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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 where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your challenge. What’s impacting the way you operate your home, the way you live in your home, the way you enjoy your home? We’re going to help you make it better, make it safer, make it more comfortable, make it more energy efficient. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    Hey, it’s April and later this month we’re going to all celebrate Earth Day. So, to kick off earth month, we’re going to have an extended look at how green home solutions can benefit the environment and your wallet. And who couldn’t use a little extra green in either form these days? So first up, we’re going to separate the hype from the reality and teach you what to look for to determine if a product is truly, truly green.
    LESLIE: And also ahead, we’re going to teach you the best way to recycle the batteries that you use around your house and we’re going to tell you about a new battery that you don’t have to recycle at all.
    TOM: And we’re going to talk about why house plants can make your home green in more ways that one. They can add life and color to your rooms but they can also help you breathe a bit easier. We’ll explain that, coming up.
    LESLIE: And we’re giving away this hour, to one lucky caller, the APC Back-UPS ES 750-G which is a combination battery backup for your computer and surge protector as well; so it’s two fantastic products in one. And it’s going to help you save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. In fact, it is the greenest battery backup in its class and it could be yours for free.
    TOM: It’s worth $99.99 but it’s going to go out to one caller that reaches us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get to those calls.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Gloria in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    GLORIA: I had a new kitchen sink put in and it was not level; so they told me to shim it, which I did, but it now needs to be resealed because it’s not level. So can you tell me what I seal it with?
    TOM: Yeah, are we talking about the edge where it overlaps the countertop, Gloria?
    GLORIA: Right.
    TOM: OK. Well, the best thing to use for that purpose is a kitchen and bath caulk and the reason the product should say kitchen and bath caulk is because it’s treated with a mildicide. OF course, being a very damp area, if it’s not treated with a mildicide you’re going to have some problems with mold growth. DAP makes a product that’s a kitchen and bath caulk with an additive called Microban and it’s very effective at not growing mold, so …
    GLORIA: Microvan?
    LESLIE: Microban.
    TOM: Microban and the manufacturer is DAP – D-A-P. So look at the DAP kitchen and bath caulk …
    TOM: … and I think that you’ll find that that’s probably the best way to seal that. Very inexpensive, by the way. We’re only talking about a couple of dollars for the caulk and you definitely can do it yourself.
    LESLIE: Chris in Connecticut is dealing with a leaky bath. What can we do for you?
    CHRIS: Well, in the first-floor bathroom, I noticed a little while ago that there were some water spots and they got bigger and they actually bored small holes. And the ceiling is right below the second-floor bathroom where the kids on, unfortunately, more than one occasion have splashed a bit of water out of the tub. I tried sealing around the water line but is there a way to seal around the toilet flange as well?
    TOM: This is a children-training issue, Chris. (Leslie and Chris chuckle)
    CHRIS: Yes, there is that, too.
    TOM: OK? No, you cannot …
    LESLIE: But that would take all the fun out of bath-time.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Your floor is not designed to act like your tub, in terms of holding water. If the water goes over the tub in any type of quantity, it will leak down into the ceiling and eventually show across that area.
    LESLIE: And it will leak through the grout as well, right?
    TOM: Yeah, it’ll go through everything. So I mean when we caulk – say, between a floor or a wall and a tub – it’s really for cosmetic issues. Sure, if you get a little bit of water splashed there it makes it easier to clean up but it’s not going to stop the water from actually going right through the floor.
    Now, if it only happens occasionally – you get, you know, the occasional water stain – it’s not going to cause structural damage; it’s not going to cause the drywall to sag or anything like that. It’s mostly a cosmetic issue, Chris.
    CHRIS: OK. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: He can always keep the shower curtain closed when the kids are in the tub. 
    TOM: That’s what we did. (Leslie chuckles) In fact, you know our kids loved to splash so much we’d let them splash but just put the shower curtain inside the tub and let them go to town. (Leslie chuckles) It works.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call. It is officially Earth Month. That’s correct. April is Earth Month and we can help you get your home green, so give us a call and let us help you do just that at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    TOM: 888-666-3974. 
    Speaking of the pending Earth Day, are you being greenwashed? You know what that is? That’s the manufacturers that are out there claiming that everything under the sun is green when maybe it’s not. How do you tell if a product is in fact truly green? How do you know if it really is going to save the environment and save you some money or is it just being hyped as being green? We’re going to help you figure that out, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. Now here are Tom and Leslie. 
