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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. It’s Labor Day Weekend.

    LESLIE: Woo-hoo!

    TOM: Can you believe it? Summer is …

    LESLIE: Does that mean you’re supposed to work or not work?

    TOM: I think you’re supposed to not work.

    LESLIE: OK, good.

    TOM: You’re supposed to be labor-free this weekend but you know what? It’s always in season when you tackle a project for your house. That’s not really labor; that’s a labor of love. And we’re here to help you get those done. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    You know, millions of Americans are spending time in their backyards this weekend. It’s a great time to be outside, enjoy a cookout. But if you’re back there looking at your yard and you’re thinking, “Man, I could use some more space,” there’s a lot of yards that slope off and they don’t really have that much usable space. However, a retaining wall could solve that problem. It can restore space to your backyard if you build it correctly. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, coming up.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Retaining walls are also really good at preventing erosion. And if that doesn’t seem like a viable option for you, you might want to consider planting trees because they do the same thing as far as erosion is concerned.

    But say you’ve got a tree that you’ve planted or you’ve got one that’s just growing out of control and maybe the roots are taking over everything, what exactly do you do? Well, don’t cut it down. Why not think about transplanting it? We’re going to have Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House stopping by to tell us exactly how to do that without killing everything.

    TOM: And speaking of trees, as we roll into September, the falling of the leaves is just weeks away. So, we need to talk about why it’s important to keep your gutters clean and also, most importantly, how do you do that easily and safely. So we’ll have some tips on that project, coming up.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And this hour, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs, especially now that it’s going to start getting darker earlier and you’re going to be wanting some more privacy. If you’ve got a door with a lot of glass on it, we’ve got a good prize. We’ve got the ODL Glass Door Blind.

    So say you’ve got a French door or a slider or even just a door that’s a half-light, the blind attaches to the door, it’s super-easy and it’s sort of encased in a window of its own. So it doesn’t clang around or bang around; it just sort of tidies everything up and gives you that extra privacy. And it’s a great prize up for grabs.

    TOM: So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement project question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. If you’ve going to do it yourself, if you’re going to have somebody do it for you, we can give you some advice on how to hire a contractor, what to include in that agreement, how to make sure you don’t get ripped off. Pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Carrie in Nebraska is dealing with a decking nightmare. Tell us what’s going on.

    CARRIE: I’m having a problem with black strikes coming from a coated nail that was put into the cedar wood that we – did a replacement on a deck and we found out that was the wrong thing to use. And now we’ve seen that it’s raining so much, oh, we’ve got all these black strikes coming off of each nail head.

    TOM: Yeah, cedar is very temperamental that way. If you use the wrong fastener with it, it’s going to tell you about it. You might want to consider staining it.

    Now, even though it’s cedar and it’s naturally disease- and decay-resistant, if you don’t stain it, it will check and crack over time. So it’s still a good idea to put in a good-quality sealer. So if you use the semi-transparent or a solid-color sealer on that, you would eliminate the streaking problem.

    CARRIE: Well, we had it already bought before this happened but we haven’t gotten to that stage because we wanted to – we thought that removing the stains from each – there’s a million of them in this deck that that should be done first before we seal it with a water …

    TOM: Right. But I’m not talking about sealing it; I’m talking about staining it, OK? And if you use semi-transparent or solid color, solid color is going to have more pigment and – but you’ll still see the grain come through it. But either semi-transparent or solid-color exterior stain, I think, is the next step for you. So you don’t necessarily have to seal it; there’s not really a sealing step. You can just stain it with a semi-trans or a solid-color exterior stain and you’ll be good to go.

    CARRIE: So, there’s no way to individually address these black marks?

    TOM: No, because – I mean sure, you could sand them out and all of that but it would just be crazy to do that because they’re only going to come right back. I’d rather see you apply a stain to the deck and just kind of cover it up.

    CARRIE: OK. Alright. Well, thanks for your help.

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

    LESLIE: And my God, depending on the size of the deck, like how many nails and how many stains that you have to deal with?

    TOM: I know. I know, right?

