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  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    TOM: Hi, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And you are tuned to the Money Pit podcast. We are so glad that you are.
    Now all this month on the podcast we’re going to be talking about staycation tips throughout our show and these are some ideas to make your home a little more comfortable, a little more pleasant, a little more fun if you’re not going to take a vacation this year; you’re just going to sort of stay at home and enjoy the place you have.
    Now if you head on over to MoneyPit.com, we’re also making available a free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s the outdoor living chapter available for free download at MoneyPit.com; chock full with lots of staycation tips to make your summer a lot of fun if you’re staying at home.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? All of this great information and all these great ideas are brought to you by our friends over at Fiberon Decking and also the WORX GT Trimmer/Edger.
    Alright, folks. Let’s get started.

    TOM: Now, on with the show.
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’ve got solutions for all your home improvement questions, your home décor questions, your home cleaning questions, your home organization questions. If it’s in the home, we’ve got answers for you. The number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Coming up this hour, summer vacation season means the busy season for burglars. You’ve got to protect yourself, you’ve got to protect your house. Keeping your home safe with the right outside lighting is a great place to start. We’re going to help you figure out exactly what you need to do just that.
    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know a healthy, lush, well-manicured lawn will keep up that value of your home, so we’re going to tell you about a lawnmower that will help you make the job easier.
    TOM: And DIYers and pros alike know and love Liquid Nails. That’s a product that I’ve been using for years and years and years. It’s a tough-as-nails adhesive that lives up to its name, but have you ever thought of all the things that you can do with Liquid Nails? Well, we want you to tell us your favorite and, if we share your story on the air, you could win your very own supply of Liquid Nails. We’ll tell you all about that a little later in the show.
    LESLIE: And speaking of winning, this hour we’re giving away the Energizer hard case professional flashlight worth 25 bucks.
    TOM: But you’ve got to call us with your home improvement question to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement, your home décor, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help. The number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Lynn in South Carolina is looking to improve the value of her money pit. What can we do for you?
    LYNN: Well, we have thought about selling our home and it is a beach home. It’s not beach front but it’s on the oceanside.

