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  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma because we are here to help you out. You want to make your home more energy efficient? Want to make it more comfortable? Are you tired of being stuck inside during the cold, nasty winter weather? Maybe we can help you with a décor project. All great questions; we’ve got the answers. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    On today’s agenda, if you’ve got hardwood floors you have a very solid investment under your feet. They are durable, they look good and they can increase your home’s value. But taking care of those floors is important, so we’ve got some easy-care tips and tricks for taking care of those floors so that they can take care of you.
    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead, one sure enemy of any kind of wood is termites.
    TOM: Yes.
    LESLIE: So, we’re going to make sure that you are armed with all the information that you need well before the spring swarm season to help keep your house off of the termite’s favorite menu.
    TOM: Plus we’ve got some great ideas for a family mudroom. We’re going to help you create a space where you can drop items as you come in and make room for the things that you need to grab on the way out; except in my house, they seem to be dropped and just never picked up.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) And I was just thinking, “And who’s magically going to clean up those …” (both laugh) And of course this hour, if you pick up the phone and call 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we are giving away an elegant set of pillar taper candleholders from Partylite with enough candles so that you can have a romantic dinner once you’ve cleaned up that mudroom mess. It’s a prize worth 95 bucks.
    TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Tim in Iowa is dealing with a mysterious stain on the wall. Tell us about it.
    TIM: Well, I got an old 1920-built house with plaster walls. I got dark – I got, in one area where there used to a window at one time, I’m guessing, I got some dark spots bleeding through.
    TOM: OK. And do you think that there’s any moisture behind those spots or is it really just a condition of the paint finish that’s bothering you?
    TIM: I think it’s the paint finish. Actually, the other side of the wall used to be exposed to the outside with a front porch but about five, six years ago I finished off the front porch, so it’s not an exterior wall anymore.
    TOM: OK.
    TIM: I actually took a hole saw and bored through one of the dark spots or two of the dark spots and I don’t see …
    TOM: You did a little surgery there, huh?
    TIM: Yeah, well that was my first thing because I thought, “Oh, my gosh. Maybe I’ve got mold in the wall.”
    TOM: Yeah.
    TIM: But went in there with a bore scope and I don’t see any mold in the wall.
    TOM: Yeah.
    TIM: And actually, to me, the plaster doesn’t even look discolored. To me, it almost looks like it’s maybe how many years ago some …
    TOM: Sure.
    TIM: You know, some odd, lead-based paint or something that had something in it. You know, I don’t know. But it almost seems to be in the corners where this window used to be, so …
    TOM: Right. Well, what happens is if you get a stain in the wall, that will leach through successive coats of paint. The only way to stop it is by using a good-quality primer and in this case we would recommend that you only use an oil-based primer because the oil-based primer will effectively seal in what’s there and give you a neutral surface to go on top of.
    What people don’t understand is that the qualities of a primer and the qualities of paint are quite different. Primer is kind of like the glue that makes the paint stick; and so whenever you have a questionable surface like that, if you hit the whole thing – and you can’t spot-prime this because, if you do, you’re going to get sort of an uneven finish when you put the top-coat on; but you want to prime the entire wall surface with an oil-based primer and that will absolutely seal in whatever is there and then you could put wall paint on top of that. I would try to stay within the same manufacturer family but make sure it’s oil-based. It’ll do a much better job than a water-based or an acrylic-based primer.
    TIM: Alright, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading over to Michigan to chat with Donna about a painting project. What can we do for you?
    DONNA: Hi. My son has – in his room we had painted it bright red and had sponge-painted over top of it; white. And I want to change that. He’s 13 now and he wants a Detroit Tigers bedroom.
    LESLIE: Alright.
    TOM: (chuckling) It seemed like a good idea at the time; huh, Donna?
    DONNA: Yeah. (Donna and Tom chuckle) So I was just wondering what I should do. What’s the first step?
    LESLIE: Definitely primer and especially since you know what colors you’re going to go with. You’re going with blue and orange for the Tigers, correct?
    DONNA: Correct.
