Composite Decking, Storm Proofing and Garage Organization
TRANSCRIPT FOR JUNE 1, 2009, HOUR 2
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.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Hi, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you are tuned to the Money Pit podcast. We are so glad that you are.
Now all this month on the podcast we’re going to be talking about staycation tips throughout our show and these are some ideas to make your home a little more comfortable, a little more pleasant, a little more fun if you’re not going to take a vacation this year; you’re just going to sort of stay at home and enjoy the place you have.
Now if you head on over to MoneyPit.com, we’re also making available a free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s the outdoor living chapter available for free download at MoneyPit.com; chock full with lots of staycation tips to make your summer a lot of fun if you’re staying at home.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? All of this great information and all these great ideas are brought to you by our friends over at Fiberon Decking and also the WORX GT Trimmer/Edger.
Alright, folks. Let’s get started.
TOM: Now, on with the show.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. 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. We want to help you tackle your projects around your house. What’s on your to-do list today? Before you pick up a hammer; before you pick up a saw; before you pick up a bucket and a mop to do anything around your house, pick up a phone and call us – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – because we will help you get the job done. We’ll not come to your house – no, sorry, that’s not possible (Leslie chuckles) – but we’ve got the tips, the advice, the ideas to make it easier and more successful for you every, single time.
Hey, coming up this hour, this is the best time to replace your windows. Why? Because the government is going to help you pay for it with the tax credits that are available. But how can you tell if your windows are really in shape; in the shape that they need to be replaced? Well, we’ve got some signs that will help you, let you know if it’s time to do an upgrade or not. We’re going to give you those tips in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know summer storms often bring thunder and lightning and lightning strikes homes more often than you think it would and it can actually fry your electrical system if it does. But you can protect your home from lightning strikes and we’re going to tell you how.
TOM: And we’re talking staycation solutions this hour. We’ve got great advice on a decking material that will let you enjoy your deck instead of constantly working to maintain it.
LESLIE: And while you are relaxing because you are not maintaining your new composite deck, we’ve got a great prize for you that’s going to help keep you relaxed without being stung by, gosh, 21 varieties of stinging insects. We are giving away the W-H-Y trap from Rescue. It’s worth 80 bucks and it’s a great natural way to get rid of those flying, stinging insects that love to bug you and all of your friends while you are kicking back this time of year.
TOM: So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Holly in Florida needs some help removing a decorative wallpaper border; which, unfortunately, were very popular for a long amount of time but not a lot of people like them. Holly, what’s going on?
HOLLY: Well, I’ve got a bedroom border in the kitchen and it’s a 12-inch-wide border that’s been up for well over 12 years. Well, I’m finally getting around to taking it off and I was trying to remove it and part of my drywall facing has started to be removed as well. And I’m afraid to put steam on it or wet it; you know, because of the mold and all of that other good stuff that can happen down here in Florida.
TOM: Well, Holly, you’re not going to cause a mold problem by using a steam wallpaper iron and, in fact, that’s probably the best way to get that to separate. You’re going to probably end up …
LESLIE: Without destroying the drywall.
TOM: Yeah, you’re going to end up scoring it with a utility knife or with a paper tiger – which is a tool that puts little holes in it – and then steam through it. You want to get that steam underneath the wallpaper and get it to separate from the drywall. But if you just try to take it off, you will end up pulling the paper off the drywall and then that’ll be a big mess. So steam would be the way to do that.
LESLIE: Yeah, and once you do get it off and the wall sort of dries, you might see sort of a residue or some sort of an uneven surface. You can lightly sand it and see if you can get it nice and smooth again; then go ahead and prime the drywall and then paint. But make sure if you do especially have any sort of unevenness where that border was, when you go to paint, make sure you choose a flat paint because anything with a sheen above flat – you know, the more shiny you get, if you will, the more evident any sort of imperfections in that wall will show through.
HOLLY: OK, well thank you so much for your advice.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: I have to tell you, the popularity of wallpaper border, just as evidence of the 350 episodes of home improvement makeover shows I have done …
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah?
LESLIE: … apparently they were very popular for a long amount of time.
TOM: I bet.