    TOM: OK.
    LYNN: And since prices have kind of taken a nosedive, we were wondering what would be the best home improvement that we could do to try and increase the value of our home and make it more appealing.
    TOM: Well, how old is your house, Lynn?
    LYNN: Home is about ten years old.
    TOM: Alright, well that’s still a pretty new house. I wouldn’t imagine that there’s a lot that you need to do in terms of replacing kitchens or appliances or anything of that nature. I would go back to the basics.
    First thing I would do is make sure it looks really good from the outside. Make sure that you have good landscaping so you have great curb appeal. Remember that a lot of people make a home-buying decision without ever actually getting to your house. They’re going to look at the picture.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Online, based on photos.
    TOM: Yep. Yeah, so make sure that picture looks really good.
    Secondly, inside you want to make sure that your house is as neutral as possible. So if you’ve got kind of a strong decorating taste, you might love it; the next buyer will have a hard time imagining their stuff in your house. So you want to keep to the neutrals and the off-whites and the beige colors. If you want to do any decorating, you want to tone everything down so that no matter what the décor tastes are of the potential homebuyers, they’re going to all feel like it will fit in your house.
    And also, you want to make sure that you declutter; so you want to make the house look as wide open as possible. I mean, typically, most of us end up moving, a lot of times, because we’ve kind of grown out of our house; and if that’s the case, you want to make sure that you try to declutter as much – you know, have some of those garage sales; those lawn sales; put some stuff out on eBay; try to get rid of as much stuff as possible so that your house looks as open as it possibly can.
    But at ten years old, I don’t think we’re talking about replacing a kitchen, upgrading a bathroom, things like that. Do you have …?
    LESLIE: Which are always the biggest return on investment.
    TOM: Do you have a deck or patio?
    LYNN: We have a deck.
    TOM: Well, I mean that’s good, too; so it sounds like you don’t really need to do a lot here besides some basic cleanup, basic landscaping and maybe some decorating.
    LYNN: Well, I truly appreciate that. That’s exactly some of the things that we are doing and so that lets me know that we are on the right track; plus you gave me some other fine things to think about and to put into motion.
    TOM: Sounds good, Lynn. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that home sale.
    LESLIE: Austin in Hawaii needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?
    AUSTIN: I am doing – I’ve got a hardwood floor in my house …
    TOM: OK.
    AUSTIN: … and it’s about a 10×10 room and I’m turning it into kind of like a dog room and stuff like that.
    TOM: OK.
    AUSTIN: And I just have a question as far as if I’m going to be running just some tile over it, what I would use and how I would prepare the hardwood floor for the tile.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) So you want to tile over …?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Are you thinking about ceramic tile?
    TOM: Yeah, over a hardwood floor?
    AUSTIN: Yeah, over the hardwood floor. It’s termite damaged and stuff like this, so it’s not really repairable except for like wood putty and stuff …
    TOM: OK.
    AUSTIN: … and I’m just kind of going to go over with it a cheaper tile just to do it and it’s not really a room that we’re going to be using other than the dogs, so …
    TOM: Alright, so you absolutely don’t care about the hardwood floor anymore?
    LESLIE: And never, ever want to see it ever again?
    AUSTIN: Not at all.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: Alright, then go ahead and glue new tile right on top of it.
    AUSTIN: OK. What kind of glue would I use for that?
    TOM: You can use a thinset; like a tile adhesive.
    TOM: Basically, clean it, obviously, so you’ll have good adhesion.
    TOM: But you can glue right over that and that would be a fine base and then after it dries you can grout it and you’re done.
    AUSTIN: Right, then I shouldn’t have to sand the wood or anything like this.
    LESLIE: No.
    TOM: No, as long as it’s flat. Remember, tile doesn’t bend, so (chuckles) – especially if you use bigger tiles. You need to make sure they have good, flat, total adhesion to the surface but, as long as it’s flat, there’s really no reason to do anything to it. You can put tile over floor; you can put tile over tile. I mean the glue is going to stick.
    AUSTIN: OK, great.
    TOM: Alright, Austin. Sounds like the dogs are going to have a very nice room.
    AUSTIN: I hope so.
    TOM: Alright.
    LESLIE: Well, when the dog lives in Hawaii, they get a pretty good life. (Tom chuckles)
    AUSTIN: Yeah, yeah. That’s true, that’s true. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Austin, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. It’s almost summer, folks, so let us help you get your money pit in tiptop shape for all of that fantastic barbecue entertaining we know you are going to be doing on your decks out there; we’re just waiting for our invitations. So pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll help you get the job done and be over with some steaks for the grill.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, keeping your yard and doors lit can scare burglars away. We’re going to shed some light on how to do just that, next.

    (theme song)
    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.
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Energizer hard case pro flashlight worth 25 bucks. It’s got four bright-white LED Energizer Max batteries that provide 30 hours of runtime and a shatterproof lens with it. You can find all of the home improvement projects that you wanted to forget about around your house (Leslie chuckles) because they will be illuminated. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now and have your home improvement or home décor question ready to go.
    LESLIE: That’s right and you can also pick up your flashlight in the event you hear some sort of unusual noise around your property in the middle of the night and you want to check out what’s going on.
    You know if you’ve got, around your money pit, too many shadowy areas, those are the perfect places for people who are up to no good to be lurking about. So you really want to shed some light on that very dark and sort of uninviting situation that you’ve got on the outside because dark homes invite burglars but keeping the lights on all the time can get pretty expensive. So what’s the best solution here?
    The best idea is motion detectors. Now these are special lights that’ll pop on and really surprise any of your unwanted visitors by coming on whenever anybody gets within 50 feet of your house. And they’re really great for your personal safety as well since you’re going to be able to see the front door well before you get to it and then you won’t be fumbling in your purse or in your pockets for your keys, which you can never seem to find; especially when you feel like somebody, perhaps, is lurking up behind you.
    TOM: Unfortunately, security tests have shown that they do not scare away your unwanted relatives. (Leslie chuckles) They will still find their way to your house.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to the phones.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Alright, heading over to Colorado to chat with Larry about a driveway makeover. What’s going on?
    LARRY: Yeah, I’ve got a driveway that’s got a lot of chipping all over it and it’s – you know, it kind of all did it at once; we had a bad snowstorm.
    TOM: OK.
    LARRY: And after that snowstorm it just flaked like – you know I couldn’t have done a better job with hammers or (Tom chuckles) – I don’t want to tear out the whole thing but I want to lay something over it; either asphalt or …
    TOM: You could resurface it with epoxy. You could use an epoxy. It’s essentially like an epoxy patching compound and you need to wait for the right weather; so spring or summer or fall – probably spring or summer is the best time to do it. And an epoxy patching compound has a very good adhesive quality to it so it’ll stick to the driveway and you can, essentially, trowel it on and almost give your driveway sort of like a scrolled kind of look to it. And that’s an option for you that will give you something else to do besides a total tear-out, Larry.
    LARRY: Yeah, OK.
    TOM: You know a good place to start is QUIKRETE – they have a lot of great products that can help with this; and also Abocrete – they have more commercial applications but you’ll products there that can be used to rebuild any kind of deteriorated concrete.
    Larry, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Cathy in Alabama’s got a situation in the shower. What can we do for you?
    CATHY: I have a bathroom that has a foul smell coming from the shower and our home is only two-and-a-half years old – we had it built – and there’s no mold in the actual drain.
    TOM: How often do you use that shower, Cathy?
    CATHY: Every other day.
    TOM: Every other day. OK.
    LESLIE: So it’s not like it’s an unused guest bath.
    CATHY: Right.
    TOM: Hmm.
    CATHY: But it seems like when I clean it with bleach or Clorox, the foul smell gets better but it doesn’t quite take it all the way away. It is like a mildewy – but we do have a septic tank.
    TOM: Typically, when you have a bad smell in a bathroom shower area, in the drain, it’s because it doesn’t have a proper trap, which is a U-shaped pipe that goes where the water goes. And the reason it’s U-shaped is it’s supposed to have some water sit in it all the time. Now, if there’s any chance that that trap was not properly installed, that would be the reason for the foul smell.
    What I want you to do is to take the cover off of the drain and shine a flashlight down there and see if you see standing water. If you see standing water, this is a good thing; that means you actually have a trap. If you don’t see standing water and you just see like a pipe that goes to nowhere, that means that the plumber never installed the trap and, if that’s the case, you’re always going to have smell coming up out of that.
    CATHY: OK, great. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Diane in Colorado is dealing with some unwanted visitors; some bugs of some sort. Tell us what you’re seeing.
    DIANE: From November through approximately March, I get an infestation of boxelder bugs.

