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Easy Vacuum Repairs, High Tech Lighting that Improves Sleep and Avoiding Accidental Poisonings

  • 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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects, your décor dilemma, your home renovations. Whatever you are planning to do to improve your money pit, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, usually, when you say an appliance sucks, it’s a bad thing. But with a vacuum, it’s quite the opposite. If yours is not quite doing the job, we’ve got some easy troubleshooting tips that can help improve its performance.

    LESLIE: Plus, if you’ve ever had trouble sleeping at night, it turns out that the problem might actually be bedroom lighting that’s interrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. I know, lots of scientific words but lighting really does affect how you sleep. We’re going to have a review of a new lighting technology that’s designed to fix that and more.

    TOM: Plus, close to a million kids are rushed to ERs every year because of accidental poisoning. We’ll have some tips to help keep those toxic items safe and out of reach.

    LESLIE: And if you give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, you’ll not only get the answer to your home improvement question but this hour, we’re giving away a $500 gift card to Lumber Liquidators where you can pick up some really great, top-quality flooring.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

    PAUL: We’re working on a paint job where we were covering rough-cut cedar clapboards with Benjamin Moore ARBORCOAT solid stain that’s self-priming. We painted over the same product that was previously sprayed probably about, I’m guessing, seven to eight years ago. And what we’re running into with – just on one side of the house where we’re getting bubbles, like moisture bubbles. It’s morning sun on that side of the house but we’ve never seen a stain – you know, a solid stain – bubble up like that. I’ve seen it with paint but not with the solid stain.

    TOM: Well, cedar has to breathe and sometimes when they install cedar siding, they don’t leave enough space under it for it to breathe. And so it tends to get clogged with moisture and I’ve seen that lift stain before.

    You mentioned that you’re using a product that both primes and stains. I am not a fan of doing that with a staining product. I just, in fact, repainted my entire cedar-sided house and I did it the same way we did it over a dozen years ago and that was we oil-primed it first. We used an oil-based primer first because we had good adhesion with the oil-based primer. And it really stuck well to the cedar. And then we put the solid stain on top of that.

    So, once the paint starts to bubble, any time you have a failure of adhesion, there’s no way to put that back together. If that continues to get worse or if it looks bad enough already, you’re going to have to take that stain off and start again. Because you’re just – it’s never – you can’t stick good paint over bad paint. And if there’s moisture in there, it’s just going to lift that paint right off again.

    So, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I wouldn’t have done it that way. I would have used an oil-based primer first and then I would have put a solid-color stain on top of it.

    PAUL: Right. We’re getting that just on one side of the house.

    TOM: Yeah. Maybe it’ll just end up being on one side of the house, for whatever reason. But at least on that side of the house, you have to pull that stain off and start again. And scrape, prime – scrape it and prime it properly with an oil-based primer and then you can stain on top of that.

    PAUL: What would you suggest for an oil-based primer?

    TOM: I think if you stay within one family of products, I would use the same oil-based primer that that particular manufacturer makes for solid stain but as long as it’s oil-based and not acrylic or water or latex-based.

    PAUL: So, now, to remove that stain that’s on there now, that – you’re going to lose that rough-cut finish.

    TOM: Well, if you wire-brush it, perhaps not. You may be able to pull it off with a pressure washer. It depends on how well-adhered it is.

    I mean when we did my project, we had an unusual problem with the shutters. We were using a product that the manufacturer said did not need to be primed. And it worked well but it took a long time to cure. And so some of the shutters were sitting around for an extra week before we put them back up. And all the paint peeled off of those. And so we had to actually strip all that paint off and start again. So it even happens to the pros. But once that paint separates, you’ve got to pull it off; there’s just no way to save it.

    PAUL: Alright. Thank you for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Michelle in Washington on the line who’s dealing with some flooring adhesive. What’s going on?

