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Different Stains for Different Projects, Learn how to Reduce Lighting Costs, Maintaining Your Cooling System, and more

  • Transcript

    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: Happy to be here to help with your home improvement projects. Let us solve some of those do-it-yourself dilemmas.

    It’s a beautiful weekend where we live. We hope it is where you are, as well. But whether you’re working outside or inside or maybe you want to plan a project for next weekend, pick up the phone and give us a call. We will help you take those all-important first steps. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Now, here’s a project that actually is on my to-do list. It’s time to get outside and touch-up all of my outside woodwork. So if you’ve got railings or porches or decks and you’re planning to use some stain for that project, do you know what kind of stain is right for your project? There are many to choose from and we’ll help you sort them out, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And when it comes to your lighting, you know, simple on-and-off switches and old-fashioned light bulbs, they really just don’t cut it anymore. We are going to help you bring your lighting into the 21st century with new devices that can actually save a ton of energy and money in the process.

    TOM: Also ahead, summer is the time to kick back and enjoy all of your hard work around the house, right? Well, not a chance if you’ve not maintained your cooling system. We’re going to tell you how to get that project done before the hottest days of summer arrive.

    LESLIE: And this hour, one lucky caller who gets on the air with us is going to get a head start on a new decking project at The Home Depot with a $100 gift card.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. One caller to 888-MONEY-PIT is going to win that $100 gift card to The Home Depot, so give us a call and it could be you.

    LESLIE: Jan in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JAN: We have a – it’s a very small bathroom and they had built a tile shower in this – like the middle of the room. And I want to know if you can change the places where the shower and the toilet are, if you can just reverse them and use the existing drains.

    TOM: No, you can’t because the shower drain is about half of the size of the toilet’s drain waste/vent pipe.

    LESLIE: And it’s a gray-water line, too.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s not – well, they’re going to drain to the same place but you would have to reconfigure the plumbing. So it’s not quite that easy but not impossible. What is this bathroom built on? Is it over a crawlspace or a basement, by any chance, or is it over a slab?

    JAN: It’s on a slab.

    TOM: Very expensive project. I would think of something – other way to redecorate that bathroom and make it pleasant for you. Because switching those is a big job; you’re going to have to tear up the floor to do the plumbing.

    JAN: Oh, wow. OK. Well, I guess we’ll just leave it the way it is.

    TOM: Looking better all the time, isn’t it, Jan?

    JAN: Well, no. But I mean it is what it is.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    What were they thinking when they put the shower in the middle of the room?

    LESLIE: Views from every part of the bathroom? I’m not sure.

    TOM: That’s not a walk-up shower; it’s a walk-around shower.

    LESLIE: Bobby in North Carolina is very busily trying to remove a red-wine stain from a kitchen floor. Did you have an awesome party or just a tipsy evening?

    BOBBY: No. Well, I had a dinner party and I had a person who just actually – it had been raining outside and their shoes were a little slick and they had a glass of wine and was walking across and just slipped. Needless to say, this glass of red wine went all over our kitchen vinyl floor. And we thought we had it all cleaned up but about a day later, we saw this huge, red stain on the floor.

    TOM: Oh, wow.

    BOBBY: And we have tried OxiClean, we’ve tried a product called OOPS!, Goo Off, Clorox bleach. And nothing seems to even fade it.

    TOM: Wow. Well, unfortunately, I suspect that since it sat on that overnight, that you may have absorbed into the vinyl or it may have been – have created a reaction, an oxidation between the – in the vinyl itself, which means it’s physically turned colors.

    Sometimes, when you have a rubber mat in front of a kitchen, where you have one of those little kitchen rugs and people stand on it while they’re washing dishes and so on, you pull that up you get what looks like a stain underneath.

    BOBBY: Right.

