Cut Water Use, Avoid Mosquitoes and Decks
TRANSCRIPT FOR JUNE 15, 2009, HOUR 1
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 1 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And this is where home solutions live. So, if you’ve got a do-it-yourself dilemma; if you’ve got a project that you want to tackle around the house; need some advice to get started, pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 and we will do our best to help you out.
Coming up this hour, are you being conscious about your water use when tending to your lawn and garden? Well, you might be surprised at how little water your yard really needs. We’re going to have some watering tips for you that make sense, in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: And when you do water, you want to take the time to make sure that you’re not leaving any standing water around because mosquitoes, they actually only need a tiny bit of it to lay eggs in and then multiple like crazy. We’re going to give you a few easy ways to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds in your own yard, a little later.
TOM: And we are now in full-fledged hurricane season and if you’re one of the millions of Americans who live along the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts, you should think about windows that can handle nature’s fury. We’re going to learn more about that this hour, too.
LESLIE: Plus, you’ve got a chance to win a prize that will bring you one step closer to the entry door of your dreams. It’s a $50 Lowe’s gift card that you can use towards a Benchmark door from Therma-Tru.
TOM: So pick up the phone right now and give us a call with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania needs some help with a decking project. What’s going on at your money pit?
JOHN: Yes, what I have is a 12×20 deck which is secured to the house. It’s about 12 feet off the ground where’s it’s – it’s an in-process situation. We just have temporary supports at the front end.
JOHN: And what I have down on the ground, provisions for three posts which will be 6×6. We have the concrete pad support; they’re two-foot square and they are about five inches thick.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
JOHN: So what we were going to do was just run the 6×6 post down to the pad and we’ve since changed our minds. We’re thinking that it would probably be a good idea to extend that concrete up above ground level.
TOM: Well, you can do that. You know what I would do is I would get a Sonotube. Do you know what that is?
JOHN: Is that called a Bigfoot?
LESLIE: No, a Sonotube is almost like a giant cardboard paper towel tube. You know?
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, that’s what it looks like. Yeah.
LESLIE: That’s best way to describe it. And those are used – I mean that’s basically an insert that goes into the ground, correct?
LESLIE: And then you fill with concrete.
LESLIE: Yeah, and so you could – you know, you could cut them to – if you’re already – like let’s say you have five inches down there.
TOM: You could probably cut one that’s about two-and-a-half foot or so …
TOM: … or even three foot and have it come up above grade by about six inches. And make sure that you – the best thing is to try to connect it to the slab that’s down below but, if you can’t, I’d just break out the old slab if it’s only five inches and then go with one that’s three, three-and-a-half foot. Set it in there. You can backfill around it – you don’t actually have to remove this when you’re done – and then go ahead and pour the concrete inside the tube and then you can set your post right on top of it. And make sure you bolt the post. Use a post dog (ph), which is like a special bracket that secures the post to the bottom of the footing, and then go up from there.
Make sure you get a building permit here, though, and make sure you get it inspected by the local code enforcement authority because we hear a lot of horror stories every year about decks that are not built correctly or wear unexpectedly and then they collapse. So it’s real important you get this done right. The attachment points to the house are critical …
LESLIE: Properly flashed.
TOM: … the span is critical. So make sure you have some professional advice here that you get it done right.
JOHN: Alrighty, thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
I wonder if he’s going to finish the deck before the summer runs out. Sounds like he’s close.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) So he can actually use it.
TOM: Sounds like he’s close.
LESLIE: Mary is calling in with an unwanted pest question. You’ve got some bugs at your house. What’s going on?
MARY: Oh, well we have I guess we call them stink bugs. I’m not sure if that’s the official name but around here that’s what everybody calls them: stink bugs and boxelder bugs. No way to get rid of them.
TOM: Yeah, well there are a couple of things that you can do. First of all, if you want to make them go away completely, it’s best to have a licensed pest control operator come out and evaluate and treat them appropriately. But to stop them from getting into buildings, they like to get into small crevices that …
LESLIE: Yeah, they love nooks and crannies …
LESLIE: … and I can tell you, we get them in my house and when you kill them they smell like fresh-cut grass and they look kind of like prehistoric monsters.
TOM: They do look pretty ugly.
