And I want to know if you can change the places where the shower and the toilet are: if you can just reverse them and use the existing drains.

    TOM: No, you can’t because the shower drain is about half of the size of the toilet’s drain waste/vent pipe.

    LESLIE: And it’s a gray-water line, too.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s not – well, they’re going to drain to the same place but you would have to reconfigure the plumbing. So it’s not quite that easy but not impossible. What is this bathroom built on? Is it over a crawlspace or a basement, by any chance, or is it over a slab?

    JAN: It’s on a slab.

    TOM: Very expensive project. I would think of something – other way to redecorate that bathroom and make it pleasant for you. Because switching those is a big job; you’re going to have to tear up the floor to do the plumbing.

    JAN: Oh, wow. OK. Well, I guess we’ll just leave it the way it is.

    TOM: Looking better all the time, isn’t it, Jan?

    JAN: Well, no. But I mean it is what it is.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    What were they thinking when they put the shower in the middle of the room?

    LESLIE: Views from every part of the bathroom? I’m not sure.

    TOM: That’s not a walk-up shower, it’s a walk-around shower.

    LESLIE: J.C. in Missouri is on the line with a water-heater issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    J.C.: Say, I’ve got a seven-year-old water heater and I have to change my heating element every six months, especially during the wintertime; it builds up a lot of calcium in it. And I was wondering if you know anything about that or a product that I can use to eliminate that problem.

    TOM: Well, if you have mineral salts that are building up a lot, you can use a water softener. There’s one that doesn’t require any salt and it’s called EasyWater.

    J.C.: OK.

    TOM: And it’s an electronic water softener that hooks up to your main water line. And you plug it in and it basically forces the mineral deposits to not stick. It keeps them liquid or keeps them moving through the water so it doesn’t stick to water heaters and things of that nature.

    That said, I don’t necessarily think that mineral-salt deposits are the reason that your electric coils are burning out every six months. I wonder if you’ve got a bad batch of coils or you’re buying them all at the same place. I wonder if there is any kind of fluctuation in the voltage to the water heater. There may be another cause for those to burn out so quickly, because they certainly shouldn’t be doing that. And if you had any kind of mineral buildup, it’s going to be in the bottom of the water heater, not on the coils.

    J.C.: Oh, OK. Yes, I do have that white calcium. Every time I drain the water heater, I have to get something to scrape out the bottom of the water heater. Yes, you are right about that. Yes, you are right.

    TOM: So, if you use a water softener like EasyWater, I think that that will help.

    J.C.: I’m going to try it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, storms can strike without warning. One moment you’re comfortable, the next you’re worried about how long you can get by with what you have. When the forecast calls for severe weather, it’s important to make sure that you’re ready for the storm whether you’re at home, at work or in your car.

    TOM: That’s right. And a well-stocked emergency kit is really essential to any place you and your loved ones spend a lot of time. So, consider what every family needs to get by for several days without power or even water. You want to keep emergency items in one spot in your home, make sure everybody knows where to find them, stock up some food, some water, some medicine, toiletries and survival tools, like flashlights and tents and tarps and extra batteries.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And remember, emergencies can strike when you’re not at home. At work, you want to keep a supply of water, food, toiletries and medicines in close range. You want to be sure to have comfortable sneakers within reach, too, just in case your evacuation requires a lot of walking. And finally, don’t forget your vehicle. You want to keep jumper cables, flashlights and shovels in the trunk. Also, think about having some water, food and some blankets in there.

    TOM: Now, another great idea at home is to install a standby generator or a whole-house generator, which is a permanent installation and it comes on automatically within seconds of a power outage. I’ve got to tell you, I have one, Leslie’s got one. You never want to be without these. Once you get one, you’re just going to wonder why you waited so long. And the prices have come way down. They definitely help you be prepared.

    LESLIE: Ollie (sp) in South Carolina has a painting and design question. What can we do for you?

    OLLIE (sp): I’ve got paneling. I don’t know if it’s laminated paneling or not but it’s got little grooves in it all the way down and it’s darker than the other paneling itself. And I wanted to paint it. Do I have to do something to fill it in – lines or cracks or what you want to call it?

    LESLIE: Now, the lines that you’re talking about, those are like the beading. It’s like a decorative feature; it’s supposed to be there. Is that what we’re talking about?

    OLLIE (sp): Yeah. 