    TOM: But it’s really not a stain; it’s a chemical reaction between the rubber that’s in the mat and the vinyl that’s in the floor. I wonder, to myself, whether that could have happened from the wine and the alcohol and the grapes that are in that wine, whether it actually physically changed the color of the vinyl, in which case there’s really no stain left; that’s the color of the vinyl. It just has changed and now it’s not pleasant anymore.

    LESLIE: Is it an area you can cover with a rug?

    BOBBY: Well, unfortunately not. And I don’t – I really hate to – in this townhouse, we’ve just moved there and I hate to have to tear up a whole floor and have it replaced. But if you were going to recommend a product to even see if it would fade it or take it up, is there something other than what I’ve used you would recommend?

    TOM: Bobby, when you tried bleach on this, did you simply just try to sort of wipe it on, wipe it off kind of a thing?

    BOBBY: I did the first time and then I actually poured some Clorox bleach in the area and just sort of let it set there for three or four minutes and then tried wiping it up. But nothing changed the color at all.

    TOM: OK. So what you might want to try to do is to dilute the bleach with water in a ratio of about one part bleach to four parts water. And then soak a towel in this. Get it nice and wet and then lay that rag with the bleach mixture in it over the stain and let it sit there for about an hour.

    BOBBY: OK.

    TOM: And let’s see if that tends to pull it out.

    BOBBY: Alright. Well, I greatly appreciate your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, has a trip down the stain aisle at the home center or hardware store maybe left you scratching your head? There are so many options, it’s hard to decide which one is best for your project. We’re going to have the lowdown on everything from transparent to solid-stain choices, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Trex, the world’s number-one, wood-alternative decking brand. Just in time to give your outdoor living space a summer upgrade, Trex Enhance Decking is available, in stock, at your local Home Depot. To learn more about the long-lasting beauty, hassle-free maintenance and industry-leading warranty of Trex Enhance, visit HomeDepot.Trex.com.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT and you could be 100 bucks closer to a new deck, courtesy of The Home Depot. Because we have a $100 gift card from Home Depot to give away to one caller this hour, which you could use to purchase the very beautiful Veranda decking, available exclusively at The Home Depot.

    It’s made of an easy-to-care-for composite material that just needs soap and water to keep it looking great all summer long. It never needs to be stained or sealed.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the Veranda Traditional decking, it comes in two different colors. So if you want to get creative, you can mix and match and you’ll get a very unique look.

    Now, one lucky caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win that $100 Home Depot gift card and get a head start on their decking project. So, give us a call for your chance to win but also check it out at HomeDepot.com. Number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Laurie in New York is on the line with a gardening situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAURIE: I have a tea-rose bush in my backyard, which attracts a lot of Japanese beetles. And I was wondering if there is something that I can do to get rid of the Japanese beetles, to save the tree.

    TOM: Well, yeah, there’s traps for that and the traps work very well. They’re usually scented or they have some sort of a chemical attractant for the beetles. And the beetles are essentially – will essentially walk into the trap, fall into a bag and that’s that.

    One company that makes them is called RESCUE! – R-E-S-C-U-E. You can go to RESCUE.com and take a look at the Japanese and Oriental Beetle Trap. I’ve used the RESCUE! products on wasps and bees and always found that they worked really, really well.

    And we’ve seen these folks at many of the trade shows that we go to and they always seem to have a very good-quality product line and they’re very serious about making sure their products work well. And I think that you’ll – that would be a good place for you to start. The RESCUE! Japanese Beetle Trap, RESCUE.com.

    LAURIE: Very good. Thank you very much. I’m going to try that as soon as I get off the phone. I will look at their website.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    John in Kentucky is on the line with a trim question. What’s going on?

    JOHN: Well, I have got a house that was built in the 70s and it had really dark, varnished trim on it. And the guy that sold me the house – I guess when he decided to put it up on the market, he just painted all the trim white. And I think he just put one coat of latex on it or something.