    LESLIE: So you know what colors you want, so you need to get your primers tinted. And they’ll do this for you at the home center. Just have them tint the primer to each color and you want to make sure – I don’t know if you’re doing like a half-and-half; like orange on top and blue on the bottom. But you want to make sure that you’re priming for the appropriate color of the topcoat. It’s going to help make sure that you get rid of that red the first time with the primer and then when your topcoat goes over you’re getting good coverage.
    Now, if you’ve got some sort of areas of unevenness from the texture with the sponge-painting, you might just want to give it a light sanding before you go ahead and prime.
    DONNA: OK, that’s what I was wondering about. I didn’t know if I had to sand it all the way down or not.
    LESLIE: No, you just probably want to get rid of that ridge.
    TOM: Yeah, just make it nice and flat and when you do put your topcoat on, Donna, I would recommend a flat paint; nothing with a gloss because if you’ve got a little texture on there, the flat paint will help hide that. If you use something with a gloss, you’ll see it.
    DONNA: OK, OK. That is great. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Donna. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Nate in Utah needs some help with a home office. What can we do for you today?
    NATE: I’m building (AUDIO GAP) and I’m building an office. I got the walls all up and I drywalled the outside of the walls but I’m noticing a really annoying cracking, popping, creaking sound in my floor that wasn’t there before I put this wall up.
    TOM: OK.
    NATE: And I don’t really want to (AUDIO GAP) side of the wall if there’s something I can do to get rid of that noise.
    TOM: Where did you put the wall up?
    NATE: Right in the middle of my living room, so …
    TOM: OK, you sort of divided it in half?
    NATE: Yeah, I divided the room in half.
    TOM: I see. OK. And so now you’re getting a cracking sound in the floor.
    NATE: Yeah.
    TOM: Well, you didn’t do anything that affects it structurally. This is just a partition wall. If you tied that wall into the floor, you may be impacting the expansion and the contraction of the flooring products; that could be causing that noise. What kind of floor is it?
    NATE: It looked like it was waferboard when I put the 2x4s for the wall down.
    TOM: Right.
    NATE: And underneath it it’s wood and like I-beam joists that are about 24 inches apart.
    TOM: Oh, yeah. You know, there are actually sound-control products that you can use to quiet a floor like that. It’s essentially an underlayment, Nate, that goes between the waferboard floor and then you would put a second layer of flooring on top of that. There’s a number of them available from manufacturers around the country. You can find them online. One product is called Quiet Curl and I think something like that would give you the silence that you’re looking for. Because you have a waferboard floor or an aspenite floor on top of those plywood-beamed joists, you’re always going to have a lot of movement there and that’s always going to result in a fair amount of sound.
    What was your finished floor plan for this? Was it going to be carpet or what?
    NATE: It’s carpet. The carpet is there.
    TOM: Oh.
    NATE: I mean this is – I cut my carpet down the middle where the wall was going to go and I put the wall up.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) I see. Yeah. Well, unfortunately, this is a solution that would require you to pull all the carpet up; so you really have to decide whether or not it’s that important to you.
    NATE: OK. Well, I will look into that. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, we’re going to talk about wood flooring. It’s a great option because it’s durable and it’s beautiful but you need to make sure you know how to take care of it. We’re going to have the step-by-step, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning an elegant pair of mango wood candleholders from Partylite. I thought mango was a fruit.
    LESLIE: But it’s also wood.
    TOM: Apparently. (Leslie chuckles) They stand 10 to 12 inches tall and their dark look will coordinate beautifully in any décor. They hold pillars or tapered candles. It’s a prize worth nearly $95; going to go out to one caller who reaches us for this hour’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now when it comes to decorating, when you’re thinking about things that are going to be durable, long-lasting, beautiful and add to the value of your home, wood floors are certainly one of those things that are pretty much on the top of the list. And over time, the value is actually going to increase because instead of becoming damaged, I mean think about it; the wood floors, they actually age and then they fade and they take on this beautiful patina. So you just want to make sure that you take care of them so that they age gracefully and continue to be beautiful.