    LESLIE: OK. You don’t want to fill that in only because if you try to fill it in with joint compound or wood filler, it’s just going to dry out, crack, detach. It’s never going to last. 

    So you kind of have to think about it. Can you embrace the look of the paneling, as far as a core element but paint it a different color and love that vertical lining? Or do you just hate that so much that you want to sort of try to remove it or cover it up?

    OLLIE (sp): No, I’d like to leave it if it would make a nice design, you know?

    LESLIE: I personally like it. I think painted paneling can be very lovely in the right type of space with the right type of décor and if you choose a good color. Now, the fact that you don’t know whether it’s wood or laminate, that could be a little bit of a concern only because we want to make sure that you have good adhesion. 

    So if the finish on the paneling, right now, is a little bit glossy or has a shine to it, you want to use a product like a liquid sander. And that’s something that you just wipe on and it sort of abrades the surface. 

    First, I’d give it a good cleaning, then I’d lightly abrade it with a liquid sander. Then I would prime it and I would prime it well with a good-quality primer. And then once that’s done, I would paint it. And I really enjoy the look of a paneling that’s in a glossy white. But I think if you go with a neutral color and try not to get crazy and just sort of let it be a neutral background with a decorative detail in it, I think it’ll be great.

    OLLIE (sp): I think it would look nice. But thank you. You have a good day.

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

    LESLIE: Scott in West Virginia is on the line with a kitchen faucet that’s leaking. Tell us what’s going on.

    SCOTT: Well, I’ve got a little problem in my kitchen. My wife is driving me crazy about it and it’s driving me crazy, also.


    TOM: Alright. What’s going on?

    SCOTT: Most of the time, you have a drippy faucet in your kitchen or something like that. My problem is is that it’s leaking around the handles: the hot and cold. And I’ve never had that to happen before and I’m like, “OK. Do I have to replace the whole thing or is there a kit that I can buy that – to stop this mess?”

    TOM: Do you know what manufacturer of the faucet you have?

    SCOTT: I knew you were going to ask me that and I thought about looking and I just didn’t. And I believe it’s Delta but I’m not sure about that.

    TOM: See, here’s the thing. If you can identify the manufacturer, you can get a rebuild kit with new washers and so on for those faucets. But if you can’t figure it out, do not ever use a generic. Because if you use a generic, even though it looks perfectly, it doesn’t fit.

    Now, that said, if it’s an older faucet and you replace it now, the new faucets are going to have ceramic discs – ceramic disc valves – which the older they are, the tighter they get. So they really never leak. So the technology has gotten so much better now with the way faucets are made that you might want to consider just replacing it, rather than trying to take it apart and put it back together and maybe they’ll still leak.

    SCOTT: Right. It’s probably, I’d say, 10 or 12 years old, so …

    TOM: Yeah. Might be due for a new one.

    Hey, listen, we saw one not too long ago that actually is a touch – motion-activated that – Moen makes it. It’s called – I think it’s called MotionSense. And you wave your hand over the top of this thing and it comes on or you bring a dish sort of up to it and automatically it comes on. Or it has a regular …

    LESLIE: It’s like, “Look, I’m washing your dish.”

    TOM: Or like a regular faucet. Right. It’s like how many times do you walk up to the faucet to fill your cup – coffee cup – up or to rinse it out, I mean? Just by walking up to it, it comes on.

    SCOTT: Right.

    LESLIE: Or with your hands from chicken breasts, you know? It’s like you don’t want to touch the faucet.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SCOTT: Sure.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, that was pretty cool. So I think it’s called MotionSense. It’s by Moen.

    SCOTT: OK. That sounds worth looking into.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck, Scott.

    SCOTT: OK. Thanks, you guys, for the info.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. And make your wife happy and replace it, will you?

    SCOTT: OK.

    LESLIE: Jason in Delaware is on the line and needs some help with an electrical update at their money pit. Tell us what’s going on.

    JASON: Hi. Well, let’s see. We bought an older home: probably like 1940, 1950. It’s a great home, no doubt about it. We thought we were going to have a bunch of problems: we thought we were going to have to replace the roof, we thought we were going to have to replace the foundation. But it’s pretty much like somebody built the house and never really lived in it.

    TOM: I think we’re getting to a “but.” Everything’s great but what’s happening?

    JASON: But the breaker box is outdated. And the total cost of replacing that – hiring a certified and professional contractor and everyone – or the electrician to do it – is going to cost us around $5,000.

