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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 right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma, because we are here to help you out. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are in the Money Pit prevention business. We want to slay the money pits that are out there. We want to help you build value in your house. We want to help you pick the projects that are best for your situations; the ones that are going to make your house more comfortable, more energy efficient and more valuable for you in the years to come. If you’ve got a question that we can help with, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and test our home improvement knowledge. (Leslie chuckles) Throwing the gauntlet down, aren’t I, Leslie?

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I’m like, “Ooh, it’s like a quiz show now.” (Tom laughs) Let’s try to stump Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Well, this hour, we’ve got tips to help you show some love to one of the most heavily used and least cared-for spaces in the house: the garage. Yes, the garage doesn’t have to be overlooked. It can actually be transformed and, if you do that, it can add value to your house. And one way is by replacing that old garage door, so we’re going to have some tips on the different choices that you have if that’s one of your projects. And I’ve got to tell you, it is one of mine because of the two garage doors I have, one of them died, sadly, about a week ago.

    LESLIE: Aw. And I have to tell you, Tom, that ever since visiting your money pit, I have become more embarrassed of my garage’s state of affairs.

    TOM: Oh, yes, it was a subject (Leslie sighs, Tom chuckles) in your last visit.

    LESLIE: Tom’s garage is beautiful, organized, totally tricked-out. (Tom chuckles) Mine is – you might as well just knock it down and start from scratch. The thing is like (chuckles) so rotted away there’s even like a wisteria growing on the inside. So let me hide my head in shame and …

    TOM: Yeah, but one thing’s for sure: no matter what kind of garage you have, you’re probably not using it to its maximum ability, so we’ll have some tips to help you do that.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And if your garage is in need of some new flooring, well, a new floor in your garage can absolutely change the look and feel of that space as well as the way you use it. So we’re going to share with you a lot of great ways to update that old concrete floor.

    TOM: And finally, with storage and organization, safety is the key and, you know, inside your house, you could have medicines and cleaning supplies all stored within reach of little ones and you know that’s dangerous. Most people don’t realize that the garage is a catch-all where you can have like toys and toxins …

    LESLIE: Right next to each other.

    TOM: … like, say, pesticides and soccer gear all end up sort of on the same shelf. So we’re going to …

    LESLIE: Well, that’s alphabetical.

    TOM: We’re going to have some tips on how to keep kids safe in the garage; especially as you start moving all that stuff inside for the winter.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. We’ll even sign it for you, so give us a call with your home improvement question for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Who’s first?

    LESLIE: Deb is calling in from Texas and she needs some help building a new home. How can we help you?

    DEB: Hi, there. Actually, what I’m doing is I’m looking for replacement windows for my current home.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    DEB: I’ve got a home that’s about 12 years old and the original homeowner or person that built it put in single-pane windows.

    TOM: Uh-oh.

    DEB: And you can tell that my electrical bill has been a little high, so I’m going to start working on replacement windows and I don’t know anything about replacement windows and what’s a good-quality window.

    TOM: Well, I’ll tell you, right now is a really good time to be buying replacement windows because of the federal energy tax credit that’s available that can return up to $1,500 to you in the form of a tax credit; not a tax deduction but an actual deduction – an actual credit on the amount of money you owe in taxes if you put in windows that meet energy efficiency standards.

    DEB: OK.

    TOM: So, your choices on this are very numerous but you want to make sure – the first thing that you want to do is make sure that whatever window you buy meets the standards as set forth by the federal government to get that tax credit. Simonton Windows is an excellent brand and we have worked with them now for about six months and actually produced a free chapter to our book, My Home, My Money Pit, that’s available at MoneyPit.com right now on the home page. You can download it and it will tell you everything you need to know about choosing replacement windows for your home, including what standards to look for to make sure they qualify for the federal tax credit.

    So, head on over to MoneyPit.com; download the free chapter, “Your Guide to Replacement Windows”; and then take a look at the Simonton products at Simonton.com and I think you can’t go wrong there.

    DEB: OK, that’s a good product? There was somebody that recommended CertainTeed. Is that a comparable product or similar?

    TOM: CertainTeed is another manufacturer and, remember, no matter who you work with, make sure they qualify for the federal energy tax credit.

    DEB: OK.

