Deck Care, Stain Removal and Cut Cooling Costs
TRANSCRIPT FOR JUNE 22, 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 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, 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you with your home improvement questions, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Whatever you’re working on in your house, give us a call because we’re sure we can probably help you make the job quicker, easier and more successful. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. At least we will do our level best to help out. So before you pick up the paintbrush; before you pick up the saw, pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, coming up this hour, have you had it with your deck? Are the splinters, the nails, not to mention the annual staining really bugging you? Well, later this hour, we’re going to have some tips to make it all go away once and for good.
LESLIE: And speaking of decks, you know, enjoying a picnic or a barbecue on your deck is just a fantastic time for everyone. But you start eating and foods like catsup, barbecue sauce, berries, ice cream – you name it – can turn a nice, outdoor meal into a stain festivale. So we’ve got your picnic stain removal guide, coming up.
TOM: And any time now, the serious summer cooling bills should be starting to roll on in. We’re going to have some advice on how to cut those costs by using something you have right now in your house – well, you may; they’re called storm windows (Leslie chuckles) and if you think you only use them in the winter, you’re wrong. You can use them in the summer to cut down on the amount of hot air that’s actually leaking into your house and driving those costs up.
LESLIE: And we want to hear from you this hour, so pick up your phone and give us a call because this hour we are giving away a battery-powered trimmer/edger from our friends over at WORX GT to one of you lucky callers who gets on The Money Pit this hour. Now, this garden tool, it’s got no cords and no gas to worry about so it’s going to be super-quick and easy to trim and edge your yard for a very professional look.
TOM: So call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Rita is calling in from Brooklyn with an issue with a sink. What’s going on? Tell us about it.
RITA: Yes, I have a two-family home in Brooklyn, New York. A sink on the top floor overflowed. Quite a bit of water came down. It came through the first-floor kitchen into the basement.
TOM: Oh, man. That’s a lot of water.
RITA: Yeah. I have a fairly new kitchen ceiling, about a year-and-a-half old, and it’s terribly stained and there’s also water streaks on my walls. What is the best way to handle something like this?
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK. OK. Is it just stained, Rita, or is it like deformed; like from water damage?
RITA: It’s just stained.
TOM: OK, that’s good. So here’s what you need to do. What you need to do is you need to prime that wall and I want you to use an oil-based primer; a good-quality, oil-based primer. Not a latex primer but oil-based. And you need to not only prime the stain itself. You really need to do the entire ceiling because it’s going to change the sheen of the paint; it’s going to change the level of absorption in that ceiling. By using the primer, you will seal in the old stain. And then once you prime it, you can paint over it and you’ll never see that stain again.
RITA: The same process for the walls?
TOM: Yes, same process. You want to prime it with an oil-based primer and then paint over it with latex and you’ll be good to go. See, if you just put paint on top of the stain, it tends to sort of leach through and come through; it will draw through. The oxidation in the stain will react with the paint and it may come back to the surface. That’s why you have to prime it first.
RITA: I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rita. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MIKE: We just had a contractor install about 100 square feet of long, white granite which seems to be slightly porous.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
MIKE: The install price was around $3,500 so we got a pretty good investment.
TOM: Yeah, you do.
MIKE: We thought that the seal they recommended to put on every six months would protect the finish and after we use it we find out it (inaudible at 0:05:08.4) water and other liquids; it could stain our granite.
LESLIE: And you’re getting discoloration.
MIKE: So we’re really kind of nervous, you know. We’re looking for a permanent solution that’s friendly with the homeowner as far as to install. I know the price – we were getting a quote on lifetime sealant. If they install it was like $7 a square foot, so there’s another $500 investment going.
TOM: Yeah. You know, granite – people buy granite; it’s very popular and I think there’s a misconception out there that it’s maintenance-free or low-maintenance. While it’s incredibly durable, it’s a heck of a lot of maintenance; in fact, it’s probably one of the most maintenance-intensive countertop projects out there. And Leslie, you’ve had a lot of experience with that. I think the word is that you’ve got to seal that stuff pretty much everyday before you go to work, ay?
LESLIE: Absolutely. Well, no.
TOM: (chuckling) Almost as much.