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Bart in Iowa on the line with a water-heater issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    BART: I’ve got a water heater; I’m not sure the age of it. It’s been in the house since we’ve been there, four or five years or more. And above it, where the cold water comes in, there’s a pipe and a kind of a joint fitting that’s kind of leaking kind of a green-and-white substance.

    TOM: Right.

    BART: It seems to be water dripping off of that but it’s kind of pooling on the top of the water heater and then down the side and then it’s draining.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BART: Luckily, my floor ends right there. It’s not excessive but definitely not what it should be. I’m just kind of curious – maybe my best solution for that.

    TOM: Well, what you do have is a leak and what you’re seeing in the green-and-white residue is mineral-salt deposits that – basically, when the water evaporates, it leaves its salts behind and then the salts react with the copper and make this multi-color kind of stain that you’re seeing, that can be pretty attractive but not too good for your pipes.

    So, what you have to do here is repair this leak. And if it’s in a joint – a solder joint – it probably just has to be resoldered.

    BART: Oh, OK.

    TOM: And if it’s not happening – if it’s not a major leak, you can do it the next time you have a plumber in your house and kind of put it on the list. But don’t rub it or try to clean it because that mineral salt also acts as kind of a scab. And if you wipe it away, it might start to leak even more.

    BART: Oh, I see.

    TOM: OK?

    BART: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of places. I was wondering if – because I figured it was some type of mineral deposit – if it was coming from my – this water softener?

    TOM: Right.

    BART: I don’t know if cold water going into a water heater would be softened ahead of time. I guess until you have hot water (inaudible at 0:07:36), it might be.

    TOM: Water that is evaporating is going to release its salts. So, that’s what you’re seeing, OK, Bart?

    BART: Sure. Yeah, definitely. Yes, I appreciate it.

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

    BART: You bet.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, it’s Labor Day Weekend, so whether you are kicking back and barbecuing and just hanging out with your family or you’re taking this last official weekend of summer and really tackling projects, we are here to sort of give you a grilling tip or tell you where exactly to swing that hammer and fasten things to. That’s right: we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on Labor Day, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, we’re going to have some advice on a do-it-yourself project that can help you define your yard and create a beautiful landscape.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And you should pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Why? Because we will answer your question and toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. Because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Add-On Door Blinds from ODL.

    These are worth $117 and if you’re lucky enough to have a front or back door with glass, you know that it’s nice for watching the kids play and letting in the light. But that summer sun? It can get way too strong and if you wish you had a way to turn it down, you can; that’s what these blinds do. They’re specifically designed to mount to doors. The blinds are held behind tempered glass, so there’s no dusting, no exposed cords, no swinging or banging of blinds. And they come in the very popular door-glass sizes: either the half-light or the full-sized 64-inch.

    I actually have the half-light unit on my front door and I love it. I’ve actually had it for years and it works very, very well. It’s incredibly durable and it’s nice that – because on other doors in the house, we have blinds and they do – or curtains.

    LESLIE: Bang around.

    TOM: They do swing and eventually they fall down because with all the banging of the door, the hardware just can’t stay in. So this is mounted permanently and securely in there and they’re real nice and you’re going to love it. So pick up the phone if you’d like to win that and ask us your home improvement question at the same time. Again, that number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: And you know what? With a front door, when you’ve got glass on it I always feel like you’re on display.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: It’s like you’re in your jammies, you’re walking by. And especially as we’re getting into fall and winter, you’ve got so many more hours of darkness and not that you’re in your jammies at 5:00 but still, it’s like do you want your neighbors or people driving by …?

    TOM: I hate when people see me in my [feety pajammies] (ph). Really embarrassing.

    LESLIE: Well, unless you’ve got the full-light, they’re probably not going to see that they’re feety (ph). But if you do have the half-light, they might see that you’ve got the button-down butt flap. I’m just saying, Tom.

    Alright, folks. Well, since it’s not officially fall yet and we’re really still enjoying our outdoor spaces, maybe you’ve been looking around your yard and thinking about, “What could I do back there to make a difference?” And maybe a beautiful, terraced yard could be a really great way for you to define your home’s landscaping and it’s a natural way to prevent erosion if you’ve got a sloped yard.

