Cash for Clunkers Appliance Rebates, Find Treasure In Your Attic and the Easy Way to Lay Tile
(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.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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: And this is where work and fun meet. We’re here to help you tackle the home improvement projects that you’d like to get done around your house because, let’s face it, we all call our homes money pits but we love them. (Leslie chuckles) We love to take care of them and we’re going to give you some tips to make them easy to care for; inexpensive to care for. And if you want to do a project around your house, we’re going to have some tips to help you get that done right the first time so you can do it once, do it right and not have to do it over again. Unless, of course, you are a serial renovator; in which case (Leslie chuckles), you can do it over and over and over again.
Well, speaking of projects, it’s a really good time to think about picking up some new, energy-efficient appliances because there are all kinds of rebates out there right now, including the Cash for Clunker appliances program. Now, the only problem is all the hoops you have to jump through to get your money. We’re going to have some tips to make that a lot easier, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And while you’re getting cash for your old appliances, why not see if you can get some cash for your old furniture? Maybe even you’ve got a treasure sitting up there in the attic. But how do you know if it’s actually worth anything? Well, we’re going to teach you how to date furniture, later this hour, and find out if you really do have an antique on your hands.
TOM: And we’re going to tell you about a great product that can actually cut the time of tiling jobs in half.
LESLIE: Plus, we’re giving away the AirFlow Breeze Ultra. It’s a vent booster fan that will take care of that one room in your house that never seems to get warm.
TOM: It’s worth 89.95; going to go out to one caller who reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question. The number is 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Eric in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
ERIC: Yeah. I’ve got a downspout coming off the back of my house.
ERIC: So it gets a lot of water during a heavy rain and – so, trying to think of a good solution to keep the water away from my foundation; whether to bury the pipe or if there’s another, you know, idea that I hadn’t thought of to keep that water away from the house.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Well, I mean, your two options are either to extend that out with a piece of downspout material but you’re still going to have the water reasonably close. The best option is if you can run it underground through a PVC pipe; a solid PVC pipe.
LESLIE: Not the perforated ones.
TOM: Yeah. Is there an opportunity to discharge that somewhere on the property?
ERIC: Yeah. Well, I’m kind of at an angle, so it always rushes down the back of my house.
ERIC: So, yeah, something to that effect I could probably do.
TOM: Yeah, well, what you want to do is – there’s a PVC fitting that’s a square – that’s designed to fit a square leader pipe on one side and then a round four-inch PVC pipe on the other. So it actually transitions between the gutter, leader, the gutter spout and the PVC pipe.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And the one you would bury.
TOM: And then you use standard PVC fittings, run it out underground, break it out to daylight somewhere where the water can gush and just run away from your property.
TOM: Alright. And then you won’t have to worry about it anymore. That’s really the best solution.
ERIC: Because someone was telling me about like a rock pit that they did, where the water …
TOM: Yeah, that’s called dry well and it can be effective but I’d much rather see it discharge out to daylight somewhere.
ERIC: OK. OK, great.
TOM: Because the pit sometimes fills up and then the water …
LESLIE: And then you end up with the same problem.
TOM: Yeah, the water could back up into the crawlspace anyway.
ERIC: Yeah, because it is a lot of water.
ERIC: Half the house worth of water. Yeah. Oh, great. Thanks.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joan in New York has a question about tiling. How can we help you?
JOAN: Hi. My husband and I are going to give our bathroom a facelift.
JOAN: We’re changing vanity, toilet and floor tiles. And someone told us we can put tile on top of tile. Is that true?
TOM: Tile on top of tile? Yes, absolutely. In fact, in many houses that were built in the heavy development years of like the 80s, they usually have sort of that plain, white tile in the bathroom floor that the builder would put down.
JOAN: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM: But even though it didn’t look that good, it turned out that it was adhered really well.
LESLIE: It’s an excellent base.
TOM: Yeah. It didn’t really make any sense to take it up, so you can put new tile on top of old tile.
JOAN: But then what happens to the toilet? Won’t the toilet be too high?
TOM: Yes. You have to adjust the flange and a plumber can do that, to sit up a little bit higher.
