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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.)
    (promo/theme song)
    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: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Thinking about tackling a project this spring? We’re here to help you get the job done. Hey, if one of those projects is perhaps building a deck or a playground, you need to make sure that you choose the right type of lumber and by that I mean the lumber that is safe for your family and the environment. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips to help you make that choice and make sure it’s the right one.
    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, as long as we are on the topic of safety, are you planning some spring cleaning around your money pit? Well, make sure that any hazardous waste that you want to toss is disposed properly and that includes paint, lawn or garden chemicals and even motor oil. We’re going to tell you how to dispose of it, in just a bit.
    TOM: And how about a way to cut back on some of those trips to the garbage? We’ve got some quick and simple ways that you can start to compost some of that waste. It’s a lot easier than you might think and we’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know.
    LESLIE: And we’re giving away a great prize this hour. We’ve got the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus four-cup food processor. It’s worth 50 bucks but it could be yours for free.
    TOM: You probably could use the Cuisinart Mini-Prep food processor to create some compost (Leslie chuckles) but I don’t think that’s the idea.
    So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones. Pick up the phone. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Mary in New Jersey is dealing with some loud noises with the water. What’s going on?
    MARY: Well, we have bathrooms on three levels in this house and in the basement shower, when you turn the water up a little bit to get a little pressure there, there’s this terrible screeching sound. Can you give me any idea what it could be?
    TOM: Yeah. This happens when you turn the water on in the basement?
    MARY: Yes.
    TOM: It’s the valve. And – the valve’s just making a lot of noise. If you replace that faucet, that will go silent again. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s really just the noise that the valve is making because it’s old and it’s worn and it’s making that terrible screechy sound. And it because it sort of echoes through all the plumbing, it sounds a lot worse than it is.
    MARY: Oh, OK, alright. Well, I’ll call my plumbers for that. I just didn’t want him to give me a snow job (Tom and Leslie chuckle) and tell me he had to rip out all those tiles and bah-bah-bah. So alright. That’s fine.
    TOM: No, and in fact, if it’s a typical shower valve, there’s something called a cartridge where it can be replaced. Basically, the guts of the valve can be replaced without tearing into the tile whatsoever.
    MARY: OK. Thank you so very much.
    TOM: Alright, Mary. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Mary in New Jersey trying to prevent her plumber from giving her a snow job. Don’t let that guy take advantage of you, Mary.
    LESLIE: Marshall in North Carolina is having some trouble with the bricks on his home. What can we do for you?
    MARSHALL: Thanks for taking my call.
    Yes, the outer layer of bricks, the cosmetic part of it, the texture and the color is – the outer layer of about an eighth-of-an-inch is chipping off the outside of my bricks.
    TOM: Marshall, that’s called spawling. And how cold does it get down in your part of the country?
    MARSHALL: Not too cold. It usually drops down to about maybe 19 or 20 sometimes but very seldom.
    TOM: But when it gets below freezing, typically, if the bricks are very wet, that will happen because water that’s in the bricks will expand and crack off chunks of it. Now you can put a sealer on the bricks, a water-repelling sealer. You have to use one that’s vapor-permeable; in other words, it breathes.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) So that they can breathe.
    TOM: Because this way the moisture can get in and get out. But if you can reduce the amount of moisture that gets into the bricks, that will stop some of that wear and tear. It’s a fairly normal failure pattern for bricks; eventually you have to replace them. But if you can keep the moisture at a minimum, that will stop some of that from happening.
    MARSHALL: It will last longer.
    TOM: It certainly will.
    MARSHALL: Very good. Thanks for your help.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Marshall. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    Well, spring has sprung, so pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can help you tackle all of your spring home improvements, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, are you thinking about building a deck or perhaps installing some wooden backyard play equipment this spring? We’re going to have some tips to help you choose the safest wood for all of these projects, next.