    So, to create this, you’re going to need well-built retaining walls. And the experts at QUIKRETE, they say that a good retaining wall is defined by how well it’s reinforced. So, interlocking concrete blocks, they’re a good choice and this is a mortarless project that you can use and really create curves. So you can create that shape or design or sort of natural, free-flowing shape that you want or need or your yard commands.

    TOM: Now, another option is to simply go with solid concrete but for this material, it’s always wiser to call in a pro. One wrong step with poured concrete can leave you with a very crumbly mess in short time. So, with that concrete, though, you can use a decorative color; that’s kind of cool. You can mix it right in or you can use a stamped or textured surface. Just be sure the pro you hire uses anchoring bolts or rebar to reinforce the job. Otherwise, it will fall apart within a year or two, most likely.

    Now, our friends, the experts at QUIKRETE, suggest using fast-setting anchoring epoxy to set the rebar or bolts. It gets set in four to five minutes and you can apply it vertically or horizontally. And it also sets in any climate, which is very handy because weather never cooperates when you’re doing outside projects.

    So if you want to learn more about that project, though, and many more, you can visit QUIKRETE.com or check out our article at MoneyPit.com for everything you need to know about building a retaining wall.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got June in California on the line. What can we do for you today?

    JUNE: Hi. Yeah, I am looking for accordion-type wooden doors to fit two 8-foot openings: one in – going into my living room and one up in my loft.

    TOM: OK.

    JUNE: And I have not been able to find wooden accordion doors, only vinyl.

    TOM: Have you been looking for them for a long time?

    JUNE: Yes, I have. I had some Pella doors – they were beautiful – back in the 60s, so I know that they did make them then. But I don’t think they make them now because everybody that checks for me either doesn’t get back to me or say they don’t have them.

    TOM: Well, that’s why you called us.

    JUNE: That’s exactly why. I’ve been wanting to call you for years, yes.

    TOM: You shouldn’t have waited quite so long. We’ve seen these before and they are available and there’s actually a good website that has them, called Woodfold.com.

    JUNE: Woodfold.com. OK.

    LESLIE: And they’ve got them for commercial and residential applications. And with the residential, I think they’re perfect because they’ll give you up to an 8-foot width and up to an 8-foot, 1-inch height. That should work for your opening perfectly.

    JUNE: Oh, yes.

    LESLIE: And when it stacks within the opening, you’re probably going to get – you know, say it all goes to one side?

    JUNE: Uh-huh. Yeah.

    LESLIE: You’re going to get about a 10-inch stack and they’re generally 4¼ inches wide, so that should be the same width as your path through. I mean they should just …

    JUNE: Right. That would be perfect, right.

    LESLIE: I have no idea how much they cost but they’re gorgeous.

    JUNE: Yeah, well, I need to do something for winter because there’s no insulation in a cedar house; it’s just all wood.

    TOM: Oh, so you would use this to kind of separate the areas, huh, and keep the heat to the one side?

    JUNE: Exactly, because I don’t really use the living room anyway and the loft is upstairs and it …

    TOM: I see. Yeah. Alright. So there – your search is over. It’s Woodfold.com. Take a look and good luck with that project. I see they also do custom doors so if something is not quite standard, in terms of its size, that they’ll make it fit.

    JUNE: OK, great. Thank you so much. I enjoy your show.

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

    LESLIE: Mary in Wisconsin is looking for a way to jazz up her kitchen on a low budget. What can we do for you?

    MARY: Well, I’ve kind of – I like my cupboards. They were built for the house, because we had our house built in ’64. But I really don’t want to tear them out. I want to leave them there but I’ve got to know how to clean most so they looked more sparkly or at least they looked better. And I’ve got a couple of bare spots that I have drawers that come out. And if you don’t shut one door right – you know what I mean? The other door comes out and it makes a gouge.

    LESLIE: Well, no worries. But with drawers, when they start to sort of get misaligned, there’s a good chance with just over years of usage – the drawer front is just attached with a couple of screws through the drawer box itself. So it could be that as screws become loose and it’s started to shift around.

    And that’s a really easy fix. Pull the drawer out, move your belongings out of the way and just take a screwdriver. Generally, it’s going to be a Phillips, although because it’s been since the 60s, it could be a crosshead. So just see what kind of screw is in there and see if tightening it sort of realigns it?

