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Get the Most Value out of Your Deck, Keep Your Shower Clean with Little Effort, Add Value to Your Home with Little Investment, 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 help you with your home improvement project. So help yourself first; pick up the phone and give us a call, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour on The Money Pit, with the warm weather just ahead, have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I had a deck”? Maybe until you price one and say, “Wow, I can’t afford a deck.” Well, we’re going to have some money-saving deck tips and tell you how to make sure your deck investment pays off, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, just in time for spring and in honor of the upcoming Earth Day celebrations, we’re going to have a few tips on how to recycle those items that you really don’t know what to do with, like packing peanuts and even old eyeglasses. You should not be tossing them in the trash. We’re going to tell you a better way to get rid of them.

    TOM: And did you know one of the dirtiest places in your house is your shower? Well, we’re going to tell you one way that you can have a sparkly clean shower with practically no effort whatsoever.

    LESLIE: And once you’ve got that shower sparkly clean, why not power-up your shower with a  Riata showerhead from Waterpik? We’re giving one away to a caller this hour and it’s worth 60 bucks.

    TOM: That Riata showerhead from Waterpik is going to go out to one caller drawn at random. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Kenneth on the line to The Money Pit who’s got a flooring question. How can we help you today?

    KENNETH: Hi. Well, I was going to ask you about – how do you fix squeaky floors on a second floor of a house that has rugs, without ripping up the rugs?

    TOM: There’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, you need to understand what causes the squeak. And generally, it’s movement between the subfloor and the floor joist underneath.

    KENNETH: Right.

    TOM: So, to try to reduce the squeak or eliminate it – you know, you mentioned that you’ve got rugs and you don’t want to take them up. I just want to tell you that, of course, the surefire way to stop these squeaks is to pull the rugs up and then to screw the subfloor to the floor joist using long, hardened-steel screws, which you drive in with a drill. You don’t want to do that, so I’m going to tell you a little trick of the trade on how you can fix some of the worst ones without doing that. And that is to locate the floor joist underneath the carpet.

    Now, you need to do that kind of by trial and error. You can do that by tapping on the floor; you can do that with a stud finder. There’s a whole new line of Stanley stud sensors that work really well and they’ll penetrate through the carpet. You need to find that beam.

    Once you find the beam, then what you do is you get yourself some 12-penny, galvanized finish nails. And I say “galvanized” and hot-dipped galvanized is the best. Those are the ones that are really sort of crusty on the outside. And you find that spot and you drive the nail straight through the carpet. Don’t let your wife see you do this, OK? Because she’ll get upset with you.

    Straight through the carpet and then with the nail set, you punch that head right through the carpet. When you finish driving with the hammer, it’ll look like the carpet is dimpled. But if you take a nail set, you punch it through the surface of the carpet and sort of pull the carpet back up and rub it with your hands a couple of times and it’ll disappear; that divot will disappear.

    What you’re doing is you’re securing that floor right above – right through the carpet without pulling the carpet up. Now, I wouldn’t want you to do this to the whole house but I’ve fixed this in lots of houses using two or three strategically driven nails. And I find if you drive it at a slight angle, it works better, because the nail holds better.

    KENNETH: OK. Well, I noticed they had on the old ­- This Old House the other day on TV, they showed you how to do it with the rugs, before I called you. And they use this O’Berry Enterprising kit, which is a drill bit that’s only got three threads on it that you drill down until you find your stud. Then they have 50 screws with little socket heads on them and you drill those down into the beam and then you have a little tool that breaks the head off. And it’s ingenious. The only thing is is that I can’t find the beams.

    TOM: Yeah, you need a stud sensor. So that would be a worthwhile investment of a few dollars. I mean those stud sensors are $10 to $20, $25 for a real good one.

    KENNETH: I will and I thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Judy in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JUDY: I’m in a house that my father built back in 1990.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And while they lived there, they experienced black spots coming through on the drywall.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And they called in a painter; a painter came in. He went over everything with KILZ first and painted it. Well, since then, they’ve both passed away and so I purchased the house.

