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Be Prepared for a Disaster With a Go Bag, Do It Herself Workshops for the Novice DIYer, Choose the Best Option in Fencing, and more

  • 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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement project. It’s only a few short weeks until spring. I can’t believe it. All this winter mess will be behind us. The sun will be out, the grass will be green. We get that smell of fresh-cut grass. That’s when I know we’re smack-dab in spring, when we hear of the weed-whackers humming and the lawn mowers going along. And that is just around the corner.

    And that means a home improvement season is about to get underway. And if there’s a project on your to-do list, let us help you get it done. Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT and we will talk about that.

    Now, March is also American Red Cross Month and it’s dedicated to the organization that’s often first on scene for disaster relief. And one thing that you can do to help is to make sure that you are prepared for any disaster at home so you’re not left without a plan. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to do to get ready.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, adding a dimmer is a quick and relatively easy way to bring energy efficiency and ambiance to any room in your home. So this hour, we’re going to tell you about a nationwide effort geared toward female do-it-yourselfers – the girls out there – to help teach all of you women how to install dimmers by yourselves, step by step. It’s super-easy.

    TOM: And as the saying goes, good fences make good neighbors. But we say good fences also mean you won’t need to replace them shortly after they’re installed. So if yours is a little worse for wear or if you’re thinking about an upgrade, we’re going to have tips on smart fencing options, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a 3M prize pack that’s going to make your next home improvement project much easier. It’s a total of seven products, including 3M’s new Patch Plus Primer and it’s a spackle and primer all in one.

    TOM: It’s a package worth 78 bucks. Call us right now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ann in Florida needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?

    ANN: I’m going to rip up my carpet. I have concrete underneath and I want to put down the ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. And are you familiar with the product?

    LESLIE: I am, very much so. I’ve actually used it on several projects.

    ANN: Oh. And my question was, also: should I wait and not do it right away? That they’re going to even have better-looking – the wood look? I was told that it’s supposed to get even better.

    LESLIE: I imagine that with all things, when you wait things get better. But wood-grain tile has actually been quite popular for probably four or five years now, so I’ve seen it greatly improve. Depending on how much you want to spend on it – and I’m not sure what manufacturers you’ve looked at but a good price point is a manufacturer called Daltile: D-a-l – tile. And they’re sold through tile stores, so it’s – you can call Daltile and take a look.

    And they have one line called Yacht Club, which is fairly new for them. And it’s like a 6-inch by 24-inch wood plank but it’s a ceramic tile. It comes in a couple of different colors. I think it lays really nicely. It has a good texture of wood and it comes in some color palettes that I think are very realistic. And the way it fits together, it looks as if it were a real wood …

    TOM: A lot like wood.

    LESLIE: Yeah, like a wood floor. It doesn’t have a big grout line. They have another one in their line called Timber Glen and that’s a really big plank. But the way it pieces together, you see a lot of a grout line, so that kind of looks weird. Not as realistic wood, as you might expect.

    So if you do go with a wood-look tile that does have a predominant grout line, I would choose a grout that’s similar in color to the tile.

    ANN: Uh-huh. I’ve seen the tile where the tile is like wood planks.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what this looks like; it looks like wood planks. And I will caution you, though, that you’re talking about – any tile that’s 24 inches long in one direction like this is going to need an extraordinary amount of support underneath it.

    So you have to be very careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to prepping the floor before the tile is laid. If there’s any flex or bend or unevenness in that floor, eventually this tile is going to crack. You don’t want that to happen, so you want to make sure that the floor is properly supported to take a big tile.

    When we used to have mosaics years ago, it didn’t really matter if the floors were flexible, so to speak, or not, because there was a joint every 1 inch in a mosaic tile. But a 24-inch-long tile, that’s not going to bend; it’s going to break. So you want to make sure the floor is really strong before you do that installation, OK?

    ANN: Yes. OK. Great.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Larry in Wisconsin on the line who’s dealing with some siding issues. Tell us what’s going on.

    LARRY: What I did is I was watching This Old House a couple years ago and my house was just built four years ago, so I just had a brand-new driveway and everything. And they were showing you how – that you could stain your driveway. And I live in Wisconsin, so I decided to stain my driveway and stuff.

    TOM: Yep.