    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. If you do, we’ll throw your name in the Money Pit hardhat because this hour we’re giving away the APC power-saving Back-UPS ES. It’s the model 750G. Can save you up to 40 bucks a year on electrical costs but, more importantly, it can save your data. Have you ever been working on the computer when you lost power or maybe you blew a circuit breaker in your house; maybe the power went out on the street? A power-saving Back-UPS can prevent the data from being damaged because the battery will carry on and power that computer. Now this Back-UPS also includes a surge protector and it is absolutely the greenest battery backup out there. It’s worth 99 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Alright, well that’s a great green prize that we’re giving away this hour and green is definitely the word. We are hearing it everywhere we turn; every time we step into a home center or turn on the television. You cannot avoid the word “green.” And you’re seeing all of these products being touted as being good for the environment but how do you know that the manufacturer is telling you the truth? So here are a few ways to make sure.
    First of all, you want to start with the manufacturer themselves. You know, green begins at the industrial birthplace of the product that you’re looking at; so check out the manufacturer’s website or the product info written on the packaging. You want to look for a written working environmental policy. 
    Then you want to go ahead and check the content. So you want to find out what raw materials go into a product, where they come from. And you need to keep in mind the long distance that maybe the product has to transport to get from where it’s made to when it gets to you. That’s another big green impact. So you want to make sure it’s not traveling great distances. And you also want to take a look and make sure that it’s not a product that’s going to release VOCs, which are volatile organic compounds. So you want to look for something that says “Low VOC” or “No VOC” or “No off-gassing” to make sure that it’s not emitting hazardous chemicals into the air in your home.
    TOM: Need more tips to help you figure out how green a product really is? We’re going to have them, the complete list, in the next Money Pit e-newsletter. It’s available free online at MoneyPit.com. Remember, we keep your email to ourselves.
    888-666-3974.   Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Linda in New York needs some help with a question about whether to take on a remodeling project or not in this economy. What can we do for you, Linda?
    LINDA: I live in a New York City suburb and in this recession era, when [housing is values] (ph) and prices are faltering, is it wise to invest approximately $50,000 into a new kitchen?
    TOM: OK. Well, look, I don’t think you have to spend 50K on a new kitchen in this market. I think there’s probably less expensive things that you can do; unless your kitchen is really, really dated.   How old is your house?
    LINDA: From 1947.
    TOM: Oh, is it the original 1947 kitchen?
    LINDA: No, no, no. We have new appliances; the stainless steel, granite countertop and granite floors and very inexpensive laminate cabinets. The problem with it is it’s a very tiny kitchen and we thought to expand into a room adjoining the kitchen that is a little sitting room.
    TOM: I see. Alright, so this is more than just a remove and replace of cabinets. You’re really talking about a major remodel here; a totally new layout.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) A new layout.
    LINDA: (overlapping voices) Yes.
    TOM: Well, look. We don’t want to tell you to spend a whole lot of money on the house right now but I will say that if you’re going to choose one thing to do, a kitchen or a bathroom always gives you the best return on investment. But I would say tone it down. Don’t go luxury everything. You know, be realistic based on the market today and choose products that are going to still give you a good-looking kitchen without spending a whole lot of money. So I would tone down the granite countertops, the Corian tops. Now, the real expensive appliances, maybe reuse what you have. If you really …
    LESLIE: But I still think that those solid-surfacing or even natural stone countertops are a huge selling point when people are in the market; you know especially if you’ve got something that’s neutral in coloration that will work with all types of paint colors and choices that a new homeowner might make coming in the future. And remember, your previous owners in the house that you’re in, they made a bad decision in putting a super-expensive countertop on a very inexpensive cabinet. You want to make sure that you sort of match up because you don’t want the cabinet to not last as long as your countertop is going to. 
    LINDA: (chuckling) Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah, but I just don’t think it’s a good time to do a luxury upgrade. I would be very budget-conscious if I was going to do this. I would either not do it or I’d be very budget-conscious and if I was going to not do it, you may want to think about other ways to make a small kitchen look big. You may want to think about some …
    LESLIE: Lighter colors.
    TOM: Yep, mm-hmm.
    LINDA: Yeah.
    LESLIE:  Different window treatments. 
    TOM: Replacing the doors with ones that have clear glass; lighting; you know, improving – well, you said the floor and the countertops are great so, you know, changing the hardware on the cabinets; adding dimmers; that sort of thing.
    LINDA: Oh, thank you very much. I really appreciate your help.
    TOM: Alright, Linda. Hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    Yeah, I just don’t feel like it’s a good time to do a luxury upgrade right now.
    LESLIE: Meanwhile, our neighbors just pulled up a dumpster. They’re about to take on a major kitchen remodel.  It’s just amazing to me that I’m seeing …
    TOM: Wow, there’s no recession on Leslie’s street. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: It’s amazing. New houses are going up, people are doing construction projects – and big ones – but it’s just so interesting that people are tackling such huge projects right now.
    TOM: Well, maybe it’s a positive sign of a soon-to-return economy. We can all hope.
    LESLIE: Woody in Ohio is dealing with a bouncy floor. What’s going on?
    WOODY: Well, when I walk in the dining room my China cabinet begins to rattle somewhat and I’m kind of curious how could I stabilize my floor joists without having to go and replace the joists or my wiring going through and what have you.

