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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

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    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 1 TEXT: (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: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles; we’re here to help you get those projects done once, done right so maybe you don’t have to do them so frequently again. Coming up on today’s program we’re going to talk about kitchen design. You know these days it includes making space for laptops, checkbooks and the homework all in the same place. But if you’re going to steal some space from the hardest working room in your house for an office you need to plan carefully. We’ll tell you the six things that you need to know to create a home office space in your kitchen. LESLIE: And also ahead, do you find yourself just sick and tired of jumping in and out of your car every single time you need to open and close that garage door? Well, if you are, let me tell you; automatic openers, they are the way to go and if you don’t have one yet we are going to tell you what you need to look for to make sure that you choose one that’s safe for your whole family. TOM: And after a hard day of home improvement a nice, relaxing bath is great once you actually get into the tub. So coming up, we’re going to have some tips on how to design safety into those very tight bathroom spaces. LESLIE: And we here at The Money Pit love to give you the tools to help you get all of your projects done. That’s why this hour we’re giving away a Shark combination utility knife and wire stripper from our friends over at Rapid Tools. It is a prize pack worth 60 bucks but, of course, yours for free if you are our lucky Money Pit caller this hour. TOM: So pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller to today’s program will win that great prize from Rapid Tools. Leslie, who’s first? LESLIE: Joan in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today? JOAN: Yes, hi Leslie. Enjoy the show. I have a question in reference to 40-year-old aluminum siding. LESLIE: OK. JOAN: (inaudible at 0:02:12.7) if I can paint over it; what are the steps; should it be latex, oil; should it be primed; should it be sanded. LESLIE: Is the siding in pretty good shape? You’re just tired of the color? JOAN: Well, it is white. It looks as though – if I do power wash it, it looks as though it’s probably going to be maybe a little bit chalking; I’m afraid I’m going to be losing probably some of the color if I did try to power wash it. LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, if you want to paint it you’re going to want to lose some of that paint that’s on the surface. JOAN: Right. LESLIE: You know so many times we see with aluminum siding as the paint starts to deteriorate it sort of flakes off and becomes very chalky. JOAN: Well, it looks as though like it’s getting like a lot of black marks around – you know, closer to the ground level. LESLIE: When you say ‘black marks’ are you seeing sort of speckled-looking mold? JOAN: I guess that’s what it would be called then. I never really figured that’s what it was, so OK. LESLIE: Well, do you have a lot of mulch in the area on the ground where the siding and where you’re seeing this sort of dotting? JOAN: Yes. Not a lot but definitely it’s in front of the house. Yes. LESLIE: Because Tom and I always talk about there’s something called artillery fungus … JOAN: Yes. LESLIE: … or shotgun mold and it appears, a lot of times, on siding and on the siding of homes when you have mulch in your garden and your flower beds, especially right up next to the home, and it’s terribly difficult to get rid of. Does bleach and water work on that one as well, Tom? TOM: Yeah, it will. A siding wash or bleach and water will do it but in terms of painting the aluminum siding … JOAN: Yes. TOM: … essentially what you’re going to want to do is try to sand as much of the old paint off as possible. You could wire brush it; you could power wash it. LESLIE: Be careful with the power washer, though. TOM: Yeah, you want to get as much loose stuff off as you possibly can. JOAN: OK. TOM: And then I would recommend an oil-based primer because you get really good adhesion that way … JOAN: OK. TOM: … and then you can use a latex topcoat and, if you can, I would recommend spraying the paint; not just brushing it. LESLIE: This way you’re not seeing any brush marks and there are so many nooks and crannies it would just be a wrist (ph) nightmare. JOAN: Oh, OK. Alright, that certainly sounds like very good advice. TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project, Joan. JOAN: Alright, thank you. TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. LESLIE: And the best is if you rent one of those paint sprayers … TOM: Right. LESLIE: … you should also buy one of those little disposable white paint suits that you zip into with the hood and everything. (chuckles) TOM: Just so you look totally professional. LESLIE: Just so you look like you’re doing the job because you do end up with overspray. TOM: (overlapping voices) Because the look is very important. (chuckles) LESLIE: Time to talk flooring with Greg. What can we do for you? GREG: Hi, I have a situation where I’m going to replace the carpet in my living room … TOM: OK. GREG: … and I want to put a wood floor down and I’m looking at the carbonized bamboo that’s five-eights thick by about three-and-a-half inches wide and … TOM: What’s the subfloor? GREG: … right now, even though I live in the northeast New England area, I have a slab or concrete slab floor – no basement – TOM: OK. GREG: – and then a half-inch piece of plywood on top of that and then of course the carpet, which will come up. And I wanted to know if I can fasten this wood floor to the half-inch plywood or do I need a thicker subfloor. TOM: Well, first of all, if you’re putting down any type of solid floor – I know this is bamboo so it’s not quite as susceptible to twisting as other types of solid hardwoods but you’d better make darn sure that the manufacturer rates this for use over a concrete slab. LESLIE: Now I know Armstrong makes a bamboo flooring that’s similar to like an engineered hardwood. It’s constructed in the same way where it’s cross-ply-based technology with the bamboo on top, so it’s perfectly made for on slab. TOM: Yeah, if it’s an engineered hardwood floor then you’re OK on a slab. If it’s solid, generally you cannot put it on a slab. GREG: OK. So if it’s a – meaning if it’s a solid wood … TOM: Right. GREG: … then you don’t recommend that. TOM: No, because there’s too much moisture in the slab and it will warp and twist but if it’s an engineered hardwood, which is made sort of like plywood but out of better wood — GREG: Right. TOM: – and it looks like solid when you’re done – that’s OK for a concrete floor. LESLIE: And I know that the one for a concrete slab and I know the one that Armstrong makes is like a locking, snap-together technology that doesn’t need to be fastened down; it like sort of floats over your subfloor. GREG: Right, so like a floating floor? LESLIE: Exactly. TOM: You would have a difficult time putting a traditional hardwood floor over if all you had to nail it into was a half-inch worth of plywood. GREG: Mm-hmm. TOM: There’s just not enough meat there to really secure it properly. So you probably want to look at an engineered floor with a lock-together technology that will essentially float on top of that. GREG: Well, very good. Thank you. TOM: You’re welcome, Greg. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. TOM: 888-666-3974. You know, Leslie, I love my garage door opener; especially when it’s raining really bad. LESLIE: (chuckling) And you’re staying nice and dry in your car. TOM: And you can open that up and drive right in. They’re also a lot easier on the back. But if you’re thinking about picking one up or upgrading your current garage door opener, we’ve got some advice on the best models for your particular needs. That’s coming up, after this. (theme song) ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie. TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler. LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let us know what you’re working on. We can help you. We won’t judge. If you’ve already knocked a hole in the wall that probably shouldn’t have been there, we can help you fix it quick before the spouse gets home and then you get into a heap of trouble. (Tom chuckles) And one of our lucky callers who asks their home improvement question on the air this hour is going to get a chance to win a $60 prize pack from our friends over at Rapid Tools. It includes the Shark combination utility knife – which sounds very, very sharp – with wire stripper. It’s got an edge-serrated utility blade and even a utility knife with LED lights so you can really see what you’re working on. Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to get in. And don’t forget – you get an answer to your home improvement dilemma; so it’s a win-win. TOM: It’s the two-for-one deal. 888-666-3974. Well, is jumping in and out of your car to open the garage door getting to be a little bit of a nuisance? It’s kind of hard on your back, we know that. So it might be time to look into an electric garage door opener or you maybe want to upgrade your current model. Here’s what you need to know. First of all, there are three basic types. There is the chain drive system – these can be really noisy if your garage is connected to the house but they’re also very powerful if you have a really heavy garage door. There’s also the screw drive model – these are good for one-piece doors that tilt open. And finally, the belt drive is absolutely the quietest but it’s also the most expensive. LESLIE: Yeah, you should also consider an opener that has a rolling code technology, which means when you push the button on your remote a coded signal is sent to the receiver in your garage and the rolling code, it changes that signal every, single time you use it so burglars don’t drive around your neighborhood with an opener and sort of just press buttons randomly to see if they’ve got the same one and ‘Oh, look. That door opened and now I’m going to help myself to all their tools.’ So it’s a good extra measure of security to protect your family. TOM: Now if you have an older garage door opener it might be time to think about replacing it because the technology has definitely changed and the older openers, they’re just not as safe as the newer ones. They’re not as sensitive; they don’t have the anti-reverse technology. There are both crushing injuries and pinching injuries that happen every, single year. So if you’ve got an old one – say, more than about five or six years old – might be time to think about replacing it so it’s safe for everyone in the family. TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Who’s next? LESLIE: John in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today? JOHN: Yes, I was looking to purchase a new home and their heating was propane gas and I asked them if – I’d rather go with some heat pumps because I think that the propane gas would be very expensive in the long run and I would like your opinions on economically and the advantages of a heat pump. TOM: The problem with the heat pump is that in this area it’s real expensive to run and very often it has to run on it’s electric backup zone. See the way a traditional heat pump works is it maintains the temperature differentiation between what you set the thermostat at and about two degrees. So if you set it at 70 and it falls to 68 in the house the heat pump runs but if it falls to 67 or below then the electric resistance backup heat comes on and that’s real expensive to run. So if I had a choice of an electric heat pump or propane, I probably would use a high-efficiency propane system. If a ground source heat pump was available then I might go with a heat pump because that’s going to be more efficient in the long run. LESLIE: Tim in Texas could be on the verge of a hair-raising situation. You want to do some electrical work, my friend, huh? TIM: That’s correct. LESLIE: What can we do for you? TIM: Listen, I’ve got a two-story house, about 3,500 square feet, and it’s built in 1968 and it’s got aluminum wiring throughout the whole house. TOM: OK. TIM: And I’m trying to decide pigtail everything; do I reroute the entire aluminum wiring throughout the whole house because I’m [getting in the electrical outlets being shot] (ph); the expansion of the wires breaking; I’ve got to hire an electrician to fix it every time and find out where the break is in the line. Do you have any advice for me? Aluminum wiring, two-story house. TOM: Tim, probably the most practical solution is a type of connector called an AlumiConn connector. Their website is www.alcopstore.com. What this connector does is it basically provides a housing where you can insert both ends of the aluminum wire, one piece of copper and then it’s sort of like a metal bridge and you screw these things down … TIM: Right. TOM: … and it pinches it. So it’s kind of like a crimp connector but it’s one that can be done mechanically with a screwdriver. TIM: Right. I’ve seen that done. We tried – we’ve got some simple pigtails done with a purple top; we screw them in together. But I’m getting breaks throughout the house; like maybe 15 feet into the outlet. TOM: So are these wires breaking down like sort of mid-span? TIM: Right and … TOM: Well then listen. If your wiring is that bad you have to replace it. TIM: Yeah. TOM: There’s no point in repairing it any further. You need to replace it because you could create a fire hazard right in the middle of the wall somewhere. TIM: Oh, exactly. That’s what I’m worried about. TOM: Yeah, what I would do is I would start planning on replacing it; maybe do it in sections of the house; do the easiest stuff to access first. TIM: Right. TOM: But if you’re finding mid-wall breaks like that, which is probably the final stages of deterioration for this wiring, you definitely have to replace it. Now, by the way, the type of wiring that’s used for the heavy appliances in your house that’s aluminum, the 240-volt aluminum wiring, that’s OK. We’re only talking about the number 10, number 12 aluminum wiring that’s used for branch circuits. TIM: Number 10 and number 12? TOM: Right. TIM: OK. And should I go no less than a master electrician to do all this work? TOM: Absolutely. I would use an electrician for this. TIM: Yeah. LESLIE: Heading over to chat with Merrill in Rhode Island. What can we do for you today? MERRILL: I have a problem with my toilet. This sounds strange. Once in a while it just flushes itself. (chuckles) TOM: OK. LESLIE: That’s not strange. TOM: You have ghosts in your house, Merrill. MERRILL: That’s what I was thinking. TOM: Yeah. MERRILL: I mean it happened in the middle of the night. TOM: There’s a very simple explanation. What you have is a leaking flush valve. MERRILL: Oh. TOM: That’s the flapper valve in the bottom of the toilet tank and as the water leaks out, when it gets to a certain level, the fill valve kicks on again and then refills the toilet; sounds just like a flush. MERRILL: Oh, really? That sounds good. I’ll try that. Thank you so much for helping me out. TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. LESLIE: Alright, we’ve been talking about this for months now here at The Money Pit and now is your chance to weigh in on the ugliest door in America. TOM: That’s right. The judges have now come up with the 10 ugliest doors from all the entries received by the folks over at Therma-Tru for our Ugliest Door in America contest and I’ve got to tell you, there are some really awful doors out there to see. I was really surprised by how ugly those door submissions actually were. You’ve got to see it. LESLIE: (chuckles) Alright, well now we’ve heard what Tom thinks about these doors; now it’s your turn. We want you to visit MyUglyDoor.com and then vote for the door and the homeowner who you think are the most deserving. TOM: And that winner is going to get a completely-installed, state-of-the-art, $5,000 Therma-Tru entry door system. So if you want to participate go to MyUglyDoor.com and vote today for the ugliest door in America. Leslie, who’s next? LESLIE: Barbara in Georgia has an air conditioning question. What can we do for you today? BARBARA: Hi, thanks for taking my phone call. I live northeast outside of Atlanta; have a two-story house with individual air conditioning units for each level … TOM: OK. BARBARA: … and since I only live on the main floor, is it prudent to turn off the air conditioning for the second floor or just set it at a higher temperature? TOM: I don’t see any reason that you need to keep the air conditioning on the second floor on. As long as you’re comfortable on the first floor there’s no reason to run it on the second at the same time. BARBARA: Alright, and I wouldn’t have to worry about humidity building or any kind of mold or …? TOM: I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so. If your attic is properly vented it shouldn’t be an issue because the attics are always going to be as humid as they are with the system on or with the system off. It really doesn’t make any difference. LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’ve got more great home improvement advice coming up including great information for all of you who find that you’re spending way more time in your kitchen these days not just cooking – maybe, you know, doing office work; an at-home job; kids doing their homework. So if you find you’re spending way more time in there, we’ve got six things that you need to keep in mind when you’re redesigning a kitchen that’s going to double as an office, so stick around. (theme song) ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie. TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler. LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Hey, call us right now if you’re presently working from home or would love to do just that. I work from home. Leslie, I know you work from home. LESLIE: Sure do. TOM: And it sure is a treat to not have to spend gas money on that commute every, single day. But the question is this: how do you find spaces to do that? Well, millions of us are turning to our kitchens to do just that. You know we used to have to carve out space just for keys and cell phones and laptop chargers but now we’re all trying to carve out, actually, a work center where we can get something done around the house. Now if you want to do that, of course you’ve got to plan very carefully. LESLIE: Well that’s why we are turning to the smartest guy we know; our Phi Beta Kappa carpenter and Fine Homebuilding’s editor Kevin Ireton, who is joining us to tell us about the key ingredients on how to cook up a kitchen office. Now Kevin, if you could tell me how sometimes to not work the entire day in my pajamas, that would even be more helpful. (Tom chuckles) KEVIN: Believe me, I think that’s the way to go. Who wants to be wearing a coat and tie when you can just be wearing your pajamas and slippers? TOM: Especially during important business conference calls. (Leslie chuckles) What’s the first thing that we need to think about when we’re going to carve out that space, Kevin? KEVIN: If you’re going to put an office space in the kitchen the first question is where are you going to put it and the important thing to do is to keep it out of the work triangle; that all-important sink-refrigerator-stove triangle. You want to stay outside of that space. At the same time, you kind of want to be in the main traffic flow. You want to be able to see the rest of the kitchen. LESLIE: Now if you’re going to be making this sort of your home office or your workspace, how do you personalize your desk enough? Because being that it’s in such a social spot of the house, pretty much every family member is going to use it? KEVIN: That’s the first critical question: who’s going to use it; what are you going to use it for. Are you going to use it for serious work or is it for bill-paying? Is it for recipes and grocery lists? You need to figure out which tasks you’re going to handle there and then create a space for that; whether it’s cubbies or closed drawers, et cetera. You need to figure out what you need for your work. TOM: You know the real challenge is just to get the privacy that you need to actually have a work life when you’re in the middle of the buzz that can be your home. I mean do we need to get sort of an on-air light like we have in the radio station to tell everybody to quiet down when we’re on the phone? KEVIN: It wouldn’t be a bad idea. (Leslie chuckles) But different people have different needs as far as some need a lot of peace and quiet; other people like to be around activity. So it really depends on you. LESLIE: Is it a good idea to sort of keep an area maybe on a central wall or on a cabinet near this workspace as sort of like a message center; let people know what needs to be bought, phone calls, to-do lists, et cetera? KEVIN: Absolutely you want a message center. It can be either a bulletin board that you pin stuff up on; it can be a dry-erase board or even a chalk board. But that’s a place where you’re going to have lists that are constantly changing; it’s a way of communicating – took the dog for a walk; I’ll be back in half an hour; that sort of thing. That’s the perfect solution. TOM: We’re talking to Kevin Ireton – he’s the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine – about how to cook up a kitchen office. Now Kevin, it seems that one of the most important things to consider when you’re designing an office is lighting. The lighting needs that you have in the kitchen could be quite different than the lighting needs that you might have for an office. So how do you merge the two? KEVIN: Well of course a skylight or a window, natural light is always preferable. But the key thing for an office space is that you need task lighting over that desktop and you want that lighting in such a way that illuminates the whole