    And dirt, it’s everywhere and it is your floor’s worst enemy. So you want to make sure that you sweep daily. And you want to think about stretching an old pair of pantyhose across the bristles to prevent scratching of that wood floor because some of the finishes that are on that wood floor are not as durable as others, so you want to make sure that you’re not scratching and marring the surface of the floor. Then you want to make sure that you mop once or twice a week with just vinegar and water solution or even like a good oil soap. That’s all you need.
    And when you come in the door, take off your shoes. Don’t wear them around the house; just ditch them when you get in.
    TOM: Spoken like a true mom.
    LESLIE: Exactly.
    TOM: And make sure that you only use a damp mop. You don’t want to let puddles of water sit on the wood floor for too long; so either use a well-rung-out mop or you might even want to hand-dry with a soft cloth after mopping because water is the enemy of the wood floor.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to the phones.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Maria in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    MARIA: Well, thank you for taking my call, Tom and Leslie. During the last holiday, I had a lot of candle wax dropped onto a white, painted, wooden surface and I have not attacked this problem yet. It’s really a lot. I didn’t realize it was happening, so a lot was just sitting there. How will I eliminate that?
    TOM: Hmm. White candle wax on a wood table?
    MARIA: No, candle wax on a white wood table; painted.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) And it’s probably red and green; the candle wax.
    MARIA: Yeah, and the candle wax was – yes.
    LESLIE: Maria, I’ve dealt with – and this is sort of a good solution when you get candle wax on fabric or carpeting and on a wood surface as well. What you want to do is you want to take a paper towel – I’ve also used paper bags; like a brown paper bag – and sort of open it up and lay it flat over the wax. And then you want to take your iron …
    MARIA: Ooh.
    LESLIE: … and make sure it’s not on a steam setting. You want to make sure it’s on a low setting like warm and then you want to put the iron on top of the wax. You don’t want to hold it there but just kind of put it over there and a grocery bag works great if your supermarket is still giving out those paper bags. And you want to just sort of …
    MARIA: Sort of iron it?
    LESLIE: And just iron it and then it should, if it works, stick right to the backside of the paper bag and then you can like – when you pull the bag up, it’ll stick to that side. It’s going to take some work because you’ve got a lot but it does do the trick.
    MARIA: (inaudible at 0:12:45.4) Well, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re so welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading over to Illinois to chat with Mary. How can we help you today?
    MARY: Yes, in January of last year we had – a sewer backed up into our basement and it got on our cement blocks. And so we washed it with strong bleach water and it was strong enough water that we had to have the windows and the door open so that we wouldn’t get the fumes.
    TOM: OK.
    MARY: And then painted back over the brick walls and now I notice it’s coming through again.
    TOM: You’ve not had another backup?
    MARY: No, no.
    TOM: OK, so what’s going on here is this: you have the beginnings of a water infiltration problem. The concrete block is very absorbent. It’s called hydroscopic. And if there’s water on the outside of that block or it pulls up water from underneath it, it will draw back up into the block just like as if it’s a sponge and, now that it’s painted, it probably will push out almost blisters in spaces; you may see stains; you may see sort of white, crusty material. Does this sound familiar?
    MARY: No, it doesn’t look crusty. It looks like little fibers like on it.
    TOM: OK. Well, what you’re seeing are mineral salt deposits. Now the solution here is not in the basement; it’s outside the house. You’ve got to take a look here, Mary, at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. You want to make sure that your gutter system is clean and free-flowing and you want to make sure that the soil around the house is sloping away from the walls. Those two things, if they’re done correctly, will reduce the amount of moisture and the amount of water that’s around the outside of those foundation walls. That will stop it from drawing inside. So you’re on the right track; you’re just not quite there yet.
    LESLIE: Now, that white residue that you’re seeing in the house, you can easily get rid of that with a mixture of white vinegar and water. If you just mix some …
    MARY: Vinegar and water? OK.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you mix them up in a spray bottle or however you want to work with it and just wipe it on there, you’ll see it goes away immediately.
    MARY: Oh, alright. So I won’t need to rebleach the walls then?
    TOM: No, no; because it’s not mold. It’s a salt deposit.
    MARY: Oh, OK.
    TOM: So nothing to worry about, OK, Mary?
    MARY: Yeah. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Frank in New Jersey has a question about humidification. How can we help you?
