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Budget Friendly Kitchen Renovation Materials, Fire Resistant Insulation to Protect Your Home, How to Get Rid of Spiders and Keep them from Coming Back and more

  • Transcript

    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: We are here to help you tackle your home improvement projects, solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas or if you don’t want to do it yourself, make the best decision when it comes time to hire a contractor.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you. Coming up, do you have champagne wishes for your bath or kitchen renovation but perhaps a beer-bottle budget? There is a way to get the high-end look of natural stone and granite, even marble, for less. The newest patterns and styles in laminate countertops will blow you away without blowing the budget. We’ll have details, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And the cooler weather is on the way, which means an added risk of house fires. Now, you might know that they increase in the winter but what you might not know is that you can protect your home from extensive fire damage just by your choice in insulation. We’re going to tell you all about fire-resistant, stone-wool insulation, in just a few minutes.

    TOM: Plus, as you button up for winter, make sure you’re not buttoning-in those creepy crawlers, like spiders. We’re going to teach you how to get rid of spiders and keep them away, for up to a year, in just a few minutes.

    LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away a $50 True Value gift card, which really is the perfect prize to help give your fall projects a jumpstart.

    TOM: So, let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Mindy in Kentucky is on the line and has a flooring question. How can we help you with your project?

    MINDY: Yes. We have a really hideous linoleum in our – on our kitchen floor that’s actually been in the house since we bought it. And of course, it’s starting to peel up and there’s actually other linoleum under it. And actually, I’m really afraid to dig any deeper to see how many levels might be on it.

    I was just wondering, is it worth the time and effort and possible extra cost to just take everything up?

    TOM: Do you have a dishwasher in that kitchen?

    MINDY: No, we do not. I’d love to have one but I do not have one, no.

    TOM: Well, the reason I ask you is because if you don’t take up the old floor, you’d end up sort of sealing in the dishwasher and it’s hard to remove it after that.

    I mean generally speaking, I’m an advocate of taking up the old flooring, because I think it’s kind of sloppy to put new layers over the old but I can see if it’s difficult to get it out or for budget reasons that you don’t want to go in that direction. But I would recommend you take it up if you can.

    MINDY: OK. OK. Alright. Well, I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Brent in West Virginia is on the line with an HVAC question. What’s going on? You guys are freezing over there?

    BRENT: So, I’ve got this two-level house that’s been cut in half. And then each level has been raised a half of a level, so it’s a four-level house.

    TOM: So it’s a split-level house?

    BRENT: Yes.

    TOM: OK. And where’s the heating system located?

    BRENT: Second floor.

    TOM: Second floor, OK. And it’s hot air, so there’s ducts that’s supply the air to the lower levels?

    BRENT: It’s forced air, correct.

    TOM: Forced air, OK. Got it. Alright. So your problem is that your lower level is staying cold. And what about your upper level? Does that overheat in the summer?

    BRENT: It does but the issue is that in the summertime, I can close the vents downstairs and I can cool the upstairs. And the downstairs stays cool because it’s underground. But the reverse does not happen in the wintertime.

    TOM: Right. I’ll tell you that the split-level house is one of the most difficult homes to get even heating and cooling. So, one thing that you could do is add an additional – well, first of all, you want to make sure that’s what there is working properly so you have good air flow coming out of the registers and you have good return of the air in the room going back to the HVAC system. So, we take a look at the return and the supply.

    But I will say that probably the easiest thing to do is to add supplemental heat to cover you on the coldest days. That would probably be less expensive than running all the ductwork that you’d have to run to get it to work properly off just the forced air.

    You could put electric based – put radiators in there, supplements. You could even put a through-the-wall heat pump, which is something actually that Leslie did to bring some additional temperature consistency to her lower room of her house. And I’ve got one in a room in my house that had some inconsistent issues.