    The problem with it is if you brush up against it, the paint peels off of it. And I’m exaggerating a little bit but when we’re moving stuff from room to room or something like that, yeah, you just barely touch it with something and it …

    LESLIE: Probably didn’t sand it or anything.

    JOHN: Right. He just made – because real estate agents will tell you to paint everything white.

    TOM: Yeah. But it’s probably – it’s like trying to paint over Teflon, John. When you don’t – it’s too smooth and it didn’t – wasn’t going to really bite. So what you have to do is really strip it off completely. You have to take off the old paint, you have to sand down into that varnish coat a bit to rough it up. And then what you have to do is prime it.

    The primer is very important, because the primer is going to be the glue that sort of makes the paint stick. It will adhere well to the old varnish, as well to the paint, and that’s going to make the difference on giving this new paint some durability.

    JOHN: Yeah. Well, see, that’s what I don’t want to do because it’s all the trim in the house.

    TOM: Right, OK.

    JOHN: And I can’t go and sand and strip all that. So what I was hoping could be done is – if there’s like a heavy enamel paint or something that would be tougher and wouldn’t scratch off as much?

    TOM: No, because you have a layer in there that’s not adhering to the substrate which, in this case, is the original trim. So anything that you put over that is only going to be as strong as the first layer that was on it and that’s not sticking. So I would not make the problem worse by putting another paint on top of that. It’s just not going to work.

    JOHN: OK. Thank you for your help.

    LESLIE: Well, a perfectly good, do-it-yourself wood project can go horribly wrong if you pick the wrong kind of stain to finish off your hard work. We’ve got some tips on how to choose the right stain, presented by Flood, the wood-care specialists.

    TOM: Now, first to consider is solid stain. Now, that’s often confused with paint. But the difference is solid stain doesn’t have a sheen like the paint does. And it can add a lot of color to your project and that color will last for a long, long time.

    You often see it used on exterior trim or fences. In fact, I used solid stain on a fence at my money pit and it’s lasted for over 10 years. I’m actually just about ready to replace the fence now, not because the stain failed but because the bugs just got to the fence after a decade. So, it does offer a lot of protection from the elements but it will hide some of the wood’s natural beauty. You won’t see as much of the grain showing through.

    LESLIE: Now, your next choice is a super-popular choice. It’s called “semi-transparent.” And as the name suggests, you can actually see the wood grain through it. It does add some light color to the wood, usually in a natural wood tone. But truly, it’s available in a ton of colors and it’s designed to accent the grain and the natural beauty of your wood project.

    Then there’s transparent or just weatherproofing. Now, this isn’t going to add any color at all to your wood. You’re going to see all the natural beauty of the wood, yet it’s going to be protected from the elements, which is really what you want.

    TOM: And so, now, you’re armed with the right info the next time you head down the stain aisle.

    Be sure to look for Flood products. They make staining easy and if you go to Flood.com, you can find a project guide that can help walk you through choosing the right kind of stain you need. Check it out at Flood.com.

    LESLIE: Ollie (sp) in South Carolina has a painting and design question. What can we do for you?

    OLLIE (sp): I’ve got paneling. I don’t know if it’s laminated paneling or not but it’s got little grooves in it all the way down and it’s darker than the other paneling itself. And I wanted to paint it. Do I have to do something to fill it in – lines or cracks or what you want to call it?

    LESLIE: Now, the lines that you’re talking about, those are like the beading. It’s like a decorative feature; it’s supposed to be there. Is that what we’re talking about?

    OLLIE (sp): Yeah.

    LESLIE: OK. You don’t want to fill that in only because if you try to fill it in with joint compound or wood filler, it’s just going to dry out, crack, detach. It’s never going to last.

    So you kind of have to think about it. Can you embrace the look of the paneling, as far as a core element, but paint it a different color and love that vertical lining? Or do you just hate that so much that you want to sort of try to remove it or cover it up?

    OLLIE (sp): No, I’d like to leave it if it would make a nice design, you know?