    TOM: Right.

    JUDY: I had a friend take a look up in the attic and he told me, “Oh, I can’t believe that your father wrapped all this in plastic. Your house can’t breathe. We need to get up here and slice this plastic, let the house breathe and you won’t get any more of these black spots.”

    TOM: So does he think the black spots are mold?

    JUDY: I don’t know.

    LESLIE: And what room were you seeing it in?

    JUDY: Every different room. Yeah.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: It’s almost like it’s the nail heads are getting wet or something.

    TOM: OK. So, up in the attic – let’s talk about that area. And you say he wrapped it in plastic. What exactly are you seeing?

    JUDY: Well, I didn’t; I haven’t been up there.

    TOM: Oh, your friend saw it.

    JUDY: My neighbor went up.

    TOM: Alright. Well, look, when it comes to vapor barrier, here’s the rule: the vapor barrier goes towards the heated side of the house. So a common mistake, for example, up in attics, is to put the insulation in backwards where they have the vapor barrier sort of facing up as you’re in the attic looking down.

    And the solution to that is to cut the vapor barrier. I’ve seen that in crawlspaces, too, where they put the vapor barrier because it has the nailing flange on it. And the only tab on it – at the edge of the beams and it’s on the wrong side. So, as long as the vapor barrier is between the ceiling and the insulation, it’s done correctly. If not, then yes, you can go up and slice the vapor barrier and let it breathe more.

    The other thing to do is to make sure that your attic has adequate ventilation. And the best ventilation is a continuous ridge vent, which goes down the peak of the roof, matched with soffit vents at the overhang.

    JUDY: OK. That’s what I needed to know.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, adding a deck to your home can be a great investment, especially if you choose materials wisely. We’re going to have tips to help you do just that, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.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: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are here to help you with your home improvement questions.

    And one caller that we draw at random from those that reach us for today’s program is going to win a new handheld Waterpik Riata showerhead. You can install it yourself and you can choose between 14 settings, from strong to gentle.

    Check it out at Waterpik.com. It’s worth 60 bucks. Going out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, so pick up the phone and call us, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Roger in Alaska who’s got a super-loud heater. I guess in Alaska, your heat is on a lot, so you want it to be kind of quiet.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: We bought a bed-and-breakfast up here and we’re not using it as a bed-and-breakfast; we’re just living in it.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: And one of the last things that was done to it was they replaced this old, 77-percent efficient furnace with a brand-new, cutting-edge 97-percenter. And we did a bunch of insulation work on it and everything after that, too. But one thing we notice is the vents – I mean when that thing – it’s like it’s a variable stage. And the vents seem to roar sometimes when it gets to blowing warm air.

    So we haven’t heard it kick on, I think, full-power. And maybe that’s it: we’re just starting to hear it. And I’m wondering, can – we’re probably going to have to contact the HVAC guys but is there anything that can be done or maybe open the ends of – replace the floor grates with something that’s wider aperture or something? It just sounds like there’s a lot of noise coming out of it.

    TOM: The one question I would have is: did they change the blower speed? Because if the blower speed is higher than it was before – and it might be necessary by – depending on the type of the high-efficiency furnace that was installed. But the blower speed was stepped up, that could make for louder air noises going through the duct system.

    And second to that, it is possible to do a few things to quiet the duct systems, if they’re expanding and contracting and sort of making that oil-can popping sound. They can be reinforced to slow that down. They can also be insulated and you could add additional bracing to it to cut down vibrations. So I think you’ve got to isolate as to whether or not this is just wind speed because of the blower or is it vibration and expansion and contraction because the ducts are just sort of old and loose and like you say, potentially undersized.