LESLIE: It’s once a year. You do want to make sure that you seal your granite once a year only because general wear and tear; cleaning, if you clean it with an improper product that’s not made for granite, does tend to wear more at the sealant on it. So once a year you want to give it a good cleaning and then put the sealant on it and, basically, you’ll notice that it’s time or that it’s long overdue for a sealant. When you get – when they cut the sheets of granite and make it almost like, you know, a sliver of granite that’s an inch-and-a-half or an inch and three-quarters thick – like a sheet – there are dips and divots where, you know, the natural stone has sort of popped in and out or pieces that didn’t make it through the cut. So then they put this resin coating, the sealant on top, and that’s why you get some areas that just look like a clear pool; you know, where there’s no color; where you see that indented into your granite but it’s a smooth surface.
So you’ll notice it’s time to resurface when that area that was filled with the resin is gone and this happens a lot on the edges; especially if you go with a more decorative edge like an ogee rather than, you know, a squared-off edge. So you want to make sure that you do seal it annually. There’s a great website called Stonecare.com. Go through all of their granite products – they have cleansers, they have sealants, they have maintenance products – and just make sure that you use the right products for the granite in your cleaning and in your sealing and it’ll last as long as Mother Nature intended.
TOM: Mike, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Well, welcome summer because this is the first official weekend of the summer season and we want to help you get your money pit in tiptop shape. So pick up the phone and give us a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can help you get the job done right at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, the splinters, the staining, the cracking, the checking. Your deck; it’s a mess, right? We know that. How’d you like to put that all behind you once and for all? We’ll tell you how to do that, next.
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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re talking staycation solutions this hour, presented in part by WORX GT; makers of great, battery-powered garden tools. A nice, clean-looking lawn will make you feel like you’re at a lush resort in your own yard and one caller we talk to this hour is going to win the WORX GT trimmer/edger combo.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know it’s got a rechargeable battery which makes gas and cords a thing of the past. It’s fully adjustable and I love that it weighs less than a gallon of milk. And the best part is that you don’t need to adjust the trimmer string by bumping it on the ground. It’s always going to be the right length for you every, single time and – check this out – you can get free replacement spools for life; the life of the tool, not your life. I apologize, you know, because this could go on for ages. (Tom chuckles)
Now one caller that we talk to this hour is going to win this great prize, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and check out their website – it’s FreeLineforLife.com – for information on the WORX GT trimmer/edger combo.
TOM: And you might be trimming around your deck this summer thinking, “Oh, it looks really bad.” Well, there are alternatives to wood decking and they are a great idea for a low-maintenance deck.
There are composites and then there’s PVC, but you have to know a little bit about PVC; the plastic used in composite decking. You know, PVC is a very durable plastic and it’s the premium alternative decking material. It delivers the most enjoyment for your outdoor living space with the least effort in maintenance. And if you’ve owned a wood deck, you certainly are ready to give up on the maintenance part. It really is a major hassle. PVC provides better resistant to staining, to scratching, to mold and mildew. It’s less likely to fade and it’s also more resistant to harsh weather and it’s got a higher fire rating, so it’s pretty much a good material all around to use if you’re thinking about building a deck this summer.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, but you know what? Not all PVC decking is created equal. Now there’s one called Sensibuilt from Fiberon which has a unique, fusion-bonded surface called Lumenite that really outperforms the rest; pretty much outperforms anything else that’s on the market now and probably down the line. Now, no other PVC decking is going to resist stains, fading, mold or scratches better and Fiberon is so confident in their Sensibuilt performance that it is the only PVC decking that is backed with a 10-year stain-and-fade warranty. Nobody is doing this because people know that other composites out there really have issues. Not Fiberon and not the Sensibuilt. That’s why they’re giving you the 10-year stain-and-fade warranty.
Check out their website. It’s FiberonDecking.com. And I have to tell you that now we’re into, at my family’s beach house on the east end of Long Island – this is our second season with our Fiberon deck and I have to say that going out there initially, at the beginning of the season, there was no sanding; there was no restaining or turning boards or making sure there were splinters to be taken out of anybody’s feet because the deck is fantastic. I really just needed to power wash the yuck from the winter away, sweep away the little pollen polliwogs. My little one-year-old son was prancing around the deck; I didn’t have to worry about anything and it really looked fantastic. So I’ve got to say if you’re in the market for decking, check out Fiberon. It’s fantastic. You will be thrilled.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your summer home improvement question. We’re here to help.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Dean in North Carolina is dealing with an issue with the furnace. Tell us what’s going on?
