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Eco-Friendly Memorial Day Grilling Tips, Create Show-Stopping Window Boxes, Stop Pests from Ruining Your Summer, 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: And we are so pleased to have you join us on today’s Money Pit because it’s the summer kickoff weekend. It’s almost upon us: Memorial Day. And it’s time for parades and picnics and honoring our American heroes.

    And this hour, we’re going to have some great home ideas for your Memorial Day Weekend. First up, we’re going to talk about a way to go green with your red, white and blue. We’ve got tips on eco-friendly grilling.

    LESLIE: I always say, when it’s Memorial Day, “Don’t forget to remember.” I know it’s silly but I always say that.

    Also ahead this hour, we’ve got a way to dress up your home’s curb appeal with charming window boxes. We’re going to tell you how to create decorative planters that are totally going to wow everyone.

    TOM: And unfortunately, you’ve got to take the good with the bad and summer fun also means dealing with summer pests. But we’re going to have some great ideas to help you keep those unwanted guests away.

    LESLIE: And one caller this hour is going to get a great Father’s Day gift. Man, we just passed Mother’s Day and already talking about Father’s Day.

    Alright. But we’ve got a great prize for Dad up for grabs. We’ve got a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from DeWALT. It’s part of DeWALT’s Father’s Day Gift Guide and that’s on MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: It’s a great gift for Dad. It’s actually worth $240. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So, let’s pick up the phone, dial us up at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And if we choose your name at the end of today’s program, we’ll be sending out that DeWALT 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set to you, which is also a very regiftable prize, as well. So if you don’t want it, you can pass it on to your pops. 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Scott in New Jersey is on the line with a flooring question. Tell us about your project.

    SCOTT: Hi. I’m just moving into my first house on Monday; we’re closing on it.

    TOM: Very exciting. Congratulations.

    SCOTT: Thank you very much.

    But during the home inspection – it’s got tile throughout the whole bottom floor. It’s on a slab. And the home inspector said that it’s 3-percent asbestos and we want to put a hardwood floor. And for most of it – and then tiles on the kitchen area. So half the people I talk to say that we need to remove the asbestos; other people say just build over it.

    TOM: OK. So is this tiles that are on – it’s on a slab?

    SCOTT: Yes.

    TOM: Well, first of all, you should not be putting solid hardwood down on top of the slab.

    SCOTT: That’s another – that was my next part. (inaudible at 0:02:58).

    TOM: Yeah, if you put solid hardwood down, it’s going to twist and warp and swell. So what I would do is I would recommend you use engineered hardwood, which will be indistinguishable visually. I mean it’s going to look exactly like prefinished hardwood but it’s very – it’s much easier to install and it has lock-together capabilities, as well. So you can snap these tiles together, lay it in place. And I see no reason why you can’t leave the asbestos there and put the hardwood floor right – the engineered hardwood floor right on top of it.

    You know, the risk is disturbing anything that has asbestos in it. If it’s not friable, it’s not deteriorated – and in a vinyl tile – on a vinyl asbestos tile, it certainly isn’t. I wouldn’t take it up; I’d leave it right there.

    SCOTT: It’s chipping in certain areas.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s minor, though. And even those chips, that asbestos is contained inside the vinyl. So I would tend just to leave it alone and I would put engineered hardwood right on top of that. Very frequently, you’ll put an underlayment in between. And I think that will do the trick.

    SCOTT: Mm-hmm. Alright. Thanks so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Scott, and good luck with that new house.

    LESLIE: Angela in Washington D.C. is on the line with a question about waterproofing her basement.

    Angela, first tell us what’s been going on.

    ANGELA: I’m having problems in my basement with water coming in in my garage, not in the other part of my house. But it would have to rain really hard for the water to come in.

    So, I have some mold and mildew downstairs in the corners and I also have peeling of the paint. And also, I have a crack that goes across the wall about 8 feet. And I was interviewing some companies to waterproof my basement and they all wanted to drill my house down to the footer and I really don’t want to do that. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with me.

    TOM: Yeah, well – and you’re wise to question that advice. Because if you’re talking to these so-called waterproofing companies, they’re in the business to sell you very expensive repairs. And I just would venture a bet that it came with a fair degree of panic peddling about all the bad things that could happen to you if you didn’t open up your checkbook for them. Is that correct?

    ANGELA: Yeah. And I was – I had – gave them money and I was going to do it and they delayed it for about a day because they needed some more of the – whatever they told me. And I was – I went online, I was surfing the net and I came across your article and it said, “Don’t do it.” And I called them right then and there. I said, “I don’t want to do it.”

    TOM: Yeah. Good, good. Well, we saved you and I’m very happy that you found the articles that we have about waterproofing your basement and how not to get ripped off.

    ANGELA: Yeah.

    TOM: That’s actually among the most popular content that we have on MoneyPit.com. We get tens of thousands of people that see that article every single month.

    And so let’s talk about it, Angela. If you read the story, you know that we believe that most water problems that are consistent with rainfall, such as what you’ve described, have nothing to do with rising water table.

    ANGELA: Yeah.

    TOM: And if you don’t have a rising water table, there’s no reason to dig out your basement and put in drains and pumps and all of that. What we need to do is get this in under control from the top down.

    So, you need to kind of go through a checklist here. The first thing is to look at all of the drainage around your house. Start at the roof. How is the water being collected at the roof edge? Do we have gutters? Are the gutters clean? Are the gutters free-flowing? Are they big enough for the volume of roof surface that they’re servicing?

    The downspouts. Are they clean? Are they free-flowing? And very, very important, if I had to pick one thing out of everything, where is that downspout discharging? If you’ve got water in corners of the basement showing in, I bet you there’s a spout above it that’s leaking water there or backing up or clogged or something right above that area. We need to direct the water from the roof away from the house.

    Now, I know in D.C., that could be a challenging area, depending on how close your home is to the next house. Do you have a single-family house or do you have a …?

    ANGELA: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So you have some room to move around, in terms of this drainage?

    ANGELA: Yes.

    TOM: Can you get the water 4 to 6 feet from the foundation perimeter?

    ANGELA: Yes, I could do that.

    TOM: OK. And I’m going to tell you how to prove this point to yourself very easily and inexpensively. Head out to a home center and buy some downspout material. It’s very cheap. Probably $10 or $20 worth of downspout material. And just stick it on the end of the leaders and run it out into your yard 6, 8 feet, whatever length they come in. And just stop right there, OK? This is a temporary thing; we’re not going to leave it like this year-round.

    But what you will find, if we move through a couple of rainfalls, that the volume of water and moisture and humidity that you’re seeing in your basement will be dramatically different. Why? Because you moved the water away.

    Now, once we’ve proven that point, how do we do this in a neat and orderly fashion? You’ve got options. You could run it underground through solid PVC pipe, if you can find a place that discharged that to daylight. We want it to come out somewhere low where the water will stream away. So if you have a low spot in your yard where you can do that, great. If you can take it out to a curb and put it into a storm sewer, even better. So that’s a way to make it completely hidden.

    If not, then maybe you tighten up those spouts and try to landscape around them so we hide the extensions. But they’ve got to get out there at least 4 to 6 feet, because those first few feet around the house are critical. If they get wet, your basement is going to flood, because that’s the backfill zone. Soil there is more porous than in other areas of the house; it’s where the house was dug up to build the foundation. So, the gutters are critical.

    Second to that is grading. You know, if the soil around your house is very flat, then once the water lands, it has nowhere to go but in. So you want to add clean fill dirt – not topsoil but clean fill dirt – and tamp it to slope away from the walls. You want a slope of about 6 inches over 4 feet.

