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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 as the saying goes, March has roared in like a lion but the calendar will say spring very, very quickly. And all I’ve got to say, Leslie, is it’s about time.

    LESLIE: I know.

    TOM: So we’re going to help you get ready, this hour, by helping you plan your first round of outdoor projects, starting with some tips on how to avoid common, exterior painting mistakes. If that’s on your to-do list, you need to head to the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, because we are here to help you out with that and so many more projects around the house.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, also ahead this hour, we’re going to share some information with you on an easy and all-natural way to get rid of a winter’s worth of mold, mildew and algae that’s probably building up on the outside of your house. Chances are, if you’re like where Tom and I live in the Northeast, we can’t even see the sides of our houses yet at this point. So I’m like, “Ugh, once it melts, you know what a mess it’s going to be.” So we’re going to help you clean up the exterior of your home.

    TOM: And if you’re lucky enough to own a claw-foot tub – or really any old, cast-iron tub – you know that they can add a lot of character to an older home. But if that tub is in need of refinishing, that’s a project that might best be left to the experts. We’re going to talk about what a professional refinishing project entails, in just a few minutes, and help you figure out whether or not that’s a good project for your house.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs. We’re giving away a do-it-yourself, deluxe energy-and-water-savings kit from AM Conservation.

    TOM: The kit’s worth more than 60 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, their do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you out but you’ve got to help yourself out first by picking up the phone and calling us. Let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Jeannie in Colorado is working on a construction project. How can we help?

    JEANNIE: Hi. We sure are. We’re putting all-new windows in and we’ve got them – hello, by the way.

    TOM: Well, that’s exciting.

    LESLIE: Great.

    JEANNIE: Sorry about that.

    TOM: Hello.

    LESLIE: Hi.

    JEANNIE: So we put windows all around but in the living room, which is a large window, we were thinking about one of those – I guess it’s not a bay window but the kind that extend out, like a garden window?

    TOM: OK.

    JEANNIE: And it’d be so nice to have a little window seat there but I am wondering, does that need to actually have a foundation poured then if you do something like that?

    TOM: Depends on how big your butt is.

    JEANNIE: Four hundred pounds, yes.

    TOM: No, you don’t have – you don’t need a foundation for that. You can – there’s an L-bracket that will come from the house siding, up underneath the window, that supports a bay window like that.

    JEANNIE: Yes, I’ve seen that. That’d be enough?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm and …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Well, I’m sure you’ll have to use a sufficient amount to cover the weight that you’re expecting but I also think it’s a good opportunity for you to think about using that space to create window seating that may have storage underneath, tops that open up, so you can tuck away a couple of off-season items in there or toys or whatever you might need extra space. And then, of course, think about using foam and upholstery and creating a really great, comfy, little space that you can enjoy.

    JEANNIE: That is the plan. We have two, little-bitty grandkids.

    TOM: Oh, terrific.

    JEANNIE: One’s a year-and-a-half and the other one’s younger. And I thought, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” Maybe it’d be a little bed for them, too, inside there. What do you think about that?

    LESLIE: That could be great. I mean they’re so little, they’ll snuggle up in there no problem. Just make sure, if you’re doing this yourself and you’re going to put storage underneath, with small kids like that, you want to – on the hinge, there’s going to be a stop mechanism so that if the kids open it up and then let go, it’ll softly close or hold that top open so it doesn’t come slamming down on them.

    JEANNIE: Got that down. OK. We’ll have to do some shopping, I know, but I was afraid if it needed new foundation and everything really like that, we couldn’t do it. But with brackets supporting – which we could put several, like you say, to support the weight – that’d be wonderful.

    Well, thank you so much. That gives me hope.

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

    LESLIE: Ron in Georgia is on the line. How can we help you today?

    RON: Yeah. I’ve had a plumbing problem in my kitchen. I had a leak and I had a plumber come out and put a used sink part in the hot-and-cold-water thing and it makes a thumping sound now when you cut the water on?

    TOM: OK. Yep.

    RON: And it thumps every so often.

    TOM: Yep. That thump has a technical term. It’s called “thumping.” No, it’s called “water hammer.” And it happens because water is very heavy; it actually weighs about 8 pounds per gallon.

    RON: Right.

    TOM: And as it’s running through the pipes, when you turn the faucet off, it has a certain level of centrifugal force and continues to move forward. And in doing so, it creates that thumping sound that you’re hearing.