MARY: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: But they’re – yeah, they’re really crazy looking.
TOM: You want to seal the cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes. You want to go behind the chimneys, underneath wood fascia, little cracks and crevices around the house. You can actually slow down them getting into your house quite a bit with a couple of tubes of silicone latex caulk.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so no matter what you’ve got on your summer to-do list, we can help you get the job done right the first time. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, when you water your lawn, are you helping your grass grow or maybe just your water bill? Find out how to get the most out of your outdoor water usage, right after this.
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 you’ve heard us tell you that a great entryway can increase your home’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. Well, this hour we’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one caller to help you buy a nice, new door that’s available at Lowe’s right now. It’s the Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark by Therma-Tru is not only a practical investment that delivers energy-efficiency, security and storm resistance; it’s also stylish. Benchmark by Therma-Tru specializes in pre-hung entry doors for easy do-it-yourself installation and they’re exclusively available at Lowe’s. And to help you get yours, we’re going to give away a $50 Lowe’s gift card that you can put towards that purchase this hour; so pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call; we’d love to hear what you’re working on. And give us a call especially if you’re working on some outdoor projects. Maybe you’re trying to make your yard look super-fantastic for that big summer event that you’re about to have at your money pit. And in order to make your lawn look fantastic, you really need to understand the when, the where and the how much water you need to use on your lawn; which, you know, depending on the amount you use and the time that you water, it could actually mean the difference between a full lawn and an empty wallet.
You know, if you water early in the day, this is going to prevent evaporation. You just want to make sure that you adjust your sprinklers to avoid driveways and sidewalks and remember to use timers on your sprinklers to limit the water usage to only what you actually need.
TOM: Also, keep in mind that your lawn doesn’t need to be watered daily. A good soaking once or twice a week encourages deeper root growth and keeps grass healthier. And finally, you can allow your grass to go into a semi-dormant state without damaging it. It will go brown in hot, dry weather but come back when weather conditions improve. Just keep in mind that you should avoid walking on the grass when it’s gone dormant. It’ll come back all that much faster if you just leave it alone.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Carol in Texas is calling with a garage door issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
CAROL: Well, whenever we try to put the garage door down, sometimes it goes all the way down, from the remote control in our car or the transmitter in our – on the wall in the garage. And sometimes it intermittently – it will go down a little bit, stop, try to go back up; we have to punch the button, it’ll go down a little bit, stop and it sometimes takes three or four times to get it down.
TOM: Well, what’s happening there is that’s actually the safety reverse feature kicking on.
LESLIE: There’s got to be something blocking it.
TOM: It’s feeling some resistance and it could be just a matter of it needing to be lubricated. Because if it gets a little dry and it gets a little too much resistance, what’s happening is the garage door thinks it’s being blocked; it thinks that something is stuck under it and, when that happens, it backs up. And so if you were to lubricate it or adjust it so that it closes freely and easily, that’s probably going to stop happening.
What I would do is I would disconnect the garage door opener – there’s usually a safety cord that you can pull and unleash it, unlatch it –
TOM: – run it up and down by hand a few times; get some grease, put it in the tracks, put in on the wheels, work it in really nicely so it flows smoothly, closes smoothly; then reconnect it, run it up and down a couple of times more and see what happens.
CAROL: OK. Only problem is we have lubricated it quite a few times with a special lubrication we found even at like Home Depot or Lowe’s or one of those places. But …
TOM: Alright, so if it’s not the lubrication, then the next thing is I wonder if something is out of alignment. It could be that the tracks are shifted or moved, because something is causing this to resist going down.
LESLIE: Which is why it’s sensing it.
TOM: Maybe you have a bad bearing in one of the rollers. There’s resistance somewhere that’s causing the garage door opener to think it’s being obstructed and that’s why it backs up. We’ve got to figure out why it’s being – why it’s resisting and then address that to repair it.
TOM: So look a little deeper but you’re on the right track.
CAROL: Alright, we’ll give it a try. Take it off manually and make it move up and down …
TOM: Right, you might feel where it’s a little bit rough in one spot and you might say, “Why is that happening?” and find out that the track – maybe one of the bolts in the track came loose. That happens because they take a lot of abuse.
