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Fireplace Safety Tips, Design and Planning a Tool Line, Holiday Food Safety Advice, Redecorate for the Holidays with Paint and More

  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by to answer your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Not only home improvement but also home décor, home repair. Whatever is going on in your house, we want to hear about it. We want to help you through that project. We know there are a lot of projects happening right now; sort of the ramp-up season for sort of last-minute improvements before the hordes of holiday guests arrive. Give us a call; we’ll help you get it done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    And the temperature is dropping rapidly these days. And if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, it’s just about the time of the year to get that roaring fire going. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips on what to burn to keep your fireplace and your chimney clean and safe.

    LESLIE: And did you ever wonder how that cool grip on your drill came to be? That cool grip that you just love on your drill or maybe why some tools just work better for certain jobs than others? Well, this hour, we’re going to get a behind-the-scenes look at how these tools are designed, developed and brought to the market. We’re going to tell you all about how a tool line is born, a little later.

    TOM: And one caller we talk to on the program today is going to win a SUNHEAT infrared heater. It’s worth 399 bucks, so let’s get right to the phones. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

    DAVID: Yes, ma’am. I was wondering, I’m fixing to install a wood-and-coal heat in my home; a stove. And the options that I have is either build a flue outside of the home and go that way or the triple-wall pipe that goes through the roof and out the roof.

    And I was wanting to know, are they safe and how long would they last? It’s triple-wall, stainless-steel pipe.

    TOM: Yeah and that’s the standard way to vent a – any type of a fireplace or a wood stove that goes through a building today. And yes, they are safe as long as the installation is put in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association guidelines. So you have to be very careful about the install. But if it’s done correctly, it’s completely safe and it’s the way to go.

    DAVID: So you just don’t run the pipe through your ceiling, into the attic and through the roof?

    TOM: You do it in accordance to those guidelines. It’s not a do-it-yourself project, if you’re just getting started with this.

    DAVID: Oh.

    TOM: You need to make sure you follow the directions. There’s specific instructions on how the pipe goes together and how much distance it has to have between itself and anything that can burn and so on. So, it’s not a starter project, David, but it is definitely the right way to go and it’s what’s very standard now in the industry.

    DAVID: Oh, OK. Well, that was what I was worried about. I just didn’t want to burn myself out.

    TOM: And we don’t want that to happen, either. That’s why we want you to get a pro to help you with that part of the job.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Venita from Missouri who needs some help with a wallpaper project. Tell us what you’re working on.
     
    VENITA: Well, we’re working on the kitchen and taking wallpaper down and the first layer came down just fine and the backing came down just fine. And then we have a glue problem. Now I still have the adhesive there and I was told to get DIF or whatever and spray it on the walls and you scrape it off with a putty knife.
     
    That works alright, except I gouged a hole in the wall in one place and I was just wondering if there was an easier solution to this problem I’m in.
     
    TOM: No, because what you’re using is wallpaper-paste remover, essentially.
     
    LESLIE: Remover, yeah.
     
    TOM: And that is the best way to soften it up. You’ve got to be a little more gentle with the – with your scraping.
     
    LESLIE: With your scraping.
     
    TOM: But that is the best and most effective way to do that.
     
    Now, fortunately, you have several other steps that need to be accomplished and you can easily fix this gouge at the same time. You want to spackle that. If it’s really deep, do it in a couple of coats but after you get most of this off, you’re going to have to prime these walls. You absolutely can’t do anything until you prime them because that’s the great equalizer. That’s what’s going to make everything that comes after this stick.
     
    Now, are you planning on new wallpaper or are you planning on paint?
     
    VENITA: Well, we were going to paint. No more wallpaper.
     
    TOM: And then – fine. Then you want to prime them. I would use a good-quality primer; you know, like a Behr primer or a KILZ primer. Let it dry really well and then put the paint on; the topcoat. Only use flat paint. Don’t use anything with a sheen because the walls aren’t going to be perfectly clean even after you get that glue off and any sheen whatsoever is going to highlight the defects in the wall. So if you prime it and then you use flat paint, you’re going to have a beautiful surface when you’re all through.
     
