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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here to help you with your home improvement project. So help yourself first: pick up the phone and call us. 888-MONEY-PIT is our telephone number. That’s 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s program, we’re going to start by talking about small living spaces. They’re all the rage right now but anyone who lives in one knows finding high-end appliances with those small footprints can be a real challenge. One manufacturer that’s known for very high-quality appliances is actually now going to bring that same level of performance to these smaller-sized products. We’ll have all the news, coming up.

    LESLIE: And it’s the first room you see when you walk in the door. Is it also the messiest? Clean up your first impressions of your home by cleaning up the mud room. We’ve got cool organization ideas for getting all the shoes, umbrellas and jackets off of the floor, in just a bit.

    TOM: And later this hour, chain-link fences certainly do the job but they can be an eyesore, especially if yours is old and beat-up. If your neighbors are really hoping you’ll get rid of that ugly, chain-link fence, you may be happy to hear that Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House will join us with tips on getting it out of the ground and off your property as easily as possible.

    LESLIE: And most DIYers don’t take on electrical work behind walls but it’s a little more manageable with Raco’s Mighty-Bite Push-EMT Connectors. Their push-to-connect technology makes the job a lot easier.

    TOM: And one caller this hour is going to win a $50 Home Depot gift card that’s enough to pick up a few of those connectors and much more.

    Call us, right now, for your chance to win but we need your home improvement question to enter you into The Money Pit hard hat. Because that $50 gift card is going out to one caller who reaches us this hour on the program, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Alright. Dale in Georgia is on the line with a question about a shifty front door.

    What’s going on, Dale?

    DALE: Our house was built in 1937 and it’s still settling back and forth, spring and winter and summer. And the front door, I’ve had problems getting it to catch the striker plate, so I’ve had to move it back and forth. And we’re at a point now where the house has settled again and I can’t even latch the front door.

    TOM: How convinced are you that the house is actually moving, as opposed to the front door just kind of getting out of whack?

    DALE: Just about positive. I can see – there’s a different gap at different times of the year. It’ll be like at the top in the summertime and at the bottom in the wintertime and …

    TOM: And what kind of door is this? Is this a metal door? A wood door?

    DALE: No, it’s a solid-wood door.

    TOM: A solid-wood door. And you really like this wood door?

    DALE: Yeah, it’s – I think it’s the original door. It’s got the handmade glass in it and the ornate decoration around the edges and …

    TOM: Right. So you have no interest in replacing the door?

    DALE: No. I put a new door on the back but I really don’t want to lose this door, if I can …

    TOM: What I would probably do is, essentially, rehang the door. So what that’s going to require is your moving the trim from around the door, inside and out, so you can see just the jambs. Because I suspect that the jambs are not securely attached to the framing or they may have loosened up over the years. I would basically want to rehang this as if it was a new door but maybe with not doing all the work that would be responsible for that.

    So if you pull the trim out, then you’re going to look at the attachment points for the jambs. You’re going to do one final adjustment to getting the door exactly where you want it and then you’re going to resecure the door jambs to the door frame.

    You need to make sure that the space between the door jamb and the door frame is completely shimmed with a wood shim. So you would use wood blocks followed by, usually, cedar shingles, one from one side, one for the other. If you push them together, they get wider and they get thicker and they get nice and tight.

    And then, what I would do is – I wouldn’t nail it in. I would actually use a drywall-styled screw – so a long, case-hardened screw – that you can set just below the surface of the door jamb and then putty over it. Because if you attach them with screws and you shim it properly, that door really shouldn’t move.

    The expansion and the contraction of the door is about all you really should be – have left. And if it gets tight at one point in the year, I would take the door off and I would trim it a little bit, just to make enough room for it to close when it’s fully expanded.

    DALE: OK. That’s something I didn’t think of. Alright. Well, I do appreciate it.

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

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

    LINDA: We had a new kitchen floor installed about a week-and-a-half ago. It was a middle-of-the-road-grade sheet vinyl. And a couple of hours after the installers left, we were moving stuff back in. And we moved the refrigerator and it gouged it a couple of times. And the flooring has a 15-year warranty, so they said they would, you know, honor that and replace it or patch it or whatever. But then two days after that, my eight-month-old puppy got a hold of the seam and ripped it in several places and also took a couple of chunks out of the middle of the floor.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    LINDA: So, I called the gal – the rep – back and she suggested going with an LVT click-it tile – luxury vinyl tile.