    Now, there’s two ways to fix this. Number one, you can figure out where the pipes are loose and tie them tighter to the framing. Or number two, you could put in what is sort of a shock absorber for your plumbing system; it’s called a water-hammer arrestor. And it basically takes the centrifugal force of that water and dissipates it.

    But the good news is that it’s not causing a problem, structurally, to the pipes.

    LESLIE: It’s more of a nuisance.

    TOM: It would have to be incredibly bad and you’d have to have a really – a system that just was on its last legs for this to cause any damage. So it’s really an annoyance more than anything else.

    RON: Yeah. Well, that’s what I’ll do then.

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

    RON: Thank you very much.

    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, home improvement, home décor, whatever-you-are-working-on question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re here to give you a hand with that project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, there’s nothing worse than an exterior paint job that starts to crack, peel or bubble just after the job is done. Up next, we’re going to give you the common mistakes to avoid so this doesn’t happen to you.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide four times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    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. And here’s a fun fact: did you know that up to 6,500 gallons of water a year are wasted pre-rinsing the dishes that are just going right into your dishwasher? You’ve got to love that. Which means you don’t need to rinse them, folks. Your mom lied to you when you were kids. I know my mom told me, “You’d better rinse that dish really well.”

    Well, you don’t have to, according to Consumer Reports, whose experts say there is no need to pre-rinse those dishes and we’re telling you the same. But if you still feel that you need to just get that excess food off of them, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because this hour, we are giving away a do-it-yourself, deluxe home-energy-and-water-savings kit. And there are all kinds of things in there to help you out, like the Dish Squeegee, which is a flexible, silicone scraper that’s going to pre-clean those dishes without water.

    TOM: The kit also includes the Plug Guard Outlet Cover, which will help you seal out drafts, and a fridge/freezer thermometer to help you keep temps at the most energy-efficient level. All of this and more if you are the one lucky caller we choose from among those who get on the air with us this hour. It’s a prize worth more than 60 bucks. Pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We would love to give you a hand with what you’re working on. And since we’re all getting this idea that spring is really around the corner, we start thinking about home improvement projects and what we might be wanting to work on. And maybe the exterior of your home is on your mind and you’re thinking about painting it.

    Well, if you are, it’s a great way to maintain your home and really to beautify the wood siding on a home. But it’s also important that you do things correctly when it comes to painting the outside of your house because if you don’t, you can almost count on a shortened life for your brand-spanking new paint job.

    So here’s a few things that you want to keep in mind. First of all, good surface preparation; it is vitally important when you’re doing any kind of house painting, whether inside or out. But when you’re working on the outside, you want to scrape away any loose, flaking or even peeling paint.

    And then what you’re left there with the old paint is probably going to have some rough edges, so you want to make sure that you sand those edges very well, to create a smooth transition from the peeled-away area and the paint that’s still there. Because if these edges aren’t sanded properly, that new paint is going to flow over them in a very thin coat and that’s going to create areas that are really vulnerable to failure.

    Now, when you’re painting bare wood that’s been exposed to the elements for even just a few weeks, you want to make sure that you thoroughly sand the weathered wood and then prime that area very well before you put any top coat on.

    TOM: In fact, almost any exterior paint job will benefit from a coat of primer. That’s the coat that people love to skip; they want to get right to the color but you really can’t. The primer has different qualities than the top coat and the primer is the glue that makes it stick. It’s designed to adhere to whatever’s underneath it and to help the top coat adhere. So, it’s one coat of paint you absolutely don’t want to skip.

    Now, also don’t forget to correct moisture sources behind the wood. Moisture that seeps in from behind can result in blistering and peeling. And remember that paints perform best when they’re applied at the recommended spread rates. So, trying to economize by either thinning out the paint or applying it in too thin a coat can invite a whole, big variety of early paint failures.

    When applying latex paint, you want to make sure the outside temperature is not too cold or too hot so that – because that can also keep it from adhering properly. And also, try not to paint in very humid conditions or when the rain is expected. You’ve really got to wait for that perfect window of opportunity when you’re tackling an outdoor project. It can’t be too hot, it can’t be too cold and it can’t be too wet. But if you get the temperature just right, you’re going to have a paint job that can really last an awfully long time.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And here is one final tip that we’re going to share and of course, it goes without saying, guys, that when you are painting outside surfaces, you should only paint them with exterior paint. And we recommend 100-percent acrylic, latex paint because that is really going to do a good job. And get a good, high-quality paint, folks.

