High-Tech Plumbing Pipes, Surviving Big Projects and More
TRANSCRIPT FOR JULY 27, 2009, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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: Pick up the phone; give us a call right now with your home improvement questions, your do-it-yourself dilemmas at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because we are here to give you the solutions you need to get the job done around your house.
Coming up this hour, imagine a future with a plumbing pipe that would never leak, can’t crack and easily bends anywhere you need it to go. Well, the future is now. That material exists today and it’s actually changing the way homes are being built. We’re going to have that story coming up.
LESLIE: Plus, imagine that your house is filled with dust and dirt and strangers coming and going all day. Is it just a bad dream? Nah. It’s just what happens when you’ve got a major home improvement project underway. So we’re going to have the tips that you need to make sure that your big home improvement projects go smoothly, in just a bit.
TOM: Plus, to help get you started with that next home improvement project, one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card courtesy of Therma-Tru Doors. So let’s get right to the phones. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to head south to North Carolina where Phyllis is experiencing some unusual water pouring out of her backyard. What’s going on?
PHYLLIS: When we have a strong downpour of rain, we have water that gushes out of holes in the backyard. These holes are created only when we have a strong downpour and I’m not really sure what’s going on or how to fix it or who to blame.
LESLIE: Do your downspouts from your gutter system, do they go into some sort of flexible pipe that’s buried underground?
PHYLLIS: No. Only a couple of them do. This house was actually built probably in 1952 and we had the gutters on them but it’s only two that really go into pipes underneath the ground; the rest just sort of run off.
TOM: Well, two are enough. Do we know where these pipes are going?
PHYLLIS: Do I – no.
LESLIE: Yeah, maybe where the end where the water is gushing up is the end of that pipe that’s buried from your downspout.
TOM: Yeah, that’s – I have a strong suspicion there because certainly if you have a lot of rain, your water will rise; but if you get a gusher, there’s got to be some pressure behind it. If it only happens when it rains, then it’s most likely that underground pipe.
What you might want to do is you can take a garden hose when it’s dry and fill that downspout up with water and see if it seems to come up in that area of the lawn where you see the gusher and then you’ll have your answer.
PHYLLIS: So the remedy is what; to dig it up and then …?
TOM: Well, here’s another thing that you can do if you don’t want to dig it up. What you could do is you could abandon it; in other words, just disconnect the downspout so it’s not going underground and run it out, at least temporarily – get a piece of leader material. Run it out temporarily over the ground. Just run it out a few feet and then wait a few rainstorms and see what happens. If you don’t see it gushing up anymore, then we know the solution to the problem is to clean out that drainpipe.
PHYLLIS: Oh. OK, we can do that.
TOM: Alright, Phyllis.
PHYLLIS: Why, thank you.
TOM: Alright, Phyllis. Good luck with that project.
I think Phyllis sees the light. (Leslie chuckles)
888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Heating season is not that far away and Richard in New York has a question about radiant heat. What can we do for you?
RICHARD: Hi, Leslie. Yeah, I’m redoing my house and I’m putting a whole new heating system in and I have it scheduled to have radiant heat in all the floors.
RICHARD: And my question is, I’m doing the floors in a Douglas-fir, which is going to be on top of the radiant heat and I’m just wondering if there’s any problems with the wooden floors warping or cupping.
TOM: No, not at all because – and in fact, the radiant floor heating system is going to be a very steady temperature and, you know, it will move seasonally but it will not cause the additional problem with cupping.
RICHARD: I see. So as it would move without the heat, because it’s an organic wooden floor …
RICHARD: … the extra heat will not be a problem for it.
TOM: No, it’s really not that significant in terms of additional heat. It’s not like it’s going to crack or anything of that nature.
RICHARD: That’s great to know. Thanks a bunch.
TOM: And it’s going to be really comfortable, too. You’re going to love that heating system.
RICHARD: I appreciate it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question. Whatever you are working on, we can help you with that project. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, big home improvement projects can also mean a big mess. We’re going to have some tips to make your next one go a lot more smoothly, 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: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card. You can use it towards a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal. It’s a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru, which is available exclusively at Lowe’s. Benchmark doors are made for easy installation and they’ve got the look of wood with all the benefits of fiberglass: no rotting, warping, swelling or cracking. If you want to win that $50 gift card, though, you’ve got to pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question.
LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you’re planning a major home improvement project at your money pit this summer like, say, window replacement.
So now, you’re working on these windows. You might start thinking, “Geez, are birds going to fly into my house when you take my windows out? Should I be turning up the air conditioning so we’re not all going to get hot while the windows are being replaced?” Now, these are just two of the common concerns that homeowners generally express to their installers when they’re having windows replaced in their home.
Now, the experts who are our friends over at Simonton Windows say don’t worry; window replacement is a progressive remodeling project. Only one or two of your windows are going to be taken out at a time and then those windows will be immediately replaced. They’re not going to take all of your windows out, leaving your house to look like a giant piece of Swiss cheese with just holes everywhere for birds and raccoons and weather and whatever else you’ve got running around outside your money pit to enter during the entire home improvement process.
TOM: Yeah, the secret to a successful remodel is always good communication; so make sure you have a pre-project meeting with your contractor, before the job starts, to get all of your questions answered up front.
LESLIE: And by the way, if that project is replacing windows, now is a great time to do that because of all of those federal tax credits that are available to you homeowners out there. So if you want to learn anything you ever wanted to know about replacement windows, go online and download the complete guide to replacement windows which is available for free right now at MoneyPit.com. Now this is a free bonus chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, and we put it together with help from our friends over at Simonton Windows and it’s available right now at MoneyPit.com for absolutely no dollars. It’s totally free, folks, and it is filled with a lot of very useful information.
TOM: You know what else is free? 888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Esther in Oregon, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ESTHER: Our roof leaked and it caused some ugly spots on our ceiling tile.
ESTHER: And we were wondering what could we do to get those spots taken off or will we have to completely replace all of it or even if we would paint with a light color, would those spots come through?
TOM: Well, not if you do it correctly. First of all, what happens is when it gets soaked in the ceiling tile it actually changes the color of the tile so it’s not like you can wash it out. What you’re going to need to do is paint but before you paint you have to prime it. It’s very, very important to use a primer because only a primer will seal in those stains so the stains don’t come through the new paint. So I would use, Esther, an oil-based primer across the entire ceiling surface and then I would follow up with a flat ceiling paint and that will take care of it and it’ll look perfect.
ESTHER: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Esther. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in Texas is looking to get adventurous in the kitchen. How can we help you do that?
JUDY: Hi, I have enjoyed eating at restaurants that have the wood-burning ovens. I have a three-foot by sixty-five inch, I think, window and I was thinking of knocking it out and having somebody put in one of those ovens for me and I didn’t know what kind of contractor I would need to – you know, try to find that might be able to do that.
TOM: Yeah, kind of like the wood pizza ovens; that sort of thing?
JUDY: Yes, sir. Yeah.
LESLIE: Yum, and when you get it installed give me your address because I certainly enjoy eating wood-oven pizza. (Tom and Judy chuckle)
TOM: You know, Judy, there’s a really good website that sells modular ovens designed for the home; modular wood-burning …
LESLIE: They’re really cute, too.
TOM: Wood-burning ovens.
TOM: Yeah, it’s called EarthStoneOvens.com …
TOM: … and they have an oven there that could fit in your space.
JUDY: Alright. Well thank you very much. I certainly appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Don in North Dakota is dealing with a situation with his windows. What’s going on?
DON: Well, we built the house about 11 years ago and we put e-gas windows in the front, south side of the house with the picture windows …
DON: … and they started clouding up about two years ago.
TOM: Oh, boy. Well, Don, I’ve got good news for you and I’ve got bad news for you. What do you want first? (Tom snorts)
DON: No. (Tom chuckles) I’ve got to go. It’s going to be bad news; it’s going to be the cost to replace them.
TOM: Well, the bad news is that the fogging can’t be corrected by any type of repair because the seal is broken between the panes of glass and the condensate is building up and that’s what’s causing that sort of cloudiness to it.