JOAN: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. I think you’ve answered my question.
TOM: Well, there you go. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Chris in Illinois needs some help with a bathroom project. What can we do for you?
CHRIS: Well, what I’m trying to do is trying to figure out what kind of plywood and flooring – like laminated or tile flooring – I can put down because I’ve got two little ones, two boys, that kind of like to leave the water running and that’s what caused our problem in the first place – of flooring.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, boy. I see. Well, I will tell you that if the choice is between a laminate floor and ceramic tile, you know, ceramic tile is certainly going to be more water-resistant but laminate floor is reasonably water-resistant and a lot easier and less expensive to put down.
But if those cute kids of yours leave the water running, they’re still going to damage the surface underneath this, so I think we’re going to have to train the kids first and then decide what kind of flooring product we want to use second. But I think that my vote would probably be for a laminate floor, because of the ease of installation. You know, today you don’t have to glue it down; you just lock the boards together and they float, basically, on top of the old floor.
LESLIE: And they look really nice and you can get one with almost a commercial finish on it so that if your sons are running around and they’re with toy trucks or on roller skates, they’re not going to damage up the floor.
CHRIS: So you know my kids pretty well then. (Leslie, Tom and Chris chuckle)
LESLIE: I am the mother of a son as well.
TOM: Chris, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mary in Utah is having a plumbing issue. What’s going on?
MARY: Well, we’ve got a floor drain in our basement that’s really giving us a bad time.
MARY: The washer and dryer are right there by it and straight up above, on the first floor, is the kitchen sink and the dishwasher. And the floor drain doesn’t seem to take the water through the pipe fast enough. When I do a load of clothes …
TOM: Well, why is the dishwasher and the washing machine draining into the floor drain?
MARY: Gosh, I don’t know. (Leslie and Mary chuckle)
TOM: Well, there’s the question, don’t you think?
MARY: They told me …
TOM: Because you’re not supposed to be draining into a floor drain; you’re supposed to be draining into your plumbing system. The floor drains are designed just to take the water that accumulates in the event of a basement flood or something of that nature and run it out. But it’s not designed to be an open drain for your appliances.
LESLIE: Wait. And also, aren’t your appliances, because of the nature of the soap and the product in the water, need to go into what is called like the gray water drainage so that your community can filter it out for proper disposal, correct?
TOM: If you have a septic system, you need to keep it separate but if you have a regular sewage system, then it’s not as necessary.
MARY: It is a regular system.
TOM: Well, you need to have it plumbed outside; it should not be going into the floor drain and that’s why it’s backing up; because those drains are not designed for regular appliance use. You follow me?
MARY: (overlapping voices) Hmm. OK.
TOM: That’s the problem, Mary. It’s not unclogging the drains; it’s just that it was never plumbed right to begin with.
MARY: Oh, great.
TOM: Now, if it turns out that you don’t have a waste pipe that’s in the right position because it’s too high, you can put in what’s called a lift pump; which is actually not that expensive. Kind of looks like a five-gallon bucket with a pump in it. It can sit under a sink and it’ll collect that water and lift it up and then drop it into the main drainway’s vent pipe and take it outside.
MARY: Oh. OK.
TOM: Alright? So there’s an option for you, OK?
MARY: Uh-huh. Appreciate that.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with your project and 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. Why don’t you become part of The Money Pit by picking up your phone and giving us a call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with whatever home repair or home improvement – even design, decorating. You’ve got a question with your money pit? We can help you get an answer, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, we’ve got tips to teach you how to cash in on clumsy appliance rebates. We’re going to make it a lot easier, 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 the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s face it, guys; no matter how good your home’s heating or A/C system is, there’s always that one room that never seems to warm up or cool down enough. So this hour, we’re giving away the AirFlow Breeze Ultra. It’s a universal, vent booster fan and it’s got a built-in temperature sensor that delivers warm or cool air to the areas of the home that need it. Now, the fan can also help move air from room to room or level to level and it costs less than $5 a year to run and you don’t need any special tools to install it; you’ve got to love that. It’s worth 89.95 and one caller that we talk to on the air this hour wins that great prize, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Well, if you’ve got a clunker of an appliance that you’d like to replace this year, the good news is that the government is now offering rebates that can pay you up to $250 for upgrading to a more efficient model. But the bad news is that with this latest version of Cash for Clunkers incentives, you’re going to have to do a lot more work to get your cash.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the rebates. First, you need to know your state’s start and end dates because the program schedule varies, depending on where you live.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also, as you shop for your appliances, you want to check with the retailers for the most current information that they might have on the program and then get their help choosing qualifying appliances with rebate amounts that’ll make the process worthwhile.