    TOM: Not really. Woody, how old is your house?

    WOODY: God, about 86 years old.

    TOM: Ah, it’s a pretty old house, yeah. Well, in an older home, typically the spans on the floor joists are a lot longer and the joists themselves are narrower than what you would have today. And so, what I would do in this case is I would suggest you put in a midspan girder and this does not have to be really complicated because we’re not really holding up the house here. We’re really just sort of taking the flex out of that floor. So what you would do is you would go downstairs – is this on a basement?

    WOODY: Yes.

    TOM: OK, so you would go downstairs to the basement and you would install a beam that would be comprised of maybe three 2x8s, ought to do it. Midspan between the two ends of the joists that cover the dining room area; right down the middle, make sure you have good contact to all the floor joists – and because it’s an old house you may do a little shimming here and there to make sure you have good contact – and I would support that beam with probably two or three lolly columns. Now, you could probably put it right on the concrete floor because, again, we don’t necessarily want to do anything more than take the flex out of this. If you want to do a real super good job you could dig out the floor and pour a little footing there; maybe something that’s about 18 inches deep by about 18 inches square. But at least to start with I would just put a beam in the middle of the span of these dining room floor joists and that will take the flex out of it and you won’t hear the China rattle the next time you walk across the room.

    LESLIE: Now when you’re assembling this, Tom, would you do sort of a staggered situation with a 2×4 so that it can become like one, long, continuous piece? You know, so like maybe the two end ones are even with each other and the middle one staggers out half of the distance so that you have areas to constantly attach things to; almost like a LEGO.

    TOM: Not 2x4s. You mean 2x8s.

    LESLIE: Oh, 2x8s. I’m sorry.

    TOM: I would use as few seams as possible and the rule of thumb whenever you construct a load-bearing beam like that is if you have a joint in the beam – like if you had a triple beam with three, say, 2x8s and there was a seam somewhere – that seam would always be over a post. 

    WOODY: Right.

    TOM: You don’t have to be quite as strict about this because, again, we’re not really holding up much of the house; we’re just taking the flex out of the floor. But putting a midspan girder in there will solve this problem.

    WOODY: OK, so it should be just the length of the dining room area in itself? Would that be it?

    TOM: Yep. And across – perpendicular to the floor joists that are there right now.

    WOODY: OK, 2x8s and three of them.

    TOM: Yep.

    WOODY: What method would you use to fasten the 2x8s together? Would it be glue and screws or what?

    TOM: No, I would just nail them together.

    WOODY: Alright, then. Thank you so much.

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

    You know what you call it when the glassware moves.

    LESLIE: What?

    TOM: China syndrome.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Now you really can just do this to your own home without getting any approval from an engineer …?

