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  • Transcript

     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.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Before you pick up the tools, pick up the phone and call us. We will help you get the job done. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer; whether you’re a direct-it-yourselfer, we will protect you from becoming a do-it-to-yourselfer (Leslie chuckles), which is not a good place to be.
    LESLIE: Never.
    TOM: Especially when you tackle one of those projects with some upcoming major family event, party, wedding, whatever and it has to get done; absolutely, positively must be completed before this event happens to your house. I think some of those holidays motivate us to start projects but it also puts a lot of pressure on us to get them done before the big event happens. Whatever the project is that you’re working on, we can make it easier, safer, simpler and just make sure it comes out right the first time.
    Coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips on how to improve your home’s curb appeal. You know, having a house that looks great from the street not only is a nice way to make yourself welcome in the neighborhood; it’s also a great way to get your house sold if you want to put it on the market. We’re going to give you some tips on how to do just that.
    LESLIE: And speaking of curb appeal, how about touching up the exterior paint on your home? I know it is a project we need to do at our money pit and now is the perfect time of year to pick up a paintbrush and spruce up your exterior. We’re going to tell you what you need to do to get that project done simple and fast.
    TOM: Also ahead, companies are downsizing, so it makes sense that homeowners might be forced to do the same thing. But the good news is that you can make a small space work really hard for you. We’re going to get some expert tips from our friend Libby Langdon. She’s a designer, a decorator, a television personality and the author of Libby Langdon’s Small Space Solutions: Secrets for Making Any Room Look Elegant and Feel Spacious on Any Budget. Libby will be with us in just a bit.
    LESLIE: And here’s a way to decorate any room in your house for less than 100 bucks: a wall mural. Even if you are not a Picasso, we’ve got a product to tell you about that will make this craft foolproof.
    TOM: Yes, it’s actually a wall mural kit. It’s gorgeous, it’s going to give you some great options for adding some nice, fancy, self-done, sort of like color-by-number art work to your house; but it doesn’t look like any color-by-number project I’ve ever done. Fortunately. (Leslie chuckles) It looks a lot better than that. Going to go to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s jump right on those phones.
    LESLIE: Really? You couldn’t color in the lines, Tom?
    TOM: You should know me by know. (Leslie giggles) I don’t color in the lines. I’ve never been able to stay between the lines.
    LESLIE: That is why we love you.
    TOM: That’s my blessing and my curse.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Holly in North Dakota needs some help with kitchen cabinets. What can we do for you?
    HOLLY: Hi. We are looking at either laminating our kitchen cupboards or what I would like to do is to paint our kitchen cupboards but I’m not exactly sure the right process or the best paint to use on it.
    LESLIE: Well, what are they currently made of? Are they wood? Are they a laminated wood surface now?
    HOLLY: They’re like a laminated wood surface; you know, with the shine to them. The house was built in ’88 …
    HOLLY: … and (inaudible at 0:03:43.5) and I just want to get it a fresher look, I guess.
    LESLIE: Well, generally, when you’re painting a laminated surface, you want to make sure that, number one, it’s clean; and then once you’ve gotten it super-duper clean you need to abrade the surface. And because you don’t want it to be, you know, rough-hewn in its look or have a rough, gritty look in its surface, you can use something that’s called a liquid sander, which is a liquid that sort of just lightly abrades the surface.
    TOM: You mean liquid sandpaper.
    LESLIE: Yeah, liquid sandpaper. And then you brush that on or rub that on according to the directions. I think you rub it on with a towel. And then once that sort of does its job, you need to use a really good-quality oil-based primer because you want that primer to stick super-duper well and if you go with a latex you’re going to be able to scratch it right off. And you need to make sure you that you do this on a day that is not humid at all. On Trading Spaces, we painted a kitchen cabinet set – all of it – on like a rainy, gross day and that paint was scraping off. So you need to make sure that you use the oil-based primer; do it on a day that’s super-dry; let it dry really, really well and then go ahead and put a latex topcoat on top of that.