    FRANK: I have a house that’s 1,000 square feet.
    TOM and LESLIE: OK.
    FRANK: I have hot water heat.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it’s dry, I bet.
    FRANK: And it’s dry. Now, I do have central air installed in the crawl space in the attic.
    TOM: OK.
    FRANK: But it’s – you know, there are ducts in my ceiling.
    TOM: Right.
    FRANK: I’d like to put some humidity into the whole house; not just one room.
    TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah. Well, you can do that. You can use your air handler. It’s going to require a bit of wiring, Frank, but you can do that. Because you have the duct system, I would install a whole-house humidifier and you can have that run off a humidistat, which is a moisture-sensing switch. And, essentially, what will happen is as the water trickles down the evaporator pad – I would recommend like an Aprilaire unit, which works very, very well and it doesn’t require near as much maintenance as the kind that have like the squirrel cage in them; they cake up really quickly with mineral deposits. But when you use it, the air blows over the coil, over the evaporator pad; the moisture evaporates into the air, then it’s distributed throughout the house.
    Now I will warn you, though, because this is not being distributed by warm air – by warm heat through a furnace – it could be a little chilly.
    LESLIE: Yeah, but I’ve heard – I mean when you shop at these kid stores – like, you know, the baby stores …
    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … all of the humidifiers that they recommend are cool-mist humidifiers.
    TOM: Well … (chuckles)
    LESLIE: So, I don’t think that there’d be anything wrong with that.
    TOM: Yeah, but the difference between the fan in the portable and the fan for a whole system …
    LESLIE: Is times a million. (laughs)
    TOM: … is pretty huge. Yeah. So, you know, it will be recirculating the heated air in the house. I’m just telling you that you may feel a bit of a draft. But it certainly is an option and it’s certainly more efficient than buying a half a dozen room humidifiers.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’re going to talk to Vivian who’s dealing with some frozen pipes. Tell us about it. And how cold is it?
    VIVIAN: (chuckling) Hi there. You have a great program; I’ll say that first.
    TOM: Thank you, Vivian.
    VIVIAN: I have a rental property; second floor condo is my unit. Last weekend I had a frozen pipe just in the kitchen in the unit and it took three days for it to thaw out. I had a plumber there who worked feverishly but it still took that amount of time. Had to turn the water off.
    When he was finished, he suggested an electrical box that could be installed underneath the kitchen sink. I don’t know anything about it and haven’t been able to find anything about it and it is called autocirc.
    TOM: Now autocirc are pumps that are installed under the sink or the faucets that are farthest away from the water heater and what they do is they draw a slow stream of water throughout the plumbing lines. And I guess what your plumber is suggesting, that by putting in …
    LESLIE: Helping to recirculate the hot water through it?
    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. By recirculating – by circulating the water, you keep it moving it won’t freeze. A better solution is to figure out a better way to rerun the plumbing pipes so that they’re not exposed to as much temperature.
    VIVIAN: Right.
    TOM: The website, by the way, for that product is Autocirc.com. And there’s a good drawing there that tells you how the system works but basically it keeps the water moving through the lines. It’s designed for people that are tired of waiting a long time for hot water – you know, in the morning, for example – and it just has a small, circulating pump that does the trick.
    VIVIAN: OK, thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Tom, what happens – I mean why do we sometimes hear about pipes freezing and then thawing or pipes freezing till they burst? What sort of causes it? Is it a temperature thing? Is it a location?
    TOM: Well, what happens is in the pipes that burst, it’s more common to have a hot water pipe than a cold water pipe and here’s why. When you have water that goes through the hot water heater, it takes some of the air out of it – cold water has more air entrained in it than hot water – so that when the water expands it really, really expands. It doesn’t compress; it expands and it rips the pipe open. So hot water pipes are more likely to freeze and burst than cold water pipes for that very reason. And in this situation, keeping that hot water pipe moving might help the situation in terms of not allowing it to freeze, but it doesn’t address the cold water pipe which will still freeze and still not run.
    LESLIE: Interesting. But not burst.
    TOM: But – well, not as likely to burst.
    LESLIE: Not as likely to. Gosh.
