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  • Transcript

    (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 1 TEXT:
     
    (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: Pick up the phone; give us a call right now because we are standing by to help you with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma, whatever it takes to help you to get these projects done around your house because we know that you’ve got a list. We’ve got a list; we’re sure that you have a list and I’m absolutely positive that my wife has a list.
     
    LESLIE: (chuckling) I’m sure she does.
     
    TOM: And so we’re willing to help you out. Give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
     
    We’ve got a great show planned for you this hour. Coming up, we’re going to talk to you a bit about this subject called Chinese drywall. Have you heard about this? It is a total fiasco. It’s causing hundreds of homeowners major, major problems. The government is now recommending that homes with this drywall be completely gutted. Why?

     
    LESLIE: Man.
     
    TOM: Because the stuff offgasses and it causes not only allergic reactions in people but it actually deteriorates electrical components and plumbing components, basically making homes worthless. It’s a horrible situation. We’re going to get to the bottom of it in just a bit and we’re also going to tell you, if you are one of the unfortunate homeowners that have this, how to protect yourself from some of the fraud that’s going on right now.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead, you know we’ve had a very wet spring across most of this country and it’s probably got a lot of you thinking about better ways to manage storm water runoff around your home. So we’ve got some great tips from the experts at This Old House. We’ve got landscaping contractor Roger Cook joining us with some eco-friendly advice, in just a bit.
     
    TOM: And do you know the most affordable way to increase your usable living space? Well, one idea is to simply build a deck. You know, outdoor living remains a huge trend right now and outdoor rooms are very, very popular. They’re also a very valuable addition to homes. We’re seeing a lot of reaction in the real estate market to folks that are creating very nice, attractive, outdoor rooms; so we’re going to have some tips on how a smart investment in decking material will save you time and money in the long run and also add some value to your house.
     
    LESLIE: Alright, and we’ve got a great prize this hour. We are giving away a whopper of a prize. Thanks to our friends at Lumber Liquidators, you could win a $1,000 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators if we choose your name at random from one of our callers.
     
    TOM: So pick up the phone; let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re going to give away that $1,000 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators to one caller that reaches us on today’s show. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and talk to us but, really, we’re not that scary and we won’t judge you. So even if it’s a dumb question, it’s OK. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will set you straight and get you on your way to a very successful home improvement project.
     
    Leslie, who’s first?
     
    LESLIE: Scott in Alabama is calling in with a question about an attic fan. What’s going on?
     
    SCOTT: Well, I wanted to know the wisdom of putting in one; does it really make a difference on your utility bills and everything. And also, is it better to have one that’s electric or solar?
     
    TOM: Now why do you want to put in an attic fan, Scott? Is it because you have central air conditioning?
     
    SCOTT: Yes.
     
    TOM: And you’re looking to reduce attic temperatures to reduce those costs?
     
    SCOTT: Yes.
     
    TOM: Well, here’s a surprise for you. If you put in an attic fan, you may very well increase your central air conditioning cost. You know why?
     
    SCOTT: Why.
     
    TOM: Because those fans can be so strong that they depressurize the attic and then reach down deep into the living spaces of your house and pull out air conditioned air. They’ll find little gaps inside the walls, where wires run and things like that, and it’s been shown that using an attic fan can actually increase air conditioning costs. So an attic fan I think generally is a bad idea. You’re almost always better off using passive ventilation – like a ridge vent, a soffit vent, that sort of thing – to reduce attic temperatures and not use an attic fan.
     
    The only time I would ever use an attic fan is if I had a roof that was unusually difficult to vent passively; for example, if you had a hip roof. Hip roofs are tough. Those are the ones that sort of go up like a pyramid with a little flat part on top.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
     
    TOM: With a hip roof, you can only have a very narrow ridge vent. Situation like that, I may use an attic fan but I’d make sure I have plenty of wide-open soffit vents so that I make sure that I’m not depressurizing my house.
     
    LESLIE: The house itself.
     
    TOM: But if you have your average sort of gable roof where you have a wide ridge and a nice soffit that overhangs, I would put a ridge vent and a soffit vent and let those work together to flush out the hot air in the summer and the cooler air in the winter.
     