The good news is there’s never been a better time to replace your windows because the federal energy tax credits, which are available through the end of 2010, will reimburse you for up to $1,500 of the cost of that window. So if you are going to replace it, now is a great time to do that. And being up in North Dakota, I would recommend that you use triple pane because the farther north you live, the better return on investment you will receive from using better-quality, very energy-efficient windows and the ones that qualify, actually, under the federal energy tax credit program are very, very efficient. So I think that you’ll enjoy the new windows that you’ll get under that program and it’ll save you some money at the same time through the tax credit.
LESLIE: Hey, Tom, another thing is will the failed seal impact the energy efficiency; especially because – I mean they’re living in a pretty cold area.
TOM: Yeah, it definitely will affect the energy efficiency. I wouldn’t tell you to replace it just because of that but because the impact – you know, even if you got a new window, it’s probably going to take you a bit of time to get a return on that investment. However, if the cloudiness is really bothering you and you want to improve your home and improve the value of your home and save some energy and cash in on a tax credit, for all those reasons added together, I think it’s a good time to do the project, Don.
LESLIE: Penny in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
PENNY: Hi there. I’m getting ready to do a major remodel in my kitchen. The whole thing’s going to be taken out and I’m starting over. I’m on a septic tank and I currently have a disposal but I’ve had a lot of people tell me that – and I don’t use my disposal because I know it’s not good for my septic tank, so I’m thinking of not putting a disposal in my new kitchen. Some people say, “Oh, that’s crazy,” and some people say, “It’s crazy to have it.” So I’m torn. What do I do?
TOM: Oh, you know, for the amount of time you’re going to use that disposal, I don’t think it’s going to have a significant impact on your septic system. I’d tell you to get it. You know, once you have one of those, you never want to go back; they just work so wonderfully.
LESLIE: See, they kind of freak me out.
TOM: Why do they freak you out?
LESLIE: I don’t know. I don’t – I’ve never had a home that had one. I’ve stayed in, you know, sort of those suite-style hotels, you know, for a long term while on the road, that have one. They’re noisy; I get a little scared. I never know what to put down it. So for me, I say it’s not a big deal if you have it or not. I don’t think it impacts your resale value and if it’s something in your budget that you can afford and you think you’re going to use it, I say it’s safe for the septic system.
PENNY: OK. My thought was maybe to have them wire in some electricity under the sink, so if I ever change my mind and felt like I’d made a big mistake it would be easy to add one later.
TOM: Well, that’s fine. I mean, you could do that and frankly, most of the dishwashers today need an outlet under the sink too instead of the – none of them are hardwired anymore; they usually have a plug. So why not put a plug down there and have an outlet down there and you’re ready to go.
PENNY: Alright, well, I appreciate your advice.
TOM: You’re welcome, Penny. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Tin roof rusting! (Tom chuckles) George, you’ve got a rusty roof. What happened?
GEORGE: I had cedar shakes put on the front of my garage and what happened, after the first rain I’m getting what I call teardrops from the nails.
GEORGE: What he did he put steel nails instead of galvanized or stainless steel.
GEORGE: Now, I don’t know what I can do about that.
TOM: Not much.
GEORGE: I called him and he has – he answered the phone but he’s never come down.
TOM: Yeah. Not much. He used the wrong fastener, George.
TOM: The only thing I can suggest is if you were to stain those cedar shingles –
TOM: – perhaps with a bit of a darker stain – it may not be quite so obvious. But that metal is going to react. If he didn’t use the right fasteners it’s going to react and it’s going to streak.
GEORGE: That’s why he probably doesn’t come down. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, probably not. And I suppose you’ve already paid him …
GEORGE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
TOM: … so it’s too late for that. Yeah, the only thing else you could consider is small claims court but it might just be easier to stain these shingles.
GEORGE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. No, I don’t want to do that. No. OK, alright I want to thank you very much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, George. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Daniel in Kansas is about to take on a giant home improvement project. You want to refinish the entire first floor?
DANIEL: Yes, that’s right.
LESLIE: Alright. What’s your flooring material right now?
DANIEL: It is oak.
LESLIE: OK. And you want to – what’s on it? Is it a finish? Is it a paint? Do you need to take it down to the raw surface? What’s the condition?
DANIEL: Yes. I want to take it down to the – basically, the raw wood.