    Now, if you want your exterior painting job to last, follow these tips and more by Googling “money pit exterior painting.” Just head on over to Google.com and type in “money pit exterior painting” and you’ll get a ton of great information there.

    TOM: Or pick up the phone and call us right now with your painting project or just about any other thing that you’re working on. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Helen in North Carolina is dealing with a hot water issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    HELEN: Yeah. Our electric, 50-gallon, hot-water tank is about 18 years old.

    TOM: OK.

    HELEN: And we’ve lived here for probably 16 years. And it’s been like this since we moved in – is that we have to let the water in our bathrooms – which are about 35 feet away from the hot-water tank, which is in the garage – and we have to let it run a couple of minutes before the hot water comes.

    TOM: Yeah. The reason for that is that 35-foot distance.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Is the distance.

    HELEN: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking.

    LESLIE: Is electric the only supply option for power to your water heater?

    HELEN: Yes.


    TOM: So, there is a solution. Rheem makes a water heater that’s very small and designed to fit underneath a cabinet or somewhere very close to the bathroom. And they even one – have one that runs on 120 volts, so you can plug it into a normal outlet. And it’s designed to just provide a little bit additional amount of hot water …

    LESLIE: To get you until the main supply gets to you.

    TOM: Exactly.

    HELEN: Oh, OK.

    TOM: So, works in conjunction with them.

    LESLIE: So that you’re not wasting as much water and you can at least get in the shower right away.

    HELEN: Right.

    TOM: And the other thing that you could do is you could zone the water. This is a bigger plumbing project but you would put a second water heater near the bathroom. And you would split it off so that the water heater that was near the bathrooms supplied only the bathrooms and the water heater that was down in the basement or wherever it is 35 feet away, you know, just did the kitchen sink and the dishwasher or whatever is left that has to be plumbed: half-bath, that sort of thing.

    LESLIE: Supplied the other stuff.

    HELEN: OK. Well, thank you.

    LESLIE: Billy in Rhode Island is working on a roofing project. How can we help you?

    BILLY: Hi. I just bought a house with a red roof.

    TOM: Well, congratulations. We’ll be able to see that roof from space.

    LESLIE: OK. Now when you say a red roof, are you talking about red asphalt shingles or those beautiful terracotta tiles?

    BILLY: Oh, no. I’m in the Northeast; we don’t use terracotta out here. That’s wrong. It’s a three-tab, cottage-red roof.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Wow. And what color is your house?

    BILLY: White.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Wow. Boy, what were they thinking, huh?

    LESLIE: That’s an interesting choice.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BILLY: Maybe they got a deal on the shingles. I don’t know.

    TOM: That’s right. Maybe that red shingle pile was sitting in the store for a long time.

    LESLIE: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red roof, so I could imagine that it was.

    TOM: Well, I mean the answer to your question, Billy, is no, you can’t paint them. There’s no way to change the color. You can only reroof.

    So, your option is to live with it, maybe decorate around it, add some red shutters or something to pick up the color and make it look normal, if it’s possible. Leslie is cringing.

    LESLIE: Ugh. I might go with – definitely stay away from anything in the green/brown family, because that’s going to be like the complimentary color and it’s going to be too Christmas-y. But you might want to go taupe-y/beige/tans, bringing in some black. That might be able to make it work. Black shutters? I don’t know. A red roof is tough.

    BILLY: OK. Thank you. Thank you, guys.

    TOM: Alright, Billy. When we’re driving through Providence, we’re going to know it’s your house now, you realize that.

    LESLIE: Seriously. I’m on the lookout.

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

    Poor Billy.

    LESLIE: Wow. Why would you buy the house?

    TOM: I’ve seen the ones, the dimensional shingles that are supposed to look like terracotta tile and they are red. And actually, there are some houses along the beach near where I live that have them on and it’s beautiful.

    LESLIE: Do they look like terracotta tiles for real?

    TOM: It does. From a distance, it does.

    LESLIE: From a distance.

    TOM: From a distance. Yep.

    LESLIE: Once you get up on those houses – and I love those dimensional, architectural tiles because when you see them, you’re like, “Wow, look at that slate roof.”

    TOM: Right. It is.

    LESLIE: And then as you get closer, you’re like, “Not a slate roof but still gorgeous.”

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: And my God, they’re so expensive.