    SCOTT: Well, I have ridge vents. That’s the one on the top, right?
     
    TOM: Yep.
     
    LESLIE: Yeah.
     
    SCOTT: OK, I already have those.
     
    TOM: But do you have soffit vents? Do have soffit vents at the overhang?
     
    SCOTT: OK, yeah. I’m pretty sure.
     
    TOM: Well, that would be important to know because you want to have fully-open soffits and fully-open ridges and let those work together. Because what happens is air – as the wind moves over your house, it will be drawn out at the ridge vent and pushed in at the soffit vent, go up underside the roof sheathing and cool it in the summer and take the moisture and the cold air out in the winter.
     
    SCOTT: OK, well great. Well, thanks so much.
     
    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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.
     
    Well, get ready and get excited because Memorial Day weekend is knocking on our doors. So we want to help you keep your money pit in tiptop shape for your big summer kickoff weekend, so give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
     
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
     
    Up next, you know it’s often said when you eat Chinese food, Leslie, you get hungry pretty quickly later. Right?
     
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yes.
     
    TOM: Well, apparently, that is also the fact for thousands of unfortunate homeowners who purchased homes built with Chinese-made drywall, as the U.S. government is now telling them to gut their homes from this toxic wall; to get it out.
     
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Man.
     
    TOM: And that’s leaving them very, very hungry for a place that they can really call home. Once again, we’ll have all the details, next.
     

     
    (theme song)
     
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru Doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit Therma-Tru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
     
    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 and you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because, first of all, you’re going to get an answer to your home improvement question; but, secondly, we are giving away a huge prize this hour. We have got up for grabs a $1,000 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators and that’s enough to redo the floor in at least one room of your house.
     
    Now, Lumber Liquidators carries everything from hardwood to engineered wood, green flooring options, laminates. You name it and they’ve got it. And you know what? They’ve got stores in nearly every state in the union and they ship anywhere. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less and it’s a great improvement that you can make. You want to call 1-800-HARDWOOD for the location nearest you and the number, for your chance to win, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. What a great prize.
     
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
     
    Well, the U.S. government is now issuing a call to homeowners that own homes constructed with Chinese drywall and they are telling them to completely gut these homes to remove all of this Chinese drywall. We’ve been following this story for you since we first learned about Chinese-made drywall that came onto the market in the country during the building boom after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
     
    And essentially what happens with this stuff is it offgasses, it smells and it corrodes your home’s copper pipes, plumbing fixtures, exposed electrical wires, light switches. It’s a real, real disaster. It smells a bit like rotten eggs and – or matches or fireworks. And when this odor gets out in the air, it makes people really sick and the corrosion can actually be dangerous because it could cause your electrical components to fail.
     
    The investigation that the CPSC has done on this has been one of the most extensive investigations that they’ve ever, ever done in this country and the unfortunate result is it can’t be fixed. This stuff has got to be pulled out of the house if it exists. So right now you’ve got a lot of scam contractors out there that are trying to tell different stories and concoct different reasons and trying to get the work for replacing the drywall. But you need to really be careful with who you hire whenever you have any kind of a concern like this.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
     
    TOM: Now if you’re wondering how do you tell if you’ve got Chinese-made drywall, well, a thorough inspection by someone like a professional home inspector or an engineer could tell you, but if you could look on the back – anyplace where the drywall is exposed from the back – and look to see if it’s stamped “Made in China,” that’s a pretty good indication right there.
     
    Now, there’s a tremendous wealth of information on the Consumer Products Safety Commission website about this, so I would suggest that you check that out as your first step. And again, watch out for the scam contractors out there because, according to the FTC, an entire industry of phony drywall testers, phony drywall inspectors and quick-fix contractors have popped up and the FTC is warning homeowners to be very, very aware and very, very diligent to not get taken by these folks.
     
    LESLIE: Yeah, if you want to be smart about how to take care of this and you’re looking for some more tips on Chinese drywall or even to just follow the ongoing investigation – because it’s certainly interesting; I mean it really is a fascinating story – you can visit the Federal Drywall Information Center at www.CPSC.gov/info/drywall or you can check out Tom’s recent blog at MoneyPit.com, which has all the links right there for you. It really is an interesting developing story, so do pay attention; especially if you think you might have some in your house.
     
