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  • Transcript


    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)
    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: Call us now with your home improvement question. We’re here to help you get that job done at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because it is fall fix-up season and fall is, of course, all about the great outdoors and ways to extend that outdoor living time. So, coming up this hour, we’re going to give you some ideas on how you can bring the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire right to your deck and your patio so you can enjoy that space in cooler weather.
    LESLIE: And also ahead, fall landscaping tips from our friends at This Old House. We’ve got landscaping expert Roger Cook dropping by with his must-do list for the fall.
    TOM: And shorter days mean more dark hours outside but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re going to give you some outdoor lighting ideas to help make your home brighter and to increase your safety as well.
    LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away an essentials of fall cleaning prize pack from the fine folks at CLR. Now, you’ve heard us talk about their products many, many times and now is your chance to try them out for free.
    TOM: And that prize package is worth $55 but one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now. Let’s get right to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Carol in Kentucky has a question about a sink. What can we do for you?
    CAROL: Hello. I’ve got an old, beautiful, porcelain pedestal sink. Well, I guess it’s porcelain; I assume.
    TOM: Sounds nice.
    CAROL: But it’s an old, pedestal sink and it’s got a hairline fracture; you know, pretty – kind of goes out a couple ways, you know, and it’s very small. I pulled out a piece of my hair and laid it there (Tom and Leslie chuckle) and I’d say it’s about a hair-and-a-half width. (chuckles)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You pulled out a piece of your hair to compare? (laughs)
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices, laughs) OK.
    CAROL: And about, I don’t know, a foot long or something. And it’s a beautiful sink and I just …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Now is that with the root or without the root?
    LESLIE: Aw.
    CAROL: (chuckles) Oh, that’s bad. (Tom laughs) No, I didn’t go that far.
    TOM: OK.
    CAROL: (laughing) But you know, I’d really like to restore it and I just don’t – I assume you can do that; I guess there’s people that do that. I just don’t know.
    TOM: Well, I think that it’s not always a good idea to try to refinish those old sinks because the new surfaces that they put on don’t stick as well and they don’t look as good. I mean some of those hairline cracks are the character that really makes it what it is.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    CAROL: I never thought about that.
    TOM: Yeah. I mean it’s …
    LESLIE: I mean and that truly identifies it.
    CAROL: Oh, OK. So you don’t think people would look at that and think, “Whoa, she has a sink with a hairline fracture”?
    TOM: No, just pick up all the hair, OK, Carol?
    CAROL: (overlapping, laughing) OK. I will do that.
    LESLIE: (overlapping, chuckling) Stop putting your hair next to it. There are though – I mean there are products out there; there’s something called Porc-a-Fix – P-o-r-c-a-F-i-x. It’s available at a lot of home centers. It comes in a variety of colors based on manufacturers. That’s more for like chips and scratches but it could work to cover over the hairline. I mean the proper way to do it – if you were to get a pro to come in, they would dig out around the crack and then pour in new porcelain. I mean it really is quite an extensive process, so …
    CAROL: Oh, really?
    LESLIE: Yeah. If you feel like it’s something you can live with, go for it; if not, I would say try that topical – the Porc-a-Fix.
    CAROL: (overlapping voices) Yeah. OK. Alright. Well, that’s good. I only paid $10 for the sink, as beautiful as it, so I might be able to put a little money into it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh.
    TOM: (chuckling) Alright.
    CAROL: But I didn’t think about just keeping it like it is, so I’ll definitely consider that.
    TOM: Alright, Carol. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Joseph in Virginia calling in with a chimney question. How can we help?
    JOSEPH: Well, I’ve got a masonry chimney and I know they’ve got all these new mixtures today and I was just wondering if I put the original stuff back in it or is there something a little more waterproof and would maybe bond a little better to go back in the second time in that old crack. And another question, do we open it up a little bit so we can get more in and maybe a little deeper or what do you do?
    TOM: Alright, so you have a crack in the chimney?
    JOSEPH: Yes, several of them around and water is leaking in, coming in.