Also, you want to be sure to comparison shop for the best local deal on the energy-efficient appliances that you’re targeting. Finally, don’t just dump your old appliance until you know whether or not you need to take it to the retailer in order to qualify for that rebate.
Is that true? You really have to carry your old refrigerator back to the store?
TOM: A lot of rules, a lot of regulations and they are not consistent; they vary from state to state. And of course, the final thing is: how do you know they’re going to have the money to give you the rebate after you buy the appliances?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) When you make your purchase.
TOM: How do you know if they’re going to run out of money? Well, some of the states are actually forcing you to sort of register for your rebates so they can allocate properly.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, that’s something.
TOM: So, a lot of rules but there are opportunities to get some money back if you need to buy a new appliance. And as I’ve said before, now is the year to do it because the gravy train is going to run out with all these programs at the end of the year. So if you’re thinking about replacing your refrigerator – your dishwasher, your dryer, your washing machine – do it now while you can catch some of these rebates and make it that much less expensive for you.
888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: James in Rhode Island is dealing with a hot water situation or lack thereof, I should say. What can we do for you?
JAMES: I have a sink that’s about 45 feet away from my furnace and every morning, when I go to wash up to get ready for work, I’m putting two to three gallons of cold water down the drain because it takes so long for the hot water to get there.
LESLIE: Well, first of all, if you’re a plant person, you should be collecting that water (Tom chuckles) and using it to water your plants; although I know you’ll end up with quite a bit after a week’s time and your plants will be not thirsty anymore.
But James, do you have like a closet or somewhere close to the sink where maybe you could install a tankless water heater? Because that would be the best solution. If you add a secondary, smaller water heater – and the tankless units are, you know, super-tiny; they can be hung on a wall; they can go in …
TOM: Very efficient.
LESLIE: Yeah, they’re super-efficient and that will immediately provide that water to that sink and give you hot water instantly. And the good thing about the tankless options are that instead of like a traditional, tanked water heater where they’re constantly heating the water whether or not you’re asking for it the tankless, once you call for that hot water, it kicks on super-quickly; heats up that hot water and it comes right out your faucet.
JAMES: Oh. I never even thought of that.
TOM: Yeah, there’s a good website you might want to take a look at: it’s ForeverHotWater.com. That’s the website for the Rinnai folks; they make some beautiful water heaters. And also, if you buy one right now, before the end of 2010, you can qualify for a federal tax credit that could cover up to 30 percent of the cost of the unit.
JAMES: Oh. I’ll have to investigate that.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a great time to invest in the tankless water heater, James.
JAMES: Oh, OK then. That should take care of my problem then.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. No more cold face-washing.
JAMES: No, no, no. I don’t like that. (Leslie and James chuckle)
LESLIE: It’s certainly one way to wake up in the morning that you don’t like. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
JAMES: Oh, in the summertime, it’s not bad.
LESLIE: But winter, not so much.
JAMES: No, no.
TOM: James, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
JAMES: You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Kathleen in Georgia needs help with a stain-removal project. What’s going on?
KATHLEEN: Yes. I have a rough color, leather sofa and I have an oil stain that – like a bath oil stain – that’s in it and I was wondering how can I get it out. It just seems to keep spreading and spreading.
LESLIE: Is it a recent stain or has it been there a little while?
KATHLEEN: It’s been there about a week.