    And then once that slope is established, then and only then do you put some mulch or top soil and grass seed to control erosion. But you don’t build it up with top soil. Why? Because top soil is very organic and because it’s organic, it’s going to hold water and that’s not what we’re trying to do here.

    So grading and gutters are the two major things to address and of all of those, downspouts are most important. Does that make sense?

    ANGELA: Sounds great. Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Good luck with that project and 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. We want to help you get ready for Memorial Day Weekend, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, add a little green to your red, white and blue celebrations this summer. We’ve got ideas for an eco-friendly barbecue, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.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: Standing by for your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement question, we will toss your name into The Money Pit hard hat because one caller is going to win a great Father’s Day gift.

    It’s a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from DeWALT worth $240. You can check it out at DeWALT.com.

    LESLIE: And you know what’s really cool is that all of the tools have a non-slip gripping surface. And the set really is just one of our many great gift ideas featured on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, which is sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. It’s your source for one-stop shopping for Dad.

    TOM: And speaking of that non-slip gripping surface, Leslie, I had a chance about two weeks ago to visit the headquarters of DeWALT. And they showed me an amazing demo with these new wrenches with the non-slip surface. They put a wrench on a bolt and they hung an engine from the other side of it and it didn’t fall off. It was incredible.

    LESLIE: And then they made you stand underneath it.

    TOM: I didn’t go that far but it was pretty impressive.

    If you’d like to win that Father’s Day gift, it’s a 204-piece mechanics tool set. Pick up the phone now at 888-MONEY-PIT. We will take your home improvement question and we will toss your name into the collection of callers from this hour and perhaps draw it back out at the end of today’s show and send you that great DeWALT gift set. Let’s get back to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Lyndon in Florida is on the line and needs some help with a water softener on well water.

    Lyndon, tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    LYNDON: I have this water softener and it controls the water that comes in the entire house.

    TOM: OK.

    LYNDON: But it’s got a funny smell in the water sometimes because of the minerals. I’m looking for something that is inexpensive, that I can get rid of some of the minerals and be able to use my well water.

    TOM: Well, have you had the well water tested recently?

    LYNDON: No, I have not.

    TOM: So, the first thing I want you to do is to have the well water tested.

    LYNDON: OK.

    TOM: And once you know what the components of the test are, then you – we know we can figure out from that what kind of treatment system you need. I suspect if you have odor issues, you’re probably going to need a charcoal filter as part of the system, because that will take that odor out – that sulfur-like odor out – and make it much easier on the nose for you to have a nice, fresh glass of water.

    But the first step, Lyndon, is to have it tested so we know what the contaminants are. Then you’ll know exactly what to do about it.

    Lyndon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time now for today’s Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron. And just in time for the Memorial Day great summer kickoff weekend, we’ve got ideas to make your backyard grilling more eco-friendly this season.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. And the first one is in the choice of fuel. Now, a propane grill, which is probably the most popular grill out there, it’s good to know that it’s also more eco-friendly than a charcoal grill. So, if you’re grilling with gas, you’re already ahead of the game.

    But if you’ve got a charcoal grill, one thing you might want to consider is using charcoal made from an ecologically-harvested wood. Now, these charcoals are carbon-neutral and you can even get them in flavor-enhancing varieties, like mesquite, for example.

    LESLIE: Next, you want to think about your grilling utensils. You want to look for ones that have bamboo handles and stainless-steel parts.

    Now, bamboo is an extremely renewable resource and the same thing goes for your serving supplies. You should use ones that are reusable, like your plates. This way, you’re not throwing away paper or foam.

    And finally, summertime, it comes with bugs, so keep them away by using all-natural citronella torches. They look great and they keep the bugs away.

    TOM: Good advice. And that’s your Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron, makers of the Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never be left asking “Who left the lights on?” again. Lutron products are available from your local home center, lighting showroom or electrical professional.

    And for more energy-saving ideas, check out our online Green Home Guide and remember to visit LutronSensors.com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Pat in Hawaii on the line with a roofing question. Calling to make us jealous, I am sure.

    Welcome, Pat.

    PAT: So what we have is a house where the interior temperature is – during the day is maybe 83 to 85.

    TOM: OK.

    PAT: And so it has a roof that has the rolled asphalt. And we’d like to put on this application and they’re available at places like Home Depot. There’s two different price points. You can apply it three different ways and so forth but people have told us, that live in that same area as this house, that they have reduced the heat in their house by 20-plus percent by doing this reflective thing on the roof.

    And now, our question is: how do we prep the roof? Do we sweep off any rocks with asphalt? What is the prep?

    TOM: It’s pretty forgiving. You want to get rid of the loose stuff and of course, any moss or anything like that that’s growing on it. But what you’re talking about is fibrous aluminum paint and it’s a UV-reflectant paint. And it does make the roof a lot cooler and that can actually make your house cooler. It’s a very common application, not only in tropics like Hawaii but even places on the East Coast. I mean I’ve seen it on roofs in Washington, D.C. Definitely a good thing to do.

    PAT: OK. And so if – also, my husband’s question was – and so does your roof last longer with that on there?

    TOM: Yeah, theoretically it will because if you reflect the UV, you’ll have less deterioration of the oils in the asphalt, less evaporation of that. And that can make the roof last longer. Another good reason to do it.

    PAT: OK. And any specific on application? Whichever one works out best for you? Is that what they’re saying?

    TOM: Well, I don’t have any specific recommendations on a product but on the concept, I think it’s solid.

    PAT: That’s wonderful. That’s a great idea. I think you answered my question. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: David in Texas is dealing with some rotting wood. Tell us what’s going on.

    DAVID: I have an area on my house. I removed my siding and there’s a low spot where the porch meets my house. And the water stayed there and it rotted out my siding and I pulled it off. The bottom lower plate is also rotted.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVID: And I dug all of it out – all the dry rot out – and I was wondering what would be the best to put in there.

    TOM: OK. So where the siding reached the porch, that all rotted. And because the water was sitting there, it actually went into the frame itself and rotted out the sill plate of the wall?

    DAVID: Right.

    TOM: OK. So where have you – have you exposed the wall from the porch side? So is the siding torn off there?

    DAVID: Right. I pulled off the bottom sheet of siding.

    TOM: So what you have to do here is a little wall surgery. You have to cut out that sill – the rotted area of sill – and you have to slip a new sill underneath the studs. Is that possible from that side?

    DAVID: I don’t think so. I was wondering if there was some type of composite I could put in there.

    TOM: Well, the thing is the sill is a member of the structure, OK? So the studs would sit on top of the sill and the sill sits on top of the foundation. So you can’t really fill the sill or – like you would, say, a rotted piece of wood that you fill with wood putty, because it’s not going to be structurally sound. If the area underneath the stud itself is not compressed and rotted out, then maybe you could just walk away from it and leave it alone now that you fixed the leak issue. But if it’s structurally damaged, the only thing you can do is dig that out.

    We see damaged sills all the time with termite infestation, for example. Now, usually it’s easiest to do this from the inside of the house.

    Is the house on a basement?

    DAVID: No, it doesn’t have a basement.

    TOM: So it’s on a crawlspace or a slab?

    DAVID: It’s on a slab.

    TOM: OK. Yeah, really, what you have to do is remove the siding. You can use a tool called a Sawzall. You know what that is? A reciprocating saw? And you can reach into the wall with that, cut out the old sill, slip in a new sill and put it all back together. That’s the way – the right way to do that repair.

    DAVID: Alright. Thanks a lot.

    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.