    LESLIE: OK, that sounds great.
    TOM: Holly, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone because you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are always standing by to lend you a hand at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, tips on a recession-proof home improvement project that does not have to cost you a bundle of cash.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. 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.
    Pick up the phone and give us a call. We are giving away a very cool prize this hour to one lucky caller who gets on the air this hour on The Money Pit with their home improvement question. We’ve got a wall mural kit from our friends over at Trace Designs and even if you are not artistic but you love the look of a mural, this is the prize for you. It takes three foolproof steps: you tape the pattern to the wall, then you trace it with a pen and then you paint by number. And Trace Designs offers 40 different designs; they’re all available through HomeDepot.com but you can win yours absolutely for free by calling us and asking us your home improvement question. The kits are worth around 60 bucks but it could be yours for free so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, a yard is probably the first thing a homebuyer sees when they’re looking for a home. They’re going to see it either by driving by or they’re going to see it via a photo in an online real estate website. You know, the National Association of Realtors estimates that 70 percent of homebuyers start that buying process online. So if your front yard pushes people away before they even come to visit the house, you’re in trouble from the get-go. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to improve the look of your landscaping.
    LESLIE: It does cost a little bit of elbow grease, though. You want to make sure that you keep your yard neat and clean and get rid of any overgrowth or weeds or anything that’s dead and brown and curling over. Get it out of there. If it’s dead you don’t want it. Then go ahead and plant native greenery and flowers so that you don’t have to do too much maintenance. You also want to sweep up around the property, touch up all the paint that might be crumbling away, make any simple changes like switching out the address numbers or the mailbox and this will really help you to make a great first impression. Button up those details and get those buyers in.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Talking to Monique in Utah. What can we help you with today at The Money Pit?
    MONIQUE: I have a front entry door that has that six-inch window that runs the length of the door that has clear glass and I have a curtain up there now but I would really like to put something on there that would kind of make it look more fogged or crystallized or something. I’ve heard there’s products out there or tints but I’m not sure if that’s true or not.
    LESLIE: Now, it’s just sort of a light that’s in the center of the door? Is it paned in any way?
    MONIQUE: No, no. It runs the side, the length of the door. It’s kind …
    LESLIE: So it’s like two sidelights? Or just one sidelight?
    MONIQUE: No, it’s just window that runs the length of the door. So right next to the door there’s this little window that runs – it’s about six inches wide and runs the full length of the door.
    LESLIE: OK, so there’s no grillwork or anything on there.
    MONIQUE: No, no.
    LESLIE: You can get – if you’re looking for frosting, there’s actually a spray can of glass frosting. I think Krylon makes it. It’s available at craft stores and home centers. And you just have to be careful in your application of it because you want to make sure you do it uniformly. You don’t want to end up with areas where you get spray heavy, so you might want to get a piece of glass just to sort of practice on to get your technique down. But that works extremely well. They also have colored frosted glass paint but I – you know, we’ve used it on the TV shows I’ve worked on. I think it can look a little cutesy and chintzy, in some cases; but if you pick a nice color, it might do the trick.
    Or you can get rice paper; beautiful paper that comes in lengths on rolls or several different colors of it and almost put it together as a patchwork or run the whole length of the glass and attach that with just some double-stick tape or even some spray adhesive lightly in some key areas in the corners just to sort of hold it in place so that you’re not spraying adhesive all across the entire glass.
    And those are some good ideas to sort of give you a different sort of take on it.
    MONIQUE: OK. Now I have a dog that likes to put her nose against it, so would I be better off using the Krylon product, you think, for that?
    TOM: The frosted paints, as good as they are, they’re not going to take repetitive noseprints.
