00:00/ 00:00
  • Transcript

    So, the air is getting in. So, whether it already has a flue in there or not, I’m not certain. But I just didn’t know if there’s anything I need to do more than just putting a thermal break on every level.

    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: Here to help you tackle your home improvement projects. So help yourself first: call us with your how-to question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your décor desires. Whatever is on your money pit to-do list, give us a call and put it on ours at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you, starting with this topic: just a few weeks back, police dash cam caught a house in New Jersey that actually exploded from a gas leak. And yet another home exploded less than a week later. Could this happen to your house? I tell you what, it’s a scary thought but we’ve got some tips to help keep you safe.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Thanks for scaring everybody, Tom.

    Well, guys, if you’re looking to keep your home safe and secure, you might also be considering a home monitoring system. So coming up this hour, we’re hearing from a company that’s become synonymous with home security – ADT – about the next level of home monitoring.

    TOM: Plus, energy-efficient home improvements top the list of must-haves for home shoppers. We’re going to find out why keeping your home green can bring you more green when it’s time to sell.

    LESLIE: And DIY plumbing can be easy as 1-2-3 with this hour’s prize. We’ve got up for grabs a $50 Home Depot gift card. And our winner can use it to pick up Cash Acme SharkBite technology. And that’s going to let you connect pipes without soldering, clamps or glue.

    TOM: That $50 gift card is free to one caller we talk to on the air this hour. So call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: George in Pennsylvania is on the line with a geothermal question. What can we do for you?

    GEORGE: Well, we had – I have a geothermal system now. It’s 15 years old. And a couple weeks ago, the compressor went up. And the guy came out who normally services the unit. He went – he recommends not replacing the compressor. He recommends an entirely new unit, everything, the whole shebang.

    TOM: OK. How old is the existing system, George?

    GEORGE: Fifteen years old.

    TOM: OK. I would agree with that.

    GEORGE: Oh, OK. OK. That’s …

    TOM: That pretty much your question?

    GEORGE: Why, yeah, that’s my – because my stepson, who is in the field, keeps insisting to me that – just to replace the compressor. But I – after I went online and I saw the pros and cons of doing that and I hate to just do piecemeal and something happen, you know. I spend money for a compressor and a couple years later, something else goes up.

    TOM: Well, the old saying is you don’t want to throw good money after bad.

    GEORGE: Right. Sure.

    TOM: And if the system is 15 years old, I mean frankly, George, it doesn’t owe you a dime. That’s pretty good life expectancy. So you’ve gotten all your money out of that.

    If you replace the whole thing, you’re going to get a much more efficient system out of it, because everything is balanced in systems today. Plus, there’s new refrigerants that are safer. So, I really do think you’re better off replacing it.

    GEORGE: Oh, great. OK, OK. Fine. How do you feel about buying a – I want to say another – he wants to do – this guy is recommending not another hot-water heater, like a storage tank to keep the water hot so that we don’t have to use the hot-water heater as much as we do now.

    TOM: OK. That’s not an unusual approach. I have a storage tank in my home because my hot water is provided by my boiler, not by a water heater.

    GEORGE: Right, right. We used to have that.

    TOM: And so by having a storage tank next to the boiler, the storage tank can supply a certain amount of hot water and the boiler doesn’t have to come on every time we need more hot water in the house. So that’s not an unusual approach.

    The other thing that you might want to think about is a tankless water heater. That’s another way to go.

    GEORGE: Oh, OK. OK. Fine. OK. Well, great. That was quick. You answered my questions. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Dina in New Jersey on the line who’s dealing with something going on with the chimney. What’s happening? You’ve got grout crumbling? What’s going on there?

    DINA: I have water, apparently, leaking in and it’s coming down around the fancy bricks of my fireplace. Because I see the cement crumbling and I see changes of – after a rain that I had, it’s darker over on the cement that’s crumbling.

    I’ve had my chimney relined and I just don’t know what it is. They said maybe it’s the flashing up on top that needs to be repointed and then it should be sealed. I just don’t know where to start and I’m getting high, big prices.

    TOM: Alright, Dina. This is a masonry chimney?

    DINA: Brick.

    TOM: A brick chimney, yes. OK. Masonry chimney, OK. Same difference.

    DINA: OK, thank you for being there for people like me.

    TOM: Alright. “No, it’s not masonry, it’s brick.” “Well, that clears it up.”