    LARRY: And then during that time, I got some of that stain on my siding, on my – or yeah, my vinyl siding. And I can’t figure out how to get that stuff off.

    TOM: It’s on the vinyl siding, huh?

    LARRY: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a challenge. Well, since vinyl is a solid material, have you tried to sand it with a very, very fine sandpaper, like an emery cloth that may be a 220-grit or finer? Or you could try to use rubbing compound, like you use for a car.

    LARRY: OK.

    TOM: And that’s kind of abrasive, too. You’re going to have to abrade through that surface to see if you can possibly get down to the raw vinyl.

    LARRY: Right. I’ve tried Comet and I even – a little bit of gasoline or some mineral oil and all kinds of – you know what, though? I would never, ever put that stuff back on my driveway again, because the first time we had an ice storm and I went to shovel – and all that stuff just peeled right on up.

    TOM: Oh, really?

    LARRY: Oh, yeah, it was terrible. And then I had to get a pressure washer and rent that and then blow the stuff, you know. It’s just a mess.

    TOM: Maybe you need to go back and look at that This Old House segment again.

    LARRY: Well, here’s what happened, though. I was in sales for 25 years myself; I sold cars. And if I sold somebody a car, I would sell you an extended warranty, rustproofing, fabric, whatever.

    TOM: Right.

    LARRY: So all that contractor had to do was just tell me, “Hey, what color driveway would you want?” And I would have said, “What do you mean by that?” Because they can put that dye in there, that powder and then they could have mixed it right up with the cement and boom, it would have been perfect.

    TOM: Exactly, yeah. Yeah.

    LARRY: But that didn’t happen.

    TOM: You know who was one of the first architects to ever use that technique?

    LARRY: Frank Lloyd Wright?

    TOM: Frank Lloyd Wright. That’s exactly right. You are correct, sir.

    LARRY: Well, he built a lot of beautiful houses right here in my town.

    TOM: He did.

    LARRY: I live in Boyd, Wisconsin and – oh yeah, he was really gifted, that’s for sure.

    TOM: Yeah. Yep. He was way ahead of his time.

    LARRY: Yes, he was.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. I think if you try to abrade that with some sandpaper or some rubbing compound, then that’ll do it.

    LARRY: Alrighty. I’ll try that. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Alright. You’re 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, March is American Red Cross Month, a month when we take some time to think about the organization that does so much for us in times of need. They were terrific here in the Northeast during the Superstorm Sandy.

    Now, if you’d like to be prepared, much like the Red Cross is for us – if you’d like to be prepared in your own home for a disaster, we’re going to have tips on how you can do just that, including what you need to know to create an emergency tool kit, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.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: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win a great prize package from our friends at 3M. It’s full of things that you would use again and again around your house, like an LED advanced light bulb, a respirator, safety glasses and their awesome Painter’s Tape, along with a new, very cool product from 3M called Patch Plus Primer, which combines spackle and primer, eliminating the need for two steps.

    The prize is worth about $78. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, drawn at random from those that we talk to this hour. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tom in Alaska on the line who’s dealing with a roofing problem. Tell us what’s going on.

    TOM IN ALASKA: I have a rafter or a trussed – in this case, they’re 9×3½ inches – 9 inches by 3½ inches, 32 inches on center.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM IN ALASKA: Now, on top of that, I have 2×6 tongue-and-groove wood. Now, on top of that is where the insulation goes and the insulation currently is some kind of – it’s all one piece. It’s 2 inches or 2¼ of a yellow foam with about 3/8-inch or ½-inch of some kind of – I don’t know. It crinkles; it can be broken off with your fingers. And then on top of that, connected to it is what looks like roofing paper?

    TOM: Right. Probably tar paper.

    TOM IN ALASKA: Right.

    TOM: OK. So, what you’re describing is a cathedral ceiling with a sandwich-type roof structure above it. So in other words, typically in a ceiling you would have the insulation in between the rafters. Because your rafters are part of the architectural beauty of the home, the insulation is actually stacked on top of the rafters, kind of on the roof-shingle side almost.

    TOM IN ALASKA: Right.

    TOM: And that’s not unusual in that type of home. It ends up creating a bit of a deeper fascia at the front edge because of the amount of material you have there but it’s a good, sensible way to insulate that style of home. So what’s your question about this? Are you having problems with it?