    LESLIE: I personally like it. I think painted paneling can be very lovely in the right type of space with the right type of décor and if you choose a good color. Now, the fact that you don’t know whether it’s wood or laminate, that could be a little bit of a concern only because we want to make sure that you have good adhesion.

    So if the finish on the paneling right now is a little bit glossy or has a shine to it, you want to use a product like a liquid sander. And that’s something that you just wipe on and it sort of abrades the surface.

    First, I’d give it a good cleaning, then I’d lightly abrade it with a liquid sander. Then I would prime it and I would prime it well with a good-quality primer. And then once that’s done, I would paint it. And I really enjoy the look of a paneling that’s in a glossy white. But I think if you go with a neutral color and try not to get crazy and just sort of let it be a neutral background with a decorative detail in it, I think it’ll be great.

    OLLIE (sp): I think it would look nice. But thank you. You have a good day.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Randy in Wisconsin has got a roof-mold question. What can we do for you today?

    RANDY: Well, I was just wondering, I heard on a previous show that if you put a copper strip up at the top of your asphalt shingles, it will help eliminate moss, mold and mildew.

    TOM: That’s correct.

    RANDY: I was wondering if a bare copper wire would do the same thing.

    TOM: Now, probably not enough copper there. What you want is a piece of copper flashing; that’s the easiest thing to find. You can probably find it at a roofing supply house.

    But here’s the thing: there are other things that you can do to avoid the buildup of the algae on your roof. First of all, if your roof is very shaded, you can cut back some trees, let a little more natural sunlight get in, yeah, just to kind of thin out those trees so the sun gets through. That will help.

    Secondly, you can put a product on called Wet & Forget, which is really easy to do. You mix the solution up and you spray it on the roof and you let it sit there. And it activates with the sunshine and then it will kill the moss and stuff that’s stuck up there.

    Then the last thing is you can add that copper strip to the top of the roof. And the reason you do that is because when it rains, the copper releases some of its minerals and that actually acts as a mildicide.

    RANDY: OK. Alrighty. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Michigan where Roger has got a door problem. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    ROGER: Yeah, I have a mid-70s, ranch-style house. It has all maple doors on the interior. And we’re just putting paint on here for the first time. It’s been white all along and I’m putting color into it and these doors just don’t look right. And I wondered what kind of alternative I have to making them look different, besides swapping them out for six panels or whatever and exchanging it all out. But I don’t want to go to that expense.

    TOM: OK. So the doors are wood doors. And have they ever been painted before or are they finished clear?

    ROGER: No, they’re finished, though, with maple – they’re maple-pressed doors or whatever or – I don’t know what they called them back then but …

    TOM: And so you say they don’t look right against the painted walls? Is that your concern?

    ROGER: They might to somebody but I just – I’m doing the trim in bright white and it just doesn’t look right with the colors on the walls and everything.

    TOM: Typically, you would not do the trim; the trim would be natural, as well.

    ROGER: Well, it would have been, yeah, but that’s not how the house was originated. Yeah, that would be a way to do it is just change out the trim but that’s not …

    TOM: Well, that’s a lot less work than changing out the doors. And you would have a lot of options if you were to change out the trim.

    So, it may not look right to you because you have painted trim and you have a clear-finish door. But if the trim is really the missing perimeter to this that’s going to frame it all in there nicely, why don’t – you could do this. Why don’t you go pick up a couple of pieces of trim and lightly tack them around the door, without even taking off the old stuff. Just kind of stick it up there, step back, take a look at it and see if it starts to make more sense to you visually.

    ROGER: That’s a good idea.

    TOM: Alright? Take small steps that way.

    And the other thing to keep in mind when you’re doing a project like this, just remember once you paint, it’s going to look different. So that’s going to take a certain amount of getting used to.

    ROGER: You’re right about that, also.