    So you do need to look into it a little bit deeper but rest assured that there are a couple things that you can do to probably quiet it. Although having said that, the high-efficiency systems are louder sometimes than the old ones. Because the old ones only had, really, kind of a lazy burner that lit up and then the blower that just sort of chugged along. High-efficiency systems have draft inducers, which are motors that come on and pull the gases through the system so that you’re assured of getting every single BTU out of the gas that you burn. That’s what gives you the efficiency but it does add just a bit to the noise component.

    ROGER: Yeah, we don’t know the history on the thing, because we just moved in. And we do know the gas bills are pretty horrendous over recent years; that was part of the disclosure in the sale of the house and all. So we’re happy to have the high-efficiency system. But like you said, maybe it’s just – it’s a requirement because of the high efficiency of it.

    But yeah, we’re going to have to look into a few other things. I’m afraid that it’s going to involve getting an HVAC company in to possibly change out the squirrel-cage blower in there. And I really – it’s a new system; I’d rather not do that.

    TOM: That’s something that I would not do and frankly, that would have been part of the furnace anyway, so you wouldn’t just replace that if it – those are multi-speed blowers and the fan speed can be adjusted. But that would not be part of what I would expect.

    ROGER: OK. Well, I love you all’s show. I’m just worried that we may have bought a money pit up here in Alaska.

    LESLIE: Oh, no.

    ROGER: But we love it, I tell you.

    TOM: Well, Roger, if it turns out that’s what you did, you know the number: 888-MONEY-PIT.

    ROGER: Thanks so much. Love the show.

    TOM: Well, building a deck is probably the single most cost-effective addition that you can make to your home. If you think about it, decks create very usable spaces for the warmer months and they add value to your home, too. But when you’re building a deck, how do you make sure it delivers the best return on investment?

    First off, you need to decide on how large to make that deck. Consider this: the larger it is, the more materials you need to build it and the more expensive it’s going to be. Next, you want to think about levels. Now, multi-levels, they’re very attractive and people love to have these multi-level decks. But they’re much more expensive to build and they’ve also got less usable space. Because if you think about it, on a per-square-foot basis, you kind of need to reserve some areas to be furniture-free, like around the step-downs and that sort of stuff, between the levels.

    Now, if the deck is mainly for your family meals and outdoor cooking, you’re going to get the most bang for your buck by staying put with a single deck level.

    LESLIE: And while you use pressure-treated lumber for your deck’s structure, we recommend using Trex Enhance for the deck surfaces. Trex Enhance is available at The Home Depot. It’s beautiful, durable and affordable. Trex Enhance is one of our newest sponsors and I’ve got to say, there really is no comparison to the value you get from Trex Enhance at The Home Depot.

    First of all, it’s a high-performance product that looks great. Plus, it needs extremely little maintenance. Unlike a wood deck, you don’t have to stain it year after year. Just a quick cleaning is going to do the trick.

    TOM: And the other thing I think is cool about this, Leslie, is that Trex Enhance is protected by two, 25-year limited warranties. Now, they’ve got one that includes a stain-and-fade warranty and one that covers it against manufacturing defects.

    If you’d like to learn more about this product – Trex Enhance from The Home Depot – just go to their website. It’s all set up at HomeDepot.Trex.com. That’s HomeDepot.Trex.com.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. Let us help you plan your next outdoor-living project.

    LESLIE: Shannon in North Carolina is on the line and needs help with a bathroom vent switch. What’s going on?

    SHANNON: The problem is I turn the switch on to it, sometimes it comes on, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I turn the switch on, it briefly takes between two to three minutes. And if it comes on after that …

    TOM: Now, Shannon, is this powering an exhaust fan?

    SHANNON: Yes, it is.

    TOM: So I think probably the exhaust fan is starting to wear out. It sounds to me like the motor for the fan is perhaps dirty or the bearing is a little worn and it takes a while for it to kind of get going. And that’s a very kind of common symptom of a motor that’s wearing out.

    Is this an old bath fan?