    TOM IN ALASKA: I would assume that that’s only about R-19, if that.

    TOM: It can depend on what exact materials are being used. And you’re right: it’s probably not enough. And so your question might be: “How do I make that better?”

    TOM IN ALASKA: Right. And I was thinking of putting something on the inside, which I will lose the visual effect, but I thought if I put maybe a little furring strip or something on the inside, put in a blown-in, rigid foam …

    TOM: Well, if you put in blown-in, that’s going to totally mess up the appearance of those rafters. It’s hard to do that neatly. So what you might want to think about doing is adding some rigid foam insulation inside the ceiling, in between the ceiling rafters and then some other type of wood paneling over that so that when you look up, it appears that you’re looking at the underside of the roof still. You understand what I mean?

    TOM IN ALASKA: Right.

    TOM: So you can even use a tongue-and-groove thin, pine paneling that’s like 3/8- or ¼-inch thick but have that cover the insulation. And that would still give you the appearance – even if you’re losing a little bit of depth, you might be able to pick up a fair amount of additional insulation.

    LESLIE: Well, March is American Red Cross Month and after Hurricane Sandy, we East Coasters are really feeling especially appreciative of all that the Red Cross does. And we thought we’d give back.

    Now, you can, of course, become a volunteer, you can give blood, you can donate. Whatever works for you and your wallet.

    TOM: And another way that you can help is to make sure your home and family are prepared for a disaster, with an emergency go-bag.

    Now, when flood waters started to rise during Hurricane Sandy, there was no time for a lot of folks to gather the important things that they needed before they had to get out of their homes.

    LESLIE: Well, at the slightest hint that an evacuation might happen in your area, here’s what you’re really going to need. You need your important papers, including your mortgage papers, insurance, bank statements, your passports, birth and marriage certificates. And you want to keep all of that all together in one waterproof bag.

    You’re also going to need any medication that your family might need; some cash; clean, dry clothes; and some food. You may even want to consider copies of keepsakes, like digital photo files.

    TOM: And finally, once you have your go-bag ready to go, make sure that it is in a place where it can be grabbed in seconds as you are heading out the door. Because I’ve got to tell you, you know, when that storm hit us here in the Northeast, a lot of folks were shocked with how fast the flood waters came up. They didn’t expect it. It came up – literally, in 20, 30 minutes, their homes were underwater. So you’ve got to have this stuff together in advance, folks, so that you are good to go when it’s time to do just that.

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

    ANNA: Well, I hope you can without involving me in too much work. I have …

    TOM: OK. A tall order but we’re up for the challenge.

    ANNA: I have two long slats from a bunk-bed set. Now, to use it as a bunk bed, you can’t get rid of these and I was thinking about throwing them out. And then when I looked at them, I thought, “Down the road, if somebody else would ever want these and use them as a bunk bed, I can’t throw them out.”

    TOM: OK.

    ANNA: But they’re – they’ve been outside and they’ve been kind of sheltered. But they’ve been outside for a couple years and they’re rusted; they’re metal. And so, I wondered how I could clean the metal off, (inaudible at 0:14:36) the rust off them so that – and treat them however – so that they could be used again.

    TOM: Right. So, very simple. What you’re going to want to do is either wire-brush and/or sand the metal to get rid of all of that rust. Then wipe it down so it’s nice and clean and dry and then you’re going to paint it with a rust-proofing primer like Rust-Oleum. If it’s fairly flat, you can brush it on. If it’s got any kind of detail to it, you can buy it in a spray can and just spray it on.

    It takes a couple of hours to dry the Rust-Oleum product but it’s worth it because it really does seal it in and protect it. Then after it dries, you can put a topcoat on of the same color that the slat was before, just so it doesn’t look like – it doesn’t have that primer color to it.

    ANNA: OK. So I can get it in a color as a shade.

    TOM: Oh, sure. Any color you want. But the rust-proofing primer is kind of like a rust color. And so after that dries, then you can paint whatever you want.

    ANNA: Thank you for the advice and I like your show an awful lot.

    TOM: Thanks very much, Anne Marie. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to North Carolina where Reba is dealing with a spider problem. Blah. What’s going on?