    Alright, look, when you have a masonry/brick chimney, at the top there is a chimney cap, which is a concrete lip that goes between the flue liner and the outside of the brick edge. And typically, when you get leaks, that concrete crack – cap is cracked. And it’s a very minor repair to seal those cracks or even to replace those cracks – that concrete section. It’s just a little, maybe 6-inch-deep section of concrete that’s sort of troweled between the clay flue liner and the outside edge of the brick.

    So the first thing I would do is seal the gaps or cracks around that and see if that fixes it. Now, the leaks are coming into the chimney. They’re not coming around the chimney by the ceiling, right? So that means – that sort of excludes flashing, because the flashing seals the gap between the masonry chimney and the roof. And if the flashing was failed, then you would have, probably, leaks when you look up at your ceiling. The chimney itself is leaking, so the most common culprit is simply that concrete cap or that masonry cap around the top of it.

    The other thing that you could do is you could put a chimney cap on this, because that has the effect of sort of putting a roof over your chimney without really blocking the chimney. And sometimes, that will dissuade the volume of water from getting into it.

    Now, the – one of the things I have to caution you about is that the chimney contractors – the chimney sweeps – that do these sorts of repairs are a disingenuous group. They’re not the most honest contractors out there and they almost always try to tell you a tale of woe, of death and destruction that will befall upon you unless you open your checkbook open wide and write them a big number. So, just be careful to find somebody reputable that can dig into what’s going on and just do what’s necessary but not an excessive amount of work on it, OK?

    DINA: Uh-huh. They’ve also mentioned doing repointing on the chimney and then waterproofing it.

    TOM: If it turns out that the masonry is cracked or deteriorated or falling out between the bricks, certainly repointing – but I think it’s a lot simpler than that. I think most likely it’s just some minor cracks in the chimney cap.

    DINA: Uh-huh. Because what they showed me was – they said, “See? There’s moss growing here. So that means that there’s water in between the bricks.”

    TOM: There’s always going to be water in a chimney. It’s a masonry structure; it holds moisture. And if you’ve got moss, you can put a mildicide on it. You can put a product like Concrobium on there that will kill that moss or another product called Wet & Forget that will kill that moss. And then beyond that, you need to get to the source of the leak, which I think is that chimney cap.

    So let’s not overcomplicate it, OK? Let’s see if that thin concrete cap is cracked and get that fixed.

    DINA: Thank you so very much. And now I know that bricks are masonry. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question whenever that question pops into your head or whenever that pipe bursts or whenever you put the wrong-color paint on something.

    Well, whatever it is that you need help with, we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, have you picked up a shovel yet this spring? Well, before you stick that shovel in the soil, you’d better make sure you know what’s below. We’ll tell you how to find out with one easy call, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win a $50 Home Depot gift card that can bring an end to plumbing problems.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And that gift card can be used to pick up Cash Acme SharkBite Connectors.

    Now, the connectors will make hard-to-reach plumbing easy by eliminating glue, clamps or soldering.

    TOM: Learn more about SharkBite at HomeDepot.com. And call us, right now, for your chance to win The Home Depot gift card. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Aaron in South Dakota on the line.

    Aaron, what can we help you with today?

    AARON: My question is concerning – it’s my fireplace chimney. I have a 35-year-old home. It’s a story-and-a-half and it has two fireplaces. The fireplace on the main level is in – we use it. Below it, in the basement, there is a cutout in the foundation for a second fireplace but it was never put in. So it’s just the foundation concrete.

    My question is – because it was never put in – the fireplace in the basement – the chimney was never used and it is dumping cold air into the basement. And I want to know, how do I permanently seal that off so that I’m just not taking in air from outside?

    TOM: OK. Interesting question.

    Now, because it’s a second fireplace in the basement, do you happen to know if it has a separate, dedicated flue? Because it very well may have its own interior flue. Even though it’s one chimney structure, there could be two flues going up through the middle of it. Do you know if that’s the case?

    AARON: I’m not entirely certain.

    TOM: OK. Well, I would identify that. You could probably go on top of the chimney and look straight down. You’ll see these two flues side by side.

    If it’s got its own flue, I’d probably seal it off from the top. If it’s sharing a flue, then what I would do is I would seal it off from the bottom. And you can do something as simple as sealing in the front of that opening with just an insulated foam panel.