    And it just provides additional supplemental heat to be able to even out that space. Because otherwise, what you probably find yourself doing is you overheat the rest of the house when it’s really cold downstairs. You turn the heat up to try to get – make that downstairs warmer and then the upstairs gets very hot and you’re wasting a lot of energy on that heat. So trying to get that balanced out is the right thing to do.

    I would tell you electric baseboards only because they’re the least expensive way to go. Even though they’re expensive to run, they’re the least expensive to install and you’re probably not going to use them 24/7. You’ll use them selectively, so that’s a situation where I would do that. And I would also make sure they’re hooked up to a central thermostat that could be operated by a clock-setback mechanism.

    BRENT: How about that? OK. I will certainly give that a try.

    TOM: Alright, Brent. 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. Now, you can call in your home repair, your home improvement, home décor, whatever home question you’ve got brewing at your money pit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still to come, cooler weather is on the way. And if you’re getting a shiver down your spine just thinking of last year’s heating bills, now is the time to insulate your home. We’ll have advice on the best type of insulation next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Overhead Door, winner of the prestigious Women’s Choice Award for garage doors. Overhead Door is proud to have the qualities that women value. To find a distributor near you, visit OverheadDoor.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call. The number here: 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we talk on the air this hour is going to win a $50 True Value gift card, which really is the perfect prize for this time of year, because you can pick up some supplies for whatever fall projects you’ve got going on inside or out of your house.

    TOM: Whether you’re touching up paint, winterizing or taking on fall yard work, the local experts are available for the guidance you need. Visit StartRightStartHere.com for a project library, video gallery and more. And a $50 True Value gift card will go a long way in getting started on many of the ideas you’ll see there.

    Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll have the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Richard in Illinois on the line who’s getting some water through the foundation. Tell us what’s going on.

    RICHARD: What it is is over time – I’ve got a ranch house with a walk-out basement and on the walk-out, when you come out, there is a retaining wall that is about 8 foot tall where it meets the house. It hasn’t really separated from the house but there is water that gets in between the retaining wall and the foundation. And then it gathers right at the bottom on a heavy rain and then seeps back into the basement.

    So, I’m trying to figure out – the previous owner that had this house has put something in there like a caulking of some type that has gotten hard over time and it’s not slowing it down too much.

    TOM: So this is a gravity situation, so let’s give you a gravity solution. Let’s have the drainage work with you and not against you. And by the way, you can seal this until the cows come home and it’s still going to find its way in. What you have to do is stop the water from accumulating.

    So on the opposite side of this retaining wall, I’m guessing that there’s some runoff that goes towards the wall?

    RICHARD: Yes, there is.

    TOM: So what you’re going to want to do is intercept that runoff so we don’t get as much water that collects in that area. What we want to try to do is limit the amount of water that gets into that area to just direct rainfall with no runoff. That means no gutter discharge, no runoff from higher elevations.

    So the way we do that is first of all, examine the gutter situation and make sure there’s no water dropping at the high side of this where it could work its way down. If there is, you’ve got to run a pipe underground to get it to a place where it’s not going to interfere with leakage into the basement.

    Secondly, in terms of intercepting the runoff, what you could do is install something called a “curtain drain,” Richard. It’s a rather simple drain that you might construct yourself. You dig a trench that’s about 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. You put some stone in that trench, then you put a perforated pipe on top of the stone, surround it with more stone, lay a piece of filter cloth across the top and cover it with soil. So when it’s all done, it’s invisible.

    And the end of that drain that you just installed should exit to daylight somewhere, so you need to figure out the best way to do that, based on the configuration of your yard. What that will do is it’ll intercept the water that’s coming down from higher elevations. It’ll fall into that trench, come up into the pipe, and then run around the house as opposed to collecting in that particular corner.

    If we can keep the water from collecting in that area, you will probably be just fine, because it’s rare that just direct rainfall accumulates enough water to actually leak in the house. It’s almost always the runoff from gutters and from drainage.

    RICHARD: Right. And needless to say, I’ll probably have to do some – get rid of some landscaping, because it’s got some little, green bushes there along that wall, as well, so…

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s a good point because sometimes, you can make the problem worse by having landscaping that traps water. So just think in terms of water control here, not in terms of trying to seal that water out, and I think you’ll be in good shape.