    TOM: And I’ll tell you what. If you really want to make it look like slate or look like terracotta, what you have to do is you have to put in the same type of flashing that would exist if it truly was a stone product like that. So that means you’re going to have standing-seam, copper valley flashings and copper ridge and that sort of thing.

    LESLIE: To really make it authentic.

    TOM: Make it authentic, that’s right. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to take terracotta tiles and do sort of a French-weave, valley-style seam, because tiles don’t bend.

    LESLIE: But you know what? Now that you mention it, I’ve never seen those details on one of those dimensional roofs.

    TOM: That’s because they’re not doing them right. If they want to make it look truly like the shingle is trying to emulate, that’s the way you have to do it.

    LESLIE: Suzanne in Pennsylvania has a paint removal question. What can we do for you?

    SUZANNE: Hi. I recently moved and the tile that goes around the border of the tile in the bathtub area is like a dark, kidney-bean color. And the edge that goes to the wall, they slopped a lot of paint on and I was wondering what I could use to clean it off without going into the wall area and creating a problem there.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Well, Suzanne, it doesn’t seem like – it’s just on that one tile? It’s not something that I feel like you need some sort of chemical stripping agent. Have you tried to use a paint scraper or a razor blade?

    SUZANNE: I’ve used a razor blade but the tiles curve and in some areas, it’s more difficult to get it off. And since it covers a large-enough area, I didn’t know if there would be something that might be easier to do a neater job, other than a razor blade or not.

    LESLIE: Well, there …

    TOM: Why not use a paint stripper? Maybe one of the natural paint strippers.

    LESLIE: Yeah. There are several products out there. There’s one that’s – it’s come quite a long way and it uses a lot of natural materials. It’s called Peel Away. And the one that uses the more natural of the materials is called Peel Away Smart Strip.

    And now, what you would do is – it’s a very thick paste. And you apply it to wherever the paint is that you want to remove and in some cases, you put a paper over it to accelerate the stripping time. In other cases, you don’t have to. And then you would peel everything away and it gets you right down to that raw surface.

    So, that’s probably a good one for this situation because it will be contained and it’s not something that you have to spray on or worry about running, because this is really gloppy, if that’s a word.

    SUZANNE: Mm-hmm. OK. That sounds good. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, if your fantastic claw tub is in a state where it needs some refinishing, you should know that there are enough things that could go wrong and maybe you should leave this project best to the experts.

    So, up next, we’re going to tell you exactly what goes into a refinishing project and what you should look for when hiring a pro.

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    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: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are standing by to answer your home improvement question. And one more way you can get that question answered is by downloading The Money Pit iPhone app. You will have full show archives, you can ask a question on the Community forum or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. You can pick it up for free at MoneyPit.com or in the Apple App Store.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Doug in Delaware on the line working on a basement project. What can we do for you?

    DOUG: I have a problem with finishing my basement. I’ve gone in to get a permit and I’m getting conflicting viewpoints on whether I should install a plastic sheeting barrier between the studs in my poured concrete wall?

    TOM: Hmm. Well, do you have a moisture problem down there? Have you ever had flooding or dampness?

    DOUG: No. A little bit of dampness. I’ve noticed that some things do mildew over a time period but it’s not a great problem.

    TOM: Right, OK. OK. Well, we can give you some good tips on this.

    First of all, let’s talk about making sure that the area below grade stays as dry as possible. Before you finish that basement, you want to really examine your exterior drainage conditions, making sure that your gutters are clean, they’re free-flowing, the downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet from the house and that the soil around the foundation perimeter slopes away, as well. Doing so is going to reduce the volume of humidity and moisture that’s going to wick out through those walls into that basement space.

    Now, when it comes to actually assembling the basement walls, you want to frame those walls and you don’t want to frame them, though, against the concrete. You want to frame them and leave a few inches in between the wall and the concrete, so you’re going to leave an air space behind it. And this way, you’re not going to have direct contact between the studs and the wall. You’ll avoid a potential mold problem there and you’ll also have the ability for air to circulate.

    One additional way you can facilitate that circulation is by adding sort of fake heating vents in the wall – a couple down low; a couple up high – and so air will circulate from the inside of the finished basement, back through the wall and around.

    DOUG: Uh-huh. OK. That sounds reasonable.

    TOM: Now, when it comes to the drywall material, you have a couple of good options out there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s a – it’s a really smart decision to go with something that’s truly made for these high-moisture spaces, like basements. And there’s one from Georgia Pacific called DensArmor Plus. And instead of the traditional paper facing that they put on a drywall product, they’re using fiberglass so there’s no mold food, it’s moisture-resistant; you’re not going to grow any kind of mold in the basement.