    TOM: OK, so here’s what I want you to do. I want you to use an epoxy patching compound. You don’t want to use straight cement because it’s going to fall out. An epoxy patching compound is going to be sticky enough to really do a good job at sealing those cracks. And then, secondly, you want to use a masonry sealer and you’re going to use probably a silicone-based sealer that’s vapor permeable; so that means that the moisture will not be able to get in but any moisture that happens to be in there or finds its way around, it can evaporate out. That will stop it from freezing and cracking. Those two things are the best way to maintain that chimney.
    And in terms of the leaks, make sure you have somebody get on top of that chimney right at the top because cracks around the chimney top are the number one cause of leaks.
    Joseph, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading up north to our friends in Canada where we’ve got Gary on the line. Gary, what can we do for you today?
    GARY: I’ve got a linoleum floor …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK.
    GARY: … and I bought my wife a bike trainer and it had these nice things to protect the floor, made out of rubber.
    TOM: Aha.
    GARY: (chuckling) I knew Tom was going to say that.
    TOM: Let me guess. You have a nasty stain now where that rubber was pressed into the linoleum. Is that correct?
    GARY: Yes, it is.
    TOM: Yeah. What you’ve experienced here, Gary, unfortunately, is a chemical reaction between the different types of materials that has changed the composition of the linoleum; hence the difference in color.
    LESLIE: In color, yeah.
    TOM: And unfortunately, it is not reparable. It is permanent.
    LESLIE: How about an area rug?
    TOM: Yeah, now there’s an idea.
    LESLIE: Without a rubber backing. (Gary chuckles)
    TOM: Now normally we hear the same story when people buy the rubber-backed …
    LESLIE: Bath mats.
    TOM: … bath mats or the little soft mat that goes in front of your kitchen sink where you stand to wash dishes all the time.
    GARY: Yes.
    TOM: And they peel that up after a couple of months and find the discoloration. Whenever you put those two materials together – in fact, some of the manufacturers will actually warn against this particular condition. You really have to be very, very careful.
    But you could use a throw rug; perhaps one that doesn’t have a rubber back. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Or a Sharpie.
    TOM: (laughs) Or a Sharpie, yeah. (Gary chuckles) And that’ll solve it. But the good news is your wife is in good shape, right? (Leslie chuckles)
    GARY: (chuckles) Yeah.
    TOM: She’s getting lots of exercise on that thing.
    GARY: Yeah. Only problem is this is an apartment.
    TOM: Uh-oh. (Leslie groans)
    GARY: Yeah.
    TOM: So you could be held responsible for the damage, huh?
    GARY: Yep.
    TOM: Big throw rug, Gary, big throw rug.
    LESLIE: When you are moving out and you get that final sort of bye-bye …
    GARY: Yeah.
    LESLIE: … make sure you both stand over the stains. (Gary chuckles)
    TOM: (laughing) Gary, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are full in to fall fix-up and the holidays are just around the corner, so give us a call with your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: Speaking of holidays, crackling fires a popular part of any holiday celebration – well, the winter ones, at least. But those fireplaces don’t have to be limited to the living room or the den. You can bring your roaring fire outside and even extend use of that space. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, next.
    (theme song)
    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 the number here at Team Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now to get in on our weekly prize giveaway. And this hour, we’re giving out to you – one lucky caller, that is – the essentials of fall cleaning kit from CLR. Now, it’s worth $55 and it includes all sorts of CLR cleaning products including CLR Bathroom and Kitchen, which will take care of your faucets, showerheads, tubs, toilets, sinks and appliances; pretty much everything in those two rooms. And you’re also going to get the calcium, lime and rust remover for your outdoor siding, bricks, patio and driveways. Pretty much every fall fix-up project you’ve got out there, we can help you clean it.
    TOM: And lots more CLR products will be in there, along with sponges and scrubbers, and everything comes in a convenient carry-it-all container which you can tote with you all over the house as you get your projects done. Going to go one caller we talk to this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now. You must have a home improvement question to be entered to win.
    LESLIE: Alright, well pick up the phone and give us a call.