    TOM: OK.

    LINDA: And I was just wondering what you guys thought as – if that would be a viable option, mainly because of the dog. I mean I just don’t know.

    And another thing is she was saying that they would probably install it right over the floor that they just put down, so that would mean we have the subfloor, my old floor, the new floor and then this tile on top of it.

    LESLIE: It’s a floor sandwich.

    LINDA: Yeah.

    TOM: First of all, whether or not you can put it on top of old layers of floor is really a manufacturer specification. It’s not unusual.

    For example, when you put down laminate floor, that always sits on top of whatever is underneath it, because it kind of floats. So it might be that it’s perfectly fine.

    LINDA: Right.

    TOM: Luxury vinyl tile is probably way more durable than sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl tends to be really soft, so I’m not at all surprised that it got torn up just by moving the refrigerator back and forth. You would think that if you’re in the flooring-design business, that that would be sort of a standard. Like if your kitchen floor can’t handle a refrigerator being rolled back and forth, you probably shouldn’t be in the business.

    LINDA: Right.

    TOM: But unfortunately, a lot of those sheet products are very, very soft and can easily tear. It’s a darn good thing that you got your claim in, though, before the dog ripped the rest of it up. Because otherwise, they may not have had any interest in helping you.

    But I do think a tile is going to be a pretty durable option. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it on top of the old floor as long as it’s permitted by the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which you certainly should ask to – for a copy of so that you can review.

    LINDA: OK. Alright. Well, thanks very much. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright, Linda. I hope you love that dog. It’s costing you a lot of money.

    LINDA: Yeah, we do. We do. Alright. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Hey, did you have some St. Patty’s Day shenanigans go wrong and now the inside of the toilet bowl is dyed green? Don’t ask. At my house, the leprechaun comes to visit and turns all the toilet-bowl water green. So maybe something happened and now you’ve got a green toilet. Well, whatever it is you are working on, we’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, no one expects your mud room to be spotless; there’s a reason it’s called a “mud room.” But is yours a royal mess? We’re going to teach you how to get all that clutter off the ground and under control when The Money Pit continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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: And it doesn’t matter if you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a pro, behind-the-wall projects can be a real hassle.

    LESLIE: And that’s where Raco’s Mighty-Bite Push-EMT comes in. It’s a push-to-connect technology that lets you take the guesswork out while putting electrical wiring in.

    Now, one caller this hour is going to get to see for themselves how easy it is, with a $50 Home Depot gift card. And that’s enough for several Raco connectors.

    TOM: That gift card could be yours if we answer your question on the air this hour. You can learn more about Raco at HomeDepot.com. But give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Time to talk to Phillip in Rhode Island about a roofing question. What can we do for you?

    PHILLIP: Well, in Rhode Island, in my neighborhood in Jamestown, there’s a lot of beautiful, red cedar-shingled houses. And I just put brand-new, red-cedar shingles on my house, on my roof. I noticed some of the houses age beautifully. Like when I – what I mean in beautifully is they age darker red and sometimes little bits of black or streaks of black and red and deep, deep red. And some of them don’t age that way. It’s like – and I’m just wondering if you guys know anything about how to get them to age the way I want them to. I don’t want them to age light; I want them to age darker red.

    TOM: Yeah, we don’t always get to choose how we age, right? And that applies to our shingles, as well.

    So when you choose red cedar, that gets darker over time and it will turn to a very dark gray, typically, as it’s exposed to sunlight. I guess it’s possible that you could apply a stain to the cedar shingles, even though they’re roofing shingles, but most people don’t do that.

    So, what we typically get calls about, when it comes to cedar, is how to not to have – how to prevent them from getting darker. And one way to do that is to replace the vent across the ridge of the roof. Or if you don’t have a vent there, you can essentially do the same thing with a strip of copper.

    If you were to overlay the peak of the roof with, say, a 12-inch-wide strip of copper – so half goes on one side and half goes on the other – what happens is as rainwater strikes that, it releases some of the copper. And that acts as a mild mildicide and helps to keep the roof shingles clean and prevents algae growth.

    PHILLIP: Oh. But it still – then they wouldn’t age dark; they’d stay lighter.