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

    Well, fall is a good time of year to be thinking about insulation. Whether you’re renovating an existing room, expanding with an addition or building a brand-new home, choosing the right type of insulation is very important. Now, traditional insulation may provide energy savings but it can’t provide the peace of mind of ROXUL insulation.

    LESLIE: Now, ROXUL is one of our sponsors and its SAFE’n’SOUND, fire-resistant insulation offers a barrier that can delay the spread of fire and could provide you and your family the precious extra time that you need to escape. It’s made from stone, so it’s not going to burn or release toxic gases or smoke when exposed to high heat. In fact, it’s got a melting point of over 2000 degrees.

    TOM: And an added benefit of ROXUL SAFE’n’SOUND is that it’s got soundproofing qualities. Stone wool’s high-density batts absorb acoustic waves. They can get perfect for playrooms, home theaters or homes near busy roads.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s also do-it-yourself friendly and easy to work with. The batts are simple to cut with a serrated knife. You can get clean, straight cuts, which means a great fit around electrical boxes, wiring and pipes. It’s the better insulation.

    Visit ROXUL.com to learn more.

    TOM: That’s ROXUL – R-O-X-U-L – .com.

    LESLIE: Karen in Nebraska is having some issues with her automated lighting. What can we do for you?

    KAREN: Well, I have a porch light on the side of the house and one in the front of the house. I got these timers. The one in the back works perfectly fine. At dusk, it’ll come on and then when the daylight comes, it’ll turn off. And the one on the front will not.

    So, I took the timer back on the front and I thought, “Well, maybe it was a faulty timer.” But it still doesn’t work and I had a man look at it and he can’t figure out why it’s not working. It would be helpful if that one would work, too, because now you don’t have to turn it off and on.

    TOM: But the switch works. So you know that without the timer, it comes off and on. It’s just when you add the timer into this?

    KAREN: Right.

    TOM: What kind of timer is this? Is this the kind of timer that takes the place of the switch or what?

    KAREN: Well, you just screw the light bulb into this timer and then you screw the whole unit into the – you know, in the light-bulb area.

    TOM: Oh, I see. This probably isn’t it but are you using a high energy-efficiency bulb in one or the other?

    KAREN: Well, I thought about using those but at this point, I’m using 40-watt bulbs.

    TOM: OK. Just regular incandescents?

    KAREN: Uh-huh.

    TOM: Huh. And you’ve tried two of these and they’re still not working?

    KAREN: Right.

    TOM: But without it, the light comes on and off normally?

    KAREN: Right.

    TOM: Wow. It sounds like something’s wrong with the timer. I wonder if because of the configuration of the way the timer screws into the fixture itself, that maybe it’s not making contact.

    Like, for example, sometimes when you have a timer that screws into the socket where the bulb goes and then you screw the bulb into the timer, maybe it doesn’t get close enough to actually make a contact because the fixture’s a little bit different. That’s the only thing that really comes to mind on this, Karen. Because it wouldn’t make sense that it’s not working.

    Have you done this? Have you taken one that doesn’t work in the front and screwed it in in the back and see if it works in the back? Because that will …

    KAREN: I did, I did. And then I took the one from the back and put it into the front and it didn’t work either, so …

    TOM: And put it in the front. So then I think it’s pretty clear that for whatever reason, the timer is not getting power from the light fixture. So …

    KAREN: How would I be able to fix that?

    TOM: Well, you’ve got to try to look at it closely and figure out why that’s happening.

    LESLIE: Now, this may sound crazy but I actually had a light fixture inside my home – a lamp that I’ve had for a gajillion years – that suddenly stopped working. And I thought, “Oh, I have to replace the socket. What’s going on with this?”