    VENITA: OK. Well, that sounds like a good plan then.
     
    TOM: Alright.
     
    VENITA: OK, I thank you very much.
     
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Venita. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And lots of tips on how to remove wallpaper in the Decorating section of MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Or the Undecorating section.

    TOM: Or the Undecorating section. We tell you how to put it up and we tell you how to take it down. Kind of a full-service operation here at The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can be part of The Money Pit by picking up the phone and calling in your home repair, home design, home improvement question. Whatever you are working on, we want to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, a roaring fire adds just the right touch to holiday celebrations. Up next, we’re going to teach you how to stay safe and talk about what you should and shouldn’t burn, for a healthy fire all winter long.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Milgard Windows and Doors. Milgard windows can help save on energy bills and qualify for up to $1,500 in tax credits. Credits expire December 31. Visit Milgard.com to locate a window dealer near you.

    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: Call us right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win the original SUNHEAT Electronic Infrared Zone Heater. We’ve got one going out to one caller who is lucky enough to pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and have their name drawn out of our little Money Pit hard hat here. We’re going to send out the SUNHEAT to them.

    It’s a very effective, portable, supplemental heater. I like it; I’ve got one. It can safely warm up to 1,000 square feet. It’s a great way to turn down the furnace, stay warm and save money. At just 399 bucks, if you don’t win it, go buy one. Check out Sunheat.com because it’ll definitely save you money, because you can actually turn down the furnace.

    And we all drop into one room. I know in our house, it’s the kitchen. Whatever room that you drop into, that’s where you put the heater and you can drop the heat in the rest of the house. And you know what’s going to happen next? Your energy bills will drop.

    So give us a call. The number 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.

    Well, this time of year, if you are one of the lucky few out there who have a fireplace in your home, it’s actually a perfect time of year to get that fire going because a crackling fire always just adds that nice, perfect touch to those holiday celebrations.

    I remember one Thanksgiving – gosh, I think it was like an odd 70 degrees outside. In New York, that’s very weird when you have a 70-degree Thanksgiving. And I insisted on still having a fire in the fireplace, because it’s Thanksgiving and you need one.

    So, for those holiday celebrations, get that fireplace crackling but you want to keep safety in mind. Make sure that you don’t use any green wood; instead, you want to opt for fully-seasoned wood, which is wood that’s been dried for at least a year. You don’t ever, ever, ever want to burn trash in there, no pizza boxes and no leftover wood from any projects that you might have been working on around the house. Because especially if they’re pressure-treated, they can release chemicals, which could be harmful.

    And you can use fire starters. Now, that’ll really help you get that fire going and you can even find these at just about any home center; even your supermarkets. Heck, if you live in Manhattan, you can find them at the corner grocery store. So they’re out there and they are available this time of year.

    TOM: They have fireplaces in Manhattan?

    LESLIE: I had one.

    TOM: Did you really?

    LESLIE: Are you kidding? When we lived on 38thStreet, I had this great brownstone. Well, I lived on a floor in a brownstone. It was a ridiculous amount of rent that we struggled to pay but we had a beautiful fireplace and we used it.

    TOM: That’s terrific. And you know, in those fireplaces, a very large, roaring fire sounds nice but for the average-size fireplace, you want to keep your fires small. Never overfill your fireplace with firewood; you can risk smoke, inhalation or catching something on fire in your house.

    And remember that a fire is organic and wood will move as it burns. So keep a close eye; use a poker to adjust the logs as needed so they don’t fall out onto the hearth.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Barry in Connecticut is on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?

    BARRY: We have all hardwood floors throughout our home and they have separated during the weather. I suspect they dry out, then they close back up again. Is there any – as a matter of fact, some of them don’t close up very much. But I’m wondering if there’s anything that can be done to fill in the cracks.