    MONIQUE: No, no. I think once it’s frosted up she won’t be as prone to look out there but that’s another reason. I just – I want to have something, you know, if she …
    LESLIE: Because I know that once it’s dry it even gets a little powdery if you kind of brush it.
    MONIQUE: Oh, OK, OK.
    LESLIE: So I think with a wet nose you might end up with a little wet nose spot.
    MONIQUE: Little spots underneath it. Oh, I don’t want that.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
    MONIQUE: OK. Well, I’ll have to figure out something to keep her away from there but if she can’t look out it anymore, I think it’d be a nice thing. But it’s mainly the people looking in; the little kids that press their faces. So it’d be nice to have a little privacy there without having to replace the full glass. So, OK, I’ll give that a whirl.
    TOM: Great, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Lee in West Virginia has a question about siding. What can we do for you today?
    LEE: Yes, it’s siding. It looks like cedar shakes. It’s like a four-foot by eighteen-inch panel …
    TOM: Right.
    LEE: … two rows of cedar shakes but it’s all vinyl siding; very heavy. I was just wondering if there’s any tricks to it. It’s all new. I’ve never put that up before. I’ve put regular siding up, though.
    TOM: Actually, those panels have been out for a long time. They’re very durable, they’re very attractive and they look surprisingly like the real product.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They really do.
    TOM: So I think that’s a great choice.
    LESLIE: John in Montana, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    JOHN: My wife and I had purchased a used double-wide mobile home and we’re out in the country and we get west winds. And we totally remodeled the inside but we’re curious; it seems like it’s just cold. What can we do to insulate this thing any better?
    TOM: What kind of heating system do you have, John?
    JOHN: We have forced gas.
    TOM: Forced hot air?
    JOHN: Yes.
    TOM: OK. And are you getting good distribution of the air throughout the entire unit?
    JOHN: Well, I don’t think so but … (Leslie and John chuckle)
    TOM: Yeah. Because I suspect that this has more to do with a problem with the heating system than a problem with the insulation. Because, typically, when those homes are manufactured, the insulation is sprayed in between the walls and there’s not a whole heck of a lot that you can do to improve it. But what you can do is make sure it’s not drafty – which it sounds like you’ve already done – but, secondly, take a look at that heating system and find out why it’s not delivering. You might want to take a look at the duct structure from the furnace throughout the entire unit and just, first of all, check the airflow.
    JOHN: Yes.
    TOM: Make sure you don’t have any obstructions, any disconnected ducts. There could be dampers in the ducts that are partially turned off. I found ducts that were turned off that had been that way for years and nobody knew about it.
    JOHN: Well, we’ve checked the ducts and they have air coming out of them. The problem is the whole underneath, you know, has all got a covering over the top of it so you can’t even see any of the duct work.
    TOM: Yeah, but you could check the flow and you should have a good, strong flow coming out.
    JOHN: OK. But if you don’t – we just put in a new furnace …
    TOM: OK.
    JOHN: … so it’s definitely not the furnace itself.
    TOM: Well – alright. It may or may not be the furnace. How about the fan speed on the furnace? Have you had your HVAC contractor check that? Because if it’s too slow it won’t deliver enough air.
    JOHN: Well, we had him come out and do the free service after we had it in for almost a year.
    TOM: Right.
    JOHN: They said everything checked out good.
    TOM: Hmm. Well, something is not correct. Now you either have a defect in the furnace, you have a defect in the duct system; the furnace that they put in may not have been sized properly for the unit. But it sounds to me like you are not delivering enough BTUs into that space, based on the degree days; which is, basically, a way of fancy way of saying how cold it gets in your part of the country. And there’s a calculation for that and if they did it correctly, we should not be having this conversation; it should be working.
    JOHN: (chuckles) OK. Alright.
    TOM: So I think that the first stop is back to the HVAC contractor that put in that furnace and ask them, “Why am I still cold?”
    LESLIE: Rosalie in New Jersey, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
    ROSALIE: Yes, I have a Baccarat vase that’s about 15 years old and over the years, from having flowers in it, the water has clouded the bottom half of the vase. I have used sand; I have used bleach; I have used vinegar and I can’t get the clouding out.