TOM: OK, and why is that, Daniel? Is the material – is the floor right now just so rough that you feel that’s the only option?
DANIEL: Yeah, it’s flooring from 1929.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yeah, that is pretty old. Well, maybe that is a good option but let me kind of give you the steps here in terms of that sanding. If you want to do a light sanding, what I would recommend is that you rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen and that will just take off the upper surface of the last layer of finish. If you want to go a little bit deeper than that, you can rent a machine called a U-Sand, which is basically four six-inch disc sanders under the same sort of housing or head. It has a vacuum bag attachment so it’s sort of a neat way to do it.
And if you’ve got to go really deep, I mean really take off – we’re talking about at least an eighth-of-an-inch of wood; maybe a sixteenth but somewhere in that nature – then you need to use an official floor sander. Now I will tell you, though; that’s not the kind of tool that I would recommend that you rent because if you don’t work with it every day, it’s real easy to screw up your floor. If you just twist the wrong way, you’ll put a real deep dig in there and you won’t be able to get it out.
DANIEL: Oh, OK. And what’s the best way to apply the stain?
TOM: The best way to apply, well, stain or the urethane finish, is with something called a lamb’s wool applicator, which kind of looks like a sponge mop. Basically, it’s sort of a long wood stick with a piece of lamb’s wool wrapped around the outside edge and you use a painting tray but you put the finish or the stain in the painting tray and you dip it and sort of blot it a little bit to get the excess off and then sort of mop on the finish; of course, working your way out the door or up the stairs. And whatever it says on the can, Daniel, in terms of drying time …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Drying time.
TOM: Double it. (chuckles) Just double it.
LESLIE: Yeah, because you really do need to let it dry between coats and if you sort of apply a new coat on top of a tacky or not-quite-dry previous coat, you’ll find that somehow the two coats kind of get locked together and then it never dries.
DANIEL: Oh, OK. That’ll work. Thanks so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for joining us this hour at The Money Pit.
Up next, a plumbing material that’s been around for decades gets a boost with a new law. We’re going to tell you all about this leak-free plumbing option, next.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we want you to be part of The Money Pit, so pick up the phone and give us a call and let us know what you are working on; especially if you’ve got a plumbing project in the works. We’ve got a great guest for you.
Now, imagine a plumbing pipe that’s not going to rust or rot or crack and that it’s so easy to install that it can literally bend around walls. Well, that pipe is here right now and it’s called PEX, which stands for cross-linked polyethylene.
TOM: That’s right. PEX is a flexible pipe that was actually first introduced in the 60s and has been used in Europe for decades but it’s gaining widespread acceptance here and, in fact, California has become the latest state to approve PEX plumbing for residential use. Here to tell us all about this unique plumbing option is Dale Stroud from Uponor.
DALE: Hi, how are you?
TOM: So Dale, I have to tell you I was camping with my boys this weekend and we were out in Upstate New York at a very large Boy Scout camp and I happened to walk by the shower building that was being remodeled. And out in front of the shower building were boxes and boxes of Uponor PEX plumbing pipe laying right there ready to be installed. So I thought, “What a great way to get into this interview.” It’s tough enough, this stuff, to be able to put in a campsite that’s in the Adirondack mountains.
DALE: Yeah, it’s not surprising. It’s used countrywide nowadays because it’s such a unique material that’s very tough and, as you mentioned before, it bends around corners; so you can not have to install an elbow, for example, to turn a corner. And also as you mentioned, being used outdoors there, it’s very freeze-resistant; so if – unfortunately, if time to time the water that’s inside the pipe is allowed to freeze, the PEX is resilient enough that it probably won’t break; although we don’t recommend freezing water inside of it.
LESLIE: Now Dale, is it – I mean generally there’s the right tool for the right job. Is PEX more of something that would be better for new construction or because of it’s flexibility it’s really best and most ideal in an existing construction situation.
DALE: Both actually. It is – by our estimations, it is now the most widely-used plumbing material for residential new construction. But, as you mentioned, because it’s easily bent, if you have to do a repipe or remodel, it’s easy to snake it into an existing wall or around obstructions and so forth; so it’s widely used in both.