    TOM: It’s not an engineering job. It’s not – I mean this is a little trick of the trade for just taking the flex out of floor joists. If I was concerned about Woody supporting some load-bearing portion of his house then of course we would recommend the appropriate professionals be involved, but in this case …

    LESLIE: Should you get it approved by an inspector if you intend on selling the house at some point?

    TOM: If you can – I don’t think it’s that complicated a project. Again, we’re just taking the flex out of these beams.

    LESLIE: Alright.
    Sharon in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    SHARON: I have a five-year-old nubuck leather loveseat that has urine stains on it and I don’t know how to get it out. I’ve tried just a mild dishwashing detergent …
    SHARON: … and it may have taken the urine out but there’s still like a water mark on it.
    LESLIE: OK, because the problem with leather, especially when you need to clean a stain off of it, is that you can’t use too much water – and I know a lot of these online sites will recommend using a mild detergent and water, but the trick is when you mix the detergent and the water you need to use like an electric mixer because you want to create such an emulsion of foam that you really only want to work with the foam. So this way you would take the foam and you want to use a very brand, spanking new sponge – a clean, new sponge – and you want to scoop up just the suds and then wash the entire area and you need to make sure that you wipe and don’t scrub. And then you just want to keep doing that until you clean the stain completely and then you need to really let it dry and you want to place a towel on it and really sort of get up as much of that moisture as you can. 
    Now that you’re dealing with a water stain, you know it could be something that requires a professional cleaning because a water stain is very difficult to remove from leather. But what you want to do is – you know you just really need to be careful and you want to sort of dampen the leather. You want to kind of extend the water stain, if you will, to make the entire cushion appear as if it’s slightly changed. It should then match …
    SHARON: (chuckling) Yeah.
    LESLIE: You know what I’m saying? 
    SHARON: Yeah.
    LESLIE: So you want to make sure. What you can do is you can take a new sponge again – you always want to work with a new sponge with leather because leather will absorb odor and if you’ve been washing dishes it could smell kind of mildewy. So you want to take a new sponge, then you want to take room-temperature water and you want to wring that sponge out as much as possible and you want to start at the spot where your water stain is and you want to dampen the leather until you reach the edges of the cushion. And you want to wet the leather less and less as you get further and further away from the water spot and then that should sort of even out the coloration. And then head to the store and pick up some sort of leather conditioner and just apply that in the same way that you would the manufacturer directions recommend; you know, once it’s dry. This way it’ll all sort of help to change the texture back to smooth and get rid of that water spot.
    And worst-case scenario, flip it over.
    SHARON: There you go. (Leslie chuckles) Thank you very much.
    TOM: Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. 
    Looking for a green solution to help you celebrate Earth Day? Think about houseplants. But how do you know what the right plant is for your house? We’re going to tell you, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And this is where home solutions live; speaking of which, here is a design tip that’s green in more ways than one. You know, adding houseplants to the home will naturally clean the air of indoor toxins while delivering a fantastic look. Now plants like lady palm, peace lily and English ivy, they all grow well indoors; they’re easy to care for; and they also remove vapors and resist insects.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and they’re really beautiful. We’ve got a couple of peace lilies in our house and you just want to make sure that every so often you take some nice soapy water and just wipe down the surface of the leaves. They love it. It helps them produce more oxygen for your house. So really take good care of them and they will take good care of you and they’re really nice to look at. 
    If you want some more green design tips, well they are all at your fingertips all day long, 24 hours a day when you visit MoneyPit.com. All you need to do is search green design and we will give you a whole bunch of great ideas that are going to help the environment and your wallet, too.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Call us right now with your green home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Robert in North Carolina needs some heating and cooling ideas. How can we help?
    ROBERT: Hey, guys. I was just wondering about a greenhouse.
    TOM: OK.
    ROBERT: Using that for heating and cooling on the house itself.
    TOM: So you have a greenhouse – as in a greenhouse for plants – attached to your house? Is that what you’re saying?
    ROBERT: Right, right.
    TOM: Alright.
    ROBERT: Actually, I don’t have it attached to the house yet. I’m going to try it on my garage first and see how that works.
    TOM: Oh, you want to build one.
    ROBERT: Right, right.
    TOM: OK. And you’re concerned about the impact on heating and cooling?
    ROBERT: Right, and the humidity that’s going to be going on with that. Is that going to be a problem?
    TOM: Well, you need to be separate. It needs to be separated from the house, obviously.
    ROBERT: Right.
    TOM: I will say that it’s going to be a very hot, hot space unless you use a good-quality glass that has a low-e coating on it that will reflect the radiant heat out. So if you adjoin it to the outside wall of your house, it’s going to be like having a heater attached to the house in the summer. It will drive up your cooling bills.
    ROBERT: Right, right.
    TOM: OK?
    ROBERT: Put vents on it on the outside.
    TOM: Oh, certainly you could do vents but I’m just telling you it’s not going to – it’s going to make it – it’s going to make the outside wall warmer and raise your cooling cost unless you have the right kind of glass. So if you’re going to do this, you may want to think about using one of the prefabricated ones that has insulated glass panels with low-e coating. 
    ROBERT: OK, OK. Well, thank you very kindly.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Robert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Time for some kitchen counter help with Becky in Minnesota. What’s going on at your money pit?
    BECKY: Hi, Tom and Leslie. I have an old kitchen counter. It’s laminate and the pattern on it is a butcher block pattern. And the top, the varnish, is peeling on it and I’m just wondering how we could fix that without replacing the countertops or is there anything I can do to jazz up the countertop? Maybe paint over it or any suggestions you’ve got.