LESLIE: Because every house has them and I have seen them put up from everything from wallpaper paste to hot glue to staples. (Tom chuckles)
You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question or even your décor question, folks, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are always here to help you solve all of your do-it-yourself dilemmas at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, aren’t sure if your windows need to be replaced? Can they be repaired? Well, we’re going to tell you what signs to look for, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the WORX GT, the revolutionary trimmer/edger that’s fully adjustable, runs on rechargeable battery power and weighs less than a gallon of milk. See the WORX GT in action at FreeLineforLife.com.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we all know that we are thinking about kicking around our own money pits more this summer and maybe perhaps taking a staycation instead of actually going away on a vacation. Well, if you’re doing that, we want to help you keep your staycation pest free with the W-H-Y trap. Alright, now no matter where you live, you know you’ve got those stinging and nest-building pests around your house like wasps and yellowjackets and hornets and if you’ve got them, you know that they can absolutely ruin your backyard fun. So we’re giving away the Rescue Your Summer prize pack which includes two of these traps along with four bait refill kits and those bait kits are actually made of natural ingredients, not chemicals.
TOM: And you’ll also get some picnic supplies for your next meal under the sunny skies. It’s a prize package worth 80 bucks but you can win yours this hour if we answer your question on the air. So pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call, especially if you’re thinking about replacement windows. Because you’ve been hearing us yammer on about there’s not a better time than right now to replace your windows, but it’s actually true. You know with all of those government incentive programs going on right now, it truly is a good time to look into replacement windows if you actually need them. But how can you tell if your windows really need replacing? Well, we’ve got a few of these telltale signs from our expert friends over at Simonton Windows.
First up, you want to look for condensation inside the glass on your double or triple-glazed windows. Now this could indicate a seal failure – as we all know my favorite word: swiggle. (Tom chuckles) This could indicate a seal failure and, if this is the case, you might actually need to replace the glass or the entire window. Then you want to go ahead and check the window function. Do your windows open and close easily? Now, if your windows are hard to open or close or they won’t stay open or locked, this could actually be a sign that the windows do need replacing.
TOM: And here’s another trick of the trade. Have someone stand outside your window with a small flashlight and then stand inside and sort of travel around the window’s perimeter. If the person outside sees areas of light coming through, this is an indication of a seal failure and probably a major energy loss as well.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you can absolutely feel the wind sort of blowing in these areas. You might not exactly know where it’s coming from but that’s right where it is.
Now, if you find that you do need replacement windows, you want to make sure that you get the most energy-efficient ones that you can absolutely afford. And the folks over at Simonton Windows, they’ve helped us put together a bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, and the chapter is called “The Complete Window Replacement Guide.”
TOM: It’s available for download right now for free at MoneyPit.com. It’s got everything that you ever wanted to know about replacement windows and then some, including some very important information on how some tax credits are available right now to help defray the cost of new windows. Check it out today at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Jean in West Virginia needs some help with a paint or a glue removal project or perhaps both. (Jean chuckles) Jean, what happened? This sounds like a mess.
JEAN: (chuckling) It is. I pulled the carpet from the front stoop and the concrete underneath is hideous. There’s dried, yellow glue; some old paint that must have been under there. I’ve been here 15 years, so I don’t know when it was put down. I can’t scrape it up. I don’t know how to get it off.
TOM: Alright, is it fairly flat?
JEAN: Oh, completely flat.
LESLIE: Well, you know Jean, if you want to try to actually remove that glue, there are several glue removal products available at any home center. The only issue is, generally, people are trying to use these in, say, a basement where they’ve had carpet glued to a concrete slab. So we never say use it inside; only because it’s a really stinky product and it’s very caustic. But since it is out of doors, the only issue is you’re going to be pouring this glue remover on and then scraping and scraping and scraping. So it can be a very tedious project but once you sort of get in the rhythm of it, it can happen; it just – you know, wear a breathing mask so you’re not breathing in all those fumes and get a good scraper, one that has a long handle, so that you can do it upright without bending over and hurting your back. Because I’ve worked on these before and it’ll take a while but you will get it off.
JEAN: Yeah, it’s about 8×20.
LESLIE: Oh, good – oh, my gosh. That’s a big one, Jean. Have you thought about – I mean is it hideous …
JEAN: Yes. (chuckles)
LESLIE: … where if you were to paint something over it, would it go away, or is it so visible?