    So, maybe you’re working on something that will help you use your outdoor space all through the fall and maybe even into the winter season or perhaps you live in a climate where you can use your outdoors all year long. And if that’s what you’re working on, you know, creating a fireplace outside is going to help you extend those enjoyment hours of the outdoors well through the fall months. You’re no longer limited to the living room, den or even your master bedroom; if you’re so lucky to have a fireplace in there.
    Now, your fireplace is becoming the centerpiece of your outdoor living center and there are a couple of ways to accomplish this. Now, you can buy a simple fire pit at almost any big retailer near you and this type is going to be portable so you can bring it into the garage or shed when the weather gets really, really yucky outside and you don’t want it to get ruined. Or you can get a more elaborate fire pit which can be custom installed and can even be fueled by wood or gas; totally your choice.
    Or you might even want to consider something called a chimenea. Now, this is inspired by a Mexican, wood-burning bread oven and it’s usually made of clay and there’s sort of like a little, potbellied stove with a chimney that comes up out of it. And the great thing about these is that they’re relatively small and they’re portable and you can also actually use some of them indoors; but when you use them indoors, you want to make sure that you fill the opening with some gravel or stones and then you add candles. You want to make sure you use them safely, so make sure you check your local fire department codes and make sure that you’re doing everything in the safest manner that you can and then just relax and enjoy a fire.
    TOM: And you can even decide to go all out and have a custom-built outdoor fireplace added to your patio, if that is in your budget. Whatever you decide, a roaring fire outside is going to extend the use of your outdoor space for most of the year, depending where you live. There is, however, one downside; especially if you have kids. You need to stock up on the marshmallows, the graham crackers and the chocolate; at least you do around my house. And I’ve got to tell you, we use it all. We’ve got patio heaters; we’ve got a fire pit – you know, it’s a portable fire pit – and the kids really, really love it. We’ve even got some permanent marshmallow sticks around somewhere, that the kids use all the time.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, you’re so lucky.
    TOM: So it’s a real fun activity that definitely can extend your summer well into the chilly, chilly months.
    888-666-3974.   Who’s next?
    LESLIE: David calling in from Long Island has a question about his garage. What can we do for you today?
    DAVID: I have basically a 50-year-old house with a never-painted concrete garage floor.
    TOM: OK.
    DAVID: The floor is kind of sandy and dusty; it’s a little grainy on top, cracking. So, the recommendation from the paint company was to clean it, then – with a special, emulsifying cleaner – then acid-etch it, which I’ve actually started doing; and then wait til I get a low moisture level and then paint it. I’ve got Garage Guard to do that. So I just wanted to see if that’s the plan; from your point of view.
    TOM: Well, the cleaning yes; the acid-etching – it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone recommend that. What do they hope to achieve with that?
    DAVID: What they claim is it’ll remove any latent (ph) sanding, open up the pores of the concrete and optimize the concrete’s ability for the Garage Guard to adhere to it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To adhere.
    TOM: So is this the manufacturer that’s telling you to do this?
    DAVID: Yes.
    TOM: OK. Well, if the manufacturer is telling you to do it, then I think you’re OK. My concern would be that whatever latent (ph) acid-etching material that was left behind might react negatively with the epoxy paint, which is what this Garage Guard is. But if they’re recommending that be the procedure, then I would have no reason to doubt that.
    You know, it’s obviously very, very important – and you’ve mentioned it already – that the floor be as dry as possible. And you know, doing the cleaning, of course, saturates it really good; so you have to let it really dry out there, really dehumidify. You may even want to put a dehumidifier in the garage while it’s drying so you get as much of that moisture out of it as possible because, you know, concrete holds a lot of water and if it’s soaked when you put that down, it’s going to cause the paint to delaminate and flake up. So, getting it dry is key.
    The other thing I would tell you is that it’s an air-cure epoxy and no matter what they tell you in terms of drying time, you probably want to double it and try to stay out of there because it really takes a while for that stuff to really cure.
    LESLIE: Pat in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    PAT: I have a linoleum floor in a bathroom that we hardly use and I put a bath mat in there that has a rubber backing on it.
    TOM: Oh, you’re not a regular listener of this show; are you, Pat?
    PAT: I am. (Tom laughs)
    LESLIE: See …
    PAT: But I thought I’ve heard you say before there’s no way to get it off.