    TOM: And you’ve got to be educated about this, Deb, because there’s a lot of confusing advertising going on out there right now. We continually hear advertisements in our New York area where companies are advertising, for example, that Energy Star windows qualify for the tax credit and that is not true because Energy Star’s standards and the standards set forth by the federal government for the tax credits are two completely sets of standards. So you have to be very careful to make sure you are getting windows that will get you this tax deduction and be, you know, as energy efficient as possible all at the same time.

    DEB: OK, OK. Well, I’ll download that and give it a try and learn a little bit more. I appreciate it.

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

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

    RICHARD: I bet I’ve got one you’ve never had before.

    TOM: Alright.


    RICHARD: I’m calling from Hawaii.

    TOM: OK.

    RICHARD: In Hawaii, we have mostly cesspools. Are you familiar with a cesspool?

    TOM: Is that like a septic tank or not?

    RICHARD: No, it’s just a hole dug in the ground about 15-foot deep and maybe 6, 7-foot wide and all your sewage goes into it.

    TOM: Oh, that sounds lovely. That’s because your drainage is …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it’s not lined or anything?

    RICHARD: Yes.

    TOM: That’s because your drainage is so good in that sandy soil?

    RICHARD: Yeah, I guess that’s why.

    TOM: Alright.

    RICHARD: But once in a while they get coated and some people – other than pumping it, have you got any ideas what I can eat up that thing with?

    TOM: Hmm.

    RICHARD: I’ve tried sulfuric acids.

    TOM: Hmm. I’m afraid we have no clue. I think we’ll have to go to Hawaii and take a cesspool tour and educate ourselves on this unusual problem.

    RICHARD: (overlapping voices) (chuckles) Told you I had a good one here. Yeah.

    TOM: I can’t say that I feel terribly bad for you. I mean you do live in Hawaii.

    RICHARD: Yep.

    TOM: So, you’ve got to have some inconveniences from time to time. (Richard chuckles) But no, if you had a septic tank, we would talk about pumping it and all the things that you do but I just – I’m out of ideas on how to crack the glaze that’s apparently coating your cesspool. I wonder, though, if some people have to dig new ones when this happens.

    RICHARD: Yes, they do.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean that’s …

    RICHARD: And sometimes they dig a new one and put an overflow.

    TOM: You know, that’s similar to what happens to septic fields when you have a septic system. Sometimes the field becomes saturated and there’s nothing that you can do at that point because there’s just so many deposits in over the years that you have to dig a new one. And it might be that that’s what’s happening here and that would make sense.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: And do you have the room on your property to relocate that? Because typically …

    RICHARD: Not really. (chuckles)

    TOM: Naw, yeah.

    RICHARD: I guess I’ve just got to pump it.

    TOM: So, OK. So, alright; well that’s a good point then. If you don’t have the room, what you do if you have a septic system is you have to excavate that, replace it with fresh soil and start again. So that’s sort of the next option. I doubt there’s anything that you’re going to be able to put on top of this to break that down and make it go away.

    RICHARD: (overlapping voices) Yeah. OK, well I thought it was worth a try. (chuckles)

    TOM: Alright. Well, we tried. I hope that makes some sense to you and, again, enjoy the Hawaiian weather and don’t think about the minor inconveniences (Leslie chuckles) like the system not working.

    RICHARD: (overlapping voices) Thank you very much and we’ll think about you. (chuckles) Have a (inaudible at 0:08:05.8).

    TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Normally, Leslie and I suggest that we go to our Hawaiian caller’s house to look at the problem personally.

    LESLIE: This is a problem I don’t want to help with.

    TOM: In this case, not so much. (both chuckle)

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your home repair or your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, a new garage door can add some curb appeal, which always adds some value. So we’re going to have the low-down on all the different options and styles that are available, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior 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 where we always advise you to measure twice, cut once and always keep a fire extinguisher handy; especially when you’re cooking. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Especially if you’re Tom. And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, do you have a do-it-yourself dilemma or maybe a home improvement how-to question? Then just give us a call because we have got all the answers and if I don’t know, Tom knows everything. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now and if we take your question on the air, not only are you going to get our expert advice but you will automatically be entered into our weekly prize drawing. And this hour, we are giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed with useful info to help you save money and get your project done right the first time. Plus, then you won’t have to pick up the phone; you’ll just flip through the index, find exactly what you need. It’s a great prize, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Now, maybe one of the products on your to-do list is “How do I replace an old, worn-out garage door?” It’s not only a design choice but it is also a smart safety decision as well. You need to choose a door that complements the architecture of your home and, most importantly, one that has modern safety features that will keep your family safe. They’ve changed a lot over the years and the old ones are really pretty dangerous. You know, garage doors are available as a single panel that tilts to open or they have the typical, of course, roll-up design with sections.