    TOM: Alright? So I would go out and pick up some trim, tack it up there, see how it looks. Maybe try a complimentary color? You could do a two-tone, something like that. And see if that does the trick for you, OK?

    ROGER: That’s a good idea.

    TOM: And good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead, we have simple, inexpensive changes for lighting that can add pizzazz, on a budget, to your home.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Flood. Know how to open a can of wood stain? If it’s Flood Wood Stain, you’ve already mastered the hardest part. From the first board you brush to the last, Flood products make it surprisingly simple to protect and beautify your deck, fence and more. Find a retailer at Flood.com.

    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.

    Well, you probably don’t think very often about the lighting in your home but it can be a big drain on energy and your wallet. For example, how many times have you – alright, maybe not you – your kids left the light on in an empty room for hours?

    TOM: Well, there is a very easy, spring do-it-yourself project that you can do right away and it will start delivering energy savings and money savings immediately. Here to tell us about that is Melissa Andresko from Lutron.

    Welcome, Melissa.

    MELISSA: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, let’s talk about sensors and dimmers, two electrical switches that you guys make that really do a terrific job both improving the ambiance of our homes – by giving us some really good, lighting-décor options – but more importantly, they save us a lot of energy dollars. So why don’t we start by talking about sensors? How do sensors work?

    MELISSA: So, an occupancy/vacancy sensor is probably not something that’s super-familiar to your listeners but you may have come across them at your workplace. A lot of times, you’ll see them in restrooms. And when you walk into the space, the light goes on. It will stay on while you’re in there and then once the room is vacant, it will shut the light off. So, no more wasting energy throughout the day in spaces that may only be occupied for a few minutes at a time.

    LESLIE: Now, that’s really great. I mean it is a huge energy sucker, if you will, to leave all those lights on. But have you guys calculated exactly how much energy you could save, say, per room if you’ve – if you’re now turning off those lights?

    MELISSA: We estimate that in the home, an occupancy/vacancy sensor will typically save you around $10 per year per sensor.

    And great places in the home would be like the laundry room, for example. You’re walking in, you’ve got your arms full with your basket of clothes or maybe you come into your mud room and your hands are full with groceries or you’re carrying the children or whatever. And turning the light on is a bit of a chore. Or maybe it’s a room where kids are always leaving lights on. How many parents out there are always shouting at their kids, “Who left the lights on?”

    And it happens everywhere. Kids are always forgetting to turn the lights off and a sensor is going to take all that worry out of it and turn the lights off for you.

    TOM: Melissa, we’re talking about something that you’ve called an “occupancy/vacancy sensor.” So, I know that there are two ways to program this sensor. Can you talk about – we’ve talked about occupancy, so obviously you go in, the motion is detected, lights come on. But what does a vacancy setting mean?

    MELISSA: When you have your sensor in vacancy mode, it means that when you walk into the space, you have to physically turn the light on yourself. So it’s a – you’re turning the light on but then the sensor will turn the light off.

    And the best application I can give you for that is a room where you have a pet. So let’s say you put a sensor in your family room and a dog or a cat happens to be passing through that room several times a day. Well, the dog or cat probably doesn’t need light and it would continuously be turning the lights on throughout the day. If you put it in the vacancy mode, you would have to have a pretty smart dog or cat because he or she would have to be turning those lights on from the switch. So it’s a great application for rooms where pets are crossing through or in some states, like California, sensors are required to be in what’s called “vacancy mode.” So, depending on where you live in the country, the codes are going to be different, as well.

    LESLIE: Now, Lutron is the genius behind the dimmer. I mean you guys invented the dimmer, correct?

    MELISSA: That’s correct. Joel Spira introduced dimming to the home.

    LESLIE: It’s really – what a fantastic concept because everybody knows that lights in full force are not always a necessity and usually aren’t the most flattering, let’s be honest, and truly can help set the mood. So the option to be able to control the intensity and the comfort level of lighting is fantastic.

