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    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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects on this beautiful fall day. What are you working on? Do you want to make your home warmer, more comfortable, cut those energy bills? Are you looking ahead to the long, chilly winter and you would like to make your house beautiful and comfortable from the inside? Perhaps you want to do some decorating? Perhaps you want to do some painting, some rearranging? We’re here to help you with all those projects and more. Help yourself, first, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Just ahead this hour, if you’ve tried caulk, weatherstripping, bought heavy drapes but you still can’t get rid of those mysterious drafts, we’re going to tell you about a foolproof way to pinpoint exactly where the cold is coming in so you can eliminate those gusts and high energy bills for good.

    LESLIE: And speaking of the cooler weather, we want to make sure that when you’re closing your vacation home or boat or even RV, it doesn’t open up the chance of mold getting in. We’ve got tips for keeping it away while you are, just ahead.

    TOM: And also this hour, it won’t be long before the trick-or-treaters are headed to your door. We don’t want you to let unsafe walkways, stairs or driveways turn their boos to boo-hoos. We’ve got the full checklist for making sure your property is free of hazardous tricks, just in time for Halloween.

    LESLIE: And are you tired of extreme temperatures doing a number on your home improvement projects? Well, today’s prize might be exactly what you need. LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Constructive Adhesive is ideal for heavy-duty jobs inside and outside your home. And it can withstand temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Perfect for our California listeners. Sorry, guys.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: I know it’s been hot out there.

    We’ve got a case of it for one caller we’re going to talk with on the air today.

    TOM: It’s worth 50 bucks and comes with some other fun stuff, like a shirt and a cooler. So call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Dina in Iowa is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you?

    DINA: My husband and I – about, oh, probably three or four years ago – did some remodeling in our kitchen. And we decided on getting some of the laminate, fake-travertine floor.

    TOM: OK.

    DINA: And we went to our local Habitat for Humanity store and got – they’re like planks; they’re planks of the floor. And we installed them and they looked beautiful. But over the course of the last couple years, things have fallen and chunks have come out. Like some places it’s just a scratch here or there but in other places there are some chunks. And luckily, the floor has kind of a brown-rock appearance, so some of them aren’t noticeable. But there is one that’s fairly large and once you start looking, you can see just how many there are.

    So, we can’t go back to the store and get more because it’s a ReStore; they only have limited quantities. And really, replacing all that is going to be really tough. I didn’t know if you had a way to fix this or any suggestions?

    TOM: Well, there’s a lot of difference in the quality of laminate floors and some are going to be more durable than others. For those that are not aware, laminate floors are similar to laminate countertops except, for the most part, they’re about 20 times more durable.

    Now, if you know the manufacturer of the floor – I don’t know if that’s possible. Most manufacturers actually have a sort of touch-up compound. It comes, typically, in a tube – it looks like a toothpaste tube – where you can actually squeeze some of the stuff out and patch the floor and come up with a color that’s reasonably close. If you don’t have that, you may be able to find one from another manufacturer that’s close to this.

    DINA: OK. I do remember we looked at the flooring. I don’t remember the name but I do remember it was a major name brand, because we looked it up online to read about it.

    TOM: OK.

    DINA: So, I think we may have one or two squares somewhere; maybe I can look on the back and give them a call. That’s great information.

    TOM: Yeah. If you can do that, I bet you you’ll find that they do have a repair product for the floor. Because you’re not the first one that’s dropped something on the floor and had a chip.

    LESLIE: And you’re not going to be the last one.

    DINA: Right. OK. Well, thank you. That’s good information. I didn’t even think to look back at the company, so I will do that.

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

    DINA: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Steve on the line who’s dealing with a vinyl-siding issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    STEVE: I bought a house last summer and was further looking at it closely. I noticed that the siding is severely oxidized and I was – I tried a little baby oil on a section of it and it looked good for about a month but I just was …

    TOM: Baby oil?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: Baby oil?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: Well, is your house your baby?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: And a house is certainly as expensive as children, that’s for sure.

    STEVE: Like I say, it looked good for about a month. It brought all the color back to it.

    TOM: When those oils dry out, of course, that’s going to be the end of it. Vinyl siding is not really designed for oil but I will tell you this: there are paints that you can put on top of vinyl siding. So it is possible to paint a vinyl-sided house.

    That said, you know what comes after paint, don’t you? Repaint. So, once you start this process, you’re going to end up having to paint it again, Steve. But you can paint vinyl siding. You just need to make sure – I would go to a Sherwin-Williams or a good-quality paint supplier like that and make sure that you pick up a paint that is rated for vinyl siding.

    STEVE: Does it peel pretty easy?

    TOM: No. It’s designed to adhere. That’s why it has to be special for vinyl.

    STEVE: Oh, I see.

    TOM: OK?

    STEVE: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. 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, it’s officially autumn, which is my favorite time of year and perfect for tackling home improvement projects. So give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, you’ve put it off as long as you could but most of you are getting ready to pack up those last signs of summer. We’ve got tips for keeping your closed-up RV, boat or summer cottage mold-free through the off-season. That and more, after this.

    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: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call with your home improvement question. One caller who gets on the air with us today is going to win a case of LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It stays strong in extreme temperatures, so no more worrying about that crucial bond in your home improvement project – comes apart when hot or cold temperatures strike. LIQUID NAILS will do the job.

    LESLIE: And it’s as good for your peace of mind as it is for the environment. LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive is a low-emitting material that helps builders meet the U.S. Green Building Council green requirements.

    TOM: It’s a great adhesive that really is a long-term solution.

    Check it out at LIQUIDNAILS.com and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win a full case.

    LESLIE: Heading over to Wisconsin now to chat with Dorothy. How can we help you?

    DOROTHY: In the wintertime, we get cold air around our windows.

    TOM: OK.

    DOROTHY: And so we put plastic. Some of them, we plastic the outside up the windows and some inside of the house. I’m wondering which is better or if we should plastic both the inside and the outside.

    LESLIE: It depends, really, on the functionality of the window. When you’re feeling the draft, is it on the glass itself? Does it seem to be on the operable parts of the sash, where the window unit goes up and down, or is it around the trim work?

    DOROTHY: On a couple of them, it’s actually on both: the glass and around the trim work, yeah.

    LESLIE: OK. Well, there’s a couple of products out there that maybe you’ve not heard of and there’s one that’s a weatherstripping caulk. And basically, what you would do is you would close your window and around the sash – you know, the operable part of the window itself – you would caulk, essentially, that window closed, sealing out that draft. And then what happens when springtime comes and it’s warm again, you peel it right out.

    Now, the issue with that is if it’s a window that, say, is in the kitchen that you want to open and close while cooking or a window that should be used as an exit in the event of an emergency, you want to make sure that you consider those before you seal off all of those windows.

    Now, DAP makes one. It’s called Seal ‘N Peel. Red Devil makes one? Did I make that up?

    TOM: Yeah. And you may not find it in the hardware-store aisle; you may have to ask for it. But it’s temporary caulk so – and it goes on and then you peel it off in the spring.

    DOROTHY: So it comes off real nice.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It just pulls right off. And you want to make sure that it’s actually a temporary caulk, because you don’t want to go put a latex caulk in there that’s not meant for this purpose. Because if you try to remove it, it’s not going to come out.

    TOM: Yeah, the weatherstripping caulk peels off; it feels like you’re peeling a strip of rubber off in the spring.

    LESLIE: Like the backing, when you get a new credit card and it’s stuck to that paper?

    DOROTHY: OK.

    LESLIE: Like it’s got that sticky consistency.

    DOROTHY: And I can do that and maybe still put plastic on the outside or inside, right?