    Now, if you’re going to get a door, you want to make sure you get a new door opener and, of course, with a door opener, again, the designs have changed greatly over the years and now they are much, much safer. You want to make sure you have the anti-reversing mechanism; the door openers. And with the door itself, look for a door design that has an anti-pinch technology so that as the door comes down and those sections close, kids can’t get their fingers stuck in it. I know Wayne-Dalton makes a door designed like that and I’m sure others do as well.

    888-666-3974. If you’re planning a home improvement project this fall, we’d love to help you; so give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Charles in New Jersey is dealing with an asbestos tile situation. Tell us about it.

    CHARLES: We have nine-inch asbestos tiles on the floor in the cellar and they’re about 50 years old.

    TOM: OK. Right.

    CHARLES: And what we’re trying to do – we tried to scrape them up because they were peeling up and cracking.

    TOM: Right. So, what state of repair or, more accurately, disrepair is that floor in right now? Are half the tiles up and the other half are not up?

    CHARLES: No, only about a quarter of the tiles are up and, you know, it has that big, black tar glue on the bottom of it.

    TOM: Right. Because here’s what I would have done, Charlie. I would not have removed them.

    CHARLES: Well, it’s not that we removed them. They were cracking up; peeling, you know?

    TOM: I understand. I would have gone on top of them with a new floor …

    CHARLES: Oh, OK.

    TOM: … and I would have used a laminate floor. Because a laminate floor – and you can probably still do this – is a floating floor. It’s about a ¼-inch thick and it has a very thin pad that goes underneath that helps absorb any inconsistencies in the floor below it and it all locks together. I don’t think there’s any reason to disturb the stuff and try to peel it up. Plus, as you’ve already discovered, it’s a big pain in the neck because of all the glue that’s stuck to it. So I would use a basic-grade laminate floor, which is perfectly fine for a basement location, and I would go right on top of what you have there now.

    CHARLES: Alright, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Bob in Alabama has a fridge that’s on the fritz. What’s going on?

    BOB: (clears throat) I’ve got a side-by-side refrigerator with an ice dispenser in the door and when I was taking it apart and doing some cleanup, I discovered there was a black slime that had grown around the mechanism. And as the ice passes through that opening for the door, it makes contact with that and it’s rather disgusting and scary.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely.

    BOB: But apparently, what I think is happening is my kids will fill their partially-filled glass that has Kool-Aid and drinks in it with ice and it splashes up in there and, man, it makes that bacteria and slime grow. So, as kind of a caution to the listeners, maybe they can take this in mind and be more thorough in their cleaning.

    TOM: That’s actually a pretty common condition and I think that – I’m glad you bring it up because a lot of folks don’t know that they have to clean that entire distribution channel from where the ice drops into the door right through to where it comes out because of this very reason. You do get food particles that will bounce up into there. You get liquids, you get sugar and that’s going to be a source for all sorts of organic growth. So, in order to keep that clean and healthy, you’ve got to clean it on a regular basis. And so that’s a smart thing that you did and I bet you’ll be checking that twice from now on.

    BOB: Oh, absolutely. It will be one of my main points of cleaning.

    LESLIE: Gonna talk to one of our bayou buddies. We’ve got June in Louisiana who’s doing a painting project. What can we help you with?

    JUNE: I have a two-car garage and we’ve been in our house about 23 years. I have always wanted to keep it looking as nice as I could, the concrete floor, and I have been so unfortunate not to be able to continue the pretty look whenever I paint it with a porch paint. Do you have any suggestions?

    TOM: Yeah, porch paint is probably not the state-of-the-art material for painting concrete. We would recommend epoxy paint.

    JUNE: OK.

    TOM: The problem is that you’ve got a lot of layers of porch paint on there. You’re going to have to strip those off first or, at least get as much of it off as you can, because you can’t put good paint over bad paint; it’s still going to strip off.

    JUNE: Right.