    Now, have you guys gone so far as to introduce a sensor/dimmer combo? Because that seems ideal.

    MELISSA: We just introduced the new Maestro Sensor Dimmer that not only is it going to be a sensor but to your point, it acts as a dimmer, as well. And the dimmer is actually going to work with all of the newest light-bulb technology. So, not only can I dim my traditional incandescent and halogen light bulbs but I can now also use that dimmer on a variety of dimmable LED bulbs and dimmable CFLs.

    So, what we’re hearing so many people say is: “I want it to be as energy-efficient as possible,” “I switched to a CFL,” or “I switched to an LED but I hated giving up dimming.” Because, historically, you haven’t been able to dim those bulbs very well, really, until Lutron introduced what we call C•L technology.

    And we’ve tested thousands of light bulbs that are on the market and have really tuned this technology so that it’s going to work with the widest variety of light bulbs out there on the market. So, we’re giving people the best of both worlds: the energy savings from the bulb and then also being even more energy-efficient and green, if you will, through the use of a dimmer and a sensor.

    TOM: Also, you’ve got a sort of a 24-7 tech-support system/help set up so that consumers can actually call a technician if they have a question, right?

    MELISSA: That’s right. And let’s face it: electrical work can be a little bit intimidating to the average homeowner. It’s something that you really can’t afford to make any missteps. So, we want to help the consumer through every step of the process. And not only do we have our 24-7 hotline and customer-service line on all of our in-store displays but it’s also on our website.

    And to your point, if you purchase a dimmer, you get it home, you have questions along the way, our tech-support line is open 24-7. It is free of charge, it’s U.S.-based and they will actually stay on the phone with you and talk you through whatever challenges you’re having or if you’re a little unsure about wire colors. They’ll actually, you know, walk you through the steps and stay on with you until you’ve got everything up and running.

    So, we really are committed to helping people overcome that fear and realize that, hey, as long as you turn off that power, it’s going to take you one tool – a screwdriver – and about 15 to 20 minutes of your time. And I’ve got to tell you, once you do one and you overcome that fear or that intimidation, you’re going to change out every one in your house because it’s a great feeling. You see how easy it is to do and like I said, we’re helping people every step of the say, so …

    TOM: Great service, great product, great company. The product is called the Maestro C•L Occupancy Sensor Dimmer. You can learn more about that product at LutronSensors.com. That’s LutronSensors.com.

    Melissa Andresko from Lutron, thanks so much for being a part of The Money Pit.

    MELISSA: Thanks, Tom and Leslie.

    LESLIE: Well, you might be ready for summer but is your cooling system? We’re going to tell you how to prep it, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Trex, the world’s number-one, wood-alternative decking brand. Just in time to give your outdoor living space a summer upgrade, Trex Enhance Decking is available, in stock, at your local Home Depot. To learn more about the long-lasting beauty, hassle-free maintenance and industry-leading warranty of Trex Enhance, visit HomeDepot.Trex.com.

    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 at 888-MONEY-PIT. One lucky caller this hour is going to win a $100 gift card from The Home Depot.

    Now, you can use that to get a head start on a beautiful, new Veranda deck. And of course, Veranda is a composite decking material, which is going to offer you the beauty of wood without the drawbacks of shrinking and rotting and decaying or termites.

    TOM: And not to mention the constant hassle of painting or staining. Veranda’s two different lines come with either a 15- or a 20-year warranty on an array of finishes. See them all at HomeDepot.com.

    Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you’ll get a chance to win a $100 gift card from The Home Depot, which you can use to get a head start on that decking project.

    LESLIE: Martha in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    MARTHA: I had thrown rugs on my kitchen and bathroom floor. And the backing had turned yellow from being washed so many times. And the yellow from the backing went onto the linoleum and I cannot get it off.

    TOM: It did. Yeah. And you know why, Martha?