    MARY: Oh, makes it – oh, without bumping into each other?

    LESLIE: Exactly. Because that could be the problem. And the same goes with cabinet doors. If you ever have a door that one closes one way and then the other one seems a little wonky – the hinges that are traditionally used for cabinetry are called Euro hinges. And they have two separate screws on them that sort of accommodate the door going up and down and in and out? So if you just sort of start tightening and loosening and see how that realigns the drawers, that could help with the cabinet doors, as well. So you might just see that.

    Now, as far as cleaning and refinishing, it could just be – are you in love with the cherry or are you open to painting?

    MARY: Could they be painted over?

    LESLIE: Yeah, of course they could be.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    MARY: Really?

    LESLIE: You would do – clean the surface well and give it a good sort of scuffing. And you could do that with a liquid sanding product. And depending on the doors – are they full overlay or do you see some of the cabinet box behind it?

    MARY: Oh, no. They’re tight. You can’t see through them.

    LESLIE: So you don’t see any of the cabinet box itself? So it’s just doors when you look at it?

    MARY: Oh, yeah. Yeah, the doors with the little knobs.

    LESLIE: Because what you could do is just take – it’ll paint easier if you take off each door. And when you do that, you want to make sure that you label each door to exactly where it goes back to. And keep the hinges either on the cabinet box or on the door; don’t completely disconnect everything. I generally leave the hinges on the box and then label it like “upper one, upper two,” so I know exactly where they go to.

    MARY: Oh, I know what you mean. Yeah, OK.

    LESLIE: Take them outside, put them on a flat surface, do some liquid sanding and then some really great, good-quality primer and then a latex, top-coat paint in whatever color you want and that’ll do the job. And generally, I would go with a gloss on a cabinet, just for wear and tear and cleanability.

    TOM: And Mary, if you want the step-by-step on how to do that, we have a great article on how to paint kitchen cabinets, online at MoneyPit.com.

    Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Tom in Rhode Island who’s kind of midway in a floor-removal project and sort of stuck. Tom, what’s going on? You should have called before you started peeling off the flooring.

    TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: Yeah, you’re right, Leslie; I made a mistake. I thought it was going to be an easy job and after spending several hours of hammering and using scrapers, it’s not coming off. As I said, I’ve got about 20 percent of the low (ph) floor covering off. It’s not coming off completely; it’s leaving some type of a paper backing on it, so you can’t really see the plywood underneath.

    And I’m wondering, can I just put this commercial-grade tile over everything? Would that little bit of a drop show up or do I have to continue to take it off and what would be the best way?

    TOM: So you want to put down tile? Ceramic tile?

    TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: No, commercial-grade – like linoleum: the 1-foot squares, the commercial-grade.

    TOM: Oh. Oh, the 1-foot squares. Well, in that situation, yeah, it probably is going to show up. What I would do, in this case, Tom, is I would put down underlayment. So I would put down ¼-inch luan mahogany, plywood underlayment. You want to nail it with something called a ring nail, which is like a grooved nail that goes in and just doesn’t come out, across the entire surface. Now you’ll have a flat surface. And in that case, you can probably get away with just going right on top of the area that you tore out. May be a slight dip there but not much that’s noticeable.

    LESLIE: Should he put a piece of tile that he removed under there, just to sort of level it out?

    TOM: Well, maybe; that’s not a bad idea. You could use a piece of the old linoleum as a shim. But this way you’ll have a very clean, dry, flat surface that the glue for the new tiles can stick to very, very easily.

    TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: Now this luan underlayment, will this have to be treated prior to putting the new square …

    TOM: No, no. No.


    TOM: No, no. You go right on top of it. It’s designed for this …

    TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: OK, how far apart should the nails be? The ring nails.

    TOM: Eight on the edge, six in the middle. So it’s called eight on the edge, six in the field. So eight nails where you have the end of the board and then six in the middle of the board at each floor joist.

