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    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: We’re here to help you tackle those spring home improvement projects, perhaps get those spring cleaning projects done. Help yourself first: pick up the phone, let’s talk, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Send your questions to @MoneyPit on Twitter or post them online at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    Coming up on this program, would you like a new look for any room in your house? Well, one way to accomplish that is by changing up the lighting. We’ve got a tip on how to install pendant lights for an easy DIY update.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s gone from a functional part of every kitchen to a fashion statement. We’re talking about your backsplash. You want to know what trendsetting backsplash materials are turning up in kitchens everywhere? Stay tuned to find out how mirrors, concrete and even wood are being used in kitchens.

    TOM: And this hour, we’re giving away a set of My Paint Saint kits. These are an ingenious way to store extra paint so touchups are a breeze.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It’s a really cool product. It’s almost like a large version of a nail polish and the brush is included in the lid and everything.

    TOM: It’s a prize worth 45 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random from those that we speak to on today’s show. So make that you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ann in Florida needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?

    ANN: I’m going to rip up my carpet. I have concrete underneath and I want to put down the ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. And are you familiar with the product?

    LESLIE: I am, very much so. I’ve actually used it on several projects.

    ANN: Oh. And my question was, also: should I wait and not do it right away? That they’re going to even have better-looking – the wood look? I was told that it’s supposed to get even better.

    LESLIE: I imagine that with all things, when you wait things get better. But wood-grain tile has actually been quite popular for probably four or five years now, so I’ve seen it greatly improve. Depending on how much you want to spend on it – and I’m not sure what manufacturers you’ve looked at but a good price point is a manufacturer called Daltile: D-a-l – tile. And they’re sold through tile stores, so it’s – you can call Daltile and take a look.

    And they have one line called Yacht Club, which is fairly new for them. And it’s like a 6-inch by 24-inch wood plank but it’s a ceramic tile. It comes in a couple of different colors. I think it lays really nicely. It has a good texture of wood and it comes in some color palettes that I think are very realistic. And the way it fits together, it looks as if it were a real wood …

    TOM: A lot like wood, yeah.

    LESLIE: Yeah, like a wood floor. It doesn’t have a big grout line. They have another one in their line called Timber Glen and that’s a really big plank. But the way it pieces together, you see a lot of a grout line, so that kind of looks weird. Not as realistic wood, as you might expect.

    So if you do go with a wood-look tile that does have a predominant grout line, I would choose a grout that’s similar in color to the tile.

    ANN: Uh-huh. I’ve seen the tile where the tile is like wood planks.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what this looks like; it looks like wood planks. And I will caution you, though, that you’re talking about – any tile that’s 24 inches long in one direction like this is going to need an extraordinary amount of support underneath it.

    So you have to be very careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to prepping the floor before the tile is laid. If there’s any flex or bend or unevenness in that floor, eventually this tile is going to crack. You don’t want that to happen, so you want to make sure that the floor is properly supported to take a bigger – big tile.

    You know, when we used to have mosaics years ago, it didn’t really matter if the floors were flexible, so to speak, or not because there was a joint every 1 inch in a mosaic tile. But a 24-inch-long tile, that’s not going to bend; it’s going to break. So you want to make sure the floor is really strong before you do that installation, OK?

    ANN: Yes. OK. Great.

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

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

    MIKE: Hi. Yes, I was wondering – I’ve got a maple tree that’s growing right near my concrete driveway. And it’s starting to actually crack the driveway. I like the tree. It provides a nice shade for the house and keeps it cool during the summertime, so I was just wondering if I have any other options besides taking it down.

    TOM: Well, do you like the driveway?

    MIKE: It’s cracked, so I’d like to repair it. And I guess another question would be: if I do repair it, then how much rebar or how thick should it be in order to prevent a cracking in the future?