    TOM: OK.

    DIANE: And since they can’t be killed I need some ideas for how to keep them out.

    TOM: Do you have a lot of trees around your house?

    DIANE: You know, we had them all taken out. I live near an irrigation canal.

    TOM: OK.

    DIANE: I had them all taken out behind my house but my neighbors do have them.

    TOM: Well, sometimes you have to sort of reach beyond your house to control the boxelder bugs and actually treat the trees that surround it. When you have as many as you have, you’re probably going to need a residual insecticide; one that is actually sprayed on the surfaces as well as inside the exterior walls. And the way the insecticides work is basically the bugs have to sort of march through it, they get it on their bodies and then they take it back and because they’re very social insects they pass it to each other.
    You can only sort of kill them yourself if you actually see them and a soap solution works well but it’s only going to kill them if you happen to hit them, so if you open up a section of your house and you see a lot of them you can spray them down with a three to four-percent mix of water and soap; but, otherwise, you really need to have a professional pest control applicator to come in and apply the right kind of insecticides. These insecticides are getting a lot smarter these days in that they only work for the insect that they’re designed to kill and so that’s why you really need to rely on an expert at this point when you have an infestation at this level; so they stop taking over your house.

    DIANE: Right, sounds great.

    TOM: Diane, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: If you’re thinking about selling the house, that’s what Jay in Alabama is doing and we can help you all with that. Welcome, Jay.
    JAY: Well, I’ve got two projects on the horizon and can’t decide which one we want to go with.

    TOM: OK.

    JAY: First would be doing a kitchen upgrade. We’ve got – the appliances are all three years or younger. We’ve moved in three years ago and we’ve replaced the dishwasher, the stove and the refrigerator; so they’re all newer appliances. The question is should we invest our money in replacing countertops, tile – they’re custom cabinets that my wife’s grandfather built for our house doing, you know, the faux finishing; or would our money be better served by investing in – we have a back deck – taking and redoing that deck to put a roof over it, enclosing it with a screen so you can have ceiling fans and making more space in Alabama that you can use on these hot evenings and mosquito-infested nights, I guess?

    TOM: Is the deck makeover a popular project in your part of the world? I mean do you see a lot of homes that have these screened-in back porches?

    JAY: Yeah, about 50/50.

    TOM: OK.

    JAY: Lot of times, you know, in new construction they just go in and do just the deck …

    TOM: Right.