    TOM: Gets cold enough, they’re all going to burst.
    LESLIE: My goodness. Alright, well I hope that helps Vivian.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Up next, we want to help you create a family mudroom; even if you don’t actually have a room to make the mudroom. We want you to have a place for all of those things that you need on your way in and out of the house. We’re going to share those plans, when we come back.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, if you’re looking for a great project to do this weekend at your money pit, why not think about having a mudroom in your house. Now, a mudroom, they’re a great transition space between the outside and the inside of your house. Now, if you’ve got the space, it’s actually a perfect place to hang your coat; store your winter gear; put the kids’ backpacks; put your briefcase; keep your shoes, pet supplies – like your leashes and the dog food. I mean that’s in like dream fantasy land of all the space in the world. But if you don’t have a separate room, you can actually create a space near your front entry that can hold all of these things. It’s exactly what we’ve done at our house. We’ve got a small foyer. We’ve made it our sort of dropoff/pickup station; take your shoes off; leave your bags.
    So, if you don’t have the space, think about getting a sturdy set of hooks that’ll work great for your coats and your backpacks. And you know what? Now that so many more of us out there are using cloth grocery bags, it’s a great place to hang those up as well so you never forget them on the way to the store and you’ll actually use them.
    TOM: Now you might want to also consider a locker-type storage unit for your smallest family members so everybody has their own space for school supplies, coats and shoes. Keeping things within reach and well-organized in the new mudroom will definitely help simplify your life.
    888-666-3974. We, in fact, hope to simplify your life with the answers to a few of your home improvement questions; so pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Donna in Rhode Island needs some help with an insulation question. What can we do for you?
    DONNA: My bathroom – I went to look behind the plumbing because I wanted to put that insulation on the pipes. And when I looked at it, it’s all hollow in there; so there’s no insulation against the wall or underneath the tub. And I want to put something there because I feel like I’m taking a shower outside.
    LESLIE: Oh, no. (Tom chuckles)
    DONNA: I’m afraid to blow in insulation and it sticks to the plumbing. I don’t want to put paper insulation and I can’t get the pink stuff there because it’s just a little opening; like, I don’t know, 2’x3′ and the tub is really long and it goes back (inaudible at 0:22:58.3).
    TOM: Well now, is this on an exterior wall, Donna?
    DONNA: Yes, yes.
    TOM: Hmm. Because typically, on an exterior wall you would have some insulation. Well, listen, probably the easiest thing to do here then is to blow in some insulation. And if you can’t – if you don’t want to rent the big blowing machine, you could probably – if you can at least get your hand in there or your arm in there, you could essentially do it the hard way which is, basically, just to stuff it by handful of the loose insulation.
    The other thing to do is right around those pipes, you could use spray foam insulation like Great Stuff or something of that nature and use a very long straw on the outside of it so that you can sort of spray and it’ll expand and fill up the cavities.
    DONNA: Mm-hmm. Oh, OK. OK. Well, thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Donna. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Bill in Virginia is dealing with a wet basement. Tell us about the problem.
    BILL: Yes, hi. My house is built like 130 years ago.
    TOM: OK.
    BILL: And I have water seeping in through under my foundation; through under the floor and through the bottoms of my foundation. I want to know what kind of product – is there any way I can fight that from inside?
    LESLIE: Now Bill, do you find that the water is only coming in when there’s a really bad downpour going on outside?
    BILL: Primarily when there’s a high water table. So yes, after we’ve had quite a bit of rain, the water doesn’t necessarily come in when it’s raining but if the water table rises, then it comes up through my floor.
    TOM: So Bill, would you say it comes in maybe a couple of days or more after the heavy rain?
    BILL: It can be a couple of days after the heavy rain or when we’re having the heavy rain, depending upon the water table.
    TOM: Yep. OK, so here – let me explain something to you because you made a statement there which is a very, very common misconception. You think that it’s associated with the water table. It’s not. The water table doesn’t move that quickly. The water table moves seasonally. What you are seeing is a drainage problem that’s triggered by the heavy rain and the fact that the water is not being diverted properly away from the home.