    TOM: And I’m going to say that again. What happened, you’ve got a yellow stain under it, right?
    PAT: Yeah, it’s chemical. Correct?
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: It is.
    TOM: Yep, it’s oxidation between the rubber-backed mat and the vinyl or linoleum. It’s a chemical reaction and you’ve basically discolored the floor by doing this and you cannot get it out because it’s not a stain; it’s just that you’ve changed the color of your linoleum from whatever it was to yellow.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To yellow.
    PAT: OK. That’s what I thought I heard you say before but I wasn’t 100-percent sure (chuckles) and I thought …
    TOM: You could always try to redecorate – you know, to try to pick up some of those yellows; maybe some yellow towels, yellow wallpaper. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Well, what you can also do is lay that bath mat around the floor in different areas to create a pattern. (Tom laughs)
    PAT: (chuckles) I think I’ll change the floor.
    TOM: You could buy a bigger bath mat, too.
    PAT: Yeah, there you go.
    TOM: Alright, Pat.
    PAT: Alright. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Man, how many times have we answered that question?
    LESLIE: It’s funny. You know, we get the calls on a little screen, so we know who’s calling in, and I saw Pat’s question and I thought, “Aw, Pat’s not going to be happy with this answer.” (laughs)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) She’s not going to be happy. (laughs)
    Alright, Pat. Thanks again for calling 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Doug in North Carolina has a tub that’s cracking up. What can we do for you?
    DOUG: Yes, I have purchased an early-70s home and it has a ceramic tub in it and one of the tubs has some cracks in the bottom; leaking. And it’s in a very precarious place. It’ll be very difficult to try to replace it. Just wondered if there is something that can be done to patch it.
    TOM: Is this leaking around a drain or something? Because ceramic tubs are usually ceramic on steel and they don’t really crack, so where is the leak forming?
    DOUG: Well, maybe I’m mistaken on what it is exactly then but the cracks are in the bottom of the tub, not around the drain. They’re just – they’re in the middle.
    TOM: Well, that’s very unusual. If you do, in fact, have cracks and you can get to them, you could repair them. Can you get to the backside of it, where you see these cracks?
    DOUG: Yes.
    TOM: OK. Well, if you can get to the backside of it, I would use auto body filler.
    DOUG: Oh, OK.
    TOM: You know, like you pick up at an auto parts store? Because that’s a metal patching compound right there. Just make sure it’s clean and dry and because it’s on the underside of it, you don’t have to be too pretty about it.
    DOUG: OK.
    TOM: You just reach in there and put it on there and that ought to seal it. But I would – I mean I would take a look because what might be happening is you could have like an overflow that’s leaking and the water is sort of hugging the tub, running down to the bottom and then dripping off. So it may not be – the cracks may not be where you think; or the leak – they may not be the source of the leak.
    DOUG: OK. Alright, great. Alright, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Julia from Maryland who has a question about molding. What’s going on?
    JULIA: OK, I put a product called PEEL AWAY 6 around the exterior molding on my front doors and when I went to peel it away, the pediment – the top part of the decorative molding over the door – it stripped some of the surface of that molding away.
    TOM: Was this a paint-stripping product?
    JULIA: Yes.
    TOM: OK. And it had a reaction with the decorative molding, which is probably a synthetic and caused it to deteriorate. Is that correct?
    JULIA: Yes.
    TOM: Hmm. Yeah.
    LESLIE: Well, it could have also been that perhaps – is this an older home with older molding?
    JULIA: It’s 22 years old and it’s the original molding.
    TOM: Yeah, I think there was a chemical reaction and probably should have masked it off; but I guess it’s a little too late to tell you that.
    JULIA: Yes. I wanted to know is there anything – I believe it was like polyurethane. I want to know if there’s anything I can put on there to fill in the little surface area that’s stripped away, so I can paint it.
    LESLIE: Do you need to sort of rebuild something to bring back a little bit of the character?
    JULIA: What it really looks like is a bunch of potholes in it.
    TOM: Yeah, I tell you what would stick well; auto body filler.
    JULIA: Uh-huh.
