Fix Chimney Leaks, Removing Tree Stumps and More
TRANSCRIPT FOR OCTOBER 5, 2009, HOUR 1Hosts: 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.)BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:(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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your home maintenance project. We know there’s something that you need to do around your house right now. It’s fall. Halloween is just around the corner. Gosh, it’s at the end of this month …LESLIE: I love it.TOM: … and it’s going to get chilly and the leaves are going to come down and we know there’s something that you want to do to make your house more comfortable, more fun, more safe, perhaps more energy-efficient. So pick up the phone and let us help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.Say, maybe you don’t have enough time to do home improvement projects. Nope, we’re going to kill that excuse right now because, coming up this hour, one of our favorite 30 under 30 projects. If you’ve got a half-hour, we’ve got a home maintenance project that you can do in under 30 minutes that will be one less thing to do on your chore list. This week, we’re going to have a tip to help make sure your chimney remains leak-free.LESLIE: And also ahead, you’ve cut down the tree and now you’re stumped – literally – about how to get rid of what’s left. We’re going to have an expert tip about how to get rid of that unsightly tree stump, a little later.TOM: Plus, wainscot paneling can really add some character to a room. You know what we’re talking about. That’s that wood paneling that goes halfway up the wall; gives that room a very fancy, finished look. But how do you install it? We’re going to have a fastener-free way to do just that.LESLIE: And if you’re a little sloppy with your home improvement projects, we can help because one lucky caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win Eureka’s new Whirlwind upright vacuum worth 129 bucks.TOM: So pick up the phone and call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.Who’s first?LESLIE: Alright, it’s time to chat roofing with George in Texas. What’s going on?GEORGE: Yes, I had a question about roofing. The original roof is about 23 years old now and I want to know the ins and outs of – the plus and minuses of having another layer of shingles laid over the first ones or having the original roof torn off with new shingles put on, which costs about $1,000 more.TOM: Let me ask you a question, George: how long do you expect to stay in this house?GEORGE: At least another 20 years minimal.TOM: OK. Alright. Because that’s important and it’s a good question; should you remove the old shingles or should you roof over them. And the reason I asked you how long you’re going to stay in that house is because if you remove the shingles, the new roof will last longer. If you put a second layer on, it won’t last as long and the reason it won’t last as long is because the original roof holds heat, which accelerates the deterioration of the new roof. Follow me?GEORGE: Yes, yes.TOM: So it really becomes a question as to whether or not you’re going to be the one that gets the maximum amount of life expectancy out of that roof and if we’re talking 20 years or so, then it probably is worth taking the old ones off.GEORGE: OK, thank you very much.TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.LESLIE: Maryanne calling in from New York is dealing with a situation on the pavers. What’s going on?MARYANNE: A lot of moss growing on the bricks and in between them.TOM: OK, moss?MARYANNE: Moss.TOM: Alright.LESLIE: Well, that’s not a terrible thing.TOM: No, it’s not.LESLIE: I mean it’s not a difficult problem. It’s something that can be handled very easily and once we’ve gotten rid of the moss, what you want to do – Tom, would you use Roundup or would you use bleach and water, at this point, if it’s a heavy moss?TOM: I would probably use bleach and water on the moss because Roundup is going to be good for plants; you know, like grass and weeds that are coming up through it. But with moss, I’d probably use a bleach and water solution and I would get rid of all the moss. And then, those gaps between the brick, I would fill them with sand and there’s a polymer-based sand that QUIKRETE makes that will sort of …LESLIE: It’s called JOINT-LOCK.TOM: Yeah, it’ll sort of set in place and lock in place. And that actually plugs those gaps and stops weeds from growing up through them.LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You can get it at pretty much any home center but I would start with QUIKRETE’s website and look at the product called JOINT-LOCK and then see where you can find it but I’m sure you can get it anywhere. And