    TOM: This could potentially be the largest recall of anything that we’ve seen in the homebuilding industry in many, many years.
     
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) How amazing.
     
    TOM: So important story that we’re following and we hope that certainly it doesn’t affect you. If it does, give us a call – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – and we’ll see what else we can do to help you out.
     
    Leslie, who’s next?
     
    LESLIE: Julian in Louisiana needs help with some siding. What can we do for you today?
     
    JULIAN: Yes, ma’am. I was calling to find out what’s the best type of product or what can I use to clean my vinyl siding.
     
    TOM: Well, what’s going on with the vinyl siding? Is it covered with moss or …?
     
    JULIAN: I’ve been having it over a year now and I just want to do a little spring cleaning on it; kind of get it back to looking new again.
     
    TOM: Well, I’ll tell you, OxiClean is probably a good choice.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
     
    JULIAN: OxiClean.
     
    TOM: Yep.
     
    JULIAN: Now I heard something. Some guy told me something about Murphy’s Oil Soap; you make a mixture of water and spray it on and (inaudible at 0:11:39.3).
     
    TOM: I’m not aware of that for vinyl siding but usually there’s a – there are various types of house wash products. Because what gets on vinyl siding is you get dust and dirt and pollution from the air; sometimes you get moss that will stick to it or mildew. And usually, an oxygenated bleach works very well; like OxiClean or a product like Jomax. And you want to saturate it, let it sit for a few minutes and then gently rinse it off. If you use a pressure washer, that’s OK, that’ll save some time but don’t go to stiff on the pressure or you could actually poke some holes in it.
     
    JULIAN: So the OxiClean – you mix the OxiClean with water and use that as like a washing or scrubbing compound or …?
     
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep. That’s correct. And if you have a pressure washer, there are also special detergents that work with the machines to clean siding. So if you have one or you rent one, that’s another way to go as well.
     
    JULIAN: OK, great. I appreciate it.
     
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
     
    LESLIE: Ooh, Beverly in Delaware is having some issues with a contractor. How can we help you?
     
    BEVERLY: Hey, love your show.
     
    TOM: Thank you.
     
    LESLIE: Thanks, Beverly.
     
    BEVERLY: Listen to it every Saturday on WDEL in Wilmington.
     
    TOM: Alright.
     
    BEVERLY: I hired a contractor. He started a job, did it halfway, took my money and left and I haven’t seen him since.
     
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, no.
     
    BEVERLY: The problem is my mom is 87, is moving in and I have a half of a shower – walk-in shower, 4×4 – and the plan was to put glass blocks from the top of the tiled wall to the ceiling. Is that something I can do myself to finish it off or do I have to hire someone?
     
    TOM: Well, glass blocks are a little bit tricky because it’s kind of like setting brick. I mean you have to have a mortar and then you stack them up one at a time and that’s actually what makes the wall. So you have to do it one on top of another on top of the other, plus you have to be able to make sure that the sizing works out right because you can’t end up with half a glass block because you can’t cut them.
     
    BEVERLY: Right. Any special way to cut them if I have to cut them?
     
    TOM: No, actually what you want to do is design it so that you don’t have to cut them and buy the right size pieces.
     
    BEVERLY: OK.
     
    TOM: Now let me ask you about this contractor that took off halfway through.
     
    BEVERLY: Right.
     
    TOM: So why don’t you go to the police and file a theft charge against him?
     
    BEVERLY: Well, I’ve been trying to deal with the attorney general’s office on the Consumer Protection and I’m playing phone tag.
     
    TOM: Right.

     
    BEVERLY: And so that was my next step because I just get voice-mails and no one is really helping me, even though …
     
    TOM: Did you pay them so that, basically, they took your money and ran?
     
    BEVERLY: Right, I paid them in increments. Part of the job was done – the demolition, the drywall, the painting, the – whatever.
     
    TOM: Right.
     
    BEVERLY: And so – and then I paid them to order my doors and windows. I finally took advantage of the tax rebate this year …
     
    TOM: Right.
     