    TOM: Alright. Why do you say it’s outdated? What’s wrong with it?

    JASON: It’s a 100-amp box.


    JASON: And you can’t run more than two air conditioners in the house at one time.

    TOM: Take a breath. I’ve got great news for you, alright?

    JASON: What’s that?

    TOM: You don’t have central air, right? You’re running window units?

    JASON: Window units.

    TOM: You do not need a new panel. A hundred amps is way more than enough power to run that house. What you need …

    LESLIE: Unless you’re planning on making those updates.

    TOM: Yeah. What you need are some new circuits, which are easier to run.

    JASON: OK.

    TOM: You see, the reason you’re tripping those breakers is because whatever circuit those air conditioners are on is pulling more power than that one circuit can handle.

    Now, most circuits that go to bedrooms, for example, are 15-amp circuits. You put an air conditioner or two on a 15-amp circuit, it’s going to pop, especially an older air conditioner that’s not as energy-efficient, because it’s going to start pulling more power. And if you happen to have those two air conditioners on the same circuit, there’s not a chance that you’re going to be able to run that when you have to.

    What you do is you add more circuits. So you add another circuit that’s just for that air conditioner, from the point where it’s installed to the panel. Put that on its own 15-amp circuit and there you have it; you’re done. No $5,000 for a new panel.

    See, this is another example – when electricians come in and they size you up and they give you a price on doing a job that you really don’t need. A hundred amps is a lot of power. I doubt in a house that’s probably gas-fired – is that right? It’s gas-powered?

    JASON: Yes.

    TOM: So you have a gas-powered house, so you’ve got gas heat, gas stove, gas water heater. You know, if you pulled 30 amps when everything was running in that house, I’d be surprised. So you don’t need a new box; you need more circuits.

    JASON: OK. Well, thank you, guys, so very much.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    In just a bit, you guys, we’re going to talk about reclaimed wood. It’s perfect for dozens of projects around your house, from headboards, even to flooring. We’re going to have tips on how you can work with this very green construction material, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Today’s Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand. Stay cool this summer with a Haier Serenity Series Air Conditioner. Quieter than the average window air conditioners, yet cool your home effectively and efficiently. Learn more at HaierAmerica.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: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are here to help you with your home improvement project.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathy in Minnesota on the line who is doing a kitchen-revampingproject. Tell us what’s going on.

    KATHY: These cupboards are varnished and they had hinges on that were on the outside, so they’re kind of like the barn-look (ph) hinge and also the handles, the ends that were anchored. When we take those off, the wood under there is much, much lighter.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    KATHY: And so we stripped the door completely and sanded it to be ready to take on a new stain. And those areas do not absorb the stain.

    TOM: Yeah, they probably have some sort of a sealer or something that got under that. After you sanded it, did you use a sanding sealer on the whole surface?

    KATHY: I did not. In my experience, I’d always put the stain on first and then use a …

    TOM: Well, it’s not a sealer at that point; it’s a finish.

    But one thing I’m thinking that could have helped, Leslie – and you tell me what you think – is that if she used a sanding sealer, she may have improved the absorption rate of all the wood so that it was maybe a little evener, a little more uniform. So that it would have all soaked in at about the same level.

    Can you get any stain to take in those areas? Even if you take dark stain and put it on with a small paintbrush? Or will nothing stick to that?

    KATHY: No.

    TOM: Well, all I can say is that something is applied there that’s sealing the wood and unless you can get it to absorb, it’s going to be a problem. Those old hinges, they didn’t look so bad after all, did they?

    KATHY: I kind of get that feeling.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah. If you’ve already sanded it down and you still can’t get the stain to absorb, there’s probably nothing that you’re going to do that’s going to change that.

    Listen, the other thing that you could do is paint the doors. I mean there’s a lot of painted cabinets today; they look pretty nice.

    KATHY: Yes. Yes. And we’re looking at other options but wanted to be sure that we really had to go that route.

    TOM: As long as you sanded it thoroughly and you still can’t get it to absorb, then I say that you’ve done all that you can do at this point, Kathy.

    KATHY: OK. Alright. Well, I appreciate your taking my call.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.