you want to sweep it into all of the joints between your brick pavers on your walkway and then you hose it down and what happens is the water sort of activates the polymer in the sand and it becomes almost like a caulk, if you will. It sort of goops together and fills in the gaps. Nothing can grow through it. But then, if you ever have an issue where you need to pick up one of those bricks, you can easily sort of rock it back and forth and pull that brick out.TOM: Maryanne, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.Hello, October. Alright, folks. We can help you get all of those fall maintenance projects done quickly before the ghosts and goblins come trick-or-treating at your house; so give us a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.TOM: 888-666-3974.Coming up, we wrote the book – literally – on home improvement projects you can do in under 30 minutes. We’ve got a chapter in our book called “30 Ideas in Under 30 Minutes” and we’re going to feature one of those that can keep your chimney leak-free, after this.(theme song)ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, because one caller that comes on the air with us this hour and asks their home improvement question will not only get the answer but we will give you the tools you’ll need to clean up that big, stinking mess that you’re going to make (Leslie chuckles) when you start that project. Because we’re giving away the Whirlpool Plus vacuum from Eureka, worth 129 bucks. This new vacuum is the result of research by the folks at Eureka who found that busy families need a multipurpose cleaning tool with maximum suction and all the attachments conveniently located to save time. For a chance to win, call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.LESLIE: That is true because I always lose all of the attachments, eventually, over time, rendering …TOM: It’s kind of a pet peeve that I have on all of the tools that we get around here. I love to have everything in the same case or attached to the tool, so …LESLIE: Yeah, so nothing ever gets lost. (chuckles)TOM: Exactly.LESLIE: Alright, folks, well give us a call for your chance to win and give us a call because you will learn a plethora of very useful things to help fix your money pit and keep things operating in tiptop shape.Now, one of those things you really want to maintain – and you kind of forget about it because it’s on the exterior of your house; you never really think about it until you’re walking by and look up and say, “Oh, right, my chimney. Is that really intact? How is it’s structural integrity?” Well, it’s important to make sure that your chimney is not leaking in any way, shape or form and one common weak link in a masonry chimney is the crown or that cement area between the outside edge of the brick and the terra cotta clay chimney liner.Now, when the crown cracks, you’re going to find that water leaks down into your chimney. Now, during the winter, the water trapped in those cracks can freeze and then what happens is the brick might break up when that ice expands. So it’ll just start spitting out chunks of brick at you. Now, you’re going to end up facing major repair costs long before they should even be necessary.So, to avoid this problem, you want to inspect and caulk your chimney crowns every year. Add that to your fall to-do list and you’ll be so much happier because your wallet will be fat.TOM: It takes just a half-hour and it’s one of our 30 under 30 projects we’ve got listed in our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, available at Amazon.com.888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?LESLIE: Tanya is up next with a grout question from Virginia. How can we help you?TANYA: Hi. We are remodeling a bathroom in our new – well, not new; new to us – home.TOM: OK.TANYA: And we have tiled the entire wall area of the shower and then the bottom half of the rest of the bathroom.TOM: That’s a big project.TANYA: It is. And we’ve done really well with it and it’s grouted and we’re trying to figure out what type of sealer to put on that grout.TOM: OK. Yeah, you want to use a silicon-based sealer.TANYA: OK.TOM: OK?LESLIE: And there’s a lot of great applicators out there to help you get it on to just the grout area. There’s some that looks like a little nail polish bottle with a brush actually built right in. There are some that have like a spongy wheel. Pick whichever one you feel comfortable with and which helps the sealer to flow properly from it.TANYA: OK.LESLIE: And once you do that, you will be so happy because your grout will actually stay clean.TANYA: Mm-hmm. OK. Well, thank you.TOM: You’re welcome, Tanya, and good luck with that project. It sounds like you guys have done a