    TOM: Yeah, you can use jute – j-u-t-e. It’s like a rope and you pull the strands apart and you can press it like with a putty knife, in between the gap and then you can refinish on top of that. And that will sort of serve as a spacer a bit. You can’t use any kind of wood filler because the wood filler will just crack and fall out. But you can use the rope as a spacer.

    LESLIE: And it’s important to look for jute roping, because the jute isn’t coated with anything. There’s no wax on it; it’s just sort of the natural fiber. So if you wanted to stain it – and I’ve seen people take the length of rope once they figure out the thickness. And the reason why you unravel some of it is so that it fits accordingly into that space and you can sort of narrow it intermittently so that the rope fits as the crack widens or narrows. And then you can dip the rope directly into the stain and then sort of smush it into that space once it dries.

    So, there’s a couple ways to do it with that but that’s really the only fix that’s going to stay in place.

    BARRY: OK. Is there a color to the jute?

    LESLIE: It’s just like a natural, sort of weedy brown; kind of blondish-looking.

    BARRY: OK. So it doesn’t come in particular colors.

    TOM: No, no.

    LESLIE: No, no.

    TOM: No, no. And that’s why Leslie said it can be stained, too. If you’re – it’s a very natural-looking product and because it’s kind of just filling the gap, you may not even want to stain it.

    BARRY: OK. Well, thank you so much for taking my call. I appreciate the information and I really appreciate your show.

    LESLIE: Oh, thank you.

    TOM: Thank you, Barry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dottie in North Carolina has a roof with some black streaks on it. Tell us about it.
     
    DOTTIE: Well, it’s just those black streaks are beginning to form – I noticed it about last year or year before last – are starting to get darker.
     
    TOM: Yep. Yeah.
     
    DOTTIE: And I was wondering what causes that.
     
    TOM: Well, what it is is it’s roof moss or roof mildew. It’s like kind of a fungus growth that gets on there. And you get the spores that float around in the air and they land on the roof and they tend to congregate in the cooler places of the roof and that’s why you get the streak effect.

    So for example, if you look at it, you might see that right above where the rafters are there is more there than to the left or right of the rafters where there’s just plywood, because the rafter tends to be a little cooler than the surface of the roof next to it; could be a few degrees difference. So that’s why you have that streak effect.
     
    There’s a couple of things that you can do. Is your roof fairly shaded in terms of a lot of trees around it?
     
    DOTTIE: No, sir. It’s completely sunny.
     
    TOM: Completely sunny, OK.
     
    DOTTIE: Morning and noon.
     
    TOM: Alright. Well, let’s talk about a roof cleaner. Now, what you can do is you can apply a bleach-and-water solution and this is a pretty big project; it can be done with a pressure washer on a low pressure with a soap dispenser built into it.

    But you apply a mildicide; it could be bleach and water or it could be a commercially-available mildicide. It could be a product like JOMAX. And you saturate this roof and let it sit – the section sit for 10 or 15 minutes with this mildicide on it – and then you can rinse it off and you’re going to find that it brightens it up very nicely.
     
    Now, the second thing that you can do is you can add a strip of copper or nickel flashing across the ridge – all the way across the peak of the roof – and that will keep it clean.

    LESLIE: Or nickel.

    TOM: And the way that works is as the rain hits it, it removes some of the nickel or some of the copper and basically washes it down the roof and nickel or copper in the water is a mildicide. So that’s a way to keep it clean on an ongoing basis.
     
    If you’ve ever seen a chimney that has like bright streaks underneath it, that’s because of the copper flashing releasing some copper into the water and cleaning the roof as it rubs off it and runs off it and goes down the roof. So, that’s a way to do that.
     
    DOTTIE: It has a cap on it but I’m not sure what it is. It’s sort of black-looking; the cap is.
     
    TOM: You mean the cap on the top of the ridge?
     
    DOTTIE: Yes, sir.
     
    TOM: Yeah, well that’s probably a ridge vent and if that’s the case, you can put this metal flashing kind of right under it and along the top …
     
    DOTTIE: Right on top of it?
     