    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: Pick up the phone, give us a call – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – and be ready to ask us your home improvement or home repair question. Because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Mini-Prep Plus four-cup food processor from Cuisinart. It comes in a stylish, brushed-metallic finish and it’s the perfect size for a family kitchen. It’s worth 50 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that we draw at random from the proverbial Money Pit hardhat. (Leslie chuckles) So pick up the phone and give us a call. The number, again, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Yeah, give us a call; especially if you’re thinking about building a deck or a backyard playset this spring. You want to make sure that you use a sturdy wood that’s resistant to decay and to pests because both can wreak a lot of havoc on anything that you build out of that lumber. But you want to be cautious in the lumber that you choose because chemicals in treated wood, those can leach out and then pollute the surrounding ground and possibly endanger your family’s health. So for decks and playground equipment, you want to consider reclaimed cedar or redwood and both of those are naturally resistant to fungus and insects or you can even opt for recycled plastic lumber, which is great for the environment because you’re not cutting down any new trees but you still get a sturdy, durable product to build this play equipment out of. So get out there, build some projects and enjoy your yard this season.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Want to know where to start with that project or another, give us a call.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Jane in California is dealing with some walls that are cracking up. Tell us about it.
    JANE: I have tried a couple things where, often, the cracks are in the ceiling and they’re just hairline cracks. But then, when you first walk in the front door, there are two arched openings to two rooms and parallel to the floor are bigger cracks. And whatever I’ve tried hasn’t worked. They open up.
    TOM: Well, what have you tried, Jane? Have you simply tried to spackle over those cracks?
    JANE: Yes, I’ve – somebody suggested fix-all then drywall compound on top.
    TOM: OK.
    JANE: And they opened and …
    TOM: Have you tried to retape them?
    JANE: Pardon?
    TOM: Have you tried any type of drywall tape over them?
    JANE: No, because this is all plaster.
    TOM: Right. Well, I understand that. Plaster does form a lot of cracks because of the expansion and the contraction in the wall, but a solution is to use a fiberglass drywall tape. You want to sand the wall first. You’re going to apply a fiberglass drywall tape; it’s perforated, sticks to the crack.
    LESLIE: It’s the one that looks like a mesh netting.
    JANE: Oh, OK.
    TOM: And then you’re going to apply spackle on top of that. You want to use two to three coats, build it up, and that will bridge the gap across the crack and, hopefully, stop it from opening up again. When you simply plaster or spackle on top of a crack, it’s not going to hold because the wall is moving; it’s always expanding and contracting and the crack is going to show right back up again. So you have to tape over it with a drywall tape first and that should fix it once and for all. OK, Jane?
    JANE: Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mike in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    MIKE: I’ve got a little problem. I’ve been doing a house improvement on my house. It’s 31 years old and about a year ago – back then they used to put prints on the ceiling. So about a year ago, me and my wife had somebody come over; took all that off the ceiling; sand it down, mud it so it’d be slick.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Right.
    MIKE: Well, about wintertime, when I used the gas logs – sometimes it will pop; not all the time but just back and forth pop. And I just wonder what caused that?
    TOM: When you say “pop” …
    MIKE: Yeah.
    TOM: … you mean crack?
    MIKE: Well, it’s about like a crack, a pop. You know. You can touch the ceiling and hear the same sound.
    TOM: Well, Mike, it sounds like that ceiling is causing you to crack up.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Tom.
    TOM: I think what’s going on here is when you put on the heat you get a very – you know, warm air that’s rising, it’s drying out that space; and, as a result, you’re getting some expansion and some contracting, some shifting in that structure above the ceiling. That’s what’s making that sort of very loud noise; it can sort of echo in that space and probably sound worse than it is. But I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. As long as you’re not seeing physical cracks in that ceiling, it’s really just the noise, I think that’s pretty typical. It’s kind of like when you turn on the hot water in the bathroom and sometimes you hear sort of a creaking sound coming from the pipes. You get a lot of movement in that space; you’re going to get that kind of noise and I don’t think it’s going to hurt you.
    MIKE: OK, I was just wondering what it could be. I listen to your show all the time and I love it. I love it.