lot of work there and this is the final step. We’re happy to help you out with it.TANYA: Thank you so much.TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?LESLIE: John in Texas is calling in with a power question. What can we do for you today?JOHN: I was curious about this device. I was looking on the internet. It’s called the Power Wagon. It’s a gasless generator and it’s 5kw. I went ahead and called the company and did a little research and I understand they’ve got a 10kw also. And I was looking at potentially modifying some of the electricity used in my house with something like that; not only hunting, fishing and other uses I could think of. But what are your thoughts on the availability of that? It’s got these big batteries that apparently are valid for like five years. They’re bigger than car and pickup truck batteries.TOM: Yeah, but doesn’t this product have to be driven around to charge? It’s basically a trailer …JOHN: Yeah. Yeah, they said it does. They have two other options: a wind option and a solar panel. But their look of it is, you know, it takes 40 minutes totally to recharge and you’re going to be going to Wal-Mart anyways. And so I’m looking at it as, you know, clean energy.TOM: Yeah.JOHN: If you’re going to go somewhere and you have the vehicle that can tow it, because it’s not very heavy …TOM: Yeah, well let’s think about that. Now, you’re going to spend a lot of energy towing this thing around for 40 minutes to charge it up; so you’ve spent a fair amount of gasoline doing that. You know, there’s a lot of stretching of the term “green” these days and that just kind of feels like what this is. I mean I guess “green” is what it means to you personally but, for me, you know, that’s not feeling real green at the moment.I have a backup standby generator for my house. I have a Generac and I like it because it runs off of natural gas. I mean I’m fortunate because I have natural gas. It could also run off propane, though. And it’s automatically wired into my electrical system so that if I have a power failure, the entire house is repowered within about 15 to 30 seconds. So, I mean that’s a pretty convenient, efficient, way of supplying backup power.Now, if you were a contractor and you were driving around all the time and you didn’t want to use a gasoline-powered generator, this seems like it could be an option. I mean basically it’s a couple of batteries on a trailer; you drive it around; the wheels of the trailer seem to charge the batteries and that’s fine. I don’t think it’s a good option for a house.JOHN: Yeah. Well, thanks a lot for the feedback.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.LESLIE: You know what? I could see, from a standpoint, say – you know, with these home makeover shows; when we go there and we’re tapping into their power to charge and use all of our tools outside; I mean hey, great. Sure, driving to the jobsite anyway; then plug in my tools that I need to use electricity and charge my batteries on that. Fantastic.TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Right. Right.LESLIE: But you’re right. I mean this is not an ideal situation for a house in the event of a storm or an emergency.TOM: No. For a contractor it might be a good option but I don’t think it’s a replacement for a standby generator.LESLIE: Uh-uh. Adrian in Michigan needs some help with a deck question. What can we do for you?ADRIAN: Hi. We have an older deck that was recently gently pressure washed because it needed to be refinished.TOM: OK.ADRIAN: And the contractor recommended going with a solid stain. They started painting it; about a third is done and, unfortunately, the color is not working out and it looks kind of taupey, almost like Silly Putty next to our sage-green, grayish house.LESLIE: OK.ADRIAN: So now we’re stuck with this taupey-colored solid, half-painted deck; the other half being kind of like a red cedar, you know, gently-pressure-washed color and we’re wondering how to remedy the situation. Do we have to sand and start over or could we maybe go over the whole thing with a darker color without making it look too pasty? Where do we go from here?LESLIE: And what they used …ADRIAN: I’m sorry. The contractor had said we had to go with a solid stain to protect it more but now I’m even wondering about that.TOM: Well, your contractor is right.ADRIAN: OK.LESLIE: And what’s on there now? Is that taupey, putty-color solid stain or actual paint?ADRIAN: It is solid stain.LESLIE: Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend going over the half-stained and the half-unstained with another product because then the finished product is not going to look the same on both halves; it’s going to sort of adhere to both sides differently