    SHANNON: Yes. It’s about 18 years old.

    TOM: Yeah, man, time to replace it. Don’t last forever.

    SHANNON: Yeah, I know.

    TOM: You know, it’s very simple. Does this bath fan have a light that’s built into it, as well?

    SHANNON: No, sir.

    TOM: Alright. Well, when you pull the cover off the fan, sometimes you’ll see that the fan is actually plugged into the side of the housing. And so you could plug a light into the side of that housing, unplug the fan and then go to the light switch and turn it on – I’m sorry, the bath fan. So turn it on/off, on/off. You’ll probably see the power come on and off like normally, as evidenced by the light bulb that you just plugged in for testing purposes. And again, that just means that the power is fine. It’s not a problem with the switch; it’s the fan.

    And if you’re getting that kind of resistance out of it, I’d just replace the fan. They’re not very expensive. And the good thing is that even though it’s an 18-year-old bathroom exhaust fan, the sizes are pretty standard. So chances are you’ll be able to replace that without a lot of trouble.

    SHANNON: OK. Sounds common and easy.

    TOM: Yep. Pretty straightforward. Shannon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Tracy in New York is on the line with a gutter question. How can we help you with this project?

    TRACY: I’m thinking about getting gutters put on my house but I’m not sure what I need to know and what I should ask when I have the contractors come over to do the quote.

    TOM: Alright. So you have no gutters right now?

    TRACY: That’s correct.

    TOM: OK. So, here’s a couple things to think about. First of all, what you want are seamless gutters. So the way they’re made is the contractors come out and the gutter material is actually in a sheet stock and it’s on a roll of metal. And they run it through a forming machine that actually creates the shape of the gutter. And this way, they can make the gutters the exact length that you need for the different sections of your house.

    Now, the number of spouts that you put into the gutter is important, because you don’t have – you want to have less than 600-800 square feet of roof surface per spout or the gutters will back up and get overwhelmed. So pay attention to that.

    Also think about where the downspouts come down. You don’t want them dumping water right at the corner of the foundation, because that will collect there and it can soak in, it can weaken the foundation, it can flood a basement or a crawlspace. Just generally a bad idea. So you want the downspout to extend at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. If you had a water problem, I’d tell you to take it out further but if you don’t have a problem, at least 3 to 4 feet out.

    So, if you have one downspout and you have a – if you have one section of gutter and you have a choice as to whether the downspout is on the left than the right, use your head about thinking about that. Yeah, don’t bring it out near a walkway or something like that; bring it out in the opposite side of the house.

    Now, the other thing to think about is gutter guards: whether or not you want to put them in or not. Because when you get gutters, you’re going to get the need to clean those gutters. And there are such a wide variety of gutter guards that are available today. The kind that seem, in my experience, to work the best are those that work on surface tension. So these have sort of a complete cover to them and the leaves will wash over them and the water hangs this cover or maybe goes through some louvered slots and falls into the gutter. So, think about that. Check out with the company whether or not they offer a gutter-guard option at the time of the installation. This way, you can get it sort of all done at the same time.

    And then one other trick of the trade is that before you attach these to the house, do you know if the fascia is wood right now or is it aluminum? What are you going to be attaching it to?

    TRACY: Wood, I believe.

    TOM: So this is the perfect time for you to paint it. This is your one and only golden opportunity to put a couple of good coats of exterior paint on that. Because once that gutter is attached, you are never ever going to take them off or at least not for a heck of a long time. So get a couple of good coats of paint on that fascia now, before you put the gutter on, so that it’s protected.

    TRACY: OK. That’s great. Thank you so much for your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Well, one of my least favorite things to clean, it’s got to be the shower. Now, it’s hard to make it shine and of course, keep all those fixtures bright and shiny. But there’s a product out there that can do all of that for you with just one weekly application. Your shower will practically clean itself. We’ll share all those details, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Trex, the world’s number-one, wood-alternative decking brand. Just in time to give your outdoor living space a summer upgrade, Trex Enhance Decking is available, in stock, at your local Home Depot. To learn more about the long-lasting beauty, hassle-free maintenance and industry-leading warranty of Trex Enhance, visit HomeDepot.Trex.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.