    When you have water that – a water problem in the basement that is consistent with rainfall, with melting snow or anything of that nature – and when I say “consistent,” it could happen during the rain or it could happen a day or two or four or five days after, when the ground is very saturated. That water saturates and soaks in that area right around the outside of the house, which is what we call the backfill zone, and it will either come straight through the wall or it’ll push under the foundation and come up through the floor.
    The good news here, Bill, is that it’s an easy problem to fix. You have to improve the drainage around the house. Two things to do. Number one – I want you to examine the soil around the outside of the house. If it’s flat, you need to add more and slope it away from the walls. Now don’t add topsoil because that’s too organic and the water will stay trapped against the house. Add clean fill dirt. The slope that you’re looking for is a drop of six inches over four feet; about a 10-degree slope. So, establish a good slope there.
    And the second thing, which is even more important than the grading, is to look at the gutter system. Do you have gutters on the house, Bill?
    BILL: Yes, I do. They’re brand new.
    TOM: Make sure that they’re clean. OK? Make sure that they are free-flowing and make sure that the downspouts are extended out away from that house at least four feet; not just a little turnout at the bottom and a little splashblock that takes the water out a couple of feet. I want it to go at least four feet.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. OK, Leslie, cue the Jaws music.
    LESLIE: OK. (sings Jaws theme)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) They crunch, they munch and they make a meal of your house. We’re talking about termites and they can do serious damage. When we come back, we will have the solution to make it all go away, after this.
    That’s enough of the Jaws.
    LESLIE: Oh, sorry. (Tom chuckles)

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bondera TileMatSet, the fast, easy way to add the style and value of tile to your home. For more information, visit BonderaTileMatSet.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Now, if we answer your home improvement, your repair or your décor question on the air this hour, you might win a great prize. We’re giving away a pair of elegant mango wood candleholders from Partylite. If you want to take a look at them, they’re at Partylite.com. They’re about 10 to 12 inches high and they come in a dark finish and they can hold pillar or taper candles. And the winner of this prize is going to get a bonus prize. They’re getting a box of 10-inch taper candles so you can use the holders right away and enjoy a beautiful candlelight dinner with your honey. Now, it’s a prize worth just about 95 bucks, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, in just about a month or so, the weather is going to start to warm up. And when that happens, termites wake up and look for a nice, tasty meal of wood to satisfy their insatiable hunger. We want to make sure that that wood is not the same wood, in fact, that’s used to hold up your house.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah.
    TOM: So here’s the info that you need to know to combat any potential infestation. First, if you’re not sure if you have a problem, a good place to start is a termite inspection. Now, I was a professional home inspector for almost 20 years and I can tell you that of the homes I inspected, one out of three – one out of three – had evidence of a termite problem. You know, they weren’t all active but one of the three homes had some evidence of a termite problem in its lifetime. So chances are pretty darn good that you’re either going to have termites or – you’ve had them or you’re going to have them. So you want to make sure that you do a good inspection.
    Now, it ought to be done by a pro but if you want to take a preliminary look, be sure to check for what looks like mud on exposed wood. The termites form these mud tunnels, these tubes, that are about 1/4-inch wide and 1/4-inch tall, through which they crawl. And the other thing …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And they almost look dusty, right?
    TOM: Not really. They look muddy.
    LESLIE: Really?
    TOM: And the other thing that you can do is you can take a screwdriver – I used to use a long, heavy one – and tap the wood beams around the outside of your house, in the crawlspace or in the basement. Because believe me, if you have one that’s been eaten out by termites, it definitely has a different sound to it. And sometimes, when I was doing termite inspections, that tap – if I wasn’t like keeping my balance – I would fall right through the wood.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Would go right through? Man.
    TOM: Yep, because they will eat the wood from the inside out and you’ll never know it by looking at it.
    LESLIE: Wow, that’s crazy. And I guess, at that point – it’s pretty bad or even far gone, at that point, to fix.
    TOM: Well, it’s always fixable but it is pretty dramatic; I’ll say that.