    BEVERLY: … and I was going to get a Therma-Tru door because I’ve heard you guys talk about it so much. So I had to give them the money to get the windows and doors and of course I don’t have any of that either.
     
    LESLIE: Oh, my God; they didn’t even order them for you?
     
    TOM: Oh. Well, listen, if the contractor has acted in a fraudulent way like that, you can file a theft charge against them; I would check with your attorney. But generally, you can go to the police department and if they essentially take your money and run, like this guy did, that’s stealing. That’s not something that you have to necessarily go after them civilly for; you can go after them criminally. And you’ll find that even the sleaziest contractors, if they think that there’s a chance they’re going to get a criminal complaint on their record, they may settle up with you. So I think you can do both at the same time but, obviously, check with your own lawyer; I can’t give you legal advice. But I’ve done it here and I tell you, it works; it works well.
     
    BEVERLY: So I can go to the police department and start there?
     
    TOM: Yeah.
     
    BEVERLY: OK.
     
    TOM: Go to the police department and try to file a theft complaint. They basically took your money and ran.
     
    BEVERLY: Right.
     
    TOM: That’s theft.
     
    BEVERLY: Yes.
     
    TOM: Alright, that’s not a contract dispute. It’s not like they built it, you didn’t like the way it came out.
     
    LESLIE: They stole your money.
     
    TOM: They charged you for something, they stole your money. There’s no difference between that and somebody …
     
    LESLIE: Walking up to you and taking your purse.
     
    TOM: Exactly.
     
    BEVERLY: OK.
     
    TOM: Alright?
     
    BEVERLY: I appreciate it greatly. Keep up the good work.
     
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
     
    LESLIE: That’s so crazy. I feel like it’s the one arena where people are like, “Oh, well, they took my money. I’m kind of screwed.” It’s like, no; you can do something about this.
     
    TOM: Exactly. You’re not screwed.
     
    LESLIE: Frank in North Carolina is dealing with carpenter bees. Tell us about the problem.
     
    FRANK: Well, I was walking around the outside of my house one afternoon and all of a sudden I was buzzed by about six or seven of these – they looked like …
     
    LESLIE: Giant monsters? (Tom and Frank chuckle)
     
    TOM: They’re like low-flying attack helicopters, aren’t they?
     
    FRANK: Attack helicopters. And I don’t know, some people said they really are bumblebees but I call them carpenter bees.
     
    TOM: Yeah.
     
    LESLIE: Well, the carpenter bee has the black bottom. Correct, Tom?
     
    TOM: Yeah. And you know, the thing is – you know why they’re so aggressive? Because they can’t bite.
     
    FRANK: They can’t bite?
     
    TOM: They can’t sting you. No.
     
    FRANK: They’ve never stung me and I …
     
    TOM: Right, they can’t. They’re physically unable to do that, so they just kind of freak you out by like flying around your face. What they’ll do is they’ll drill up in the fascia and the soffits and the soft wood around the house. And they’ll go in across the grain then they’ll go with the grain, sort of deep in for a few inches, and lay eggs. And they can be tough.
     
    You know, we’ve had carpenter bees on fascia areas around my house and …
     
    LESLIE: We have them on soffits all the time.
     
    TOM: And eventually I just tore out the wood fascia and replaced it with AZEK, which is a PVC – extruded PVC trim product.
     
    FRANK: What is that? A …?
     
    TOM: A-Z-E-K. It looks just like 1×6 wood fascia but it’s made out of plastic and it’s incredibly durable stuff; not that expensive.
     
    LESLIE: And they don’t like to eat it.
     
    TOM: They hate it. Yeah. When I first put it up, the bees would swarm around it and I could just see that they’re going, “Hmm, looks like wood. Doesn’t taste like wood.” (Leslie chuckles)
     
    FRANK: “It must not be wood.”
     
    TOM: Yeah. So I mean you can treat them, you can spray for them, but they end up coming back every year, so I just gave up and just went with the AZEK and it worked great.
     
    FRANK: Well, thank you very much for your help.
     
    TOM: You’re welcome, Frank. 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.
     
    Well, water, water – it’s everywhere. It has certainly been a wet spring. But your money pit doesn’t have to be. If it seems like your house is a little damp, you might be looking to make some changes to your home’s drainage. We’re going to tell you exactly what to do, next.
     