    JAY: … where it’s just an open deck where the added benefit would be if it were covered then also you could sit out there any time of day and with the screen keeping the insects away no matter what time you’re sitting out there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, I’m looking in the cost versus value report for 2007 …

    JAY: OK.

    LESLIE: … and for east south-central, which encompasses the Alabama state area, we’re looking at a 91.4-percent return on investment for a deck addition.

    JAY: OK.

    LESLIE: So that’s pretty good and for a kitchen remodel on the minor end we’re looking at an 85-percent return on investment.

    TOM: So for all intents and purposes they’re pretty similar, so I’m thinking you could do a combination here; you know, doing a little more – spruce up in the kitchen to make sure it’s presentable for sale and then if you’re telling me 50 percent of the homes in your neighborhood have screened-in porches and you don’t, then certainly that’s a good improvement and one that will be attractive to a buyer.

    JAY: Yeah, OK. Good. Thanks for your time.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Amanda in Nebraska is looking to install a dishwasher. Hopefully we can help. What’s going on?
    AMANDA: How easy is it to install a dishwasher – a built-in dishwasher – and put the fixtures in for it, like the piping and stuff, for a house that has never had a dishwasher in it?

    TOM: Well, first of all, Amanda, you need enough room to do that. To the left or right of the sink area or somewhere in the cabinet area would you have a space that’s 24-inches wide?

    AMANDA: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: OK, because that’s the space that you need for a dishwasher. So you need to carve out that space. Now if you happen to have, for example, a 24-inch drawer base or a 24-inch cabinet that you can remove and you don’t mind losing that much storage …

    LESLIE: Then it’s a perfect fit.

    TOM: Yeah, now it’ll fit fine. In terms of the plumbing itself, not that hard to do because the lines are flexible. You can have a flexible water supply line that connects up and you can also have a flexible drain hose that connects up.

    Is this house over a crawlspace?

    AMANDA: No, it’s just a regular house with an attic.

    TOM: But is it on a slab? What’s underneath the kitchen floor?

    AMANDA: Oh, no. There’s a full basement.

    TOM: Oh, OK. Then you have access to get under it; you have access between the cabinets. So it’s actually not that terribly hard. You have to run the wiring so you can plug it in and you have to hook up the plumbing; so you have the drain line and you have the hot water – hot and cold water supply lines.


    TOM: You need to carve out the space in the cabinets. Those are all the projects that are involved. You know, if you’re a handy person it could be a do-it-yourself project; if not, a plumber and electrician could bang the whole thing out for you.

    AMANDA: OK, and can you put one under a sink? Like under the kitchen sink itself?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Can you put one under a sink? You know, Leslie and I have been looking a lot into the topic of universal design and I know that we have seen dishwashers that are split that have drawers so that you have almost two dishwashers in one, but I’ve never seen one that fits under a sink. Have you, Leslie?

    LESLIE: No, and then you’re putting the dishes so low to the floor that it becomes a tripping hazard and it becomes sort of a backache every time you have to bend down and get them.


    TOM: Yeah, you really want to put it to the side of the kitchen sink.


    TOM: That would be the place to put it. OK?

    AMANDA: Alrighty, thank you very much and I love your show.