    TOM: It would be less likely to get as dark and they certainly wouldn’t grow an algae. Perhaps you may have noticed that sometimes when you look at houses, especially around chimneys that have metal flashing, you’ll see bright streaks at the bottom of the chimney. That’s for the same reason. What happens is that metal flashing releases some of its copper and then cleans that area under the chimney. That’s why it gets streaky there. But if you do it across the whole peak of the roof, then it will sort of clean evenly.

    PHILLIP: It’ll clean evenly. But I’m looking for that aged look: the kind of the darker-shingles aged look, the darker color. And I guess it’s just up to Mother Nature is what you’re saying.

    TOM: It really is.

    PHILLIP: Yeah.

    TOM: It really is.

    PHILLIP: I appreciate it. Thanks very much, you guys.

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

    Well, entryways, like mud rooms and foyers, are used by every member of the family, not to mention household guests. But it’s a big job for such a small space, which is why most of them are a big mess.

    LESLIE: So if you want to tame your entranceway, the right organization products can really go a long way.

    For starters, you’ve got to look up. There’s always extra space that you’ve been looking for up on your walls. You can use wall hooks. They’re great for getting coats and purses off of the ground. And shelves higher up on the walls can be used to store your off-season stuff.

    TOM: But hooks don’t work well for junk mail and sunglasses, which is where cubby storage units come in. Get one for each member of the family and you’ll not only get those odds and ends out of sight, you’ll know who it belongs to, as well.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But your mud room’s biggest headaches are the things that drag in all of that mud: your shoes. Now, racks let you hang your shoes upside down and that’ll keep them dry and keep the mud and the water off your floor. And that’s a great idea.

    TOM: And lastly, another great investment are benches that have built-in shoe storage. They’ll keep all of those shoes out of sight and they’ll give you some place to sit while you’re taking them off and putting them on.

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

    BELINDA: I live in this apartment. It’s a senior complex. It was an old school at one time. It’s three stories. It was completely gutted. Everything’s new on the inside. New double-pane windows. But I’m – it’s in the northeast-corner building and I’m having an awful lot of problems with drafts and then cold air coming from the walls, underneath the windows. Because it’s brick and stone on the outside and so there’s the air pocket and the inside wall. And so, at night it’s like living inside a refrigerator and try – really, really. And trying to …

    TOM: That does not sound very pleasant.

    BELINDA: It’s not. It’s not. I lay in bed at night and I don’t sleep. It’s because I’m just listening – and it’s the heat pump, too, they put in these. And so it’s going all night long; it never shuts off. And so I’m just wondering if they would – or they probably could, if they would. Because the National Historic Association is also in on this, being it’s an old building.

    TOM: So you’re essentially wondering, Belinda, what you can do because you’re a tenant, right? So you don’t own the building.

    BELINDA: Right.

    TOM: You can’t replace the windows. So what are your options? So you have a couple of options.

    So, first of all, if you wanted to spend some money, you could order interior storm windows. But of course, your – it’d have to be custom-made to fit the windows and they may be pricey. If you want an inexpensive option, there’s two ways to go. One thing is you could use shrink film, which is basically a window film that gets, essentially, double face-taped to the inside trim and then you use a hair dryer to shrink it so it’s taut and clear.

    And the other thing that you can use is weatherstripping – caulk weatherstripping. Basically, it’s a temporary caulk product and it’s clear, like a silicone, but it’s not silicone. And you essentially caulk your windows shut with this temporary caulk. And then in the spring, you can peel it right off. It comes off like in a rubbery strip.

    Now, the only thing bad about using the temporary caulk is that you will not be able to open or close the window once it’s done, because it’s pretty much sealed shut. So you don’t want to do this to your bedroom window where you may have to use it to get out in the event of an emergency.

    BELINDA: Actually, they pretty much tried all that. See, the problem is the National Historic Association won’t let them do a lot of stuff. And they hadn’t caulked around the cracks, where the frame of the windows meet the window sill and along the walls. So they came up, they did that.

    TOM: So let me say that again, Belinda. We’re not talking about caulking outside the window; we’re talking about caulking inside the window. So, basically, right around the sash, where the sash meets the sill, where the sash meets the jamb, those are the areas that you typically would not caulk, you would never caulk. But if you use the temporary weatherstripping caulk, you can caulk right over those seams where all of the air gets in. And then, again, in the spring, you grab a little end of it and you peel it and it comes off in one – usually one – solid piece.