LESLIE: OK. I think you might still be in the window where this trick could work. You’re probably going to have to do the whole process many, many, many times. So go to the store and buy a big box of corn starch and then what you want to do is you want to sprinkle the corn starch – you know, a good amount of it – onto where the oil stain is on the leather. Then, you need to use your fingers to rub the corn starch really, really briskly into the stain on the leather until you can feel the heat from your finger; you know, friction against the leather.
And that heat is going to loosen the oil that’s into the leather and sort of allow that corn starch that you’ve applied to the stain to absorb the oil out of the leather. And then once you’ve sort of worked that first batch, you want to vacuum the area or brush all that powder off and sort of see your success measure and then just keep doing the process. That should do the trick. If it’s really in there and you’re just working and working and it isn’t happening, you’re going to have to bring it to a pro to sort of work on that stain a little bit more.
KATHLEEN: OK. Because when it first happened, I put some talcum powder – like the baby powder – on there and let it sit for a little while but I didn’t rub it in like you were saying; doing the corn starch.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah, the corn starch is going to be the most absorptive.
KATHLEEN: OK. Alright then. I will try that and I certainly appreciate it.
LESLIE: Gosh, good luck.
KATHLEEN: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us, Kathleen, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Washington is working on a kitchen renovation. How can we help you with the project?
MICHAEL: Yeah. I have a very small kitchen; there’s no room to expand and I’m wondering if putting a refrigerator under the counter would be good, value-wise, so that that would give me seven feet of working counter space. Right now I only have two feet of working counter space.
TOM: Hmm. Well, I think it would be convenient for your particular situation, Michael, but remember, you’re not going to have much storage space because – you know, you’re going to essentially have half the storage space that you have right now. It also could potentially impact resale because most folks expect a full-sized space for the refrigerator.
MICHAEL: Would it be better to take an exterior door out that’s in the kitchen and build the cabinets along that wall, with just a slight [inaudible at 0:16:16.7] in the wall where the kitchen door is to accommodate the cabinet?
TOM: Is that your only back door?
MICHAEL: No, there’s a sliding glass door about halfway across the front wall and then there’s a front door.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well, if you have …
LESLIE: Yeah, I would go that route.
TOM: Yeah, I would too. If you already have two back doors and you can give up one, that would be smarter.
MICHAEL: OK. I thank you.
LESLIE: Janice in Tennessee needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
JANICE: The walls in my bathroom have pink tiles and I was wondering if you could paint over those and what do you have to do to be able to paint them and my bathtub is also pink. And how hard would it be to reglaze the bathtub?
LESLIE: Are you thinking about doing the bathtub project on your own or having that done professionally?
JANICE: No, on my own.
LESLIE: On your own. Now, with the tile, you can paint the tile. You want to make sure that you clean the tile very, very well with like a household ammonia so you get off whatever kind of dirt and grunge and yuck is on there. And then you want to use -Tom, is it the oil-based primer? Is it the BIN?
TOM: Oil-base. Yeah, you could use BIN or you could use KILZ or you could use Behr but make sure it’s oil-based, because otherwise you’re not going to get the adhesion.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you use a water-based primer, it’s just going to be able to scratch off but the oil-based primer will stick very well to the tile. And then as far as paint goes, I mean, you’re dealing with a very wet area so I would use something – you know, I might even use a high-gloss, oil-based paint as the top coat as well.
JANICE: OK. And on the bathtub, I’ve heard of reglazing the bathtub. Is that a project that would – is this really, really hard to do or …
TOM: It’s not terribly difficult to do as long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations, Janice. Because what’ll happen is the glazing will not last nearly as long as the original glazing. It’s more of a sort of reasonably durable paint surface. You’ll probably get a good five years out of it before having to do it again.
JANICE: OK. And what would you do to glaze a bathtub? Do you know the …
TOM: Yeah, there are glazing kits that are available that have everything that you need, from the surface prep material to the actual paint finishes. But it’s essentially sort of a fancy way to say you’re painting your bathtub; but again, it’ll last you a good five years or so if it’s done well.
JANICE: Oh, OK. Everything is in such a perfect condition; you know, I really hate to tear it out and it would be …
TOM: Well, you’re better off decorating around it than totally tearing it out.