    AARON: Well, you see, that is what is there right now. If I go into the basement and I look up, somebody has put a foam panel to seal it up. But it’s not sealed very well and air is getting in. And on the outside, the chimney stack is a double stack and I have cut into the knee wall, into my attic space, to look and it’s a wide-open void up there.

    TOM: Well, you say it’s a wide-open stack. What do you mean by that when you say it’s a wide-open stack, Aaron?

    AARON: If you look at the side of my house, there is a massive chimney.

    TOM: Right. OK.

    AARON: It’s probably 4 feet wide by 2 feet wide.

    TOM: OK.

    AARON: And when I look in my attic space, I can see that it is wide open but there is nothing inside of it.

    TOM: So it’s sort of framed wide open but there’s no flue liner inside of it?

    AARON: It springs wide open like it was intended, at some point, somebody is going to put a fireplace there but no one ever did.

    TOM: Hmm. Yeah.

    AARON: So, now, it’s just – from outside, down to my basement, it’s air coming in.

    TOM: Yeah.

    AARON: And I don’t intend to put a second fireplace in and I want to finish that area.

    TOM: The goal here is to seal off and insulate anything that you’re not using without impacting the side of the fireplace that you are using. And so to do that, you need to know exactly how many flues you have and what appliances in your house that’s serving, whether it’s a furnace or a fireplace. Those need to be left alone. And the others you can insulate or seal off. And so, this may be something that has to be done by an experienced professional, because you want to get it right. But that’s the goal.

    If you’re not using it, you can seal it off. And I would seal it from the top, if I could, because that’s where the air is coming in.

    AARON: OK. Sounds good. Thank you.

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

    Well, spring is here and there’s a chance that you’ve already picked up a shovel to work on gardening projects, decks or some other outdoor project.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And if you did, odds are high that you put yourself at risk in the process.

    Now, 51 percent of Americans who plan to dig this year will do it without calling 811. Now, 811 is the number that you can dial to get outdoor utility lines professionally ID’d and marked.

    TOM: And that’s important because when they’re not marked, gas lines, electric lines and water lines are at risk for being hit and broken. This can cause leaks, power outages and even explosions.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? It’s not uncommon for an entire neighborhood to lose power when someone’s shovel lands in the wrong place. I mean you don’t want to be that guy.

    TOM: It’s easy to avoid. You just call 811, from anywhere in the country, a few days before you plan to do the project either by yourself or a contractor. And the utility company will send a locator to mark the approximate locations of all your lines, your pipes and your cables so you’ll never hear that sound of your shovel hitting something metal. You don’t want to hear that.

    And remember, calling 811 and the service they provide is free. So why not? Before you dig, call 811.

    LESLIE: Sue in Florida is on the line with a shower that doesn’t drain. Tell us about it.

    SUE: Well, we’re getting ready to close on a home and after the home inspection, we found that the water stands on the shower floor and doesn’t drain.

    TOM: OK. So this came up during the home inspection, Sue?

    SUE: Yes.

    TOM: Well, I would have the seller fix this. What’s causing it? Who knows? Could be as simple as a clog. It could be something more complex, like a broken pipe beneath the slab or a missing vent pipe. But that’s a mechanical issue and mechanical systems usually have to be in working-order condition at the time of closing.

    So I would ask the seller to repair that. And if they’re not going to repair it, to give you a substantial credit because you’re going to have to do the investigation to figure out what it is and get it fixed on your own. And when drains are in floors and probably inside of a slab floor, it could be very complicated, it could become expensive.

    LESLIE: Nick in Iowa is on the line and is doing a tiling project. What can we do for you?

    NICK: I did a project in my bathroom, on the second floor, a couple years ago. And I laid ¾-inch tongue-and-groove down.

    TOM: Plywood?

    NICK: Yes. And then I laid down a ¼-inch fiber-cement underlayment that is meant for tile. And I made sure that the seams weren’t in the same spot as the tongue-and-groove.

    TOM: Right.

    NICK: And it’s been – like I say, it’s been probably two years and I’ve got just a hairline crack running through all my tile that’s right on that tongue-and-groove seam. And I’m getting ready to start a kitchen project where I’m going to do some tiling. And I guess I want to know if you had any suggestions on where I might have went wrong.

    TOM: Well, the very best floor base for a tile project is called a “mud floor.” Do you know what a mud floor is?

    NICK: No, I do not.