    Alright. So one of my least favorite chores has got to be cleaning the shower. It’s kind of awkward. You’ve got to get into the shower to really clean it and then you have to turn on the water but somehow find your way out of the way of the water. And then you end up all wet and you didn’t mean it. Is the shower even clean?

    TOM: Well, it’s either that or cleaning while you’re taking the shower. And who wants to do that? But we’ve got the solution.

    One of the sponsors of our program, Wet & Forget, has developed a no-scrub, no-rinse way to get the shower clean again. Here to tell us more is Brett Perry, the president of Wet & Forget.

    Welcome, Brett.

    BRETT: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie. It’s great to be here.

    TOM: Now, your core product, let’s start by talking about that. Wet & Forget is a product that we’ve known and we’ve recommended for years. And it’s an effective way to rid your home of mold and mildew and algae that litters the outside of your building, including your siding, your roof and your walks. Now, you guys have taken the same technology and figured out a way to get rid of that same kind of grunge from our showers, correct?

    BRETT: That’s right, Tom.

    The big thing about Wet & Forget is we’re all about easy. And with our outside product, Wet & Forget Outdoor, you just spray it on any outside surface and just forget about it and let Mother Nature do the rest. And of course, the biggest thing we get asked about all the time is: “Can I use it in my shower?” And it’s really a product designed for outside.

    So now we’ve come out with a product which is specifically designed for your shower and it really is – it’s the easiest thing in the world to use.

    LESLIE: And what about people who might have, you know, a chemical sensitivity? We get a lot of questions from folks who have sensitivity to bleach but really want to do a thorough job of cleaning. Can they still use the Wet & Forget family of products?

    BRETT: Absolutely. Now, some people may be sensitive to all sorts of things but generally speaking, the Wet & Forget shower product is easy to use, it smells great and we’ve had a lot of feedback from people who’ve had issues with other products and with bleach. And they’re finding it very safe for them to use.

    And really, one of the key features of the product is it actually has this beautiful scent to it: this vanilla scent, which is a little bit different and leaves your bathroom smelling great. It’s not a strong scent; it’s very subtle. But as you know, after you’ve used bleach, quite often you’re sitting around and you’ve – sort of this bleach smell up your nose. So we’ve got rid of that and we’ve made it very simple. Just spray on the product once a week and you’re done.

    TOM: Now, how exactly does it work, Brett? I think the outside product would react with sunlight – is that correct? – and oxygen to kind of go to work on the mold, the mildew, the algae. How does that perform inside? Is it the same sort of chemical mechanism behind it?

    BRETT: It’s actually a different approach because, as you mentioned, the outside product relies on the elements – the wind, sun, rain – to do the hard work for you. So what this product does – it’s actually a blend of two really smart surfactants that work on different things within the shower: mold and mildew stains, body oil and grime and of course, that ever-present soap scum.

    So all you do is you spray it on the walls and door and the base of the shower and all your fixtures when you finish the last shower of the day. Spray it on those areas and then just leave it until the next day and then just rinse it down before you take the next shower.

    LESLIE: So, Brett, are there any materials that you can’t use it on? I know sometimes you have to be careful with a natural marble versus a cultured marble.

    BRETT: You hit it right on the head there, Leslie. The one thing that you do need to be careful of with this product is natural marble. As you probably know, natural marble is a very soft, natural product and there’s not a lot of products you can use on that sort of thing. So, yeah, I would avoid using it on natural marble. Cultured marble is fine. Natural stone is fine. Anything else that you’re liable to have as – in your shower is no problem at all.