    TOM: Well, not over it but like right under it.
     
    DOTTIE: Under it, OK.
     
    TOM: You basically want the water to hit it and run down.
     
    DOTTIE: Oh, OK.
     
    TOM: And if you have a contractor who does a nice job, it could all look like it’s part of the same thing, because it’s all going to turn to a nice patina within probably one season.
     
    DOTTIE: OK.
     
    TOM: Alright?
     
    DOTTIE: That sounds great.
     
    TOM: Well there you go. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ron in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
     
    RON: Howdy. I’ve got some paver brick in the backyard, about the size of regular brick and they’ve been – I bought the house in 1971. They were put down on an inside corner of the house where a part of it, a Florida room, sticks out and it’s virtually level. I’d like to know if you have some way that I can get it so the water maybe runs off a little bit better or redo it without tearing it up.
     
    TOM: No, you’re not going to change the pitch of this. But is the water collecting there?
     
    RON: Very little.
     
    TOM: Because, typically, paver brick drains pretty well because underneath it should be stone and then sand so, typically, it drains pretty well.
     
    RON: So I would really need to take one up and see just exactly what’s under there to make sure everything’s …?
     
    TOM: Yeah and that’s not a hard thing to do but frankly, Ron, if you want to change the pitch, you’ve got to change the whole base and it’s probably not going to be worth it.
     
    RON: OK.
     
    TOM: Especially if you’ve got just a little bit of water sitting there. Now are you getting moisture problems under the house?
     
    RON: Detected a little bit when I bought the house while there were – but at that time there were some other issues that were taken care of with the drains.
     
    TOM: Right. Well, if you’re trying to deal with water infiltration problems under the house, let’s put this more expensive, more difficult problem to fix – which is the repitching of the patio – at the end of the list. There are easier things that you can do. You want to make sure that you have gutters that are clean and free-flowing. You want to make sure the downspouts are 4 to 6 feet away from the house. You want to make sure the rest of the soil slopes away. If you do all of that and do it well and do it perfectly, you can probably stand to have the patio hold a little bit of water against the house.

    LESLIE: Jane in Florida had a brand new dishwasher go horribly awry. What happened?
     
    JANE: Oh, that’s OK.
     
    TOM: What’s going on, Jane?
     
    JANE: What I’ve got, I’ve got a dishwasher; it’s about a year old. It had an electrical problem on the first time we turned it on, so some water came in the dishwasher. Also, the soap opened up and then it wouldn’t complete the cycle. So we found it was an electrical problem in a new house.
     
    TOM: OK.
     
    JANE: The electrician called. We got the electrician, a week later, to come back. Now, inside the dishwasher, all the soap is on the stainless.
     
    TOM: It’s good it’s on the inside because I know it’s bothering you but eventually it’s going to scrub off.

    LESLIE: Eventually, it’ll go away.

    TOM: But probably baking soda.
     
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I think persistence, baking soda, damp cloths that are used to apply the baking soda to sort of abrade lightly away the soap buildup on there; holding damp sponges, wet cloths onto the soapy areas to sort of help loosen it up.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: I think it’s going to take some elbow grease and some time.
     
    JANE: I can try that.
     
    TOM: Yeah, you can try that. The other thing that you could try is compound; the same stuff that you use on a car finish. You buy it from the auto parts store.
     
    JANE: Oh, yeah, rubbing compound.
     
    TOM: Rubbing compound, right. Because it’s got a slight abrasive in it. And that might start to take the surface off.
     
    Now, remember, if this stuff isn’t coming off, it might be that it just changed the color of the stainless and it might not be something that does come off. So, just keep that in mind, as well. But I would try baking soda and if that doesn’t work, try rubbing compound and I think that you’ll either know that you’ve found a solution or know that there is no solution and you just kind of have to live with the color.
     
    JANE: Gee. Thank you very much.
     