and sort of show its color differently because of what’s underneath.What I would recommend is go to the home center, pick up a chemical stain stripper or a paint stripper. And be cautious of how you use it. Follow the directions, apply it to the surface where the solid stain is and let it sit there and do its job and get off as much as you can. This way, you’ll be back to a uniform surface of that unfinished, whatever wood you’ve got there that’s sort of in its clean state, ready for new surfacing.And then, you’re right, solid stain is the proper thing; only because – especially if you’re dealing with an older deck and the graining is not looking so great and the planks themselves on the decking are kind of showing wear and tear – a solid stain is going to saturate that wood itself, deposit that color into the wood grain, allow you to still see some of the grain but give you a nice, saturated color appearance.In a sagey-green family, I think mahogany tones – deeper reds that sort of have a purply-brown base that are sort of in that natural mahogany range – would look gorgeous. And that really is something you can achieve through a solid stain. At this point, I wouldn’t go semi-transparent because you’re going to be dealing with too much difference in the surface.ADRIAN: That’s what I was thinking. Actually, we were leaning towards even a darker brown maybe.TOM and LESLIE: Mm-hmm.ADRIAN: OK. And what about the underside? Do we need to paint that?TOM: No, absolutely not.LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Fred who’s experiencing some electrical problems in his house. What’s going on?FRED: Thanks so much for taking my call. Basically, I have random on-and-off circuits and ceiling fixtures going on in the core of the house …TOM: Ooh, that’s weird.FRED: … and inexplicably occurring. No circuit breaker changes; nothing that seems to be causing it.TOM: Alright, well it sounds to me like you’ve got a major short somewhere. Let me ask you this, Fred. How old is your house?FRED: One hundred years …TOM: Oh, it’s a real old house.FRED: … but it was rewired about five years ago.TOM: You rewired it five years ago. The original wiring in the house, was it knob-and-tube wiring?FRED: I don’t think so. When they did the rewiring, there was some BX cable.TOM: OK.FRED: Then they put in that Mylar or roplar or something like that.TOM: Alright, well that’s good they rewired the house. But I tell you what; something is definitely shorting here and it sounds like it’s in one or more circuits. And you’re going to have to identify which circuits are causing this problem. Can you identify it down to one or more circuits or does it seem to be bigger than that?FRED: You mean which particular wall fixture (inaudible at 0:16:30.7)?TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, like is it all in the same circuit that seems to be going on and off or is it in different parts of the house where it would be multiple circuits?FRED: I think it would be multiple circuits because it’s in different rooms, different floors.TOM: Here’s what I would do. I would do two things. First of all, I would have an electrician open up your electrical panel; check all the wiring there; open up a few of the circuits, a few of the fixtures where they’re flickering; have a good inspection of the wiring. The second thing I would do is I would call your electrical company, the utility; I would report what’s happening and I would have them come out and measure the voltage into the house to see if you are having any brownout problems. If they had, for example, a bad transformer somewhere on the street, your voltage could be going all over the place and …LESLIE: Mm-hmm, it could be surging like crazy.TOM: Right, fading and surging; it could be sagging and surging and if that happens, that would cause exactly what you’re describing to us. But one way or the other, this is something that you definitely cannot put up with. You’ve got to get to the bottom of it. So my first concern is your safety; that’s why I want it looked at by a pro. And secondly, I want you to report this to the electrical company and have them come out and check that voltage in the area and make sure that you’re getting all of the power that you think you are.FRED: OK, great. Now, is there any risk of fire?TOM: There potentially could; especially if it’s a short. That’s why I said that I want you to have a professional electrician check these circuits.LESLIE: And the surging is not healthy for computer equipment, electronic equipment, appliances that you might have in your house. You know, you really need to be concerned about not just your safety but your items as well.TOM: Get on it right away, OK, Fred?FRED: Thank you very much.TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.LESLIE: Well, getting rid of tree stumps left after you cut down a tree on your property can be tricky. If you’ve ever dealt with this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Just ask my uncle how he set one on fire. (Tom chuckles) Long story. We’ll talk about that later.Well, we are going to get expert advice on exactly how to do it the right way, fire-free, from This Old House landscaping expert Roger Cook, right after this.