    TOM: Well, it may not be clouding at all. It might be that it etched the glass surface.

    ROSALIE: The water etched …?

    TOM: The water etched the surface. Yeah, it might be that and that’s not uncommon in an old vase like that or in windows as well. We see that quite frequently. So if you used various cleaning solutions and you can’t get that out, it might not be something that can get out. It might be that interior surface of the vase is etched and that’s why it looks that way.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s etched. Have you tried – when you’re using the vinegar are you using straight vinegar?

    ROSALIE: Yes.

    LESLIE: Have you tried heating it; like boiling that vinegar and then putting it in and then leaving it in for like a day or two?

    ROSALIE: (overlapping voices) No. No, I haven’t done that.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s worth a shot. Another thing is something called Barkeeper’s Friend …

    ROSALIE: Yes.

    LESLIE: … and you use it – have you tried it?

    ROSALIE: No, I haven’t. It’s a strange-shaped vase; the top of it is narrower.

    LESLIE: Hard to get your hand in there.

    TOM: Yeah.

    ROSALIE: Hard to get your hand in but I do have a brush.

    TOM: You have a bottle brush that can reach down in there with it?

    ROSALIE: Yes.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    ROSALIE: I will try the Barkeeper’s Friend. I also – as we’re talking, I thought about baking soda (AUDIO GAP) for a lot of things. Would you suggest me making a paste out of the vinegar and baking soda?

    TOM: No. Just – you can try vinegar and water. You can also try CLR, which …

    ROSALIE: Yes.

    TOM: … stands for calcium, lime, rust and that takes away mineral deposits. But if you’re trying all these solutions and it doesn’t come clean, just accept the fact that it may not be something that comes out and it may just be an etching on the interior of the glass that can’t come out.

    ROSALIE: Wow.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and definitely try the hot vinegar as one of your solutions.

    ROSALIE: Yes.

    LESLIE: Try the Barkeeper’s Friend; even if the CLR, another thing along those lines or Lime-A-Way but it’s the same product really.

    TOM: Good luck, Rosalie.

    ROSALIE: Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Steve in Maryland has a question about built-in cabinetry. What can we do for you?
    STEVE: Any special place to go to get some custom-made bookshelves and wall cabinets and things like that?

    TOM: That’s a very local question, Steve.

    STEVE: OK.

    TOM: In the sense that that’s something that involves the craftsmanship and handiwork of a local pro.

    STEVE: OK.

    TOM: That being said, Leslie and I, not too long ago, had needs for some very custom cabinetry for a makeover project that we were doing and we actually bought the cabinetry at IKEA …

    STEVE: Aha!

    TOM: … and then assembled it in our own way. So we were able to find a way to use stock cabinets in a very, very creative way. So sometimes, with cabinetry, you have to kind of think outside the box – no pun intended. In this case, we bought – was it 30-inch base cabinets? – 30-inch wall cabinets and we used them as base cabinets because we wanted …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, because we needed a certain depth.

    STEVE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Yeah, we wanted cabinets that were only 12-inches deep. So we bought wall cabinets and then added feet to them – sort of modified them in the field – and they became the base cabinets for like sort of like a buffet along a wall.

    STEVE: Exactly. Right, because usually the base cabinets I think are like 24 inches and the uppers are like 12.

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: You’re exactly right.

    TOM: Right. Right, but you can buy 30-inch uppers and you can also buy 36-inch uppers. So you can buy upper cabinets but mount them down on the floor level and kind of get that narrow approach.

    STEVE: Gotcha. OK, well thank you, guys.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, in this economy we’re hearing a lot about downsizing and it’s not just limited to jobs out there. Some folks are finding that they have to downsize their homes because of their downsized job. Up next, we’re going to tell you how to make a small space work for you.