    Well, it may sound nostalgic but they really don’t make wood like they used to. Older wood has tightly spaced growth rings, a straight grain and a harder, heavier feel, which is why reusing wood like that in remodeling projects, that’s become a pretty popular trend. But just because it’s recycled doesn’t make it cheap. There’s a lot of demand for this type of wood. And the process of reclaiming can keep the cost pretty high for some of these boards.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That’s why you want to think about where you want to use them effectively, how you can use them to really showcase their beauty. So if you’re using, say, a beam in a space, you can replace that with a reclaimed beam or even just clad your existing beam with the reclaimed lumber just to make it look much more worn and gorgeous. You can also make a headboard out of these reclaimed pieces.

    Another interesting thing is to get smaller pieces and maybe do them in a chevron pattern or sort of just a staggered pattern and cover a door or even just frame out a piece just to make a piece of art within a room or just do one wall. There’s a lot of interesting ways that you can incorporate this reclaimed lumber and it has so much character that you really want it to stand out.

    LESLIE: Good advice. 888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Matt in Wisconsin who’s dealing with a splashy toilet. That is the worst: constantly cleaning a toilet seat. Tell us what’s going on.

    MATT: Well, when we flush the toilet, a good portion of air comes up through the trap, forcefully enough to cause the water to splash up onto the seat or the inside of the lid if it’s closed.

    TOM: Well, what really causes that, Matt, is a venting problem. Is this a new problem or has it always been this way?

    MATT: No, it’s just within the last couple of months.

    TOM: OK. So then what I suspect is that you’ve got a blockage somewhere. If your vent for that toilet is partially blocked, then the drain line is being starved with air. And if it’s starved with air, it’s going to try to gulp that air from somewhere else and that’s what’s causing the bubbles.

    MATT: OK.

    TOM: So, what you need to do is try to figure out where that obstruction is. And it’s going to be somewhere in the vent that is connected to the waste line under the toilet, if that helps you narrow it down a bit.

    MATT: Yes, it does. Thanks.

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

    LESLIE: Jamie in South Dakota is on the line with a vaulted ceiling with a crack in it. Tell us what’s going on.

    JAMIE: We’ve been living in this house. It’s (audio gap) built in 2000 and I believe it was a modular that was moved onto a basement foundation. And a few years back, we noticed it started to crack. And my husband tried to fix it but apparently, whatever he did didn’t work.

    TOM: OK. Well, let’s give him a little break on that. He can probably try it again but maybe he didn’t take some of the right steps.

    Now, first of all, cracks in vaulted ceilings are very, very common. There’s a tremendous amount of expansion and contraction that goes up there, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the warmest places in the house, especially in the summer.

    So what you want to do to try to fix this is to sand over the area where the crack is so that you remove any loose paint, dirt, debris, that sort of thing. Next, you want to cover that with a piece of perforated drywall tape. It looks a bit like netting, it’s a little sticky and it comes on a roll. And on top of that perforated tape, you want to add three layers of spackle. You start very narrow at about 4 inches and you work out to maybe 6 or 8 or 10 inches, in terms of the width of the spackle blade.

    That netting actually bridges the crack and makes sure it doesn’t come through again. If you were simply to go up there and spackle it, the crack really isn’t fixed. So, the next time the ceiling expands and contracts, it’s going to show up again. Does that make sense?

    JAMIE: OK. Alright. Well, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Coming up, are you looking for the best way to build a deck that’s going to last? Well, it all starts with a simple foundation. We’ll have the tips to help you take on that project, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by the Generac iQ2000 Portable Inverter Generator. Quiet, portable power anywhere, from home to the jobsite, campsite, tailgating and more. Money Pit listeners who call 800-965-1172 or visit GeneracIQ.com will receive free shipping and a free copy of Tom and Leslie’s book to the first 100 who order. That’s 800-965-1172 or GeneracIQ.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.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re going to help you with whatever it is you are working on around your money pit this weekend. Plus, we’re giving away a super-summery prize. We’ve got up for grabs a Haier Serenity Series Quiet Air Conditioner.

    You are going to be super cool with this window unit but you will have half of the noise. Normally, you’ve got an A/C window unit on and it’s like, “What? I can’t hear you.” The Haier Serenity Series is super quiet. They say it’s like a gentle rain, which is just so wonderful, and you’re going to stay nice and cool. And best part, it’s ENERGY STAR-qualified, so it uses about 15 percent less energy than other conventional air-conditioning units. And it comes in a 8K version for 399 or a 6K version for 299. And if you win, you get to pick.

    You can learn more at HaierAmerica.com. And that’s spelled H-a-i-e-r – America.com. But give us a call now for your chance to win.