CAROL: Oh, definitely. OK. We’ll try that and I certainly appreciate you taking my call.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got Jim in New Jersey who’s dealing with some hard water issues. Jim, what can we do for you?
JIM: Oh, hi. We live in Northern New Jersey and our water is supplied by town wells.
JIM: And we notice – we have a lawn sprinkler system and we notice we’re getting some white etching on the glass and, as well, we have a hot tub spa that every time we get it tested when we refill it we get high alkalinity. And we hear you speak of the EasyWater system and wonder if the application might be good for us.
TOM: Yeah, I think it might be. I would give the EasyWater folks a call because they’re very, very knowledgeable about what the system works well for and what it doesn’t work well for. I installed one. I was very happy with the results. I especially like that it was very easy to install because …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, it’s one that you can do yourself.
TOM: Yeah, because, essentially, you plug the unit in near the main water line and then you wrap an electrical wire around the main water line that creates the electronic field that sort of changes the polarity of the minerals in the water and that stops them from sticking together.
JIM: Yeah, because we notice we get like some deposits on the showerhead.
TOM: Right, and that’s designed to stop all that. So I would give them a call, though, and talk specifically about it. They’re very, very knowledgeable and if you tell them exactly what the water results are they can tell you what the unit can and can’t do. But if it’ll work, it’s going to be a lot less expensive than putting in a plumbing-based system.
JIM: Terrific. Tom and Leslie, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, our pleasure.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lee in Wisconsin is having some mildew issues in the bath. What can we do for you today?
LEE: Yes, I have and I’m not sure if it’s mildew or mold because I don’t know the difference. But I have a couple of spots on the bottom of my window in the bathroom and after I shower I turn the fan on and open the window but I’d like to know how to get rid of them and how to eliminate them.
TOM: Well, it’s really a moisture management issue. Mold in the bathroom is pretty common. Usually it’s Cladosporium, which is a type of mold. Most people are not sensitive to that but it is pretty ugly and gross. So what you want to do is mix up a bleach-and-water solution and spray it down; let it sit for 5, 10, 15 minutes and then scrub it so that it goes away. And then what I would recommend you do is – do you have a bath fan? Is the bath …?
LEE: (overlapping voices) Yes, I have and I always run it after.
TOM: Yeah, the bath fan; is it on a …?
LESLIE: Well, you should run it during and after and, once you’re done with the shower, you should keep it on for 10 or 15 minutes more because that’s when you open the door and the real condensation starts to happen.
TOM: What you can do is install the bath fan onto what’s called an occupancy sensor with a timer …
LEE: Oh, OK.
TOM: … so that whenever somebody walks into the room, the bath kicks on – the fan kicks on and then it stays on for 10 or 15 minutes when there’s no …
LESLIE: However long you set it for.
TOM: When there’s no movement.
LEE: Well, I didn’t realize that you could do that in the home. I knew that they had that in restaurants or hotels but I …
TOM: No, it’s the same electronics; not that expensive. Very common and as easy to install as replacing a light switch.
LEE: Oh, I bet my husband could do that. He told me to use bleach and water but I didn’t believe him.
TOM: Well, you know he’s a smart guy, Lee. Give him a break. (chuckles)
LEE: OK, I will. (chuckles)
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alan in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ALAN: Well, I’ve got a problem with the trees on my property. It was about seven acres. It was planted pine. The pine was taken down and there are some hardwoods that are about 30-some – some even 35 feet high but only maybe 10 feet wide. I’m wondering if these things are worth saving.
TOM: Alright, do you know what kind of hardwood it is?
ALAN: Not exactly. I know some of them are oaks and I’ve got a few maples.
TOM: Yeah, now that you’ve cleaned out the pine they’re going to grow nicely, too. They’ll have a lot more light getting to them, I imagine.
ALAN: OK, it seems to – they seem to have filled out, like more small branches, but they haven’t gotten much wider.
TOM: Well, they’re slow-growing trees, my friend. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: You may be in for the long haul but I’ll tell you what: now that you’ve cleaned out the overgrowth, you’re going to find that they’re going to grow a lot quicker. Just make sure you take care of them.
ALAN: Okey-doke, I’ll do that.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kent in New Jersey is getting ready for the warm weather with an air conditioning question. What can we do for you?