    TOM: Well, first of all, laminate countertop does not have a “varnish” on it. 

    BECKY: OK.

    TOM: So if the surface is wearing off then it’s actually the laminate that’s wearing, Becky; so there’s nothing that you can do to restore that. Two ideas come to mind. Number one – you can relaminate an existing laminate countertop. You can put another layer of laminate on top of that for probably less than the cost of replacing the entire top. And the second thing that she could do, Leslie, is to tile it.

    LESLIE: Yeah, tiling over laminate is extremely easy and it’s a great do-it-yourself project; especially if you go with those smaller inch-square or those ¼-inch mosaic tiles that are on the mesh backing, just because it’s so simple to do and you end up with really very few cuts that need to be made and, the most part, you can do them with those simple mosaic tile snippers so it’s all really manageable. And then the front edge is easy to do as well. You can get a thicker border tile that just has a good, smooth backboard that you can find at any tile store. Or if you want to continue those smaller mosaics, there’s like a metal edge that you find at the home center. Not sure if it’s in the tile section. I’ve found it at The Home Depot a gajillion times when I’m doing this but I don’t remember the section. And it’s got like a flat edge that would go along the counter edge and then it sort of dips down into a tray on the bottom and that would be like the buffer to stop those tiles from falling off.

    BECKY: I am very excited about that. I never really thought you could do it that way. What an easy project that could be.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and it looks great and you can really change the entire look. Now, if you want to just change the laminate, Formica, Lamin-Art, Wilsonart; those are all companies that make laminates. You can find them through a variety of distributors. And the laminates today I mean really look fantastic and you can get some super-edgy, earthy style sort of designs or colors that you might be jazzed about, too.

    BECKY: And they can go right over top of the existing countertop?

    TOM: Yes, they can. You need to rough it up just a little bit but the contact cement will adhere the new laminate right to the old, Becky. OK?