    So, you want to know how to amp up your curb appeal but not spend too much money? Window boxes. Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor from This Old House is joining us next with details on how you can create some real showstoppers, 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: Hey, do you know what style house you live in? Is it a Tudor, a contemporary, a ranch, a Colonial, something in between? We’ve got a great gallery online, right now, on MoneyPit.com called “What’s My Home Style?” It’s right on our home page, so check it out and you can figure out what kind of home you have.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jenny in Kentucky on the line with a tiling question. How can we help you?

    JENNY: I wanted to know if I could put my ceramic tile right down on top of my linoleum. Because when I watch all those DIY shows, it looks like they put some type of mat underneath the linoleum – or underneath the tile. And so I thought I could save that step and just use the …

    TOM: No, no, no, no, no. No, nice try but no, not quite so easy. You have to put down a tile backer. And so you can put a tile backer down on top of the linoleum; you don’t have to tear linoleum out. Of course, it’s all – it all builds up and it all counts in terms of thickness. But you have to put a tile backer down first and then you could put the tile on top – the ceramic tile on top of that.

    JENNY: OK. But I don’t need to tear it up?

    LESLIE: If you’ve got the clearance, Jenny, meaning in your kitchen or wherever you’re putting this, you’ve got room with the toe-kick of your counters – I mean of your cabinets and your dishwasher and your refrigerator – to add the extra thickness of that tile backer, the adhesive and then the tile, then absolutely you can go right on top of the linoleum. But if it seems like that inch to 2 inches is going to get tricky, you might need to rip up what’s there.

    JENNY: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Window boxes are a great way to quickly dress up the front of your home and compliment your home’s architectural style.

    TOM: And here to tell us how to get started is Roger Cook, the landscape contractor on TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Welcome to my window world.

    TOM: You know, it seems that window boxes might be one of the fastest ways to add a bit of landscape to your house without really having to dig out the shovels, right?

    ROGER: It’s truly amazing to be able to fasten something to the house and the same day fill it with plants and have it look so nice.

    TOM: It’s like sort of an instant result.

    ROGER: Yeah.

    TOM: Now, when you’re trying to decide what kind of window box works best for you, what do you consider? Style of the house important?

    ROGER: Always important to try to match the style of the house but also in my mind is durability. I want something that’s going to last a long time and not disappear on me in a year or two.

    TOM: And do you think it looks best when you have a window box mounted as the same width of the window as opposed to just halfway or something?

    ROGER: Yeah, I think it’s essential to line up with the edge of the windows. It just gives it a finished look like it was part of finished carpentry of the window.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So if you’ve got three windows that sort of sister each other side by side, you want one long box; you don’t want three individual guys.

    ROGER: That’s what I do at my house; I run it the length of them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, it’s got to be very important to think about how you mount these boxes because their weight is going to range, depending on how watered it is, what the weather is doing. So how do you know you’re getting a secure mount?

    ROGER: If you have wood siding on your house, it’s pretty easy to anchor into the wood and be sure. If you want to, you can always find the studs. There are several ways to find studs. You can rent Tommy Silva and his knuckle and he’ll find it for you. But if you can find the studs or the structure, anchor it into that.

    And it’s more essential that you do that in PVC because if you put a window box on it and it’s just held on by the PVC siding, there can be a lot of problems with that. Tommy did a great example of that on one of the shows we did. And he showed how to find it, drill it and mount a box in that fashion so that they’ll stay put.

    TOM: Yeah, now, I saw that and I guess the technique was to drill through the siding with a slightly wider bit than you would need to hold the screw and then put lots of caulk around it, basically. So you don’t want to create any holes where the water will get behind the box and into the structure of the house.

    ROGER: No. But you want a little oversize hole because vinyl is always moving. It moves more than wood and it has to have an area to move or it’ll crack.

    TOM: Yeah, good point.

    Now, you mentioned PVC is one of the materials for these boxes. Is that one of your favorites?

    ROGER: It is because it stands the test of time. And it just will last forever. I’ve done plastic, I’ve done wood. The plastic tends to bulge if you fill it too much and the wood, over time unless you paint the inside, will rot.

    LESLIE: Will rot.

    TOM: And so many people think of PVC – are associated with plumbing pipes. But what we’re really talking about here is cellular PVC, which looks just like wood.

    ROGER: You can’t tell the difference.

    TOM: Absolutely not.

    LESLIE: No. And it really stands up.

    Now, when it comes to the soil that you’re going to fill in these window boxes, do you need a special type to be more absorptive or help the plants grow more? Because it’s such a confined space.

    ROGER: Window boxes are the smallest space you’ll ever plant in, even smaller than big planters you use on the front of your house on the walkway, so you want to do everything you can. Use a good soil that has a lot of peat and vermiculite in it and also a soil that has a water-absorbent quality, those little polymers they put in that absorb the water when you water and then slowly release it as the soil dries out, so it buys you more time between waterings.

    TOM: Now let’s talk a bit about the type of plants that work best in a window box, because it is hanging off your house and you’re featuring it. Are hanging vines and that sort of thing a good choice for that? Any favorites?

    ROGER: You can have a ball with window boxes. I love putting a lot of hangers. One of my favorite is sweet potato vine.

    LESLIE: I love them.

    ROGER: It comes in a chartreuse and even a dark purple and that can be such a great color. And they’ll grow 3 to 6 feet and just hang all the way down to the ground.

    Then I do fillers. I use a lot of colorful things. Even geraniums are great fillers. And then I usually put one big plant in the middle. It can be as simple as a grass or a dracaena, something to give me some real height, some drama in the middle of the box.

    LESLIE: How much depth are you needing to create these little mini-gardens?

    ROGER: You’re starting with small plants in small pots. So 4 to 6 inches is plenty.

    TOM: And finally, let’s talk about watering. Very, very important. Any systems out there to make the watering process a bit easier?

    ROGER: There are a lot of systems out there but the one we highlighted on one of our shows was a PVC planter box with a plastic system inside with cotton wicks that you filled and then the water wicked up into the soil. It was a great system.

    TOM: Very cool. So you fill this pipe up with water and it wicks right out and keeps the soil moist and damp.

    ROGER: Right. So you may have to water only once a week and that’s better than going there every day and trying to get water …

    LESLIE: And it’s actually putting the water where you need it.

    ROGER: Again, down in the roots.

    TOM: Roger Cook, the landscape contractor on TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks for hanging out with us as we talk about hanging window boxes on your house.

    ROGER: Well, I hope you enjoy your window box.

    TOM: We will. Thanks, Roger.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos on many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of The Home Depot.

    Well, if you’ve been thinking this spring that you’d love to have a deck but your yard just isn’t quite right for one, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. We’re going to help solve some of those common decking dilemmas, 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: 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 caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to get a great Father’s Day gift, courtesy of our friends at DeWALT.

    We’ve got up for grabs a 204-piece mechanics tool set. Now, pros really love these tools, so you are definitely going to, as well. Each one has a deep, laser-etched marking on it so that you can easily identify the socket size. And you can actually check out all of the DeWALT mechanics tool sets right on their website at DeWALT.com.

    TOM: The set is worth $240 and it’s just one of the many great gift ideas that you can find on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. Check it out, especially if you’re having trouble figuring out what to get the DIY dad in your life or maybe if you just want to get yourself a little something extra. And be sure to give us a call with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve held off adding a deck to your yard because you think that your yard has a unique problem, think again. We’re here to help you solve your decking dilemmas with a tip presented by Veranda Decking from The Home Depot. Truth is most yards can handle a deck.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Now, if too much sun is the reason you’re thinking maybe you can’t add a deck, you might want to consider canvas awnings. These will still let in some natural light but they can keep the hot rays off of your deck and most of them can be retracted when no shade is needed.