    It works quite well. You may have to order it if you don’t find it on your store shelves. I know Red Devil makes one called Seal ‘N Peel. So you could look at – look up that brand.

    Belinda, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Martha in Ohio is on the line with a leaky door and a leaky window. What is going on?

    MARTHA: We had some sliding-glass doors in our family room that’s paneled. And we had them taken out and we wanted just a picture window in there. So, when they came to do the picture window, they took the door out – the sliding doors out – and the foundation was like, oh, maybe a block or two up and the door had been left empty down lower.

    So, what they did was they took 2x4s – I think it was wood – and built up to the block level and then proceeded to put in the supports for the window. So, now, when it’s – I made a flower bed out there and now, when the ground gets real saturated and water tends to puddle there, collect, it runs under the wood, through the wood.

    TOM: Right. Not surprised and – well, so it sounds like instead of building the foundation up with concrete block, which is what they should have done, they sort of filled it in with wood framing. Is that correct?

    MARTHA: Yes, yes.

    TOM: Yeah. Probably wasn’t the best choice.

    MARTHA: Can we seal that or do we need to start over?

    TOM: Well, you know, it’s kind of hard to advise that you seal something that was never done right to begin with. I mean it really should have been a concrete block. But having said that, if you are going to trap that much water against the foundation, whether it’s a wood patch or a concrete block, it’s still going to leak. You just can’t hold that kind of water against the foundation.

    We advise against this all the time, Martha, because those sorts of planters and anything else that holds water against a house is just not a good idea, especially in an area like Ohio where you’ve got a pretty significant freeze/thaw cycle.

    MARTHA: Yes.

    TOM: Because if that water that saturates the soil – that soil freezes, it’s going to push inward on that wall and weaken the basement wall. So, I would recommend, if you are going to have a planter, that you’ve got to have some drainage in there so that the water does not puddle up. Because if you do trap it against the wall, regardless of how that wall is built – even though it wasn’t repaired correctly – it’s going to leak and it’s going to cause damage. So I think the issue, really, is what you did after the fact more so than what they did to install the picture window. OK?

    MARTHA: Oh, OK, OK.

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

    Well, you don’t see them as often as you used to, which is why so many chain-link fences are in bad shape. They’re just plain old. Looking to get those out of your yard? The easiest way to pull out those posts, after this.

    RICHARD: Hi. I’m Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House. If you want to keep your home from freezing, frying or going on the fritz, keep listening to Tom and Leslie on The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    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, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we want to take a second to welcome a brand-new Money Pit affiliate in Arizona: KBLU-AM out of Yuma.

    Welcome to The Money Pit family, Yuma, Arizona.

    LESLIE: Mike in Iowa needs some help with insulation. What are you working on?

    MIKE: Yeah, I’m interested in putting insulation in my attic. I was curious what would be better: fiberglass or blow some in.

    TOM: What about foam insulation – spray foam? Have you thought about that?

    MIKE: No.

    TOM: So, I think that’s probably the best type of insulation. And essentially, the way it works is you leave the existing fiberglass at the floor level of the attic and then you spray foam between the rafters and essentially create what’s called a “non-vented attic” or an “unvented attic.” And that makes an amazing difference in the home. Of course, it’s more expensive than adding, simply, a layer of fiberglass but that’s an option.

    We did that at our house last year and our cooling bill after the first summer was at 50 percent the previous year. And we’re in the middle of the first winter now and I can already see that our heating bills are not nearly what they were last year, even though our winter has been quite severe. So that’s one option.

    If you want to just update the fiberglass, you can leave the existing fiberglass batts and put a second layer of unfaced fiberglass batts on top of that. Just lay them perpendicular to the original batts. And what you want to end up with is somewhere around 15 to 20 inches of insulation when you’re all done.

    Now, that might be hard to fit in if you’re trying to get some storage space up there or if it gets too close to the exterior walls. So just do the best you can.

    MIKE: So, the most economical, I believe, would be the blown-in stuff. Is that right?

    TOM: Not necessarily. I mean that has to be done professionally or you have to rent the machine. The easiest thing to do, if you can get access to your attic, is to do it yourself with unfaced fiberglass batts.

    Just remember, the most important rule for working in an attic: walk on wood.

    MIKE: OK. I’ll remember that.

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

    LESLIE: Well, the saying goes that good fences make good neighbors. But your neighbors might disagree if you’ve got a beat-up, chain-link fence circling your property.