    TOM: Well, the options would be: take the tree down, which you don’t want to do; replace the driveway with one that can grow with the tree, like stone – like a stone driveway. Now, if you want to try to set up a scenario where it’s driveway versus tree then, yes, you would have to use some sort of reinforced concrete. But eventually, if that tree wants to lift it, it will lift even the reinforced concrete; it’ll lift the entire slab. It just won’t crack it.

    Now, it could take many years for that to happen but I think those are your options: get rid of the tree; replace the driveway with something like stone, which is going to give you some room to grow, so to speak, with that tree; or if you do replace the driveway with concrete, you’re going to have to reinforce the heck out of it.

    MIKE: Suggestion on the thickness of the concrete? How much?

    TOM: Probably about 5 inches minimum – 5 to 6 inches, I would think – and with woven wire mesh throughout the entire thing.

    MIKE: Alright. Thank you.

    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. We’re here for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still to come, get light where you need it and add interest to any room with pendant lighting. We’ll have advice on styles and installation, when The Money Pit continues after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will give you the answer to your home improvement or home décor dilemma, plus a chance at winning a great décor product. It’s called My Paint Saint. It helps you make touchups a breeze because it provides the paintbrush and the can in one. You can store extra paint for quick and easy projects or touchups. And what I love is that the brush is built right into the lid, it’s airtight and it will keep that paint for a long, long time. So when your kids bang into the wall and they leave a nice, dark, marring jar, grab that Paint Saint, touch it up and you’re good to go.

    Worth 40 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading on over to Michigan where Terry has a water-heater question. What’s going on at your money pit?

    TERRY: I was wanting to know if $800 is a reasonable amount of money to pay to have a hot-water tank replaced. But actually, the tank was free and the labor was free and the plumber said that you need to pay $800 for parts only to replace a hot-water tank.

    TOM: So, he’s saying the labor is free but the water heater is 800 bucks? Is it a regular, standard, gas-fired water heater?

    TERRY: The water heater itself was also free because it was a warranty item.

    TOM: That sounds pretty ridiculous for a warranty repair. If the labor is free, then he was already paid for a good portion of the work it took to take the tank out. Now, if he had to add an additional part – I don’t quite understand his explanation. But if he had to add something additional or re-plumb something, I mean $800 is a bit of a crazy price for a little bit of additional plumbing work, considering he was paid for the bulk of the project through the warranty. That sounds like you’re getting gouged.

    TERRY: Right. We’ve already contacted the warranty company and the plumber, as well.

    TOM: Yep. Right.

    TERRY: And the warranty company says, “Contact the plumber.” The plumber says, “Contact the warranty company.” Do we really have any recourse at all to try and recoup some of that money?

    TOM: So you’ve already paid this?

    TERRY: Correct.

    TOM: Well, unfortunately, what I think you’re going to have to do is take them to small-claims court. And I would take both of them to small-claims court. Both. Because then they’ll fight it out amongst themselves, because it’s going to be more expensive to defend it than it is to settle it with you.

    TERRY: OK. Well, I thank you very much for taking the time to give me a call back.

    LESLIE: Richard in Ohio is living in a pretty drafty house. Join the club. Tell me what’s going on.

    RICHARD: Insulation contractor came and blew cellulose insulation in the walls. Left a lot of voids in it, which caused forced drafts. I had infrared-camera work done and the floors are like 31 degrees and about 45 degrees waist-high. And I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on here or what to do about it. However, I found a physics teacher that restores old homes. She told me that if you leave a void in an insulation – insulated wall- it will cause a forced draft. [Be creating] (ph) quite a few forced drafts in here.

    TOM: Well, maybe, maybe not but here’s the thing. First of all, you had blown-in insulation done and you followed that up with an infrared-camera inspection. I’m guessing you didn’t do that right after the installer was done, correct? You did this later on to try to figure out why it was still cold in the house?

    RICHARD: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s very difficult to install blown-in insulation in a wall and do it correctly, so we’ve heard this before. The best installers will take a long time to make sure it gets in just right. They put in just the right amount and they knew how to get it in every bay and then they use an infrared camera to figure out if they’ve missed anything. So it sounds to me like now we’ve got a real mess in the outside wall. We don’t know what’s insulated, what’s not insulated.