    And then you finish it with fiberglass tape to get your seams and then you can paint it, wallpaper it, whatever you wanted to do. It finishes just like traditional drywall but it’s truly made for the space and really does not cost that much more, so it’s worth it to consider or at least go out there and get it if you are finishing the basement space.

    DOUG: Uh-huh. Our local code does allow for a 1-inch gap between the studs and the concrete wall and they recommend an insulation with a moisture barrier in it – the facing of it – on the warm side of the room. And you said a couple inches so that’s …

    TOM: Well, I mean it’s OK. What I don’t like to see is walls constructed right up against it. So if you want to put an acceptable, foundation insulation product on that – either the foam board; there’s also some wrap products that more look like sort of a fiberglass blanket with a foil face – that’s all fine. But I wouldn’t attach the walls right to the concrete; I would build the walls in front of it.

    DOUG: Uh-huh. A plastic film between the studs and the wall wouldn’t stop the moisture?

    TOM: Well, the moisture’s going to get in one way or the other. Putting the film is not going to hurt it but I think if you manage the moisture from the outside, that’s the best way to reduce the volume of humidity.

    DOUG: Uh-huh. OK. Sounds doable. Thank you very much, Leslie and Tom.

    TOM: You’re very welcome.

    DOUG: I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, painting a room, painting a floor or even painting your kitchen cabinets are all a can-do, do-it-yourself project. But painting your bathtub is not.

    TOM: Absolutely right. You know, refinishing a cast-iron tub is something that can be done by a pro who, with the right tools, can deliver a finish that will last for many, many years. With details on how this project gets done is Kevin O’Connor, host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: It’s great to be here, guys.

    TOM: And this is one of those projects that many DIYers have tried but few have ever achieved a good result. But there is a big difference, though, when a project like this is approached by a pro, correct?

    KEVIN: Well, there certainly is and I can understand why so many people want to try to do this themselves because these old tubs, well, they can be beautiful. They’re great historic pieces – whether they’re built into the wall or if they’re these gold, claw-foot tubs – and a lot of people want to save them. But it is definitely a project for a professional and I think you’ll appreciate that when you understand the steps that are involved.

    TOM: Alright. So where does it all begin when the pros come in?

    KEVIN: Well, if it’s built into the wall, if it’s part of the tile surround – tub surround – you want to remove the caulk that goes around the perimeter first. That’s the easy part. But then after that, it starts to get a little bit more difficult.

    Next, you have to clean the tub and you’re going to do that with an acid-based, commercial cleaner. Now, it can be a very dangerous product, so you’ll see the pros who use it, they wear a full face mask and a respirator to make sure that they don’t breathe in the acid or get any of it into their eyes.

    LESLIE: And Kevin, these are products that a do-it-yourselfer can’t get their hands on, so you really do need to go to a pro for this, right?

    KEVIN: Well, you know what, Leslie? Even if you could get your hand on these things, you don’t want it in the hands of an amateur, because they’re just dangerous. So, it really shouldn’t even be considered.

    TOM: And that’s not the only acid step. Isn’t there an etch process after that?

    KEVIN: Well, that’s the next step. And so once you have it cleaned, you actually have to etch up the tub so that the paint can actually adhere to it. And so there is an acid etching paste that really digs into the old finish and it gets it ready to accept the primer coat, which is the third step.

    The primer is applied using a paint sprayer and this helps to make sure that the paint goes on smoothly and easily. And if you’ve ever used a paint sprayer, it really takes a fine touch to get that nice and even, so that’s another project for a pro.

    TOM: Right, with no drips whatsoever. So the adhesion really is what I’m hearing is the absolute key here. And then, of course, after the primer, there’s a top coat that looks just a bit like the original enamel finish?

    KEVIN: Well, it’s a top coat. It’s also put on with a sprayer and is a combination of paint and polyurethane. And when it dries, well, it delivers this beautiful shine that looks very much like the original, porcelain enamel once did. And it can be a fantastic finish.

    LESLIE: Kevin, there’s so many steps. How long does this process take?

    KEVIN: Well, the good news is a professional could do it all in one day.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: And then how long will that last for?

    KEVIN: Years. Decades, if it’s done well.

    LESLIE: Really?

    KEVIN: Yeah.