    (theme song)
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call. Let us know what you are working on at your money pit.
    You know, a lot of people are thinking about downsizing or restructuring or even repositioning of their assets. And call it what you will, these are the same buzzwords that we all are hearing all around the nation at many, many companies; especially in this economy. And you know what? These words are sort of getting over to homeowners’ vocabulary as well.
    TOM: Well, smaller can be better. Homeowners are definitely choosing small spaces or trying to make the most of the small space they already own; some for financial reasons, others because they want to live in an eco-friendly way.
    Well, our next guest has some great tips and advice for downsizing. She is Libby Langdon. She’s the author of Libby Langdon’s Small Space Solutions: Secrets for Making Any Room Look Elegant and Feel Spacious on Any Budget.
    Welcome, Libby.
    LIBBY: Thank you so much. Thank you.
    TOM: Congratulations on the new book. So what are some of the challenges of working with a small space?
    LIBBY: There are so many challenges working with a small space and I would say it’s two-fold: one is how do you visually make the space look larger; and the second dilemma is how do you actually create, you know, more square footage – how do you make your space function for the way you need it to work for your lifestyle. But a lot of people sort of think, “Oh, well, small spaces; you’re living with less.” But sometimes living with less can be the ultimate luxury. And there’s something great about walking into a space that you really feel like you’re in control. There’s a place for everything but everything doesn’t have a place and it’s – I think it is absolutely a trend and not just financially; people are wanting to just pare down and simplify a little bit.
    LESLIE: Now do you think this is a trend just for maybe somebody who has a smaller space, like an apartment dweller in the city; or are you even seeing this as far as just items in somebody who’s got a larger home, say, in a suburb?
    LIBBY: I think items in larger homes and there’s a misconception that smaller spaces are only in cities or apartments but if you think, a beach bungalow house in Venice, California is a small space; or, you know, a hunting cabin in Texas can be a small space. So there really are small spaces everywhere and, in addition, I also talk to so many people that say, “Oh, I have a small guest bedroom. I need it to be an office.” So even if you are in a larger home, there’s a good chance you have a small space in there that maybe you could use in a new way.
    LESLIE: Now do you think that – well, you would know the answer to the trick; is it about finding furnishings that do double duty to work for a room of the appropriate size or is it about matching the scale of the furnishings that you put into the space itself? What’s the trick?
    LIBBY: The trick with designing a small space is to, A, find furniture that is going to serve more than one purpose. Everything has got to be double duty; no lazy furniture. (Tom chuckles) And so that’s things like ottomans that have storage inside and they have casters on them and that can act as seating; or a coffee table; things like a desk that can also double as a dining table at night; or shelving in a bedroom behind your headboard. There are all kinds of things that you can do that you can really use your space effectively.
    Another thing I encourage people to do in their small spaces is not just incorporate multi-functional furniture but think vertically. The trick is to put your walls to work for you. Kitchen cabinets, they go all the way up to the ceiling. Not only are you gaining all that storage, but by having anything go up to the ceiling in a small space, visually it draws your eye upward and it makes the ceiling seem higher and it makes your room feel larger. So that’s true for drapes that go all the way up to the ceiling; cabinetry; closets; doors; anything that can go all the way up is really, really going to help you make your space feel bigger.
    TOM: Great tip.
    We’re talking to Libby Langdon. She’s the author of Small Space Solutions, available from Globe Pequot Press.
    So Libby, what about – let’s talk a little bit about color. With a small space – I mean obviously you don’t want to go too dark – how do you use color to your advantage to make the space feel bigger?
    LIBBY: I feel so bad. So often I go into people’s small spaces and they say, “Well, I had to leave all the walls white because it’s going to look really small,” and I say, “Well, if you leave your walls white it’s not adding any square footage.” (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Right.
    LIBBY: So I really encourage people to put some color up on your walls. And I don’t say paint all four walls chocolate brown or eggplant but, visually, you could trick the eye and paint just one accent wall a really dark, rich, bold color or a color that you really love and that could be a wall that your headboard is on or a wall that your sofa is on; just one accent wall. Paint it a darker color and then leave the other three walls sort of just a soft, neutral pan or a cream. And what that does is, just by having that one dark wall, visually it can actually make the wall recede and make your space feel larger. And in addition to that, you’re adding some personality and putting a stamp on your space. And paint is a really inexpensive, quick way to announce your own personal style. So I encourage everybody, go into your paint store; make friends with a good color (Tom chuckles) and you’ll be sure to create a room you’re going to love.
    TOM: Great point. Libby Langdon, author of Small Space Solutions: Secrets for Making Any Room Look Elegant and Feel Spacious on a Budget, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    LIBBY: Thank you so much.
    TOM: If you’d like more information on Libby’s book, you can go to her website at LibbyLangdon.com.
    LESLIE: Thanks, Libby, so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    Up next, we’re going to talk recession-proof home improvements – like keeping up your curb appeal – to keep up the value of your home. We’re going to tell you how to touch-up your exterior paint surfaces, right after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Did you know that adding a Therma-Tru entryway can add as much as $24,000 to what others think your home is worth? To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And if you love the look of a mural, we’ve got a great prize for you this hour. It’s the Trace Design traceable wall mural. This is totally foolproof. You can have a gorgeous mural in just three easy steps. You simply tape this template to the wall, you trace it with a pen and you paint by number. Trace Designs offers 40 different designs through HomeDepot.com but one can be yours. It’s worth 60 bucks if you reach us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: And while we’re on the topic of paint, why not take the time to make your home’s exterior sparkle by touching up all of those exterior painted surfaces out there? To start, you need to make sure that the surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. It takes a lot of abuse outside; wear and tear from Mother Nature. So go ahead and use a solution of bleach and water or you can use trisodium phosphate – they call it TSP at the home center – or even a commercial housecleaning product like Jomax; and then grab a pressure washer. It’s a really handy tool to get the job done.
    TOM: Then next, make sure you apply an alkali-resistant primer. This is really important because primers have different qualities than house paint. They’re designed, basically, to adhere to the surface of whatever you’re painting and make sure that topcoat sticks. If you don’t use the right primer, the paint will peel off very, very quickly. Also, make sure that the topcoat flows nicely so that that finished paint job looks fantastic.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to those phones. Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: David in Iowa is dealing with a chilly situation. What’s going on over there?
    DAVID: Well, I’ve got a laminate floor at the base of my front entry door. It gets extremely cold and we did have a bad cold spell but it’s cold all the way through the winter months and cold to the point that, in some instances, when we run our humidifier, I actually get frost down at the base of the door and at the laminate floor area.