(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: And you can follow us on Facebook, you can follow us on Twitter. Just go to MoneyPit.com and click on those links. We’d love to have you become a fan.888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a damp, moldy crawlspace in your house in New York, like Claudette does, why not turn it into a basement. (chuckles) What can we do for you, Claudette?CLAUDETTE: I’m a novice at home ownership and I have a house that I bought five years ago and it has a crawlspace under it which I knew nothing about crawlspaces before I moved in this house. The point is it’s damp, it’s moldy, it looks like Friday the 13th when you go in there. (Tom and Leslie laugh) I’m terrified of it. So I would love to find out if there’s any way you could turn a part of it into a basement. It’s now 4’5″ deep.TOM: Well, you could deepen it into a basement but that’s not going to address your problem. Your problem is that you have a moisture problem in that crawlspace and we need to get that under control, Claudette. So let’s talk about that as the first step; because if we can dry it up, then we can talk about what you might want to do with it. You know, creating a basement from a crawlspace is a pretty big project but the first thing you want to do is get that crawlspace as dry as you possibly can.So, most moisture problems are caused by pour drainage at the outside of your house. This means that you either don’t have a gutter system or your gutter system is clogged or your downspouts are not diverting the water away from the foundation. They’ve got to go out at least four feet.The second thing is the angle of the soil. You’ve got to have soil that slopes away from the wall on the outside. If you have good drainage at the outside of your house, then you’re not going to have enough humidity getting into that crawlspace to cause trouble.LESLIE: So you’ve cut down those damaged or those dangerous trees that you’ve got around your yard but as close as you get that last cut to the ground, you are still left with that ridiculously unmanageable stump. What do you do with it?TOM: So what are the options to get rid of it completely? We’re going to get the answer right now from our friends; This Old House’s Kevin O’Connor and landscaping expert Roger Cook.And Kevin, you know it’s not just the homeowners that leave stumps. The tree pros do the very same thing.KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. When a tree service cuts down a tree in your yard, the last cut they make is called a flush cut. That’s when they put the chainsaw as close to the ground as possible. But often they leave an unsightly stump in the ground that most homeowners have no idea how to get rid of. In short, their stumped.ROGER: That is the toughest part of the tree, that whole stump that’s left behind, and it’s going to take forever to rot on its own. There’s a couple things you can do. You can drill holes into the stump, you could put nitrogen in and some people even say put sugar in and that’ll speed up the decomposition. But it’s still going to take time.What I like to do is get a stump grinder. You can rent them; you can grind the stump down six to eight inches below the surface and then if you want to put loam in, you can reseed the yard and the stump is gone.KEVIN: But even if you use a stump grinder, it’s still going to leave a lot of the surface roots, right?ROGER: It can, Kevin, and if you want to get rid of the stump and all the surface roots, you’re going to have to bring in an excavator to dig out the stump. Now, before you start digging with an excavator, you want to call your local utility locating service to make sure you don’t pull out the electric line, the gas line or the water line while you’re pulling out the stump. If you want to see a video on stump grinding, go to ThisOldHouse.com.KEVIN: Yeah, the last thing you want to see when you go to dig out your stump is the water line come with it and the creation of a new sprinkler system vis-à-vis the main water line.ROGER: Yeah, it’s called a water feature.TOM: (laughs) Roger Cook, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.KEVIN: Our pleasure.LESLIE: We had a similar incident on an episode of