    TOM: Because it’s designed to work on fiberglass surfaces as well as metal surfaces. And it’s sort of like a putty and it’s sandable and you can kind of work it. And so if you have some like potholes there where it’s sort of carved out, you can fill it in with that and then lightly sand it and then repaint it.
    JULIA: Oh, excellent. And it’s called an automotive filler.
    TOM: Yeah, auto body filler. You can get it at any automotive store like a Pep Boys or – any kind of automotive store.
    JULIA: And that’s what I’ll try. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Up next, we’re going to find out why fall is the perfect time of year for yard work and we’re also going to get the secrets to making leaf cleanup a little easier, from our guest, This Old House landscaping expert, Roger Cook; so stick around.
    (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. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
    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: Right now on MoneyPit.com, tips for determining whether your front door is energy efficient. There are some quick and easy ways to tell if you’re losing energy through a drafty door and some simple solutions as well. Just hit MoneyPit.com and search “energy efficient front door.”
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Jim calling in from Missouri with a heat pump question. What can we do for you today?
    JIM: I’m kind of wondering, on the heat pumps, they rate these as a SEER – S-E-E-R.
    TOM: Yes.
    JIM: And what kind – how does that relate to efficiency and how long will it take to pay back a 16 SEER compared to a, let’s say, 22 SEER?
    TOM: Well, that’s a good question. Now, SEER – S-E-E-R – stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio and it’s a measure of how energy efficient the heat pump itself is in the cooling mode, by the way. It doesn’t measure it’s efficiency in the heating mode; it only measures it in the cooling mode. Now, anything over 16 SEER is a pretty efficient unit.
    LESLIE: Is very efficient.
    TOM: You know, if you can get one higher than that it’s even more efficient; but the question is, what’s the return on investment.
    Now, in Missouri, do you have the option to use anything but an electric-fueled heating system?
    JIM: Yes.
    TOM: Because …
    JIM: I’ve got propane gas, too.
    TOM: OK. Because you’re probably better off, in the winter time, heating with propane and, in the summer time, just using a standard central air conditioning system. Because remember, you get a cold winter, that heat pump is only designed to maintain the temperature in your house for the first two degrees below what your thermostat is set at. If it falls below that, the heat pump stops working and it brings up its backup system which is straight resistance electric heat; the most expensive way to heat your house. So, in a cold climate, it’s harder to get a return on investment on a heat pump. You’re almost better off with a fossil-fueled heating system and a standard, good, efficient cooling system – central air conditioning system.
    TOM: Look at the cooling systems that will qualify you for the federal energy tax credits – and I don’t have the SEERs on those committed to memory but you want to make sure that the system you buy does qualify because that’ll reduce your cost by up to about $1,500 or 30 percent of the cost of the product.
    LESLIE: I believe 16 and up qualifies being that we’ve just done central air.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Sixteen and up? OK.
    LESLIE: Would this be used, Jim, as strictly supplemental? I mean, Tom, does that make sense? If you have a fossil-fueled heating source but yet occasionally need an extra boost …
    TOM: No.
    LESLIE: Not even?
    TOM: Nah. Wouldn’t make sense for that.
    Jim, I would stick with the propane for heat and I would not replace my propane option with a heat pump.
    JIM: Okey-dokey. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, this time of year can be beautiful. You know, all that fall foliage makes for a very gorgeous view. But remember, there’s a reason why they call it fall. That’s because all of those beautiful leaves are going to end up falling all over your lawn.
    TOM: Has a lot to do with gravity.
    LESLIE: Pretty much.
    TOM: Leaf cleanup may not be your favorite chore but we’ve got some expert advice on how to make it a little easier as we welcome host Kevin O’Connor and landscaping expert Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House. And guys, it is a beautiful time of year but also one when we really need to get to work.
    KEVIN: Well, everybody loves fall foliage; especially those of us here in New England. But dealing with the leaves is an annual project that we’d all like to avoid. So Roger, any tips to make leaf cleanup and other fall landscaping projects a little easier for us?
    ROGER: Absolutely, Kevin. I want you to remember that dragging is easier than carrying. What I like to do is lay down a tarp, pull all the leaves on it and drag it over to some area of the yard and dump them there. And what you’re actually doing is you’re creating passive compost. Those leaves will break down. In years in the future, you can go back and use that leaf mold in your garden.