    And I brought it to an electrician friend of mine who looked inside the socket and there was a little tab that the bulb makes contact with. And I guess over the – I think we’ve had it 10 years – of putting in light bulbs, we may have gotten aggressive and the tab just got pushed down. And he simply reached in with it unplugged and raised the prong.

    Yeah, make sure you’ve got this whole breaker turned off. For me, it was a table lamp, so I knew it was unplugged. But for you, make sure it’s completely turned off at the fuse box. And just pull that tab up and surprisingly, that did the trick. The lamp works amazingly. The guy didn’t charge me. It was awesome. So this could be a simple fix. I mean it’s worth a shot; anything’s worth a shot.

    KAREN: Oh, I know it is. Because I thought, “It’s really a pain to have to turn that off every morning.”

    TOM: Yeah. No, I think that’s definitely the easiest thing to do, Karen. Clearly, it’s not getting power. You need to figure out why. Fix that, you’ll be good to go, OK?

    KAREN: OK. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Al in Texas has got a house that tends to move a lot. Now you can’t close your darn doors. Tell us what’s going on, Al.

    AL: Well, here in this part – side of town – our soils are not very good and they tend to shift all the time.

    TOM: OK.

    AL: So it’s a constant battle with the doors not locking properly. And so my question has to do with – there’s a male and a female side and so, should I change – adjust the door or do I need to go to the female side to adjust that so that the door locks properly?

    TOM: The place you make the adjustment, Al, really depends on what’s the easiest way to do this, so let me give you a couple of examples.

    Let’s say that the door itself was hitting the door jamb a little bit low and you had to pick it up a bit? Well, if you went to the upper hinge and was able to tighten it, that will actually sort of twist the door upwards in its frame and move that striker up higher, perhaps enough to actually make the connection on the strike plate. And if you had to move it down, you could tighten the lower hinge. So you can do a little bit of movement by shimming the hinges or moving the hinges or tightening the hinges in the door.

    Beyond that, the easiest thing to do is to actually reset the striker plate on the door jamb itself, to move that up or down to align properly with the door itself. And you could actually have a striker that’s a little bit wider than perhaps what you really need, in terms of the actual striker hole, so that if the door was to shift a little bit throughout the year because of swelling and expansion and contraction, it would still continue to operate properly. Does that make sense?

    AL: It does. Now, let me ask you one last thing. On the – not on the door but on the other side, would I need to change that piece of wood? And why I say that is because, typically, that little metal piece is actually almost encrusted onto the wood. There’s always like a little square and if it’s like perfectly in there, would I need to replace all of that or could I just maybe …?

    TOM: Not necessarily replace it but what you would do is you might open it up a little bit. So, for example, you would take off the striker and then with the chisel, you would widen out the hole a little bit and then you would put it back together.

    AL: That makes sense.

    TOM: OK?

    AL: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rika from rainy Oregon on the line looking to replace some siding. How can we help you?

    RIKA: Hi. I’m calling to see if you can recommend the best siding for our climate.

    TOM: OK.

    RIKA: We’re out here in the Northwest where we get a lot of rain and wind. And our T1-11, the paint has been peeling off and it’s starting to kind of disintegrate.

    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s a high-maintenance siding, T1-11. And if you’re not familiar with it, for those that are listening, that’s a plywood siding. And it’s OK as long as you paint it every day before you go to work; otherwise, it does wear out quite quickly.

    LESLIE: Now, when you’re talking about wind, Rika, are you saying that you get like super-duper-duper high winds, like hurricane conditions? Like we should be looking at a certain mile-per-hour rating or just normal rainy/windy?

    RIKA: We did have one hurricane out here, so it survived through that and stuff.

    TOM: You know what the nice thing about T1-11 is, though? It makes a really good sheathing. You don’t have to take it off to put siding over it.

    LESLIE: Should you paint it and seal it and make sure it’s in good, coated condition?

    TOM: No, no, no. You’re not going to rely on its weather resistance whatsoever; you’re just going to go right on top of it. So you could put a building paper or a Tyvek or something like that and go right over it.