    BECKY: Alright. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Thanks so much for being part of The Money Pit.
    Hey, are you looking for the easiest way to go green? Well, the answer is recycle. Up next, we’re going to tell you how to recycle all of those rechargeable batteries that you’ve got around your house, so stick around.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. Now here are Tom and Leslie. 
    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is 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. We’d love to hear what you’re working on; what kind of green improvements you might be making to your house this Earth Month. And we’ve got a great prize for one of our lucky callers this hour. We’re giving away a very green prize indeed. It is the APC Back-UPS Energy-Saving 750G. Now this is a battery backup for your computer so you will never lose any data again if you happen to just have the power go out in the instant while you’re working on your computer before you’ve even saved that very important file that you’ve been working on; not that I am speaking of experience. (Tom laughs)  But this will help you with that. And it’s also a surge protector, so it’s all built into one. It’s very energy efficient and, in fact, it’s going to help you save about $40 on your annual electric bill. So it’s a great prize. It’s super-green. It’s the greenest battery backup in its category. It’s worth $99 but it could be yours for free.
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win this very green product.
    Now, speaking of green, one way you can cut down on the waste that’s going to a landfill is to recycle as much as you can. Some things are easy, especially if you have a recycling program in your community. What do you do with those old gadgets that include batteries; like old cell phones or rechargeable batteries from your cordless phone? Simple solution. [Call to recycle can help.] (ph) Just visit RBC.org and learn where you can recycle these things in your area. It’s simple, it’s free and it’s a great program. 
    LESLIE: You know it really is great. Usually you can just drop it off at a local store in your area. For me, it was at a Staples. I had a whole host of cell phone batteries and they just took them off my hands and I was happy to get rid of them from the kitchen drawer. So take your time, look around your house and recycle those batteries. It really does make a difference. 
    And there’s actually one product that we recently learned about and it’s a battery that you don’t ever have to recycle and it’s the Fuji EnviroMAX battery. They come in all the standard sizes and they are completely disposable, so you can just toss it in your regular trash. There’s no mercury or cadmium, so it’s totally safe around your kids, too, and the packaging is also environmentally responsible. So this is a truly green product all around. The website is GreenFuji.com for more info and if you’re a new parent like me you realize – and even if you’ve got young kids – you realize that every toy that they have has a million batteries in it and they go through them so quickly. So this really can make a huge impact on our environment.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your green home improvement question. 
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Rick in Tennessee is dealing with a moisture problem. How can we help?
    RICK: I’ve got a finished out garage. It’s enclosed and it’s finished out. OK, my concrete, it looks like it’s got a finish or, you know, a shine to it. What we’d like to do is convert the floor to black-and-white check.
    TOM: OK.
    RICK: Some of the neighbors tried this and it popped up. It did not stay on the floor. What can we do to make sure if we stripe the floor and paint it black and white – how can we keep the paint staying on the floor?
    TOM: OK. Well, first of all, probably the best paint is an epoxy paint for the floor and to use an epoxy paint you have to do an acid wash first. Now, a lot of the epoxy paint manufacturers, when you buy the kits – you know QUIKRETE makes one, Rust-Oleum makes one – there is a wash, that’s in that kit, that you mix up and you use that to acid-wash the floor; make it ready to take the paint.
    RICK: OK.
    TOM: So doing this check pattern, though, it’s going to be an awful lot of work. You’re going to have to do this very, very carefully because you’re only going to be able to do, obviously, one color at a time. You’re going to have to wait a number of days for it to dry, remask it and do the other color. But the key here is to use epoxy paint. 
    Now the other thing that you could do is there are various garage floor systems out there. I think Gladiator makes one. I know that Craftsman has one that looks like an interlocking tile that will give you that checkerboard look. So you don’t have to do it with paint. There are after-market systems that will do this as well.
    RICK: OK, OK. Alright. Is – the interlock system; is that something that really – I mean you run a car over it, it holds up well?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah. These are designed for that. Yep, super-strong.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah, they’re made for that. 
    RICK: Oh, OK, OK. Well, that’s what I need to know. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You are very welcome, Rick. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Jean from Illinois who has a question about carpeting. What’s going on at your money pit?
    JEAN: Yeah, I have two wrinkles in my carpet and I need to know how to get rid of them. 
    TOM: And those wrinkles are driving you crazy, aren’t they, Jean?
    JEAN: Yes, they are. 
    TOM: Well, what happens is carpet, over the years, will stretch and the only way to eliminate the wrinkles is to restretch the carpet and, unfortunately, it’s not a do-it-yourself project. If you’ve ever seen a carpet installer work, they have a tool called a kicker which grabs the nap of the carpet and stretches it. And you’ll be surprised that if you have that carpet restretched – and I assume it’s in otherwise good condition – it will look fantastic. It just needs to have some of the material taken out, but you’ll be surprised at how much of that material will end up being taken out. In an average room, say 10×12, you could take out four to six inches and stretch that carpet back out and it looks just great. So you need to have a carpet installer come in and restretch those areas. That will make those wrinkles disappear.