    TOM: Wow. Definitely a great project and a way to really preserve a piece of history in your very own house.

    KEVIN: But a job for a professional.

    TOM: Absolutely. Kevin O’Connor, host of TV’s This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice.

    KEVIN: Great to be here, guys.

    TOM: And if you’d like to see a video of how this is done, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    LESLIE: And you can watch Kevin and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    Still ahead, we’ve got a great idea for a quick and easy way to get rid of moss, mold, mildew or algae from all those outside surfaces. It’ll have your house looking great.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. Want hardwood floors but are on a budget? The affordable and feature-filled Skil Flooring Saw is just what you need for your installation project.

    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: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question.

    Hey, did you know that a hidden source of energy loss in your house could be through the outlets or the light switches on outside walls? If you give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, you might just win the DIY, deluxe home-energy-and-water-saving kit from AM Conservation, which includes all kinds of things in here that can help you out, like the Plug Guard, which is an outlet plate that will seal out drafts and act as a child-safety accessory at the same time. There are spring-loaded doors that actually slide over this outlet, when you don’t need it, to plug in and automatically close those outlets to keep them kid-safe. That’s kind of cool.

    LESLIE: That’s great considering that the kids today can master removing those little plastic covers at a very early age, so that’s a great feature.

    Now, the kit is worth more than 60 bucks and it also includes a flexible, silicone scraper that’s going to pre-clean your dishes, without using any water, and a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to help you keep temperatures more energy-efficient and save you some dollars, as well.

    All of this and more if you are the one lucky caller we choose from among all of you who get on the air with us this hour. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, this is the time of year when you start to get outdoors more and more and you might be noticing all that grime on the outside of your house that’s collected over the winter. And as soon as you get the weather that warms up a bit and the sun is up a bit longer, you’re also going to start to see things grow and multiply, like mold and mildew and moss and algae. We get a lot of calls to the program, and have over many years, about how to clean this mess up. We’ve recommended pressure-washing, we’ve recommended bleach but now we know that there is a good product out there that actually uses neither and it is called Wet & Forget.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it’s really a wonderful product because it’s easy, it’s gentle and it’s a biodegradable solution that’s perfect for removing moss, mold, mildew, even algae stains. And it’s actually been used to clean places like Sea World and the Sydney Opera House. I mean those two places are exposed to a ton of moisture and mold all of the time.

    It’s also non-caustic, non-acidic and it contains no bleach at all, which are all really good features.

    TOM: And using this product is pretty easy. All you have to do is dilute it with water and you apply it to the outdoor surface. There’s no scrubbing, rinsing or power-washing. And then this is what I think is the most cool feature: every time it rains, Wet & Forget kind of goes to work and washes away the stains for you. So, you don’t have to constantly reapply it and reapply it. You put it down once and it just does the job every time it rains.

    If you want more information, you can check it out and even find a local retailer at their website, which is WetAndForget.com. That’s WetAndForget.com.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Please give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Kevin in Alaska on the line who is working on a flooring project. What’s going on?

    KEVIN: Hey. I’m putting on some laminate flooring on a slab cement and I’m putting down the plastic on it first, for the condensation, and then the rubber foam padding goes on but my wife wanted me to double it up.

    TOM: OK. And why does she want you to double it up, Kevin?

    KEVIN: Well, initially, it was for her feet. She wanted something nice and soft to walk on rather than the laminate.

    TOM: Oh. Well, why are we choosing laminate floor when she wants something nice and soft?

    LESLIE: Wants something soft.

    KEVIN: Well, we have dogs and they seem to make a lot of mess.

    TOM: Yeah.

    KEVIN: And so I tore all the carpet out and yeah, we want to try this next.

    TOM: I see. Alright. Well, obviously, it’s going to be a lot less maintenance than carpet ever would but my concern about doubling up the padding is that it may be too soft for the laminate floor. The laminate floors today have a locking joint; a locking, click-together kind of seam.

    LESLIE: Oh. And I wonder if you sort of step on an edge, would it force the bow?

    TOM: Absolutely. I’m afraid that if you step on it with a lot of give underneath, you will push that apart and you will never, ever get it back together.

    KEVIN: Right. Yes.

    TOM: So I would only follow the recommendations of the manufacturer on this. Putting the clear plastic down is fine but put down one layer of the underlayment that they recommend – which is usually a thin, foam sheet – and then put the flooring on top of that.