    And the kind of siding that I think is probably one of the most weather-resistant sidings out there is a siding called HardiePlank, which is a siding that’s a cementitious type of a siding product. It’s molded. It can look like clapboard, it can look like wood cedar shingles. I’ve got an 1886 house, Rika, and I’ve got on my house real, old-fashioned wood shingles on the house and on the garage, we have HardiePlank. And I’ve got to tell you, from the street, they pretty much look identical.

    RIKA: Wow.

    TOM: Because the HardiePlank is just so well-made and it has that appearance of being like an old shingle. But it’s not organic, it’s not wood, so it doesn’t fall apart. And we actually ordered them from the factory primed and painted, so it was a little bit more money but so worth it. Because when you factory-paint this stuff, you just do so much better of a job than you can possibly do on-site itself. So, I would definitely look at HardiePlank siding, that’s made by the James Hardie Company, as one of the options.

    RIKA: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Well, still to come, are high-end materials, like natural stone, just killing your bath- or kitchen-renovation budget? Well, swap out those high-end materials and the high price tag without sacrificing the high-end look, with stone-look laminates. We’re going to tell you more, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America’s made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUKIRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, updating your kitchen or your bath is a great way to add value to your home. But you might be worried that the high-end materials, like natural stone, will kill your budget right off the bat.

    LESLIE: Here to tell us about the great, new looks available in laminates is Amy Gath from Formica Corporation.

    Welcome, Amy.

    AMY: Hey. Thank you so much. Great to be here.

    TOM: Amy, fall is a great time for renovation projects. You know, I think we all get a bit lackadaisical over the summer, and understandably so, but now it’s time to strap on the tool belt, as we like to say, and get to it.

    Whether you’re doing the project yourself or you’re hiring a pro, replacing your countertop is one great way to really step up the look of the kitchen. And it doesn’t matter if you’re doing a complete kitchen makeover with cabinets or maybe just replacing the top. It really can look fantastic. And the new colors that are available in Formica really, truly mimic the natural stone that seems to be all the rage right now.

    AMY: That’s absolutely right. I think people sometimes think about laminate as Grandma’s product. And they have kind of nostalgic memories of green or gold or maybe even a hot pink or aqua. Yes, absolutely. And if you’re into mid-century modern design, that is a fabulous pattern that still exists today.

    But for folks who are really interested in the stone look, we have a wonderful line called 180fx and essentially, it is large-scale laminate that mimics the look of granite or wood. And what’s really neat about it is -typical laminate, kind of the pattern repeats every 18 inches. With 180fx, the pattern doesn’t repeat for a full 5 feet and so it really does look like the granite looks that you see. And it costs a fraction of what it costs to put granite in your home.

    TOM: And the detail that’s captured in these laminates is absolutely breathtaking. The quality of the imagery – you really – when you look at this from afar, I mean it looks like black walnut timber.

    AMY: That’s absolutely right. I think it is amazing to me. Every time we go to a kitchen-and-bath show where we show someone the product, often people get up close and have to feel it. Because they say, “Wait a minute. Is this granite? I didn’t know Formica sold granite.” Well, no, we don’t but it looks that real.

    And we have a really neat product called Ideal Edge that fits on the edge and so it really does match the bullnose or the ogee look of a stone countertop. I think that’s one thing people always lament about laminate is it has the brown lines and so you can tell it’s not real stone. Well, with Ideal Edge, you can’t.

    TOM: Yeah. And the devil is in the details. And now that you can actually capture the edge and seal that all in and make it look like it’s simply an extension of the pattern, that’s really the last piece of the puzzle.

    AMY: It absolutely is. And I think what’s really neat about laminate is it has all these fantastic properties. It’s durable, it’s easy to clean, it’s hygienic, it’s non-staining. And on top of that, it looks as beautiful as a stone countertop and doesn’t cost as much.

    LESLIE: Now, do you think that it’s a doable project for pretty much the average homeowner?