JANICE: OK. Yes. That helps a whole lot. Yeah, I think I’ll tackle this project pretty soon then.
TOM: Alright. Go for it, Janice. 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. Hey, are you thinking about changing the look of your kitchen? Well, if you are, it can actually be as easy as tiling your counter or backsplash. And you know what?
TOM: Ah, but you say that perhaps tiling a backsplash or a counter is a difficult, sticky and messy project? It doesn’t have to be. We’re going to tell you exactly how to do that the easy way, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.com.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, changing the look of your kitchen can be as easy as tiling your counter or backsplash. And in fact, new tile in your bathroom can make that space seem even more luxurious.
Well, you might be thinking that laying tile is not something that you think you can handle on your own but there is a great, new product out there that will give you the confidence to take on pretty much any tiling job.
TOM: Well, absolutely, because the hardest part about tiling is the prep work – you know, mixing the mastic or the mortar and all the special tools – and then there’s the big, stinking mess that you need to clean up when you’re done. But what if we could take all of that out of the equation?
That is exactly what the folks at Grace Construction Products have done, because they’ve got a brand new product called Bondera TileMatSet. It is a revolutionary tile adhesive on a roll, so you can literally install tile and grout and be done; all in sort of the same step. With us to talk about that is Jason Darling. He’s the product manager.
JASON: Hi, Tom.
TOM: And this is a very innovative change to the way people have been tiling for many, many years.
JASON: Yes, it certainly is. As you said, tile installation can be an intimidating job and Bondera takes a lot of that out of the process.
LESLIE: I mean it’s really – for those of you not familiar with the Bondera TileMatSet – it’s basically the super-stickiest contact paper you’ve ever seen in your life. And Jason …
TOM: Yeah, two-sided.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s double-sided. Tom and I have actually used this on a couple of projects and what I love is that the mat set, if you will, has a grid work on it so there’s no question that you’re cutting things straight and keeping things exactly where they’re supposed to be and laying out the tiles appropriately. And best of all, once your tiles are up, you can grout immediately.
JASON: That’s exactly right, yeah. One of the key features of the product is that ability to grout the same day, so you don’t have to wait 24 hours or longer using traditional, tile-setting materials; you can get your job done on a Saturday and have your Sunday free for other activities.
TOM: Now, what is the prep work involved here? You just basically need a clean, dry surface? And is the final adhesive as sticky as the traditional tile mastic might be?
JASON: Yes, it is. And the prep work is very simple; I mean any solid, smooth, stable substrate Bondera can be applied to and it’s as easy as peeling off the release liner and sticking the product to the wall or to the substrate. And then that’s pretty much all the prep work that’s required. And you apply your tiles and grout and you’re done.
LESLIE: And you don’t need any sort of special backer because of mold or water?
JASON: No. Actually, the product does have both water-resistance features in it and mold resistance. And it also acts as a crack-isolation membrane to help prevent any cracking in the finished installation.
TOM: Now, that’s a really great point because, as we know and we hear from our listeners, walls are always expanding and contracting and moving. And if this is a crack isolator, so to speak – sort of the shock absorber that takes that transference from the wall and doesn’t let it go through the tile – you’re not going to get those cracked joint lines where, you know, dirt and grime and grease and oil can get stuck in.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That like to settle in.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
JASON: That’s correct, yeah. The multi-purpose functions of the product are definitely one of the key benefits that it gives homeowners.
TOM: We’re talking to Jason Darling – he’s the product manager for Grace Construction Products – about a brand new product that just came out this year. It’s called Bondera TileMatSet, a self-stick membrane that allows you to basically tile and grout in one day because there’s no mastic to mix; the adhesive is actually held on a roll. It’s a two-sided, adhesive roll and you apply the roll to the wall; apply the tile to the adhesive. You grout, you’re done; you can enjoy your new tile project, literally, the next day.
What about edging on countertops and decorative edging and things like that where you only have a very narrow edge of, say, a counter to cover, Jason? Will the product work for that, as well?