     
    (theme song)
     
    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: Got a question: do you have the ugliest door in America? If you think you do, you could win a makeover by entering the ugly door contest that’s being run by the folks at Therma-Tru. All you’ve got to do is go to MyUglyDoor.com for a chance to win a makeover worth up to 5,000 bucks. If you win, Therma-Tru will come in and totally replace your entryway and I’ve got to tell you, their entryways really rock. They’re just gorgeous.
     
    LESLIE: They’re so beautiful.
     
    TOM: You should have seen the one – well, actually, go to the website. Go to MyUglyDoor.com and look at the one they did last year.
     
    LESLIE: Oh, those doors were such disasters.
     
    TOM: They were …
     
    LESLIE: It’s always excellent to sort of see what kind of doors. And it can be a front door, it can be a patio door. And you should see some of these disasters that get entered in each year.
     
    TOM: And they did a one-day makeover, Leslie, and they sent a picture over to us to put up on the website and I said, “You know what? Background is a little dark.” They’re like, “Yeah, it was a long day.” (laughs) It was night by the time they had finished the makeover but it looked fantastic. So check it out and, really, if you have an ugly door, they’re giving away – I think they’re doing two giveaways; one for a patio and one for an entry door. You can enter by video or you can enter by sending in a photo with a description of why you think you have the ugliest door in America. And then America gets to vote on it and, if you win, you could win this entryway worth up to 5,000 bucks. So check it out. Contest runs now through July 2nd at MyUglyDoor.com.
     
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Joe in Massachusetts who is finding some cracks in the foundation. Tell us about the problem.
     
    JOE: No, I just – what I’d like to know is – I do have some cracks in my foundation; they’re not major but I did put on a two-car garage and also a Florida room on my house. And I was wondering about cracks in the foundation.
     
    TOM: Well, if you added laterally to the house – in other words, you didn’t put a second story on or something like that – I doubt that adding the garage on or the Florida room caused these cracks to occur.
     
    JOE: Yeah.
     
    TOM: Cracks do form over time in masonry foundations; usually because moisture gets in there, Joe, and the foundations will either expand and crack or, if you have a lot of water that pools around the foundation area, you can get some settlement. So if these are minor cracks – would you consider them hairline?
     
    JOE: Right, exactly.
     
    TOM: Well, if they’re minor cracks, then it’s very, very typical of you to have those in foundations. If sometimes they crack so much that you can see through them – perhaps if it’s part of the wall that goes through to the other side of the garage or something of that nature – you could always caulk them with a silicone caulk. But minor foundation cracks are pretty typical and not much to worry about.
     
    LESLIE: Well, the early part of this spring was so wet, I mean we heard about widespread flooding pretty much from every part of the country.
     
    TOM: It was quite a mess; certainly on the east coast and in many other areas as well. And it all comes down to how do you handle all that water runoff. To get some tips so it doesn’t happen again, it’s our friend Kevin O’Connor and landscaping expert Roger Cook from This Old House.
     
    And guys, around a house all that water can add up quite quickly.
     
    KEVIN: That’s right. During a heavy rain, your roof, your driveway, your walkways, they can all channel that rain water into a concentrated torrent of water and managing the runoff, well, it can be a real challenge. It’s not good for your yard and cities and towns, they want to manage the storm water in an environmentally responsible way.
     
    ROGER: That’s right. For homeowners, it’s so important to keep that water away from their foundation where, invariably, it’ll end up in their cellar. For municipalities, it’s important to keep storm water out of the sewer system. Most homeowners just extend their gutters, downspouts away from the side of the house and let the water run away, causing some erosion. A better solution is to use a dry well to disperse water into the ground or use a rain barrel or cistern to collect gray water that you can later use to irrigate the landscape.
     
    KEVIN: A rain garden is a pretty good idea. You’ve done that a number of times.
     
    ROGER: A rain garden is a great idea. It’s nothing more than a shallow swale that’s vegetated. The water runs in, slowly percolates down into the ground and doesn’t cause any runoff. And you can watch a step-by-step video on how to build a rain garden on ThisOldHouse.com.
     
    TOM: Now what makes a rain garden?
     