    LESLIE: Thanks.
    TOM: Thank you so much.
    LESLIE: Cathy in Ohio is doing some work on a fireplace. How can we help you?
    CATHY: Hi, I have got a rather large, rectangular living room and on the end wall, about 14 feet wide, is all faux stone on a fireplace wall …
    TOM: OK.
    CATHY: … and it really darkens the room up. And I’m wondering if there is an easy way to remove this stone.
    TOM: Well, in terms of easy, the only easy is to paint it. To get it off once and for all is a pretty big construction project, Cathy. What is it on? Is the wall a standard sort of drywalled, framed, wood-framed wall?
    CATHY: I believe it is.
    TOM: Yeah, so what you’re going to end up doing is pulling off the fake stone and pulling off the drywall because you’re going to find that there’s probably going to be a wire mesh behind it …
    CATHY: Correct. OK.
    TOM: … and that’s going to be very difficult for you to get off without destroying the wall. And in fact, it’s actually easier, rather than putting a lot of time into preserving that drywall – drywall is very cheap …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Just to get rid of it.
    TOM: … it’s easy to replace. I would simply cut it right off the wall, stone and all; go right down to the studs and then redrywall that space.
    CATHY: With like a circular saw or stonecutter or what?
    TOM: Well, you’re probably going to break off – you don’t need a stonecutter. You’re probably going to break off some of the loose stuff at the top and then, with a utility knife, you could slice the tape joint between the ceiling and the wall and just try to work it off in pieces.
    CATHY: OK.
    TOM: I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult. You know, it’s a heavy job; it takes a little bit of muscle, but I don’t think you’re going to find it that difficult to get that off.
    CATHY: OK, wonderful. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
    LESLIE: Dez in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    DEZ: We have a problem with our dishwasher.
    TOM: Ok.
    DEZ: It is a Bosch. Every since we bought it we’ve have trouble getting all our dishware clean. We have spots on our glasses and silverware, for example. And we’ve had the company that it installed it here to service it several times and they’ve been unable to solve the problem. We’ve tried monkeying around with the rinse-aid dispenser and cleaning the dishwasher and a variety of things; none of which has worked.
    TOM: Do you know if you have hard water?
    DEZ: I don’t know for sure.
    TOM: OK.
    DEZ: We had a previous dishwasher in this location – which was an ugly, old Whirlpool that made a lot of noise – but we didn’t have this problem with it. Dishes came out very clean. So we tend to think it’s not the hardness of the water; although …
    LESLIE: But the problem with the appliance.
    TOM: Yeah. Dez, there’s a couple of things that could be causing this.
    DEZ: OK.
    TOM: High-priced dishwashers often have a part called a drying fan. If the drying fan isn’t kicking on then the dishes are going to take a lot longer to dry and they’re more likely to have spots. The other thing that could cause it is a lack of water flow within the dishwasher itself and that would be the water fill valve that’s not functioning properly. And finally, it could be a hard water issue, which is the most common cause of those spots.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Of the spots.
    DEZ: OK, I appreciate your help.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Dez. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Kirk in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we for you today?
    KIRK: Well, I have got a new home – finished in November – that is having some problem with sweating in the windows. Now I’ve got that blow-in, isonene-like insulation all on the exterior walls and everything.
    TOM: OK.
    KIRK: Aluminum windows. And I’ve got a heat pump.
    TOM: OK.
    KIRK: I told my builder about this a couple of times and I got a hydrometer to check the humidity in the house, that it wasn’t too high, and it looks like it’s about 40 percent …
    TOM: And you’re still – so where are you seeing the condensation; on the inside of the windows?
    KIRK: Inside of the windows. No, not like in between – not in between the glass or anything.
    TOM: Right, on the inside of the window surface. Now are these windows Energy Star-rated windows?
    KIRK: You know, they’re aluminum. It’s a new home, a very nice home; they should be nice windows.
    TOM: Well, I’ll say this. If the windows are not good windows – if they’re not Energy Star-rated windows; if the glass is not insulated well enough – any warm, moist air in the inside of the house is going to condense on the surface of that glass.