    TOM IN RHODE ISLAND: OK. Oh, excellent, excellent. Thank you very much. You two have been a big help.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, when it comes to landscaping, trees really are a beautiful part of any project you’re doing out of doors. But what happens when your beautiful tree starts to uproot your sidewalk or worse, your foundation? We’re going to tell you how to transplant a tree so you can save it and enjoy it elsewhere, coming up.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the HydroRight Drop-In Dual Flush Converter, proud sponsor of Water Conservation 2011. The HydroRight easily converts your toilet into a water- and money-saving dual-flush toilet. Push the quick-flush setting for liquids or the full-flush for more. Look for the HydroRight at The Home Depot and other fine retailers or visit SaveMyToilet.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: And fall is not far off, everyone. So get a list of weekend projects that you should be doing this time of year to get ready for autumn and winter, as well. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com. Just look for our article on fall fix-ups.

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

    MAVIS: Hi. A question about a front porch. I have a cement front porch – poured cement – and it doesn’t have a very nice finish on it and it’s hard to keep clean.

    TOM: OK.

    MAVIS: I’m wondering what I could – could I paint it or put an epoxy finish on it or something?

    TOM: Well, you can certainly put an epoxy finish on it; that’s a nice thing to do. Make sure you use an epoxy that’s rated for the exterior and that will be very attractive and easy for you to clean, which I think is your main concern, correct?

    MAVIS: OK. Yes. And could I do that myself? Is that difficult to do?

    TOM: Sure. No, it’s not difficult. If you can paint a room, you could do this.

    MAVIS: Sure. OK. OK.

    TOM: The difference is that with epoxy paints, it’s a two-part mix, so you want to get the whole surface ready. And when you’re ready to apply the epoxy, you usually have to do a cleaning step before it. But when you apply it, you want to do it at once because you’re only going to have a couple of hours of working time with the product before it burns.

    MAVIS: OK. Do you have a particular brand you recommend?

    TOM: There’s a number of different brands that are out there. QUIKRETE, yep. QUIKRETE is a good one. Behr has one, Rust-Oleum has one. And if you want even more options, there is a company called Abatron that has sort of commercial-grade products. And that’s A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com. Abatron.com.

    MAVIS: OK. Now, this will withstand Northwest Iowa winters?

    TOM: Oh, it will.

    MAVIS: It will. OK. That’s …

    TOM: And winters in other parts of the country, as well.

    MAVIS: Great. OK.

    TOM: And just make sure you put it down and follow the label directions and you should be good to go.

    LESLIE: And let it cure correctly. Give it enough time to dry properly.

    TOM: Yes.

    MAVIS: Yes, OK. And I’m sure it has to be certain temperatures that you do this in and I will try to do that.

    TOM: Yep.

    MAVIS: Thank you very much.

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

    MAVIS: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Well, a yard with well-established shade trees is a great way to enjoy outdoor living. But if you’re starting with saplings, it can actually take a generation or more for your trees to reach full bloom.

    TOM: Ah, yes. But you can speed up the process by transplanting large trees that might already be growing on your property or elsewhere. But as you can imagine, this kind of job takes very careful planning and some expert advice. Here to tell us exactly how to do that is an expert: Roger Cook, the landscaping expert for TV’s This Old House.

    Hi, Roger.

    ROGER: Hey, Tom, Leslie. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Our pleasure. Now, walk us through this. When you transplant a mature tree, when would you want to do that, as opposed to a sapling?

    ROGER: All depends on variety. You know, certain trees can be transplanted spring; some can be transplanted spring and fall.

    TOM: So, Roger, walk us through this. When would you want to transplant a mature tree, as opposed to using a sapling? Is it a matter of timing and how long you have to wait to kind of get the effect that you’re looking for?

    ROGER: It’s all about time, Tom. You’re buying years and years and years by moving a mature tree. A sapling, you put in, you have to take care of it, invest in it a long time before it gets to be a mature tree.

    TOM: Are there some trees that do better moving, when you move them, than others?

    ROGER: There are. There are certain species that we call hazards when you move and you want to be aware of them: certain trees that don’t have a really good root system that you would shy away from.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: Most trees, though, for the – will move very well, even as a mature tree.