    TOM: So a mud floor is one where you put down tar paper first, then you put down woven wire mesh, then you mix up a sand-and-cement – essentially, mud. It’s a very dry mix; not a lot of water to it. Generally, it’s one bag of Portland cement to about 40 shovels of sand. And when you mix it perfectly, you can kind of hold it and it forms sort of a ball in your hand, right?

    Now, you take that mud and that mud mix and you spread it out across the woven wire mesh. And you’ve got to be a pretty good do-it-yourselfer to pull this off, because it’s really a professional tile guy’s way of doing this. But you spread it over the mud. You use a long, straight edge to kind of get it absolutely perfectly flat and you let it dry. And it’s got to be a minimum of maybe 1-inch thick and it could go up to whatever you need it to be.

    For example, I have a laundry room in the second floor of my house. Really old house. And we decided to tile that and there’s just no way I could level this floor any other way. And so, we put down a mud floor. It was about 1 inch on one side of the room. By the time we got to the other side of the room, it was about 2½ inches because the floor had that kind of a slope in it. But then when we were done, it was perfectly flat and absolutely rock solid.

    If you put a mud floor down, you will never, ever, ever get a crack, if you do it right. That’s the best way to do it. Any of those tile-backer products are subject to expansion and contraction and that may help develop some cracks, not to mention the fact that it can’t really help you level a floor that’s out of level.

    Now, when – you said you were doing this in the kitchen. We’ll give you an additional caution: you’ve got to be very careful around the dishwasher. Because if you put a thick floor around that dishwasher, you may not be able to get the dishwasher back in again. Or you can do as this ridiculous tile guy did at my sister’s house. He tiled her dishwasher in. So when the dishwasher had to be replaced, I had to help her take the countertop off of the sink, off of the cabinets, take the sink out, take the countertop up in order to lift the dishwasher out from the cabinets and replace it, which was really ridiculous and very annoying.

    NICK: That doesn’t sound like what I want to do, no.

    TOM: No. So don’t tile your dishwasher in and watch the thickness of the floor so that you can actually get the dishwasher back in if you take it out.

    NICK: Alright. Sounds good. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Call us. We’ll give you more work, 888-666-3974. Thanks so much, Nick.

    You know, we always say, “Do it once, do it right and you won’t have to do it again.” And that is absolutely true when it comes to putting down tile. If you don’t take the time to put in a proper base, you will ultimately be repeating the process.

    LESLIE: Still ahead this hour, you can keep tabs on your home right from your phone, tablet or laptop. We’re going to tell you how a leader in home security is taking home monitoring a step further, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: When you’re ready to search for a home, start at Realtor.com. Realtor.com is the most accurate home search site. And be sure to work with a realtor to help you through the process. Realtor.com and realtors. Together, we make home happen.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, you may remember the dash-cam video of the house in New Jersey that exploded because of a natural-gas leak. It was terrifying to see this house absolutely blow apart because of this natural-gas leak.

    And what’s most scary about it is the gas leak did not originate inside the house. It actually happened outside the house, in a street and then in a main gas line. And then that gas followed the water line – which happened to go through the soil, of course – into the house, into the basement of this house, filled it up until it exploded. It must have connected with a pilot light or something of that nature and it blew the house up.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Into a million pieces, like straight up into the sky.

    TOM: It did, yeah. Now, what’s scary about that is that could happen to you even if you don’t have gas in your house. Think about it: you could be on oil or you could be an all-electric house and you could still get gas from an underground line that fills up your house.

    So if you ever smell gas, what’s the first thing you do? Get out. And you don’t even turn the light on because guess what? A week later, another house filled up with gas, also in New Jersey. I don’t know what’s with – going on with New Jersey and gas these days. I’m sure there’s a couple of really bad jokes there. We’re not going to go there but …

    LESLIE: I’m like, “Chris Christie and Mexican food? What?”

    TOM: But anyway, what this victim unfortunately did was turn on the light switch before he intended to leave the house. And in doing so, the house exploded. So don’t even turn the lights on. You smell gas, get out of the house first, then call 911. Because you just can’t mess around with this stuff. If you smell it, get out first, then call the authorities.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? The authorities respond so quickly because they actually do take it so seriously. Because the damage could be so widespread and the injuries could be a lot in a really bad situation. So do be smart. Take the phone with you and get the heck out.

    TOM: Good advice.