    KEVIN: Right.

    TOM: And if she needs more cushion, buy the girl a throw rug, will you? Because I don’t think you want to put any more under that floor.

    LESLIE: Or some really, cushy, comfortable slippers.

    TOM: That would work, too.

    LESLIE: This way, the cushy floor is always with her.

    KEVIN: There you go. I will definitely let her know.

    TOM: Alright.

    KEVIN: Thanks for all the information over the years, you guys.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’re going to talk a bit about the garage. That’s the new frontier in home improvement. It’s a great space to spruce up and perhaps find some additional, usable space that you can use for all sorts of projects and chores around your house, whether it’s a hobby room or a laundry area or a place to work on the car. It’s just a great space to get a lot of stuff done.

    So up next, we’re going to talk about one way that you can liven up the look of a very drab garage floor, to make it look just like any beautiful, finished floor; even one inside your house.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. And if you listen to our show on the go, you can do so via our online podcast. You can also ask your question on the go, too, by posting your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com and let other Money Pit fans and avid DIYers weigh in with their own answers. We might even choose your question to answer on the air, like this one.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Nancy from Florida posted: “What are your recommendations for a concrete garage floor in Central Florida? I’m thinking about an epoxy-painted, sparkle-type floor. Are they durable? Do they tend to peel up? Any suggestions?”

    TOM: I think they’re super-durable.

    LESLIE: Yeah, they really are.

    TOM: I think that they give pretty good adhesion. I think the key is application.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And generally, with a lot of these kits – I know QUIKRETE makes one, Behr makes one, Rust-Oleum makes one – you have to make sure that you follow the directions, because there’s going to be a couple of steps to the process.

    You want to make sure that the floor is cleaned really well before you even go in there but that first step that usually comes with this kit is going to be sort of like a cleaning/etching, which is going to prep that surface for the application of the coating itself. And then follow those directions but give it, also, the proper curing time, because you really want to make sure that it dries well.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. And the other step here is you have to kind of get into the rhythm of mixing up the epoxy, which is a chemical cure. So when you buy the epoxy, there is about a can that’s two-thirds full and the other third is usually the hardener; you mix it up.

    You only have a certain amount of time you can work with this stuff. It’s enough but you’ve got to keep moving. So the trick is to apply the epoxy and then – you mentioned the flakes or the color chips? Those are sort of sprinkled on as they paint dries and they embed themselves in the surface.

    And then, finally, some of these products even have a clear coat that goes on top of that if you want a really shiny look to it. But bottom line is that the epoxy garage-floor paints today are fantastic, they do adhere well if you follow directions and they can make the space very, very clean and very good-looking at the same time.

    LESLIE: And easily cleanable. You know, a rough, concrete surface is like the worst for sweeping and dirt and dust just gets stuck there and this is just super-smooth and fantastic. So, good luck with that project, Nancy. Just don’t paint yourself in a corner.

    Alright. Now, Terry in Baltimore posted: “What is your recommendation for a new, 66-gallon, electric, tanked water heater? I don’t want a tankless.”

    TOM: Huh. Well, I’m presuming that you don’t want a tankless, Terry, because you know that electric, tankless water heaters are not very energy-efficient. However, you should know that there are new types of electric water heaters that are called heat-pump water heaters, that take the technology of a heat pump and use it to deliver hot water to your house.

    Rheem makes one that is called the HP-50 that’s excellent. We have talked about it before on the show and so that’s a brand you might want to take a look at. And if you choose not to go with the heat-pump water heater, well, the other option is just to use a straight electric water heater. Rheem also makes those, as well.

    But here is what I would suggest: I would suggest you add a timer to it so that it only runs those hours when you really need to have hot water. So that’s a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. You don’t really have to run it midday or certainly not overnight. And collectively, that will save you quite a bit of money.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, Terry, I hope that helps you out a lot because any sort of appliance like this that is operating at a great frequency, when it’s run on electric power, is going to be very expensive. So follow Tom’s advice and you’ll really see some big savings and have all the hot water that you need.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Yes, the spring season is just practically moments away. A couple of weeks, I think, will be officially spring and we are all so ready for it.

    So if you are getting ready for it and you’re looking around your house and you see something that is on your to-do list and you want to put it on the “done” list, pick up the phone any time of the day or night and call us with that question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also log on to MoneyPit.com and post it in the Community section and we will get back to you the next time we produce the program.

    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.

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    (Copyright 2011 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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