    JEAN: Oh, great. Thank you so much because I looked into that and they kept saying I needed one of these things but I didn’t know how to use them. So it’s called a kicker and I know what that is.
    TOM: Yeah, but it’s not a do-it-yourself project …
    JEAN: No, no.
    TOM: … because you’ve got to be able to reattach it to the tackless, which is the strip at the end of the wall, and that’s something only a pro can do.
    LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 
    Up next, we’re going to be checking our inbox for questions from you and we’re going to be answering a question about storm doors. Do you really need them? Find out, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Need some help on a specific home improvement project? Well, head on over to MoneyPit.com and use our project finder tool. You’ll get a list of everything we’ve ever written or said about it right at your fingertips. It’s free. It’s online at MoneyPit.com.
    LESLIE: And while you’re there you can shoot us an email question. And we’re going to jump right into the email bag now. We’ve got one from Amy who writes: “I need to have a new front entry and storm door installed. I’m not sure if I should go with steel or fiberglass as the door faces west and it gets hot between the entry and the storm door. I question durability and maintenance. Any suggestions?”
    TOM: You know, Amy, today you really don’t need a storm door. Now, years ago when we only had wood exterior doors, sure, they got very, very drafty. But today the doors are much more energy efficient, they’re much tougher and there’s absolutely no need for a storm door. If you want to have a screen door, that’s fine; buy a really good-quality screen door. But you absolutely don’t need a storm door. 
    Now, as for deciding between steel or fiberglass; pretty much a no-brainer. Fiberglass doors can look just like wood or steel doors, if you sort of like the plain look, but they don’t rot and they don’t rust. They’re also five times more energy efficient and far stronger, too. 
    I’d suggest you take a look at Therma-Tru. Therma-Tru is the company that originally manufactured the very first fiberglass door and they actually have been a sponsor of this show for many, many years. They’re a good company. I’ve met them personally, I’ve been to their factory and I really like the product. Their information is online at Therma-Tru.com.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Scott in Long Island who writes: “I love the show. I listen each week via the podcast. Last week I paid a plumber $125 to unclog my sewer trap and he said it was due to a buildup of detergent from the washing machine. He showed me the caked white detergent that formed. Some were as big as a small baseball.”
    TOM: Wow.
    LESLIE: “How can I ensure that I don’t pay the plumber 125 to 175 bucks per year to correct this?” 
    Well, Scott, this is super common if you’re using a powder detergent; especially if you’re trying to be green and you’re going to do your wash in a cold cycle and especially if you’ve got a high-efficiency washer. So you want to make sure – switch to liquid; you’ll be way happier with the results anyway. If you’re still going to stick with the powder, use as hot of a water temperature as your clothes will tolerate; as your energy bills will tolerate because that will help break down that detergent as well. But your best bet is to just switch to liquid and you’ll never have to clean that out again.
    TOM: You know, and also, with that much of a cake-up, I can’t imagine that’s going to happen every year. 
    LESLIE: Oh, gosh …
    TOM: That’s probably never been cleaned before and it just built up and finally broke loose and clogged the whole system, Scott. So switching to liquid and – you know, you might also want to take a look at the high-efficiency detergents that are out there because you need very little of them to do the job.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it works great for coldwater cycles.
    Alright, we’ve got one from Sally in Alamo, California who writes: “My husband and I are remodeling our bathrooms. We just tiled our bathroom floor; now we want to tackle our shower and bathtub. Can you tile over an existing shower pan? I think it’s either acrylic or plastic.”
    TOM: No. No, you can’t. Because underneath those pans there usually is some movement and what you’re going to find is that the tile is going to crack. If you want a true tiled shower pan, you really need to rip out the existing shower pan to line it with fiberglass, to line it with lead and then tile up from there. It’s a really big project. So I’d suggest you leave the shower pan in place and just tile the walls around it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know what, Sally? It really is a good idea to just leave that existing shower pan that’s in there. This way you can do a really great job on the tile on the walls and the surround for that shower. You can pick out a tile that’s inexpensive but really beautiful to cover the field and then go ahead and pop in a more decorative tile here and there or perhaps one that has a different sheen to it. Just be creative in your design layout and you can really create a dazzling shower area.
    TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that you are going to have a very green month as we all get ready to celebrate Earth Day. And think about the ways that we can make our homes more environmentally friendly and help them save us some money at the same time. 
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Helping you build big dreams.

    (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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