JASON: Yeah, it certainly will and we actually have a dedicated product for that. There’s a four-inch, detailed tape that you use for small detail areas. If you have a small – like you said, front of the countertop or a small section of tile that you want to do, it comes in four-inches wide instead of the typical twelve-inch wide for the wall roll and it can be used for that, as well.
LESLIE: Jason, is there anything special I need to – when selecting tile – that will adhere better than another tile or is it pretty much any tile I choose will stick right to the Bondera?
JASON: Pretty much any tile. There are some restrictions on stone tiles; you want to have a tile that has a nice, smooth backing to it, so – some of the slate tiles have uneven backing. So you want to make sure you do have a tile that has a smooth backing to it.
And then, in terms of size, you want to make sure your tiles are less than 36 square inches in size for wall applications. But other than that, you can choose just about any tile.
TOM: And Jason, what’s next for this product? Will we be able to use it on a floor or on a bath wall, eventually?
JASON: Well, I can’t give away all our secrets (Tom and Leslie chuckle) but we certainly are looking at other applications and hoping to expand the product beyond its current capabilities – into many other areas of the home – to help people tile other areas, as well.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Why not?
TOM: Well, it’s certainly very inventive. It’s going to make tiling that much more easy and accessible for so many home improvers around the country.
Jason Darling from Grace Construction Products, thanks for filling us in on Bondera TileMatSet.
JASON: Thanks, Tom and Leslie. It’s great to be here.
TOM: And if you’d like more information on where you can find Bondera TileMatSet in your neck of the woods – perhaps see a video of the product in action – you can go to their website at BonderaTileMatSet.com or pick up the phone and call them at 1-888-862-8738. And that happens to spell 888-T-MAT-SET.
Jason, thanks again.
JASON: Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Hey, are you a big fan of those antique shows where you find out that you’ve got a secret treasure hiding in your attic? Well, if you are, I bet you’re always wondering about all of those things that you’ve shoved up in your attic just to get out of sight and out of mind.
Well, when we come back, we’re going to tell you how to date your old furniture and figure out if you’ve got a treasure on your hands, so stick around.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bondera TileMatSet; the fast, easy way to add the style and value of tile to your home. For more information, visit BonderaTileMatSet.com.
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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – which perhaps might be: how do I warm up a chilly room of my house or make it cooler and more comfortable in the summer?
The problem might be the amount of airflow through your duct system. To help fix that, we’re giving away, this hour, the AirFlow Breeze Ultra. It’s a universal, vent booster fan. This is a fan that fits into the duct system and can actually speed up the airflow to those rooms where it is a bit weak, making them much more comfortable. It’s worth 89.95; going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And maybe you’re calling because you’re thinking, “Hmm, I’ve got this really interesting chest of drawers in the attic. Is it worth anything?” Well, if you are wondering if you indeed have cash in your attic, here is how you need to figure it out. If you’ve got some old furniture up there, this is what you need to do: you want to take a look at it and if it’s really old, the first thing that you’re going to see is saw marks. They’re also called curf marks.
Now, a pit saw is going to leave a regular or even uneven marks on that piece of furniture. And it was called a pit saw because one guy stood in a pit in the ground and the other above the ground and they would frequently change places and that is what caused these irregular cuts on those pieces of lumber that came together to make your piece of furniture.
TOM: If they were having a really bad day, they would be in the pits. (Leslie chuckles) So …
LESLIE: And that must be where that comes from. (Tom chuckles) Now, the gash saw dates back to the mid-1600s and that was water-powered with multiple up-and-down blades, leaving regular and parallel marks. So you’ve got to look for the marcations on the lumber.
TOM: Now here’s a piece of trivia for you. The circular saw was actually invented in 1820 by a woman, so …
LESLIE: That’s right.
TOM: That’s right. A woman invented the circular saw but it was not in general use until 1840 when steam engines came along. Now, there are lots of other telltale signs; like the types of fasteners used. And to learn more about how to date your furniture using tricks of the trade like this, head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com and see our article about how to date your furniture.
The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: And here’s a tip: it usually begins with a compliment and a glass of wine. (Tom chuckles)
Brian in Illinois has a question about the 70s choice of décor paneling. (chuckles) What can we do, Brian?