    MICHELLE: We have pulled up our vinyl off our concrete floor. We have a slab floor and want to replace it with tile. But we have the residue left from the vinyl being pulled up. And I want to know the best way to get that up, if there’s any kind of chemical or just boiling water. I know it’s going to be scraping but I didn’t know what I could put on it ahead of time.

    TOM: Adhesive goes down easy and sure doesn’t come up that way.

    MICHELLE: No, it doesn’t. And it’s probably been there for 20 years, so …

    TOM: Yeah. Is it fairly smooth or is it …?

    MICHELLE: Oh, it’s fairly smooth. The vinyl came up but it left the paper backing.

    TOM: So, if it’s fairly smooth and it’s well-adhered to the concrete, you might be able to just glue the tile down right on top of that. Because I’ve got to tell you, it’s really hard to get that adhesive up. It’s not like you could cover it with boiling water or vinegar or something like that. You might be able to use a citrus-based adhesive remover and that might help you a little bit. But if it’s already well-adhered to the concrete slab, then I don’t see why you couldn’t go on top of it with the new tile mastic.

    MICHELLE: OK. I did that in my kitchen. I went right over the old tile because it was very flat. But now I’m doing another area. It’s not a big area – it’s an entryway – but we’re doing a whole big room that includes the entryway and it’s ceramic plank. And I was concerned about the – you use a different mastic, because I understand with the ceramic-plank floor – and I thought that heat might wet that paper enough to not give me good adhesion.

    TOM: Well, if it’s just paper, you could probably do some abrasion, some sanding of that glue to get through the paper. Because yes, you don’t want to have a non- sort of adhesive layer in between the tile adhesive and what you’re going down to. But that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, especially if it’s a small area.


    TOM: But like I said, you could use a citrus-based adhesive remover. Try to see if that will loosen it up. There’s also a way to grind it off but it’s expensive and you need some specialized equipment.

    MICHELLE: Great. I’ll try that. Thanks for taking my call.

    TOM: Alright. 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. Give us a call with whatever it is you are working on or planning or dreaming up for your money pit. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, when your vacuum doesn’t suck, it kind of sucks. But it’s not hard to figure out the problem. We’ll have easy vacuum-cleaning troubleshooting tips, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to hear about your home improvement project, your fall fix-up project. Whatever is going on in your home, whatever area you’d like to improve, we’d like to lend a hand. Just call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And if you do that, we’ll not only give you the answer to your home improvement question but this hour, we’re giving away a great prize drawn at random to one lucky caller. It’s a $500 Lumber Liquidators gift card.

    You can use it to choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile, all at unheard-of low prices. And you can use the card at installation, as well as a variety of moldings and grills to give your floor that finished look. You can redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com. You can head on over to one of their 375 stores nationwide. You can learn more at 800-HARDWOOD about Lumber Liquidators, where they say, “Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.”

    Going out to one lucky caller, that $500 gift card drawn at random. Make that you. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Barry in Iowa on the line who’s got a question about a bathroom with carpeting. And I know your question is really about a pet but bathroom with carpeting?

    What’s going on, Barry?

    BARRY: Well, the dogs were locked up in the bathroom when we went shopping. So when we came back, they had torn a hole. It wasn’t a big hole but it was probably 2½ inches by 3 inches long. And I can’t cover it no way and so I was wanting to tear the carpet up and put in new carpet because I can’t match the old carpet. And then – but I don’t know how to put a threshold down in there.

    TOM: Well, first of all, putting carpet in a bathroom is generally a bad idea because, obviously, it doesn’t mix with the moisture. Even if it’s an indoor/outdoor-style carpet – I don’t know what you have. But I would recommend against carpet in a bathroom. So, the dogs may have done you a favor, because it’s forcing you to take that carpet up. Your question is: how do you put a threshold in the door so that you would have a clean edge?

    Yeah, well, you certainly – what you basically do is you put in a doorsill there. And it sits even with the door when it’s closed, so it’s about as thick as the door, plus another inch or so. So it’s usually a couple of inches thick. And it may be higher on one side where the carpet is and lower on the other side where the floor is.