    KEVIN: Rain.
     
    ROGER: Rain. (Tom laughs)
     
    KEVIN: And a garden.
     
    TOM: What’s different about a rain garden compared to other types of gardens?
     
    ROGER: A rain garden is designed with specific plants that’ll tolerate wet and dry conditions because you’re going to have a fluctuation as the water comes in and then slowly goes down into the ground. But those plants also clean that water so there are no pollutants getting into the ground.
     
    TOM: A great natural way to filter the water and make sure it doesn’t erode the soil or end up in your basement.
     
    ROGER: Think of it as sort of a mini-wetlands.
     
    TOM: Makes sense.
     
    Roger Cook, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. And Kevin, you too.
     
    ROGER: It’s been fun.
     
    KEVIN: Always a pleasure.
     
    LESLIE: Great tips, guys. You know, and after all that rain we had this spring, those ideas will really help a lot of people, I’m sure.
     
    TOM: Absolutely. And for more great ideas, you can watch Kevin and Roger each week on TV’s This Old House. This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.
     
    Still ahead, we’ve got an affordable way to increase usable space at your house without adding an addition. How are we going to do that? By creating a gorgeous outdoor room. Learn how, next.
     

     
    (theme song)
     
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
     
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
     
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
     
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a great prize because this hour we’re giving away a $1,000 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators and that’s enough to redo the floors in at least one room of your house. Lumber Liquidators carries everything from hardwood to engineered wood, green flooring options, laminates. You name it, they’ve got it. What a great source for flooring for your home. They’ve got stores in nearly every state in the union and they ship anywhere. Lumber Liquidators – hardwood floors for less.
     
    The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right with your home improvement question for your chance to win.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, you know, adding great flooring certainly is a valuable addition to your home and another thing that can really enhance your home’s value is adding a deck. In fact, building a deck is probably the most affordable way to increase living space without building an actual addition. And outdoor rooms are hugely popular and very valuable as well.
     
    So, when you’re thinking about what material you want to use to build your deck, I personally would highly recommend composite decking. You know, after years of having to clean and refinish our beach house’s deck, we finally decided to go with composite decking and now it is virtually maintenance-free. A good cleaning is all it needs; in fact, I just gave our summer home its first cleaning of the season.
     
    And we use the product from our sponsor Fiberon and the cool think about it is that all of the surface material is non-organic so there is nothing there for mildew or mold to take a hold on. Also, they’ve got some great new designs that make it look and even feel just like real wood. I mean it is absolutely gorgeous.
     
    Now, Fiberon has an amazing Horizons line. It’s got several tropical wood colors that are just gorgeous; truly beautiful.
     
    TOM: Absolutely. And in fact, Fiberon has the most resilient surface material available for total stain, fade and mold-resistance. In fact, they back it up with the industry’s first 20-year stain-and-fade warranty. If you want more information, visit FiberonDecking.com.
     
    I’ve got to tell you, Leslie and I have both used this product. We love it; you will love it, too.
     
    888-666-3974.   Call us right now with your home improvement question. We are here to help.
     
    Who’s next?
     
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to messy Tiffany in North Carolina who spilled some paint on a hardwood floor. Did you do it or did a pro?
    TIFFANY: I did. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And I really had the plastic down but I didn’t have it taped down; so when ladders were picked up and slid across the floor to another location it kind of tracked the paint on the floor, too.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Oh, boy.
    LESLIE: And it gets really slippery; so you have to be careful.
    TIFFANY: Yes, and they had just been redone. It was a 1950s house and the previous owner had just finished them just for the sale of it and I did find something that took the paint off real quick – was an SOS pad – and it also takes the shine off really quick.
    TOM: Yeah, steel wool was probably not the best choice for that.
    TIFFANY: No. But I want to know what can I do to get the paint off and what can I do to replace the shine that I took off from the SOS pads?
    TOM: Well, you’ve already abraded part of the surface off now. You’re not going to get the shine back without you doing like a hard paste wax or another coat of polyurethane.
    TIFFANY: OK.
    TOM: Now probably the easiest way to do this is – and it’s a big job; I mean don’t get me wrong. But if you were to rent a floor sander with a sanding screen, it sort of looks like a window screen-like material. It’s somewhat abrasive and it spins under the floor sander and abrades off the top layer of the finish on the floor. That will take all the paint off that’s stuck to it. I mean the fact that they just refinished these floors can actually work in your favor because at least the paint’s not getting into the pores of the wood.
    And then once you get that paint off, you vacuum the floor. You can damp mop it to get all the dust off. And then what you can do is apply another layer of polyurethane – probably a satin finish – and you want to make sure that you apply that with what’s called a lamb’s wool applicator, which is sort of like a pad like wrapped under a flat stick that is attached to like a mop and you actually mop this stuff on; you don’t brush it on or roll it on. Sort of mop it on; work your way out of that room and you know, about four or five hours later you’ll be done.
    TIFFANY: OK. Very good. I think I can handle it.
    TOM: Alright, get to it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And next time, use a bigger drop cloth, would you? (Leslie chuckles)
    LESLIE: Mike in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
     