JEAN: No, it’s visible and it’s around the edges, I guess, where they wanted it to stick the most; why it’s thicker.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because there are epoxy coating compounds that you can get in a kit that are made for concrete floors. Gosh, Behr has one; QUIKRETE has one. And it’s sort of a mixture of products. There’s a – you know you mix it all together and there’s a paint and a resin combined that you put onto the flooring surface. First you clean it with another product that they had given you and then you mix in a flake; so that could sort of hide the difference of the glue. And you can go with neutral colors with a neutral flake. It doesn’t have to be so like retro-looking. But it’s very durable. You can put an anti-slip additive into it so you’d get a little bit more traction on there, especially since this does get snow and ice and …
TOM: Alright, Jean. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Chris in Michigan is dealing with a leak. How can we help?
CHRIS: I have a three-year-old house and I have an air handler that’s up in my attic and the air handler has a 16-inch flex tube that goes out to my living room.
CHRIS: And it is collecting moisture during the winter months.
TOM: Do you have condensation that’s inside of it, Chris?
CHRIS: Lots of it. And it’s leaking down the living room wall.
TOM: Wow. Was the flex duct securely connected to the register?
TOM: OK. Because I think there’s a leak in there. Two things you can do: first of all, I would check all the connections on the ducts; and, secondly, I would take some steps to reduce the amount of humidity up in that attic space. A three-year-old house, I’m going to guess, that probably doesn’t have enough attic ventilation because builders tend to under-ventilate these days, what we’d like to see is a continuous ridge and soffit vent and we want to make sure that the type of ridge and soffit vent that are selected really have a lot of opening, too. Some of the vent systems that are out there now don’t seem to have very much airflow, but if you flush out that attic with as much passive ventilation as you possibly can, that’s going to reduce the condensation considerably.
TOM: And the other thing that you can do is you can add additional insulation on top of that duct so that the warm, moist air that’s coming up from the house doesn’t strike a super-cold duct and condense. So three things: check the connections, improve the attic ventilation and add some more insulation around the duct systems.
CHRIS: OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Chris. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Time to chat with Mary Anne in New York about some unwanted squirrels. Are they in your house? Where are they exactly?
MARYANN: Well, it’s my daughter. She loosened the aluminum siding from her home and – she loosed a portion of it – and saw the babies between the aluminum siding and the plywood.
MARYANN: And then she noticed a chewed hole that was there.
TOM: And you felt really bad about kicking them out.
MARYANN: Well, she knew that she couldn’t do that. (chuckles) But she’s desperate to get rid of them. So now she can hear them from inside the house. They’re between the sheetrock and the plywood.
LESLIE: And shortly they will be in the house.
MARYANN: Did you say they would be?
TOM: Well, they can eat through the drywall pretty easily.
MARYANN: Oh, my.
TOM: (chuckling) Faster than they could eat through the aluminum siding.
TOM: Well, do you have an opening where they can actually get out; on the outside of the house?
MARYANN: Yes, it’s probably – the hole that she did see that was chewed on underneath the siding.
TOM: So what you need to do is you need to create sort of a flap entry there; sort of a one-way entry – you can do that just with some wire mesh – so that the squirrels can get out but they can’t get back in again.
TOM: What I would do is on the outside of that area I would put food and a Havahart trap and what you want to do with that is you want to wire it – take like a piece of heavy wire and almost like rope the fruit to the bottom of the trap …
TOM: … and put it right outside that hole and I think you’ll trap them one at a time.
TOM: And then you can drive them away and, you know, drop them out in the woods somewhere.
MARYANN: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Walter in North Carolina is having a plumbing issue. Tell us about the problem.
WALTER: I have one faucet; a mystery faucet that has a hissing noise on the hot water side every time I turn it on.
WALTER: Now let me explain. We did have a water main break last Sunday, but it did it two weeks before that and then now it’s still doing it.
TOM: So you have a hissing sound when you open up the hot water; so it’s like it has air in the line? And this …
WALTER: Yes, and then sometimes after that, too.
TOM: Well, invariably, with a hot water line there’s always more off-gassing of oxygen as it leaves the water. The water heater does a good job of baking that out, so to speak. One of the things that you can install that actually softens some of that is water hammer arrestors, which will also capture the air.
WALTER: Where would I put that? Right before …?
TOM: The water hammer arrestor goes, usually, along the main supply pipe. What kind of house is this? Is it a ranch or a two-story colonial or what?
WALTER: It’s a ranch.