KENT: Yeah, hi. Thanks for taking my call. I’m looking at split-system air conditioners; the ductless air conditioners. I’ve just – I have window units now; looking to replace them. They’re noisy and bulky and annoying. I’m wondering about any positives, negatives, shortcomings with it and really concerned about noise.
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you this: I’m sitting under one right now and I’m in a radio studio.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And you can’t even tell.
KENT: Wow, that’s great.
TOM: And I tell you what: they’re very quiet compared to window units. They don’t vibrate and rattle like window units do. They’re good supplemental units. I don’t know that I would buy several of them, do an entire house; but in the case of this studio, where the central air conditioning is is so far from this particular studio that we’re using that it always gets a little bit hot in here so we put a split-system in to sort of supplemental the central. So this is a good application for it as well.
And I’ve been very happy with it. It’s a Fujitsu system and there are other great manufacturers out there. I’d make sure that you get one that’s Energy Star-rated. You know they’re a little pricy compared to window units but they …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, but they work so fantastically well.
TOM: Yeah, they work really well.
LESLIE: And what you see on the inside is such, you know, a low-profile feature. You barely notice where it is in the wall and then, of course, the compressor is outside; the condensing unit. So it’s like that’s all outside and you don’t see it.
TOM: That’s why it’s so much quieter.
KENT: Alright, appreciate it.
TOM: Kent, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking ceiling repair with Doreen in the Bronx. How can we help?
DOREEN: Well, I had a leaky ceiling. What happened was I had a – my washing machine had overflowed. It’s upstairs – my washer.
DOREEN: And it had overflowed and it came down through the floor and into the ceiling in the living room downstairs. I did fix it; I got some of that tape – that joint tape and I got it fixed but what I forgot to do was sand it and now it’s like really uneven. It’s like …
DOREEN: Is there a clean, neat way to get that done without all the powder going everywhere?
TOM: There is a machine that you could rent that basically sands drywall; it has a vacuum attachment to it.
TOM: But if you don’t have that, you may be able to kind of do this as a two-hand. What I would do is I would take a block of wood and wrap sandpaper around it so you have a flat surface to work on and then with a vacuum hose in one hand and the sander in the other, you can try to minimize the dust that way.
LESLIE: Just make sure you wear a dust mask because you – and safety goggles and a hair net, for that matter …
LESLIE: … because you don’t want this dust getting everywhere.
TOM: And by the way, while we’re talking about it, I think it’s USG just came out with a reduced-dust spackle and it was pretty cool because I saw a demo of it and it was not nearly as flaky as the traditional spackle mix. So I think the manufacturers are getting smart on that and if you’re doing a big project, then that’s something you could look into.
DOREEN: Well, that’s a little late for me now but … (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
TOM: Yes, it is. But for those that are just tackling those jobs now.
DOREEN: At the rental – the equipment rental place and see if they got that sander with the vacuum attached.
TOM: Yeah, that might be the way to go.
DOREEN: Alright. Well, thank you guys very much. And I just started listening to your show and I’m really learning a lot of stuff, so thank you for that, too.
TOM: Well, thank you so much. Good luck with that home improvement project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, now that we’re into summer and we’re really outside enjoying ourselves, I’m sure that you have all realized that mosquitoes, they can truly take a bite out of your backyard fun. But if you take a few simple steps, it can actually help you reclaim your yard and your summer pleasure. We’re going to give you the buzz, right 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: 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: And Liquid Nails is a product that I’ve used hundreds of times. It’s a great construction adhesive and we’ve been asking Money Pit listeners to share their Liquid Nails success stories and we’ve got one right now from Roger in North Carolina.
LESLIE: That’s right. Roger called in a few weeks ago and he asked us how to clean up the look of his walls, which had a horrible alligatored paint happening on it and were just in really super-bad shape.
TOM: So, actually, we suggested that he start from scratch because trying to strip all that paint was an enormous job. He’s better off, in that situation, putting on a second layer of drywall and to do that, he used Liquid Nails to give it really good adhesion to the old, painted surface. He needed fewer fasteners that way. It made it a lot easier to handle the job and it came out great. So Roger, thanks for sharing that story and, because you did that, we’re going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack.