    AMY: I think you need to be a pretty sophisticated DIYer to put in a laminate countertop with an Ideal Edge. But I think if you wanted to do a basic, post-form countertop, absolutely. My husband and I were putting one in our basement and very doable. I would say my husband is a pretty good DIYer and it was an afternoon project and it looks fantastic.

    TOM: Amy, I had a – as you described so nicely – the mid-century modern house, with one of those older-styled countertops that we purchased. And we noticed that the countertop was structurally sound, so there was none of that typical rot that you get around the faucets or any of that sort of thing except, of course, the laminate was completely worn out.

    So what we did was re-laminate on top of the old laminate and it came out really, really well. Now, I don’t know if that’s something that you guys recommend or not but I got terrific results by not stripping off the old laminate.

    AMY: You are among many. We hear that from many folks and pleased that it works and that it’s delivering great results. So, absolutely.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s been down several years now and we didn’t have a lick of delamination after that.

    AMY: That’s great. Yeah. I think that’s another benefit of laminate, really. And that’s not a difficult project. You can make that happen in an afternoon.

    LESLIE: Now, Amy, when we’re talking about this 180fx line, is it only available in sheets? Or will it be – will a homeowner be able to order it in ready-made components of a countertop?

    AMY: Sure. So, it is available in both, depending on what retail store you’re in. Some retail stores have the ready-made countertops or the post-formed countertops. And then, of course, they have the full range of laminate sheets. Others might just offer the laminate sheets and send you to a fabricator who would then make the countertop for you.

    TOM: Terrific. Amy Gath is the vice president of marketing for Formica Corporation.

    Amy before we let you go, as I said in the open, stone is all the rage right now. But I think that there’s sort of a buyer’s remorse with stone that you won’t get with laminate, because people see it as indestructible but it’s certainly not maintenance-free. It needs an awful lot of work to keep that shine and to keep it impervious from everything that we – all the punishing things that we put on our countertops, like coffee and tomato sauce and things of that nature. Laminate has traditionally been so easy to clean and that’s what really makes the difference.

    AMY: I think that’s absolutely – the care is fantastic because it is so easy. And I think the other piece is it’s incredibly affordable. You get a beautiful look, you get an easy-to-use experience and you don’t break the bank.

    TOM: Terrific. Amy Gath from Formica Corporation, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit, filling us all in on what’s hot in laminates, including the new Formica 180fx line.

    Check it out at Formica.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, are spiders and the webs that they leave behind just totally freaking you out this early fall? Well, this is the time of year where you may see them head inside your house. So we’re going to share some tips to help you get rid of those spiders, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 True Value gift card, which is perfect for picking up the supplies you’ll need for fall projects inside or outside your home.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Whether you’re touching up paint or winterizing or taking on some fall yard work, the local experts are available for the guidance you need. Visit StartRightStartHere.com for a project library, video gallery and more.

    TOM: And a $50 True Value gift card will go a long way in getting started on many of the ideas you’ll see right there. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Chris in Louisiana is on the line and needs help with a driveway project. Tell us what’s going on.

    CHRIS: Well, I have an old, concrete driveway that’s got a few cracks in it.

    TOM: OK.

    CHRIS: I would imagine those could be patched up with something like QUIKRETE. But what I’m basically asking about is extending the driveway from where it sort of slopes down to the ground, which is above the street level. And there’s about maybe a gap of 12 feet, perhaps, between the end of the driveway, which sort of feathers down. And then I’d like to extend it down towards the street so my property is about maybe 2 feet higher – eh, not quite that. Almost 2 feet.

    TOM: So what’d they do? Run out of concrete the first time they poured the driveway?

    CHRIS: No. We don’t have any sidewalks, so this would go over the area where there would be a sidewalk if they had sidewalks.

    TOM: Alright.

    CHRIS: So I’m asking if concrete’s a better material to use or asphalt or perhaps something else, even?

    TOM: Oh, no. I think you – since you have a concrete driveway right now, I would clearly extend it using more concrete. I would repair those cracks in the surface. There is a QUIKRETE concrete-repair product that comes in a caulk tube for those small cracks.