    LESLIE: Holy cow. Well, once you determine that you’ve got some sort of termite situation going on, you’re going to need the help of a professional exterminator because they’re going to use products that you just can’t get your hands on and that are really going to do the trick. And you want them to use a nondetectable type of termidicide. Now what happens is the termites sort of go through this, it gets on their skin; then they carry it back to the nest and they rub all on one another. Now, you know, the poison is on one and the next and, suddenly, the entire colony is gone.
    So, we want to help you get rid of the termites before any bad thing happens to your house. So log onto MoneyPit.com and search “termite” and you’re going to get all the info you need right there.
    TOM: You know, Leslie, from the archive of memorable termite inspection moments, from my career as a home inspector …
    LESLIE: Yes?
    TOM: … was the time I was taking a trainee out, showing him how to find termites in a crawlspace, and I broke a beam open and they all fell out all over his head. (Tom laughs)
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, God. Ugh. That’s like my worst nightmare.
    TOM: That was a pretty bad – that was definitely a scene from a horror show.
    LESLIE: Ugh.
    TOM: I don’t think he continued in the home inspection business after that, as I recall. (chuckle) I think I broke him.
    LESLIE: Yeah, do you blame him? I’m sorry, just the story makes me want to go take a shower.
    TOM: 888-666-3974 is the telephone number for the answer to your home improvement question.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Ugh.
    TOM: Let’s get back to it. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Wendy in Virginia needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you today?
    WENDY: Yes, I have a bathroom that is hideous bright orange.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: Hideous? Is that what it said on the paint can label; hideous bright orange? (laughs)
    WENDY: No, I don’t believe it did. (chuckles) But anyway, it’s this very, very bright orange and it’s a high-gloss paint and it’s a sheetrock wall.
    WENDY: And there are lumps and bumps in the sheetrock, so the high-gloss paint and everything, all the lumps and bumps …
    LESLIE: Shows it all.
    WENDY: I was wondering what I can do to get rid of this. Do I have to sand it all down and then paint (ph) over it or is there some kind of primer or something I can put on to …?
    LESLIE: You’ve got all of the right ideas, Wendy; you just sort of need to put it together. What you need to do is, because you’re dealing with a surface that’s kind of uneven and you’re dealing with a high-gloss paint, you do want to give the entire room a light sanding. And then make sure, with a damp rag, you just go in and wipe away all the dust on the walls. And it’s not a huge undertaking but it is going to help you prep that surface to take the paint and really help it adhere.
    Then, because it’s a bathroom, you want to go with an oil-based primer and prime that entire room, the ceiling, and let that dry really, really well. And then once that’s dry, you can take a latex paint and use that latex paint as your topcoat. And because it’s a bath, you generally want to go with something that has some sort of a sheen just because of all the moisture that does accumulate in a bathroom. But because your walls are a little bit uneven, I would go with the least amount of sheen that you can; you know, maybe like a satin or a pearl – whatever the manufacturer is calling that one notch above matte. And choose something that’s scrubbable and that’s really durable for the bath, but stay away from the super-glossy stuff because otherwise you’ll be able to see all of that crazy difference in the wall.
    WENDY: OK.
    LESLIE: OK? And this time don’t choose safety orange. (Tom chuckles)
    WENDY: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. (chuckles) As it is, when people come to visit us we tell them ‘Put your sunglasses on’ when they have to use the bathroom. (Leslie chuckles) I mean it is that bright. (chuckles)
    TOM: Alright, Wendy. Well, that’ll help tone it all down. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Let’s go to Orlando now with a question about soundproofing. How can we help you?
    ORLANDO: Yes, maybe you can. I have a two-family house and my granddaughter sleeps above me in my bedroom. I can literally hear her walking, talking, everything. And they put wall-to-wall carpet in and it still really didn’t help.
    TOM: Orlando, there’s a couple of things that you can do. There is a type of soundproof drywall that you can install. It’s called Quiet Solutions and it’s basically a sound-deadening drywall product.
    The other thing that you can do, which would be less expensive, is you can use a product called Green Glue and then a second layer of drywall. The Green Glue …
    LESLIE: Is a sound deadening glue.
    TOM: … isolates the two pieces of drywall and is a sound-deadening glue. Correct. So those are two ways that you can reduce that noise level.