And if you’ve got a Liquid Nails story, you can click on the link at MoneyPit.com or simply e-mail us at MyStory@MoneyPit.com and if we use your story on the air, we will send you that great Liquid Nails gift pack, too.
LESLIE: Alright, and when your Liquid Nails gift pack arrives, maybe you’ll just take it on outside and use it for some of your outdoor projects that are on your summer to-do-list. Just make sure that while you’re out there you don’t get eaten alive by the gajillion mosquitoes that are already swarming around everybody’s backyards.
Now, mosquitoes, they only need a few days and a really tiny bit of freestanding water. I think it’s just the amount that would fit into like a bottle of water cap, which is scary. And if they get into that little bit of water, they can lay their eggs and then wreak havoc on your backyard and then you and your skin will suffer the consequences. So to prevent this, you want to eliminate all standing water including clogged gutters, flowerpots, bird baths and even children’s play toys. If you’ve just got one little toy with a little bit of water in it, they can really breed in there; so dump everything out.
You know, an empty soda bottle cap left out after a backyard cookout can collect enough rainwater to breed hundreds – hundreds – of these bloodsuckers. So take a good look around and get rid of all of these potential breeding grounds. Your skin will thank you for it.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones and try to take the bite out of your home improvement projects.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Jeff is giving us a call today to talk about cinder block walls. What can we do for you?
JEFF: I have a problem with a deck, a proposed deck, and what I’m trying to do is my home is a 1950s-era Cape Cod and what was popular in that time, in my area – in my location – was they would build the first floor out of concrete block on the exterior with stucco and that was it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK.
JEFF: And what I want to do is I want to build a deck and I want to attach the ledger board and I have two questions. I didn’t know if I should try and bolt into the hollow of the concrete block wall or if I should try and get a long bolt and sandwich two (inaudible at 0:22:43.7) on both sides.
TOM: Yeah, I would bolt right through the block wall if it was my house. I would make sure that I got the right kind of bolts, the right diameter heavy-duty, galvanized bolts and I would bolt the ledger right through the concrete block right to the other side.
JEFF: (overlapping voices) Sure.
TOM: You would use a big – essentially like a big, metal washer; usually has a big, square, metal plate that goes on the back of those. And that – if you do that at the appropriate interval, that will hold the ledger board quite nicely.
JEFF: Great, I appreciate your time.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Louise, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
LOUISE: I have a rolled linoleum floor in my kitchen and I had put a rug down there with the rubber backing on it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Rubber backing.
TOM: Mm-hmm, and now it looks all yellowy and nasty, right?
LOUISE: It’s got pieces of the rubber on the floor and I’ve tried everything I can think of to try to pull up that rubber without scratching the floor.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep. Yeah. And it’s not going to happen because what happens is you get a chemical reaction between the rubber and the vinyl …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, it’s not actually a stain; it’s a discoloration.
TOM: Yeah, it’s oxidation and it reacts between two materials and, in fact, most manufacturers – somewhere in the fine print, at least – will warn you about that. Those rubber-backed carpets; those throw carpets that we always use in front of our sink because they’re comfy on our feet, they’re really not good for the floor. They do stain the floor and, unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do to change that.
So I would remove the old one and then I would just get something that has anti-slip surfaces but not rubber-backed and just put it on top of the same spot because you’re not going to be able to restore it to the way it was before you used that carpet.
LOUISE: Oh, OK.
TOM: Alright, Louise? Sorry I don’t have better news for you but that’s a pretty common issue and, hopefully, now that you’ve brought it up, some folks listening will know better than to put down those rubber-backed carpets in front of the sink on the linoleum floor.
LOUISE: Yes. OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Well, hurricane season is in full swing, so we’re going to tell you what you need to know if you live in a hurricane-prone area and you want to replace your windows, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon. Bring your vision to life with Fiberon; innovate, reliable decking that enhances your outdoor living space. For more information, go to FiberonDecking.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, you’ve heard us tell you that a great entryway can increase your home’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. So this hour we are giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one lucky caller this hour which will help that lucky caller buy a great door that’s available at Lowe’s right now and it’s a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. And Benchmark doors by Therma-Tru, it’s not only a practical investment that’s going to deliver energy-efficiency, security and storm-resistance; they are also very beautiful and super-stylish.