    REBA: I have moved into a brand-new set of apartments and there are just spiders everywhere. But they have a lot of mulch around our apartments and – where they’ve planted new flowers and such. But there are some tiny spiders that are little black spiders and then there’s brown spiders that are as big as quarters. They’re the fastest spiders I’ve ever seen in my life.

    TOM: Oh, boy. And the brown spiders that are as big as quarters, they sound like brown recluse spiders, which can bite. So those we don’t like at all.

    REBA: Right. But I have tried – I have bought stuff from Lowe’s. I’ve sprayed all kinds of stuff all inside my house and all around the outside but they’re impossible to get rid of.

    TOM: So, I hate to say this but have you considered hiring a professional? I know you’re probably saving some money. But whenever I hear somebody is buying lots and lots of pesticide and spraying it inside the house and spraying it outside the house, I’m kind of of the opinion that by the time you do all that, you’ve exposed yourself to so much excess pesticide that you would have been better off just having a pro come in, because they can buy stuff that you can’t buy. Plus, they’re specifically trained on where to put the insecticide, how much to put. And also, the insecticides today are very specific and they remove only the insects that they’re supposed to remove. And they don’t remove the beneficial insects that you want to leave behind.

    So if you’re having that much of an infestation, I would stop shopping for my own pesticide and call a pro and have them treat the house. And once you get the populations down to where they’re manageable, kind of more normal, then you could try to use some of those other products just on a maintenance basis. Does that make sense?

    REBA: It sure does. But here’s the only question: when everybody else is having the same problem and the mulch is all around the whole entire neighborhood, is just me spraying going to help? Is it going to stop it?

    TOM: Well, yeah, it’ll create sort of a barrier around your place. But let me ask you, is this an apartment you rent or is this a townhouse? What’s the form?

    REBA: This is like – they just built this whole neighborhood of new apartments. There’s like 43 apartments.

    TOM: So they’re rental apartments?

    REBA: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So, if you get the exterminator out there and they tell you that you’ve got something like a brown recluse spider there and you bring that to the attention of the rental agent, I think you’d give them plenty of reason to treat the whole apartment complex and not ignore them to the point where people and kids start getting bitten.

    REBA: OK. I thank you for your information.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Ladies, I hear you’re still a bit reluctant to attempt some do-it-yourself home repairs. Well, we’ve got the perfect place for you to start. Details on The Home Depot Do-It-Herself Workshops, 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: And if you are new to DIY, the best advice we can give you is to start with a simple project. This is a great way to build your confidence and allow you to take on bigger challenges. But another way to gain confidence is to have a more experienced DIYer take you through a project step by step.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And the experts at The Home Depot can help you with that. Thursday, March 21st, hundreds of Home Depot stores across the country will offer a lighting-project workshop geared toward women, presented by Lutron. Here to tell us more is Melissa Andresko from Lutron.

    Welcome, Melissa.

    MELISSA: Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom.

    TOM: This is quite a production. You guys are going to do the same workshop in thousands of Home Depots across the country, essentially, at the same time.

    MELISSA: That’s right. You know, there’s about 2,000 stores in the United States and the Do-It-Herself program is kind of new for Home Depot. And they’re really encouraging women to come out and be hands-on with all of these great projects around the home. And on March 21st, Lutron is presenting the class. It’s called “Energy Efficiency: Sensors and Dimmers.” So you can come in and get hands-on with an occupancy sensor, a dimmer, so that you can see just how easy it is to install these products in the home.

    LESLIE: And I think that’s great that you’re gearing these projects towards women, because sometimes – and I – honestly, myself, electrical projects are never something that I would be like, “Ooh, I’m going to do that,” just because, obviously, the risks are very great. But I think it’s excellent that we’re building and boosting confidence with women.

    And it’s a decorating project but it’s also a really cool do-it-yourself electrical project, because dimmers really are fairly easy to install, right?

    MELISSA: They are. It’s very simple. It’s really a one-for-one swap with where your light switch is in the wall now. You simply take it out and replace it with a dimmer.

    And to your point, not only are you making your home more beautiful and creating ambiance, but you’re saving energy and you’ve installed this great product. And you boost your confidence and you feel like you can tackle the world.

    But to your point, people are a little timid about electricity at times, so Lutron and The Home Depot associates are going to show people just how easy it is. And once you turn that power off, it should take you around 15 minutes and your project will be finished.