TOM: Yeah, it’s interesting because you can pretty much feed this stuff through an existing home’s wall the same way that you snake wires through after the fact. I mean it really is that flexible.
DALE: Exactly, yes.
LESLIE: And I have to say, I’ve seen it in pretty snazzy new construction projects where there is just lines upon lines of these PEX piping sort of very attractively run in spaces that are not finished; like a basement where I can see it sort of run through the floor joist and down walls. And I mean it’s beautiful and a couple of years back, Tom and I had seen the technology demonstrated at the builders show. Do you think it’s something that because of the ease in which pieces are joined it’s more of a do-it-yourself project?
DALE: It can be. In most cases, it requires some special tools to install it but it can be done by a do-it-yourselfer, a homeowner; most of it, though, is probably installed by a professional plumber.
TOM: We’re talking to Dale Stroud. He’s the senior manager for new business with Uponor. And Dale, let’s talk about this California plumbing code change. I mean when it comes to products that are safe for the environment, if you can make it in California, I guess you can make it anywhere.
DALE: Yeah, that’s right.
TOM: What took them so long to come on board with this?
DALE: I think it was a number of factors. One is California tends to be, as you indicate, a little more conservative than some of the other states. Also, the plumbing trades out there wanted to make sure that it was satisfactory before they, more or less, gave their blessing. So the product went through what’s called an environmental impact review – an EIR – and passed with flying colors, so it’s now slated to be put into the California plumbing code on August 1st of this year.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s great.
DALE: Yeah, we’re looking forward to it.
TOM: Yeah, well that’s fantastic. Now, this is a product that, as you say, is more of a professional install than a DIYer but I guess, at this point, if your plumber presents this option to you, you should have no concerns about telling them to go forward with it. Are you still having some issues with acceptance in the trades, though?
DALE: Not really. I think once the trades got used to it and understood that it’s really not threatening their livelihood – you know, it’s easy to put together; they have less problems with callbacks, fewer problems with leaks – trade has pretty much accepted it countrywide now.
TOM: Well, that’s great. So it’s a good product for everybody; good for the plumbers and certainly good for the homeowners. And I have seen this stuff stretch out and restrict and I think it was really interesting that, in a demonstration – and I think you guys showed me this years ago when you were first bringing it out – that you’re able to heat this stuff, stretch it out to about three times its length and it has a memory where it comes right back; which just shows you how flexible this stuff really is.
DALE: Right. Because the particular type of PEX we make, you can do that with; that’s correct.
TOM: Alright, Dale Stroud from Uponor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great information.
And if you’d like to learn more about PEX, there’s actually a new website that is set up just to introduce the product in California. Of course, you can go to it from anywhere. It is simply www.CaliforniaPEX.com and PEX, remember, is spelled P-E-X.
DALE: You’re welcome.
LESLIE: Up next, wood floors take a lot of wear and tear; so we’re going to have simple tips to help make sure that they last for years to come, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And not only are you going to get the answer to your home improvement dilemma that has been just driving you crazy this summer; we’re also going to give you a chance to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card. Now you can use that gift card to increase the curb appeal at your money pit by investing in a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Now Benchmark by Therma-Tru specializes in prehung entry doors – so they have super-easy, do-it-yourself installation – and all of the doors are made out of fiberglass, which can actually insulate up to five times better than wood doors. And now, all of you lucky homeowners out there can actually take advantage of a tax credit of up to 1,500 bucks by making these energy-efficient improvements.
So get in it to win it. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement question and you might be the lucky one that we pull out of the Money Pit hardhat. But you’ve got to call, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Well, one of the most frequently-asked questions we get here on The Money Pit concerns wood floors, so here’s a quick insider’s tip to make sure that they last as long as possible. One word: dirt. It’s the enemy of your wood floor, so you need to sweep it daily. But how do you do that without scratching the floor? What you could do is to stretch a pair of old pantyhose across the bristles to prevent scratching. Something like that will soften the bristles so they won’t scratch the wood and if you do that once or twice a week and you wash it with a vinegar-and-water solution or a good oil soap, you and your wood floors will be totally good to go.
LESLIE: That’s a really clever tip, Tom.
TOM: Thank you so much.
LESLIE: I like that.