    LESLIE: Thanks so much for joining us this hour of The Money Pit. Up next, we are going to have your staycation solutions, including the best way to edge and trim your lawn to give it a beautifully finished look; so stick around.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
    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, this time of year, everybody has got vacation on the brain but when we’re all looking at our bank statements and our wallets, me might not be seeing the word “vacations” written in there; so we’ve got a better idea for you here. We’re talking about a staycation where you create that escape oasis right in your own backyard so it feels like you’re on vacation. So we have got all of your staycation solutions online at MoneyPit.com/Staycation.
    Now all of this great information is presented by the fine folks at WORX GT and our friends over at Fiberon and they’re the makers of superior composite decking. Just make sure you visit MoneyPit.com/Staycation now and you’ll be entered in for a chance to win a $400 mower from John Deere. That’s pretty awesome.
    TOM: It’s excellent and we’ve got your staycation solution right now. We’re talking lawn care. You know, mowing your grass regularly keeps your lawn healthy but trimming and edging should also be part of your mowing routine. Make sure you trim the areas around fenceposts, mailboxes and up against fencing that is level with the rest of your lawn. If you trim too short, you’re going to get a scalped look. Not good.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and then it never looks good.
    Now, when you’re thinking about mowing the lawn you think, “Ah, this is an easy chore,” but it’s really important to keep safety in mind while you’re doing the yard work. You want to make sure that you wear protective goggles and long pants. This way you’re going to avoid any flying debris; you know like rocks and sticks or a toy that your kids left outside. You also want to watch out for the line; it won’t cut shoes or clothing but it really can hurt. Don’t ask me how I know that. (Tom laughs) It can hurt.
    Now, there’s a fantastic new power yard tool on the market right now that’s going to make your job easier and it’s called the WORX GT. Now it not only trims your yard but it has integrated wheels in it which will allow you to convert the WORX GT into a true inline edger. And even better is that this tool uses a powerful 18-volt battery just like your cordless drill, so it’s super-lightweight; it weighs less than eight pounds. And it’s also got some other neat features like a self-feed trimmer string; so no bumping it on the ground to get the string at the right length, which is always a disaster.
    TOM: And, as an added bonus, WORX GT offers all owners free replacement spools for the life of the trimmer. Yes, I said free. You’ll never run out of this stuff. Visit FreeLineforLife.com for more information or pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Dan in Texas needs some help with a leaky roof. What can we do for you today?
    DAN: Hi. Well, my dad’s getting older. He’s got a couple of shingles – it’s a shingle roof – leaking into the attic.
    TOM: OK.
    DAN: Not a lot; just drops. How do I get on the top and find those holes? I’ve been underneath. We’ve used magnets and all kinds of stuff to center right under the spot where it’s leaking at but how do I – what am I looking for underneath the shingle?
    TOM: Well, typically, roofs are going to leak wherever there is a protrusion through the roof. So, for example, a waste pipe from a plumbing system or intersection of two roofs that come together or intersection with a lower roof with a second-story wall or something of that nature or around a chimney. So those are the most likely culprits.
    How old is your dad’s house, Dan?
    DAN: Oh, God, it’s 50 years old.
    TOM: Do you know if his roof is …
    DAN: But the roof is about 15 years old.
    TOM: OK. You know that’s interesting because I was going to tell you that about 15 years ago we started using fiberglass-based shingles as opposed to cotton-based shingles and the fiberglass shingles can tend to crack and if they do crack they can leak. Unfortunately, the cracks are kind of hard to find – you almost have to be walking on the roof to see them – but what you’ll find is where the old shingles used to sort of curl up and shrink and lose some of their granules …
    LESLIE: Yeah, to let you know that they were sort of failing.
    TOM: Yeah, the fiberglass shingles will just fracture – is the best way to put it. And I’ve been on these roofs and looked down and just seen a whole bunch of broken shingles cracked right through but, again, you can’t see them until you’re right on top of it.
    The other way to do this, which is – there’s a tool that could be used to find a leak, that’s basically an infrared heat gun, so to speak. It’s used very often to find energy leaks in houses. But you will find that when you get a water leak that the temperature of the roof where the water is …
    LESLIE: Is different enough to register on the scan.
    TOM: It’ll show as a cold spot.
    DAN: Is this something I’ll need a second mortgage to buy, though?
    TOM: Yeah, well …
    LESLIE: No, you could rent it or hire an inspector who has one.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You can hire somebody that has one.
    DAN: Oh, OK.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: And then they simply come in and sort of scan the area and they can pinpoint exactly where this leak is coming from on both sides so you know exactly where the repair needs to be done. And it can help you save a lot of time and energy as far as, you know, trying to sort of pin the tail on the donkey so you know exactly where to do the repair.
    TOM: I would …
    DAN: We’ve been pulling up shingle by shingle and tarring underneath each one.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, boy.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, gosh. No. I think that’s worth the rental. (chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah. (laughs) Right there.
    DAN: Oh.