    LESLIE: Doug in Illinois is dealing with some water under a deck. Tell us what you’re working on.

    DOUG: Well, I’m interested in a roof or a water-drainage system up underneath my deck. I have a 16×40 deck and I saw somewhere on TV that they have some sort of a system that goes up in between the joists. I was wondering if you knew anything about that.

    TOM: Yeah. Is this like a second-floor deck and you guys sit under it or something?

    DOUG: Yeah. There’s this – there’s a full lower level under the deck, yes.

    TOM: Well, those are called “deck drainage systems” and there’s lots and lots and lots of different manufacturers of it. There’s DEK Drain, there’s DrySnap.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s something called UnderDeck that seems to be a Depot product.

    TOM: Trex has one that’s called RainEscape.

    So, these are all deck drainage systems. I don’t know enough about them to give you a recommendation of one over the other but that’s what you want is a deck drainage system. They basically – as you say, they fit in between the joists, so they fit under the deck. They’re designed to collect the water and then run it to some sort of a traditional gutter and get it away from the house, so that you could have some living space underneath that deck and not have the rain falling on your head.

    DOUG: Absolutely. That’s what I’m looking for. Did you say something about Home Depot?

    LESLIE: Yeah, Depot has a product called UnderDeck, which is basically like – I guess you could call it an “under-joist gutter system.” And it sort of pieces together; it’s modular.

    DOUG: Oh, OK. Wonderful. Well, I sure will check there.

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

    LESLIE: Well, ADT is a leader in home security that’s been keeping homes safe around 140 years. Now, they’re upping their game with a new system that allows you to monitor your home’s systems remotely.

    TOM: That’s right. Tim Rader is one of ADT’s leading experts and we talked to him recently about their new Pulse System.

    TIM: We’ve got over a million customers on the Pulse Platform. And what we found out was customers want to go to that next level. They want to be able to control their lifestyle, as we would call it. We do life safety, now we do lifestyle.

    And in that lifestyle space, they want to see their home, actually look in to see with cameras. They want to know if events occur. The front door gets opened. Johnny or Betty comes home from school, we want to know they came home from school, came home safely and we get a video clip that they came home alone.

    Additionally, we may want to control thermostats in our secondary home or our summer home or know if we have a freeze event. And we can do that, as well. All that can be done from a PC, a tablet or from any smart device.

    And we’ve just announced a new product called Pulse Voice App where you actually, with voice commands, can turn your system on and off remotely.

    TOM: And you can listen to the entire podcast at MoneyPit.com. And learn more about ADT’s Pulse System at ADT.com.

    LESLIE: Wade in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    WADE: Hi. I was curious about calcium deposits showing up in my – recently just my hot-water returns coming out of the kitchen sink, bathroom sink. And I’ve noticed it in my washer inlet hose, as well. Is there a good way to prevent that through – stop that from happening?

    TOM: Well, it sounds like hard water and you might need a water softener. That white stuff is mineral deposits that’s trapped inside the water. And as it dries out, it can cake on those fixtures and those faucets and makes them difficult to clean. And in the worst-case scenario, it can clog up some lines, too.

    So, you might want to think about water-treatment options. Now, one of the easiest is a product called EasyWater. And it’s a water softener that mounts near your main water line. And electronically, it essentially charges the hard-water particles and magnetizes them in the sense that they don’t stick together anymore. And that helps them sort of flow right out.

    So take a look at that product: EasyWater. You can find it online; I believe it’s EasyWater.com.

    WADE: Another quick question about – I replaced the anode rod in my water heater and I noticed that some of the similar stuff was kind of chipping off of that – my old rod. Would that have anything to do with it or would that help it?

    TOM: No, that’s just more evidence of hard water. That’s just another place the hard water and the mineral deposits collected: on that anode rod. So it’s all sourcing from the water quality itself. You need to address the water quality if you want to address the mineral deposits.

    WADE: OK. That makes sense.

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

    LESLIE: Coming up, energy-efficient upgrades that you make to your house will help you sell your house. We’re going to tell you what other improvements also add value, when The Money Pit continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, plumbing projects can be tough on do-it-yourselfers and they only get tougher when you’re working in hard-to-reach places.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Our winner this hour can get some relief with a $50 Home Depot gift card.

    Now, you can use it to get Cash Acme’s SharkBite Connection System. This is a push-to-connect technology that will let you connect pipes easily without soldering, clamps or glue.