    But it’s a pretty standard piece of carpentry work or a pretty standard piece of a carpet-installation project. And I would recommend that you remove that carpet from the bathroom and put in a different type of flooring. What’s underneath that carpet? Is there tile under there now?

    BARRY: No, it’s a cement slab. It’s a slab house.

    TOM: OK. So then what you might want to think about doing is putting in something like a laminate floor.

    Now, laminate can look like tile or it could look like stone. But it’s very moisture-resistant, so it’s a terrific choice for the bathroom. And if you want something to kind of warm it up, then put a throw rug on top of it. But I wouldn’t put carpet back.

    BARRY: Yeah. Well, that’s what we were thinking, too.

    TOM: Yep. Very simple step. Putting in a doorsill is all you need to do. And if you don’t know how to do it yourself, I’m sure your installer can help.

    BARRY: I don’t have to nail the threshold to the door – I mean to the floor?

    TOM: Oh, no. It’ll be secured to the floor but there’s lots of ways to do that. There’s a way that you can screw through the threshold with a special screw called a Tapcon fastener. And it will secure it to the floor. You know, there are ways.

    LESLIE: And then there’s a piece that snaps over it. There is – if you go into your home center, – Home Depot, Lowe’s or whatever you’ve got near you – in the flooring aisle, there’s going to be – at the end, you’ll see wood, metal. They’ll be called “transitions.” It’ll be from carpet to wood. It’ll have all the varieties of one surface to the other surface and all the different ways to install them. They’re pretty easy.

    BARRY: Oh. Well, thank you guys for the information and I hope you have a good day.

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

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

    WENDY: I have two drafty doors and we opted to use the peel-and-stick foam insulator.

    TOM: OK.

    WENDY: And it didn’t work that well. And it just created more of a gap, it seems like. It just didn’t work at all and I’m just wondering what kind of solution can we use instead of the peel-and-stick fill-in stuff.

    TOM: So, when you say the peel-and-stick foam, do you mean when the doors close, you get drafts that come through them and you use the peel-and-stick weather-stripping?

    WENDY: Yes.

    TOM: Do you want to operate these doors in the wintertime?

    WENDY: Mm-hmm. Definitely.

    TOM: And what kind of doors are they? What are they made of? Are they metal doors or are they …?

    WENDY: It’s a metal door.

    TOM: So it’s an old, metal, sliding-glass door.

    WENDY: No, it’s a regular door. It’s just – and it goes out to our patio but it’s not a wood door. It’s made of metal.

    TOM: Oh, it’s a metal door. It’s a regular metal door.

    WENDY: Yes.

    TOM: Are the drafts coming in around the sides and top of the door or are they coming under the door?

    WENDY: Under the door and on the side, right where the door locks.

    TOM: If the door is out of alignment – in other words, if you close the door and it doesn’t evenly strike the jamb all the way around – it’s going to be almost impossible to get a seal from that type of weather-stripping. It’s got to strike the weather-stripping and then compress it a little bit to give you the seal.

    Now, I would take a look, very carefully closing that door – open and close it from the outside – bringing it to where it just starts to touch the jamb and see if it strikes evenly all the way around. If it doesn’t strike evenly, then you need to adjust the door. And that’s usually done by moving the door jamb one way or the other to get it to basically hang better so that it will strike evenly.

    In terms of the door at the bottom, the door saddle might be replaceable. Or in the alternative, you could do something that’s probably even easier and less expensive – is you could put a door sweep on the bottom of the door.

    Now, a sweep attaches to the face of the door and it basically goes right down to the floor. It looks kind of broom-like; it has bristles that are really tight together. And that actually will help a lot of the breeze that’s coming through and under the door.

    WENDY: OK.

    TOM: And then, of course, you could always go with a storm door and that’s another way to approach the whole thing, OK?

    WENDY: That sounds perfect.