    TOM: Well, yeah, if you feel like you need it. But you might find that if you seal away those gaps, you don’t need to do that, Dorothy, OK?

    DOROTHY: Oh, I appreciate that very much.

    LESLIE: Well, you take steps to keep intruders out of your vacation home or your boat or even your RV during the winter. But there’s a potential squatter that you may have overlooked. I’m talking about mold.

    Now, left alone for long stretches, sealed-up spaces can become breeding grounds for it. Here’s a tip to help keep your vacation spaces mold-free through the off-season, presented by Concrobium Mold Control.

    TOM: Controlling humidity is key to preventing mold in any space but especially a space that’s unoccupied and closed for days, weeks or months at a time.

    Now, for the summer, you can control indoor relative humidity in your vacation home, for example, by using a programmable thermostat. Just set the A/C at 72 degrees to run 2 hours each morning and again before sunset and to 88 degrees for the rest of the day and night.

    In winter, set the thermostat at 72 degrees. This will let the heat run just enough to keep it nice and dry and stable inside your home. And these tips will prevent mold by removing moisture from the air when relative humidity is at its highest.

    LESLIE: Now, portable dehumidifiers are another key to keeping mold away. You should have one for every 1,000 square feet and that’s a pretty good rule of thumb. They should be used instead of your air conditioning, not with it.

    Placing your dehumidifiers next to sinks, showers or other potentially damp places will make them extra-effective.

    TOM: And if it’s a boat or RV you’re worried about, pretreat surfaces inside and out with mold cleaners prior to locking up for the winter and again as soon as they’re opened in the spring.

    This tip is presented by Concrobium Mold Control. Fight mold like a pro without harsh chemicals. Learn more. Visit CureMyMold.com.

    LESLIE: Rich in New Jersey is on the line and he’s got squirrels in his money pit. Tell us what’s going on.

    RICH: Hi, Leslie. Yes, I have a nutty wildlife problem.

    TOM: OK.

    RICH: I have three oak trees in my yard and when the acorns start appearing, I have lots of squirrels having a feast. But the problem is they bury them all over the yard and they dig them up all year – all around the yard, all year long.

    TOM: Wow. So they bury the food and then they dig them up again?

    RICH: Yes. So I’ve got holes all over my yard, the lawn.

    TOM: Oh, geez.

    RICH: And I have live-trapped them and taken them to a nearby wooded area but they keep coming back. Not the same squirrels but …

    TOM: Hmm. Have you thought about getting a dog?

    RICH: That sounds like a good idea but – yeah, my neighbor said to try chemicals; other neighbors say that’s going to pollute the nearby body of water. I’m not a hunter and I couldn’t fire a gun in this residential neighborhood anyway.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not a good idea.

    RICH: Is there an effective repellant of any kind?

    TOM: Rich, you’ve got some hungry squirrels there, man, don’t you?

    RICH: Yes, I sure do.

    TOM: It’s Thanksgiving every day at Rich’s house.

    RICH: Come and get it.

    TOM: Well, look, there’s a couple of things that you can do. One of the things that people have reported some success with is – and this is potentially a bit ugly. But that is to lay some garden netting at the outside perimeter of the lawns where the squirrels kind of enter the yard. If animals are afraid they’re going to get trapped in something, they usually go the other way.

    LESLIE: They’re going to stay away.

    TOM: And so you could put that down and pull it up kind of when you cut the lawn.

    The other thing that you could do is there are a number of types of treatment that you can spray on the lawn that gives the lawn a bad taste. Now, I’m not so sure that they’re going to learn from their mistakes and not come back. But there is actually a website that is completely devoted to keeping squirrels away from your yard, that has – is a good collection point for a lot of these products. You might want to take a look at Squirrel-X.com. Squirrel-X.com as in “yeah, I used to be a squirrel and now I’m not.”

    RICH: OK. Ex.

    TOM: Squirrel-X.com. But there is actually a solution that is called Whole Control that is designed for spraying. You kind of hook it up to your hose and you spray the lawn down and it discourages moles and squirrels and other animals from digging up the lawn, because it just tastes so darn bad to them.

    RICH: Mm-hmm. Good, good.

    TOM: Alright? So there’s a couple of options for you and I hope that that works out.

    RICH: Good. You’re great, Tom. Thank you very much.

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

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

    RENEE: Yes, mine is kind of like a double question. I have about a 30-year-old, connected-on-both-sides townhome, two levels.

    TOM: OK. OK.

    RENEE: And I heard a crack a couple months back. Well, you know, it was one of the support beams and it just – like a big, strong branch just cracked.

    TOM: Huh. Did you actually see the cracked beam somewhere?

    RENEE: No, I didn’t see that but I have begun to have cracks along on that same side of the house, in the corners of the wall?

    LESLIE: OK.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: Down the corners where it’s breaking apart. But at the same time, I’ve noticed that the house has become unlevel. And that’s a little part because it’s old and it’s connected on both sides but I’m in Texas and we have big droughts and it kind of shifts a little bit.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: My concern is when I get the support beam fixed and the foundation fixed, I’ve seen on the DIY shows that suddenly they go back and they look and the house or the chimney has just been trashed. What can I do to prevent that?

    TOM: Why do you say it’s been trashed? Because it shifted?

    RENEE: Right. When they did the – when they put in – when I’ve watched the DIY shows, they go and they fix the foundation and the foundation’s fine. And of course, they shift everything up and now there is …

    TOM: Yeah. That’s why you have to be very, very careful when you do anything that changes the angle that the house has sort of settled into. Because if you don’t, once you bring a foundation up, everything else moves. In a wood house, if you try to straighten a slopy floor, for example, all the wires and the plumbing get stretched and twisted and so on. So it’s not just foundations that are of concern.

    I’m concerned, though, about this crack that you say that you’ve heard. But you’ve seen cracks in your walls but you’ve not physically seen the structural crack, correct?

    RENEE: Correct.

    TOM: Alright. Now, you said it’s a townhouse. Is there an association that …?

    RENEE: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So in an association form of ownership, typically you don’t own the structure. So the structure – if the structure was to fail, that’s typically the responsibility of the association to address. Is that your understanding?

    RENEE: I can double-check on that.

    TOM: But in a typical condominium form of ownership, what you own is inside wall to inside wall. In some cases, you own the …

    LESLIE: And then what’s beyond that wall is not yours.

    TOM: Right. In some cases, you own the drywall; in some cases, you don’t. So, for example, if there was a fire, God forbid, and the whole place burned down, you would be paying for the drywall, the kitchen cabinets, the appliances, stuff like that. And the association would be rebuilding everything else, including the related infrastructure.

    So you need to figure out, if there’s a structural problem, who’s responsible for it. I suspect you’re going to find it’s the association that’s responsible for it, which is good news for you. And then I would bring that to their attention and ask them to address it.

    Now, as far as the cracks in the corners of the wall are concerned, I have to tell you that that’s pretty typical and that by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a structural problem. The way to fix that, though, is important and that is that you want to sand down the drywall in that area. And then you want to add some additional tape and the type of drywall tape you use would be the perforated type. It looks like a netting; it’s like a sticky netting. You put that on and then you spackle through that three coats: one, two, three coats; each one thin but three coats. And that type …

    LESLIE: And allowing each one to dry and be sanded in between.

    TOM: Yeah. And that type of repair typically will last.

    Now, after you do the spackle repair, you’ll have to prime the wall. You can’t just paint on top of it; you’ll have to prime it and then paint it.

    RENEE: OK.

    TOM: So I would address the structure with the association, I would fix the cracks on your own and then see what happens.

    RENEE: OK.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, are cold drafts keeping your thermostat low and your energy bills sky-high? Well, we’ve got a foolproof solution, from This Old House HVAC contractor Richard Trethewey, and it might be one you’ve never heard of before. That and more, next.

    TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley FATMAX Snips, featuring aviation snips, tin snips and HVAC tools. One innovative brand, one complete lineup.

    ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with 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: Hey, check us out on Facebook, right now, because we’re running our Healthy Home Sweepstakes. Three winners are going to get a Get Clean Kit from Shaklee. These are natural products that work great and are safe, as well. The Get Clean Kit includes laundry and household cleaners, along with the tools needed to get the job done.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It replaces thousands of dollars in cleaning products and each concentrated solution is going to last you months. Check out the Healthy Home Sweepstakes at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    TOM: And learn more about the complete line of Shaklee Get Clean Kits from The Money Pit’s Green Store at GreenMyMoneyPit.com. That’s GreenMyMoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Katherine in Wisconsin is on the line with a soundproofing issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    KATHERINE: I live in a condo with a basement and there’s an I-beam that runs through the basement. And when I’m in the basement, I can hear my neighbors from two houses down talking in their living room because their voices travel down the I-beam.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Crazy.

    KATHERINE: So I was – yeah. So I was interested in covering the I-beam somehow to reduce the noise but I wasn’t sure what the best way to do that would be.

    TOM: Well, there’s a couple things you can do. First of all, can you frame in the I-beam so that it’s – like has something that we can attach a drywall to?

    KATHERINE: Yeah, yeah, I could. I just wasn’t sure what to do that with or if that would help.

    TOM: OK. So once you – yeah, once you frame it in, there’s a product called QuietRock.

    KATHERINE: OK.

    TOM: And it’s a soundproofing drywall. It’s sold at Lowe’s. It’s pretty expensive. Regular drywall is 5 bucks a sheet; QuietRock is about 40 bucks a sheet. So it’s pretty expensive but you don’t need a lot.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But if she can hear them, they can hear her.

    TOM: Yeah. But you don’t need a lot. You don’t need a lot. So, if you can frame-in that beam and you’re sure that’s where it’s coming from, you may want to think about using QuietRocks to actually cover the I-beam and that should do the trick.

    KATHERINE: Oh, really? So I wouldn’t need to put additional insulation between the …

    TOM: No. Insulation is – insulation doesn’t really work as a soundproofing material.

    KATHERINE: OK, OK.

    TOM: It’s kind of a misnomer to think that insulation works on a wall. It’s cheap but it really doesn’t do much. The QuietRock absorbs the vibration of the sound and I think that’s what you need to do.

    KATHERINE: OK, great. And the QuietRock is just spelled like it sounds?

    TOM: Yep. Q-u-i-e-t – Rock. If you go to Lowes.com, you can find it right there. And I was able to find it; I needed it for a project. I was able to find it right in my local Lowe’s.

    KATHERINE: Thank you. Bye.

    LESLIE: Well, if you feel like your home is super-drafty but you don’t know where those drafts are coming from, you don’t need to guess and possibly waste money repairing or replacing something that’s not really the cause of that problem.

    TOM: That’s right. Instead, you can turn to a professional energy auditor to get a blower-door test for an accurate assessment of exactly where your home leaks and what you need to do about it.

    Richard Trethewey is the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House and he’s actually been on site when a lot of these tests have been done.

    Richard, tell us about it.

    RICHARD: Well, they’re very effective. You know, people get lulled into thinking that their house is perfectly built. A house is made up of all your 2x4s and your walls. And now, inside the walls, you’ve got insulation, we hope, and you’ve got insulation up in the attic, we hope. But there’s also the issue of air that can pass even around the insulation or around any of the openings.

    If you get up into an attic and you could – if you could see the air that’s moving through, you would see air coming up, generally, wherever there was a wire run through a 2×4 plate, you’d see wherever there was a duct going through the ceiling, you’d see it wherever there was a plumbing pipe. And that’s all heat that wants to rise and move out of the building. So the only way you can really identify where it’s leaking and how much is leaking is to do this blower-door test.

    LESLIE: Richard, I think we’re talking a lot about what this blower-door test is and does but what exactly is a blower door? Is it exactly what it sounds like? Let’s explain that for people who might be confused.

    RICHARD: Sure. You would open up any exterior door and leave it open. And then, in its place, you would install this frame and flexible panel. And that would be made out of a plastic or a polymer. But inside that frame is also a high-speed and variable-speed fan.

    Now, what you do is you turn that fan on. It can go either way: you can pull air out of the house or you can push it into the house. But typically, you put it so you’re pulling air out of the house. Now, when you do that and put the house under negative pressure, now, anywhere that there is air passing through these openings, you can now see it where they use a little thing called a “smoke stick,” where you can go right up to it. And you’ll see that air just screaming inside.

    Now, it’s not just that you used the smoke stick, though, because it has also a pressure gauge. So you’ll know exactly how much air is coming in. With this gauge, using this calibrated door, you can tell that there’s this many cubic-feet-per-minute of air leaking, in this case, out of the building. And this is so telling. Now, you can go around, when you do this, and you can – with caulking and sealant, you can go and plug those holes.

    If you’ve ever thought about a house as a boat, you’d see so much water coming into this boat that you would have sunk. And this is a way to sort of seal that boat/house so it doesn’t sink, in this case. And it saves energy.

    TOM: This can be very enlightening because, let’s face it: you maybe have a pretty good idea that your doors or your windows are drafty. But you may have no idea that that exterior light switch on an exterior wall could be letting in even more air than the window, right?

    RICHARD: That’s right. I think people get fooled that – “Oh, my house is tight,” and it isn’t. There’s a couple of tools that tell you everything. One is this blower-door test and the other is – more people are using these infrared cameras to also see where that light switch is letting air pass through it, as well, because you’re going to see changes in temperature.

    There are tools in our use and are available to us now that we never dreamt of before. We always just asked the insulation guy to come throw some rock wool up in the attic and hope that it was good enough. Now you can really tell, in a diagnostic way, what’s going on inside your building.

    If you know this stuff, you’re going to reduce energy consumption, you’re going to avoid these moisture/condensation problems. If you just start bringing in moist air in the summer and you can avoid that, you’re going to avoid all these uncomfortable drafts. People live freezing in their own houses because they don’t even know where this air is falling to the back of their neck.

    And you can also figure out how much mechanical ventilation you need to put back into the building if you’re too tight or you need to put some air in the right spot.

    LESLIE: Is there a way to know, Richard, which is wasting more energy dollars: lack of insulation or the drafts?

    RICHARD: Well, you’re not going to tell the insulation level with the blower door. The blower door is going to only tell you how much air is leaking, so that’s going to be the tool you need for air sealing. That infrared camera is going to be the tool you need to tell whether or not your insulation is adequate and working well enough.

    LESLIE: It’s interesting. We just put in blown-in insulation in our home when we did a siding project.

    RICHARD: Yep.

    LESLIE: And I kept asking – I was like, “Hey, now that we’ve blown this in, let’s do an infrared test to make sure that it’s actually in the places where you claim it is and it’s actually doing what it’s supposed to.” And all of the contractors that we had been talking to about the project were like, “Oh, no, no, no. We don’t do that.”

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But I thought that should come with it, like, “Oh, look, we did your insulation. Let’s show you how well we did.”

    RICHARD: Right. Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify,” didn’t he?

    TOM: Yeah, I think he did.

    Yeah, that’s no surprise. Unfortunately, they just want to dump it in there and hope it got to all those places. But let’s face it: a house has a lot of nooks and crannies.

    RICHARD: Yeah. Yep.

    TOM: And this technology really helps us identify exactly what’s going on. I think knowledge is key here.

    RICHARD: Tom, there are powerful tools available to tell us about the building shell that we live in. And those two tools can tell you everything: blower door and infrared cameras.