    TOM: We’re talking to Brett Perry – he’s the president of Wet & Forget – about a new shower cleaner that basically – that’s the installation instructions right there: you wet it and you forget it. You put it right on the shower and it does its job.

    Brett, let’s talk about – what if you have a shower or a bathroom that’s really in bad shape? I mean it’s very, very grungy. How soon should we expect to see that soap scum, that mildew, that mold, that algae start to lift? Is it going to take a bit of time if you’re starting with an incredibly dirty shower to begin with?

    BRETT: Well, yeah, we can’t work complete miracles, Tom. But in most cases, the product is going to work just applying it a few times and then letting it rinse off naturally with the shower. However, if you’ve got a really heavy problem with mold and mildew, soap scum, maybe the shower hasn’t been cleaned for months and months, in that situation you can apply the product and then you could maybe just give it a bit of a scrub with maybe one of those Magic Eraser-type scrubbers just to help it along.

    But once you get it clean, you’re going to keep it sparkling-clean just by applying the product once a week.

    TOM: Well, as the name implied, Wet & Forget Shower is available at participating Ace and Do it Best retailers. You can also purchase it online at WetAndForget.com. It sounds a bit too good to be true but it really is. It works just as well as the outside product.

    Brett Perry, thanks so much for filling us in and congratulations on a great, new invention for the Wet & Forget family.

    BRETT: Thanks, guys. Great to talk to you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still head, we’re going to share the scoop on five things that you have in your house that you never realized you could recycle, so stick around.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by PORTER-CABLE professional-grade nailers and staplers. With over 100 years of experience producing quality, performance-driven tools, PORTER-CABLE continues to be a leading manufacturer and marketer of professional-grade, pneumatic fastening tools and compressors. Available at The Home Depot and independent retailers. To learn more, visit PORTERCABLE.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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement questions.

    Now, one of you lucky callers that gets on the air with us is going to get a treat for your shower. It’s a handheld Riata Waterpik showerhead. Now, it’s got 14 custom spray settings that let you adjust the amount of spray from, say, powerful to eco-friendly. And you can also install it yourself. No need to call the plumber.

    It’s a prize worth $60 and you can check it out at Waterpik.com. And give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Carl in South Carolina is dealing with some tricky doors. Tell us what’s going on.

    CARL: I put the tile floor in my laundry room and I took the door down. And when I put it back, it won’t stay open; it’ll swing back to close. And the one in my bedroom does the same thing. I have to prop them open with something.

    TOM: So they used to stay open before and now they just want to stay closed all the time?

    CARL: Right, uh-huh.

    TOM: So there’s two ways to fix that, Carl. One way is to rip out the door and rehang it, properly shim it, because it’s out of level somehow. And that’s a pretty big job. And the other way to do it is to pull the hinge pins out, put them on a hard, concrete surface and give them a sharp rap so you bend them slightly.

    CARL: OK.

    TOM: Then tap them back into the hinges and you will have added some friction to that connection.

    CARL: Mm-hmm. Right.

    TOM: You follow me?

    CARL: Yes.

    TOM: The slight bend on the hinge pin – a little trick of the trade. That will give you a little more tension on that door. Just take one out and give it a rap so it has a little bit of slight bend to it. You might not even see it. Just a slight bend. Tap it back in, try the door, see how it works. If it kind of stays where you want, that’s fine. If not, maybe do the top one and then do the bottom one. Give that another rap. You can keep adding a little pressure to it by doing that until you get it just right. OK?

    CARL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: So, as we slip into the spring season and get ready to celebrate Earth Day in just a few weeks, we thought we’d highlight a few items that you might be very surprised to learn that you can recycle.

    First up, eyeglasses. Now, many eye doctors or vision-care centers will accept old glasses that they can then refurbish and pass onto those who need them but can’t afford them. Now, you can also turn in those pesky packing peanuts at most mailing service centers where they can be sent on another shipping journey, instead of just taking up room in a landfill.