Now Benchmark by Therma-Tru specializes in prehung entry doors for those easy do-it-yourself installations and they’re exclusively available at Lowe’s. So to help you get started, we are giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one lucky caller this hour who gets on the air with their home improvement question. But you’ve got to pick up the phone and ask us your question, so do so at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Now, speaking of doors, millions of Americans live along the Gulf or Atlantic coasts and, this time of the year, it makes them a little bit jumpy because it’s hurricane season and, if you’re in the market for a replacement door or replacement windows, this could be your year because federal tax credits are helping to make new, energy-efficient windows affordable. For some of the best protection available anywhere against strong storms and high winds, you really should look at the Simonton StormBreaker Plus windows and patio doors because they’re designed to be really strong and especially this is important if you live on the coast. Plus, they’re made of premium vinyl and they have excellent thermal efficiency. They’re going to work for you for years and years and years and look great the whole time as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? No matter where you live, replacing your windows with more energy-efficient ones can absolutely pay off.
If you want to learn more, you can download our free bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s available right now at MoneyPit.com and we put it together with help from our friends over at Simonton Windows. If you want some more information, you can visit SimontonWindows/TaxCredit. It’s going to sort everything out; let you know what you need to find in the windows or the doors that you’re getting and replacing that are going to qualify for this tax credit. So really pay attention to the details so that when you make this improvement you can get every cent back that you deserve.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Barbara in Georgia has an air conditioning question. What can we do for you today?
BARBARA: Hi, thanks for taking my phone call. I live northeast outside of Atlanta; have a two-story house with individual air conditioning units for each level …
BARBARA: … and since I only live on the main floor, is it prudent to turn off the air conditioning for the second floor or just set it at a higher temperature?
TOM: I don’t see any reason that you need to keep the air conditioning on the second floor on. As long as you’re comfortable on the first floor there’s no reason to run it on the second at the same time.
BARBARA: Alright, and I wouldn’t have to worry about humidity building or any kind of mold or …?
TOM: I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so. If your attic is properly vented it shouldn’t be an issue because the attics are always going to be as humid as they are with the system on or with the system off. It really doesn’t make any difference.
LESLIE: Ross is calling from New York and he’s got a question about a really splintered deck. What’s going on at your house?
ROSS: My problem is we had a house built about a year or so ago in Staten Island, New York and it has a deck in the back and that deck is made of treated wood.
ROSS: And it has a lot of areas – I don’t think they used that good of a wood. It has a lot of areas that are cracked and splintered and a lot of knots. I’d like to maybe paint that or fill in the cracks. Is there something I could use to do that?
LESLIE: Well, and how old is the deck?
ROSS: It’s only about a year-and-a-half old.
TOM: Alright, well you don’t want to paint it. That would be a mistake. Because you know what comes after paint, Ross? Repaint.
LESLIE: Yeah, but I mean whatever you put on any sort of deck that’s made out of pressure-treated lumber requires a commitment to maintaining it and, you know, Tom’s right; you don’t want to put paint on. You sort of – I mean your deck is already at a point where it’s kind of degraded enough where you don’t want to see the grain; you don’t want to put something semi-transparent on where you can really see what’s going on with the wood.
Your solution is going to be something that’s called a solid stain. So it’s a stain in the fact that it sort of permeates the layers of the wood and gets into the wood itself, but it’s solid because there’s a lot of pigment to the stain so you can go any color from natural wood tones to bright pink if you wanted. And that’ll sort of set that color on top of the wood and into the wood so that you’ll still see a little bit of the grain but predominantly color is what you’ll see.
ROSS: And would that make it kind of smooth? Because my wife and my sister, they’ve gotten splinters just being out there and …
TOM: Well, it’s not going to make it perfectly smooth, Ross, but if you have a badly-splintered board, what you want to do is pull that board up – use a nail puller to pull it up – flip it over and then put it back down again. Because the backside of it will be as smooth and clean as the day it was purchased.
And Ross, if it really bothers you, what you might want to do is think about, maybe in the next couple of years, doing sort of a deck makeover. You can pull off the pressure-treated deck boards, you can save the structure and then put composite decking right on top of that; you know, put some Fiberon down. That stuff has got like a 10-year warranty and looks as good the first day as it does ten years later.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and I mean it’s really gorgeous. The maintenance factor – which is something to think about – is very minimal; you know, light cleaning seasonally just to get all the grit and yuck off of it. But it looks gorgeous. You will never have to sand it, paint it, stain it …
TOM: Ever again.