    TOM: You’re very 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. Hey, did you ever wonder how those tool designers working out there come up with those handy looks and feels for those tools that get the job done every single time? Well coming up, we’re going to learn about the days, weeks, months of planning and testing that actually go into designing a tool line, so stick around.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by SnowBlowersDirect.com. Thinking about getting a snow blower? Check out SnowBlowersDirect.com’s interactive buying guides, recommendations and customer reviews. Snow blower experts are available to help you pick the perfect snow blower. Visit SnowBlowersDirect.com.

    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: And one of the fun parts of our job is we often get to tell you about the cool, new tools or the fresh products that are just hitting store shelves. But if you ever wonder what it takes to bring some of those new tools and products to life, well, would you believe that sometimes it actually takes years to work out the kinks and get the design details just right?

    LESLIE: That’s right. Well, our next guest knows all of that firsthand. So we want to welcome Christine Potter to The Money Pit. And she is with DeWALT Power Tools and has a behind-the-scenes look for us, right now, on how one of DeWALT’s newest power-tool lines were developed.

    Welcome, Christine.

    CHRISTINE: Hello. How are you guys?

    TOM: We are excellent. Now, you guys are coming out with a new line that you call the DeWALT 12-Volt Max line and one of the things that I found very interesting about this, Christine, was all the work that you put in to get the tool to feel just right in the user’s hands.

    And I understand that you actually tested these with 20 different grips. Is that correct?

    CHRISTINE: That’s correct. One of the first things that we do in the beginning of a new tool-development project is the engineers, the marketing folks, as well as the industrial designers, will go out on job sites with prototypes and work with the contractors to make sure every application that they’re doing – whether it’s working overhead; working in extreme climates – that they evaluate our prototypes in their job-site environment.

    And yes, we did develop about 20 different handle sets to kind of optimize what was the most comfortable one for both weight and balance.

    TOM: Wow. Now tell me about the tools that are in the line. How many different tools are available in the 12-Volt Max line right now?

    CHRISTINE: Well, we have seven products coming out as part of the 12-Volt Max line. There is a drill driver with a 3/8-inch keyless chuck.

    TOM: OK.

    CHRISTINE: We’ve got an impact driver with a quick-release chuck, as well as an impact wrench. There is a screwdriver, there is an LED work light, an inspection camera and then, finally, an infrared thermometer.

    TOM: Now, that’s very interesting. Now I saw the inspection camera at an editors event that you guys had not too long ago and that was pretty interesting, too, because this device actually gives you the opportunity to pretty much look behind walls.

    CHRISTINE: That’s right. You can look behind walls, you can look inside pipes; really any tight spot that a contractor might want to get into without having to break a wall apart first.

    LESLIE: And that’s really great because that’s a huge time-saver and budget-saver for a homeowner, as well.

    CHRISTINE: Absolutely, because you can just drill a small hole now, peek in a wall, see what’s back there – see if you have wiring; see if there’s plumbing behind the wall – where before you’d have to cut a larger hole in the wall to see what was behind there.

    TOM: Now I think the process that you guys go through is pretty fascinating, because you think about something – you know, a fairly, let’s just say a commonplace product like a drill driver. There are probably, literally, 100 drill drivers out there. You guys decide you want to bring one to market. You need to identify what contractors really want, what serious DIYers and homeowners really want and there’s a very, very long process that you go through to get that just right. So walk us through some of those details.

    CHRISTINE: Sure. Probably the biggest thing we do is try to spend a lot of time on job sites. And the example that you used with – there’s a lot of different drill drivers out on the market; how do we come up with something different? A lot of it is just from our team observing what goes on in the job site. When you see users putting a flashlight in their mouth to see what they’re putting a screw into, that led to onboard LED lighting on the tools.

    Or we saw users that – let’s say they were trying to install a cabinet and they were trying to hold a cabinet up while changing a bit.

    TOM: Right.

    CHRISTINE: That led us to redesign our chucks to be able to insert the bit one-handed. So a lot of it is just from observation and being where the user gets their job done.