    TOM: What kind of floor is under this? Is this a basement? Is there an area that you can insulate between the floor joists?

    DAVID: There is a floor. There is a basement under it, yes, and it has insulation put all around at the plates up around – you know, above the foundation. It’s been all insulated there. It seems like it’s coming in more …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, do you have insulation – do you have insulation in between the floor joists?

    DAVID: Yes.

    TOM: Across the whole foyer area?

    DAVID: Yes, there is.

    TOM: OK. Is the door tight? Are you getting any air infiltration at the sweep, at the sill; the bottom of the door?

    DAVID: (overlapping voices) No, I am not.

    TOM: You are not. OK.

    DAVID: So, it seems to be – the worst areas are on each side of the front door where the lights are.

    TOM: Right, because that’s the least insulated area. So, you know, there’s only a couple of things you can do here and you’ve done most of them. If the door is that poorly insulated that it’s letting that kind of cold temperature in, the only thing you can do is add more heat to overcome it. Now, I don’t know if that’s the smartest thing for you to do because it’s kind of like throwing good money after bad, but if you wanted to add more heat – and one of the things that we could recommend would be an electric radiant system that goes under the laminate floor and that would keep that nice and …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And will keep that nice and warm.

    TOM: Nice and toasty and warm and you can run it on a thermostat so it only comes on when it’s super cold out. But the problem here is that you’re getting too much cold air into the front of the house; you don’t have enough heat to overwhelm it, to warm it back up, and that’s why you have this really cold floor.
    The other thing that you might want to try is just putting down a throw rug there so you don’t have to expose your feet to it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and if you’re really feeling cold air come through those sidelights on either side of the door, what if you added just a heavy drape for the winter months?

    DAVID: Well, it’s where the sidelight – not where the window area is but below the actual window area. It’s right at the base of the floor and it’s almost like there’s a cold breeze coming underneath there and I’m wondering if maybe they missed putting insulation or sealing that area where those lights went in next to the front door.

    TOM: Well, can you see underneath that area?