    TOM: And who better to learn it from than Lutron, who – I don’t know if all you guys know this but Lutron actually invented the dimmer. Your founder, Joel Spira, was the inventor of the original dimmer.

    MELISSA: Lutron has been in business since 1961 but he actually filed the patent for the first dimmer in 1959. So, he’s been at it a long time. So, yeah, I do think we are definitely the experts in the industry.

    TOM: And as you say, it’s not a difficult project to do and I think it’s cool that you’re going to be presenting this information through 2,000 workshops across the country at Home Depots – we’ve all got one in our neighborhood – on March 21st – the evening of March 21st.

    Check your local store for the times, the locations and take part in this, because you’re going to hear right from the experts. I’ve seen the training materials. They’re very, very well done. You’re going to learn a lot and then you’re going to be empowered to go home and take this project on.

    The other cool thing I want to mention about this particular project is that whenever you purchase a Lutron dimmer or a Lutron sensor, you have, standing behind that, a very unique opportunity to get additional help.

    Because Lutron has a 24-7 technical support line, as well, right, Melissa?

    MELISSA: We do. We have 24-7, U.S.-based technical support that is done – really, offered free of charge. You can call them even from the store and say, “Hey, I’m having difficulty picking out the dimmer for my house. Can you help?” Or if you’re at home and you get a little stuck during the installation process, you can give them a call and they’ll actually stay on the phone with you and walk you through the steps needed to complete the project.

    LESLIE: I mean that’s really great. You’re really getting the step-by-step assistance at the point when you need it, should you need it. So that’s a wonderful service, a really good confidence-builder.

    MELISSA: It is. And the one thing that I love about this workshop is that these women, you’re going to be among friends. It’s going to be a very relaxed atmosphere. So sometimes, people get in groups, they get a little timid about asking questions. But these are going to be groups of women from the community. Maybe it’s people from your work, your church, your neighbors. And you’re going to come together and figure out how to tackle these DIY projects, so it’s not going to be an intimidating setting.

    So if you do need a little extra help figuring out how to install it or you’ve got some additional questions, the experts are going to be there to offer you that real hands-on experience.

    LESLIE: But if you’re trying to organize it as a group event, don’t bring bottles of wine, girls. I know you like to bring the wine and crackers. Don’t bring it to The Home Depot.

    TOM: And speaking of experts, Leslie and I will be joining the team from Lutron and The Home Depot in the New York area, at the 3rd Avenue store. That is between 58th and 59th, at 6:30 p.m. on March 21st, to help with the Do-It-Herself Workshop called “Energy Efficiency: Sensors and Dimmers,” presented by Lutron.

    And remember, anywhere across the country that you have a Home Depot, you can head on over there the evening of March 21st to get the same workshop from the local Home Depot experts.

    Melissa Andresko, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on this great program.

    MELISSA: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie. And hope everybody gets out there and gets to one of the Do-It-Herself events.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve priced fences lately, you probably got some sticker shock. We’re going to tell you about one option that’s both affordable and attractive, after this.

    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: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And we are taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, we’re giving one caller some great do-it-yourself must-haves from 3M and it includes a 3M Painter’s Tape with Edge-Lock, which is going to give you some super-sharp edges, and Patch Plus Primer that eliminates the need to spackle. You’re also going to get safety glasses, duct tape, earplugs and a respirator: all kinds of things that we do-it-yourselfers need.

    It’s a package worth $78 and you can see all the products at 3M.com. And pick up the phone, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for help with your home improvement project and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bill in Missouri on the line who needs some help choosing a kitchen sink. Tell us what you’re working on.

    BILL: Well, I’m having a kind of a tough time trying to decide on these new materials and stuff that they’re making the kitchen sinks out of now.

    TOM: Yep.

    BILL: And my wife didn’t want a stainless-steel sink and she wanted one that was colored or white, one that would be easy to keep clean and wouldn’t show scratches or cracks or anything like that.

    TOM: OK. OK.

    BILL: And I was trying to keep away from the cast iron, because that’s what we have in there right now. Those things weigh a ton. And they’ve got some new ones that we were looking at over at the Lowe’s store and it’s called a Swanstone, which is a man-made product. And I don’t know how good those are.