    TOM: Now, CFL bulbs are always better off recycled than trashed, because they can release toxins when they’re broken. And batteries also release toxins. So, if you want to know how to get rid of them, you can visit Earth911.com. They actually publish battery-collection places in your area.

    Another item you might not think you could recycle: printer ink cartridges. These are often accepted for recycling in office-supply stores and bringing them in can also sometimes earn you credits. So think about it: there’s a lot out there besides the bottles and cans that you can recycle. And every time you do, there’s a lot less stuff that ends up in our landfills.

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

    BUCK: I was calling to ask a question about a built-up roof, about 4,000 square foot. I was thinking about taking and putting a coating on top of it. No insulation in the attic. And was wanting to know if it really would actually defer the heat in the lower floor by putting a brilliant-white roof coating on top.

    TOM: Well, those types of roof paints do have UV reflectors in there and they’re designed to make the roof cooler and certainly, it will be a heck of a lot cooler than the black roof that you’re starting with. So I think that that’s probably a good idea in your situation, especially being in such a warm part of the country, Buck.

    BUCK: Any particular product brand that you can suggest going on top of tar?

    TOM: No. But make sure it’s a roof paint. I mean typically, you use a fibrous aluminum paint for something like that. What you really want to look for is the UV reflectivity of it because the more UV it reflects, the better the job it’s going to do.

    And by the way, it will also extend the roof life, as well, because the cooler the roof is, that means less of the oil is going to evaporate out of the asphalt and it’ll last a lot longer.

    BUCK: OK.

    LESLIE: Laura is up next with a lot of erosion going on at her money pit. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAURA: Our yard slopes downward from the front to the back, probably close to – well, it’s a pretty good angle. I don’t actually know it’s 45 degrees. But when we have a hard rain, the rain comes off of the roadway and just a river flows down the back to the back corner of the house.

    TOM: OK.

    LAURA: And we’re seeing trees – like the roots. Real bad erosion. And I was wondering, what’s the best type of, I guess – I don’t know – like a retaining-type wall? Or is a flower bed – like a large flower bed – something to stop the flow? Or just a natural – like if we put bushes down – what’s the best would you suggest to (inaudible at 0:30:56) that erosion to stop.

    TOM: Well, the best thing to do is to interrupt that flow by catching the runoff and running it around the house. And an easy way to do that is with something called a “curtain drain.”

    Now, a curtain drain is dug into that sloped area at some point and I can’t tell you where; it depends on how the soil is sloped and shaped that makes the most sense. But basically, think of it this way: it’s a trench that you would dig in front of the house where all the water is collecting.

    And that trench, in it you would lay a perforated pipe. And the idea is that the trench has about 4 inches of stone, then it’s got a pipe. Stone continues to move up around the pipe and then a little bit more stone on top. And you put a piece of filter cloth and then you landscape over it or put dirt and grass over it, so you don’t see it when it’s done. But conceptually, the water shoots down the hill, falls into that invisible trench now, fills up the pipe and then runs out the other end of the pipe – the low end of the pipe – somewhere to daylight.

    So, to do this, you need to be able to get the pipe in place and then have the end of it run out somewhere where you want to dump that water. Does that sound like it’s possible with your yard, the way it’s configured?

    LAURA: Yeah. No, that’s very doable. I didn’t know they make stuff like that. So, no, that’s very doable.

    TOM: Well, it’s kind of like – you know, it’s not like you can go to the curtain-drain aisle at the local home center. You have to kind of build it yourself but it’s a very common technique called a “curtain drain” or a “footer drain.” So take a look at that and you can find instructions on MoneyPit.com.