TOM: Alright. So, generally, the lines come in with a ranch; they come in at the main and they’re going to go parallel with the main beam of the house, down the line of the house and then tap off to the bathrooms. Usually you’ll put it at the end of the line.
WALTER: Very good. Appreciate it. I listen to your show every Sunday.
TOM: Well, fantastic. I’m glad that we’re able to help you out.
WALTER: Thank you again.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Molly in Wisconsin needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
MOLLY: Yes, hi. This is the third year I have to repaint my back porch steps.
TOM: Oh, it’s an annual event, huh?
MOLLY: Yes, it’s getting that way. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) It’s like it’s really causing a problem.
TOM: The next time you get ready to do your painting project I would sand the steps down; get down as much to raw wood as you possibly can. I would use a really good-quality, oil-based primer and then after that dries solidly – and by the way, paint as much of that step area as you can. If you can get underneath that’s great. Try to seal as many surfaces as you can. Then I would use an oil-based topcoat and leave plenty of dry time and I think you’re going to find that the durability and the abrasion resistance is far superior if you do it that way.
MOLLY: OK, well thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Adam in Kansas. You’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ADAM: Hey, Tom and Leslie, I’m having some – my wall is bowing downstairs in my basement.
TOM: That’s not good.
ADAM: No it’s not.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like how much of a bow?
ADAM: Well, they said on the west side of the house it’s bowing about an inch and on the east side of the house it’s about a quarter of an inch. So my question is – you know, I’m having these contractors come into my house and one says put in the steel I beams; one says to put in the wall anchor system; and you know, I really can’t decide which one I want to go with or what’s the best for me.
TOM: OK, stop getting the advice from the contractors. (Adam chuckles) You have a structural problem, Adam, and contractors – unless the contractor also happens to be a professional engineer – should not be dealing out structural engineering advice which is exactly what they’re trying to do and they’re all going to try to sell you their system that they like to work with.
You have a serious problem here and it affects the value of your home; it affects the safety of your home. So what I recommend is that you hire a structural engineer to do an inspection of these basement walls and then to design a very specific repair. You take that design; you give that to contractors, let them bid on that, let them execute the repair as designed by the structural engineer.
Then do one more thing, Adam: have the structural engineer come back and give you a letter that says it’s all OK; it’s all done correctly. Because now what you’ve created is sort of a pedigree and if you try to sell your house and somebody sees that bow in the wall and all the repair work you can just explain just that; you had an engineer design a repair, you had it done and you had the engineer recertify it and those walls will be just as good as new with nothing to worry about. But if you don’t take those steps you really don’t know what quality of service and what quality of repair you’re going to have at the end of the project.
ADAM: OK, well I appreciate all you guys’ help and I love the show.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Adam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, your home for home solutions.
Up next, less maintenance means more time to enjoy your deck. We’re going to tell you about some great composite decking options, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you’ve been thinking about getting decked out for some relaxation this summer but you don’t have a deck or the one that you have, looking kind of nasty; we want to talk to you right now about a product that we love that we’ve both been using called Fiberon Decking.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got a great guest joining us right now. It’s Doug Mancosh. Now he’s the founder and CEO of Fiberon Decking and he’s a good friend of ours and he really knows everything there is to know about the composite decking industry. So welcome, Doug.
DOUG: Hey, thanks. Great to be here.
TOM: So Doug, the composite decking business has changed dramatically. I mean how long has composite been around? It’s got to be close to 20 years now?
DOUG: Yes, it’s probably close to 20; maybe not quite 20 but probably in the early 80s to today – early/mid-80s to today.
TOM: Now, conceptually, it’s a great idea because it doesn’t have near the maintenance that wood has but then, as composite decking – especially the early sort of generations of it – did require some work. Now the technology has changed such that I’ve got to tell you; first of all it’s virtually indistinguishable from wood, except when it comes to the care and maintenance of it. And you guys showed us a new product a few months ago that was just spectacular that’s called PermaTech. Talk to us about this product and how it differs from a traditional or average composite decking.
DOUG: Well you know, Tom and Leslie, the composite decking has been a great answer to the requirements of the consumer on decking materials. You know I spent a lot of time in the days of wood and pressure-treated lumber but, over time, the consumer demands more and more performance and it’s always around a couple of the same issues: one, the aesthetics and the beauty of the product; but two, consumers want to enjoy their deck – they don’t to spend a lot of time maintaining it or they want to minimize it.