    TOM: It could be yours if we answer your question on the air this hour. Learn more about Cash Acme SharkBite Connectors at HomeDepot.com. And give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Teddy in Oregon is dealing with a wet foundation. Tell us what’s going on.

    TEDDY: Well, I am blessed with rain and clay soil here in Western Oregon. And I have a crawlspace that is wet. I lift up the plastic and there is mold and salamanders and slugs under there.

    And so I did discover a crack in the foundation, which explains a lot of this moisture.

    TOM: Well, yes and no. You know, concrete foundations and brick foundations are very porous. The fact that you have a crack doesn’t mean that that’s the only way water is getting through. What this does mean is that you have way too much water collecting on the outside of your house.

    So what you need to do is to very carefully improve the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter so that soil slopes away from the house. And even more important than that is to clean your gutter system and extend those downspouts away from the house. That’s really critical. If you do that, you will find that it makes a big difference on the amount of water that’s getting into that space and it will dry up quite nicely and frankly, quite quickly.

    TEDDY: Oh, OK. I believe that the gutter system is all – has pipes out to the street.

    TOM: Yep. You need to be sure about that and you need to be sure that they’re not disconnected or clogged.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Especially if you’ve got something underground that you can’t monitor or see if it’s, in fact, free-flowing. You’ve got to make sure that it’s actually going somewhere, it’s connected. Because the smallest amount of a clog can produce a huge amount of water, in comparison to the amount of a clog, inside your house.

    TEDDY: Oh, OK. OK. So, I’ll work on that and grade the soil away from the house.

    Now, right now, I have – I was all set to buy a dehumidifier and then someone told me, “No, that won’t do you any good.” So, I put a fan on either end – one blowing in and one blowing out – so it could go out the vents.

    TOM: But look, the solution here is not to try to get rid of the moisture that’s there; it’s to stop it from going there in the first place. So you need to follow our advice on this, which is specifically to improve the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. There’s advice on how to do this, online, at MoneyPit.com. It’s one of the most common questions we get asked and the solution is really quite simple, OK?

    TEDDY: OK. Yeah.

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

    LESLIE: So, here’s a big problem: you’ve got your home on the market and you want to make your home more appealing to prospective buyers but you’re really not sure where to start. Well, a survey by The Demand Institute revealed that as far as wish lists go, most homeowners want energy efficiency above anything else.

    TOM: It makes sense. Electricity costs have jumped by leaps and bounds the past 15 years, which explains why 51 percent of homeowners surveyed wish for an energy-use monitor that shows where their energy and money are going. Another 49 percent would like smart appliances that drive down utility bills, as well.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now, with that in mind, adding insulation, eco-friendly appliances and other smart-home technology is likely to boost your home’s appeal.

    TOM: And it’ll also save you plenty of money on your utility bills between now and when you sell.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Heather in Tennessee who’s dealing with a flooring situation. What happened?

    HEATHER: Well, my husband and I were – we have a water feature on our countertop. And we overfilled it one day and it leaked out onto the hardwood and while we were at work. And it’s left a 6×8-inch-diameter area of bulking of our hardwood floors. I can’t really see it but you can feel it when you’re walking over it with socks on; it kind of snags. So I didn’t know if there’s anything that you could do because – a DIY project? Or do you have to have the whole floor resanded, restained? I really don’t want to go through all of that mess.

    TOM: Well, if the floor is swollen, it’s kind of a one-way street and you’re not going to be able to kind of get the toothpaste back in the tube. At this point, if you want to try to make it flat and smooth again, you do have to sand it out.

    Now, it might not be as terrible as a project as you think. You may not have to do the entire floor; you might just be able to do a repair of that particular area. Do you happen to have the stain and the finish that was used on that floor?

    HEATHER: I don’t, I don’t. And I actually – another reason I’m kind of leery of it is because we got the same man that did our hardwood floors to begin with come back and put hardwood in our bedroom. And they don’t match whatsoever. So I’m kind of really worried.

    TOM: Let me ask you another question. Do you have any extra pieces of that floor anywhere?

    HEATHER: I don’t.

    TOM: Do you have any area of the floor that’s less noticeable, like in a closet or a pantry?

    HEATHER: Yes.