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

    LESLIE: Well, we’re in the fall season now. And this is the time of year where you might not think about cleaning up but – much like spring cleaning – there’s a fall cleaning. You want to get ready for the winter season. Are you finding, though, that your vacuum cleaner is acting up? Well, the fix might be easier than you think. You want to start with the suction.

    Now, is the suction poor or just not happening? If that’s the issue, let’s think about it. There could be a clog in the hose, the bag or the filter or the canister. Or it might simply be full and need to be replaced or just emptied.

    TOM: Now, if you’re hearing sort of a noise or a vibration, first, you want to try to find out kind of where that’s coming from. If it’s coming from the motor area, it might be a broken fan blade. If it’s coming from the brush area, then it could be a bad brush or the bearing or the brush roller itself. And if either of those are defective, it needs replacing and you’ll have to order the part.

    LESLIE: Now, if your vacuum is hard to push, it may have a broken or just worn-out belt or it might have come off the motor spindle entirely.

    Now, finally, if your vacuum has a burning-rubber smell, it could be coming from the belt. So you want to check the brush roller for any obstructions and clear away any hair or carpet fibers. If you find that the brush roller is spinning freely with the belt removed, you can reinstall the belt and test for proper operation.

    TOM: And probably the most common thing that goes wrong with vacuums is that that belt actually breaks. And if you have to replace it, here’s a tip: always buy two because they’re kind of a hassle to find sometimes. But buy two and then tape the extra one to the vacuum handle so it’s always there and handy the next time your belt breaks. These are cheap and they’re worth having on hand.

    If you need more vacuum-troubleshooting tips, visit MoneyPit.com and just search “vacuum cleaners.”

    LESLIE: Bret in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    BRET: We have the 1890s Victorian home in Wakefield. Gut rehab. Put in an 8×14 master bath in with Frank Lloyd Wright Arts and Crafts-style tile in it. And the shower in the corner, that’s a step-in shower. And over the last eight years, because of – plastic floor of the shower wasn’t supported. It started to crack from the flexing. And I’m not sure how I can take care of those cracks without ripping out all the tile around the lip of the plastic floor of the shower.

    TOM: So, there is one way to do it. And it’s not real pretty but you can do it this way. And that is that plastic base is made of fiberglass and you can use a fiberglass-repair kit and basically cover the split area with a fiberglass patch. And essentially, that means you’re going to put down resin and then you’re going to put down fiberglass itself and press it into the resin. Once that dries, you’re going to put down more resin and then more fiberglass in. You’re going to kind of crisscross it and essentially, you’re going to build up kind of a patch across that crack.

    Now, of course, that’s going to be painfully obvious but maybe you don’t care about that. Maybe you’re thinking, “I’d rather have it just be patched and watertight than have to tear out the tile.” Because yes, replacing that kind of shower pan will require that you remove that tile around the first 8 to 12 inches all the way around to be able to get that pan out.

    BRET: I think – I’m not sure that it’s fiberglass; I think it might be just hard, molded plastic. I got it at a big-box store.

    TOM: The only way to try to repair it is with a fiberglass-repair kit. And you can pick that up at an auto-parts store. You know, it’s like a body-repair kit. And essentially, it’s just those two things: it’s basically the resin itself and the fiberglass material. It may be some – it may have some sandpaper with it. But you’ve got nothing to lose; you might as well try it.

    I did it once in a house that I owned – bought myself a year before I got around to tearing out the shower pan – and it worked great.

    BRET: OK. It’s a great idea. We’ll give it a try. Thank you so very much.

    TOM: Good luck, Bret. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Scott, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?

    SCOTT: Well, in the wintertime, we have a little mold around the windows and I can’t seem to alleviate it. So, I was wondering if you guys had any ideas. Mainly in the wintertime.

    TOM: So, the mold is going to form where you have moisture and you have a food source that’s organic, which could be wood trim, for example. Or frankly, even dust can do that and air, of course. So when you find the mold, what happens is, very often, people will just try to wipe it away but they end up leaving residual pieces of it behind.