    LESLIE: Because of the temperature difference.
    TOM: Right. Just the same way that when you go outside on a hot, Texas summer with your iced tea, moisture condenses on the outside of that glass. It’s happening in reverse in the winter because it’s cold outside and it’s warm and moist inside.
    Now, you do need to maintain proper humidity levels. If the house is so tight that it needs to have – it may need to have an air-to-air heat exchanger, which will help flush some of that. You may also want to consider something called a whole-home dehumidifier that could be installed into the HVAC system and will actually take out moisture. In fact, these units can take out up to about 90 pints of water a day.
    LESLIE: And it takes it directly outside of your house. You don’t have to empty anything. You don’t even have to deal with it.
    TOM: Yeah, you can also make sure that you’re covering the basics, in terms of the grading and the drainage outside the house – making sure that the soil is sloped away and the gutters are extending away – because water that collects around the foundation will wick into that foundation and rise up through the house. And finally, you can look at the attic space to make sure you have adequate ventilation up there in terms of ridge and soffit vents. And lastly, I would say look at the ventilation systems in the house; of course the bath ventilation and the kitchen ventilation, make sure they’re working. All of those places are where humidity can form.
    I would go back to your builder and put the onus on him to figure this out and remind your builder that if we don’t get this straightened out you may be facing mold problems in the future and you’re going to be back in touch with him and it’s going to get a lot more expensive. I would do it in writing to make sure you’re covered and stay on him to get it fixed.
    LESLIE: Time to help Ellen in California with a spray paint question. What happened?
    ELLEN: I had my house painted and the painter sprayed the place and there’s an overspray on the concrete in two places and I don’t know how to get rid of it. It looks horrible.
    TOM: Ugh. Well, why don’t you make them get rid of it if they oversprayed it?
    ELLEN: They wouldn’t come back. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: They wouldn’t come back. You scared them off, huh?
    ELLEN: Apparently.
    TOM: Alright, well look. You can use a paint stripper on that concrete or you could use a pressure washer if it’s just on the surface. If you used a pressure washer, though, it’s got to be done very carefully because if you use too much pressure what’ll happen is you’ll sort of wear away the surface and be looking at the aggregate. But a paint stripper will work to take off that surface.
    ELLEN: Alright, thank you very much.
    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Ellen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Are you thinking about taking on some spring cleaning projects? Well, don’t forget the garage but make sure that any chemicals or paints you’re getting rid of are properly disposed of. We’ll tell you exactly how to do that, next.
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And when you’re listening to The Money Pit, is there ever something that you just missed; you couldn’t grab a pen or a pencil in time but you truly wish that you caught that information? Or maybe you need that name of that product that we recommended again that’s perfect for you. Well, if this is happening in your life, not a problem. All you need to do is head on over to MoneyPit.com and on the site you can search a year’s worth of transcripts by date or even by topic, so there’s no doubt you will absolutely find what you’re looking for. All that information is totally free and it’s all available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at MoneyPit.com.
    TOM: Well, if you’re getting ready to take on that spring cleaning project that’s been sort of grinding on you, well, don’t forget to get rid of all the old paints and chemicals that are just sitting around. In one sweep you can dispose of all of that stuff – the paint, the thinners, the motor oil, the kerosene; anything that’s a dangerous cleaning solution – at your local recycling center. Empty all those spray paint cans and solvent cans by inverting them and depressing the button until nothing else comes out. You can also leave cans of paint open until the excess paint hardens and dries; just stick them out in the sun. The bottom line is to make sure that you are very careful with the way you dispose of these hazardous chemicals. If you have questions, you can check the local hazardous waste pickup schedules for proper disposal.
    888-666-3974.   Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Jim in Texas is dealing with an electrical mystery. Tell us what’s going on?