    And you could also consider using one of the resurfacing products that are available so that now you’ll have a brand-new driveway and an old driveway. And if you resurface that driveway, it’s kind of like stucco. And they’re specially designed to stick to the old concrete. Then the whole thing will look brand new and it’ll all kind of match.

    CHRIS: OK. And do you have to wet that down first or …?

    TOM: Yeah, you just follow the instructions. There’s a …

    CHRIS: What’s that product called?

    TOM: It’s made by QUIKRETE and I think it’s called Sand/Topping Mix or something like that.

    CHRIS: OK. And I can get that at like a home center?

    TOM: Home centers. You know, take a look at the QUIKRETE website. They’ve got some great videos there on all of these projects.

    CHRIS: OK. Now, how about the extension? Do I need to build a form or just lay concrete down and kind of pack it in?

    TOM: No. Have you ever poured concrete yourself before?

    CHRIS: A little bit but mostly just for small projects, like walks and stuff.

    TOM: Well, you know what? This is a pretty big project and since you haven’t done it before, I would recommend that you get a mason to help you. It’s a little bit different to handle this amount of concrete. You’re going to need a fair amount of it.

    But basically, the way the project goes is they do build forms that hold the concrete in at the end. And with a 12-foot section, they’re going to probably put an expansion joint in between. So you pour the first section and then you have the expansion joints in there. Then you pour the second section.

    You’ve got to shake the concrete and treat the concrete and finish the concrete so that the rocks fall down to the bottom and sort of the smoothest mud comes up to the top. Then you’ve got to put a finish in it so it’s not slippery. And you usually do that with a very coarse broom. So, it’s not the kind of first-time concrete project that I would recommend to somebody.

    CHRIS: At least that gives me an idea what to aim for. OK. Well, thanks a lot. I always enjoy your program.

    LESLIE: Well, one of the most annoying nuisances for homeowners is sharing their space with unwanted guests, like bugs. And if spiders totally gross you out and you’d love a way to get rid of those creepy, crawly little guys, have we got a solution for you.

    TOM: That’s right. Our sponsor, Wet & Forget, has a new product and get ready for the name; it’s great. It’s called Miss Muffet’s Revenge. This is a perimeter and indoor spider killer. So what it does is offers total home protection by killing spiders inside and creating a barrier to keep them out.

    LESLIE: Now, Miss Muffet’s Revenge – come on, guys, you’ve got to love that name. It’s a spray that accurately reaches up to 12 feet, so you don’t have to actually get right up and close and personal with these spiders. It’s going to easily target hard-to-reach areas. No ladder needed. Plus, since it’s a targeted application, there’s no foggy cloud like you might get from an aerosol or a fogger spray.

    TOM: Yep. And it’s odorless and has no strong fumes. And one application keeps spiders away for up to a full year. Learn more at WetandForget.com.

    LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and needs help with a cleaning question. Tell us what’s going on.

    KELLY: Hi. We have a stain on our breezeway cement. Seems like an oil stain and we just are having a lot of trouble getting that up. Do you have like a professional formula?

    TOM: Where’s the floor and why do you need to get the oil stain on the cement? Oh, wait. Is it in the garage or where?

    KELLY: No, it’s in our breezeway. We have – in between the – it’s an enclosed breezeway. It’s kind of decorated and we use it.

    TOM: I see. So it’s a finished space, yeah.

    Well, what I would do is I would consider painting that cement floor. I would use an epoxy paint. I would use a two-part epoxy paint, which you mix up and has a chemical cure. There’s going to be a degreaser that’s part of the process that preps the surface. And so you clean it with a degreaser first.

    And I assume we’re talking about an old stain here, nothing that’s soppy and oily.

    KELLY: No, no.

    TOM: But you hit it with the degreaser first, let it dry. And then you use the epoxy paint and you’ll get a nice, clean finish. And you’ll find that it’s going to be a lot easier to sweep and keep nice and tidy, too, with the epoxy paint. Not terribly expensive, not complicated and it will clearly solve the issue.