    Let’s set that aside for right now and cover two other very important basics. Number one is the attic. You want to make sure that you have enough insulation in your attic because if you can trap the heat from escaping from the attic, which is where most of the heat leaves the house, you may find that it’s going to make you more comfortable.

    In the attics of Ohio, where you’re located, you’re going to need at least 15 to 20 inches of fiberglass insulation. Most people don’t have that much. But that is what the Department of Energy would recommend. So if you don’t have that much insulation, the first thing I want you to do is add insulation to your attic.

    The second thing – you mentioned you’re on a crawlspace. Your floor has got to be insulated. Again, unfaced fiberglass batts. If it’s a standard 2×10 floor joist, you want to fill that up with a full 10 inches of insulation. If you can insulate the floor and the attic – two areas that are accessible and easy to access – you’re kind of halfway there.

    Now, what are we going to do about the exterior wall? Well, short of taking it apart, we’re not going to easily solve this problem with a blown-in. If you had an insulation company that could work with the camera and add additional blown-in, they might be able to fill it in. But that’s going to be expensive and I don’t know that you’re going to get a good return on investment.

    So what I would suggest you do is everything else that you can do to stop the drafts. So that means sealing around windows and doors and outlets and light switches, especially, to make sure that we get as many of those gaps closed as possible.

    And then from a decorating perspective, very often – Leslie, you jump right in because I’ve heard you recommend heavy drapes over these windows, too, to try to short-circuit those drafts that are sort of falling around the windows.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you can do it sort of two-fold. You know, we have drafty windows. Unfortunately, the previous owners installed not the greatest of windows and they were poorly installed. So, short of doing a major project here, I’ve gotten creative. I’ve done a sort of double-lined fabric shade that’s up against the glass portion of the window itself. And I’ll draw those down during the colder times. And then I have a heavier drape that I use in the winter, as well, that’s lined that I will just close up to make sure that I’m keeping those drafts out.

    Also, if you’ve got baseboard heating in that room, you want to make sure that nothing is blocking those baseboards. Your furniture – you’ve got to pull away from the walls. Think about giving it some air, just sort of circulate the heat around the room a little bit better. But really, heavy fabrics, heavy draperies, that really does make a huge difference.

    TOM: Richard, I hope that advice helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, pendant lights are a popular choice these days and for good reason. They’re sleek and they can add style and drama to your lighting. And if you’re just swapping out an old fixture, this can be an electrical project that you can do yourself. But if your existing wires are brittle or you need to run extra electricity to maybe a new spot, it’s best to call an electrician.

    TOM: Yep. Now, the cool thing about pendant lighting is that it’s suspended from the ceiling and it kind of brings the light down to sort of exactly where you need it. There’s a lot of variety in the shapes and sizes and styles. I mean anything from the 4-inch-diameter mini cylinders to massive 30-inch domes can be pendant lights.

    LESLIE: Yeah. They’re also really affordable. Now a 4-inch, colored-glass mini pendant from your local home center starts at about 25 bucks. You can use them to light up a workspace, maybe your kitchen-island prep area or a desk in a home office. And they can also cast a warm glow in a dining room or an entryway.

    TOM: And when it comes to the switch, dimmers are very popular for pendants. You can adjust the light in the evening and create some very attractive patterns. It’s especially cool when you have folks visiting because we know everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen, right?

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Amy in Iowa is on the line with a question about a dirt basement. Tell us what’s going on.

    AMY: Hi. I recently have purchased an old farmhouse and in the basement, it has a dirt floor. And I was wondering if I should lay concrete on it or if I can lay that thick plastic and put gravel on top to help with the radon and try to keep some of the heat in there.

    TOM: Do you know that you have a radon problem?