    TOM: But when you get it down to a good surface, you can use an epoxy paint. It’s a two-part material; consists of a hardener and a base and when you mix them together you get about one to two hours to work with it and it flows really nice. It adheres very well. It’s very, very durable. You don’t have to wait nearly as long to use it. You won’t get as much hot tire pickup, which happens with the porch paint when you put your car in there and the tires are hot and then you back it out and the paint sticks to the tires.

    JUNE: (overlapping voices) Yes, yes.

    TOM: That doesn’t happen. And with a lot of the epoxy garage products, you can usually have some sort of an additive in there that’s like a speckle finish or something of that nature to get a little texture and helps hide the dirt.

    JUNE: Yes.

    TOM: So I would stop using the porch paint – not designed for that – and start using the epoxy paints.

    JUNE: Well, I will certainly try that. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Steve in New York needs help with a flooring situation. Tell us what happened?

    STEVE: Well, my sister-in-law had a laminate floor installed in her house; I guess it was about three months ago. And about three weeks ago it started to bubble up; not just a little bit but it was actually going about four inches above the floor.

    TOM: Wow.

    STEVE: What I was wondering – yeah, it’s pretty bad. Now the house is on a slab and what I was wondering – I’m sure it’s just an expansion from humidity transferring through the concrete. Is it advisable to put some kind of impermeable layer down before you do these floors and, as far as taking care of the bubbling, will just kind of trimming the edges to give it room to float take care of that or …?

    TOM: Did she have this installed professionally?

    STEVE: Yes.

    TOM: Well, I think you’ve got a warranty claim here. I would contact the folks that you hired to do this installation. Did you buy the floor product and have the installation done by the same company?

    STEVE: Yeah. Well, the thing is she’s already called them but they have like a six-month lead time before they’re willing to come back …

    TOM: Well, that’s …

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Because, clearly, they have this problem with other people.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a little ridiculous, you know, that they’re going to try to put you off like that.

    STEVE: Right.

    TOM: I think you’re going to have to ratchet this up; you know, I’m talking Better Business Bureau, possibly small claims court, get onto Angie’s List and tell people about the experience. If you bought this product and installed it from the same company, that’s good because at least they can’t blame each other.

    STEVE: Right.

    TOM: But somebody screwed up here, Steve. That should not be happening. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s very rare that we hear a problem with laminate floor buckling up because the stuff is very, very moisture-resistant and I think something …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, that’s what it’s made for.

    TOM: I think something else is going on here. I’m not quite sure what. But it’s incredibly unusual for it to buckle up four inches like that.

    STEVE: OK.

    TOM: Do you know what product it was and what manufacturer?

    STEVE: I can’t remember the name of (inaudible at 0:18:06.1)?

    TOM: Well, you might want to find that out and also call the manufacturer directly. All of these manufacturers have area reps and, generally, what they’ll do is send somebody by to look at the installation, look at the product and try to figure out what the heck is going on and that information can be very, very helpful; especially if this is a defect in the installation.

    STEVE: OK. Well, thanks for the advice.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Up next, a flooring option for your garage that can take an unusable space and turn it into a playroom, exercise area or whatever else your money pit might need, so stick around.

    (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.

    TOM: And whether you’re a tweeter, a follower or a fan, we are, too; so check out Money Pit on Facebook and Twitter by visiting us at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Yeah, maybe Tom’s latest tweet will be about his kick-butt garage (Tom laughs), which is really a source of jealousy for me and it might be for you, too; especially if your garage is truly the last frontier in your home. You’ve ignored it, you shove things in it and now you’re starting to think, “Gee, I’m running out of space. Maybe I can use it. Maybe that space will be a valuable addition to my home.” Because imagine being able to make over your garage and turn it into an exercise room or a play area or a home office or a showplace for your car collection. Imagine that.

    Well, if you’re thinking about doing this in your garage, there’s actually a great product that we often recommend. It’s the Behr Premium Two-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Coating. It’s inexpensive and even a novice do-it-yourselfer should be able to follow the simple step-by-step directions.

    Now, the coating requires no priming. Once it’s mixed, the epoxy is ready to use by simply rolling it directly onto the floor from the built-in paint tray. And once your new floor is down, it will resist scuffing, fading, cracking, peeling, blistering and you’ll even have a built-in nonskid finish. How can you go wrong?

    TOM: And it all comes packaged in a kit, so there’s enough product to cover the whole floor area. I think you can do a one-car garage floor in one kit; so if it’s a two-car garage you do two kits. And it comes in lots of colors. You can pick it up exclusively at The Home Depot. If you want more information, you should go to the Behr website which is Behr.com.