    KELLY: Will it be slippery if it gets wet?

    TOM: No, absolutely not.

    KELLY: OK. Well, that sounds great.

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

    LESLIE: Well, Whac-A-Mole is a super-fun game but only at the amusement park. I’m not talking about your backyard. And if you’re dealing with these yard pests, like gophers and moles, in your backyard space, then you should not be playing Whac-A-Mole. Not at all. We’re going to share some tips with you to get rid of those pesky critters for good, after this. No mallet required.

    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, do you want to get clean and green in your money pit? Then why not enter our brand-new, Get Clean Facebook Sweeps for a chance to win one of three Get Clean Kits from Shaklee. Now, these are available at GreenMyMoneyPit.com but we’re giving away three kits as part of the brand-new Facebook Get Clean Facebook Sweeps.

    And these Shaklee products are terrific. In fact, since 1956, Shaklee has been devoted to developing products that are effective and safe. And in fact, as far back as 1960, Shaklee products have been called official Earth Day products.

    LESLIE: Now, your Get Clean Kit is going to include everything that you need to clean your way to a healthier home, including laundry products, dishwashing products, disinfectants and more. Each kit is worth $115 and it’s going to last forever and ever. I mean everything is so concentrated and amazing that you will clean and clean for a long, long time.

    Go to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and enter for your chance to win.

    And while you’re online, post a question like RMPeabody did who writes: “We are having such a hard time getting rid of moles. We’ve tried mole pesticide in the holes and scattered all over our yard. We’ve tried the sound-wave post that you put in the ground to deter the moles. What else can we do? These moles are leaving dirt piles all over our yard. We’ve got an acre of property that they’re just eating right up. Please help.”

    TOM: Well, let’s think about this. Why do people come to your house and hang out? Because you put out food. So let’s take the food away from these moles and they’ll stop coming to your yard.

    Moles eat grubs. They’re these delicious, worm-like creatures that live in the soil. And if you can get rid of the grubs, you will get rid of the moles. Forget about all these sound-wave garbage solutions and all this kind of crazy stuff. Just apply a product that gets rid of grub. Grub control does just that and you will find that the moles will start eating somebody else’s lawn and not yours.

    LESLIE: It’s amazing. It’s kind of like one of the best-kept secrets in mole control. Get rid of the grubs, get rid of the moles. You will be a happy person. Just watch out for the holes they’ve already made in your yard.

    TOM: Well, now that September is well under way, your desk is likely filling up with paperwork from school activities, kid’s birthday parties and your own to-dos. Keep all those invites, notes and projects handy and organized. Leslie has got a great idea how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I just shudder to think of all the paperwork that accumulates in this lovely fall season. But I said something earlier that really strokes a chord. A shutter is really the best solution for this problem.

    And here is how this project is going to work and it’s one that you’re going to love. So, first off, you’ve got to find a small house shutter. Then sand it, paint it and spray a clear, satin-poly finish on it and just hang it upside down, wherever: in your kitchen, in your home office area, in your family den area where your kids gather to do homework. Wherever it will work, you want to hang it upside down so that those spaces between the overlapping slats will face up. That’s the key here.

    Now, you can use binder clips to secure all your papers or invitations, even photos to the slats. And ta-da, you have got the perfect organizational tool. And really, get this, guys, because this is a great idea for a holiday-card holder. And it’s also a perfect way to display things for your kids, like A+ tests or some really proud artwork. Plus, it’s really a fantastic way to recycle a salvaged yard find.

    So keep your eyes open. It really could be a fantastic project that you can do with your family. It could be good for just specifically this time of year but it is super-helpful, so get crafting.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you look in your bathroom mirror and the reflection back is an image you weren’t expecting, it might not be all you. Your bathroom’s lighting plays an important role in how that room functions. We’ll have tips on how to make the most of bathroom lighting, 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 2014 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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