    KEVIN: Sounds good.
    ROGER: Couple other tips for the fall, keep the lawn mowed low. It helps it with disease but it also allows the leaves to blow into your neighbor’s yard (Kevin chuckles) and it’s a great time to aerate, fertilize and seed your lawn.
    KEVIN: So fall is a good time to plant a lawn?
    ROGER: It is the best time. You have no competition from weeds, you get a little bit of moisture due to the time of year and the temperatures are cool. In fact, I have a step-by-step video on ThisOldHouse.com to show you how to get it done.
    KEVIN: Sounds great.
    TOM: Roger Cook and Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, great tips. Can’t wait to get out there and hit that lawn. Thanks for stopping by.
    ROGER: Our pleasure.
    LESLIE: And Tom, didn’t you actually totally replace your lawn a few falls ago?
    TOM: I did. In fact, we totally wiped it out. We did what’s called a Roundup restoration where we killed off all of the existing mostly weeds; you know, weeds faking it as a lawn, which definitely wasn’t cutting it. (Leslie chuckles) And the grass came up nice and strong and it was gorgeous; so, as Roger said, it’s definitely a good time to think about planting some grass.
    Well, if you’d like to hear more from Kevin and Roger, you can watch them on This Old House which is brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot – more saving, more doing.
    And coming up next, we’re going to have more ways to enjoy your outdoor space. We’ve got tips on exterior lighting that can make your home look great and keep you safe as well. That’s all coming up, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Two-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Coating. Transform drab, gray, concrete garage floors into attractive and functional spaces with a showroom-quality finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a two-for-one offer going on: you get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning some products that can help you clean up around your house because this hour we’re giving away the essential fall cleaning kit from CLR. It includes everything you need for you bathroom, your kitchen, your outdoor furniture and even your plumbing. The number again is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and give you a hand with your projects.
    So, now that you’ve spent a bundle or practically broken your back creating a beautifully-landscaped front façade, don’t forget to turn on the lights. You know, a well-designed landscape enhances your home’s best assets. Now, you can spend a little or a lot, depending on what your budget allows; but even just a little bit of lighting can make a huge impact. And outdoor lighting also gives you added security as well as safety.
    TOM: That’s right. You want to make sure the outdoor lights are on; both motion detectors and controlled by a photo cell that prevents the lights from coming on during the day or you’ll be in the same situation that I am with my kids leaving lights on at all hours of the day and the night. (Leslie chuckles) And that will help you cut down on your energy bills.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’ve got a home improvement question. Maybe you want to add some lights. Maybe you want to install a faucet. Maybe you want to fix a leak or fix a squeak. All great questions. Pick up the phone right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. We are here to help.
    LESLIE: Jenny in Maine is calling in with a crawlspace question. What can we help you with?
    JENNY: Well, I seem to have a mold problem on things that are on the floor in my house.
    TOM: Hmm. Things that are on the floor in your house. Like what kinds of things and where is the mold forming?
    JENNY: Well, when I took my fall shoes out of my closet, I had some shoes that were moldy or had an old knapsack in another closet that was moldy.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. Yeah. OK, so closets – mold in closets is not unusual and it’s not necessarily because they’re on the floor.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s an air circulation thing.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s just because there’s no air that moves in there, correct. I would try to lower the relative humidity inside the house. You would start in the crawlspace. Now, the crawlspace has a floor; the floor is dirt?
    JENNY: No, concrete.
    TOM: It’s concrete. Alright.
    JENNY: Yeah.
    TOM: And what – you know, what kind of space? You have enough room to get in there and move around?
    JENNY: Yeah. You can’t stand up but it’s probably …
    TOM: OK, here’s what I would do. I would put some plastic down on top of the concrete floor. This will stop some of the humidity that’s going to be evaporating up from the floor into that space. The second thing I would do is make sure that the vents are open all the way around. The third thing I would do is I would make sure that the grading at the outside of the foundation perimeter and the gutter system is doing whatever you can to get it to run water away from the house. We want to try to avoid a lot of water collecting against the foundation walls and it will collect if it’s very flat there, there’s no pitch-away or if the downspouts are dumping right there. Because that water will work its way in under the crawlspace. It’ll evaporate it up and it gets into the floor structure, goes through the insulation and basically raises the humidity.