    LESLIE: And I have to say it looks like, just from looking at some of the photography, the grip – the placement of it – it just looks so much more well-balanced and everything seems so much more lightweight that you can actually just work with a tool for an extended amount of time without fatigue.

    CHRISTINE: Yes and our industrial designers did a lot of work on that, to make sure it was very well-balanced; in the hand, it has a comfortable grip. And then you can also take the tool and stand it up on its battery pack.

    LESLIE: Oh, wow. I mean I can’t tell you, for years – maybe 10 or 15 years ago; even more – working with an old nicad (ph) drill driver and the butt of it would just rub on the top of my hand and I would end up with this blister-type callous just from the weight of the butt end of the heaviness of the drill itself. And now everything is just so lightweight that you can work overhead for an extended amount of time and really just not even be tired one bit.

    CHRISTINE: Yeah and the tools even have a belt clip on them so you can hang it on your belt and they’re lightweight. You barely notice it’s there.

    TOM: Well, it’s an impressive line. It’s the DeWALT 12-Volt Max line.

    Now, Christine, these are coming out in store shelves now. Are they going to be available in some combo kits, as well?

    CHRISTINE: Yes. We’ll have single tools as well as some combination kits.

    TOM: And give us some examples of the pricing.

    CHRISTINE: Sure. We talked about the screwdriver kit earlier. That’ll be approximately 139. There’ll be a couple different combo kits; for example, one with a drill and then an impact driver. That combo kit will be approximately 199.

    TOM: So those are great prices for some really great tools. Christine Potter, Director of Marketing for DeWALT, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us all in on the brand new DeWALT 12-Volt Max line of tools.

    CHRISTINE: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: For more tips and information on that product and much more, you can go to Christine’s website at Dewalt.com. That’s D-e-w-a-l-t.com.

    LESLIE: Well, from power tools to cooking tools now, I don’t know about you but I am getting ready for some marathon meal prep as holiday season gets into full swing. But before you get too busy, make sure that you have the tools and supplies to stay safe in your kitchen. We’re going to have advice on that, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac Automatic Standby Generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. 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 you should give us a call right now with your home improvement, repair or décor question, because one lucky caller that we talk to on the show today is going to win the gift of heat and a lower heating bill, in the form of the SUNHEAT Electronic Infrared Zone Heater.

    It is a super-gorgeous and highly effective, portable, supplemental heater and it’s going to safely warm up to a 1,000-square-foot room. And it’s a great way to turn down your thermostat but still stay warm and save some money, which we all really love to do, especially at holiday time.

    It’s just $399, so if you don’t win one, head on over to Sunheat.com. Check out the website; it really is an affordable way to save some heating dollars but not freeze your butt off this winter season.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s a really well-made unit. I’ve got one, too, and I was very impressed with the cabinetry, especially.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s got like real fine carpentry.

    TOM: It really does.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s amazing how beautifully it’s put together and it’s very affordable. But you could win one today for just picking up the phone and giving us a call with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Hey, are you planning a big holiday get-together? You want to avoid the worst by making sure you’re following proper food-prep principles. For example, you never want to prepare food on a surface previously touched by any raw turkey or any raw meat, for that matter. You want to be very careful. A quick tip is to simply flip the cutting board over to a fresh side after cutting any raw meat and just be sure to clean it up afterwards.

    LESLIE: Somewhere, my sister, Stephanie, is crying, remembering the Thanksgiving everybody got food poisoning.

    You also want to make sure that you keep a small bucket, a bowl or a bag – whatever you like to work with – right near your work area. This way, you can toss in all of those food scraps so you’re not going to be dragging all those juices all over the kitchen as you carry, you know, your cutting board to the garbage to dump whatever’s in there. If you just keep a good-sized bowl next to you, make that your trash bowl; one trip to the garbage and you’re done.

    Then you also want to make sure that you clean and sanitize all of your cutting boards, your countertops and your utensils that have come in contact with raw meat, because the last thing that you want at your family reunion is to have that reunion take place in the emergency room. Again, sister Stephanie is crying. It was a bad lamb stuffing; we’ll never eat it again. Never.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to it.

    Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Edward in New York is calling in about the finish on a window. Tell us what’s going on.

    EDWARD: Yeah, I have these Andersen Perma-Shield windows. Some of them are about 15 or 16 years old; some of them are about 24, 25 years old. They’re replacement windows and they have this epoxy finish on them on the wood parts. Some of it’s clad with some vinyl.

    TOM: OK.

    EDWARD: But the so-called Perma-Shield – the epoxy paint – is starting to give up. Some of it’s cracking along the wood grain and some of it’s peeling off. I contacted Andersen; I got their spray-on coat that’s supposed to repair the finishes. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t last; it cracks and starts peeling again.

    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, that’s because you’re trying to put – you have bad paint and you’re trying to put new paint over it. So the problem, I think, is the underlying paint finish.

    LESLIE: Have you tried, in your prep work, to sort of – I mean I wonder if this is something you could even sand or is scraping a better approach to sort of get off what isn’t sticking, to get you to a surface where you might be able to get some adhesion?

    EDWARD: Yeah. Well, I’ve lightly sanded it; sanded the parts that had peeled off and feathered the edges and light-sanded the stuff that was still sticking.

    TOM: OK. Have you tried using an oil-based primer?

    EDWARD: No, I haven’t tried any primers on it.

    LESLIE: That’s part of the problem.

    TOM: Well, why don’t we try this, OK? Because this is a good place to start when you have an uncertain surface like that and you’re trying to do your best to get adhesion. Primers have different qualities than paint. Primers are – you should think of them as the glue. They’re designed to have the maximum adhesion to whatever the underlying surface is. And I say oil-based because that’s sort of the super-glue of primers.

    So I would try a very good-quality like KILZ oil-based primer. Just get a little can and try it; do one window. It’s worth the extra work to clean the brushes. Let it dry really well and then you could use a latex topcoat; you don’t have to use an oil-based topcoat. Use a latex topcoat. But see if you can get good adhesion out of the primer.

    EDWARD: OK. I’ll try that and see what happens.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Give it a shot and be more positive; we think it will come out. See, you might just be doubting it and the paint senses that and that’s why it peels away.

    LESLIE: It’s jumping off.

    TOM: That’s right. If you’re more positive about the outlook, it’ll stick. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Shirley in Virginia, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
     
    SHIRLEY: Yes, I’m calling – we have an older home. It’s a brick home and the kitchen cabinets have an odor to them. It smells like old wood. We had had them newly painted. They were professionally done and it still smells and it seems like it makes the food taste – is there any – we’ve tried Clorox and everything and we can’t seem to get this odor out of it.
     
    TOM: Have you tried baking soda?
     
    LESLIE: Yeah.
     
    SHIRLEY: Yes, I have and that helped some but it still didn’t take all the odor out.
     
    LESLIE: Now, when you painted the cabinets, were they primed with an oil-based primer?
     
    SHIRLEY: Yes, they were professionally done. You know, they look great and we’ve talked about even taking them out but we hate to do that because we know it’s a lot more expense.
     
    LESLIE: What about – and the interior is painted, correct?
     
    SHIRLEY: Yes, it is.
     
    LESLIE: Shirley, there’s a great website. It’s called PaintScentsations.com and there you can get different types of scented additives that can be added to your normal paint. And that scent is going to linger for about 12 months.

    So, make sure you follow the directions on how to mix it in the paint because I guess in a closed-off space like a cabinet, that could be overpowering, as well, but it might sort of help to cancel out – maybe there’s an option there that’s more of a neutral, sort of fresh scent that you could get.
     
    SHIRLEY: Certainly do appreciate your help on that.
     
    TOM: You’re welcome, Shirley.
     