    AMY: Well, I don’t. They talk about it in Iowa being an issue. And with it being a dirt floor, I didn’t know if that was something I should have tested first or go ahead and just leave the plastic and the rock and be …

    TOM: I would definitely test because you don’t know what you’re dealing with. You may have to put stone down and then put a concrete floor and then do a ventilation system where you draw the gas up off from underneath the concrete. So, the first thing you have to do is test.

    So, do it yourself or hire somebody. And do it right. The testing has to be done under closed building conditions with all the windows and doors closed, except for normal exit and entry. And find out what you’re dealing with and then you can take the appropriate steps after that. But don’t just put it down thinking that if you have a radon problem, it’s going to solve it. Because frankly, it may not.

    AMY: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Tim in Virginia is dealing with some stuck windows. Tell us what’s going on.

    TIM: I run into an issue a lot of times, with some of the older homes that I have, with the windows. For some reason, they are painted shut or nailed shut. But I’d like to know how I can resolve that, as well as some of these windows being dual-pane windows with condensation already in them. Next to replacing them, what can I do to resolve that problem?

    TOM: Alright. Two separate issues. First of all, I presume we’re talking about old, wood windows being painted shut? Is that correct?

    TIM: That is correct.

    TOM: You’re going to need three things. You’re going to need a putty knife, a wood block and a hammer.

    Here’s what you do. First of all, you take the putty knife and you run it in between the wood window sash and the frame, all the way around, as many places as you can. Wherever you can get that in there, wiggle it in there, that will free it up.

    And you take the block of wood and from the inside, you put it on top of the sash and you take the hammer and you take a – make a quick rap. We’re actually driving the window down, as if you’re trying to close it more. Do that on both sides, on both ends. And what that quick rap does is it tends to break the paint seam that’s sticking it to the sides. So if you run the putty knife around and you take the block of wood, give it a quick rap downward, that should free up the bottom sash.

    A lot of people try to get their hands under the window and push up. That tends to pull the wood frame of the window apart. But if you give it a shot down, which is somewhat counterintuitive, that works very well.

    Now, as far as the windows that you’re dealing with that are thermal-pane and the seals are failed, can’t do anything about that. When they’re failed, they’re failed. And those windows would have to be replaced if you want them to be clear again.

    TIM: OK, OK. Alright. I will certainly put that to use probably within the next week or so with the new unit that I just purchased. Thank you so very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lynn in Colorado who’s got a tricky, leaky shower. Let’s see if we can help her find it.

    LYNN: I had a plumber come out once and he said that the pipe and the bottom where it comes out of the shower doesn’t always hook up right. So he siliconed it and it didn’t leak but now, once in a while, it’s leaking again. Of course, it’s upstairs so I see it on the ceiling. And I’m wondering, is there some kind of a liner you can put down the pipe, like they do for sewage lines that go out?

    TOM: You talking about the supply pipes or are you talking about the shower stall?

    LYNN: I’m talking about the stall – the drain pipe.

    TOM: Do you have – is it a tile shower pan or is it like a plastic shower?

    LYNN: Yeah, it’s one of the insert ones.

    TOM: Those pans can develop cracks in them and you have to figure out where that crack is. One way to try to figure out at least how high on the pan the crack is is if you block the drain of the pan and fill it up with water and see if it leaks. If it doesn’t leak, then the pan’s fine. Then the next thing you have to do is move up with your sort of analysis and now you’re going to get into the seams of it.

    If you’ve got existing caulk, what I would recommend, as a first step, is to remove that caulk using caulk softener. And that’ll allow you to strip out everything that’s there and start clean with some new, good-quality bathroom caulk that’s got a mildicide built into it. And I would just caulk very carefully every single seam and also around all the pipes and the faucets and the fixtures, where they come through. Because, sometimes, you get direct leaks where water fills up in the pan and leaks. And a lot of times, though, with showers, you’ll get leaks when the water bounces off your body, hits one of those seams, works its way in behind the wall and down.

    So, I would take out the existing caulk, recaulk it and check the shower pan for leaks. And somewhere in that analysis, you’ll probably figure out what’s going on.