DOUG: So the PermaTech product is fiber composite’s answer to the consumer’s request to give them a product that is not only beautiful but it’s durable. PermaTech is a new material that we use with our composite decking that allows us to put a ten-year stain-and-fade warranty – the only one in the industry – on that particular product to show you how strongly we feel about what it can do for the consumer and the use on their home deck.
TOM: Now we’re big on visual demonstrations and when we – when you showed us this product, you actually did a very innovative demonstration. You took a permanent Sharpie marker, which anybody who has kids (Leslie chuckles) – especially young kids that love to use markers – they can’t tell the difference between the Sharpie and the water-soluble markers. (chuckles) So if you’ve ever tried to get this out of something, it’s very, very hard. But you actually took the Sharpie marker and you’re able to color, essentially, or draw on the PermaTech surface and then wipe it off with a paper towel. That’s really amazing. It’s almost like nothing sticks to it.
DOUG: Well, you know, this surface is not only great against stains but it’s really hard and it’s really tough and it holds its color. It doesn’t fade, which a lot of composites and a lot of other wood materials do. But I’ll tell you, if you think about how you use your deck and how many times you grill on it and how many times you’re out there enjoying it – wine spills, grease spills, all the things that happen normally on a deck don’t affect the Horizons decking product with the PermaTech coating (inaudible at 0:22:30.6).
LESLIE: Now Doug, I have to tell you, we use the Tropics decking in mahogany at my family’s vacation home, which is on the east end of Long Island. Lots of weather out there; lots of humidity; salty air; moisture; bugs; shade; mildew; you know, the works. And every other year my husband and I, we’re refinishing that deck. So to actually have your beautiful Tropics decking out there – this is going to be our second season with it – it is absolutely gorgeous as the first day we put it in and I have to say, in the Tropics line, what I think is so interesting, which I don’t see from any of your competitors, is the graining and the coloration that’s built into the boards in the Tropics series looks so natural. I mean it really is beautiful. How are you guys able to create this indistinguishable product from the real thing? It works so well.
DOUG: Well you know, Leslie, I’m so glad you love it and the reason is because, really, in the earliest – we were wood guys.
DOUG: We grew up in the wood industry and we understand the beauty of wood. And see, the consumers want a product that is durable but they also don’t want to give up the beauty of wood. So the Tropics products basically merge the durability of our technology with the beauty of wood and we do it through a patented process that allows us to really make it look like the color palettes of a fine hardwood like a mahogany or some of these Brazilian hardwoods. So we’ve really spent a lot of time with it and it’s a huge goal of the company to not only make products that are great performers but they’re also really pleasing to the eye.
TOM: Well, Doug, you guys have a great new website; I want to give that out. It’s FiberonDecking.com. And gosh, you’ve done a great job on it. It really shows the product well. And besides the decking, you also have a fencing product, you have a PVC product and I saw – Leslie and I were just noticing you have a product now for docks as well. This is pretty tough stuff. You can even put it right there up against the water with no worries.
DOUG: Well, you know what we are – and this is what we try to be for the people that use our products – we went to be the decking solutions company. If you have a need; if you have a budget; if you have an application, we typically have a product and we have it across a whole variety of price ranges as well as different finishes, looks, sizes. That’s what our goal is. Our goal is to serve the consumer’s need and give them a complete solution to any situation they have in decking or railing. That’s what we like to do and that’s what we’re going to do from here on.
TOM: And that’s what you’ve done for us.
Doug Mancosh, Founder and CEO Fiberon Decking, congratulations on all the great work. Fiberon’s website, again, is FiberonDecking.com. You can also reach them at 1-800-573-8841. That’s 800-573-8841.
DOUG: Hey, thanks. Great talking to you guys.
LESLIE: Alright, folks, did you know – and this is kind of a crazy statistic – that lightning strikes the earth about 20 million times a year? That’s kind of crazy. So …
TOM: I thought it only struck twice. (chuckles)
LESLIE: No, 20 million times, apparently. So how do you know if your house is adequately protected from lightning damage since, apparently, there are a whole heck of a lot of lightning strikes happening annually? Well, we are going to tell you how to protect your money pit, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you have a problem that’s bugging you. No matter where you live or what stinging, nest-building insects you’ve got in your backyard, the W-H-Y trap will catch them because that stands for wasps, hornets and yellowjackets. This trap has two ways in but no ways out.