    DAVID: No, because the …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Why don’t you do this? Pull the insulation out and look at the box beam and the floor joist and that whole area there. You may notice some gaps where air is coming in. If you see gaps, squirt some insulating foam sealant – expandable foam sealant – in that area. That’s a really good area for an expandable foam sealant. Seal all of those gaps up; put the insulation back. If that doesn’t work, you need a new door. Your door is just not doing the job and that’s the only thing that’s going to really, really make you comfortable here.

    David, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Hey, do you want to be part of The Money Pit but you’re too shy to call in? Well, shoot us an e-mail. When we come back, we’re going to jump into our e-mail bag and answer all of your home improvement questions, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. 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: You can reach us online 24/7 at MoneyPit.com. Just click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us an e-mail question just like Patty did from Vestal, New York.
    LESLIE: Alright, Patty writes: “I have a hot air HVAC system and whenever I walk across my dining room floor I hear a rumbling noise.”
    TOM: Ah.
    LESLIE: I thought it was coming from the two windows in that room but I just had them replaced and the rattle is still there. I looked in my basement and I see that the big, metal thing is right there attached to the ceiling.”
    TOM: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) That’s the technical term; the big, metal thing.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) “What can I have done to stop this very annoying noise?”
    TOM: It sounds like a condition called oil canning, which basically means that the metal is somewhat unstable and it makes sort of that popping sound like you get if you sort of punch in the side of a metal can.
    LESLIE: Yes.
    TOM: And the way you correct that is by actually taking the ducts down and putting an additional bend in them. It’s something that an HVAC contractor can do that works with sheet metal. If you want another easy way to do it, you can take sort of an angle iron and you could attach the angle iron diagonally across the ducts and you can actually make that out of a bent-up piece of metal as well and that actually will reinforce the ducts; it will stop some of the flex that’s in that duct and that will quiet the noise, Patty.
    LESLIE: Alright, Debra in Raleigh, North Carolina writes: “What is the correct way to install plastic vapor barrier in a crawlspace?”
    TOM: Oh, a good question.
    LESLIE: Should it go up to the foundation? Should it stay several inches away from the foundation? I’m hearing conflicting advice.
    TOM: Well, you certainly don’t want to vent your vapor barrier, so you want to place it all the way up against the foundation. You want to use a very thick piece of plastic for that. Have as few seams as possible. If you have to use multiple pieces, make sure you overlap them by at least four to eight feet. Keeping that moisture from wicking up through the soil is very, very important because it stops the insulation from being damp and that makes it very, very ineffective.
    LESLIE: Alright, Debra, good luck with that project.
    TOM: Well, one of the most common questions we get on this program is, “What the heck do we do with all that paneling?” If you like the look of wood paneling but you hate the work and the expense, you can create some of that same richly-paneled look using paneled doors; a little trick of the trade that will be shared right now by Leslie in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Now this is actually a project that I came up with for an episode of While You Were Out that we shot in New Orleans and …
    TOM: So this is truly a Leslie original.
    LESLIE: It truly is and it really is a great project. It can cost less than 50 bucks, depending on the cost of the door that you find. What you want to do is find a paneled door – wood is going to be more expensive; composite is going to be far less expensive, so work within your budget – then get that door home and you want to turn it sideways so that the long end is on the floor and this creates instant wood wainscoting. It looks like beautiful, raised paneling without any of the work or expense. And you’re going to have to extend any outlets or any electrical connections that you have to allow for the door thickness because you’re going to attach this to the lower part of the wall. Remove your baseboard; door on; baseboard back on. Then what you can do, to sort of make up for that lip that’s the top of the door, is get a piece of 1×4, 1×6, whatever type of little cantilevered ledge that you would want, and attach that to the top of the door. Now you’ve got a place for photos, candles, nothing. It looks beautiful. Paint it up and you really have a beautiful, richly-detailed look right there for less.
    TOM: Well, if you like that idea you’ll find 49 more just like it in our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It’s part of our 50 Design Ideas for Less Than 50 Bucks section. Check it out right now at Amazon.com.
    Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some troubleshooting tips for a leaky water heater. Might be time for a new one. How do you know? We’re going to tell you how to figure that out, and much more, on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Helping you build big dreams.

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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.)

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