    LYNN: OK.

    LESLIE: Still to come, the latest looks for your kitchen backsplash, including concrete and wood flooring. It sounds strange but these trends can definitely make for a very unique look. More ideas when The Money Pit continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.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.

    TOM: Well, every DIY-er needs this one item in their toolbox and that’s not even a tool. We’re talking about adhesives and a name you’ll recognize: LIQUID NAILS.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Here to tell us all about a brand-new product is Mark Stypczynski. Now, he’s the manager of tech service for adhesive and sealants.

    Welcome, Mark.

    MARK: Good to be here.

    TOM: So, Mark, you guys are launching a new product called Fuze*It Adhesive. Now I know that both Leslie and I have used LIQUID NAILS many times over the years because it is so – it does have so many applications. It’s just such a super-handy product to have and it really serves adhesive situations that nothing else does. What makes Fuze*It different than perhaps the LIQUID NAILS products that we’ve seen in the past?

    MARK: Well, we’ve done some unique stuff here with the technology that we obtained from PPG Aerospace. We managed to snag one of their chemists and he’s done some unique things with what we call a “hybrid technology.” Think of it as being a combination of urethane and silicone. So what we get here are the best aspects of both and that’s what kind of makes it unique.

    TOM: So is the goal here to come up with an adhesive that has the widest possible applications so that consumers don’t have to choose? Because I think a lot times, as we approach the adhesive aisle at the home center or a hardware store, it’s kind of a moment where you have to pause and read labels and figure out exactly which one’s going to be the right adhesive for your project. Is this going to make that easier?

    MARK: Oh, exactly right. Because when we were formulating the Fuze*It product, OK, one of the things we wanted to look at – and to take some of the confusion, if you will, as you say, out of the aisle. OK, something that will work on as many surfaces as possible and under as many different conditions as possible. And that was our project goal when we came up with the Fuze*It.

    So this’ll work pretty much on anything with the exception of some plastics, like polyethylene and polypropylene but will also work very well in situations that are not ideal. If it’s cold out, if surfaces are wet or damp, OK, makes no difference. You’re still going to get a good, reliable bond with Fuze*It.

    LESLIE: And how quick will Fuze*It set? I know a lot of times when you’re dealing with a vertical surface and you’re trying to adhere two things together, sometimes you have to get really creative with how you brace things or hold them together while you’re waiting for the adhesive to set up.

    MARK: Yes. That’s right. With Fuze*It, what we’ve managed to do is to formulate some great initial hold on vertical surfaces. There’s some great, quick grab. So all you need to do is to join the surfaces together, even on a vertical, and it’s going to hold them in place without having to worry about taping or bracing. It will develop handling strength within 4 to 6 hours and it’ll be completely cured within 24 hours.

    TOM: Now, one of the concerns about adhesives is, of course, the different types of chemical compounds that are used to craft the product. How environmentally friendly is the Fuze*It product, Mark?

    MARK: The Fuze*It product contains no solvents, so there’s going to be no odor, no emissions. But we’ve also certified – had that certified by UL Environment to their GREENGUARD Gold Standard. And GREENGUARD is a third-party certification system that certifies products as being low-emitting, OK? So it’s going to give you better indoor-air quality. So you don’t have to worry about fumes. This product – Fuze*It is ideal for use in remodeling of occupied areas, schools, office buildings, hotels, condominiums, apartments. So you’re not going to have any solvent emissions, you’re not going to have any chemical odors.

    TOM: We’re talking to Mark Stypczynski – he is in charge of technical specifications for adhesives and sealants with the LIQUID NAILS Company – about a brand-new product called Fuze*It.

    Alright. Mark, just have a minute or so left here. Give us a couple applications that would really surprise people that you can do with this product.

    MARK: So good applications are – take, for example, you’re doing your backsplash in your kitchen, OK? You can do this with tile, OK? And you can go ahead and even grout the same day. Molding and trim is another example. If you’re doing something like crown molding in a room, you can use it for that.