TOM: I learned it when I was wondering what I would do with my wife’s old pantyhose. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckles) My neighbor uses it to tie all the newspapers for recycling, which is always an interesting thing to see on Tuesday mornings but …
TOM: Hey, it’s a very green thing to do, you know?
LESLIE: I’ll pass this on to her as well.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Eileen in Maryland needs some help with a bath. What can we do for you?
EILEEN: I have a bathtub that – it really needs something done to it. The house is a 1940 house and there’s a lot of – we’re trying to stay true to that but the bathtub needs to either be replaced, covered up or reglazed and I’m not sure which way to go.
LESLIE: How much do you like the shape and size of the tub?
EILEEN: Well, it’s a big tub and it’s not quite rectangular. It comes out in the front and goes back in so I don’t know …
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: Do you love it? If you love it, reglazing it is the option.
EILEEN: Well, I reglazed another tub in another house and they came back twice and it wasn’t smooth. When you sat on it, you could feel little grains and then they told me that I couldn’t use any harsh detergents to clean it. Well, it’s hard to clean a bathtub [and the kids with a harsh detergent.] (ph)
LESLIE: Without the …
TOM: Well, that’s true but you have to understand that reglazing is not as durable as the original porcelain finish; you can’t expect it to be. And so you have to be a little bit easier with it. But I think if you love the tub that reglazing is probably the best way to go.
EILEEN: OK. You answered my question; I really appreciate it. I just didn’t know which way to go.
TOM: Alright, Eileen. Glad we helped you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Going to North Carolina to help Joe with his garage floor. What can we do for you?
JOE: Yes, I am redoing my garage. I painted the walls and put in kitchen cabinets for storage and now I’m looking at redoing the floor. I’m just wondering if you’ve ever had any experience with epoxy coating or laying in the tile floor which could be plastic or a polymer-type material.
TOM: Yeah, actually both.
LESLIE: Well, actually both are great options.
JOE: My concern is if I go with the epoxy, prep seems to be a big issue on prepping the floor. How difficult is that for the average homeowner?
TOM: Joe, has the floor had any finish on it to this point?
JOE: No, but we’ve had cars in it and there are some oil stains.
TOM: It shouldn’t be a problem. Here’s what you want to do. Two different products that work really well – QUIKRETE and EPOXYShield; very similar products.
LESLIE: And QUIKRETE has the first-step cleanser in the kit, doesn’t it?
TOM: Exactly, and these come in kits; they’ve got cleansers in them; they’re designed to deal with dirty floors and clean them and get them ready to take the epoxy. The epoxies come in two separate cans; you know one is the base, one is the hardener. You mix them up; you apply them like you would any paint product. There’s usually a color chip that you kind of sprinkle on; looks like a big, fat like spice can. Sprinkle these color chips in there; it helps hide the dirt when it dries. It looks really good and I just don’t think it’s that hard to do. If you’re comfortable painting and using a paint brush and using a roller you should be fine with this.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re thinking about a flooring system and you sort of have your mind set on, you know, a tile for the garage, there’s a great website if you happen to be online. Check out RaceDeck.com. RaceDeck. And it’s a garage flooring system that snaps together. It comes in a ton of different colors, patterns, sizes. It’s really easy to install. It looks great. I have no idea what the pricing is like but in comparison I imagine the epoxy is going to be far less expensive.
JOE: OK, I will do research on both of those. I thank you very kindly. You’ve been a great help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yvonne in Texas is dealing with some damaged doors. How can we help you?
YVONNE: Well, I have hollow core doors; they’re the oak kind from the 70s.
YVONNE: And they have holes in them from the previous owners of the home.
YVONNE: We’re going to eventually replace them, so I don’t want to put a lot into them but I would like for them to look better.
TOM: OK …
YVONNE: So is there anything I can do to repair them?
LESLIE: Cover them with wallpaper.
YVONNE: Oh, that’s a good day.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Hide it.
TOM: Yeah, but even if you do that you’re still going to have like sort of the depressed-in area where the holes are. Are these big holes; like fist holes or foot holes or are they little, tiny ones?
YVONNE: They look like fist holes or foot holes.
TOM: Ugh, that’s hard.