LESLIE: Yeah, and based on the yellowjacket that I just killed in my kitchen, if I win this prize pack, it’s going inside my house. (chuckles) You know, you can use these traps in spring, summer and fall; plus, the W-H-Y trap, it doesn’t attract honeybees, which we all have been hearing so much in the news about protecting the honeybees and keeping their populations up. And the best part is we are giving away a Rescue Your Summer prize pack. It’s worth 80 bucks and it includes two W-H-Y traps and four bait refills to one very lucky caller this hour. And the number to win that prize and ask your home improvement question on the air is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now for your chance to win.
Well, summer storms can bring thunder and lightning and, yes, even lightning strikes to your home. But properly-installed lightning-protection systems can save your house from costly damage. You can have lightning arrestors professionally installed on your roof and, if lightning does strike, these arrestors use a protected cabling system to basically redirect the energy from the strike all the way around your house and into the ground. And it really is something that has to be professionally installed because if you put this too close to, say, copper pipes or wires, what can happen is the lightning will actually transfer into your house.
TOM: But if you have it professionally installed and correctly installed, that won’t happen and you will be protected.
LESLIE: Heading over to Maryland to talk with Nora, who’s got some unwanted situations happening in the basement. What’s going on? There’s water?
NORA: Well no, it’s not water in the basement. The water that goes through the house; the pipes are galvanized and they’re old.
NORA: The water is actually brown.
TOM: So are you getting any leaks in those pipes, Nora?
NORA: No, thank God, but I was wondering if just replacing the horizontal pipes with PVC would take care of the brown water or if I have to do the vertical and tear up the wall.
TOM: Well here’s what you need to do. Let me ask you about your main water line. Has that ever been replaced or is that still steel?
NORA: It’s still steel.
TOM: OK. The first pipe to replace is the main water pipe, from the house to the street; the second thing to do is all the horizontal lines; and the third thing to do are all the vertical lines. That would be the order of replacement. This is a project that might not be an immediate emergency but you need to get on it. I wouldn’t waste much more time because eventually you’re going to get a break that’s going to happen at the least opportune time and the price goes up when it becomes an emergency.
NORA: And is it – your opinion is the PVC would be the best …?
TOM: You can use PEX for your interior water lines. That’s a new material that’s getting a lot of – very, very popular; very durable material. Stands for cross-linked polyethylene. Or you could use copper. Either way you’ve got to get going on those pipes.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading out to Tennessee to talk with Steve about a lush, green lawn. How can we help?
STEVE: Hi, I just recently moved into a house that was built probably about three months ago. The yard, it was – I guess it was planted because there’s a lot of hay on top where the grass is now finally starting to grow through.
STEVE: But it’s not a nice, dark green; it’s not very thick at all. Well, my neighbors living across the street; it was built around the same time and they’ve got a beautiful yard and I want theirs. So how do I get it? (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
TOM: OK. Do you have, you know, sort of a different sun exposure on your yard?
STEVE: No, no. They may have a little bit more shade but really not much. It’s across the board front and back their yard is a nice color and some of it’s exposed completely, which is most of my front yard is exposed completely to the sun.
TOM: Right. Well, and this is a brand new house?
TOM: First lawn ever?
TOM: Yeah. Well, you probably need to fertilize it and considering that it’s a brand new lawn, it’s never been done before, you probably, in this case, are going to want to use an extended feed fertilizer that has a phosphorous in it. If your lawn was established we’d tell you to use a phosphorous-free product because the roots would already sort of dig down deep in the soil and grab some phosphorous out of that.
I would head over to Lowe’s and look at the Sta-Green line. It’s made by the Spectrum people and it’s good stuff and I think it’s probably what you’re going to need to get this thing going.
STEVE: OK. Would you recommend any more seeding or just put in a fertilizer?
TOM: Well, they probably have it seeded enough but it would not hurt to seed it again. But follow the instructions for seeding on the fertilizer package because you’ve got to get the order of events correct.
LESLIE: And I have to tell you, my neighbor did the craziest thing that I swear did not think was going to work because it looked like such a disaster for weeks and weeks. But he seeded and then put the largest amount of peat moss I’ve ever seen across the entire front lawn and then like police barricades so that the kids, neighbors, dogs (Tom laughs), no one would go near it and he watered like crazy those first couple of days.