    MIKE: I got a 12×24 patio deck and it’s concrete and I got a dip in the middle that’s like 3’x6′ that’s got a dip in it that holds water and I’d like to see how to eliminate that so I can put carpet over it.
     
    LESLIE: Why do you want to put carpet on the concrete?
     
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Why would you want to put carpet?
     
    MIKE: Well, outdoor carpet.
     
    LESLIE: Still, why? I’m sorry. (Tom chuckles)
     
    MIKE: I don’t know. That’s just what they want to do, so … (chuckles)
     
    TOM: Is this your wife or something that wants to do this?
     
    MIKE: No, my neighbor.
     
    TOM: Oh, your neighbor. OK.
     
    MIKE: Yes.
     
    TOM: Well, we would try to talk out of it.
     
    MIKE: OK.
     
    TOM: Because once you put down an outdoor carpet, it’s hard to get back up and, you know, it’s not going to look like real grass.
     
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. You’re going to have to use glue. It’s not going to be pretty, unless you go totally crazy and go like electric blue. But I wouldn’t do it. I mean first of all, let’s fix the dip in it. That can be easily done with an epoxy patching compound. You can get one from a website called Abatron.com and you want to make sure that you use epoxy because you want it to stick to the concrete.
     
    Now, if you insist on using an outdoor rug, please, please, please do not glue one down permanently because someday you’re going to want this off and there’s going to be glue and it’s going to be a mess and it’s just going to be horrible.
     
    TOM: Yeah, like next year.
     
    LESLIE: Ugh, like next week. (Tom and Mike chuckle)
     
    There is a company called Flor – F-l-o-r – and they make carpet tiles that you can sort of stick together and just throw outside. And they have a whole exterior line and there’s one – oh gosh, it’s got a crazy name. If you go to their website and just look up “outdoor carpets,” you’ll find a whole bunch of different ideas. But they have one that’s sort of like – it has like big circles cut out of it; it almost looks like Swiss cheese and it’s kind of modern and it’s kind of fun. I think if you’re going to be cheeky and make a design choice with it and make it removable, then fine; but don’t – I would not install carpet on concrete.
     
    MIKE: (inaudible at 0:30:32.3)
     
    TOM: Yeah, there are some other things that you can do. You could use epoxy paint, which gives very good adhesion to concrete surfaces. You could do a painted rug using stenciling, which can be quite attractive. But I don’t think you want to go wall-to-wall outdoor carpet.
     
    LESLIE: Uh-huh.
     
    TOM: That would be a bad idea. So, hopefully we’ve talked you out of that. But in terms of the dip, no problem; just use an epoxy patching compound. That will fix it the proper way.
     
    MIKE: Okey-dokey. I appreciate it and thank you very much.
     
    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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.
     
    Well, since the weather is warmer, we’re all outside enjoying our yard and maybe you’re reaching for that garden hose for the first time this season and perhaps it’s looking a little worse for the wear; it’s all wrinkled and kinky and pointing in a lot of different directions. And you think, “Well, perhaps I should buy a new one.”
     
    Well, there are a lot of options out there but a hose is a hose, right? Not so much. We’re going to tell you why some are better than others, next.
     