    TOM: True. Chain-link fences might be functional but they leave a lot to be desired in the looks department. If your home’s worn-out fence has overstayed its welcome, it might be time to get rid of it. To find out how to do just that, we welcome Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, this sounds like more of a demolition job. What does it take to get rid of a chain-link fence?

    ROGER: Well, you know what I say all the time: “Before you have construction, you’ve got to have destruction. And destruction is fun.”

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. So, the first part of that destruction is probably pulling out the chain link. I would imagine that’s easier.

    ROGER: It is. A pair of pliers and a socket set and you can undo all the nuts and bolts and then cut the wire that’s hanging the fence onto the rails. And you can just roll it right up.

    TOM: Roll it up and get it out. And then we get into the post issue and that’s where it really starts to get difficult.

    ROGER: Right. All the posts in this fence are going to have concrete holding them in the ground. The line posts, the ones in between the corners or terminal posts, will have the least amount of concrete. The terminal or corner posts have a lot of concrete, because they’re the soldiers that are holding this fence up.

    LESLIE: So what do you do? Just wiggle things back and forth or …?

    ROGER: In the line posts, if you dig around the concrete and then start wiggling, sometimes you can just pop it out of the ground like a bad tooth.


    ROGER: Other times, we’ll tie a rope on it and two guys will pull on it and it’ll pop out. But that’s not so with the terminal ones. They have a lot of concrete around them.

    There’s a couple things you can do. You can either try taking an iron bar or a chisel and breaking the concrete off or you could come in with a Dingo or a Bobcat and try to pull them on. But that might make a mess of the yard so, sometimes, we actually would just cut them off and leave them.

    TOM: Now, that’s OK if you’re not going to put a new fence in. Otherwise, you’re never going to be able to get a fence post back in that same hole.

    ROGER: Well, wait a minute. If you’re going to do a nice, new fence, why not use the post you already have in the ground and save yourself a lot of time and effort? You could paint those with Rust-Oleum or a product black and get a black, chain-link fence and put that up.

    TOM: Yeah, now, I love the black fences because they tend to sort of disappear, especially in the summer or in the spring when you have a lot of green around. You really don’t see them.

    ROGER: Right. And rather than put out and put in new posts, we’re going to just take and paint them black with Rust-Oleum and then just take and put the fence right up again using them.

    TOM: Now, what a great idea.

    Now, what if you want to just leave the old fence but perhaps come up with a very green approach, like planting some sort of a vine against it? Is that an option, as well?

    ROGER: That’s an option as long as the fence is strong enough to support the vine. Some lighters vines that would be great would be like Clematis or maybe a honeysuckle. Fast-growing, quick-growing plants.

    TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: My pleasure.

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

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Lumber Liquidators. Hardwood floors for less.

    Up next, small living spaces can mean big sacrifices but quality appliances shouldn’t be one of them. We’re going to teach you where you can find high-end appliances for your cozy abode, at a great price, when The Money Pit continues, after this.

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, you know those behind-the-wall electrical projects that you really hate to do? The ones that take forever and make you feel like you’re wearing a blindfold because you can’t see what you’re doing? Well, that is all about to change for at least one caller this hour, because we’re giving away a $50 Home Depot gift card, enough to pick up several Raco Mighty-Bite Push-EMT Connectors and Couplings.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Raco push-and-connect technology, it not only makes the job easier but it cuts down the time it takes to connect the electrical conduits by 75 percent.

    TOM: Learn more at HomeDepot.com but give us a call, right now, for your chance to win and the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Cody in Texas is on the line with a garage-door question. How can we help you today?

    CODY: Interested in insulating the garage door. The garage has insulated ceiling, the walls, everything, except for the door. You know, it’s just that thin, metal panel and I wasn’t sure if it’s worth my money to go ahead and buy a door that’s insulated, like from Overhead Door Company, or if it would be just as good to buy the foam panels from Lowe’s or Home Depot and cut them out and try to fit them into each panel themselves.

    TOM: Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by taking the inexpensive route first, because those foam panels are pretty cheap. And yes, if you can fit them securely inside those garage – those existing, metal, garage-door panels, you’re probably going to pick up as much insulation as you would if you replaced the whole thing.

    An insulated garage door doesn’t, in and of itself – even if it’s brand new is not going to add that much insulation value to it. So, really, all you have is as much foam as you can squeeze in there.