    Exterior applications. A great application is if you’re building a fire pit, OK? So all you need to do: recess that bead away from the fire side when you’re joining your blocks together. Run your bead of Fuze*It around there and you’ve got one monolithic construction.

    TOM: One adhesive really does do it all. Mark Stypczynski with LIQUID NAILS, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and telling us all about the brand-new Fuze*It Adhesive.

    MARK: You’re welcome.

    TOM: And if you’d like to learn more, you can go to LIQUIDNAILS.com. That’s LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, we’re answering questions from our Money Pit community. And we’ve got advice on the best way to make an uninsulated sunroom usable year-round.

    ANNOUNCER: Introducing LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface Construction Adhesive. Glass, metal, wood, whatever your job, LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It bonds almost everything. LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface Construction Adhesive. Don’t just glue it, Fuze*It. Available exclusively at The Home Depot.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. We’ve got the My Paint Saint. Now, this is a touchup paintbrush and can all in one, which is really fantastic. Because how many times do you just take a gigantic gallon of paint, that you want to save really just a little bit for touchups, and then you end up with a stack of paints and not really sure where they go or what they’re for or how old they are? Well, now you can store your extra paint very easily for those quick touchups.

    It’s a brush built into the lid. It’s airtight. It’s got inner ledges on the container edge, so it’s great for wiping off all that excess paint. No drips. There’s even a space on the front where you can write down like, “Oh, dining room paint,” or the name of the paint, so you can actually have more made if you love it that much and need it again.

    Check it out. Its website is MyPaintSaint.com. It’s 14.95 each can and the winner is going to get three. Paint’s not included, guys. I’m sure you’ve got enough at your house.

    TOM: Going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Pat in Georgia who needs some help with a cleaning project. What’s going on?

    PAT: I have granite countertops. And I am wondering if there is an advantage to using the store-bought cleaners versus a homemade cleaner. And what would that homemade cleaner be?

    TOM: So I guess you don’t have a recipe for a homemade cleaner. Is that what you’re saying?

    PAT: No, I don’t.

    TOM: If you happen to run across one that you like, tell us about it because I have not found one. But I will say that the commercial cleaners are usually very well-developed and are designed to give you a longer-term protection than you can probably get out of anything that you could mix up on your own countertop.

    There’s a website called StoneCare.com that specializes in these types of products. And our listeners have always had good success with them, so I would take a look at that website.

    But the thing about granite tops is a lot of folks buy them and think, “Well, it’s stone. I’m not going to have to do much work to the top.” But the truth is it’s a lot of work, isn’t it, Pat?

    PAT: It very certainly is.

    TOM: It really is. And if you don’t stay on top of it, it gets pretty nasty-looking. So, you are going to have to invest in some regular cleaning and I would just buy a good-quality product from a good brand manufacturer and just accept it as reality, OK?

    PAT: Thank you so very much.

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

    LESLIE: Mark in West Virginia is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you today?

    MARK: I was just wondering if I could put a metal roof over top of a shingle roof without removing the shingled roof.

    TOM: Well, you can but why do you want to do that, Mark? It’s kind of sloppy.

    MARK: I just – I’ve never worked with metal and I didn’t know if you could do it that way. Because you can shingle over an old asphalt shingle; you can put another – a layer over top of it. Just getting rid of them – the hassle of getting rid of them in a landfill.

    TOM: Technically, you can but I just think it’s going to be a neater, cleaner, more professional job if you take off the asphalt shingles. And they’re not that hard to remove.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you don’t know how many layers are underneath your existing roof. Plus, I don’t know, really but I’m imagining that a metal roof is going to have some weight to it. And why put that extra stress on the structure? And it’s a lifetime roof; you know, you’re looking at 50 years on a metal roof, so …

    MARK: How about cutting it? Any special tools? Do you have any idea?

    TOM: Yeah, I mean it’s all done with shears.

    MARK: Yeah.