    LESLIE: Is there a height limitation? I imagine – when I hear “mature tree,” I’m thinking a gigantor maple that’s lining a street.

    ROGER: Yeah. We’ve moved trees up to 30 or 40 feet tall.

    LESLIE: Really?

    TOM: Wow.

    ROGER: Yeah.

    LESLIE: How big is the root ball on something like that?

    ROGER: Huge. In most cases, we use a 90-inch tree spade for a big tree like that so that the spade opens up, goes around the tree and its 90-inch root ball. And then those blades go down into the ground, lift up the tree and bring it to the site.

    LESLIE: That’s huge.

    TOM: Oh, wow. So there’s a big piece of hydraulic equipment that digs that out.

    ROGER: That’s right.

    LESLIE: Well, yeah. I mean we’re not picking that up.

    ROGER: No.

    TOM: Really. Now, let’s talk about the tree orientation. I would imagine trees get used to growing in a certain compass direction. Do you mark the tree so that it’s still facing the same way after you transplant it?

    ROGER: It depends on the variety of the tree. Some trees, like a cherry, have very thin bark and you want to keep it situated the same way.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: Sometimes with trees, though, I’ll look at the face of the tree and that’ll determine how I plant it. It may not be the same orientation but I want to put the best side of the tree towards the house, where people are going to see it.

    LESLIE: Now, is there a certain timing? Do you take this tree out of the ground and go immediately to the new hole or do you have to sort of let it wait?

    ROGER: No, no, no, no. The sooner we get it transplanted in and watered, the better off it is for the tree. Usually, on site is great. If you’re in someone’s yard, you’re moving it 100 feet, 200 feet within an hour, it’s going from one place to another. Otherwise, we dig it in the morning, we drive over the road with it and then we put it in that afternoon.

    TOM: We’re talking to Roger Cook, the landscaping expert from TV’s This Old House.

    Now, Roger, we were talking about transporting large trees. What about some smaller ones that maybe you just want to shift around your property: take one from the back, put it in the front? Obviously, it can be a do-it-yourself project. The key, though, is the digging of the root ball, as in – how do you do that and how do you avoid damaging what’s there?

    ROGER: The formula we use is 10 to 12 inches of root ball per inch caliper of the tree. If you have a tree that’s 3 inches in caliper, then you want to have a 30- to 36-inch root ball.

    TOM: Got it.

    ROGER: So that means you measure out, make a circle and dig outside that.

    Now, when you’re digging, you don’t want to rip the roots with your shovel. You want to take a pair of old hand pruners or loppers and cut them clean, because it’ll heal better that way.

    TOM: And go straight down and not in an angle, too, right?

    ROGER: No. Usually we dig straight down until we find the area where the roots have stopped growing. Then it’s decision time. You can either ball and burlap a tree, which means wrapping it with burlap and then putting twine on and making a big net to hold all those roots together.

    LESLIE: Do you plant that in the ground: all the burlap and the rope?

    ROGER: Take it off when you get to the new hole but you need something to hold it together when you get …

    TOM: In the meanwhile.

    ROGER: Yeah. So, what I do, too, is – we have a Bobcat that has forks on the front. We drive right in under the plant once it’s dug. We lift it up, back up and put it in the new hole without bothering with the burlap.

    There’s a new way out. It sort of reverts back to what we did years ago. When I first started in the business, we’d go in the woods and pull red maples out of the woods in the spring and just stick them in the ground and they’d grow like crazy, because you’d get all the roots out with them.

    TOM: Now, Roger, are there any tools that make this job easier? I mean it sounds like it’s just an awful lot of work.

    ROGER: In the last couple of years, we’ve done some work using what’s called an air spade. That’s a gun you connect to a compressor.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: And you go over to the tree and you start blowing all the dirt off the root system and you keep progressing outside until you get all the roots exposed.

    TOM: Wow. So there’s no dirt left.

    ROGER: No dirt left but all the roots. You end up taking 99.9 percent of the roots and you lift that tree out of the ground and then you transplant it.

    LESLIE: You really have to have a wide-open space that you’re taking it to without disrupting surrounding plantings.

    ROGER: Right. Because you need room. That root mass may extend out 8-, 10- or even 12-feet wide. So you really need space to work.