    888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Perhaps there’s a garage makeover in your future. We can help.

    LESLIE: Margaret in Virginia needs some help with an older home and some molding that has been cracked, I guess. Tell us what’s going on, Margaret.

    MARGARET: The molding, the wood itself, is not cracked; it’s the finish on it that has that crackle effect.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Oh, OK.

    TOM: Ah, you mean the varnish or the polyurethane.

    MARGARET: Well, I don’t think so, from the age. It’s either varnish or shellac.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. So, you’re going to have to do a stripping project here, Margaret.

    MARGARET: Aagh. (Leslie chuckles) Didn’t want to hear that.

    TOM: Yeah. Yep. Well, there’s no way to repair it. Basically, what you’re seeing here is deterioration of the surface and, you know, considering the age of the finish, it gets exposed to daylight over many, many years and, you know, with everything that’s in the air and the UV degradation that comes in through the windows and all of that, you know, it’s going to crack and deteriorate. And so, at some point you’ve got to cry Uncle here and get back to the basics. So it is a big project. You are going to have to do some stripping. But you know, it’s not impossible; it’s done all the time. It’s just very time-consuming. I think the key here is to break it up into smaller chunks and not try to tackle too much at the same time.

    How much of the molding do we have to do?

    MARGARET: There is a living room, which has two windows and three doors.

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    MARGARET: And all the baseboard. A front hall, which has a door.

    TOM: Oh, boy. I thought you were done but you continue.

    MARGARET: And a hall.

    TOM: Yeah.

    MARGARET: And a – what we call the family room.

    TOM: Wow. Yeah.

    MARGARET: So like it’s like a parlor and a sitting room sort of situation.

    LESLIE: Now Margaret, there are a lot of restoration companies that are out there that will actually come in and remove the pieces of molding, take them to their shop and work on them. Of course, then you’re going to be left with an opening around windows that might be some sort of an energy issue. But then at least somebody else would be doing it for you.

    MARGARET: Ugh. Right, at a great cost, I’ll bet you. (Tom chuckles)

    LESLIE: It can be.

    TOM: Yeah, of course.

    MARGARET: Yeah. OK. Well, can you suggest any products, if my family and I decide to try to do this ourselves?

    LESLIE: There are several different kinds. I mean there’s some that you spray on; there are some that you brush on; there are some that are like a putty. You’re really going to have to find the right one for the job and actually let it sit there and do its work. One I’ve used is Rock Miracle. I don’t know how effective it is with older finishes.


    TOM: Yeah, this is really a situation that you’re going to have to experiment.


    TOM: Some are really caustic and some are not so caustic. Leslie’s had good experience with Rock Miracle. It’s a case where – situation where you’re going to have to – I would start in an area where it’s not very noticeable; the back of a door or something like that. And it’s definitely worth taking some time and sort of practicing with a couple of different products til you find one that seems to work really well for you.

    Up next, as the cold weather rolls in, you might be storing more stuff than ever in your garage and that could create a potentially dangerous situation. We’re going to tell you how to avoid the hazards and stay safe, 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: 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 we appreciate you listening to the show but we’re sorry; we can’t be on the air 24/7 so why not go to – why not pick up a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. And guess what? If you call us with your home improvement question right now, you could just win an autographed copy. So the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah, pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you’re doing some work around the house and you’re thinking about “How the heck am I going to store things safely?” because you’ve got kids in the house. Now, if you do have little guys kicking around at your money pit and you’ve gone ahead and you’ve baby-proofed everything – you’ve got your cleaning supplies stored out of reach; you’ve got all medications locked away – and then you think about the garage, “Aw, whatever’s in there, it’s fine,” but you don’t really think about what’s going on in a garage. Now this can often be the most dangerous part of your house because it ends up being sort of the catch-all for your sports equipment, all of your kids’ play stuff and then, of course, your lawn and garden supplies.

    So when you’re thinking about this mishmosh that is your garage, you want to make sure that your tools are stored properly and out of reach. And you want to keep your lawn and garden chemicals and those pesticides safely stowed away. You might even want to consider a completely separate shed for these items.