    TOM: That’s 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: John in Nebraska is on the line with a kitchen-painting question. Tell us what’s going on over there.

    JOHN: I’ve got a kitchen project and what I’ve – we’re doing, me and my wife, we’re painting our kitchen. And we ran into a situation that – above our stove, we replaced our range here recently with – it’s a downdraft. And like I say, we want to do painting and we’ve got cracking behind the stove, the area and …

    TOM: So is the wall surface itself cracking or is it like the seam or – what are you seeing?

    JOHN: I’d say it’s probably the paint. I believe we used a – I’m sure it’s a latex. And unfortunately, I think one – I’m sure one of our downfalls – we don’t have a backsplash.

    TOM: So how about this, John? Why don’t you make a backsplash? How about if we tell you an easy way to make a backsplash out of tile? Would that work for you?

    JOHN: OK, sure. I’d listen.

    TOM: So there’s a product called Bondera – B-o-n-d-e-r-a. And it’s a self-adhesive mastic, so it’s kind of like contact paper. It’s got glue on both sides, though. And you roll this stuff out, you stick it on the wall. And then you can basically stick tile right to it without having to use any of that sort of goopy glue mastic.

    And you stick the tiles right on there. It’s perfect for a backsplash. Then you grout it and you’re done. It is definitely the easiest way to do a tile backsplash. Sort of no-fuss, no-muss and you could get a backsplash done inside of a couple of hours if you plan out the tile sizes correctly.

    Well, if you’re planning to build a deck, the most important first step is to make sure you have a solid footing. And the easy way to do that is by using QUIKRETE’s QUIK-TUBE.

    Now, the way this works is you simply dig a hole down to below the frost line, then you add a few inches of gravel to the hole and you set the QUIK-TUBE right on top and you level it. And once that’s set, all you need to do is to add concrete mix to the tube. And once it’s filled, you can even add deck hardware so that all the framing can be connected straight to the foundation.

    QUIKRETE is available at select home improvement retailers nationwide. You can learn more at QUIKRETE.com. QUIKRETE, what America is made of.

    LESLIE: Rose in Pennsylvania is on the line who has a problem – and I’m sorry to say in this horrific, hot summer – cooling her home. Tell us what’s going on.

    ROSE: Well, actually, it’s just one room. The house is air-conditioned but we have a room addition that was put on over a concrete porch and below that, a basement. And I was told that we couldn’t get a duct or an outlet into this room. And I heard Richard Trethewey from This Old House talking. He was going to talk about heating and air-conditioning a room without ducts. And unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to listen to it and I wondered if you could tell me about that.

    TOM: Yeah. What Richard was talking about is something that we call “mini-split ductless.”

    Now, in a situation like this, a mini-split ductless system would be perfect. Because, like the name, you don’t have any ducts, so you don’t have to have a traditional air handler and then ducts that extend into the space.

    A mini-split ductless consists of a compressor that’s outside and then the air handler, which hangs on the wall inside your addition. And there’s a refrigerant tube and electrical wires that go from one to the next. And when the thermostat tells it to come on, the mini-split ductless system will come on. It will cool your house and it will also – could potentially warm it, as well, because you can get a mini-split ductless system that’s set up as a heat pump, as well as just an air conditioner. So you could have additional heat in that space, as well as cooling.

    They’re made by a wide variety of manufacturers. You could take a look at, for example, Mitsubishi.

    ROSE: OK.

    TOM: Mr. Slim makes one. Fujitsu makes one.

    And I have one in my office – actually, in my studio. And I have one in the studio because it’s so quiet, we can be on the radio even with the mini-split ductless running.

    ROSE: Well, that’s great. And the – if it had heating, obviously, that would be an electrical heating, right?

    TOM: Well, it’s a heat pump.

    ROSE: Oh, OK. Because we have oil heat for the house and air conditioning but just this one room …

    TOM: Yeah, it’s electrical, yeah. But it’s a heat-pump system. Basically, the difference between heating and cooling, when you’re using this, is a heat pump reverses the refrigeration cycle so that you get warm air inside, as opposed to cold air.

    ROSE: Oh, OK. And are there any estimates, like just starting out, what price might be? I know it depends on, I imagine, the – how large a room is. But I just wondered, into the thousands, of course?

    TOM: Yeah, it will be into the thousands. I’m going to say probably a couple of thousand dollars.