    But remember, just as important as the insulating – the door panels is to make sure that you have weatherstripping along the edge of the door and that it’s adjusted so that it sits well against the concrete floor and it sits well against the jambs – both the side jamb and the overhead jamb. Because I would think that wind is probably your biggest enemy in trying to keep that garage warm. And it’s good that you’ve got the rest of it insulated and certainly, insulating the panels will help. But garage doors aren’t really known for their comfort, so whatever you do is going to have a limited effect.

    CODY: OK, OK. Good deal. So the bid I got was $880. I think I will go with the foam sheets first because that’s – I’ll probably have $80 total in that.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. And see how that goes.

    CODY: OK. Well, I do appreciate it. I always listen to the show and appreciate the advice.

    TOM: Well, thank you so much. Good luck with that project and let us know how you make out.

    CODY: Thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, Haier is a leader in the appliance market. It’s well-known for high-end ranges and refrigerators. But now, this industry leader is going to go one step further by delivering solutions for all phases and all stages of life for urban homeowners. So those with smaller spaces can have high-end appliances in small areas. It’s always been a challenge but Rian Cain from Haier says that that’s one of the key areas his company is addressing.

    RIAN: We’ve noticed – over the last 5, 10, 15 years – there’s been a lot of builder and customer/retailer demand for a kitchen suite of appliances that has the same VBL – the same look, fit, feel and finish – to cover all appliances, within a very high and expensive retail footprint, in an urban market. Nobody has provided that in the marketplace.

    We will be launching – in April, May and June of this year – a fully integrated kitchen, a small-space living. That’s wall ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, refrigeration. So people do not have to give up on their appliances just because they have high-priced real estate in an urban market.

    TOM: Now, typically, what you – you don’t necessarily give up your appliances but you give up a lot of functionality of the appliances. You end up getting very small, very basic appliances when you live in that small space. Is Haier going to be able to deliver some of the quality, some of the features and the function that we see in bigger appliances, in that small footprint?

    RIAN: Absolutely. Matter of fact, our cooking appliances, for example, our wall ovens, we will have convection and self-clean convection. And those are two of the most popular features in large-size kitchens today. We will have fully integrated 18-inch dishwashers. So, smaller-sized dishwashers but certainly the type of wash action and quality that you would expect of a normal dishwasher.

    And then from a styling standpoint, to be able to look across the entire kitchen and see a very integrated package of appliances – and when you get to refrigeration, you think a French door. And most small-space living domiciles don’t have French-door refrigerators; they have a top-mount refrigerator. Ours will have French-door refrigeration, anywhere from three-door to six-door French door that will fit that small space.

    LESLIE: You can learn more about the new suite of appliances at Haier.com. That’s H-a-i-e-r. And be sure to visit our website at MoneyPit.com to listen to this and all of our top-products podcasts from the Consumer Electronics Show.

    Now we’ve got Eleanor in Virginia on the line with a decking question. How can we help you today?

    ELEANOR: The question I have is we have Trex Decking on our – for our deck, which is – and also the porch – screened-in porch. But on the deck – which is not covered by any roof or anything like that; it’s all open to the environment – we have spots on that, which are – it’s a gray-color decking. And we have these dark spots all over it. Almost kind of look like a mold. And we do not know what it’s caused by.

    My husband has tried to use a power washer with the soap that is recommended for that power washer. Also bleach with a scrub brush. He has – he can get it lightened but not totally gone. And we’re wondering if there’s – if you’ve ever heard of that with Trex Decking and have any suggestions.

    TOM: Yeah. I mean some of the composite materials out there do have some wood-fiber component and they will grow algae, which is most likely what you’re seeing.

    Now, one of the treatments that we would recommend is a product called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. And JOMAX actually has a deck wash. And JOMAX is a detergent that also gets mixed with bleach, gets applied to the deck. You let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then you scrub it off.

    I would be very careful with the power washer except for just rinsing purposes. Because too much pressure can actually ruin that deck.

    Now, another possibility is that those black spots are what’s called “artillery fungus.” They kind of look like a shotgun kind of a pellet size. Artillery fungus is particularly difficult to get off. And one of the sources of it is mulch. Do you have mulch around your house or around your yard?

    ELEANOR: Yes.