DEAN: Yes, I have a house that’s about six years old and we have a black dust that accumulates on the windows; inside the windows. In the furnace filter it turns charcoal within probably a month. I put in white filters and they turn a charcoal color within about a month, so – and I’ve got a gas furnace and it seems like it does it even in the summertime with the air conditioner running.
TOM: OK, so you have these black streaks that are forming?
DEAN: Actually, it’s a coating.
TOM: It’s a coating? Hmm. Alright, and are you sure it’s coming from the HVAC system? Because …
DEAN: No, I’m not. I’m not sure where it’s coming from.
TOM: OK. Because one of the reasons that we get black deposits, especially on walls around windows, is from convection. If you get – if you think about it, warm air rises and, as it does, it pulls the air up; and usually, against a cold, exterior wall or a chilled surface, it will deposit the humidity there. It will condense and it will leave the black dirt, essentially, from the air in those areas. And so that’s a fairly common condition. We see it – sometimes we get streaks because the edge of the ceiling joist, for example, where the wall stud is colder than the wall next to it; will get streaks. We’ll also get deposits above heating registers or air conditioning registers. We’ll get them above windows. That may or may not have anything to do with the heating system itself.
However, I will say that getting a good-quality filter in there – which is better than one of those thin fiberglass filters – will help reduce the amount of dirt that’s in your air that’s being circulated. So I would look to install an electronic air cleaner. You can get a good one from Aprilaire. I’ve got one which is their Model 5000 in my house; does a good job. Trane makes a good one called CleanEffects that my sister is putting in. These are good-quality, very efficient units that make a big difference on the quality of air inside your house and I would definitely do that.
I would also have the heating system serviced because whenever we talk about black soot, we want to make sure that there’s no combustion problem there. Doesn’t sound like there is but I would definitely have it serviced at the same time.
DEAN: Are those room-sized air cleaners you’re talking about?
TOM: No, they go on the heating system themselves.
LESLIE: So they’ll do the whole house.
TOM: So it covers the whole house. That’s right.
LESLIE: Heading out to Oregon to talk with Sheree about rust stains. What happened?
SHEREE: Hi. Yeah, I have a concrete slab patio in my backyard and I think the fertilizer has caused some staining on the patio; it looks rust colored. And I’m wondering if there’s a product or a process that will remove those stains for me.
TOM: Do you have a sprinkler system?
SHEREE: I do.
TOM: I doubt it’s the fertilizer that’s causing the rust. It’s probably just the rust that’s coming up through the sprinkler system.
TOM: Do you have well water?
SHEREE: No. Runs the city water.
TOM: Hmm. Well, regardless, I think that you can clean it with a solution of TSP, trisodium phosphate.
SHEREE: Oh, OK.
TOM: Available at hardware stores, home centers. Mix up a fairly strong solution; use a brush, like a bristle brush on a stick.
TOM: Scrub it in a little bit; rinse it off. That ought to brighten it up. And make sure you direct those sprinkler heads so that the water does not reach the patio because I think you’re going to find that you’re pulling up some iron from the ground and that’s probably what’s causing this rust stain.
SHEREE: Yeah, it does seem to be around the edge of the patio, too; so that could be. OK, well thanks. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sheree. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading up to the attic with Richard in Texas. What can we do for you?
RICHARD: Yes, I’m looking at building a new home and I’ve been reading quite a bit about unventilated attics and just wondering what are the benefits; what is the drawback. Because the attic temperature is what I used to fight up in Minnesota with cold; it’s now heat in Texas.
LESLIE: Don’t you need the circulation of air through the attic to sort of help control the air throughout – you know, the conditioning throughout the rest of the space?
RICHARD: Well, they’re saying that where you like totally seal off the attic your home and your attic never gets more than a five to ten-degree temperature difference.
TOM: The answer to your question, Richard, depends on where the insulation is. Now if the insulation is above the attic, so to speak, which basically makes the attic really conditioned space as opposed to unconditioned space, which is the way it normally is done; if that, in fact, is conditioned space, then the temperature up there is going to be fairly consistent with what the interior temperature of the home is.