    And if your concern is lack of privacy, why not design some landscaping into your deck by adding some tall plants along the railings or maybe install lattice and then plant an ivy screen to grab onto and to flourish?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you’re looking for something a little bit more interesting to climb onto that lattice work, you can look at a flowering plant called “clematis,” which is really great and super-hardy, and also climbing hydrangeas. You know, there are some really good options if you want something more flowery and it really does create a lot of privacy.

    Now, the common problem that we hear is space, so why not go up? Adding a deck from a higher level and then using the space below as a patio also works very well.

    And finally, to make sure that you get the most out of your deck, you want to go with a composite decking material, which is – believe me, I’m kind of lazy when it comes to maintenance stuff – really easy to maintain and super-easy to clean.

    TOM: And speaking of composite, The Home Depot has some great options, including the Veranda line. I like this product because Veranda decking has all of the features and the benefits and the warranties of the most expensive composite deck boards on the market today but they are sold at a great Home Depot price. Veranda’s Traditional comes in two colors and it’s got a 15-year warranty against cracks and splits and warping and even twisting.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the Veranda ArmorGuard comes in four colors and it has grooves for a hidden-fastener system right along the side, so you won’t even see any screws. It’s really great. Now, ArmorGuard has a 20-year warranty.

    If you want some more details, head on over to your local Home Depot store or go online at HomeDepot.com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Hey, do you have an outdoor living-project question? Pick up the phone, give us a call. We are here to help.

    LESLIE: Bill in Florida needs some help with a garage floor.

    Bill, what’s going on?

    BILL: We have stains from acid spills in various places. The floor is about – the building is about seven years old. There are a lot of various stains from the traffic and normal automobile dirt.

    LESLIE: Yeah, regular wear and tear.

    BILL: I wondered if there’s some company that specializes in – or where I can find out how to clean the concrete floor first and then some – possibly some coating that would withstand the acid and normal battery – or normal automobile stains.

    LESLIE: So this is a big project. Is this something you want to hire out or do you have a maintenance team in the building that would take care of this?

    BILL: No, we would have to hire someone. But the first challenge is to find out – satisfy ourselves that it can be done.

    TOM: Well, it absolutely can be done and you don’t have to have a professional do this. It’s really just a big painting project. And there are products that are used to clean the concrete first and then there are different products that are used to paint it.

    BILL: Is there any problem in cleaning the spill – the battery acid?

    TOM: No. All of the painting products are going to have a recommended prep procedure. And one of the ones that works very, very well is QUIKRETE.

    They have an epoxy system, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Right. They’ve got a two-part, epoxy, garage-floor coating system. A lot of people make them. I happen to really like the QUIKRETE because I like that they offer 40 different colors. I’ve never tackled a space larger than my own garage and the neighbor’s garage and this is a pretty massive space we’re talking about. But your first step is going to be a product that they have called BONDžLOK.

    And that really etches and preps the surface. It cleans it, it prepares it so that the paint and the epoxy coating system is going to adhere really well. So once you’ve done the BONDžLOK step, the floor is prepped, ready to go, let it dry, whatever the manufacturer’s directions say. Then you mix up this two-part epoxy floor coating and that goes on and it’s going to protect it against gasoline, oil, scuffs, normal wear and tear. There’s an additional coating that you can put on top that’s premium that will – probably because it’s a commercial space, you’ll want to go for.

    But there are products out there. You don’t have to worry about what’s already on the floor as long as you do that cleaning step.

    BILL: And so all I have to do is contact the QUIKRETE people.

    TOM: That’s right. QUIKRETE 2-Part Epoxy is the best way to go.

    BILL: I really appreciate your help and enjoy your program.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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. Is summer your favorite time of year? Well, it’s also many bugs’ favorite, as well. We’re going to talk about getting a jump on summer pests, 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: And the kickoff to the summer season is not far away and for many of us, it’s a chance to host barbecues and enjoy some time outdoors. Unfortunately, though, we’re not the only ones looking forward to the summer season.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the warmer weather also means that flying and stinging pests are looking for places to breed and thrive. And well, your backyard kind of provides the habitat that they need and love, so look out for them.

    Here to help us identify the insects that cause the most concern and tell us how to avoid infestations is Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical services for Orkin.

    Welcome, Greg.

    GREG: Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

    TOM: So, Greg, before we get going talking about some of these stinging insects, I’ve got to ask you about the cicadas. They’re being heavily covered in the news. It’s predicted to be one of the worst cicada seasons ever. What is a cicada and why should we be concerned?

    GREG: Well, cicada is really interesting because they emerge from the ground every so often. There are 17-year broods, there are 10-year broods. And they’ll emerge. They’re rather large. They have these red eyes, in many cases. They only emerge for one reason: to reproduce. And they will reproduce and swarm all over. They’re very large, very intimidating and people think it’s like a swarm of locusts coming down. But they’re pretty much innocuous.

    TOM: Alright. So let’s talk about some of the stinging insects because that’s something that we do have to worry about. Whenever it gets warm, we see more and more nests that are formed from flying hornets, wasps, bees. Let’s first deal with the terminology. Are they all the same or do they all describe a different type of insect?

    GREG: Well, technically – and it really is only technically – the stinging insects we typically talk about are going to be bees and wasps. And bees are going to have a hairy abdomen and the wasps are going to be more of a shinier abdomen. But it really doesn’t matter. Most people view as – view bees and wasps as one and the same in terms of their ability to sting.

    LESLIE: Alright. We are talking to Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical services for Orkin.

    Now, we’re discussing stinging insects and I mean you’re right: I’m not getting close enough to a bee or a wasp to determine if its tummy is hairy; I’m just getting the heck away from them. But I’ve heard that when they sting, they can sting multiple times. And if you kind of kill one, it sort of sends out a signal like, “Hey, the crazy lady in the plaid shirt is swinging wildly and killing wasps. Go get her.” Is that true?

    GREG: Well, insects are really incredible in that they can communicate via chemical scents. Something we can’t smell but they can put out a scent. Sometimes, it’ll be a scent that says, “There’s food over this way.” Other times, it’ll be, “There’s danger.” And when there is a problem and a wasp or a yellow jacket is being swatted at, it’ll put out a scent that essentially attracts the other ones. So that’s another reason you want to be extremely careful around the yellow jackets.

    TOM: Hey, Greg, let me ask you a final question about the yellow jackets. They seem to turn up a lot whenever you’re having a picnic. They like the food, they like the soda, they like to kind of get in your face while you’re eating. Any tips to stop them from doing that?

    GREG: Tom, you hit it right on the head. Sometimes, they like the same food we like. Later in the season, they like to have lots of sugars. And if we have a picnic and we have open cans of soda or have open cans of beer, for example, or even punch, food that’s laying out, they’re going to want to come in and feast on that just as we do. So probably the best thing you can do is keep all food covered where possible. And if you are drinking out of a can or even out of a glass, make sure you put a little bit of a lid on top of it or a napkin on top of it so you don’t accidentally take a swig of yellow jacket.

    TOM: Be careful. Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical support for Orkin, our very own Orkin man.

    Hey, if you like the information that Greg brings to the program, there’s a brand-new podcast on our website. It’s called The Money Pit Pest Prevention Podcast and it’s presented by Orkin. And it includes all of Greg’s tips, so check that out at MoneyPit.com. And you can also find it on Orkin.com.

    Greg Baumann, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.

    GREG: Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues, online, at MoneyPit.com.