    TOM: Well, sometimes the mulch that’s sort of the ground much – the shredded bark mulch – will contain artillery fungus. And once that gets out and attaches to surfaces like decks or sometimes even cars, it’s really, really difficult to get rid of it. So, if that is what’s going on, we would recommend that you don’t do that again. Don’t put the shredded mulch back on. Only use the bark mulch that’s in pieces. That seems to not have the issue. It’s the shredded mulch that attracts and contains artillery fungus.

    I would try the JOMAX Deck Wash and Cleaner. I think you’ll have better success with that than you did with straight bleach, OK?

    ELEANOR: Yes.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, up next, cold air seeping from your attic into your living space, well, that can do a number on your heating bills. Is this a story that you know all too well? We’ll tell you how to keep the attic air out and keep those utility bills down, when The Money Pit continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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.

    Hey, do you feel like you’re in a constant game of tug-of-war with your house and your house is winning? Well, take back that lead with more Money Pit. We’ve got advice, answers, even hot, new products. We are your one-stop shopping for all things do-it-yourself.

    Now, you can subscribe to the show and get help with your home improvement questions at MoneyPit.com. And also, e-mail us a question or post one in the Community section.

    And I’ve got one here from Bill in Boston, who’s probably still digging out from all that snow, who writes: “I have a disappearing attic stairway that sags, so there’s air coming into our house from the attic and vice versa. What can I do to fix or minimize this? It’s doing a number on my heating bills.”

    TOM: You know, attic stairs, unfortunately, are not made to be very energy-efficient. Because even if they seal well, let’s face it: most of them are only a ¼-inch to 3/8-inch thick. That plywood skin just has almost no insulating value whatsoever.

    We recently replaced the attic stairs in our house about, maybe, six months ago. And I went in a totally different direction. I used a product called a “rainbow stair.” So instead of a folding stair, it was more like an accordion stair. But the thing is, the door is pretty thick and well-insulated. And so, once this is installed – by the way, it’s got a steel frame, so it doesn’t sort of twist or warp. Once this thing closes, it’s like shutting the door on your refrigerator. You can see the seal really take hold, so it’s a far more energy-efficient way to go.

    If you don’t want to replace the attic stair, you can get an attic-stair insulator, which is this specially designed blanket that sort of sits on top of the stairs when they’re closed in your attic. The only problem with that is it’s a bit of a hassle because you’ve got to take it off and put it on every time you open and close the stairs.

    But you’re right: it’s definitely a source of air infiltration. And anything you can do to seal that up is going to be a big help.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a question here from Andrew up in Buffalo, New York who writes: “In the last few years, my 12-year-old house has developed dark areas where the sheetrock was screwed to the trusses. This is only at the outer edge, where the ceiling meets the wall. I assume this has to do with the cold winters? Should I be worried and should I seal the spots and then paint?”

    TOM: Well, first of all, it’s not an issue of sealing and painting. There’s nothing really wrong here. It’s really, truly, a cosmetic issue. It’s actually called “ghosting.” And it’s caused when warm, moist air rises to the celling and it’s cooled near the outer edge of the wall and then it falls. That sort of convective loops takes household dirt and dust that’s in the air and sort of washes it against the wall. And you do that over and over and over again on the cold areas of the framing, you’re going to get that sort of soil deposit that’s going to make it look dark.

    So we’ll see this along the outside walls where you described. We’ll also see it across the ceiling, like in sort of a stripy pattern, because the bottom edge of the ceiling joists or the trusts, again, is a little colder than the insulated drywall that’s right next to it.

    So, you will see this. It’s nothing to really worry about. What I would do is I would prime it and then repaint it. But it’s not an issue of something falling apart or mold growing or anything like that. It’s a real, typical, almost household-maintenance problem that’s common in homes that are built out of wood frames like that.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. At least you had all of the thought process going there. You knew it was winter-associated. You weren’t stressing too much.

    TOM: It was close.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you were close. You’ve got to stay calm when it comes to home improvements, because that will help you to figure out what you need to do.

    TOM: And most importantly, you wrote us first before spending money on a project that you just didn’t need to do.

    LESLIE: That’s true.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and always online at MoneyPit.com. We hope we’ve given you some tips and suggestions that can help you tackle your upcoming spring home improvement projects. If you’ve got a project you need to get done, you can turn to us, 24-7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And for quicker answers, post your question on The Money Pit Facebook page.

    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 2015 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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