    ROSE: For the unit plus installation?

    TOM: Right, exactly. Yeah. It’s not inexpensive but it’s a real problem-solver.

    ROSE: Right.

    TOM: And once you have it, you’ll be so much more comfortable. And you’ll get the use out of that room, you know? Right now, you can’t use the room too much, so you’ll get the use out of it.

    ROSE: Well, we have the door open and the air and the cool – heat comes in somewhat but you need a fan. In the winter, you need a little heater to add to it.

    TOM: Yeah, this is a perfect solution for you, Rose. Take a look at the mini-split ductless systems. They have to be professionally installed but it’s going to make you much more comfortable in that space.

    ROSE: OK. Well, thanks a lot and I do enjoy listening to you every week.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    Up next, is a cracked ceramic floor tile making your whole room look plain crummy? Well, you can fix it if you can find the matching tile. We’re going to share some solutions, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We’d love to talk with you about your home improvement project. But hey, if you don’t want to call, you could post your question to our website at MoneyPit.com. That’s what Mike did.

    LESLIE: Alright. Mike writes: “I’m in the process of refreshing my kitchen and intend to paint the walls that were previously wallpapered. Thanks to my power steamer, the paper’s coming down pretty nicely, with just a few spots where the backing paper has come off the sheetrock. Once it’s all down, what’s the best way to prep the walls for painting? I want to use a matte finish in a light-tan color.”

    TOM: Well, that’s a great question. And getting that wallpaper off, of course, is the hardest part of that project. If it’s coming down easy, that’s great. The power steamer is definitely the way to go for those that struggle with that project.

    Once it’s all off, what you want to do is to lightly sand that wall, because sometimes the adhesive stays behind and it becomes kind of grainy. And then you want to put a really good-quality primer on that. That’s going to kind of neutralize that whole surface, give you good adhesion to that surface that was under the wallpaper and then give you a great surface for your topcoat. Because when you prime it, the topcoat flows really nicely. You have fewer roller marks and brush marks. And it really does go on a lot easier when you take that primer step. So that’s really all you have to do, Mike. You’ve got to prime it and that’s really going to make it work.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Carson in New York City who writes: “I accidentally set a pot of boiling water on my laminate countertop. It left a burn. Are there options for fixing it rather than replacing the counter altogether?”

    TOM: What I was thinking is you could actually notch in a cutting board flush with this top, right? And just make it look like it was always supposed to be that way. The burns are hard to deal with, right? The burns are really hard to deal with. But why not turn it into a spot for a cutting board? I mean you could even have it sort of overlap the hole and then you can pop it out to clean it very easily.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That’s a super easy idea, Tom. I really like that.

    TOM: Well, ceramic floors are durable and easy to care for. But from time to time, you might need to make repairs to that floor and that’s not even the hard part. The difficulty comes when you’re trying to match that tile. Now, there are solutions and Leslie has those, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Being unable to find that matching tile is something that happens a lot as you set out to do a remodel. And it’s not always just with an old house, either. Even a 10-year-old tile can sometimes be hard to locate.

    So here’s the deal: when you’re replacing any tile, it’s always best to use one that’s left over from the original installation. Then you can be sure that the replacement tile is going to perfectly match your existing ones. If you didn’t have the foresight to squirrel away any extra tiles, you can bring the broken pieces to a well-stocked tile store and there you might be able to find one that’s pretty much a close substitute.

    You could also consider stealing a tile from under an area that’s not visible, like inside a closet or under your refrigerator or dishwasher. Removing that old tile, it can be tricky but it’s definitely possible.

    Another option, guys, is you can actually have a tile made to order. There are tileworks across the country that could possibly match your broken shards. But keep in mind it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. I don’t know exactly how much but it’s not going to be cheap. So if you really want it to match, that’s an option that you can have done.

    Now, what if, despite your best efforts, you just cannot find a replacement or something that’s going to work as a stand-in? Well, forget about trying to match that tile altogether and you can fill in that spot with an accent tile. And that can be a different color or a different texture. And if that’s the case, if that’s the situation you find yourself in, you might want to randomly replace a handful of tiles around your floor. And that’s just going to kind of make a blend and kind of make it all work with the rest of the field and it’ll seem like you planned it the whole time.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if your landscape looks like it’s had a heat stroke, we’re going to have tips on how you can conserve some water and still have a beautiful yard.

    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 2016 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!