    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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (Copyright 2TOM: 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 so pleased to have you join us on today’s Money Pit because it’s the summer kickoff weekend. It’s almost upon us: Memorial Day. And it’s time for parades and picnics and honoring our American heroes.

    And this hour, we’re going to have some great home ideas for your Memorial Day Weekend. First up, we’re going to talk about a way to go green with your red, white and blue. We’ve got tips on eco-friendly grilling.

    LESLIE: I always say, when it’s Memorial Day, “Don’t forget to remember.” I know it’s silly but I always say that.

    Also ahead this hour, we’ve got a way to dress up your home’s curb appeal with charming window boxes. We’re going to tell you how to create decorative planters that are totally going to wow everyone.

    TOM: And unfortunately, you’ve got to take the good with the bad and summer fun also means dealing with summer pests. But we’re going to have some great ideas to help you keep those unwanted guests away.

    LESLIE: And one caller this hour is going to get a great Father’s Day gift. Man, we just passed Mother’s Day and already talking about Father’s Day.

    Alright. But we’ve got a great prize for Dad up for grabs. We’ve got a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from DeWALT. It’s part of DeWALT’s Father’s Day Gift Guide and that’s on MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: It’s a great gift for Dad. It’s actually worth $240. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So, let’s pick up the phone, dial us up at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And if we choose your name at the end of today’s program, we’ll be sending out that DeWALT 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set to you, which is also a very regiftable prize, as well. So if you don’t want it, you can pass it on to your pops. 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Scott in New Jersey is on the line with a flooring question. Tell us about your project.

    SCOTT: Hi. I’m just moving into my first house on Monday; we’re closing on it.

    TOM: Very exciting. Congratulations.

    SCOTT: Thank you very much.

    But during the home inspection – it’s got tile throughout the whole bottom floor. It’s on a slab. And the home inspector said that it’s 3-percent asbestos and we want to put a hardwood floor. And for most of it – and then tiles on the kitchen area. So half the people I talk to say that we need to remove the asbestos; other people say just build over it.

    TOM: OK. So is this tiles that are on – it’s on a slab?

    SCOTT: Yes.

    TOM: Well, first of all, you should not be putting solid hardwood down on top of the slab.

    SCOTT: That’s another – that was my next part. (inaudible at 0:02:58).

    TOM: Yeah, if you put solid hardwood down, it’s going to twist and warp and swell. So what I would do is I would recommend you use engineered hardwood, which will be indistinguishable visually. I mean it’s going to look exactly like prefinished hardwood but it’s very – it’s much easier to install and it has lock-together capabilities, as well. So you can snap these tiles together, lay it in place. And I see no reason why you can’t leave the asbestos there and put the hardwood floor right – the engineered hardwood floor right on top of it.

    You know, the risk is disturbing anything that has asbestos in it. If it’s not friable, it’s not deteriorated – and in a vinyl tile – on a vinyl asbestos tile, it certainly isn’t. I wouldn’t take it up; I’d leave it right there.

    SCOTT: It’s chipping in certain areas.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s minor, though. And even those chips, that asbestos is contained inside the vinyl. So I would tend just to leave it alone and I would put engineered hardwood right on top of that. Very frequently, you’ll put an underlayment in between. And I think that will do the trick.

    SCOTT: Mm-hmm. Alright. Thanks so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Scott, and good luck with that new house.

    LESLIE: Angela in Washington D.C. is on the line with a question about waterproofing her basement.

    Angela, first tell us what’s been going on.

    ANGELA: I’m having problems in my basement with water coming in in my garage, not in the other part of my house. But it would have to rain really hard for the water to come in.

    So, I have some mold and mildew downstairs in the corners and I also have peeling of the paint. And also, I have a crack that goes across the wall about 8 feet. And I was interviewing some companies to waterproof my basement and they all wanted to drill my house down to the footer and I really don’t want to do that. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with me.

    TOM: Yeah, well – and you’re wise to question that advice. Because if you’re talking to these so-called waterproofing companies, they’re in the business to sell you very expensive repairs. And I just would venture a bet that it came with a fair degree of panic peddling about all the bad things that could happen to you if you didn’t open up your checkbook for them. Is that correct?

    ANGELA: Yeah. And I was – I had – gave them money and I was going to do it and they delayed it for about a day because they needed some more of the – whatever they told me. And I was – I went online, I was surfing the net and I came across your article and it said, “Don’t do it.” And I called them right then and there. I said, “I don’t want to do it.”

    TOM: Yeah. Good, good. Well, we saved you and I’m very happy that you found the articles that we have about waterproofing your basement and how not to get ripped off.

    ANGELA: Yeah.

    TOM: That’s actually among the most popular content that we have on MoneyPit.com. We get tens of thousands of people that see that article every single month.

    And so let’s talk about it, Angela. If you read the story, you know that we believe that most water problems that are consistent with rainfall, such as what you’ve described, have nothing to do with rising water table.

    ANGELA: Yeah.

    TOM: And if you don’t have a rising water table, there’s no reason to dig out your basement and put in drains and pumps and all of that. What we need to do is get this in under control from the top down.

    So, you need to kind of go through a checklist here. The first thing is to look at all of the drainage around your house. Start at the roof. How is the water being collected at the roof edge? Do we have gutters? Are the gutters clean? Are the gutters free-flowing? Are they big enough for the volume of roof surface that they’re servicing?

    The downspouts. Are they clean? Are they free-flowing? And very, very important, if I had to pick one thing out of everything, where is that downspout discharging? If you’ve got water in corners of the basement showing in, I bet you there’s a spout above it that’s leaking water there or backing up or clogged or something right above that area. We need to direct the water from the roof away from the house.

    Now, I know in D.C., that could be a challenging area, depending on how close your home is to the next house. Do you have a single-family house or do you have a …?

    ANGELA: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So you have some room to move around, in terms of this drainage?

    ANGELA: Yes.

    TOM: Can you get the water 4 to 6 feet from the foundation perimeter?

    ANGELA: Yes, I could do that.

    TOM: OK. And I’m going to tell you how to prove this point to yourself very easily and inexpensively. Head out to a home center and buy some downspout material. It’s very cheap. Probably $10 or $20 worth of downspout material. And just stick it on the end of the leaders and run it out into your yard 6, 8 feet, whatever length they come in. And just stop right there, OK? This is a temporary thing; we’re not going to leave it like this year-round.

    But what you will find, if we move through a couple of rainfalls, that the volume of water and moisture and humidity that you’re seeing in your basement will be dramatically different. Why? Because you moved the water away.

    Now, once we’ve proven that point, how do we do this in a neat and orderly fashion? You’ve got options. You could run it underground through solid PVC pipe, if you can find a place that discharged that to daylight. We want it to come out somewhere low where the water will stream away. So if you have a low spot in your yard where you can do that, great. If you can take it out to a curb and put it into a storm sewer, even better. So that’s a way to make it completely hidden.

    If not, then maybe you tighten up those spouts and try to landscape around them so we hide the extensions. But they’ve got to get out there at least 4 to 6 feet, because those first few feet around the house are critical. If they get wet, your basement is going to flood, because that’s the backfill zone. Soil there is more porous than in other areas of the house; it’s where the house was dug up to build the foundation. So, the gutters are critical.

    Second to that is grading. You know, if the soil around your house is very flat, then once the water lands, it has nowhere to go but in. So you want to add clean fill dirt – not topsoil but clean fill dirt – and tamp it to slope away from the walls. You want a slope of about 6 inches over 4 feet.