The Ugliest House on the Block involving a backhoe and perhaps a water line, which generally don’t mix very well together. (chuckles) So, end of story: special tools are required in this process. But you will be more than happy with the final results; we promise you.Thanks, guys.If you want a step-by-step video on exactly how to use a stump grinder, go ahead and visit ThisOldHouse.com.TOM: And don’t forget to watch This Old House on PBS, brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot, more saving, more doing.Up next, we’ve got tips on a project that works well in both an old house and a new one. We’re going to give you the secret to installing wood wainscot paneling quickly, easily and cleanly, after this.(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: 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. Give us a call right now for your chance to win our weekly giveaway and we’ve got a good one. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win the Whirlpool Plus vacuum from Eureka. Now, this vacuum cleans multiple surfaces in less time – if only we could get somebody to do it for you. (Tom chuckles) But this vacuum comes with a 15-inch-wide cleaning path and it’s got super-powerful suction so you will get up all of those crushed Cheerios that your little munchkin seems to be leaving everywhere at the moment – not that I’m speaking from experience.So, if you’re looking for a great vacuum, this one’s got a HEPA filter. It’s worth 129 bucks but it could be yours for free, so give us a call for your chance to win. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.TOM: 888-666-3974.Well, we’ve been asking for stories on how you may have used Liquid Nails in a home improvement project and we’ve gotten some great submissions. Here’s one that we received this week from Andrew in Austin, Texas who says: “When installing new wainscoting in our master bath, I tried to save money with a cheap brand of adhesive for the paneling. Not only would the adhesive not hold the panels long enough for me to nail in trim pieces; it had a very offensive odor. I went back to the store; I bought Liquid Nails project adhesive, which is low-VOC, and finished the project with ease, solid adhesion and a very low odor. Thanks for helping me do the project right.LESLIE: Hey, thanks for the great story, Andrew. A Liquid Nails gift pack is in the mail right now, on it’s way to you and it includes 11 different samples of Liquid Nails adhesives in a fancy-schmancy tool bag so you can keep all of your Liquid Nails exactly where you need them and you’ll find every type of adhesive you need for whatever project you’ve got going on.Hey, guys, keep those Liquid Nails stories coming in. We love to hear them, so share them with us. You can e-mail us your story at MyStory@MoneyPit.com and if we use your story on the air, we’ll send you a Liquid Nails gift pack worth 65 bucks.TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. We are here to help.
LESLIE: Victoria needs some help with a kitchen project. How can we help you?VICTORIA: Yes, I would like to know about my kitchen cabinets. They are wooden but they are painted and I was sort of debating whether to refinish them – you know, remove the paint and be refinished – or to either buy new cabinets.LESLIE: Well, are they solid wood? Are you certain …?VICTORIA: They are solid wood. That’s my problem; they’re solid wood. So …TOM: And you hate to part with them, huh?VICTORIA: Well, you know (chuckles) – I know they’re good wood but I certainly – you know, I’m tired of the painted surface.LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So you’re hoping to get to a stained finish?VICTORIA: That’s right.LESLIE: Well, it’s going to require a little bit of – or I should say a lot of elbow grease because you’re going to need to chemically strip that paint off of the wood surface itself. So you’re going to need to pull off all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and make sure you label where everything came from. You know, leave the hinges either on the door or on the cabinet box itself so you know exactly where things go and how things fit back.And then you need to apply a stripping agent to the wood itself. There’s one that I’ve worked with several times and have had good success with. It’s called Rock Miracle; sort of goes on as a jelly and you can watch it dissolve. There’s a lot of …VICTORIA: Called Miracle?LESLIE: Rock Miracle.VICTORIA: Oh, Rock Miracle?LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s a lot of good, eco-friendly ones out there that you can find if you’re concerned about fumes and what-not. You need to apply it, perhaps, a couple of times; you know, applying it, then removing it as