    As far as those closets are concerned, you need to get some ventilation in there. You can either add some vents to the closet walls themselves so that you get some air from inside the house circulating in there; you could replace the doors with louvered doors. Whatever it takes …
    LESLIE: Can you just cut the doors down like an inch?
    TOM: Yeah, you could have a gap under the doors as well but you need to get some air in there. Because that’s very, very common in those stuffy, damp places because you have lots of mold food and you have lots of moisture and lots of air and that’s what causes it to grow.
    JENNY: OK, great. That sounds good. Alright, thanks.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, Steve in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    STEVE: Our children, who are old enough to know better (Leslie chuckles), left a couple glasses on the table. I have water rings now on my oak table. And I was wondering which way is the best way to either cover it, get it brought up or something. It’s not a dining room table or anything. These are tables I made. They’re covered with polyurethane, stain as well as finish.
    LESLIE: Alright, Steve, this is what you should try. You want to get like a lint-free towel or cloth or t-shirt – white; it has to be completely, completely, completely white. And you want to take that towel or that t-shirt and you want that to be dry and then you want to take an iron and you want to put it on a hot setting without steam; no steam whatsoever. And then take that t-shirt or towel, put that over the ring and then iron over it very briefly with that hot iron – like for seconds. Then lift the cloth, check it out, do it again and again and again. It absolutely works.
    STEVE: Try to raise the grain just a little bit.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    STEVE: Yeah. OK, thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Steven in Missouri is working on a flooring project. How can we help you get the job done?
    STEVEN: Yeah. Hey, I am putting in 18-inch tile.
    TOM: OK.
    STEVEN: And I put it in the living room; laid down a hardy backer board; moved it into the kitchen, where I’m peeling back the linoleum, and there is already a ¼-inch additional piece of plywood.
    TOM: OK.
    STEVEN: What I want to know is do I need to pull that plywood off or can I put the tile right on top of that?
    TOM: Well, there’s no reason you can’t put the tile right on top of that if the tile is sturdy enough. Now, with 18-inch tile, remember, they don’t bend. OK? And if you don’t have a really solid floor, you will be a very unhappy camper when they start to crack. So you need to make sure that that floor is rock solid enough to support them with no flex. So the question really depends on what’s under that ¼-inch and do you have a solid-enough floor or do you have to put a piece of hardy backer in there to give it some more rigidity.
    The other thing is – did you mention this is going into a kitchen?
    STEVEN: Yeah.
    TOM: Alright, so you have the issue of the dishwasher, right?
    STEVEN: Right.
    TOM: You can’t tile in the dishwasher because you won’t be able to get it out. The tile has to go all the way in the dishwasher. So what I want you to do is to take off the kick plate of the dishwasher, see what the height of the legs are and try to figure out whether or not you can take that dishwasher out, tile it and still fit it back in there.
    STEVEN: Oh, yeah. OK.
    TOM: Yep.
    STEVEN: I’m glad you gave me a heads up because I would have been right at the end of the project (Tom laughs) and I’ve got to get this done before my wife has her (inaudible at 0:31:15.8) party, so (chuckles).
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Oh.
    TOM: Yeah. (chuckles) Alright. Now, we’ve got you on the right track there, Steven.
    STEVEN: Right. Thanks a lot. I appreciate your time.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    You know, my sister had a dishwasher that died once and whoever put the tile in, before she bought the house, actually did tile up to it.
    LESLIE: I remember you telling me. How did you get it out?
    TOM: We had to take the kitchen sink out and we had to lift the entire countertop. To lift the thing up and out was the only way we could get it out and get the new one in. And guess what?
    LESLIE: And dishwashers, not light.
    TOM: If it ever dies again, they’re going to have to do it all over again. You know?
    LESLIE: Aye-aye-aye.