    JIM: Oh, yeah. Very interesting here. We got a high bill and the usage was, according to TXU, was up. However, we were gone for 18 days and we had turned the electricity – excuse me, the temperature down to 55 degrees. Nobody was using the water. There was no one staying at the house. But yet when we got our bill for December it was the highest bill that we’d ever had.
    TOM: Wow. Do you think there’s an electricity thief there in your neighborhood, Jim?
    JIM: Right, yeah. We really don’t know what’s going on. But the second part of it is that the water bill was also up …
    TOM and LESLIE: Hmm.
    JIM: … and there was no reason for that; nobody’s using the water.
    TOM: There was a party at your house when you were away, man. (Leslie chuckles)
    JIM: That happened to be it, I’m sure. We’re going to get the names of those people and charge them appropriately.
    TOM: (chuckling) Exactly.
    JIM: You know, when this did happen of course we called the electric company and all that and they sent someone on out and they checked the meter and the meter looked good to them, as it always does. So we weren’t satisfied with that and then we talked to some people who are in the contracting business and all that. We didn’t really – they’re kind of scratching their heads, too. They didn’t have anything to offer us. But I said, “Well, let’s just see how the neighbors are doing.” So checked on the left, checked on the right. They also had the same type of things happen to them for, actually, a two-month period of time.
    TOM: Are these bills actual usage, Jim, or are they average bills?
    JIM: Oh, actual usage.
    TOM: They’re actual usage? Alright, and you’ve contacted the utility company and they just scratch their head and say, “You’ve just got to pay us whatever the meter says,” right?
    JIM: Yeah, they were accepting the money in all forms.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) They happily cashed your check.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, happily. Happy to take it, right? Yeah.
    JIM: (chuckling) Yep.
    TOM: Well, couple of things. First of all, if you have an electrician come in, you can put an Amprobe on your main wire and figure out exactly how much electricity you’re using with everything turned off. Secondly, if you still want to dispute the bill and the utility company is not helping you, you can contact the Board of Public Utilities and you can file a complaint and that sort of elevates this from the customer service level of the utility company to the people-that-like-to-keep-all-the-regulators-happy level, if you know what I mean. And you may get a more serious investigation; especially if you can alert them to the fact that it was not only you but it was your neighbors as well.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But your neighbors.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly.
    JIM: Right.
    TOM: Alright, Jim, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Lori in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    LORI: I’m interested in hanging a rather large picture. It’s about 35×27 inches in a heavy frame; weighs about 12, 13 pounds. But the wall that I want to put it on is an outdoor wall but it’s also on the wall above my back door. It’s on my stairway. I’m just very concerned about how to properly secure it so that if there’s anything with a slamming of the back door or something that it doesn’t …
    TOM: Yeah, the banging of the door and that kind of stuff.
    LORI: Exactly, exactly.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LORI: I mean I don’t want it shattered all over my stairs. You know? It’s just a perfect spot.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that would be a bad thing. There’s a really interesting little piece of hardware called a MonkeyHook …
    LORI: OK.
    TOM: … and it’s a wire that basically pierces the drywall and then locks the hook onto the wall. It’s really quite tight when it’s actually installed.
    LORI: OK.
    TOM: And that’s a really easy way to hang this. I would probably use two; even though one can hold up to 50 pounds.
    LORI: Yep.
    TOM: But this way you could actually have the wire supported between two of those, just in the unlikely event that the …
    LORI: (overlapping voices) Alright, so side by side; not up and down.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Side by side, yep.
    LORI: Right, OK.
    LESLIE: Exactly, to split the weight on the wire on the back. If you can get a nail into a stud, I mean that would be your best situation.
    LORI: Right, but I mean it would have to have a hook on it.
    LESLIE: Oh, absolutely.
    LORI: Like I said, my concern is that it falls. Yeah, yeah. OK. Alright. No, that was helpful. That’s what I needed.
    TOM: By the way, the website is MonkeyHook.com.
    LORI: OK, thank you.
    LESLIE: Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    Hey, have you ever thought about creating a compost pile in your yard? Well, it can save space in your garbage can and it can create some all-natural fertilizer in the process. We’re going to give you the how-tos when we come back.