     
    (theme song)
     
    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes with an advanced, 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers longlasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
     
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
     
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
     
    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d also love if you would follow us on Facebook. Just simply text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 and you’ll be instantly added as a fan.
     
    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re snooping around online, you can e-mail us a question by heading on over to MoneyPit.com and just clicking on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon. And we always jump into our e-mail bag and I have one here from Sarah who writes: “Can you please advise me about garden hoses? We use a garden hose to water our dog and our garden. I have recently found out that many contain lead and could be harmful. Which would be the best lead-free hose? We’re looking for the best commercial-grade, kink-free hose in about a 100-foot length. Where can I get one? And we are out of luck locally for anything but flimsy, cheap-grade hoses.”
     
    Yeah, I’ve heard about this. Some of the hoses you should not be drinking from or using to put in kids’ pools because of what they’re lined with.
     
    TOM: Well, that’s true and you do need to look for a lead-free hose and they certainly are out there. But for the most part, the best way to avoid lead exposure is to just not drink from the hose. I mean I know that we have all done it growing up but it’s a really bad idea because garden hose is simply not the same quality material as plumbing pipe.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
     
    TOM: And plumbing pipe is designed today to be lead-free. Garden hose, not always; not to mention the other chemicals that are in there. And you know, if the hose is left out in the sun, as it so often is, and it heats up …
     
    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
     
    TOM: … you get more offgassing or exposure of the chemicals that can get into the water. So that’s just a really bad idea. But what you need to do here – first of all, always read the label; secondly, always let it run – especially if you’re washing your pet; of course you don’t want to expose your pet to lead – let the water run just like you would inside the house. And also, if the hose has been sitting out in the sunlight, it’s really important to let it run because of course it gets super-super-hot. So avoid the sun, read the label, always buy lead-free hoses and just don’t drink from the hose and you’ll be safe.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright, now we’ve got one from Chuck in New Jersey who writes: “Is there an energy-efficient way I should use my AC this summer? I try to avoid using the AC until the hottest days and then I often shut it off and open the windows at night when the temperature drops. Should I just leave it on continuously and let it cycle off and on 24 hours during the hottest days of summer or does turning it off at night actually save some energy?”
     
    TOM: That’s a good question because the problem with air conditioning is that everything that’s inside your house, from the carpet to the walls to the furniture to the appliances, either contains heat or generates heat. And so when you leave the air conditioner completely off, it takes a certain amount of time for it to kind of overcome all the residual heat that’s in the house.
     
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To get that heat out, right?
     
    TOM: So I think the best way to save money on it is, first of all, don’t forget about energy-efficiency with the entire house because homes that are drafty in the winter are also drafty in the summer, so make sure your house is as energy-efficient as possible. Secondly, use a clock setback thermostat. I think it’s fine to turn it up at night but I wouldn’t turn it completely off.
     
    Now, the one time I might do something a bit different is if I have a whole-house fan. In the early part of the warmer weather, like right now, it’s a great time, if you have a whole-house fan, because you could run that fan for an hour or two at night when you go to bed and it pulls some air through the house. And it’s great now; it’s also great at the end of the season, say like early September, and that can actually cut back on your cooling costs. But in the heat of the summer, I would definitely use a clock setback thermostat and run the AC all the time.
     
    LESLIE: And you know, I think it’s important. If you have a whole-house fan and you also have an air conditioning system, don’t put on the AC and then crank on the whole-house fan because you’re just going to …
     
    TOM: That would be bad. (chuckles)
     
    LESLIE: Yeah, you’re just going to suck all that cool air that you’re paying for right out the top of your house.
     
    TOM: Exactly.
     
    LESLIE: You know, Tom, I think there’s a lot of confusion between whole-house fans and attic fans, right?
     
    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. The attic fan is the small fan that’s in just your attic and just sort of pulls the hot air out of the attic and that’s bad for a whole host of reasons. But the whole-house fan fits on the ceiling of the second floor or the first floor and pulls the air up into the attic and exhausts it outside; not to be confused with an attic fan.
     
    LESLIE: Alright, and I hope that information helps you have a nice, cool summer.
     
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com 24/7. You can pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
     
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
     
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
     
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
     
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
     

     
    (theme song)
     
    END HOUR 1 TEXT
     
     
    (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.)

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