BRIAN: Well, I wonder if it’s a good idea to paint the brown paneling that’s in my father’s house or leave it as is or pull it out and drywall? We’re trying to sell it on the cheap; the house.
TOM: Well, one thing I would want to find out is whether the old paneling was glued to the walls or not. If you can pop off one section and it seems to come off pretty easily, then I would be tempted to remove it completely. You’re going to have to, then, just spackle nail holes and do a little bit of wall repair; a little wall surgery. When it’s off, it’ll look better that way.
If it’s glued on, the answer is absolutely, positively don’t pull it off because you’ll pull all the paper of the drywall off with it; then just paint it. But I’d like to know if it’s glued on or not and I’d make my decision based on that.
BRIAN: I think, from my touching it, it’s both; it’s got – it’s tacked up but also I think they put some strips of glue along it. It seems like it sticks in other spots; to the side of where the nails are.
TOM: Well, that’s going to make it a really messy job to pull it down and, if you do, you might end up having to skin all the drywall; because if you pull that paper off, it’s just impossible.
LESLIE: Yeah but skinning the drywall isn’t a terribly difficult process, right?
TOM: Yeah but he wants to sell the house, so let’s get it down quick.
Is the entire house covered with this paneling, Brian?
BRIAN: No, just the family room and part of the kitchen. We’re trying to sell it for an estate, by my father.
TOM: Listen, why don’t you prime it and paint it? I don’t think that it’s going to be worth the aggravation of pulling it down then. But use a good-quality primer like an oil-based KILZ primer or something like that.
LESLIE: And you’d be surprised how crisp that paneling can look when it’s done in like a nice, glossy white.
BRIAN: Alright, guys. That’s helpful. I appreciate it.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Ellen in California, who needs some help with a kitchen counter.
ELLEN: I have an unsightly Formica countertop and I didn’t want to go to the expense of granite countertops because the Formica has to be removed besides the application of granite.
ELLEN: So, this contractor says there’s a product – I believe it’s polyurethane – that looks like granite and you could get it in different patterns and he sprays it on and it’s supposed to last for years.
TOM: I tell you what, I wouldn’t go that route and here’s why: because your countertop is only going to be as good as the base and, typically, what happens with Formica tops is eventually the water starts to separate the Formica from the base – what it’s glued to – which is typically some sort of a fiberboard. And even if you spray on something on top of it that works really well or looks great, the base is still going to swell and become deteriorated after a while. What …
LESLIE: And eventually peel off.
TOM: Yeah. If you’re concerned, you don’t have to go straight to granite; I mean, you could simply replace it with a new fiberglass top at about a quarter of the cost. So if you’re happy with – excuse me, if you’re happy with the Formica, you could simply replace it with a new Formica top for like a quarter of the cost.
ELLEN: (overlapping voices) No, I don’t like the Formica.
TOM: Alright. Well, how about solid surface? Are you familiar with that?
LESLIE: Like a Corian?
TOM: Yeah, you could use a Corian or a product like that.
ELLEN: Oh, Corian.
TOM: Wilsonart, yeah.
ELLEN: I know about that.
TOM: Yeah, that’s good stuff; beautiful.
ELLEN: Yes. Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Ellen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steve, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVE: I’m having a water problem in my crawlspace.
STEVE: I live in the middle of town and during the rainy season I’ve got standing water in my crawlspace. I’ve been looking up on what to do about it and I’m wondering which would be best: a French drain system around the perimeter or just a basic sump pump?
TOM: Two things. First of all, you’ve got to get that water out of that crawlspace; so for that, you simply want to put a pump down there. Kind of hard to dig a sump pump when you’ve got water there but you’re going to need to get a pump down there one way or the other, Steve, and pump that water out. Open up some vents in the sides so that you get some airflow in there; maybe hook up some fans so you can dry that space out.
Protecting this in the long run, though, is going to require some improvements to the drainage conditions around the outside of the house. You need to have the gutters extended so that they get away from those crawlspace walls; then have the soil slope away from the walls. Whenever you get rain that causes the crawlspace to flood, in that situation it’s a drainage problem; it’s not a rising water table. So, improving the drainage conditions will solve it, you know, for the next time.