    TOM: Great advice. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice, as always.

    RICHARD: Hey, thanks. Great to be here.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Still to come, you want to give out Halloween treats and no tricks? Well, make sure your walkway, your stairs and your driveway are safe. We’ll tell you how, next.

    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, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a case of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it can withstand temperatures as high as 120 degrees, so you won’t worry about surfaces – like cabinets, drywall or even building materials – coming apart again.

    TOM: And a case of adhesive isn’t all you get. The winner also gets a shirt, a cooler and a level.

    Give us a call, right now, for your chance to win and the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, fall is in full swing, which means one thing: Halloween. It’s my favorite. I’ve already got my Anna costume all ready from Frozen. Yes, half of you out there are like, “Really?” Agreed. I wear costumes. It’s OK.

    Well, as you guys are getting ready to hand out treats, you want to make sure that your house isn’t serving up any unwanted tricks.

    TOM: Now, if your neighborhood is anything like mine, the average trick-or-treater is a youngster on a sugar high, in a costume that might obstruct – yeah, that might obstruct their vision and make them prone to tripping.

    LESLIE: Or a mom.

    TOM: So, it can all add up to a homeowner’s worst nightmare if you don’t make sure that your property is free of problems that could lead to falls or worse.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You want to start by checking out the path to where you’re going to hand out the candy. You need to make sure that any steps you’ve got there are in good condition. Repair any loose bricks, paving stones or uneven areas. And even the most well-maintained property can afford good lighting on a night when it’s going to be overrun with very excited, sugar-high children.

    Add the brightest bulbs that are rated for the fixture you’ve got and you might even want to consider some strategic illumination of your walkways, with some low-voltage lighting kits or even some motion-activated security lights.

    TOM: And if your house is all decked out in Halloween décor, we applaud your spirit. But you need to make sure those decorations don’t interfere with safety. So, make sure the handrails are clear.

    And remember that pets can also get spooked by dramatically dressed visitors with the scary sounds they make. So, make sure that they are safely tucked away indoors and away from those trick-or-treaters. And have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

    Now, if the tricks and the treats is what’s happening to your home improvement projects, going well or badly, pick up the phone because we can help you with that, too. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Eric in Alaska is on the line with an insulation question. Tell us about it.

    ERIC: I have a crawlspace and I’m trying to figure out what – the best way to keep the temperature a bit warmer than it is down there and to keep my floors in the home from getting so cold. I’ve got hardwood – ceramic-tile floors.

    TOM: OK.

    ERIC: And my – all of my plumbing is in the crawlspace. My pressure tank is down there, so I need to keep the temperature somewhat warm down there so I don’t freeze my pipes up.

    TOM: OK. How much insulation do you have in the floor above the crawlspace area now?

    ERIC: None.

    TOM: Is it completely – oh, you have none? Well, see, now there would be a good place to start, Eric.

    ERIC: Right, right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s going to make a huge difference.

    TOM: So, what you want to do there is if you have – let’s just say your floor joists are 2x10s, then you’re going to use 10 inches of insulation. You want to fill up that entire cavity with insulation. You can use unfaced fiberglass batts. The first place you insulate is the box joists – that’s around the outside perimeter – and then you work your way in to the floor joists.

    ERIC: Right.

    TOM: You can use insulation hangers to hold it in place. And that’s going to make an enormous difference warming up that floor.

    You may find that the crawlspace becomes a bit warmer as a result of that. Or you may find it becomes colder because now the heat from upstairs is not getting down there. Is there a concern of water pipes or anything like that freezing?

    ERIC: Yeah, that’s what my concern is if I insulate the floor there. My pressure tank and all of my plumbing fixtures and drains are all down there.

    TOM: You don’t have to worry about the drains freezing, OK? They’re never going to hold enough water to freeze and break. As far as the plumbing pipes are concerned, if you do have pipes that are below the insulation – if they’re in the insulation, you don’t have to worry about it. If they’re below the insulation, then you can insulate those themselves with insulation sleeves that just fit around them and get taped off.

    So, insulate the pipes, insulate the floor joists and I think you’re going to find it’s a lot more comfortable as a result.

    LESLIE: Well, for all of the happiness that they bring, pets can deliver some real hassles, too, often on your carpet. Come on, owners. You know what I’m talking about.

    We’re going to tell you the best ways to remove those pet stains from your flooring, after this.

    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: Hey, are you watching the trees change color? Well, consider changing yours, too: the color of your house, that is. Painting vinyl siding is a wallet-friendly way to give your house a whole new look that can last for years. Head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got step-by-step advice to giving your vinyl siding a brand-new coat.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question, just like KMecca did who writes: “What is the best, most effective product or method to completely remove pet urine, odors and stains from carpeting? All the products claim the same result but I know they don’t all work.”

    TOM: First, remove the pet.

    LESLIE: No. First, train your pet. Listen, people love their animals and we all start off with a pet that’s going to have some accidents. I’ve never heard of anybody getting a dog and that same day being like, “Wow, they’re trained.”

    So, we had a similar issue with Daisy when she was a puppy. And now she’s 11 years old and we’ll probably start to have that same issue again. But the product that I found worked best – and it’s a go-to all the time, even now that I have kids that make messes that get into the wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs. It’s a product called 1-2-3 Odor Free. And it’s by a company called JustRite – R-i-t-e.

    You can buy it online. It comes in a kit. And the best part about it is it really works well to get underneath the carpeting, into the padding, even into the subfloor with an enzyme that will break down the bacteria, which is what causes the odor. And the odor will return if you don’t really work well to get the odor and the stain out from underneath the carpeting. You know, on a humid day, you’ll smell it. So you really want to make sure that you do a good job. And it’s a great product for it.

    TOM: Alright. Let’s look at this question from Dean who says, “I’m thinking about buying either a table saw or a sliding miter saw. I want a lower-priced one since I don’t do all that many do-it-yourself projects. Something between $100 and $150 would be my price range. What should I look for, in terms of features, and which saw will be best for general projects around the house?”

    Well, those are two tools, Dean, that really have completely different purposes. If you’re doing a lot of cross-cutting – if you’re cutting trim boards, molding, maybe building a deck, things like that – that sliding compound miter is going to be a lot more versatile for you than the table saw. However, if you’re sort of a beginning cabinet maker and you’re going to be doing a lot of ripping of boards or ripping of plywood, cutting with the grain as opposed to across the grain, then you would think about a table saw.

    In either case, you’re definitely going to have to step up that budget, because you’re just not going to find very many options between $100 and $150. You’re going to find some no-name brands, maybe some wholesale freight-type deals, that sort of thing. I don’t think it’s going to happen, so I would tell you that you should probably about double that budget to around $250 to $300.

    And in that range, you have quite a few options. Most of the major manufacturers have good-quality tools in that price range and you can really make an intelligent decision. But in terms of which is best, it really depends on what products you’re tackling.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? Since you say, right in the beginning, that you don’t tackle that many do-it-yourself projects, a table saw – even for myself, who have been building forever and a day – a table saw still can be very intimidating. So if you’re a beginning do-it-yourselfer, this might not be something that you want to have at home.

    If you go to your home center on a not-so-busy day, not a weekend day, they’ll actually rip boards for you. And that might be something that you want to tackle, have them do. And then if you have a compound miter, that’ll help you with all the other bits and pieces in your projects.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on this fine fall fix-up day. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips, some advice on some projects that you’re tackling this season. And if not, remember, you can log on 24 hours a day to MoneyPit.com and post your questions there if you couldn’t get through to us on the air. Because we do respond to those frequently, as well as on our Facebook page.