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, do you have guests coming for the holidays? Are you scrambling to clean to your heart’s content? Well, there’s one thing you shouldn’t clean the night before everyone shows up. That is, don’t run the self-clean cycle on your oven; you may be sorry. We’ll tell you why, 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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project or head on over to MoneyPit.com and post your question there. That’s what Stephanie did in Arizona. And Stephanie says …

    LESLIE: “I have heard you say that you shouldn’t self-clean the oven around the holidays. Why is that and when is a good time to use the self-clean cycle and when should I just stick with manual cleaning?”

    TOM: Well, the reason we tell you not to do this right before the holidays is because typically what happens is you’re cleaning everything in your house. The oven’s the last thing you do. You usually want to set it and forget it, so you’re going to run it the day before or that night before all the guests arrive and you want to run that self-cleaning cycle.

    But the thing is that when you run self-clean, that oven is put through more stress than it is all the other days of the year. So if it’s going to break down, that’s when it’s going to happen. So that’s why it’s just a bad idea to run a self-cleaning cycle right before you’re going to need the oven the next day, to cook the big turkey dinner or whatever you’re preparing for your friends and family.

    You want to run it, run it when you don’t have like a mission-critical meal to use it for the next day and then it should be fine. I mean chances are it’s not going to break down but if it does, it will happen when you run the self-clean.

    LESLIE: What is that, Murphy’s Law?

    TOM: Yeah. Murphy’s Law being what it is.

    LESLIE: Exactly. Alright, we’ve got one here from Hector in Massachusetts who writes: “A few years ago, I used caulk to seal some tiny cracks/gaps on the inside of my house around my windows. The caulk has now separated and I can see little spaces around the window frames. What is the best way to replace or redo and do I have to remove all of the old caulk?”

    TOM: Not necessarily, although it’s kind of a better idea to remove it. But caulk’s not going to last for years upon years, so you do have to replenish it.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: If you’re having trouble getting the old caulk out, you can use a product called caulk softener, which is sort of like a paint stripper for caulk. It will soften; it makes it easy to peel out and then you can replace it from there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And once you do pull everything out, you want to make sure that you get a nice, clean seal with the caulk. This way, you’ll go around all around your window frames and you can use your finger or a special caulking tool; whatever you prefer to just smooth it all out. Let it dry really well and that’ll do a lot to seal out those energy leaks and those air leaks and you will see a big difference in your heating and cooling bills.

    Make sure you check around your windows; look on exterior walls for any outlets. Those are all places where you lose air. So go ahead and check and repair and seal up and save some dough.

    TOM: Well, are you thinking of painting to give your living or dining room a whole new look before the holidays? It’s not a bad idea but what do you do when cold weather forces you to keep the windows closed during that painting project? Leslie has got some tips on how to survive that gaseous cloud, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Well, this time of year, everybody’s really looking for ways to freshen up the look of those everyday rooms in their houses. And painting a room truly is an inexpensive way to redecorate in time for the holiday season.

    Now, a new color and some great, vibrant accessories to match or contrast that color that you choose and suddenly, you’ve got a brand-spanking new space to look at. Plus, without summer’s humidity, you are going to save on some drying time in a big way.

    But what about that paint smell, especially this time of year when cracking your window open is not going to be an option? Well, if that’s the case where you live, you want to look for a low-odor or even scented paints, which are available from so many manufacturers right now.

    And if you look for paints that are low-odor, low-VOC, no carcinogens, you can feel very, very comfortable about painting a room, windows closed and all. You can even feel comfortable about painting a kid’s room. And this way, you know what you’re working with is a good product, you’re going to get good durability, you don’t have to worry about any of those caustic additives that get put into paint so often.

    So make sure a low-VOC, no odor, low carcinogens; these are all things that you want to find when you’re purchasing your paint. And then pick any color of the rainbow and enjoy your holiday season.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next week on the program, for decades, the size of the average house has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. But now, bigger we know is not always better and builders are starting to make homes smaller and smarter. We’re going to have tips on that trend in home design, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

    (theme song)

    END HOUR 2 TEXT

    (Copyright 2010 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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