    TOM: OK. Here’s a solution for you. A good carpenter can do this. You can basically cut out some of the floor that’s in the lesser-visible area. Cut out enough of it to be able to use to repair the area in your kitchen. Then you could cut out the bad boards, throw those away and then insert the boards that you salvaged from the closet area. And then go ahead and repair that closet area with whatever is handy or whatever new you can purchase and stain it to get as close as you can.

    And because it’s inside the closet, no one will probably ever know – be the wiser for it. Yet you’ll have some boards that match exactly the damaged boards in the kitchen, in order to repair that spot. How about that?

    HEATHER: That sounds a whole lot better than resanding everything, so …

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

    LESLIE: Up next, don’t go packing away all those winter clothes just yet. We’ve got some advice on a do-it-yourself project that will help protect all of your off-season clothing while they’re not in use, when The Money Pit continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Vigoro. The Vigoro brand offers quality products for your lawn and garden at the ultimate value. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Visit your local store today.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    And we love to hear from you, so in our Community section you can post questions, just like David did from North Carolina who writes: “I’d like to update and refresh my kitchen. My cabinets are in good shape but the doors don’t match on three of them. They’re standard sizes. Where can I buy just replacement doors for those three cabinets? I’ve looked online and at major stores but no luck.”

    TOM: You know, I understand the temptation to replace just those three mismatched doors. But a better option is probably to replace all the doors.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Because that first person probably couldn’t find the doors either.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. And unless you know the cabinet manufacturer, you’re going to have a hard time finding the perfect match. And even more so, when – if you were to find those doors, they’re not going to match because you’re going to have three new ones and the rest are going to be old.

    So, what you might want to do is just search online for new doors. There’s a bunch of sources for that. There’s websites like – I think one’s called Cabinet Now. There’s another one called Barker Door. If you Google “replacement cabinet doors,” you’ll find sources galore for these online.

    And if you replace all those doors, you’ll give your entire kitchen a very fresh makeover for not a lot of money.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean it really is going to make a huge difference.

    Alright. Next up, we’ve got one here from Jim in Ohio who writes: “Is it a good idea or a bad idea to paint asphalt shingles?”

    TOM: Yeah, they’re not designed to be painted. In the 20 years I spent as a home inspector, we used to see these bands of gypsies that would sell unsuspecting, usually elderly, homeowners the opportunity to have their roof painted and claimed it would add 10 years to the life of the roof. But it never does and it looks terrible. And it’s just a really bad idea.

    So you don’t paint asphalt-shingle roofs. If you have a flat roof, you can paint that with something called fibrous aluminum. It reflects the sunlight. But then you never see that.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s crazy. Don’t paint your roof. Don’t do it.

    TOM: Well, taking out your shorts, your swimsuits and your light jackets out of storage is a great way to start your spring. But it can turn into a huge disappointment if you find that they’ve been ravaged by insects or moths. Leslie has got a timeless solution you can build yourself that will avoid all of that, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. For centuries, cedar has been used to keep bugs and moths from turning your wardrobe into their favorite buffet item. Now, cedar is not only going to repel those pests but it can also resist mildew, which means turning a standard closet into a cedar closet can keep your belongings safe for years to come.

    So here’s the deal. You can add as much or as little cedar as you want to the walls of an existing space. But it’s really most effective if you line the space in full. That includes the ceiling and the back of the closet door.

    To start, you need to make sure that you go with the right kind of cedar. And we’re talking about Eastern redcedar. That’s the type that’s going to give off a scent that keeps those moths away. You can either nail the tongue-and-groove cedar to the studs, attach it using construction adhesive or do a combination of both. You’re going to want to use a stud finder to find and mark the studs. And begin at the back wall.

    Now, if the baseboard or floor in the space is sloped, you’re going to need to scribe that first cedar board to the slope so that the boards on top of it stay level. Then you go ahead and nail through the tongue of the wood at each stud location. Angle those fasteners about 45 degrees down to keep them from getting in the way of the next board. And don’t forget to check that the boards remain level as you go.

    Now, once the back wall is covered, you can install the cedar on the side walls, allowing the back edge of the boards to cover the cut ends at the corners. Sand that cedar lightly once a year and what that’s going to do is it’s going to rejuvenate that cedar and bring back the aroma, which will keep the whole next season of moths away again.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we want you to think outside of the flower box. We’re talking about greenery, flowers and other landscaping that can add a wow factor to your front door. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll have tips on front-yard plantings to create a dramatic entranceway, 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 2014 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.)

Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!