    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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (Copyright 2014 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.)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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects on this beautiful fall day. What are you working on? Do you want to make your home warmer, more comfortable, cut those energy bills? Are you looking ahead to the long, chilly winter and you would like to make your house beautiful and comfortable from the inside? Perhaps you want to do some decorating? Perhaps you want to do some painting, some rearranging? We’re here to help you with all those projects and more. Help yourself, first, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Just ahead this hour, if you’ve tried caulk, weatherstripping, bought heavy drapes but you still can’t get rid of those mysterious drafts, we’re going to tell you about a foolproof way to pinpoint exactly where the cold is coming in so you can eliminate those gusts and high energy bills for good.

    LESLIE: And speaking of the cooler weather, we want to make sure that when you’re closing your vacation home or boat or even RV, it doesn’t open up the chance of mold getting in. We’ve got tips for keeping it away while you are, just ahead.

    TOM: And also this hour, it won’t be long before the trick-or-treaters are headed to your door. We don’t want you to let unsafe walkways, stairs or driveways turn their boos to boo-hoos. We’ve got the full checklist for making sure your property is free of hazardous tricks, just in time for Halloween.

    LESLIE: And are you tired of extreme temperatures doing a number on your home improvement projects? Well, today’s prize might be exactly what you need. LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Constructive Adhesive is ideal for heavy-duty jobs inside and outside your home. And it can withstand temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Perfect for our California listeners. Sorry, guys.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: I know it’s been hot out there.

    We’ve got a case of it for one caller we’re going to talk with on the air today.

    TOM: It’s worth 50 bucks and comes with some other fun stuff, like a shirt and a cooler. So call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Dina in Iowa is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you?

    DINA: My husband and I – about, oh, probably three or four years ago – did some remodeling in our kitchen. And we decided on getting some of the laminate, fake-travertine floor.

    TOM: OK.

    DINA: And we went to our local Habitat for Humanity store and got – they’re like planks; they’re planks of the floor. And we installed them and they looked beautiful. But over the course of the last couple years, things have fallen and chunks have come out. Like some places it’s just a scratch here or there but in other places there are some chunks. And luckily, the floor has kind of a brown-rock appearance, so some of them aren’t noticeable. But there is one that’s fairly large and once you start looking, you can see just how many there are.

    So, we can’t go back to the store and get more because it’s a ReStore; they only have limited quantities. And really, replacing all that is going to be really tough. I didn’t know if you had a way to fix this or any suggestions?

    TOM: Well, there’s a lot of difference in the quality of laminate floors and some are going to be more durable than others. For those that are not aware, laminate floors are similar to laminate countertops except, for the most part, they’re about 20 times more durable.

    Now, if you know the manufacturer of the floor – I don’t know if that’s possible. Most manufacturers actually have a sort of touch-up compound. It comes, typically, in a tube – it looks like a toothpaste tube – where you can actually squeeze some of the stuff out and patch the floor and come up with a color that’s reasonably close. If you don’t have that, you may be able to find one from another manufacturer that’s close to this.

    DINA: OK. I do remember we looked at the flooring. I don’t remember the name but I do remember it was a major name brand, because we looked it up online to read about it.

    TOM: OK.

    DINA: So, I think we may have one or two squares somewhere; maybe I can look on the back and give them a call. That’s great information.

    TOM: Yeah. If you can do that, I bet you you’ll find that they do have a repair product for the floor. Because you’re not the first one that’s dropped something on the floor and had a chip.

    LESLIE: And you’re not going to be the last one.

    DINA: Right. OK. Well, thank you. That’s good information. I didn’t even think to look back at the company, so I will do that.

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

    DINA: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Steve on the line who’s dealing with a vinyl-siding issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    STEVE: I bought a house last summer and was further looking at it closely. I noticed that the siding is severely oxidized and I was – I tried a little baby oil on a section of it and it looked good for about a month but I just was …

    TOM: Baby oil?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: Baby oil?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: Well, is your house your baby?

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: And a house is certainly as expensive as children, that’s for sure.

    STEVE: Like I say, it looked good for about a month. It brought all the color back to it.

    TOM: When those oils dry out, of course, that’s going to be the end of it. Vinyl siding is not really designed for oil but I will tell you this: there are paints that you can put on top of vinyl siding. So it is possible to paint a vinyl-sided house.

    That said, you know what comes after paint, don’t you? Repaint. So, once you start this process, you’re going to end up having to paint it again, Steve. But you can paint vinyl siding. You just need to make sure – I would go to a Sherwin-Williams or a good-quality paint supplier like that and make sure that you pick up a paint that is rated for vinyl siding.

    STEVE: Does it peel pretty easy?

    TOM: No. It’s designed to adhere. That’s why it has to be special for vinyl.

    STEVE: Oh, I see.

    TOM: OK?

    STEVE: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. 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, it’s officially autumn, which is my favorite time of year and perfect for tackling home improvement projects. So give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, you’ve put it off as long as you could but most of you are getting ready to pack up those last signs of summer. We’ve got tips for keeping your closed-up RV, boat or summer cottage mold-free through the off-season. That and more, after this.

    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: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call with your home improvement question. One caller who gets on the air with us today is going to win a case of LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It stays strong in extreme temperatures, so no more worrying about that crucial bond in your home improvement project – comes apart when hot or cold temperatures strike. LIQUID NAILS will do the job.

    LESLIE: And it’s as good for your peace of mind as it is for the environment. LIQUID NAILS Brand Extreme Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive is a low-emitting material that helps builders meet the U.S. Green Building Council green requirements.

    TOM: It’s a great adhesive that really is a long-term solution.

    Check it out at LIQUIDNAILS.com and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win a full case.

    LESLIE: Heading over to Wisconsin now to chat with Dorothy. How can we help you?

    DOROTHY: In the wintertime, we get cold air around our windows.

    TOM: OK.

    DOROTHY: And so we put plastic. Some of them, we plastic the outside up the windows and some inside of the house. I’m wondering which is better or if we should plastic both the inside and the outside.

    LESLIE: It depends, really, on the functionality of the window. When you’re feeling the draft, is it on the glass itself? Does it seem to be on the operable parts of the sash, where the window unit goes up and down, or is it around the trim work?

    DOROTHY: On a couple of them, it’s actually on both: the glass and around the trim work, yeah.

    LESLIE: OK. Well, there’s a couple of products out there that maybe you’ve not heard of and there’s one that’s a weatherstripping caulk. And basically, what you would do is you would close your window and around the sash – you know, the operable part of the window itself – you would caulk, essentially, that window closed, sealing out that draft. And then what happens when springtime comes and it’s warm again, you peel it right out.

    Now, the issue with that is if it’s a window that, say, is in the kitchen that you want to open and close while cooking or a window that should be used as an exit in the event of an emergency, you want to make sure that you consider those before you seal off all of those windows.

    Now, DAP makes one. It’s called Seal ‘N Peel. Red Devil makes one? Did I make that up?

    TOM: Yeah. And you may not find it in the hardware-store aisle; you may have to ask for it. But it’s temporary caulk so – and it goes on and then you peel it off in the spring.

    DOROTHY: So it comes off real nice.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It just pulls right off. And you want to make sure that it’s actually a temporary caulk, because you don’t want to go put a latex caulk in there that’s not meant for this purpose. Because if you try to remove it, it’s not going to come out.

    TOM: Yeah, the weatherstripping caulk peels off; it feels like you’re peeling a strip of rubber off in the spring.

    LESLIE: Like the backing, when you get a new credit card and it’s stuck to that paper?

    DOROTHY: OK.

    LESLIE: Like it’s got that sticky consistency.

    DOROTHY: And I can do that and maybe still put plastic on the outside or inside, right?