LESLIE: Angry previous homeowner.
TOM: You know what you might want to do? Why don’t you pick up some luan plywood, which is sort of the material that many of those hollow-core doors are made with …
LESLIE: Are framed with, yeah.
TOM: … and just put another layer on the top. You’ll have to reset the hinges to make up for the thickness of the plywood …
TOM: … but you could essentially relaminate those door slabs with some very thin luan plywood and they would look great.
YVONNE: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Yvonne. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if your honey-do list is getting longer and longer, how do you know what projects are a priority and what can be put off? We’re going to help you figure that out after this.
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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.
Hey, if you’re online, why not visit MoneyPit.com right now for some free bonus chapters that we’ve got available to you from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. One we’ve got up there is called “Bringing the Inside Outside with Decks, Patios and Porches.” Now it’s got all of your staycation solutions and it will really help you create a backyard sanctuary that is just going to be the place you want to kick it and relax in and have great parties this summer. Now all of our staycation solutions are sponsored by WORX lawn and garden tools and Fiberon, the makers of superior composite decking. So check out MoneyPit.com/Staycation to learn how to get your free bonus chapter today.
TOM: And while you’re there, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us an e-mail question just like Trevor did in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. And Trevor says: “Love your show. Is there a resource that would help me sort out the home improvement repairs into a priority checklist for future projects?” I’ve thought about hiring a home inspector and found one that covers the area where I live, but I’m worried if his efforts would be of any benefit to me or if he would just tell me what I already know.”
Well, that is the $64 question, isn’t it, Trevor? I do think that it is occasionally a good idea to hire a home inspector because, very often, they’re going to find things that you don’t know that exist. I mean I was a home inspector for 20 years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered things that homeowners were absolutely surprised about; that they had lived with for some period of time or, potentially, things were very dangerous. And in your case, not only will you get that sort of safety check and that planning check; you’ll be able to ask the home inspector those specific questions about the projects that you’re thinking about tackling and make sure that those are things that really need to be done and, if so, what the order is in which you should be taking those on.
So I do think, in your particular case, that hiring a home inspector is probably a really good idea because you’re going to get a lot of benefit out of having him go through the house and then sitting down and talking about these home improvements you’re planning.
LESLIE: And you know what, Trevor? It’s also a great opportunity to learn about all of the mechanics that operate your house: your heating systems; your plumbing systems. You know, in addition to what’s structural, they can look at your boiler or your hot water heater – I know, I said hot water heater; you hate that, Tom (chuckling). But they look at all of these items within the house and they tell, you know, what the life span is; when is it going to go; is it worth it to keep it, replace it, repair it. So it really does help you prioritize what’s going on, what’s going to happen and give you an idea to the timeline of all of this. So I say go for it. It’s the best couple hundred bucks that you’re going to spend, Trevor, and you’re really going to get an outlined list of what needs to be done, what you can hold off on and it’ll just give you piece of mind in your house. So good luck with that project.
TOM: Well, now it’s time for our décor du jour, our decorating tip of the hour; and for that, we turn to Leslie for today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word with tips on mastering your master bedroom.
LESLIE: That’s right. You might say that your bedroom is your sanctuary. Well, if you do, then decorate it that way. Toss out that TV and add in a nice, relaxing, lounging spot. Now, you can move in a chair for reading or relaxing or, like my husband, storing your jeans on and you want to use soft, neutral tones to create a soothing atmosphere. Now, fabric absorbs sound; so make your sanctuary nice and quiet and more lush. So use tons of those beautiful, different, textural fabrics that are out there: chenilles, velours, velvets, silks, cottons. Really mix and match it all together; even knits. It will work lovely together and really create just a wonderful bedroom that you’re just going to want to relax in. You can even add drapes or extra pillows on the bed; even a canopy around your sleeping spot to create luxury and keep your sanctuary nice and quiet. So turn it around and relax in there. That’s what your bedroom is for.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, are you thinking about renovating but worried about the cost? Well, you can get inexpensive materials by shopping at salvage yards and surplus stores and you can save stuff from going to landfills at the same time. It’s a green idea that will save you some green. We’ve got tips to help you save cash and be green with your renovations, 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.
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(Copyright 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)