STEVE: Very good. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. You know, tiling a floor can be tricky and the job that’s done is only as good as the subfloor that’s underneath it, so we’re going to tell you how to prep your tiling surface, next.
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: And when you’re there at MoneyPit.com, why not check out the blog that Leslie and I do. The Money Pit blog has got sort of our personal take on the home improvement, do-it-yourself dilemmas that we face on a day-to-day basis and you will soon learn that sometimes you should (Leslie chuckles) do we as we say and not as we do.
LESLIE: And usually the ones that have mistakes in it are my blogs. (Tom and Leslie laugh) That’s OK; I don’t mind ratting myself out.
And you know, some of the other topics that we’ve blogged about lately are how to make free cell phone calls and how to make the most of a small space and some of the best washers and dryers that you can get out there. It’s all at MoneyPit.com. I mean, you know, we like to talk so that just gives us another avenue of things that we can share with you.
And while you are online, you can e-mail us your home improvement question and I’ve got one here from Ryan in Madison, Wisconsin who writes: “I am tearing out the tiled floor of my 1960s ranch home. The tile was installed on vinyl, on top of luan. I want to remove the luan and install some new hardy backing. Now I see there are many …” Oh, “Now I see there may be some asbestos tile underneath everything. Do you think I can still remove the luan or should I just leave it? The subfloor is only a half-inch thick and I’m going to be installing a variety of sized tiles from 6×6 up to 18×18.”
Oh, he’s probably doing a French pattern; that sounds nice.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Well, I will say that, Ryan, since you mentioned that you’re going to go with an 18×18 tile, you absolutely have to have a rock-solid base to that. Because if you don’t, it’s going to crack and even the hardy backer may not be strong enough.
What you really need to do here is to use a mud floor, where you put down wire mesh and a thin layer of concrete – a thin layer of mud, essentially, underneath – and that needs to be leveled out. And that’s the only thing that’s really going to support an 18×18 tile.
So, in this case, I would take off the luan; get all the way down to the asbestos. You can probably leave the asbestos there; attach the wire mesh to that and then go right on top of that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And then you’re encasing it, so it’ll be good.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got one here from Nathan who writes: “I discovered a decent amount of mold in my attic and thus needed more ventilation up there. So I put in three turbine vents and I believe that should solve the moisture problem in the attic. The question is, since the moisture problem is done, should I not worry about the mold since it should eventually die and fall off anyway or should I clean it up and if so, how?”
TOM: Yeah, well, if you reduce the moisture in the wood to under 25 percent, all the decay organisms stop dead; so I wouldn’t worry too much about any mold that’s left behind. Just make sure the attic is as dry as possible. However, I would have recommended a ridge vent over the turbines because they’re a lot more effective.
LESLIE: And you know what? They look far better on a roof’s profile but, Nathan, you did the job so good luck with your project.
TOM: Well, here’s a gentle warning to those of you that are redoing your kitchen or your bathroom: some finishes still seen as pretty popular might be going out of style mighty quick. Leslie has got the tips on what you need to know to pick a truly trendy finish, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, that’s right: for years – maybe even a decade – granite was the material of choice for a luxurious-looking bath or an even up-to-date kitchen. Well, here’s the latest: granite countertops are slowly becoming less desirable among buyers who are now moving towards more affordable and low-maintenance materials.
Now, the old standby laminates might not be so bad after all and they tend to last longer. And now they come in so many different styles that they actually do make a good choice. So what’s really hot right now? Well, the buzz words have to do with eco-friendly and renewable materials, so think cork, concrete, recycled glass and soapstone, because these are all gaining popularity very, very quickly.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some information on radon testing for your house. You know, as a former home inspector, I’ve seen plenty of otherwise perfectly healthy homes test positive for radon. It is the number two cause of cancer in America.
We’re going to have some tips on how you can find out if radon exists in your house and tell you exactly what you need to do about it, 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.
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(Copyright 2010 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.)