    ORLANDO: OK. Alright, thank you very much, Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Orlando. 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.
    Up next, you know, finishing a basement, it’s a great way to find new space for the whole family to spread out – you know, and get away from each other. (laughs) But first, you need to make sure that that space is dry. So we’re going to help you tackle that problem, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: If you’ve not been to the new site lately, check out our blog posts going up there every, single week. Some insights into the home improvements that go on in our money pits, which some we’re proud of and some not so much. (chuckles) It’s all there.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Hey, that was actually a project for a client that went horribly wrong. (laughs)
    TOM: (laughing) We share. We don’t hold back because we’re by no means perfect home improvers. Sometimes it’s do as we say, not as we do. (Leslie laughs)
    888-666-3974 is, of course, the telephone number. You can also click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us your e-mail question, just like Patty did from Vestal, New York.
    LESLIE: Alright, Patty writes: “I have a hot air HVAC system. Whenever I walk across my dining room floor, I hear a rumbling noise. I looked in my basement and I see that the big, metal thing is right there attached to the ceiling.” (chuckles)
    TOM: That’s a technical thing. The big, metal thing.
    LESLIE: “What could I have done to stop this vary annoying noise?” I love the big, metal thing.
    TOM: The big, metal thing.
    LESLIE: That would be a duct.
    TOM: Yeah, that would be called the duct system. (Leslie chuckles) You know, HVAC being heating, ventilation and air conditioning, it needs sort of a highway to get around your house and those would be the ducts.
    Now, the rumbling noise is usually caused because you have a very long piece of duct. And one way to quiet it is to add a piece of metal on a diagonal basis from corner to corner that has sort of an angle that’s turned up like an angle iron.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, like a brace.
    TOM: And that – like a brace. And it reinforces the duct and stops that popping and rumbling noise, which also happens when the heating system first comes on or the air first comes on.
    LESLIE: Like a tinging noise.
    TOM: Well, yeah, it blows out. It sort of fills up like a balloon and pops sometimes. So that brace will reinforce that. You can also do it with wood, by the way, too.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one hear from Debra in North Carolina who writes: “I’m finishing a basement and want to make sure it stays completely dry. Is a vapor barrier needed to do this and how should it be installed?”
    TOM: Yeah, actually it’s a good idea. With a finished basement, what I would do is I would put plastic sheeting down on the floor and then I would put wood strips – pressure-treated wood strips – on top of that, then attach my finished floor over that. And in between – by the way, I left out a step – those wood strips, you can lay in like one-inch insulation board because that will give you a really warm, toasty floor when you’re all done and the vapor barrier will stop water from evaporating up into the floor space.
    LESLIE: Oh, very nice. And you know what, Debra? Enjoy that added space of the basement. You will fill it up very quickly, I’m sure.
    TOM: Well, in just a few short weeks, it’s time again for you to start gathering information for your taxes. And we’ve got some ideas on things you might want to keep in mind when you’re looking for those expenses, those tax-deductible expenses, from last year. Leslie has got that tip, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Now when it comes to tax season, you need to keep in mind that many more home improvements than ever before are actually qualifying for tax credits; especially if you’re making ones that are energy-efficient improvements to your house. Now, these include adding insulation, replacing your windows, water heaters and certain high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.
    Now, there are a lot of ifs, ands or whats about what qualifies, what doesn’t, what’s the SEER rating, et cetera. So, you want to find out exactly what is eligible and we have spelled it all out for you at MoneyPit.com, then you search “energy-efficient improvements.” You’ll find a whole list there so you know exactly what you need to keep in mind when you’re shopping for these items, when you’re looking over your receipts. Or you can head on over to EnergyStar.gov, another great website. It really spells everything out for you.
    You know, we did our central air conditioning last year and we totally qualify for the federal tax credit; so I’m actually looking forward to tax season this year and you might be, too.
    TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number you can reach us at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s all the time we have but before we go I want to tell you that coming up next week on the program we’re going to talk a bit about retaining walls. You know, they’re a great landscape improvement that will create more usable space for planting or just for outdoor living. And they’re actually getting a lot easier to build. We’re going to have tips on how you can do just that, on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2010 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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