    TOM: I’ve had some experience with those composite products and I will say if she’s accustomed to a cast-iron, porcelain sink, she’s not going to be happy with a composite sink, because they are a lot harder to keep clean. I’ve got one that’s sort of like the undermount sink that’s made of the – like sort of one of the Corian-wannabe products. And whenever we put wine in it or tomato sauce or something like that, it does leave a stain and we have to get the Bon Ami out and sort of scour the bottom to keep it clean.

    You know, there’s – if you’re used to a cast-iron sink – and that is definitely the easiest one to keep clean, I’ve got to tell you.

    BILL: The one we’ve got hasn’t been that easy and it’s shown scratch marks where the pots had scratched it and I just thought, “Well, we’ll just get something easier to clean.”

    TOM: Right. But it has a nice, smooth, cleanable surface that doesn’t stain; that’s the nice thing about cast.

    I was telling Leslie last week on the show that I just replaced a sink for my mom that was an Americast product – an American Standard product.

    BILL: Yeah.

    TOM: And it was actually covered by a lifetime warranty. So it had started to rust and chip in one corner and 17 years after she bought it, American Standard gave her a brand-new sink.

    BILL: Wow.

    TOM: And it was a cast-iron – like a porcelain, enameled kind of a sink. And she had a beige one that we took out and they gave us a new beige one, almost the same configuration 17 years later, and popped it back in.

    BILL: Well, I wanted to tell you thank you for taking my call and I really enjoy your shows.

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that project.

    LESLIE: Well, good fences make good neighbors, they say. And bad fences? Well, they just fall apart and get eaten by bugs, so that’s not good.

    Well, fortunately, there are some options out there that are actually attractive and inexpensive, if you can believe it.

    TOM: Yeah. Let’s start by talking about the good, old standby: wood fences. Now, they’re very sturdy in windstorms but they’re not cheap. I mean they’re pretty costly and of course, they provide a feast for termites and carpenter ants and other wood-destroying insects and organisms.

    Now, there’s, of course, chain-link, which bugs won’t eat but they aren’t the most attractive option. But if you are going to consider chain-link, you might want to think about using black chain-link. The black chain-link fencing tends to camouflage much better and it’s really not that obvious that you have fencing when the fencing is, in fact, black.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I thought you were going to say it’s not that ugly.

    Alright. Well, there is another option, guys, and it’s one that we like very much and it’s vinyl. But before you turn up your nose at it, Google it. Because vinyl can look like a lot of different things. Some of it can look like wood and it could even have a grain built right into it. And it does come in a lot of styles and colors and it’s very cost-efficient.

    And here’s another benefit: it’s bug-, sun- and rot-resistant. So, really, a good deal.

    TOM: But the best part is if you could install it tomorrow, it’s going to look the same 30 years from now. The stuff just doesn’t wear out.

    If you’d like more tips on choosing fences, visit MoneyPit.com.

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

    WENDY: I bought a large commercial building in a historic downtown of Atlantic, Iowa.

    TOM: Oh, it sounds nice.

    WENDY: And it had a roof leak and we have repaired that; we’ve put a new roof on. But there was a lot of damage to the second-story ceiling, which was lath and plaster.

    TOM: OK.

    WENDY: And we want to put a loft – a residential loft – up on the upstairs. We have about 1,500 square foot of lath and plaster that needs to come down. So my question is: is there something that’s available as an aid to funnel all of that dirt and lath and plaster down off of the ceiling and out to a dumpster?

    TOM: Yeah. Let me give you some suggestions, having been through this very repair in my home, which was all lath and plaster. I went about remodeling rooms in different stages. The first time, I decided I would take all the lath and plaster out and drywalled right on top of the original studs. And after going through that mess, I decided it wasn’t as important as I’d once thought to take the lath and plaster out.

    And the next time I did it, I simply put a second layer of drywall over the old lath and plaster and screwed through that drywall up into the ceiling joists and the wall studs to support it. And that was a much neater, much easier way to get a nice, clean, new ceiling without all of the mess and the dust and the dirt and the debris.

    So is the lath and plaster somewhat intact or is it all loose and falling off? What’s the status of it right now?

    WENDY: In some places, where there was a water leak, the plaster wants to fall off. And then in some places, it’s not so bad.