    TOM: But it would seem that you’d be giving that tree a really great chance of survival in the future, because you’re essentially going to replace all of that soil you took out with the perfect mix.

    ROGER: With the perfect soil and the perfect place and all the roots in place, it’ll just grab and go very quickly.

    TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: You’re welcome.

    TOM: And for more tips just like that, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    LESLIE: And you can watch Roger and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.

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

    Coming up, summer is slowly coming to an end and it’s time to think about putting away the beach ball and taking out the rake. Yes, the leaves are on their way. We’re going to tell you why skipping that step with the rake, though, can actually lead to a lot of damage in your home, so don’t go away.

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

    TOM: 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 would love for you to be part of The Money Pit fun this Labor Day weekend, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, because we’re going to help you with your home improvement projects. We’re even going to help you relax with that barbecue party as sort of the last summer kickoff and we’re also going to give you great prizes. And this hour, we’ve got a good one. We’re giving away an add-on door blind from ODL and it’s worth $117.

    Now, the ODL add-on blinds, what’s so great about this sort of product for a door is that if you’ve ever tried to put up any kind of window treatment on a door, whether you’ve got a half-light or a full-light, it clangs, it bangs, it falls down. But what ODL has done is sort of encased the blind in tempered glass and it attaches really easily, so you never have to dust or clean that blind. It operates super-smoothly, it gives you that privacy when you want it and the frame, it can be painted or stained so you could have it match your door just in a jif. It’s super-easy, it’s really simple to install.

    If you want to check it out, head on over to their website: it’s ODL.com. But give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for help with your home improvement project and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Hey, it’s time now for this week’s Fresh Idea, which is presented by Trewax, makers of Trewax All-Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner.

    Now, it won’t be long before we start noticing that the days are getting shorter and those leaves are going to start to turn. It’s a gorgeous time of the year unless you are the one responsible for raking those leaves at your house. And if you are dreading it, do not think about skipping it; that would be a really bad idea.

    LESLIE: And you know what? If you allow leaves to accumulate in your gutters – which, think about it: they’re on your lawn so they’re accumulating elsewhere – what starts to happen is …

    TOM: Other horizontal surfaces.

    LESLIE: Exactly. The water is not going to be able to move away, it’s going to get a buildup at your foundation, your foundations are going to crack, you’re going to get water in your basement. You can get cracked walkways, driveways, wood can rot, your roof can leak, so much more. So rake the lawn, clean out your gutters. I mean it’s not a terrible chore. You know, make the kids do it.

    TOM: And that’s this week’s Fresh Idea, presented by Trewax, makers of an all-natural hardwood floor cleaner. The 100-percent all-natural formula is great for wood furniture and cabinets, too, and safe to use around kids and pets. Visit Trewax.com to learn more.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Joyce on the line who’s calling in about a humidity problem caused by a leak. Tell us what’s going on and is the leak fixed, Joyce?

    JOYCE: Well, no, it isn’t and …

    TOM: Well, then it’s going to keep happening.

    JOYCE: Well, I don’t know what’s happening. Number one, it’s a rental property and number two, I found a receipt for lye in this person’s car in February.

    TOM: OK.

    JOYCE: I was called and said that they flushed the toilet once and it went down through a fir-wood ceiling and through a suspended ceiling and soaked the tile?

    TOM: Right.

    JOYCE: And it was dripping in the kitchen, OK? So I had my plumber come over and he had to literally cut out the wood in the kitchen, which is – the toilet is above it. And he flushed the toilet and he said, “It’s not that.” And he said, “Maybe it’s the roof.” Well, then it rained for a month-and-a-half and this person – they moved out. And I kept checking it every day and there wasn’t a drop that came in. Nothing.

    TOM: OK. Well, now, what I’m saying, if you have a leak, you think the toilet may have caused that leak and you had a plumber in your house to fix that. What I would expect the plumber to do is to take the toilet off of the floor, which is actually not that complicated, and replace the wax seal that’s under the toilet and price it and put it back together again. Because if it is leaking and it’s not the fill valve on the back or the water-supply pipe, it’s most likely happening around that wax seal. And then once you do that, go ahead and flush it 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 times and see if it continues to leak. Does that make sense?