    TOM: And most importantly, you want to keep the kids’ stuff accessible; this way, they won’t have to sift through rakes and shovels to get to the rollerblades and the soccer balls. There are so many great storage options available today for garages and even entire companies that do nothing but make over garages professionally. It’s a very worthwhile investment that you’re going to enjoy for years to come. We know it’s a big project but believe me, I’ve done it. When you’re done, you feel so much better about that garage and there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.

    LESLIE: And then you can brag about it, like Tom. (chuckles)

    TOM: (chuckling) 888-666-3974. Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Bill in Kansas has a venting issue in his roof. What can we do for you today?

    BILL: Yes, I’m curious how you get the smell away from the house when it’s coming out of your vents for the septic system.

    TOM: So, the smell is sort of lingering in the yard?

    BILL: Yeah. Yep.

    TOM: Hmm.

    BILL: That’s a new construction.

    TOM: It’s new construction?

    BILL: Yep.

    TOM: Is the odor coming from the septic field or is it coming from the vents in the house?

    BILL: Vents in the house.

    TOM: Hmm. That’s very unusual.

    BILL: That’s what they tell me.

    TOM: Yeah. Is it just – I mean I question whether it is, in fact, coming from the vents in the house or whether it’s coming from, you know, perhaps some defect; some unknown or invisible defect in the way the septic system was constructed where on, say, a warm day you get some odor that comes up from the soil. What makes you think it’s coming from the vents? Because I mean what kind of house are we talking about here; a single-story, two-story house? What do you have?

    BILL: Single-story, ranch-style house.

    TOM: Single story. And you’ve got the plumbing vents coming up over the bathrooms and the kitchen?

    BILL: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, you know I doubt very much the smell is coming from there and working its way back because all that warm, moist air wants to go straight up. I suspect something might be going on with the septic field and you may need to get that looked at.

    In your community, you might want to talk with the building inspector – typically, there’s a health official that does septic inspections – and just make sure that this system was inspected right when it was built. And since it’s such a new house, you may want to call the company back that did the installation and have them look at it again or have an independent septic inspection done to see if we can find out if there’s a broken pipe or something somewhere. Because it doesn’t sound right. Something smells rotten in Denmark.

    BILL: That ain’t no kidding. (Bill and Leslie chuckles) Alrighty.

    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Barbara in New York is looking to get some remodeling done. How can we help you?

    BARBARA: Yes, I’d like to know how to hire a contractor to do a complete renovation of my kitchen. I live in a New York City apartment that I own.

    LESLIE: OK. Well, actually, I mean it’s good that you’re calling us in advance because some people tend to not ask the right questions and not do enough research when it comes time to hire a pro and they end up with, you know, a bad experience and that’s not the case we want you to have.

    So, generally, what we would recommend is ask your friends, ask your neighbors, ask people that you are familiar with who’ve had home improvements who they might recommend. But there’s actually an online networking website called Angie’s List – and it’s A-n-g-i-e-s List; Angie’s List – and what they do on this website is anybody who’s ever used any type of service professional can go onto the website and write a review about this pro. So now you can look up different recommendations in your neighborhood for a contractor, for a painter, for anybody who does any sort of service contracting. And they’re not allowed to go on and pad their review. It’s sort of – it’s very regimented to make sure that it truly is user friendly and it gives you the best sort of advice as to who folks in your area would recommend as well.

    BARBARA: Well, that sounds wonderful. I’ve never heard of that before.

    TOM: It’s a great service.

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

    LESLIE: Going way out to Alaska to talk with Theresa about a leak. Tell us what’s going on.

    THERESA: I have some water coming in, in our basement, and it looks like it’s just coming in through the cinderblocks. We can’t really pinpoint the exact location. But my question was should we try to find the leak on the exterior of the house and try to reseal the cinderblock area or would applying dry-lock to the interior walls be sufficient enough.

    TOM: It depends. Do you live in a houseboat?

    THERESA: No. (chuckles)

    TOM: Well, then you really don’t need to seal those walls.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you really want to work outside in.

    TOM: Yeah. What you want to do is take a look at the exterior foundation perimeter and look at the drainage conditions because, obviously, something is broken down in the drainage conditions. Most basements flood because of problems with the gutter system. Make sure your gutters are clean, they’re free-flowing, they’re not getting overwhelmed in a heavy rainstorm and, most importantly, look at those downspouts. If they’re not discharging water at least four feet from the house foundation, you’ve got to extend them because that water will shoot down that pipe and just do a U-turn right back into the basement.