    TOM: And you can use hand shears and you can use power shears. But when you work with that stuff all the time, you have the tools that you need to do that. But that’s what you’re going to have to cut it with.

    MARK: Well, hey – well, thanks – thank you for being so – and I appreciate it.

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

    Well, a couple weeks back, we told you about the free Lumber Liquidators spring flooring-trends catalog. If you haven’t grabbed your copy, it’s not too late to get started on your spring flooring project.

    LESLIE: Like we always say, most successful home projects start with good planning. And Lumber Liquidators? They make it easy. You’ll find the latest styles in hardwood, laminate, wood-look tile, distressed and whitewashed flooring and more in the new spring catalog from Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: I like that Lumber Liquidators has so many different styles and looks to choose from and flooring experts at over 370 locations ready to help you pick the best flooring for your home. Call Lumber Liquidators at 1-800-HARDWOOD and get the free spring flooring-trends catalog to get started on a great, new floor.

    LESLIE: Then visit your local Lumber Liquidator store or LumberLiquidators.com and get a great spring flooring deal.

    TOM: For locations, call 1-800-HARDWOOD or visit LumberLiquidators.com. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    LESLIE: Lydia in Massachusetts on the line with a sink question. What’s going on?

    LYDIA: Well, we have three attached, very old, galvanized sinks at the church. And they are unsightly, they’re blackened. And I was wondering if you had any idea on how to clean them.

    TOM: So, they’re galvanized but there’s no other finish to them?

    LYDIA: There’s no other finish.

    TOM: Probably a lot of years of water stains in there, I would imagine. They sort of like brownish, rust kind of color to them?

    LYDIA: Black.

    TOM: Black, yeah, even worse. Even worse yet.

    Well, I guess the first thing I would try would be an abrasive powder and steel wool because you’re going to have to abrade them. If you don’t get something that’s pretty aggressive, you’re not going to get anything off of that. So I would use something like Comet and steel wool and see how that works.

    But typically, what happens with those old, metal sinks is the metal just becomes discolored. So it’s not something that’s laying on top, like a stain that you can wipe away. The metal itself becomes discolored.

    LYDIA: OK. Well, thank you very much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Delaware where Margie has a crawlspace question. What can we help you with?

    MARGIE: I’d like to know if you should put plastic on the ground underneath your house. We have a 3-foot – you can climb under there. Should we lay plastic on that for a barrier – for a moisture barrier? Underneath a ranch house.

    LESLIE: What’s the – is it underneath the entire house or is it just under a certain area?

    MARGIE: No, it’s underneath the entire house. You can crawl under and someone said you should put plastic on top of the dirt.

    LESLIE: Now, are you having any moisture issues inside the house?

    MARGIE: Not really. We were just thinking it would be a good idea to do that.

    LESLIE: Now, generally, with an enclosed crawlspace or one that’s smaller scale to an entire home, we would always recommend putting down sort of a plastic sheathing. And you want to fill the entire space. And in areas where you do have to have seams, you want to make sure that you overlap, you know, a good foot or two so that it really lays down nicely.

    Now, Tom, would you do that if it’s under the entire house?

    TOM: Yeah, I’d put it down across the crawlspace floor, along the entire house, because it stops the moisture in the soil from wicking up and evaporating up into the air and then getting the insulation damp and making it ineffective. So, it’s always a good idea to have – it’s called a “vapor barrier” and have that down on top of that soil surface.

    You also want to check the exterior, though, to make sure that your gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended. It’s part of a moisture-management solution. It’s not just [one-off] (ph).

    LESLIE: You want to make sure you’re limiting the amount of moisture that actually gets to that – the dirt or the soil underneath the crawlspace. So if you make sure that your gutters are extending away from the house a good 3 feet or so and not depositing the water back towards that crawlspace – any sort of plant-embedded areas, you want to make sure that that soil slopes away. You just want to do your best that you can to move the moisture away.