    JOYCE: It does. And he flushed it.

    TOM: But that wax seal is the most common cause of toilet leaks, Joyce. And once you get to the bottom of that, I think your problem is solved. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, one of the hardest things to deal with when painting or staining is the odor, the smell. We’re going to tell you how to spare your nose from that stink, when The Money Pit continues.

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    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by The Iron Shop, the leading manufacturer of spiral stair kits. Visit www.TheIronShop.com today to find out how you can own a beautiful, iron spiral staircase.

    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 we are super-pleased that so many of you are posting and responding to questions in our DIY community on MoneyPit.com. If you have a question and you’d like to get the feedback of the entire Money Pit community, simply post it in the Community section at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. And Ruth posted a question: “I want to paint my bedroom but I’m very sensitive to the odor that traditional paints leave behind and I’m wondering if there’s something that I can do to still make over my home without causing all of these problems.”

    TOM: Well, I don’t know when the last time is, Ruth, that you did do a project like this but the paints that are out today are usually low odor to no odor. And many excellent formulations are also no VOCs. And so I think that there are a lot of choices for you.

    Now, it’s not the oddball paint out that maybe doesn’t have good coverage; I think there’s a lot of good-quality paints from great companies that are very low-odor and low to no VOCs.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And depending on which manufacturer you go with, when you go into their low-VOC, no-VOC, low-odor, you’re going to notice a little bit of a jump in price point, so you might want to look around when you’re picking out a company. I personally love the Benjamin Moore ones but you’re going to be spending $60 a gallon.

    Behr has a low-odor. Mythic Paint is a fantastic company that has no-odor, no-VOC. But again, $50 a gallon. So really, look around, price them out. A lot of them cover better than others but you do have a lot of options when it comes to no VOCs and that’s really what causes all of those odors that give you headaches. So look around, pick a great paint, let the colors sort of help you and then the price point follow from there.

    Alright. Now I’ve got a question from Doug who posted: “How can I stop the condensation from my well tanks from wetting down my slab during summer months?”

    TOM: Ah. So why is this happening? Let’s talk about this first. First of all, you have super-cold groundwater inside this well tank and then you have the warm, humid air that’s inside the house condensing on the outside of the well tank. So what’s the solution? Well, you could insulate the well tank. If you insulate the well tank with a roll of insulation, then you’re not going to have warm air striking the cold surface. The cold will essentially stay on the cold side, the warm will stay on the warm side and no more condensation.

    LESLIE: And that’s a fairly easy project, having never had a home with a well. Can you access it? How do you do that?

    TOM: Yeah. It’s going to be usually on the first floor or in the basement or something of that nature. You could simply use some wrap insulation: the kind that’s covered by vinyl on both sides. And just – it’s sort of like the insulation you might use to insulate a water heater.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got one from Sandy in New York who posted: “Throughout the day, one of my bathroom toilets releases a hiss. I can find no leaks. What is causing this?”

    TOM: Time for a toilet makeover. Most likely what’s happening here is you have a leaking flush valve that is slowly but surely letting water out of your toilet. And then the fill valve does its job and comes back on and refills it. So, what I would suggest you do is replace both the fill valve and the flush valve.

    And if you’re going to replace the fill valve, you might want to consider putting in a dual-flush converter. There’s a product on the market now called the HydroRight, which is very cool because it very easily and quickly installs and gives you the opportunity to have a single flush or sort of a half-flush for liquids or paper or a full flush for everything else. Saves you a lot of water over the course of the year. The HydroRight is a product that you can find at The Home Depot.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? It’s really easy to install, so it can totally be a do-it-yourself project. It’s not expensive. Not only are you going save some money on your water usage but you’ll have a great home improvement project under your belt.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Happy Labor Day Weekend, everybody. Hope you are enjoying it, spending it with friends, spending it with families and maybe even with a paintbrush or two. We hope if you’ve got a project on that we’ve been a little bit of help to you.

    Remember, you can reach out to us right now or any time of the day or night when you have a home improvement question. We are here 24-7. The call lines are always open at 888-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 2011 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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