    MARTHA: Why?

    TOM: Because the yellow didn’t go from the throw rug to the linoleum. When you put a rubber-backed throw rug on linoleum, you get a chemical reaction called “oxidation” that physically changes the color of both products.

    MARTHA: Oh.

    TOM: And so what you have is a stained – a permanently-stained floor. You’re not going to be able to clean it; you have to replace it. And when you buy new linoleum, some of the manufacturers even warn you about this, because so many of us like those rubber-backed throw rugs as a place to stand on near the sink and whatnot.

    LESLIE: And you’re not going to go slipping and sliding.

    MARTHA: Yeah.

    TOM: Exactly. But it’s really bad for that kind of floor.

    MARTHA: I see. OK. I guess I’m stuck.

    LESLIE: Well, you can always get a bigger rug.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. To cover the stain.

    MARTHA: Yeah, OK.

    TOM: Martha, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time now for our Project of the Week, presented by Sakrete.

    To you, summer may mean kicking back and enjoying yourself. Well, your air conditioner doesn’t really see it that way. Cooling systems, they need annual maintenance to keep them running efficiently and now really is the time to get that done before those crazy hot days of summer actually set in.

    Now, after the technician has serviced your system, you want to be sure to keep your A/C filters changed regularly. Because a dirty filter is going to slow down airflow and it’s going to waste energy and it’s going to make that system work much harder than it really needs to.

    TOM: Next, you want to think about adding a programmable thermostat and then set it to match your away-from-home schedule so you can save around $180 a year.

    And also, did you know that 20 percent of cool air escapes through poorly-sealed and insulated ductwork? I think that this is one of the best-kept secrets of energy efficiency. If you just seal your ducts – the ducts that run through the attic, the crawlspace, the garage, the unheated basement. If you seal them with duct sealant or metal-backed tape – never duct tape, by the way, because it just doesn’t have the required staying power, contrary to the name. It will just heat up, dry out and fall off.

    But if you use the metal-backed tape or duct sealant, you can seal all the seams, the connections, and that will actually cut your savings considerably because it will stop that 20 percent of cool air – and warm air in the winter, by the way – from escaping through the duct system.

    LESLIE: And that’s your Project of the Week, presented by our friends at Sakrete. If you’re looking for a wide range of products for any concrete, stucco or masonry job that you might be working on, check out their website, Sakrete.com.

    TOM: That’s Sakrete – S-a-k-r-e-t-e – .com.

    LESLIE: Ron in Kentucky is dealing with some ants. Tell us about the problem. And it’s not like your mom’s sister, right?

    RON: No. No, I’ve got problems with ants, like on my kitchen counter and I just can’t get rid of them. I’ve tried spray, I’ve tried the little ant baits and I just can’t get rid of them.

    TOM: Do you want a natural solution or a nuclear solution?

    RON: Whatever works. I’m open for suggestion.

    TOM: Well, first of all, on the natural side, you can do something like, for example, planting mint around your foundation perimeter is a pretty big ant-deterrent. And mint grows really quickly and it smells nice and the ants hate it. So, that’s something that will deter ants from coming in.

    Once they get into the countertop, what’s good for that? Bay leaves, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Bay leaves, yeah. You can take little canisters of bay leaves and just sort of place them just loosely in pots around your countertop. Or if they’re coming in through a windowsill, you can even crush up some of the – in a spice section, bay leaves, the dried ones. Crush them up and drape that – some of – across your windowsill. For some reason, they hate that, as well.

    TOM: Now, if you want a pesticide that can take care of ants, there’s a number of them that are out there that are non-detectable, in the sense that once they’re applied to, usually, the foundation perimeter, the ants will walk through them and get the insecticide on the ant. And since they’re social insects, they take them back to the colony, pass it to the rest of the ants and that wipes them out. And that’s something that would have to be applied, though, by a pro.