instructed and making sure you’re getting as much of that paint off as you can. You might even need to use a wire brush or a sander to get as much …VICTORIA: Or a sander, mm-hmm.LESLIE: Yeah, to get as much of that paint off as you can. And once you get that surface as clean as possible, then you can go ahead and apply your stain.VICTORIA: Well, I was thinking of keeping the inside as it is – painted – because it’s in very good condition and just have all the outside refinished. Does that sound crazy or (inaudible at 0:28:12.6)?TOM: No, not in the least. You could do that. In fact, you could do something sort of halfway in between, too. If you are not terribly upset about having some of it be painted, you could leave the outside of the cabinet boxes painted and then perhaps just refinish the doors.LESLIE: The doors themselves.TOM: Maybe just strip the doors and the drawer fronts of the old paint and have them be natural and have everything else be painted a neutral to match.LESLIE: Now we’re going to help Dennis in South Carolina who’s got a washing machine that seems to be acting up. What’s going on?DENNIS: Well, when it gets to the wash cycle, it discharges and it fills up and overflows out of the standing pipe.TOM: OK.DENNIS: And I’ve snaked it but it still overflows.TOM: And you’re sure it’s out of the stand pipe itself; it’s not out of the washing machine? In other words, the water is definitely getting to the drain on the washing machine and then it’s going down the standpipe.DENNIS: It’s going down the standpipe, yes.TOM: Well, there’s one thing and one thing only that’s got to be causing this. There’s got to be an obstruction in there, Dennis. You’re just not catching it with the snake.DENNIS: OK.TOM: That’s the only thing that could be happening. Have you – where have you snaked it? Have you snaked it right from there?DENNIS: Right from there and I actually had a plumber come and snake it from the roof as well; from the …LESLIE: Hmm.TOM: Yeah, somewhere you guys are missing this. One of the things that you might want to think about doing is a lot of the drain cleaning companies have cameras that they can run down the pipe these days.DENNIS: OK.TOM: And you can actually watch the camera go through the pipe system on a video screen.LESLIE: You can see exactly what’s going on.TOM: And see exactly what’s going on and where the clog is.DENNIS: Okey-dokey.TOM: Yeah, that’s what’s going on. I just wanted to make sure it’s not clogged up in the washer itself. I’ve actually had socks go into the drain lines on washing machines by accident (Leslie chuckles) and that just causes the whole thing to overflow.LESLIE: So that’s the mystery sock-eating monster.TOM: Yeah, the mystery sock will turn up in the oddest place. But if it’s getting down the standpipe but it’s backing up from there, then it’s got to be the pipe.DENNIS: Alright, thank you.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got a neighbor of mine calling from Glen Cove, New York. Elizabeth, welcome to The Money Pit. I live in Garden City, so that’s why you’re my neighbor.ELIZABETH: Oh, isn’t that wonderful?LESLIE: (chuckles) What can we do for you today?ELIZABETH: I heard the program about roof stains.TOM and LESLIE: OK.ELIZABETH: I have it all down: gentle power wash; water, bleach; OxiClean could be used. And I don’t understand the copper or nickel ridge band.TOM: Ridge vent.LESLIE: Well, when you are dealing with the stains that are associated with your roof – moss, mildew, et cetera – the nickel and the copper, it’s a natural material that when it gets rained on it sort of releases some of those minerals within itself. And as that runs down your roof, it’s a natural cleanser for that mildew that might grow.ELIZABETH: (overlapping voices) For the stain.LESLIE: Correct.ELIZABETH: Alright.LESLIE: Now, if you don’t – you don’t have to do a ridge vent, right Tom? You can just put a metal like strip or flashing, correct?TOM: Right, exactly.ELIZABETH: I don’t – oh, I’m not too good on this stuff. I have to hire someone to do it. Would I get a roofer?TOM: Yes. A roofer could do it or a handyman could do it very easily.LESLIE: Well, if your home décor is feeling a little dated and perhaps you’ve got some old-fashioned paneling giving a super-dark look to a room in your house, we’ve got brighter solutions, right after this.