    So what I would suggest you do is to mix up a bleach-and-water solution where it’s about, say, 25-percent bleach and about 75-percent water. And spray it lightly around that area, being careful to keep it away from drapes or anything like that that you’re concerned about staining. And let it sit. And that will kill the spores that are behind the mold and then you can wipe it off. If it’s just a little bit, that’s OK to do yourself without much risk of exposure. Does that make sense?

    SCOTT: It makes sense. I’ve done it before but I’ve never let it sit any time. I’ve just sprayed it on and wiped it off.

    TOM: That’s generally what people do and it makes a difference if you let it sit, because it has to sort of take effect and really kill what’s there and then wipe it off.

    SCOTT: That sounds pretty good. I can do that.

    TOM: Good luck, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, do you remember when a light bulb was just a light bulb? Well, choosing a bulb was certainly simpler then but lighting actually has a very bright future. Up next, we’ll have a review of bulbs that are actually designed to give you a good night’s sleep.

    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: Happy to be here to help you with your fall home improvement projects. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    ROBERT: Well, I am trying to find something that seems that nobody makes anymore. I’m looking for a metal, continual ridge vent for steel roofing. What I’ve got in my hand is the letter U and had a wing on both sides, flat in the bottom, on some 10-foot sticks. And it’s cut to fit the corrugation on the steel. And then the roof cap screws to it: a separate, independent piece. And it’s made out of metal and it’s perforated.

    TOM: It’s a ridge vent, essentially, that’s a metal ridge vent. But you’re saying it’s designed specifically for metal roofs?

    ROBERT: Right. Specifically for metal roofs. And for decades, I’ve got it and I put a roof on over 15 years ago. And we had the bad storm that went through and I’ve got to replace parts of it. But no one – big box, little box, some steel manufacturers – can find this vent for me. And I know it comes in 10-foot sticks and it’s the metal piece that screws down to the roofing and then your ridge cap, you know, screws onto it.

    TOM: So, John, first of all, a ridge vent is a really good thing to have because it provides an area of the roof where, as wind blows over it, it will depressurize and pull warm air out of the building. I can see that it might be a challenge to find a ridge vent that’s specifically designed for metal roofs but there are a number of manufacturers out there that make them.

    There’s a product called Flex-O-Vent that is designed specifically for ridge vents. There’s another company called Plyco – P-l-y-c-o – that has another vent that’s specifically designed for metal roofs – a ridge vent for metal roofs. I think if you check out those two brands, you may find one that works for you.

    And then you’ve got to try to, obviously, get the supplier – find a supplier locally. Now, some suppliers will be able to order this stuff in. But if you contact these companies, they may be able to ship them. I see that they come in at least – I guess with the Plyco – comes in 8-foot lengths and I’m not so sure about the Flex-O-Vent. But they certainly come in lengths that may be shippable to your location, OK?

    ROBERT: Got it. I will definitely look them up. I appreciate it.

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

    Well, if you’ve ever had trouble sleeping at night, it turns out that the problem might actually be bedroom lighting that could be interrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. But the good news is there’s an app for that and actually, a new, connected bulb to go with it. It’s called C-Sleep and it’s part of a new line of connected bulbs from GE that’s just out called C by GE. And you can find it at Lowes, Lowes.com and Target.com.

    LESLIE: Yeah. The way it works is that C-Sleep changes color tones with cool, vibrant light in the morning and warm, calming light in the evening and optimal, soft white in between, which is actually perfect for your bedroom lighting.

    Now, you can schedule the bulb to turn on in the morning and off at night, all from the C by GE smartphone app.

    TOM: And you can even group these lights together, so you can dim and brighten bulbs without a dimmer switch. And you can even set scenes, like the scene you like for waking up in the morning or for movie time or for watching TV. It’s kind of cool, new lighting technology and could actually help you get a good night’s rest.

    C-Sleep is available at Target in a 2-pack for around 50 bucks and in a single pack at Lowes for around 25. And the app? Well, that’s free.