TOM: Now, that’s one way to do it. The other way to do it is to use a traditional vented attic. Where I see most contractors go wrong is that they don’t put enough venting in the attic. They put small vents; just soffit vents; maybe a couple of roof vents. What we have found is that if you use a continuous ridge and soffit vent that goes all the way down through the soffits on the both sides of the home and all the way down through the ridge then what you, in effect, create is a 24/7/365 venting system where the air gets sucked out of the ridge and pushed into the soffits and always keeps that attic very comfortable.
So those are two different ways to go. Which one you choose is going to depend a lot on your builder and which way they’re accustomed to working but I think that they’ll both work.
LESLIE: There’s actually a great resource online; it’s BuildingScience.com and if you go to their website and go through the resources you can find an article on roofing and roofs and there’s a full scientific study on vented and unvented attic spaces.
RICHARD: OK. Very good. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Richard. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sherry in Indiana is joining us at The Money Pit with an issue with bees. I hope you are not getting stung. What’s going on?
SHERRY: I have a problem with big bumblebees.
LESLIE: Are they big with like large, black rear ends?
TOM: And do they have toolbelts strapped to their sides? (Leslie chuckles)
SHERRY: Right. (chuckles)
TOM: Because you may be talking about carpenter bees, seriously. Do they leave big holes in your like wood?
SHERRY: Yes, they do.
TOM: Yeah. Those are …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, those are carpenter bees.
TOM: Yep, that’s carpenter bee. And they can be kind of annoying. What you need to know about them …
LESLIE: Well, and frightening, actually.
TOM: Yeah, they are frightening. Well, they’re designed to scare you because they can’t bite you and that’s not something that you would expect looking at a big bee like that.
LESLIE: Yeah, and they can’t bite you but they can actually eat every piece of wood and like bore these perfect 3/8-inch holes into your fascia board or garage doors or trimming around the exterior of your house and just, you know, live in there. They love it.
TOM: Yep. So your options, Sherry, are to have them professionally treated and make sure you fill the holes. And if you don’t want to do that, what we did at – we had a real bad carpenter bee problem – I actually replaced all of the fascia on my garage with AZEK, which is a cellular PVC; so it’s not wood. And it was really funny because after I did that, the bees kept swarming around the AZEK and they were like …
LESLIE: Trying to figure it out?
TOM: Like, “Well, it looks like wood but it doesn’t taste right.” You know? And it worked and they never came back after that. So you either have to have it treated regularly or you have to replace it with something that they’re not going to eat.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, all those summer goodies like ice cream, barbecue sauce, buttered corn …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yum, yum. Mmm.
TOM: Yes, they taste great but the stains they leave behind are really hard to remove.
LESLIE: That’s right. Up next, we are going to tell you how to get rid of those tricky picnic stains, so stick around.
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 this is where home solutions live. Now, one of the solutions I have in my toolbox, that I had out not too long ago, was Liquid Nails because it’s very, very useful for all sorts of projects around the house. I mean these guys are the recognized leader in construction adhesives and it’s a good choice for pros and do-it-yourselfers. They’ve got like 60 different, unique formulas. I chose one, not too long ago, to glue my computer desk up (Leslie chuckles) and it worked fine because I needed to glue a wooden bracket or a wooden block to the underside of the desk so that I could attach the keyboard bracket to it and it worked perfectly for that.
So we’ve been asking you for your Liquid Nail stories and we got one here from Willard Crawford in – actually, I’m not sure where Will’s from but he says he uses compressed air tools to create petroglyph art – and I hope I’m saying that correctly.
LESLIE: You did.
TOM: Apparently, petroglyphs are the cave drawings created by early man and Will says that since nail screws and anything else that would be a means of support with these things would be visible, he uses Liquid Nails to attach the rock art to wooden plaques. And Will says you can use Liquid Nails in this way for other stone or brick projects and actually has a tip for that. He says, “Make sure you wash the dust off to ensure good adhesion.” So, good tip.
LESLIE: Yeah. (chuckles) Yeah, that’s a great idea, Willard.
Hey, you guys. We really want you to keep all of your Liquid Nail stories coming in because you guys have unusual uses and traditional uses and we want to hear all about them. And this is great because if we use your story on the air, we are going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack which includes 11 samples of Liquid Nails adhesives in a tool bag and all of that adds up to a value of 65 bucks and I guarantee you will use any of these adhesives on your next weekend project because they are that handy.