    And then once that slope is established, then and only then do you put some mulch or top soil and grass seed to control erosion. But you don’t build it up with top soil. Why? Because top soil is very organic and because it’s organic, it’s going to hold water and that’s not what we’re trying to do here.

    So grading and gutters are the two major things to address and of all of those, downspouts are most important. Does that make sense?

    ANGELA: Sounds great. Thank you, Tom. Thank you, Leslie. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Good luck with that project and 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. We want to help you get ready for Memorial Day Weekend, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, add a little green to your red, white and blue celebrations this summer. We’ve got ideas for an eco-friendly barbecue, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.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: Standing by for your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement question, we will toss your name into The Money Pit hard hat because one caller is going to win a great Father’s Day gift.

    It’s a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from DeWALT worth $240. You can check it out at DeWALT.com.

    LESLIE: And you know what’s really cool is that all of the tools have a non-slip gripping surface. And the set really is just one of our many great gift ideas featured on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, which is sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. It’s your source for one-stop shopping for Dad.

    TOM: And speaking of that non-slip gripping surface, Leslie, I had a chance about two weeks ago to visit the headquarters of DeWALT. And they showed me an amazing demo with these new wrenches with the non-slip surface. They put a wrench on a bolt and they hung an engine from the other side of it and it didn’t fall off. It was incredible.

    LESLIE: And then they made you stand underneath it.

    TOM: I didn’t go that far but it was pretty impressive.

    If you’d like to win that Father’s Day gift, it’s a 204-piece mechanics tool set. Pick up the phone now at 888-MONEY-PIT. We will take your home improvement question and we will toss your name into the collection of callers from this hour and perhaps draw it back out at the end of today’s show and send you that great DeWALT gift set. Let’s get back to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Lyndon in Florida is on the line and needs some help with a water softener on well water.

    Lyndon, tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    LYNDON: I have this water softener and it controls the water that comes in the entire house.

    TOM: OK.

    LYNDON: But it’s got a funny smell in the water sometimes because of the minerals. I’m looking for something that is inexpensive, that I can get rid of some of the minerals and be able to use my well water.

    TOM: Well, have you had the well water tested recently?

    LYNDON: No, I have not.

    TOM: So, the first thing I want you to do is to have the well water tested.

    LYNDON: OK.

    TOM: And once you know what the components of the test are, then you – we know we can figure out from that what kind of treatment system you need. I suspect if you have odor issues, you’re probably going to need a charcoal filter as part of the system, because that will take that odor out – that sulfur-like odor out – and make it much easier on the nose for you to have a nice, fresh glass of water.

    But the first step, Lyndon, is to have it tested so we know what the contaminants are. Then you’ll know exactly what to do about it.

    Lyndon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time now for today’s Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron. And just in time for the Memorial Day great summer kickoff weekend, we’ve got ideas to make your backyard grilling more eco-friendly this season.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. And the first one is in the choice of fuel. Now, a propane grill, which is probably the most popular grill out there, it’s good to know that it’s also more eco-friendly than a charcoal grill. So, if you’re grilling with gas, you’re already ahead of the game.

    But if you’ve got a charcoal grill, one thing you might want to consider is using charcoal made from an ecologically-harvested wood. Now, these charcoals are carbon-neutral and you can even get them in flavor-enhancing varieties, like mesquite, for example.

    LESLIE: Next, you want to think about your grilling utensils. You want to look for ones that have bamboo handles and stainless-steel parts.

    Now, bamboo is an extremely renewable resource and the same thing goes for your serving supplies. You should use ones that are reusable, like your plates. This way, you’re not throwing away paper or foam.

    And finally, summertime, it comes with bugs, so keep them away by using all-natural citronella torches. They look great and they keep the bugs away.

    TOM: Good advice. And that’s your Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron, makers of the Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never be left asking “Who left the lights on?” again. Lutron products are available from your local home center, lighting showroom or electrical professional.

    And for more energy-saving ideas, check out our online Green Home Guide and remember to visit LutronSensors.com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Pat in Hawaii on the line with a roofing question. Calling to make us jealous, I am sure.

    Welcome, Pat.

    PAT: So what we have is a house where the interior temperature is – during the day is maybe 83 to 85.

    TOM: OK.

    PAT: And so it has a roof that has the rolled asphalt. And we’d like to put on this application and they’re available at places like Home Depot. There’s two different price points. You can apply it three different ways and so forth but people have told us, that live in that same area as this house, that they have reduced the heat in their house by 20-plus percent by doing this reflective thing on the roof.

    And now, our question is: how do we prep the roof? Do we sweep off any rocks with asphalt? What is the prep?

    TOM: It’s pretty forgiving. You want to get rid of the loose stuff and of course, any moss or anything like that that’s growing on it. But what you’re talking about is fibrous aluminum paint and it’s a UV-reflectant paint. And it does make the roof a lot cooler and that can actually make your house cooler. It’s a very common application, not only in tropics like Hawaii but even places on the East Coast. I mean I’ve seen it on roofs in Washington, D.C. Definitely a good thing to do.

    PAT: OK. And so if – also, my husband’s question was – and so does your roof last longer with that on there?

    TOM: Yeah, theoretically it will because if you reflect the UV, you’ll have less deterioration of the oils in the asphalt, less evaporation of that. And that can make the roof last longer. Another good reason to do it.

    PAT: OK. And any specific on application? Whichever one works out best for you? Is that what they’re saying?

    TOM: Well, I don’t have any specific recommendations on a product but on the concept, I think it’s solid.

    PAT: That’s wonderful. That’s a great idea. I think you answered my question. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: David in Texas is dealing with some rotting wood. Tell us what’s going on.

    DAVID: I have an area on my house. I removed my siding and there’s a low spot where the porch meets my house. And the water stayed there and it rotted out my siding and I pulled it off. The bottom lower plate is also rotted.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVID: And I dug all of it out – all the dry rot out – and I was wondering what would be the best to put in there.

    TOM: OK. So where the siding reached the porch, that all rotted. And because the water was sitting there, it actually went into the frame itself and rotted out the sill plate of the wall?

    DAVID: Right.

    TOM: OK. So where have you – have you exposed the wall from the porch side? So is the siding torn off there?

    DAVID: Right. I pulled off the bottom sheet of siding.

    TOM: So what you have to do here is a little wall surgery. You have to cut out that sill – the rotted area of sill – and you have to slip a new sill underneath the studs. Is that possible from that side?

    DAVID: I don’t think so. I was wondering if there was some type of composite I could put in there.

    TOM: Well, the thing is the sill is a member of the structure, OK? So the studs would sit on top of the sill and the sill sits on top of the foundation. So you can’t really fill the sill or – like you would, say, a rotted piece of wood that you fill with wood putty, because it’s not going to be structurally sound. If the area underneath the stud itself is not compressed and rotted out, then maybe you could just walk away from it and leave it alone now that you fixed the leak issue. But if it’s structurally damaged, the only thing you can do is dig that out.

    We see damaged sills all the time with termite infestation, for example. Now, usually it’s easiest to do this from the inside of the house.

    Is the house on a basement?

    DAVID: No, it doesn’t have a basement.

    TOM: So it’s on a crawlspace or a slab?

    DAVID: It’s on a slab.

    TOM: OK. Yeah, really, what you have to do is remove the siding. You can use a tool called a Sawzall. You know what that is? A reciprocating saw? And you can reach into the wall with that, cut out the old sill, slip in a new sill and put it all back together. That’s the way – the right way to do that repair.

    DAVID: Alright. Thanks a lot.

    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.