    TOM: Well, I hope that gave you some ideas, Dan. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    Now all of you do-it-yourselfers out there, if you’ve used Liquid Nails, you know exactly how it got its name. And who hasn’t used Liquid Nails for one project or another? Well, up next, a unique idea using Liquid Nails and information on how you can share your Liquid Nails story with us. And if you do share your story with us, you could win a very cool prize, so stick around.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon. Bring your vision to life with Fiberon; innovate, reliable decking that enhances your outdoor living space. For more information, go to FiberonDecking.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one lucky caller who we talk to on the air this hour is really going to win a great prize. And since it is summer storm season right now, you are bound to have some power outages, friends. So this prize is going to come in handy. We are giving away the Energizer hard case pro flashlight. It’s worth 25 bucks and it’s got four bright-white LEDs, Energizer Max batteries – which will provide 30 hours of run time, and a shatterproof lens. Now, if all of this will keep me from misplacing it around my house, then even better.
    The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Make sure you have your home improvement or your décor question ready; ask it on the air and you could be our lucky winner.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Now, if you use adhesives in your do-it-yourself projects, you know that different glues work on different materials and Liquid Nails has an adhesive that’s sort of the gold standard for construction adhesives. I know I’ve used it many times for many different projects and the best part is that Liquid Nails offers a large selection of project-specific formulas; each uniquely engineered for optimum performance on whatever material you happen to be working on.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, that’s right and it works really great on whatever it’s designed for.
    Now, the Liquid Nails research and development team, they’re totally at the forefront of understanding building materials, and all of the changes that they go through, to ensure that Liquid Nails adhesives will offer truly superior performance.
    TOM: Just about everyone has used Liquid Nails at one time or another and we’ve been asking Money Pit listeners to share their stories. We got one in this week, Leslie, from a Dr. Amy and, actually, Dr. Amy is an elementary school principal. She had asked her grounds crew to plant some flowers in the schoolyard – I guess this was back when school just started – and she came back from the summer vacation and actually found more than just the planters.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know Amy got more than just flowers here when she asked this question to her team. The grounds crew, they actually used Liquid Nails heavy-duty construction adhesive to glue paving stones together and they created these beautiful, freestanding planters. I mean it was totally amazing and they totally stick together.
    TOM: That’s a very cool idea. So if you’ve got a creative Liquid Nails story just like that to share, send it to us and if we use it on the air we’re going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack. Just click on the link at MoneyPit.com or e-mail us to MyStory@MoneyPit.com; MyStory@MoneyPit.com and you can find Liquid Nails adhesives at major hardware stores, building centers, lumberyards, home centers and mass merchants nationwide.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to the phones.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Elaine in Hawaii, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    ELAINE: Oh, yes. Thank you. Aloha. I have three – well, we call them lanais but they’re outdoor decks on the second story of my house; made out of wood.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK.
    ELAINE: And the railings all around them are totally rotted.
    TOM: Ooh, that’s dangerous.
    ELAINE: The floor part, however, we covered with ceramic tile several years ago, so that’s OK. So my questions are two. Number one – is there a good product to replace that with? And number two – they’re kind of held up by these wooden beams underneath. Are they going to rot, too, or do we worry about that?
    TOM: Well, first of all, whenever you have a second-story deck and decay or rot, you’ve got a problem because if you get too much weight you’re going to get a collapse. So you need to have that inspected first by an expert to make sure that there’s no hidden decay that’s going to cause this to fall apart and you to fall down.
    In terms of the railing replacement, we would recommend you use composite material for that. There’s lots of composite railing systems that are out there, they’re gorgeous, they’re almost zero maintenance and you won’t have to worry about ever replacing them again.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and the good news is if your 4×4 posts – which are generally what’s used as the verticals on your railing and then they’re covered – if your posts are in good shape, you can get these decking materials, these composites for the railing, that’ll just slide right over the posts and then sort of snap together. It screws together really easily.
    Look at a website called FiberonDecking.com. That’s F-i-b-e-r-o-nDecking.com. They have a beautiful railing system and several different styles; totally affordable; very, very low maintenance and perfect for the weather in Hawaii.
    ELAINE: Oh, that’s great. Thank you. And who would be this expert? What kind of person would be the expert to call?
    TOM: You can have a contractor that does decking work do the inspection – perhaps maybe the same pro that you consider to use for the railing work; or you could have an independent professional home inspector come out and take a look at it. Either way, make sure you have somebody that knows what they’re doing. Check the structure of the deck because we don’t want anything to happen to you, Elaine. OK?
    ELAINE: Oh, my gosh. Very good. Oh, mahalo. Thank you so much.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Our pleasure.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re very welcome, Elaine. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Skip in Ohio, tell us about your project.
    SKIP: Well, I’m looking at putting some epoxy floor covering or coating down on my garage and/or workshop, and so my curiosity is what advice would you give?