LESLIE: And now, say fast forward two weeks, that lawn is the most beautiful, green lawn I have ever seen and every time I walk by there I’m like, “Man, Kevin, I thought you were nutty.” But it worked fantastically. So sometimes it takes a little bit of figuring out what the soil composition is. Like Tom said, because it’s a new lawn, you definitely want to add some phosphorous.
STEVE: Gotcha. OK. Well, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Up next, flooring; it’s one of our top questions. It’s on the mind of many folks this week. They’re streaming in through our e-mail system and we’re going to answer a couple of those flooring questions, 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 and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or head on over to MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us your e-mail question. Lots of flooring questions coming in this week, Leslie, so let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Alright, Charles from Long Beach, New York writes: “I live on a barrier island sandbar. The house was built on a cement slab and the slab has cracked and resulted in an uneven floor peaking in the middle at some points. What options do I have?
TOM: Hmm, that’s not good. Hmm. If the slab is cracked and actually is starting to shift and peak and move up, then really, Charles, you need to have this looked at by a structural engineer. If it’s only a slight displacement, what you could do is simply caulk that just to keep the moisture from rising up through it. Maybe you could use an epoxy patching compound to smooth out the difference in height so that there’s no tripping areas. But if you’ve got a main slab like that that’s cracking in the middle of your house, that’s not good and it really needs to have a structural expert look at it if it continues to be very active.
LESLIE: Alright, next up we’ve got Martin in Pennsylvania who writes: “I want to install wood flooring in a room that had carpet. Underneath the carpet is concrete. If I install plywood first then 3.5-wide hardwood nails, is this going to give me problems in the future?
TOM: Hmm, you know what would be a better option would be to use a locking hardwood floor; where it’s sort of a floating floor. You can use a prefinished hardwood floor, Martin, that actually locks together and then you don’t have to worry about nailing it like you would a traditional floor. Because first of all, I don’t really want to see you put plywood over a concrete slab like that because the moisture issue could be a problem. I’d much rather see you put a water-resistant underlayment down and then a locking hardwood floor on top of that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and even better, you could do a locking, engineered hardwood which is sort of built like plywood so it’s a little bit more moisture-resistant; actually a lot more, especially given you’re going over a slab.
TOM: Well, Father’s Day is right around the corner and why not give your dad something he can really use; some time. (Leslie chuckles) Take on a garage organization project and dad will be grateful for a long time to come. I’d like to suggest that to my kids. (Leslie chuckles) They can start right here and, Leslie, you’ve got some ideas to help them do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Alright, Kraeutler family, I hope you’re listening up – hint, hint, hint. Tom’s obviously got something he wants.
You know, our dads, they do so much for their families; so why not take one weekend to do something really special for the dad in your life? Go ahead and create a workshop in your newly-organized garage and then stock it with his favorite tools. You want to make sure that you organize all of the small items – you know the nails and the screws and the washers and the wood plugs, et cetera – in the work area into those compartmentalized storage bins and then take it one step further and label those drawers as to what exactly is in there – you know, not just “bolt”; put like “1/4-inch bolt” so you really know what you’re looking for and what you need to find and it’ll just be right there at your fingertips. It’ll really be easy for the dads in your life to find whatever they need.
Now pegboard, that makes a great way to organize hand tools and keep them off of the work table. And you can take it a step further and paint the shape of the tool onto the pegboard, which I think is a great idea. This way, say, a neighbor or one of the kids borrows the hammer; you know exactly where that hammer goes because you see, “Hmm, there’s a painted hammer but no hammer.” So you’ll be actually able to find the place where it goes. It keeps everything organized.
Now if you happen to be in the market to buy tools for dad this Father’s Day, go ahead and buy him tools in the same brand as his current tools so that they can all operate off the same battery and then that keeps the clutter down in the workshop as well.
And now once dad gets over the shocking surprise of his brand, spanking new workshop, go ahead and treat him to all his grilled favorites. Whatever you and your dad choose to do this Father’s Day, be sure to enjoy your time together and have a ton of fun and build something really fantastic.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Coming up next week on The Money Pit, it’s a road trip. We’re heading out to Las Vegas for the 2009 National Hardware Show right there at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’re going to check out all the new, neat gadgets that are going to be available for your home improvement projects for the coming year. It’s an industry-only event and we will be there to share the info with you first.
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 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.)