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great prize that we’re giving away this hour to one lucky caller who gets on the air this hour with The Money Pit. We have got a four-cup Mini-Chop food processor from our friends over at Cuisinart. It really is a fantastic way to upgrade your kitchen on the cheap. It is a great appliance. You will find tons of uses for it. It’s worth 50 bucks but it could be yours for free. So get on the horn, give us all, let us help you with your home improvement project. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, wouldn’t you like to be able to cut down on the amount of waste you generate from your very own kitchen? You know, you can actually get rid of some of that organic waste without the toil of a compost pile. Just compost directly into your garden. What works for that? Well, coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit and vegetable waste. You can simply bury them around the existing plants. You don’t have to put them in a big compost pile and wait months and months for them to get usable. You simply can plant them right around the existing garden. You could also put them in plots that you’re planning to use for planting in the future and you will definitely wowed by the mild-high growth that can result from that simple composting trick.
    LESLIE: Hey, are you looking to take this idea one step further? We’ve got a lot of information in our free Money Pit e-newsletter. If you are not already a recipient of this great bundle of information, you can sign up now for free at MoneyPit.com. Because in our next issue, we’re going to teach you how to use a compost tumbler and recycle all of your organic kitchen scraps. Visit MoneyPit.com today, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. It’s totally free and we are not going to give away your e-mail address either.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Before you pick up the hammer, before you pick up the saw, pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Carl in Virginia needs some help with a tiling project. What can we do for you?
    CARL: Hi. We’re in the middle of redoing our kitchen …
    CARL: … and we’re getting ready to start the backsplash and we had a question on should we use a thin backer board over the drywall or should we use that metal grating and attach it and then put – mortar a thinset over that.
    LESLIE: I like to use a cement backer only because you’re dealing with, perhaps, some moisture situation that you could be getting and you don’t want a lot of water to get kicked up back there to get sucked through the grout and then go right to the drywall. A lot of people do it in different ways. Some people go directly to the drywall.
    TOM: Or you could use – there’s a Georgia-Pacific product called Dens Armor, which is a tile backer, and that will work very well and it’s a lot easier to use than, sometimes, the cement backer boards are. It cuts easier.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But it’s the same purpose.
    CARL: OK. If I do go with the backer board, can I put that up with just screws or should I …
    TOM: Yeah, actually there’s a special screw that’s designed to use with that. It’s a coated screw and it has a very wide head, so it holds the backer board solidly to the studs without sort of going through it or crumbling it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, without crumbling through.
    TOM: Yeah, it’s a self-tapping kind of a thing.
    CARL: OK.
    LESLIE: And then you go ahead with your mastic and your tile.
    CARL: OK, great. Alright, well I appreciate the information.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright, good luck with that project.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re very welcome, Carl. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mary in Connecticut needs some help out in the garage. What can we do for you?
    MARY: We have a water problem. When it rains the corner gets wet and it runs along the garage door. It needs some work and I didn’t know if this is something you would look at.
    TOM: Well, unfortunately, Mary, we can’t come to your house and look at it. (chuckles)
    MARY: Oh, I see.
    TOM: But we can give you a couple of tips. There is a piece of weatherstripping that goes at the bottom of the garage door. It’s a very thick, rubbery piece and, typically, when the doors leak it’s because the door is no longer sitting flat on the concrete. Sometimes the doors shift or the floor sags. So the first thing to check is that when you bring your door down does it hit perfectly evenly across the concrete floor. If it doesn’t, it has to be adjusted and sometimes that can be trimmed.
    The second thing I would do is I would replace the weatherstripping on the bottom of the door because they do need to be replaced every two to three years.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and they break down often.
    TOM: Yeah, because of the exposure to the salt and everything else.
    MARY: Exactly.
    TOM: It’s not a big deal to replace it. You sort of have to have the door about half way up and, typically, it’s nailed in place. It’s a very thick, rubber gasket that goes on the bottom of it. It’s not too hard to do.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, furry friends getting into your garbage cans; like the squirrels? We’re going to have a few tips to keep them from getting their little paws on your leftovers, right after this.
    TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and if you want to listen to us while you’re working on your next do-it-yourself project, then you should download our podcast at MoneyPit.com. And while you’re there you can check out our tip of the day and sign up for our e-newsletter. It’s all free and you’re going to get the best advice and information, which are going to help you save even more money – which we are all loving to do right now – around your own money pit. And while you are there you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and you can e-mail us your question and we’re going to jump into those e-mail questions right now.
    And I’m starting with one from Tom in New Jersey who writes – no, not you, Tom (Tom laughs); a different Tom – who writes: “I bought some durable, thick plastic garbage cans this past December. Since then, either squirrels or raccoons have managed to chew several holes in the tops.” Yeah, I’ve been there – not chewing; it’s happened to me. “Is there a product out there that can be used to deter the animals from attacking my garbage cans each day?”
    TOM: You know, there are a lot of sort of old-wives’-tale solutions that have been around for a long time. Some people say that you can put mothballs in the garbage can. Some folks suggest that you can use some of the pepper, different types of sprays; even put it on the plastic. All of those things have very limited effect. Frankly, the only thing that really works is to switch from a plastic can to a metal can. But you don’t have to switch all of your cans. What I recommend you do is have one can that’s used for food waste – the kind of stuff that the animals want to get to – and make that the metal can; a good-quality metal can that you can really lock that lid down.
    As far as all of your paper trash, that …
    LESLIE: You should be recycling it.
    TOM: Yeah, well you should be but I mean the things that you can’t recycle, those can be in the plastic cans. Animals have a pretty good sense of smell and if you keep all the good stuff that they want to eat in the metal can, you will be good to go.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it’s – you know it’s never going to happen that the home centers are going to sell just the tops to the cans.
    TOM: Of course not.
    LESLIE: So you have to come out with a better solution.
    TOM: Now there’s a business for us to get into: GarbageCanTops.com. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
    LESLIE: Somebody is buying that right now, as we speak.
    TOM: I’m sure. (laughs)
    LESLIE: Alright, Roger in Franklin, Tennessee writes: “We are adding to our house about 1,000 square feet which would include an extension to the bathroom upstairs with another bathroom, the kitchen and the family room. How much per square foot should it cost us?”
    TOM: Ah, very difficult question to answer for you, Roger, because square foot costs can literally vary between, say, a low of about 100 bucks a square foot on up. I mean I’ve seen homes being built at the $500, $600, $700 a square foot but when you’re talking about an addition that’s 1,000 square feet, you definitely should not be doing this yourself. I would make my first stop finding an architect to help out because the cost can be controlled by the design and if you have a really good architect on this, you can talk about budget from the moment the pencil hits the paper, so to speak, and you can make sure that you can build one that’s going to come in at a level where you can afford. If it’s that big, you really should not be doing it on your own.
    You know, an architect will also develop a list of specifications which will help you get a very competitive price because, this way, when you go out to the contractors to bid the project, everyone will sort of be bidding on the same job.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, you’ve got an actual tick list of items that are involved within this project itself. And you know, it’s true; the price really does vary upon what are you choosing for the space: are you going with a beautiful hardwood floor; are you going with a laminate; what type of materials are you using. There are so many variables that can affect what the price will be and the architect is going to guide you through the whole process and maybe come up with some interesting tricks that could save some dollars and cut some corners as far as the project is concerned, so stop there first.
    TOM: Yeah, think about the bathroom, for example. I mean, gosh. If you went with, say, something like a Corian, that could be a lot more expensive than to use like a tile wall or some marble.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) A ceramic tile.
    TOM: I mean there are just so many variables, so you really need to iron out what exactly your expectations are first.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, comb your favorite magazines for ideas and come armed with information.
    TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that we’ve given you some ideas, some tips, some advice to help make your home improvement projects just a little bit easier to get done. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Helping you build big dreams.
    (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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