    TOM: Well, yeah, if you feel like you need it. But you might find that if you seal away those gaps, you don’t need to do that, Dorothy, OK?

    DOROTHY: Oh, I appreciate that very much.

    LESLIE: Well, you take steps to keep intruders out of your vacation home or your boat or even your RV during the winter. But there’s a potential squatter that you may have overlooked. I’m talking about mold.

    Now, left alone for long stretches, sealed-up spaces can become breeding grounds for it. Here’s a tip to help keep your vacation spaces mold-free through the off-season, presented by Concrobium Mold Control.

    TOM: Controlling humidity is key to preventing mold in any space but especially a space that’s unoccupied and closed for days, weeks or months at a time.

    Now, for the summer, you can control indoor relative humidity in your vacation home, for example, by using a programmable thermostat. Just set the A/C at 72 degrees to run 2 hours each morning and again before sunset and to 88 degrees for the rest of the day and night.

    In winter, set the thermostat at 72 degrees. This will let the heat run just enough to keep it nice and dry and stable inside your home. And these tips will prevent mold by removing moisture from the air when relative humidity is at its highest.

    LESLIE: Now, portable dehumidifiers are another key to keeping mold away. You should have one for every 1,000 square feet and that’s a pretty good rule of thumb. They should be used instead of your air conditioning, not with it.

    Placing your dehumidifiers next to sinks, showers or other potentially damp places will make them extra-effective.

    TOM: And if it’s a boat or RV you’re worried about, pretreat surfaces inside and out with mold cleaners prior to locking up for the winter and again as soon as they’re opened in the spring.

    This tip is presented by Concrobium Mold Control. Fight mold like a pro without harsh chemicals. Learn more. Visit CureMyMold.com.

    LESLIE: Rich in New Jersey is on the line and he’s got squirrels in his money pit. Tell us what’s going on.

    RICH: Hi, Leslie. Yes, I have a nutty wildlife problem.

    TOM: OK.

    RICH: I have three oak trees in my yard and when the acorns start appearing, I have lots of squirrels having a feast. But the problem is they bury them all over the yard and they dig them up all year – all around the yard, all year long.

    TOM: Wow. So they bury the food and then they dig them up again?

    RICH: Yes. So I’ve got holes all over my yard, the lawn.

    TOM: Oh, geez.

    RICH: And I have live-trapped them and taken them to a nearby wooded area but they keep coming back. Not the same squirrels but …

    TOM: Hmm. Have you thought about getting a dog?

    RICH: That sounds like a good idea but – yeah, my neighbor said to try chemicals; other neighbors say that’s going to pollute the nearby body of water. I’m not a hunter and I couldn’t fire a gun in this residential neighborhood anyway.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not a good idea.

    RICH: Is there an effective repellant of any kind?

    TOM: Rich, you’ve got some hungry squirrels there, man, don’t you?

    RICH: Yes, I sure do.

    TOM: It’s Thanksgiving every day at Rich’s house.

    RICH: Come and get it.

    TOM: Well, look, there’s a couple of things that you can do. One of the things that people have reported some success with is – and this is potentially a bit ugly. But that is to lay some garden netting at the outside perimeter of the lawns where the squirrels kind of enter the yard. If animals are afraid they’re going to get trapped in something, they usually go the other way.

    LESLIE: They’re going to stay away.

    TOM: And so you could put that down and pull it up kind of when you cut the lawn.

    The other thing that you could do is there are a number of types of treatment that you can spray on the lawn that gives the lawn a bad taste. Now, I’m not so sure that they’re going to learn from their mistakes and not come back. But there is actually a website that is completely devoted to keeping squirrels away from your yard, that has – is a good collection point for a lot of these products. You might want to take a look at Squirrel-X.com. Squirrel-X.com as in “yeah, I used to be a squirrel and now I’m not.”

    RICH: OK. Ex.

    TOM: Squirrel-X.com. But there is actually a solution that is called Whole Control that is designed for spraying. You kind of hook it up to your hose and you spray the lawn down and it discourages moles and squirrels and other animals from digging up the lawn, because it just tastes so darn bad to them.

    RICH: Mm-hmm. Good, good.

    TOM: Alright? So there’s a couple of options for you and I hope that that works out.

    RICH: Good. You’re great, Tom. Thank you very much.

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

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

    RENEE: Yes, mine is kind of like a double question. I have about a 30-year-old, connected-on-both-sides townhome, two levels.

    TOM: OK. OK.

    RENEE: And I heard a crack a couple months back. Well, you know, it was one of the support beams and it just – like a big, strong branch just cracked.

    TOM: Huh. Did you actually see the cracked beam somewhere?

    RENEE: No, I didn’t see that but I have begun to have cracks along on that same side of the house, in the corners of the wall?

    LESLIE: OK.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: Down the corners where it’s breaking apart. But at the same time, I’ve noticed that the house has become unlevel. And that’s a little part because it’s old and it’s connected on both sides but I’m in Texas and we have big droughts and it kind of shifts a little bit.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: My concern is when I get the support beam fixed and the foundation fixed, I’ve seen on the DIY shows that suddenly they go back and they look and the house or the chimney has just been trashed. What can I do to prevent that?

    TOM: Why do you say it’s been trashed? Because it shifted?

    RENEE: Right. When they did the – when they put in – when I’ve watched the DIY shows, they go and they fix the foundation and the foundation’s fine. And of course, they shift everything up and now there is …

    TOM: Yeah. That’s why you have to be very, very careful when you do anything that changes the angle that the house has sort of settled into. Because if you don’t, once you bring a foundation up, everything else moves. In a wood house, if you try to straighten a slopy floor, for example, all the wires and the plumbing get stretched and twisted and so on. So it’s not just foundations that are of concern.

    I’m concerned, though, about this crack that you say that you’ve heard. But you’ve seen cracks in your walls but you’ve not physically seen the structural crack, correct?

    RENEE: Correct.

    TOM: Alright. Now, you said it’s a townhouse. Is there an association that …?

    RENEE: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So in an association form of ownership, typically you don’t own the structure. So the structure – if the structure was to fail, that’s typically the responsibility of the association to address. Is that your understanding?

    RENEE: I can double-check on that.

    TOM: But in a typical condominium form of ownership, what you own is inside wall to inside wall. In some cases, you own the …

    LESLIE: And then what’s beyond that wall is not yours.

    TOM: Right. In some cases, you own the drywall; in some cases, you don’t. So, for example, if there was a fire, God forbid, and the whole place burned down, you would be paying for the drywall, the kitchen cabinets, the appliances, stuff like that. And the association would be rebuilding everything else, including the related infrastructure.

    So you need to figure out, if there’s a structural problem, who’s responsible for it. I suspect you’re going to find it’s the association that’s responsible for it, which is good news for you. And then I would bring that to their attention and ask them to address it.

    Now, as far as the cracks in the corners of the wall are concerned, I have to tell you that that’s pretty typical and that by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a structural problem. The way to fix that, though, is important and that is that you want to sand down the drywall in that area. And then you want to add some additional tape and the type of drywall tape you use would be the perforated type. It looks like a netting; it’s like a sticky netting. You put that on and then you spackle through that three coats: one, two, three coats; each one thin but three coats. And that type …

    LESLIE: And allowing each one to dry and be sanded in between.

    TOM: Yeah. And that type of repair typically will last.

    Now, after you do the spackle repair, you’ll have to prime the wall. You can’t just paint on top of it; you’ll have to prime it and then paint it.

    RENEE: OK.

    TOM: So I would address the structure with the association, I would fix the cracks on your own and then see what happens.

    RENEE: OK.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, are cold drafts keeping your thermostat low and your energy bills sky-high? Well, we’ve got a foolproof solution, from This Old House HVAC contractor Richard Trethewey, and it might be one you’ve never heard of before. That and more, next.

    TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley FATMAX Snips, featuring aviation snips, tin snips and HVAC tools. One innovative brand, one complete lineup.

    ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with 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: Hey, check us out on Facebook, right now, because we’re running our Healthy Home Sweepstakes. Three winners are going to get a Get Clean Kit from Shaklee. These are natural products that work great and are safe, as well. The Get Clean Kit includes laundry and household cleaners, along with the tools needed to get the job done.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It replaces thousands of dollars in cleaning products and each concentrated solution is going to last you months. Check out the Healthy Home Sweepstakes at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    TOM: And learn more about the complete line of Shaklee Get Clean Kits from The Money Pit’s Green Store at GreenMyMoneyPit.com. That’s GreenMyMoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Katherine in Wisconsin is on the line with a soundproofing issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    KATHERINE: I live in a condo with a basement and there’s an I-beam that runs through the basement. And when I’m in the basement, I can hear my neighbors from two houses down talking in their living room because their voices travel down the I-beam.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Crazy.

    KATHERINE: So I was – yeah. So I was interested in covering the I-beam somehow to reduce the noise but I wasn’t sure what the best way to do that would be.

    TOM: Well, there’s a couple things you can do. First of all, can you frame in the I-beam so that it’s – like has something that we can attach a drywall to?

    KATHERINE: Yeah, yeah, I could. I just wasn’t sure what to do that with or if that would help.

    TOM: OK. So once you – yeah, once you frame it in, there’s a product called QuietRock.

    KATHERINE: OK.

    TOM: And it’s a soundproofing drywall. It’s sold at Lowe’s. It’s pretty expensive. Regular drywall is 5 bucks a sheet; QuietRock is about 40 bucks a sheet. So it’s pretty expensive but you don’t need a lot.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But if she can hear them, they can hear her.

    TOM: Yeah. But you don’t need a lot. You don’t need a lot. So, if you can frame-in that beam and you’re sure that’s where it’s coming from, you may want to think about using QuietRocks to actually cover the I-beam and that should do the trick.

    KATHERINE: Oh, really? So I wouldn’t need to put additional insulation between the …

    TOM: No. Insulation is – insulation doesn’t really work as a soundproofing material.

    KATHERINE: OK, OK.

    TOM: It’s kind of a misnomer to think that insulation works on a wall. It’s cheap but it really doesn’t do much. The QuietRock absorbs the vibration of the sound and I think that’s what you need to do.

    KATHERINE: OK, great. And the QuietRock is just spelled like it sounds?

    TOM: Yep. Q-u-i-e-t – Rock. If you go to Lowes.com, you can find it right there. And I was able to find it; I needed it for a project. I was able to find it right in my local Lowe’s.

    KATHERINE: Thank you. Bye.

    LESLIE: Well, if you feel like your home is super-drafty but you don’t know where those drafts are coming from, you don’t need to guess and possibly waste money repairing or replacing something that’s not really the cause of that problem.

    TOM: That’s right. Instead, you can turn to a professional energy auditor to get a blower-door test for an accurate assessment of exactly where your home leaks and what you need to do about it.

    Richard Trethewey is the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House and he’s actually been on site when a lot of these tests have been done.

    Richard, tell us about it.

    RICHARD: Well, they’re very effective. You know, people get lulled into thinking that their house is perfectly built. A house is made up of all your 2x4s and your walls. And now, inside the walls, you’ve got insulation, we hope, and you’ve got insulation up in the attic, we hope. But there’s also the issue of air that can pass even around the insulation or around any of the openings.

    If you get up into an attic and you could – if you could see the air that’s moving through, you would see air coming up, generally, wherever there was a wire run through a 2×4 plate, you’d see wherever there was a duct going through the ceiling, you’d see it wherever there was a plumbing pipe. And that’s all heat that wants to rise and move out of the building. So the only way you can really identify where it’s leaking and how much is leaking is to do this blower-door test.

    LESLIE: Richard, I think we’re talking a lot about what this blower-door test is and does but what exactly is a blower door? Is it exactly what it sounds like? Let’s explain that for people who might be confused.

    RICHARD: Sure. You would open up any exterior door and leave it open. And then, in its place, you would install this frame and flexible panel. And that would be made out of a plastic or a polymer. But inside that frame is also a high-speed and variable-speed fan.

    Now, what you do is you turn that fan on. It can go either way: you can pull air out of the house or you can push it into the house. But typically, you put it so you’re pulling air out of the house. Now, when you do that and put the house under negative pressure, now, anywhere that there is air passing through these openings, you can now see it where they use a little thing called a “smoke stick,” where you can go right up to it. And you’ll see that air just screaming inside.

    Now, it’s not just that you used the smoke stick, though, because it has also a pressure gauge. So you’ll know exactly how much air is coming in. With this gauge, using this calibrated door, you can tell that there’s this many cubic-feet-per-minute of air leaking, in this case, out of the building. And this is so telling. Now, you can go around, when you do this, and you can – with caulking and sealant, you can go and plug those holes.

    If you’ve ever thought about a house as a boat, you’d see so much water coming into this boat that you would have sunk. And this is a way to sort of seal that boat/house so it doesn’t sink, in this case. And it saves energy.

    TOM: This can be very enlightening because, let’s face it: you maybe have a pretty good idea that your doors or your windows are drafty. But you may have no idea that that exterior light switch on an exterior wall could be letting in even more air than the window, right?

    RICHARD: That’s right. I think people get fooled that – “Oh, my house is tight,” and it isn’t. There’s a couple of tools that tell you everything. One is this blower-door test and the other is – more people are using these infrared cameras to also see where that light switch is letting air pass through it, as well, because you’re going to see changes in temperature.

    There are tools in our use and are available to us now that we never dreamt of before. We always just asked the insulation guy to come throw some rock wool up in the attic and hope that it was good enough. Now you can really tell, in a diagnostic way, what’s going on inside your building.

    If you know this stuff, you’re going to reduce energy consumption, you’re going to avoid these moisture/condensation problems. If you just start bringing in moist air in the summer and you can avoid that, you’re going to avoid all these uncomfortable drafts. People live freezing in their own houses because they don’t even know where this air is falling to the back of their neck.

    And you can also figure out how much mechanical ventilation you need to put back into the building if you’re too tight or you need to put some air in the right spot.

    LESLIE: Is there a way to know, Richard, which is wasting more energy dollars: lack of insulation or the drafts?

    RICHARD: Well, you’re not going to tell the insulation level with the blower door. The blower door is going to only tell you how much air is leaking, so that’s going to be the tool you need for air sealing. That infrared camera is going to be the tool you need to tell whether or not your insulation is adequate and working well enough.

    LESLIE: It’s interesting. We just put in blown-in insulation in our home when we did a siding project.

    RICHARD: Yep.

    LESLIE: And I kept asking – I was like, “Hey, now that we’ve blown this in, let’s do an infrared test to make sure that it’s actually in the places where you claim it is and it’s actually doing what it’s supposed to.” And all of the contractors that we had been talking to about the project were like, “Oh, no, no, no. We don’t do that.”

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But I thought that should come with it, like, “Oh, look, we did your insulation. Let’s show you how well we did.”

    RICHARD: Right. Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify,” didn’t he?

    TOM: Yeah, I think he did.

    Yeah, that’s no surprise. Unfortunately, they just want to dump it in there and hope it got to all those places. But let’s face it: a house has a lot of nooks and crannies.

    RICHARD: Yeah. Yep.

    TOM: And this technology really helps us identify exactly what’s going on. I think knowledge is key here.