    So, you want to know how to amp up your curb appeal but not spend too much money? Window boxes. Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor from This Old House is joining us next with details on how you can create some real showstoppers, 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: Hey, do you know what style house you live in? Is it a Tudor, a contemporary, a ranch, a Colonial, something in between? We’ve got a great gallery online, right now, on MoneyPit.com called “What’s My Home Style?” It’s right on our home page, so check it out and you can figure out what kind of home you have.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jenny in Kentucky on the line with a tiling question. How can we help you?

    JENNY: I wanted to know if I could put my ceramic tile right down on top of my linoleum. Because when I watch all those DIY shows, it looks like they put some type of mat underneath the linoleum – or underneath the tile. And so I thought I could save that step and just use the …

    TOM: No, no, no, no, no. No, nice try but no, not quite so easy. You have to put down a tile backer. And so you can put a tile backer down on top of the linoleum; you don’t have to tear linoleum out. Of course, it’s all – it all builds up and it all counts in terms of thickness. But you have to put a tile backer down first and then you could put the tile on top – the ceramic tile on top of that.

    JENNY: OK. But I don’t need to tear it up?

    LESLIE: If you’ve got the clearance, Jenny, meaning in your kitchen or wherever you’re putting this, you’ve got room with the toe-kick of your counters – I mean of your cabinets and your dishwasher and your refrigerator – to add the extra thickness of that tile backer, the adhesive and then the tile, then absolutely you can go right on top of the linoleum. But if it seems like that inch to 2 inches is going to get tricky, you might need to rip up what’s there.

    JENNY: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Window boxes are a great way to quickly dress up the front of your home and compliment your home’s architectural style.

    TOM: And here to tell us how to get started is Roger Cook, the landscape contractor on TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Welcome to my window world.

    TOM: You know, it seems that window boxes might be one of the fastest ways to add a bit of landscape to your house without really having to dig out the shovels, right?

    ROGER: It’s truly amazing to be able to fasten something to the house and the same day fill it with plants and have it look so nice.

    TOM: It’s like sort of an instant result.

    ROGER: Yeah.

    TOM: Now, when you’re trying to decide what kind of window box works best for you, what do you consider? Style of the house important?

    ROGER: Always important to try to match the style of the house but also in my mind is durability. I want something that’s going to last a long time and not disappear on me in a year or two.

    TOM: And do you think it looks best when you have a window box mounted as the same width of the window as opposed to just halfway or something?

    ROGER: Yeah, I think it’s essential to line up with the edge of the windows. It just gives it a finished look like it was part of finished carpentry of the window.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So if you’ve got three windows that sort of sister each other side by side, you want one long box; you don’t want three individual guys.

    ROGER: That’s what I do at my house; I run it the length of them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, it’s got to be very important to think about how you mount these boxes because their weight is going to range, depending on how watered it is, what the weather is doing. So how do you know you’re getting a secure mount?

    ROGER: If you have wood siding on your house, it’s pretty easy to anchor into the wood and be sure. If you want to, you can always find the studs. There are several ways to find studs. You can rent Tommy Silva and his knuckle and he’ll find it for you. But if you can find the studs or the structure, anchor it into that.

    And it’s more essential that you do that in PVC because if you put a window box on it and it’s just held on by the PVC siding, there can be a lot of problems with that. Tommy did a great example of that on one of the shows we did. And he showed how to find it, drill it and mount a box in that fashion so that they’ll stay put.

    TOM: Yeah, now, I saw that and I guess the technique was to drill through the siding with a slightly wider bit than you would need to hold the screw and then put lots of caulk around it, basically. So you don’t want to create any holes where the water will get behind the box and into the structure of the house.

    ROGER: No. But you want a little oversize hole because vinyl is always moving. It moves more than wood and it has to have an area to move or it’ll crack.

    TOM: Yeah, good point.

    Now, you mentioned PVC is one of the materials for these boxes. Is that one of your favorites?

    ROGER: It is because it stands the test of time. And it just will last forever. I’ve done plastic, I’ve done wood. The plastic tends to bulge if you fill it too much and the wood, over time unless you paint the inside, will rot.

    LESLIE: Will rot.

    TOM: And so many people think of PVC – are associated with plumbing pipes. But what we’re really talking about here is cellular PVC, which looks just like wood.

    ROGER: You can’t tell the difference.

    TOM: Absolutely not.

    LESLIE: No. And it really stands up.

    Now, when it comes to the soil that you’re going to fill in these window boxes, do you need a special type to be more absorptive or help the plants grow more? Because it’s such a confined space.

    ROGER: Window boxes are the smallest space you’ll ever plant in, even smaller than big planters you use on the front of your house on the walkway, so you want to do everything you can. Use a good soil that has a lot of peat and vermiculite in it and also a soil that has a water-absorbent quality, those little polymers they put in that absorb the water when you water and then slowly release it as the soil dries out, so it buys you more time between waterings.

    TOM: Now let’s talk a bit about the type of plants that work best in a window box, because it is hanging off your house and you’re featuring it. Are hanging vines and that sort of thing a good choice for that? Any favorites?

    ROGER: You can have a ball with window boxes. I love putting a lot of hangers. One of my favorite is sweet potato vine.

    LESLIE: I love them.

    ROGER: It comes in a chartreuse and even a dark purple and that can be such a great color. And they’ll grow 3 to 6 feet and just hang all the way down to the ground.

    Then I do fillers. I use a lot of colorful things. Even geraniums are great fillers. And then I usually put one big plant in the middle. It can be as simple as a grass or a dracaena, something to give me some real height, some drama in the middle of the box.

    LESLIE: How much depth are you needing to create these little mini-gardens?

    ROGER: You’re starting with small plants in small pots. So 4 to 6 inches is plenty.

    TOM: And finally, let’s talk about watering. Very, very important. Any systems out there to make the watering process a bit easier?

    ROGER: There are a lot of systems out there but the one we highlighted on one of our shows was a PVC planter box with a plastic system inside with cotton wicks that you filled and then the water wicked up into the soil. It was a great system.

    TOM: Very cool. So you fill this pipe up with water and it wicks right out and keeps the soil moist and damp.

    ROGER: Right. So you may have to water only once a week and that’s better than going there every day and trying to get water …

    LESLIE: And it’s actually putting the water where you need it.

    ROGER: Again, down in the roots.

    TOM: Roger Cook, the landscape contractor on TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks for hanging out with us as we talk about hanging window boxes on your house.

    ROGER: Well, I hope you enjoy your window box.

    TOM: We will. Thanks, Roger.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos on many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of The Home Depot.

    Well, if you’ve been thinking this spring that you’d love to have a deck but your yard just isn’t quite right for one, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. We’re going to help solve some of those common decking dilemmas, 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: 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 caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to get a great Father’s Day gift, courtesy of our friends at DeWALT.

    We’ve got up for grabs a 204-piece mechanics tool set. Now, pros really love these tools, so you are definitely going to, as well. Each one has a deep, laser-etched marking on it so that you can easily identify the socket size. And you can actually check out all of the DeWALT mechanics tool sets right on their website at DeWALT.com.

    TOM: The set is worth $240 and it’s just one of the many great gift ideas that you can find on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. Check it out, especially if you’re having trouble figuring out what to get the DIY dad in your life or maybe if you just want to get yourself a little something extra. And be sure to give us a call with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve held off adding a deck to your yard because you think that your yard has a unique problem, think again. We’re here to help you solve your decking dilemmas with a tip presented by Veranda Decking from The Home Depot. Truth is most yards can handle a deck.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Now, if too much sun is the reason you’re thinking maybe you can’t add a deck, you might want to consider canvas awnings. These will still let in some natural light but they can keep the hot rays off of your deck and most of them can be retracted when no shade is needed.