    LESLIE: Well, the QUIKRETE one, which you can also get at the home centers, is two-parts. You actually mix the epoxy into the paint portion and then, you know, some of them even have a cleanser step that’s first to sort of scuff up the floor and get rid of any dirt and debris and any oils that might hinder the adhesion process. The QUIKRETE one is excellent. Rust-Oleum makes one. I think Behr even has one. But the QUIKRETE one is my favorite. They come in some excellent color choices. You can mix in the speckle finish. As long as you don’t paint yourself into a corner you shouldn’t have any other problems (Tom chuckles) and they do tend to be very, very durable.

    SKIP: Very good. I appreciate it. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Skip. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    Up next, choosing the right windows when you live on the coast is very crucial because of all of the high winds and severe storms. And you know what? Even if you don’t live on the coast, good windows make a big difference in your house. We’re going to give you some tips on how to pick the right ones, after this.

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    ANNNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac’s Garden Series generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit GuardianGenerators.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    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: Would you like to enjoy your own home on your next vacation? Then take a staycation. We’re going to help you get your home resort-ready. Visit MoneyPit.com/Staycation for more ideas.
    LESLIE: And while you are on our fantastic website you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and then e-mail us your staycation questions – or pretty much any home improvement question that you’ve got on your mind – and we can help you get those projects done.
    Now we’ve got one here from Steven who writes: “I’m having a new home built in a coastal area of North Carolina in a flood zone. Which window manufacturer has the best high-impact weather-resistant product that will stand up to the harsh coastal environment? Would it be safe to get tilt-in windows so I can clean them without having to go up a two-story ladder?
    TOM: You know, we recently completed a project with some help from the experts at Simonton Windows and they really make a very, very nice, good-quality window that, by the way, qualifies for the federal energy tax rebate. These guys really specialize in impact-resistant glass as well.
    You might want to go to our website first. We’ve got a replacement window guide that we put together; it’s actually a free chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit, but this one is downloadable and it’s free. There’s a button on the home page at MoneyPit.com. You can get the free chapter, read about all the replacement window options and then I would take a look at the Simonton website, which is Simonton.com/TaxCredit, and there you can learn about the new windows and also the way that you can qualify for the federal energy tax credit. Because if you’re going to put new windows in today, you’ve got to use the qualifying windows. You’ll get up to a 30-percent tax credit off the cost of the product. So you’re going to spend those taxes anyway; you might as well put some of that money back into your own house.
    OK, Steve? Hope that helps you out.
    LESLIE: Alright, next up we’ve got one from Cliff in Tappan, New York who writes: “My kitchen has a hung ceiling and it’s old and dirty. How do I paint old acoustic ceiling tiles and the grid and get a good job done? Can I avoid taking them down and painting each one individually? Will they crack and break up? They’re at least 20 years old.”
    TOM: The answer is yes, you can avoid taking them down; and yes, they will crack and break up if you try to. (Leslie chuckles) Shouldn’t be that hard to do. I would use a very thick roller for this.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: It’s going to be a bit of a sloppy job – right, Leslie? – but I think you can get it done with a thick roller.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and the thicker roller is the one you want to use because the thicker the nap on the roller, the more able the roller is to sort of get into all those nooks and crannies and a lot of those acoustic tiles – you know, depending on the one you’ve got – have those like dimples in areas that you’re going to want the paint to get into as well. I think if you start trying to lift them up, you’re going to see one stuck in a corner and as you sort of poke and pick up here you might start breaking and cracking; so just roll over the whole thing.
    Move as much furniture as you can and cover up everything else, including yourself, because, as you know, painting a ceiling is one messy, splattery job. (chuckles)
    TOM: Alright, we’ve got a question here from Cynthia in Cranston, Rhode Island who says: “I really love your show and I hope you have an answer for this strange question. For over a year now, and only in one of my bathrooms, at the bottom of the toilet a black substance appears. It starts off like a few specks here and there and after a few days the bottom of the toilet gets blacker and blacker. What can I do?”
    I think this sounds like a leaking wax seal, Cynthia. Between the toilet and the waste pipe there is a wax donut, so to speak, and if that starts to leak you’re going to get some water that leaks out there. If you get the water you’re going to get some mildew that’s going to form there; some dark material is as far as I’ll go. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Gross!
    TOM: And I think probably what you’re seeing is a very slight leak there. So what you’re probably going to want to do is take that toilet off and replace the wax seal; which, frankly, is not a difficult job if you have a little bit of plumbing skills or it’s certainly not more than a half-hour’s worth of work for a professional plumber.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, so that shouldn’t be expensive at all if you’ve got to hire a pro for that. And hope that helps you, Cynthia.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    (Copyright 2009 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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