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

    PHYLLIS: I have a trellis. It’s on – I just have a small porch. And in the wintertime, especially, the wind comes ferociously from the northwest. And the trellis is put up on – screwed up on 2x4s. And I was wondering – I was going to get a good grade of plastic. Should it be put on the outside or the inside of the trellis?

    LESLIE: Plastic to protect from the wind or plastic to protect the lumber?

    PHYLLIS: No. Plastic so the wind doesn’t blow into my front door. And I had the trellis put up so I could – in the spring, I want to put flowers that vine up there. But for now, I want plastic to keep the wind away from my front door.

    TOM: Do you have a storm door on your front door?

    PHYLLIS: Yes. But it still comes through.

    TOM: Now this trellis as you describe it, I mean there’s a lot of different types of trellises. Is this a trellis that’s flat on the wall or is this sort of a portico where it kind of goes out and surrounds the door?

    PHYLLIS: No. It’s on the porch. I imagine my porch is probably maybe 4 or 5 feet wide. But it’s on the porch, on the outside of the porch, on 2x4s.

    TOM: I see. So basically – and the porch has a roof, right? So it’s not just a deck?

    PHYLLIS: Right. It’s got the – it’s got a roof, uh-huh.

    TOM: So you kind of want to enclose your porch, so to speak, with this plastic sheeting, is what you’re suggesting.

    PHYLLIS: On that one spot, yes, where the – it’s right there as I go in and out the door.

    TOM: Alright. Well, it – probably not going to be that attractive but I guess what I would do is put it on the outside. Because this way, as the wind blows against it, it’ll press against the trellis and it will be less likely to tear. If you put it on the inside, the wind’s going to go through it and it will constantly pull itself off the trellis. 


    TOM: So I think it’ll be securer if you put it on the outside. And as the wind blows against it, that trellis will help support it.

    PHYLLIS: OK. Fine. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Mack in Missouri is on the line and has a question about a pool. What can we do for you?

    MACK: Well, every year I seem to open my pool up in the spring and it’s always green. I would have to drain it and clean it out and all that stuff. So, I had this brilliant idea to just leave it going all winter long: just put the cover over it, put it on timer and just keep it open and have it come on every day for – you know, every 15 minutes, every couple hours or something, so it doesn’t freeze. What do you think about that crazy idea?

    LESLIE: I’ve got to tell you, we have a pool, Mack, at my family – like my parents own a summer house out on the North Fork of Long Island. Every spring, we take off that cover. That pool is the nastiest, green-looking thing you’ve ever seen. We have never drained the water. You use a whole sort of chemicals, which is sad but you shock that water, you get the system up and running and it goes right back to beautiful, crystal blue and we’re swimming in it in no time.

    MACK: Yeah, I know. Takes a lot of chemicals to do that.

    LESLIE: I know. But the other option is – I wouldn’t leave things running all winter long. I feel like it’s going to put pressure on the system, it’s going to overload. You’re not probably getting the proper amount of air and things into it that it needs because the pool is covered. But if you’re so frustrated with it and the chemicals, why not think about a salt-water pool?

    MACK: Because I’m cheap.

    TOM: At least you’re honest about it.

    MACK: Well, I know you guys like honesty, so I’ll probably go against all conventional advice and try it.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks for calling The Money Pit.

    Coming up, accidental poisoning sends hundreds of thousands of children to hospital ERs every single year. We’re going to tell you how to keep poison safe and out of reach of your kids, 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.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a $500 Lumber Liquidators gift card.

    You guys, you can get so much flooring with a $500 gift card to Lumber Liquidators. And you can actually choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring. And that includes prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile at all unheard low prices. I mean it’s amazing. You could tackle a pretty decent size room for 500 bucks at Lumber Liquidators.

    And you can also use your gift card on installation, as well as a variety of moldings and grills to give your floor a perfect finishing touch. You can redeem the gift card at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide.

    If you want to check it out, you can give them a call at 800-HARDWOOD. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    TOM: And that’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Donna in Arkansas is on the line and has a noise issue. How noisy is that place?