(theme song)TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.Hey, if you’re online – heck, even if you’re not online – run over to a computer because the new MoneyPit.com truly kicks home improvement booty. While you are there, you can search your project room by room, season, look at what’s hot in the home improvement topic area. It is all at your fingertips and it is all completely free at MoneyPit.com. So check it out today.And while you’re there, if suddenly you’re like, “How do I get the wallpaper off my dining room?” well, ask us. Go on over to the Ask Tom and Leslie icon; click it; e-mail us your question and we will answer them right now like we do every hour of the show. We’ve got one here from Marcia who writes: “We bought an older home and the whole house is paneled.” Oh, good God. (chuckles) “Is there a way to fill the …”TOM: Sounds like my house.LESLIE: Seriously, but your house is like, you know, classic oldie – well, theirs could be, too.TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, but it didn’t always look this way. (laughs)LESLIE: Yeah, true. Tom did a great job, Marcia. He’ll share with you. She wants to know: “Is there a way to fill the gaps in the paneling so you can paint it and make it look like regular walls? I’m on a tight budget.”TOM: You know, people ask this question all the time and those gaps in the paneling; those grooves in the paneling are not designed to be filled.LESLIE: Uh-uh.TOM: So no, you can’t. I mean the paneling is way too flexible. Even when it’s nailed to the wall, believe us, it’s flexible. Just push it and you can see how easy it bends even when it’s on the wall and flat. So really, what you ought to be doing here is either removing it or covering it with a new wall or simply painting it. If you’re on a tight budget, I would go for paint. I would use a good-quality primer and a good-quality flat latex paint – and I say flat because it’s not going to show any of the defects in the paneling; it’s not going to show the shiniest of it; anything. It’s not going to have light that bounces off it; any of the little, you know, warts in the paneling. It’s going to be very, very subtle and so I would definitely use good-quality flat paint and that’s what I’d do on a budget.LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Marcia? When it’s painted – especially if you go with a lighter color like whites or minty greens or vanilla-y yellows; something that’s sort of light and airy – it’ll really make the room feel bigger, number one; but it gives it sort of a country cottage-y look and maybe your furnishings work with that and you can kind of call it a theme or a décor. (chuckles) Good luck with that, Marcia. I hope it helps.Now we’ve got one from Nancy in Massachusetts who writes: “I have a wood deck and I’m thinking about having it replaced with composite. Can I replace just the decking and leave all the support structures, which are in good shape as is?” Of course you can. That’s exactly what composite is for.TOM: Absolutely. I mean you’re talking about doing a deck makeover here, Nancy, and that’s exactly what you’d do. You’d remove all of the decking; you’d remove the railing. You would evaluate the support structure while you have it all open and exposed to make sure it’s really solid. That stuff is probably pressure-treated lumber. There’s no reason for it to wear out. Just as long as it’s built well structurally, you certainly can cover it with composites.And there’s a lot of options today. Not only do you have great options in composite decking; you have fantastic options in composite railing. You might want to take a look at the website for Fiberon Decking. Beautiful stuff, really super-durable and I think you’re really going to enjoy the way the new deck is going to look and especially enjoy the fact that it needs a lot less maintenance than it ever used to in the past.LESLIE: Yeah, you know, Nancy, we just finished summer season number two with our Fiberon deck out at my family’s beach house. And at the beginning of the season, all we had to do was give it a little TLC with, you know, a good scrubbing broom and some bleach and water just to get rid of a little bit of moss that grew on it in a shady area. For the rest of it, the deck looked fantastic. I mean we’ve done nothing and I’m dealing with a wood deck that, for years, we had to refinish every other season. I mean it was a giant pain in the rear end and the composite has been beautiful. So definitely check out Fiberon. I think they offer – would you say, Tom? – the best-looking composite that’s out there; that really looks the most, you know, close to real wood.TOM: Yeah, and also, all of the fasteners on the decking surface will be totally hidden by the clip system that they have.LESLIE: Yeah, it’s really great. Check them out, Nancy. I think you’ll be so much happier and glad that you did.TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com where you can join our Facebook pages or follow us on Twitter.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 1 TEXT(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.)