    RICHARD: Tom, there are powerful tools available to tell us about the building shell that we live in. And those two tools can tell you everything: blower door and infrared cameras.

    TOM: Great advice. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice, as always.

    RICHARD: Hey, thanks. Great to be here.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Still to come, you want to give out Halloween treats and no tricks? Well, make sure your walkway, your stairs and your driveway are safe. We’ll tell you how, next.

    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, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a case of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it can withstand temperatures as high as 120 degrees, so you won’t worry about surfaces – like cabinets, drywall or even building materials – coming apart again.

    TOM: And a case of adhesive isn’t all you get. The winner also gets a shirt, a cooler and a level.

    Give us a call, right now, for your chance to win and the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, fall is in full swing, which means one thing: Halloween. It’s my favorite. I’ve already got my Anna costume all ready from Frozen. Yes, half of you out there are like, “Really?” Agreed. I wear costumes. It’s OK.

    Well, as you guys are getting ready to hand out treats, you want to make sure that your house isn’t serving up any unwanted tricks.

    TOM: Now, if your neighborhood is anything like mine, the average trick-or-treater is a youngster on a sugar high, in a costume that might obstruct – yeah, that might obstruct their vision and make them prone to tripping.

    LESLIE: Or a mom.

    TOM: So, it can all add up to a homeowner’s worst nightmare if you don’t make sure that your property is free of problems that could lead to falls or worse.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You want to start by checking out the path to where you’re going to hand out the candy. You need to make sure that any steps you’ve got there are in good condition. Repair any loose bricks, paving stones or uneven areas. And even the most well-maintained property can afford good lighting on a night when it’s going to be overrun with very excited, sugar-high children.

    Add the brightest bulbs that are rated for the fixture you’ve got and you might even want to consider some strategic illumination of your walkways, with some low-voltage lighting kits or even some motion-activated security lights.

    TOM: And if your house is all decked out in Halloween décor, we applaud your spirit. But you need to make sure those decorations don’t interfere with safety. So, make sure the handrails are clear.

    And remember that pets can also get spooked by dramatically dressed visitors with the scary sounds they make. So, make sure that they are safely tucked away indoors and away from those trick-or-treaters. And have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

    Now, if the tricks and the treats is what’s happening to your home improvement projects, going well or badly, pick up the phone because we can help you with that, too. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Eric in Alaska is on the line with an insulation question. Tell us about it.

    ERIC: I have a crawlspace and I’m trying to figure out what – the best way to keep the temperature a bit warmer than it is down there and to keep my floors in the home from getting so cold. I’ve got hardwood – ceramic-tile floors.

    TOM: OK.

    ERIC: And my – all of my plumbing is in the crawlspace. My pressure tank is down there, so I need to keep the temperature somewhat warm down there so I don’t freeze my pipes up.

    TOM: OK. How much insulation do you have in the floor above the crawlspace area now?

    ERIC: None.

    TOM: Is it completely – oh, you have none? Well, see, now there would be a good place to start, Eric.

    ERIC: Right, right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s going to make a huge difference.

    TOM: So, what you want to do there is if you have – let’s just say your floor joists are 2x10s, then you’re going to use 10 inches of insulation. You want to fill up that entire cavity with insulation. You can use unfaced fiberglass batts. The first place you insulate is the box joists – that’s around the outside perimeter – and then you work your way in to the floor joists.

    ERIC: Right.

    TOM: You can use insulation hangers to hold it in place. And that’s going to make an enormous difference warming up that floor.

    You may find that the crawlspace becomes a bit warmer as a result of that. Or you may find it becomes colder because now the heat from upstairs is not getting down there. Is there a concern of water pipes or anything like that freezing?

    ERIC: Yeah, that’s what my concern is if I insulate the floor there. My pressure tank and all of my plumbing fixtures and drains are all down there.

    TOM: You don’t have to worry about the drains freezing, OK? They’re never going to hold enough water to freeze and break. As far as the plumbing pipes are concerned, if you do have pipes that are below the insulation – if they’re in the insulation, you don’t have to worry about it. If they’re below the insulation, then you can insulate those themselves with insulation sleeves that just fit around them and get taped off.

    So, insulate the pipes, insulate the floor joists and I think you’re going to find it’s a lot more comfortable as a result.

    LESLIE: Well, for all of the happiness that they bring, pets can deliver some real hassles, too, often on your carpet. Come on, owners. You know what I’m talking about.

    We’re going to tell you the best ways to remove those pet stains from your flooring, after this.

    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: Hey, are you watching the trees change color? Well, consider changing yours, too: the color of your house, that is. Painting vinyl siding is a wallet-friendly way to give your house a whole new look that can last for years. Head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got step-by-step advice to giving your vinyl siding a brand-new coat.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question, just like KMecca did who writes: “What is the best, most effective product or method to completely remove pet urine, odors and stains from carpeting? All the products claim the same result but I know they don’t all work.”

    TOM: First, remove the pet.

    LESLIE: No. First, train your pet. Listen, people love their animals and we all start off with a pet that’s going to have some accidents. I’ve never heard of anybody getting a dog and that same day being like, “Wow, they’re trained.”

    So, we had a similar issue with Daisy when she was a puppy. And now she’s 11 years old and we’ll probably start to have that same issue again. But the product that I found worked best – and it’s a go-to all the time, even now that I have kids that make messes that get into the wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs. It’s a product called 1-2-3 Odor Free. And it’s by a company called JustRite – R-i-t-e.

    You can buy it online. It comes in a kit. And the best part about it is it really works well to get underneath the carpeting, into the padding, even into the subfloor with an enzyme that will break down the bacteria, which is what causes the odor. And the odor will return if you don’t really work well to get the odor and the stain out from underneath the carpeting. You know, on a humid day, you’ll smell it. So you really want to make sure that you do a good job. And it’s a great product for it.

    TOM: Alright. Let’s look at this question from Dean who says, “I’m thinking about buying either a table saw or a sliding miter saw. I want a lower-priced one since I don’t do all that many do-it-yourself projects. Something between $100 and $150 would be my price range. What should I look for, in terms of features, and which saw will be best for general projects around the house?”

    Well, those are two tools, Dean, that really have completely different purposes. If you’re doing a lot of cross-cutting – if you’re cutting trim boards, molding, maybe building a deck, things like that – that sliding compound miter is going to be a lot more versatile for you than the table saw. However, if you’re sort of a beginning cabinet maker and you’re going to be doing a lot of ripping of boards or ripping of plywood, cutting with the grain as opposed to across the grain, then you would think about a table saw.

    In either case, you’re definitely going to have to step up that budget, because you’re just not going to find very many options between $100 and $150. You’re going to find some no-name brands, maybe some wholesale freight-type deals, that sort of thing. I don’t think it’s going to happen, so I would tell you that you should probably about double that budget to around $250 to $300.

    And in that range, you have quite a few options. Most of the major manufacturers have good-quality tools in that price range and you can really make an intelligent decision. But in terms of which is best, it really depends on what products you’re tackling.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? Since you say, right in the beginning, that you don’t tackle that many do-it-yourself projects, a table saw – even for myself, who have been building forever and a day – a table saw still can be very intimidating. So if you’re a beginning do-it-yourselfer, this might not be something that you want to have at home.

    If you go to your home center on a not-so-busy day, not a weekend day, they’ll actually rip boards for you. And that might be something that you want to tackle, have them do. And then if you have a compound miter, that’ll help you with all the other bits and pieces in your projects.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on this fine fall fix-up day. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips, some advice on some projects that you’re tackling this season. And if not, remember, you can log on 24 hours a day to MoneyPit.com and post your questions there if you couldn’t get through to us on the air. Because we do respond to those frequently, as well as on our Facebook page.

    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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (Copyright 2014 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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