    DONNA: Well, I don’t know. My son and his roommate live in a duplex. And the common wall between their living rooms, they can hear the neighbors and so I’m sure the neighbors can hear them. They were just wondering what they could do on that wall to block some of the noise.

    TOM: What they would need to do requires a pretty significant addition to the existing wall. What they would do is they would have to put a second layer of drywall over the existing layer.

    And there’s two options here. You can use a noise-resistant drywall; there’s a couple of different brands of this out there. And basically, it has some sound-deadening built into it. Or you can use a product called Green Glue, which is sort of like a gelatin-like adhesive. And you would apply that to the old wall and then you would put new drywall over that. And that creates a noise barrier.

    And you also have to be very careful around the outlets and any openings in the wall. And they have to be sealed properly. And even after you do all of that, you will still probably get some sound through that wall.

    Unfortunately, soundproofing is not – is harder to do after the fact than it is to do when you’re building it from scratch. So, not always the answer, exactly, that you want to hear but that’s really what it takes to try to soundproof the rooms in this situation.

    DONNA: Alright. Well, we sure appreciate you taking our call and thank you very much.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, here’s an eye-opener: the Consumer Product Safety Commission now says that more than 800,000 kids in the U.S. will be rushed to an ER because of an accidental poisoning this year. And 30 of those kids will die. Almost all of these poisonings will happen at home. So to help, here’s a few tips on how to reduce the risk of poisoning at your home, starting with medicines.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Medicines are a growing cause of poisonings and they’re relatively easy to control. Now, you can ask your pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions with childproof caps and then keep all medicines on the highest shelf possible.

    Now, dangerous household toxins aren’t as easy to control. They come in bigger bottles and they’re often in fun, kid-friendly, bright, inviting colors.

    TOM: Now, cleaners and bleaches and paints and solvents and pesticides, they also often attract children. Keeping them just in the garage isn’t enough. A good idea is to keep them safely locked up outside of your house. So consider, for example, using a shed. And these kinds of storage solutions can be locked so that little, curious hands can’t get in when you are looking the other way.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your kids’ toys and all their sporting gear stored well away from those chemicals. The garage and the basement, that’s kind of where things all get mixed up together. So you really want to keep those areas completely separate.

    TOM: That’s a good point. If you think about the garage, for example, that’s an area where toys and toxins are almost always side by side.

    LESLIE: Well, yeah. The bubbles go right next to the gasoline, right?

    TOM: Exactly. So you’ve really got to be careful to keep them completely separate. Check out our article online, with more tips, that’s simply called “Toys and Toxins Don’t Mix.” And that’s online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: We’ve got Thomas from Texas on the line who’s got a question about paint. What can we do for you today?

    THOMAS: Well, thanks for taking the call. I painted this house – well, it was built almost 10 years ago. And I painted the interior. And I had paint left over, so I kept it. And every once in a while, I have to do touch-ups. And what I’ve found is – even though the paint is originally a flat paint, when I go to do the touch-up, the touch-up is shinier than the old flat paint. Because it’s even gotten flatter. Is there some way to flatten this paint that I have left over so it’ll blend in?

    TOM: It sounds like the original paint has faded and now it’s not quite matching the touch-up paint. Is that accurate?

    THOMAS: That’s pretty accurate. When you stand off, you can see the difference in the – my touch-up. It’ll be – it’ll look shinier. Now, that may be just because the original paint has aged. I’m not sure.

    TOM: So, one thing that you could try is you could take a chip from the wall paint now. If you can possibly get a chip of the faded paint, bring that to a paint store, like a Sherwin-Williams, and have them scan that paint. And they can very, very accurately match that exact color and provide the right finish for it – whether it’s flat or eggshell, whatever finish is necessary – so that you get both the finish that matches and the color that matches. It might be that that will give you a better match than the original paint that you held onto.