    MARGIE: OK. Thank you very much.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    Still to come, the latest looks for your kitchen backsplash, like floor-to-ceiling coverage. Learn why this look is popular and find out what other trendy ideas are going on right now in kitchen design, when The Money Pit continues after this.

    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: Time now to turn to The Money Pit Community section where Gizmo has written us.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And Gizmo writes: “If I get fed after midnight, I turn into a green monster.” That would totally be Gremlins Gizmo whereas this Gizmo is not.

    And Gizmo writes: “We have an unheated, ventilated sunroom attached to the house that’s 11 feet by 11 feet, that has slider windows on three sides. We live in Michigan, so it’s cold a lot. The windows are newer vinyl double-pane. The house is brick and built in ’56. I have access to the ceiling area through the main house and want to insulate the sunroom with fiberglass. If I insulate the ceiling, will it create a greenhouse effect?”

    TOM: Well, you already have a greenhouse effect with three sliding-glass doors. Your problem is this: you need heat in that space. Just insulating is not going to do it. And my concern is that you have no really – no place left to really put a baseboard molding.

    So you’re probably going to have to use some sort of a wall-mounted electric heater so that you can offset the chilliness of that Michigan winter. That’s the only way you’ll be able to do that. Maybe even choose a split-ductless system so you can have additional air-conditioning in that space and enjoy it in the summer, as well.

    LESLIE: Yeah, a split system is really going to do the trick. They’re super efficient and they work really well. And if you’re trying to get it to actually be a three-season room, you do need to add the heating and cooling.

    TOM: Well, while it serves an important function, your kitchen backsplash is a great place that you can showcase some of your design personality. New trends in backsplash styles and designs are making this really easy. Leslie has the lowdown, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Some very cool ideas and not just for materials but how you’re actually installing the backsplash. For example, floor-to-ceiling or countertop-to-ceiling coverage with the tile of your choice. Now, this gives a uniform, finished look to any kitchen while creating the illusion of higher ceilings. Obviously, this isn’t going to work in every space or every type of kitchen because of upper cabinets. But if you do have a space, say, over a desk or one area where there isn’t anything above, it’s a great opportunity to showcase this. Even if it goes around your window in front of the sink, that’s a really great way to showcase what you’ve got going on with your tile design.

    Now, some new tile-install patterns and these I really love, especially the herringbone. Now, this is kind of like a – best way to describe it as herringbone is sort of up/down, up/down, like mountains on a diamond pattern kind of. And I really like that it works great with a very skinny, narrow, rectangular tile. Some of them even come on a mesh backing already in the herringbone pattern. I think it looks beautiful. It gives it kind of a modern, timeless feel at the same time, so I know that that pattern layout is going to sort of go the long term. A lot of people do columns, basket weave. You know, you want something that’s going to give your design texture and interest.

    Now, another trend is mixed or combined materials. Glass tile mixed in with porcelain tile, marble, granite or even wood will carry a very visual appeal and also give it depth and interest. So it really makes it last, your design choice. And this is what you want when you’re designing a kitchen: you want to do it once. You’re going to spend a good chunk of money, so you want it to last a long time.

    We’re also seeing unconventional materials, like mirror, concrete, even reclaimed or salvaged wood. Those all work as nontraditional backsplash materials and can be really sort of this organic layer to your design in your kitchen. I feel like it kind of works well with something that might have a little bit more of a modern or clean aesthetic. But if you go with a salvaged or reclaimed wood, that could also go well with that country-traditional look.

    We’re also seeing metallics, like steel, bronze, even printed tin. Now, steel lends itself well to an industrial look while the printed tin is really a throwback to those tin ceilings of years past. So you can really make that work in a variety of ways. It’s all about mixing materials, which is really what we’re seeing, mixing metals, mixing finishes, mixing colors. Make it interesting and your design will last the long haul.

    TOM: Good advice.

    Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about your home’s electrical panel. Now, if you trip a circuit, it can be inconvenient. But if you trip lots of circuits, it could be dangerous. We’ll tell you about the signs that might signal you need to upgrade that panel, 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 2016 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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