TOM: It’s good stuff. You know, basically, if you use it you’re done once and you’re done right. So if you’ve got a story about how you use Liquid Nails, send it to MyStory@MoneyPit.com; MyStory@MoneyPit.com. And if we use your story on the air, we will send you that Liquid Nails gift pack worth 65 bucks and that is going out this week to Willard Crawford, who supplied today’s story.
LESLIE: You know, we actually, during an episode of While You Were Out a few years back, in Florida we turned a garage in sort of like a man-hangout area. And I know you hate it when we keep …
TOM: A man cave?
LESLIE: Exactly. And I know you hate it when we keep garage doors in the equation. (Tom laughs) But you know, on a budget, sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. So to change the inside, I cut out foam panels and then covered them with fabric to each sort of interior panel on that garage door and then I Liquid Nail-ed all of those suckers in place. They stayed throughout the operation of the garage door up and down and, as far as I know – three, four years later – that man cave is still fully functional. So hurray, Liquid Nails.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: We’re going to have a chimney chat with John in Iowa. What can we do for you?
JOHN: I had a roofing company come and they reseated and they threw the old shingles off; reseated the roof. But I’m having problems around my chimney. We’ve been getting a lot of weather here lately and I’ve noticed some leakage, so I got up there and I kind of looked at their work and there appears to be – you know, when they built the house – it’s a cinder-block chimney, it’s square and the flashing is embedded right in the mortar joint.
JOHN: Well, they put their – I guess I – their step flashing, you know, on the shingles. And they’re kind of coming away from the top and I think water is – I think that’s where the water is getting in.
TOM: Did they try to reuse the old flashing?
TOM: That’s what I suspected. Yeah, you know, they just went lazy on you, John, and really what you have to do here is tear out the old flashing and then reflash it and you can probably use the same groove in the chimney to insert the edge of the flashing. But what you need is base flashing and counter flashing. Base flashing goes between the shingles and up against the side of the chimney and counter flashing is notched into the chimney and then covers the base flashing. And that system works together and expands and contracts and keeps it very water tight. But if they did not do that and they tried to sort of jam the shingles into the old stuff, that was a real lazy, sloppy thing to do and I’m not the least bit surprised you have leaks. You need somebody to go up there and redo that flashing properly and that will stop it from happening.
JOHN: So there’s no quick fix. You know, I thought there might be a …
TOM: There’s no quick fix. You can go up there and slap on some roof cement and you’ll be right back at it in another year; absolutely guaranteed. It just won’t work.
TOM: The key here, John, is to do it once, do it right and not do it again and these guys didn’t do the job.
JOHN: Well, that explains it.
TOM: Alright, John. Sorry we can’t give you better news but you’ve got to get it done right and then it’ll be good for the long haul. OK?
JOHN: OK, very good.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Sometimes we give you good news and sometimes we don’t.
LESLIE: Yeah, and there’s nothing you can do there because it’s sort of, you know, a system that’s laid on top of one another.
TOM: (overlapping voices) No. Yeah. You know that’s why, if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a home repair like that, it’s not a bad idea to make sure it’s inspected by the town or inspected by an independent professional home inspector before you cut the check. Because now I’m sure this roofer is long gone and John is going to have to pay somebody else to redo all that flashing on his chimney.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Now, we wanted to give you a tip here about how to keep clean this summer. When it comes to picnics, you know they’re great. But eating outdoors can be a really messy thing for your clothes, your tablecloths and your outdoor furniture; not to mention your kids. (Leslie chuckles) So here are some common stain-removal tips for the most common picnic stains from the folks at Good Housekeeping.
Now, for barbecue sauce, flush it with cold water from the underside of the fabric then blot it with a liquid laundry detergent and sponge with vinegar. Apparently, that three-material combination will get rid of the stain. Then you want to apply a stain treatment and launder as usual. The same steps will work great for catsup and for mustard.
LESLIE: Now, if you’ve got a berry cobbler and you get those berries all over yourself, you want to mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with half a teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and then a quart of water and let that fabric soak for 15 minutes. For tough stains, you can blot with alcohol and then launder as usual. It really does work.
TOM: And for a complete list on how to get rid of the top 10 picnic stains, you can visit MoneyPit.com and enter the picnic stains in the search box on the home page. We’ll take you right there.