    But in terms of trying to sort of flatten those spots – I don’t know, Leslie, I’m just wondering if something like a Scotch pad or something like that might help take a little bit of the shine off it or a Magic Eraser. But it’s really going to have to be a trial kind of thing – trial and error.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’re going to have to try some stuff. A Magic Eraser might do the trick but it also tends to dull things a little bit by color, not just by sheen. So you try it on an area where you might not notice so much. But that could be the trick. I feel like that does a lot.

    THOMAS: I’ll give that a try. I certainly appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, have you ever had to fix up a home that had smokers living in it? Well, if you have, you know that getting rid of that odor can be a real hassle. We’ll have advice on how to clear that smoky air, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question or post it online at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got one here form Serena who is having a problem with getting her parents’ home ready for sale.

    LESLIE: Yes. Serena writes: “My siblings and I are planning to paint the interior of our parents’ home before listing it for sale. The problem is both of our parents smoked in the house for many years, so the walls are stained by the smoke throughout. Is there any way the walls should be treated to eliminate these smoke stains and odors before we begin painting?”

    TOM: First of all, Serena, it’s a little naïve to think that only the walls have that smoke odor. Generally, it gets into everything.

    LESLIE: If you’ve got carpeting, draperies, upholstered furniture, all of it.

    TOM: That’s all got to go. And once you get that carpet ripped out and you don’t have furniture in there that’s contained the smell, the next thing you want to do is you need to prime all of those surfaces with a solvent-based primer – an oil-based primer. And that includes even – if you have ugly subfloor under the carpet, you should prime that, as well, because that helps to seal in those odors. So, you want to prime everything.

    And once it’s primed, then you can put a topcoat on it. And that will do a pretty good job of blocking out the odor. That plus some good ventilation. Speaking of which, if you have a duct system in that house, get those cleaned, as well. That’s one of the rare occurrences when I do suggest cleaning ducts, because it does help to pull out some of that smoke odor.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what’s interesting, Tom, is we had a neighbor four houses over. Both adults in the home were heavy smokers. When they passed away, the kids sold the house and I don’t think they did much in preparation. And I actually know the folks that bought the house now: a lovely, young family. But they said that it took layers upon layers upon layers of paint and weeks to get that smoke smell out. And they ended up just having to do so much more work than they planned because of the odor.

    And you know what, Serena? It’s going to affect the sale price. So take those steps. It’ll be worth it, I promise.

    TOM: Well, as you plan your fall fix-ups, keep in mind eye injuries send more than a million people to the emergency room every year. And many of them could be prevented with the right safety gear. Leslie has the last word on safety, this hour, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I think a lot of people, when it comes to safety in regards to home improvement projects or even just yard chores, think like, “Meh. It’s not going to happen to me. I’m not going to do it.” But as you begin work on your autumn to-do list, let’s add “keeping safe” to that agenda, OK, guys?

    Now, 90 percent of the eye injuries that people suffer at home are totally preventable. Why do you need to hurt your eyes? So let’s think about stopping this, guys.

    Now, if you’re giving your grass one last cut before these chillier months, remember that lawn mowers alone account for more than 4,000 serious eye injuries. And household cleaners, they account for another 125,000. Construction workers, guys, they’re more likely to sustain an eye injury than any other worker in this country. I think that makes a lot of sense.

    Now, if you’re working with wood, metal, cement, wire or just about any other home improvement material, please make sure you wear safety goggles or at least safety glasses with the side shields.

    Another super important thing: your kids. They’re curious, they love to see what you’re working on. But that’s equally dangerous because materials fly, little pieces of things go places when you’re working. So just keep your kids away from the work areas. Teach them proper job-site safety, even if it’s just a project around your house. Taking these few simple steps could save your eyesight. I mean it’s worth it, guys. Take the step.

    TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, coming up next time on the program, if you’ve got a general desire to go green but you get confused and frustrated by all the competing claims of the greenness that we hear these days, well, we feel your pain. There’s a lot of hype and misinformation surrounding the green movement. We’re going to help you cut through the claims and figure out the straight scoop, 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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