    And that said, they’re very effective, so I always recommend pros over do-it-yourself pesticides, because I think that people tend to over-apply the do-it-yourself pesticides and actually give themselves more exposure to those chemicals than they would – that they would have had if they had a pro do it from the get-go. Does that make sense?

    RON: OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Ron. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, even if it’s your trash. You can recycle it into some beautiful, useable pieces. Leslie will have the details on how to do just that, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by DeWALT. DeWALT’s new rugged and innovative line of mechanics tools are so tough, DeWALT is proud to back them with a full lifetime warranty. When there’s a tough job to get done, rely on a trusted name. Rely on DeWALT. Available at Sears. For more information, visit DeWALT.com.

    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 one of the most popular topics that we are asked about here on The Money Pit is flooring. So if you’re looking for some advice on flooring options, head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got tips on green flooring, mildew-resistant flooring, kid-proof flooring, you name it. Just use that search tab towards the top of the page. You’ll find everything you need on MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And of course, you can post a question in the Community section, just like Mindy from Virginia did who writes: “I’m trying to go all natural and looking for some attractive plants to put on my deck that will naturally repel mosquitoes. Any tips?”

    TOM: Well, you know, first of all, you can actually grow citronella in pots. It’s also known as West Indian lemongrass. It’s pretty and it looks kind of like a tall grass. And it’s got that great citronella odor.

    Another option are cascading geraniums. They do repel bugs, they’re pretty and they smell great, as well.

    LESLIE: Now, here is another interesting idea: catnip. In addition to making your cats cuckoo-bananas, it actually repels mosquitoes very well and it’s really pretty. However, if you’ve got some cats or some stray cats in the neighborhood, beware; they’re going to be having a party in your backyard.

    TOM: Well, the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – are the key to a green lifestyle. Leslie has tips to help with one green, table-building project that delivers all three, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, this is truly about repurposing. And I have to tell you that this concept sort of goes back to my set design and styling days. And it really is one of the greatest tricks of the trade to just turn unusual items that maybe you’ve got lying around the house into functional and really good-looking side tables.

    Now, the key is it has to be a side table or an accent table. Unless you’re going with something more substantial, it’s not going to be something that you’re going to make into a coffee table.

    Now, think about these ideas: rain drums, vintage wire baskets, old suitcases stacked up, even musical instruments. These will all work very, very well if you get creative and turn them into a side table.

    Now, the old suitcases, you just stack them up. Go for ones that sort of mix and match. Go for sort of varied widths and sizes so maybe they get more narrow as they go to the top. But you want to make sure that you have a functional work surface when you do get to that top layer.

    If you find a really cool musical instrument, if it’s like a snare drum or something, that’s got a cool base itself and you might just want to use that base and then put maybe a wood disc or a piece of glass to make that top without the piece of the drum or just turn one of the high hats upside down and make that the base and then put glass on top of that.

    If you’re going for more of like – is it a tuba or a French horn I’m thinking? You’ll have to get a little creative and build a base with sort of a pipe or a stem that comes up behind the instrument itself, so that becomes the focal point of the sort of stand or legs of the table and then glass or wood on top. So think creatively.

    Now, here’s a really easy one. You know those ceramic garden stools? You see them everywhere. You see them at high-end design stores, you see them at discount shops. Prices vary from 25 bucks to over $200. Grab one of those and you can put them as a side table in your outdoor porch area or in your bathroom, with a beautiful orchid or some rolled-up towels. These are sort of standard, easy-to-go pieces. They come in a variety of colors, so it’s a great way to get this season’s hottest hue of greens or teals into your space without spending a ton of money.

    The whole trick here is be creative, shop at excellent secondhand sources or even just in your own garage, attic or basement and you’ll actually be surprised at how much style you can find for very little bucks.

    TOM: And speaking of green home improvement projects, you don’t need to replace your windows if a sash cord breaks. We’re going to tell you how to repair that, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2013 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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