    TOM: Well, if you were to put 4×8 sheets of drywall over that and screw the drywall in, it’ll probably support any loose lath or plaster that’s there. And again, you won’t have this big mess of having to tear it all down, which is an awfully big project. Because it’s very heavy, you’ll be shoveling it off the floor, putting it in trash cans, carrying those cans down. And you can’t even fill up the cans because it’s too heavy to lift them.

    So it’s a big, stinking mess and if you could apply some drywall to the ceiling as it is now and attach through that drywall into the ceiling joists, it should support the old lath and plaster and give you a nice, clean surface to start with.

    WENDY: OK. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Wendy. 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. Up next, a trend report says that gray is the new neutral in home fashion. We’re going to explore the options, after this. I could have told you that. I’ve loved gray for ages.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.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, are you thinking about new carpeting as a spring home improvement project? Simply go to MoneyPit.com if you are and search “buying a carpet.” We’ve got a complete list of exactly what you need to know.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re on the MoneyPit.com website, you can post your question in the Community section, just like Ed in Nebraska did, who writes: “As soon as it gets cold outside, my foyer and kitchen floor also get cold. I can have the heat running at 70 but the floor itself will stay cold. Is it worthwhile to insulate the ceiling joists of my basement?”

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great idea. You always want to insulate between conditioned and unconditioned spaces and your basement’s probably not a conditioned space; in other words, it’s not a heated space. So I would certainly consider adding unfaced fiberglass batts to the underside of the first floor, from the basement. I think that will make it warmer. And then, of course, you also might want to think about just changing the surface with something like, for example, an area rug.

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah, that can really cozy it up. And the insulation and the fact that your basement probably is an unconditioned space really does make a huge difference as far as heating that first floor.

    You know, Tom, I don’t know if I told you this but when we split our zones from the basement and the first floor, we separated them because we were having a hard time keeping the first floor warm, just due to 1920 house, no insulation. That first cold spell we got, I had the heat on on the first floor and it was fairly warm but there was a coldness to it that I couldn’t figure out until I remembered, “Oh, there’s no heat on in the basement.” It was the first time that I was like, “Oh, they’re not in the same zone.”

    So, really, having a conditioned space or insulation is going to make a huge difference for you, Ed, so stay toasty.

    TOM: Well, colors come and colors go in the world of home fashion. But Leslie tells us about one neutral that seems to have some definite staying power, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Gray is the new black, especially when it comes to flooring for your home.

    Now, you may already be seeing wood and wood laminate flooring in shades of gray but it’s actually popping up more in ceramic and other tile materials, as well.

    Now, gray doesn’t have to mean drab. It’s actually a neutral color that can be easily paired with just about any other color. And it’s going to give you a modern, sleek look, depending on the shade of gray and how much taupe is mixed in or how much brown is mixed in or even how much purple or blue. Really, gray can look like anything.

    And depending on what color you do mix it with, as far as an accent color, it doesn’t have to just be modern; you can go traditional, you can go contemporary. There’s lots of looks that you can create by using gray.

    Now, if you are going for a modern, sleek look with the gray, it really does a great job of making any other color that you use with it just pop off of it. The trick is that it’s hard to find a true gray color.

    Now, as I said, most grays have a lot of green, blue. I even saw a paint that looked gray but when I painted it on the wall, it looked more purple. It’s actually a color from Benjamin Moore that I’ve used, called White Winged Dove. Is it White Winged Dove or Silver Bells? I always get them confused; they’re one off of each other on the chart.

    But I painted my dining room this color. And it looks like an icy, silvery gray but come evening time and that room is lavender. I mean it’s the most gorgeous color but you’ve got to really do your research, because a lot of grays are just going to take on different hues, depending on different times of day.

    So if you go with more of a dove color, play it safe and then bring in your accents. And you can go as crazy as you want. You can bring in accents of fuchsia, aqua. You can keep it toned down with some off-whites or some beiges. Really, really easy to mix and match and then, of course, when you’re looking for another neutral that’s going to jump off of it, go with black – glossy black. It looks fantastic.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up on the next edition of the program, spring is around the corner and that means it’s time to pay attention to your outdoor spaces again. We’re going to have a tip on how you can spruce up your great outdoors, 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.


    (Copyright 2013 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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