    LAURA: Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Are you sick of the great indoors? Well, you are not alone. That’s why the latest trend in architecture is outdoor living. We’re going to have tips, just ahead.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Trex, the world’s number-one, wood-alternative decking brand. Just in time to give your outdoor living space a summer upgrade, Trex Enhance Decking is available, in stock, at your local Home Depot. To learn more about the long-lasting beauty, hassle-free maintenance and industry-leading warranty of Trex Enhance, visit HomeDepot.Trex.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 if you’re being bugged by bugs this spring, you can get all your spring pest-control questions answered at MoneyPit.com, because everything we’ve ever written about pest control is available free and at your fingertips, online, when you search “pests” at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And while you’re online, you can head on over to the Community section of Money Pit and post a question there, just like Bob from North Carolina did. And he writes: “There are smoke marks above one of my electrical outlets in the kitchen. Do I need to call an electrician? I don’t use the outlet.”

    TOM: There’s an old saying, Bob: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” And you know what? When you’re seeing that in your wiring, it could be that even though you don’t use the outlet, there is electricity, of course, running through it. And it could be building up some resistance to that electrical transfer, which leads to heat, which leads to a fire. So, certainly, if you’ve got smoke marks above that, you should have it checked out.

    Now, it could be that many, many years ago, somebody plugged something in there that sparked and you’ve got a – there’s a one-shot kind of thing where you just got a little bit of carbon deposit on the wall. But I would not take a chance. I would definitely have an electrician take that outlet apart, check it. If there’s any doubt, replace it. The part’s very inexpensive. And this way, you can move on safely and securely.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Blake from Colorado who writes: “I found a nest of baby squirrels living just inside my aluminum siding.” How lucky for you. “I can hear them when I’m inside the house. Do you have any advice on getting rid of them? I don’t want to hurt them.”

    TOM: Well, I think that they’ll probably leave on their own, because there’s going to be no food inside that nest they are right now. The key is that when they do leave, what you’re going to want to do is find the gaps in that siding and fill it up. I suspect that if you look under the lip of the siding, you’ll find some loose areas.

    Now, you can reattach the siding there or if you have a bigger gap, you can insert steel wool into that space. And that will kind of fill it out and it’s very hard for the squirrels to kind of push back through that kind of thing.

    I wouldn’t, you know, do that until you’re sure they’re gone but I can – I’m very positive, though, that they’re not going to be there for long. Once they can get out of that nest, they will get out of that nest and they’ll move to the trees, because there’s better hunting out there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And there’s no way for them to get into the house through anything on that backside insulation sheathing, anything like that?

    TOM: Generally not. Because aluminum siding is almost always put on a house after there’s an original siding. So it’s always the second layer. And so they would have to be pretty industrious to get through both.

    LESLIE: Or have an amazing set of tools.

    TOM: Or teeth.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Well, it seems Americans are being drawn more and more to the great outdoors in their own backyards. Leslie has a report on this trend, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. A new survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects indicates that Americans want more outdoor rooms and outdoor recreation areas.

    Now, topping the list of desires were outdoor fire pits and fireplaces. Outdoor dining and kitchen areas did come in a close second, with recreation areas like pools, tennis courts and spas following. I want to know where those people live, because they must have gigantic yards.

    Now, while some of these things might seem like you’re trying to keep up with the Kardashians, the majority are very affordable. You can install a fire pit yourself. A nice garden area can provide fresh vegetables and fruit. If you add a grill, some comfortable seating and a few, strategically placed lights, you’re going to really have a great outdoor space that’s all your own.

    And trust me, if you create an outdoor space with just some great furnishing and some good outdoor lighting, you’ll have a space that you can use pretty much almost all year long, depending on the weather. And you’ll feel so proud to call it your own and you’ll really start enjoying it, so get out there and do that today.

    TOM: Good advice.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Hey, coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit, do you love old furniture? I know that I do but the problem is that the finishes can really wear. I mean they can get dull, they could streak, they can fade. And when that happens, you’re not so excited about having that old piece in your house. Well, the good news is there’s a fix. You can restore those finishes and make them almost as good as new and get use of that furniture once again. And we’re going to tell you how to do that, 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.


    (Copyright 2013 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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