ROSS: That sounds like it’ll be a good idea. OK, let me thank you very much for letting me speak to you. I love your show; listen to it every week.
TOM: Thank you very much, Ross, and good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’re launching a new contest. It’s easy to win and we’re giving away a brand new John Deere mower. We’ll have all the details on that, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
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: And if you’re taking a break this year from an expensive vacation away from home, why not take some time off to relax in your own backyard or how about fixing up the things around the house that you’ve been putting off. Whichever you choose, we’ve got your staycation solutions at MoneyPit.com/Staycation. You can visit our special section right now for your chance to win a $400 walk-behind mower from our friends at John Deere. Details are online at MoneyPit.com/Staycation.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and while you’re over at MoneyPit.com you can go ahead and click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and then send us an e-mail with your home improvement question and we always answer them; sometimes right back by e-mail or on the radio show like we’re doing right now.
And we’ve got one here from David in Plano, Texas who writes: “I have a place here in Texas that I don’t plan to spend much time in the summer and I’m looking for some way to minimize the transfer of heat into the apartment through some westward-facing windows. Since this is a strictly utilitarian need, I would like to use some material, as opposed to more expensive shutters, for example. What comes immediately to mind is the fairly inexpensive blackout material that can be bought by the yard from fabric store. What should I get?
TOM: Well, I think that any type of a drape or a blind is going to help the situation but if you really want to keep out some of that heat, David, you might want to think about adding a window film to that glass. Window films actually are designed to reflect some of that solar heat gain back out. In fact, 3M has a line of window films; one that’s called Prestige – according to their website – has an infrared rejection rate of 97%. So that’s basically going to bounce the sun’s heat back outside and keep it much more comfortable.
If you do go with a blind or a drape, you will have some of the same effect but it won’t nearly be as effective. So I think I would probably look to the do films first and then the drapes second.
LESLIE: Yeah, but you don’t even have to go with drapes. You know, many local home centers will do a roller shade, which are those inexpensive sort of – it’s like a cross between a vinyl and a fabric shade that just – you know, you nail in the little inserts on the inside of your windows and then the shade itself pops in. And you can get those in blackout fabric and I actually did that for a client and they were like 40 bucks apiece and that’ll do the same thing. And like the film will always be there and work for you, both are sort of an option for you to explore and I hope that helps you and enjoy wherever you’re going that you’re not going to be in your house, lucky you.
Alright, we’ve got David in Brooklyn who writes …
TOM: Another David.
LESLIE: Exactly, it’s the David hour. “I bought a house in Brooklyn, New York and I changed the pipes in the home but I have low water pressure. I tested the pressure on the main in the basement and it was 42. The main pipe coming in from the outside is a ¾-inch. Can you please give me the best solution to increase the pressure before I move in?
TOM: I probably need a little bit more information but I’m guessing that this is a really old house, David, because you’ve already changed pipes in the house. If I’m correct and if you have steel pipes and if you’ve changed the steel pipes in the house because you thought that was the source, you may also have a steel pipe that goes from the house to the street. And the problem with steel is that it suffers from internal rusting that can actually almost clog the pipe shut. As it actually rusts it expands and rust can expand to eight times the original metal’s thickness. So if you think about it and you have a ½ or ¾-inch pipe, it can close down; in fact, I’ve seen cutaways, Leslie, where all that was left was like a ¼-inch. So if you’ve not done the main pipe, I would do that next.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and that’ll definitely open that up for you. But Tom’s right, it’s like a clogged artery; you know, the reason why people have heart attacks. So really, take care of that main and I’m sure you will see an increase in your water pressure.
TOM: You’ve been listening to the Money Pit home improvement radio show and we are so glad that you are. We hope you’ve learned a lot this hour and that we’ve helped you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you’ve got more questions, you can head on over to our website where the show continues online at MoneyPit.com and while you’re there, remember, you can download, this weekend, the free replacement window guide with everything that you need to know to tackle that project around your house and to qualify for the federal energy tax credits that will help you pay for it.
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.)