    And if your concern is lack of privacy, why not design some landscaping into your deck by adding some tall plants along the railings or maybe install lattice and then plant an ivy screen to grab onto and to flourish?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you’re looking for something a little bit more interesting to climb onto that lattice work, you can look at a flowering plant called “clematis,” which is really great and super-hardy, and also climbing hydrangeas. You know, there are some really good options if you want something more flowery and it really does create a lot of privacy.

    Now, the common problem that we hear is space, so why not go up? Adding a deck from a higher level and then using the space below as a patio also works very well.

    And finally, to make sure that you get the most out of your deck, you want to go with a composite decking material, which is – believe me, I’m kind of lazy when it comes to maintenance stuff – really easy to maintain and super-easy to clean.

    TOM: And speaking of composite, The Home Depot has some great options, including the Veranda line. I like this product because Veranda decking has all of the features and the benefits and the warranties of the most expensive composite deck boards on the market today but they are sold at a great Home Depot price. Veranda’s Traditional comes in two colors and it’s got a 15-year warranty against cracks and splits and warping and even twisting.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the Veranda ArmorGuard comes in four colors and it has grooves for a hidden-fastener system right along the side, so you won’t even see any screws. It’s really great. Now, ArmorGuard has a 20-year warranty.

    If you want some more details, head on over to your local Home Depot store or go online at HomeDepot.com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Hey, do you have an outdoor living-project question? Pick up the phone, give us a call. We are here to help.

    LESLIE: Bill in Florida needs some help with a garage floor.

    Bill, what’s going on?

    BILL: We have stains from acid spills in various places. The floor is about – the building is about seven years old. There are a lot of various stains from the traffic and normal automobile dirt.

    LESLIE: Yeah, regular wear and tear.

    BILL: I wondered if there’s some company that specializes in – or where I can find out how to clean the concrete floor first and then some – possibly some coating that would withstand the acid and normal battery – or normal automobile stains.

    LESLIE: So this is a big project. Is this something you want to hire out or do you have a maintenance team in the building that would take care of this?

    BILL: No, we would have to hire someone. But the first challenge is to find out – satisfy ourselves that it can be done.

    TOM: Well, it absolutely can be done and you don’t have to have a professional do this. It’s really just a big painting project. And there are products that are used to clean the concrete first and then there are different products that are used to paint it.

    BILL: Is there any problem in cleaning the spill – the battery acid?

    TOM: No. All of the painting products are going to have a recommended prep procedure. And one of the ones that works very, very well is QUIKRETE.

    They have an epoxy system, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Right. They’ve got a two-part, epoxy, garage-floor coating system. A lot of people make them. I happen to really like the QUIKRETE because I like that they offer 40 different colors. I’ve never tackled a space larger than my own garage and the neighbor’s garage and this is a pretty massive space we’re talking about. But your first step is going to be a product that they have called BONDžLOK.

    And that really etches and preps the surface. It cleans it, it prepares it so that the paint and the epoxy coating system is going to adhere really well. So once you’ve done the BONDžLOK step, the floor is prepped, ready to go, let it dry, whatever the manufacturer’s directions say. Then you mix up this two-part epoxy floor coating and that goes on and it’s going to protect it against gasoline, oil, scuffs, normal wear and tear. There’s an additional coating that you can put on top that’s premium that will – probably because it’s a commercial space, you’ll want to go for.

    But there are products out there. You don’t have to worry about what’s already on the floor as long as you do that cleaning step.

    BILL: And so all I have to do is contact the QUIKRETE people.

    TOM: That’s right. QUIKRETE 2-Part Epoxy is the best way to go.

    BILL: I really appreciate your help and enjoy your program.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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. Is summer your favorite time of year? Well, it’s also many bugs’ favorite, as well. We’re going to talk about getting a jump on summer pests, 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: And the kickoff to the summer season is not far away and for many of us, it’s a chance to host barbecues and enjoy some time outdoors. Unfortunately, though, we’re not the only ones looking forward to the summer season.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, the warmer weather also means that flying and stinging pests are looking for places to breed and thrive. And well, your backyard kind of provides the habitat that they need and love, so look out for them.

    Here to help us identify the insects that cause the most concern and tell us how to avoid infestations is Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical services for Orkin.

    Welcome, Greg.

    GREG: Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

    TOM: So, Greg, before we get going talking about some of these stinging insects, I’ve got to ask you about the cicadas. They’re being heavily covered in the news. It’s predicted to be one of the worst cicada seasons ever. What is a cicada and why should we be concerned?

    GREG: Well, cicada is really interesting because they emerge from the ground every so often. There are 17-year broods, there are 10-year broods. And they’ll emerge. They’re rather large. They have these red eyes, in many cases. They only emerge for one reason: to reproduce. And they will reproduce and swarm all over. They’re very large, very intimidating and people think it’s like a swarm of locusts coming down. But they’re pretty much innocuous.

    TOM: Alright. So let’s talk about some of the stinging insects because that’s something that we do have to worry about. Whenever it gets warm, we see more and more nests that are formed from flying hornets, wasps, bees. Let’s first deal with the terminology. Are they all the same or do they all describe a different type of insect?

    GREG: Well, technically – and it really is only technically – the stinging insects we typically talk about are going to be bees and wasps. And bees are going to have a hairy abdomen and the wasps are going to be more of a shinier abdomen. But it really doesn’t matter. Most people view as – view bees and wasps as one and the same in terms of their ability to sting.

    LESLIE: Alright. We are talking to Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical services for Orkin.

    Now, we’re discussing stinging insects and I mean you’re right: I’m not getting close enough to a bee or a wasp to determine if its tummy is hairy; I’m just getting the heck away from them. But I’ve heard that when they sting, they can sting multiple times. And if you kind of kill one, it sort of sends out a signal like, “Hey, the crazy lady in the plaid shirt is swinging wildly and killing wasps. Go get her.” Is that true?

    GREG: Well, insects are really incredible in that they can communicate via chemical scents. Something we can’t smell but they can put out a scent. Sometimes, it’ll be a scent that says, “There’s food over this way.” Other times, it’ll be, “There’s danger.” And when there is a problem and a wasp or a yellow jacket is being swatted at, it’ll put out a scent that essentially attracts the other ones. So that’s another reason you want to be extremely careful around the yellow jackets.

    TOM: Hey, Greg, let me ask you a final question about the yellow jackets. They seem to turn up a lot whenever you’re having a picnic. They like the food, they like the soda, they like to kind of get in your face while you’re eating. Any tips to stop them from doing that?

    GREG: Tom, you hit it right on the head. Sometimes, they like the same food we like. Later in the season, they like to have lots of sugars. And if we have a picnic and we have open cans of soda or have open cans of beer, for example, or even punch, food that’s laying out, they’re going to want to come in and feast on that just as we do. So probably the best thing you can do is keep all food covered where possible. And if you are drinking out of a can or even out of a glass, make sure you put a little bit of a lid on top of it or a napkin on top of it so you don’t accidentally take a swig of yellow jacket.

    TOM: Be careful. Greg Baumann, the vice president of training and technical support for Orkin, our very own Orkin man.

    Hey, if you like the information that Greg brings to the program, there’s a brand-new podcast on our website. It’s called The Money Pit Pest Prevention Podcast and it’s presented by Orkin. And it includes all of Greg’s tips, so check that out at MoneyPit.com. And you can also find it on Orkin.com.

    Greg Baumann, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.

    GREG: Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues, online, at MoneyPit.com.

    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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (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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