    LESLIE: And you also want to look at the grading around your house. You want to make sure that the soil is not sloping towards the foundation; you want it to slope away. Because any water that’s going to collect there, you want it to move away from it; not sort of sit there or roll back towards the house.

    THERESA: Alright, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, we’re going to share with you a new look for an old bathroom without retiling. So stick around for some great design ideas.

    (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: Available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and online at MoneyPit.com where you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us your e-mail question just like Lucy did.

    LESLIE: Alright, Lucy writes: “I would like to cover horrible bathroom tiles on the walls …”

    TOM: How bad was it?

    LESLIE: I guess horrible. (Tom chuckles) Horrible. And they happen to be on the walls and the floor. “Is there any environmentally safe, water-resistant paint that would work or any other attractive medium to cover the walls without doing demolition and retiling and without creating a space between it and the walls where mold might grow?”

    TOM: Lucy had a lot of requirements.

    LESLIE: Seriously, but they’re smart requirements.

    TOM: Yeah, they are, they are. First of all, you can’t paint ceramic tile. It’s not going to stick. I mean you could do it – I’ve seen it done – but it doesn’t look very good. In terms of something to cover the tile without demolition, well, let’s think about this. You probably could use an insert that basically adheres to the walls and I don’t think that mold would grow in between the inserts and the walls themselves because there’s no organic material inside of that. If that’s put up correctly, you would have three sides of that – one for each side of the tub enclosure – and it would seal it nicely.

    There’s also a Corian material that can go on top of tile walls and, again, it will seal it in and look good. And finally, there’s that product called Bath Fitter where they basically come in and put a one-piece or – it looks like one piece when it’s done and it’s completely sealed in.

    So there are a lot of options but some of them, you know, they end up being a bit of work and so you really need to think about how horrible that tile wall really is. (Leslie chuckles) And ask yourself this question, “Can I possibly decorate around it?”

    LESLIE: Yeah, you really need to think about what ways you can make it work. Is it the color that’s bothering you? Well, think about what colors complement that color of the tile and you might see that introducing a new color as far as shower curtain, drapery, whatever else you might have in there could really balance out the look of that tile that you don’t like so much.

    Also think about the style. Does it feel dated? Well, if that’s the case, then think about bringing in accessories that sort of help that date transition to something more modern and stylish for you.

    LESLIE: Alright …

    TOM: Alright, let’s take an e-mail here from Hank in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    LESLIE: “I hear scampering noises in our attic. How do we find out what’s up there, get rid of them and make sure they don’t ever come back?”

    TOM: A surveillance system. (Leslie chuckles) That’d work. You know, there’s a lot of animals that get into attics – especially if you’ve got some gaps – and they need the smallest space to get in. One of the things that you might want to do if it’s a – if you think it’s a larger animal, like a squirrel or something of that nature, put in a Havahart trap. You want to bait it with a piece of fruit like an apple and wire it down to the frame so that they can’t kind of grab it and run because it will do that.

    LESLIE: (chuckles) And run.

    TOM: If you think it’s something that like maybe rodents, you can use traps for that. If it’s a bat, you want a one-way bat door. So it really depends on what’s up there. You’re going to have to get up there and take a look, try to give it your best guess as to what you’re dealing with and then put the appropriate trap or door in place to let it out.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and just make sure you wear the proper protective headgear when you go up there to check out what’s going on.

    TOM: You know, rot isn’t just what happens to wood. It’s actually a living, breathing pack of organisms that can wreak total havoc if not controlled. Leslie has got the lowdown, fortunately though, on how to keep them at bay in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You’ve got rot. You think, “Heck, it’s just outside.” But did you know that your home’s exterior and even your landscaping can invite that rot inside your house?

    Now let’s talk about rot. It develops when the wood becomes too wet. So to keep rot at bay, you want to watch out for roof leaks and, of course, overflowing gutters and you want to make sure that your lawn sprinklers point away from your house. Do not water your siding; it does not need to grow anything on it.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Bad idea.

    LESLIE: (chuckles)You also want to keep your shrubs and your bushes trimmed back away from your house and you want to avoid earth-to-wood contact around your decking and your fencing and this is going to keep your home safe from this structural predator as well as bugs. So get to it and rot-proof your property today.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    Coming up next week, it’s easy to be green with cellulose insulation. We’re going to find out why this type of insulation is one of the most eco-friendly options and why more insulation is always a good thing.

    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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