Up next, storm windows are only good for winter, right? Well, wrong. They can actually help you save money in the hottest days of summer. We’ll tell you how, 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, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now because we have all of your home solutions covered. So no matter what you’ve got going on at your money pit, we can help you get that job done right. And one of you lucky callers today that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a great prize from our friends over at WORX GT. We are giving away a battery-powered trimmer/edger combo, so it really will help you get all of your summer gardening projects in tiptop shape.
Now, the battery on the WORX GT, it offers a longer runtime and the added power without the hassle of extension cords or gasoline and is the gas still good and “When did I put it in?” And the best part – and this really is a great part – you’re going to get free trimmer line replacement spools for life. Check out their website – it’s FreeLineforLife.com – for all the information about their product. Give us a call right now, though, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win one for free and make sure you’ve got your home improvement or your décor question at the ready.
TOM: And one of which is, “How can I cut my cooling costs this summer?” So if your house has central air conditioning, one way to do that is to keep the storm windows down. You can actually help save on some of those energy leaks by slowing the flow of hot air from the outside into your home. Remember, homes leak just as much in the summer as they do in the winter. We don’t feel it in the summer because that air is hot but, believe me, it is driving up those cooling costs.
LESLIE: And if you’re considering energy-efficient replacement windows, you want to check out the bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, at MoneyPit.com right now. Our friends over at Simonton Windows have helped us put together the most comprehensive guide that we could come up with for choosing the right windows for your needs, including a guide to all of the available tax credits, and it is available for you for free at MoneyPit.com right now.
TOM: The complete window replacement guide on the home page at MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Hey, Carol. You’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
CAROL: Yes, I bought a new house August of ’08.
LESLIE: Well, congratulations.
CAROL: No one had lived in it. It had been prebuilt.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
CAROL: And shortly after we moved in, we found a big crack in the upstairs bedroom and it went down on both sides of the corner. So the builder just retaped and rebedded it.
TOM: And now it’s come back.
CAROL: Now, downstairs, in the vicinity, we have grout cracks, tile cracks …
TOM: Oh, boy.
CAROL: … and I’m concerned if it’s a foundation problem because now it’s gone across the butler’s pantry, across the closet and now I have two cracks in the den …
TOM: And do you have a ten-year warranty on that house? Was there a warranty from the builder?
CAROL: Yes. Yes.
TOM: And have you notified the warranty company of the problem?
CAROL: I’ve notified the builder and he has contacted his structural engineer. I’ve had another company come out and they say, “Oh, everything is OK.” But I think the builder may have these people in their pockets.
TOM: OK, listen. There’s two things that I want you to do. First of all, you need to notify the warranty company. Notifying the builder does not protect you in the event of a warranty claim.
LESLIE: Yeah, you need to get to the warranty people first.
TOM: You absolutely – get your warranty booklet out and take a look at what the claims procedure is and you want to notify the warranty company that you’ve got a potentially serious structural issue with the house so that you’re covered. Because there’s a time – there’s a clock ticking here and if you don’t notify them in the proper timeframe, then you may not get the coverage. So you want to do that.
The second thing I want you to do is get your own independent structural engineer to look at this. You’re going to have to spend a little money but that’s the only way you’re going to get to the bottom of that. So you need to find a good structural engineer. You could – one thing I would do is I might call some home inspectors in the area and ask who they recommend for that kind of work and I would get a licensed structural engineer in there to check that out and have them give you a report as to what it is, what’s causing it and what has to be done to fix it. And with that in hand, you can go back to the builder and, possibly, to the warranty company.
Now, I will warn you that the warranty company coverage is usually very loose. It definitely favors the builder.
CAROL: (overlapping voices) Sure.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Of course it does.
TOM: But you need to make sure that you read the warranty booklet and you need to get that engineer to write his report in such a way as it qualifies whether or not it’s covered by the warranty, if that’s possible.
CAROL: OK, very good. I will do that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK? Alright, good luck. Thanks so much …
CAROL: Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: When we come back, we are going to jump into our e-mail bag and we’re going to help one e-mailer out there who’s got a wobbly toilet, which is never a good idea because you’re wondering, “Am I going to end up on the floor? Is this going to be a real embarrassment?” – especially if you’re a guest in the house. (chuckles) So stick around when we jump into our e-mail bag, next.
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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.)