    TOM: So, always important to think about the height of that when you do any kind of floor surface in the kitchen.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, are you feeling a chill from your windows and perhaps thinking about replacing them and grabbing some of that bailout money that’s available in the form of a tax credit? We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know to make the right decisions, next.
    (theme song)
    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: Right now on our website, we’ve got a free bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and it’s called “Your Complete Window Replacement Guide.” Includes everything you ever wanted to know about replacement windows – how to choose them; how to make sure they qualify – and it will definitely help Holly with her question.
    LESLIE: Alright. And Holly writes in saying: “I’m looking to replace my windows. One thing I keep hearing about is foam-filled frames. Does it make a big difference?”
    TOM: You know, Holly, every manufacturer has a set of features and benefits that they tout and they try to make these features and benefits as unique as possible so that you can’t compare them. You know, you’ve got one manufacturer talking about foam-filled frames; you may have another one talking about triple glazing. It’s very hard for you to compare apples to apples. However, if you know one thing, that actually can become a lot easier and that is to look for a certain label on the glass; called a National Fenestration Rating Council or the NFRC label. Because it is a consistent labeling system, a consistent set of standards that applies to the NFRC labels; that gives you some numbers that you can compare from product to product that will tell you how well-insulated it is, how airtight it is and that sort of thing. So if you look …
    LESLIE: How much heat comes in and out.
    TOM: Yeah. If you look for the NFRC label, that’s the best way to try to compare apples to apples when you’re choosing new windows.
    LESLIE: What about an Energy Star label for windows?
    TOM: Energy Star is also good but, again, there’s different Energy Star ratings and it depends on the year of the rating. If it’s the same year; if it’s made to the same Energy Star standard as another window, then you’re fine as well. Between those two labels, you should be choosing a good product but don’t get thrown off by all of the individual features and benefits because these are all parts of systems. And so it’s – even if another company has foam-filled, you know, it may not work as well as the first company because it depends on how they’ve put it together. It’s all part of a system. All of these parts have to fit well together and work to do one job and one job only and that is to help cut your energy costs and to make you more comfortable in the house. Well, that’s two jobs. (Leslie chuckles) But they add up to the same thing.
    LESLIE: Alright. Next up we’ve got an e-mail from Thomas who writes: “We recently painted our kitchen cabinets and now there are spots of paint all over the deck off of the kitchen.” (chuckles)
    TOM: Wow.
    LESLIE: “What is the easiest way to clean the paint?” Sounds like somebody had a messy job or stepped in a can of paint. (chuckles)
    TOM: It sounds that way. I wonder how the paint got from the kitchen to the deck. (Leslie chuckles) But we kind of go back to our generic paint removal advice. If it’s a deck, I would simply sand it. I mean, frankly, it’s not a finished surface. I wouldn’t get into any kind of paint strippers. It gets a little more complicated when you’re on a finished hardwood floor or certainly almost impossible when it’s something that’s very absorbent. But on a deck, I would just get some sandpaper out there. I would sand it; touch up the stain or the area, if that’s how the deck was treated, and move on from there.
    LESLIE: If it’s composite, I’m going to tell you that a little bit of elbow grease will go a long way with like a good, stiff, bristle brush and maybe even a power washer.
    TOM: Well, the nice thing about composite is you don’t get a lot of adhesion.
    LESLIE: True.
    TOM: So you should be able to pick it right off.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one here from Ben who asks: “What do you think of a steel roof that looks like a wood shingle? Just trying to get some sort of review before making a choice for our new roof?”
    TOM: Totally a stylistic decision here, Ben. I will tell you that the new metal roofs are great. They’ve got low-e coatings on them and actually help reflect the heat of the summer back out; so they can actually be a very cool addition. They come in a flat seam, a standing seam; you know, they have versions that look like metal shingles. Those are all stylistic changes but you should know that the new metal roofing is really well-made and a good lifetime choice for your house; more expensive but lasts a long time.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and super-energy-efficient, Ben, and they look great. So good luck with your new roof.
    TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we’re so glad that you are. The show continues now online at MoneyPit.com where you can also search for answers to your questions about how to cut your heating bills this winter. It’s all online and free at MoneyPit.com.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 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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