desktop without any shadows. Sometimes having a light over the desk with a valance in front of it is the best way to go. LESLIE: And along the lines of electricity, what about extra power? I mean suddenly we’re introducing computers, charging stations. You know, do we need to plan for that? KEVIN: We all need a place to recharge the cell phones and PDAs and all that stuff, iPods. So absolutely. You need enough outlets, easily accessible, to do that but you also need your internet access and while we’re on that subject, you know, make a desk wide enough for two people to sit. I can’t tell you how many times you see two people pulling up to look at something together on a website. Plan for that as well. TOM: And it’s a great space to sit down and do your homework with your kids. Kevin Ireton, editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Hey, if you want to read the Fine Homebuilding article on cooking up a kitchen office, it’s on newsstands now, part of the Kitchens issue, or you can log onto FineHomebuilding.com. LESLIE: Alright, well now that you’ve got everybody in your home jammed into your kitchen; using it for every possible usage that they can think of, it’s probably reminding you of all those years of elementary school gym class where you played obstacle course or poison ivy and you had to climb over things and under things and jump over barriers just for the fun of it. But if you like to take baths you might be undertaking a whole other obstacle course in your own home without even meaning it and it could be a slippery, dangerous one, my friends. When we come back we’re going to have tips on making your bathroom much safer, so stick around. (theme song) ANNOUNCER: It’s time to do your civic duty as an American and vote – for the ugliest door in America. You’ve been hearing about this contest for months. Now the judging panel at Therma-Tru has chosen ten finalists. But it’s up to you to decide who wins a $5,000 entryway makeover. Visit UglyDoor.com to see America’s ugliest doors and cast your ballot today. TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler. LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. TOM: And if you just bought a house and thought you got a really good deal and then discovered that the attic doubles as a squirrel trap (Leslie chuckles), give us a call right now. We’ll help you … LESLIE: Hey, they live there too. TOM: That’s right. They’ve got to have a place to live. No, we’ll help you get rid of those guys at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Besides, getting rid of the unwanted squirrels in your attic or bats in your belfry, we’ll be able to help you out by giving you the opportunity to win our $60 prize package. This hour we’re giving away the Shark knife, which is the first and only tool to combine a utility knife with a wire stripper. It’s a one-button quick change blade that is easy to use and saves money and saves time. The package is worth 60 bucks. Going to go to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Pick up the phone, let us know what you’re working on. Maybe you are finally designing that dream bath in your home; you know with that bath tub that’s just deep enough to get you right up to the neck and your legs fully outstretched and if you can fully submerge your body you’d know how absolutely relaxing a bath can be; that is, once you actually get into the tub. And sometimes that’s the hardest part. I mean think about it. You’ve got to step over a high tub wall while you try as hard as you can to keep your balance; then you have to lower yourself into the tub using all of your arm strength and you do all of this on a super-wet and slippery surface. And if you’re a parent bathing a small child, that bathtub fitness test is just as hard when you’re dealing with a super-slippery toddler on your hands and knees who just wants to get away from you and swim like a fish. TOM: And if you’re looking for a new tub, you want to look for one that has a ledge or a transfer bench built right into the side. To get to the bathtub safely you simply on the ledge, swing your legs into the tub and then you can use the grab bars and rails to lower yourself into the water. And then you say, ‘Ah.’ The ledge also gives that young parent a place to sit while bathing a youngster. The best thing about these tubs – they look like they belong in high-end hotel rooms, not a nursing home. They are very, very slick; very stylish and it’ll make a nice addition to your bathroom space. LESLIE: Alright, if all this sounds very exciting and a brand, spanking new bathtub is part of your bathroom makeover, then you definitely want to look for our ten tips which are in our very next issue of our Money Pit e-newsletter. Sign up now. If you’re not already getting it go to MoneyPit.com – it’s totally free – and then, bling-blong, every Friday it’s going to be right there in your inbox. TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones. Leslie, who’s next? LESLIE: Rose in Pennsylvania needs some help with a concrete situation. What’s going on? ROSE: Hi, I have an old house and the steps going down to the pool are concrete but are falling apart. Do I have to dig them all back up and put new in or is there some way I can repair them to make them look good? TOM: Well, I think you definitely can repair them. Is the concrete surface deteriorated? ROSE: Yes. TOM: OK. You can use an epoxy patching compound … ROSE: … OK. TOM: … and basically recoat those and sort of build out all the deteriorated sort of pitted areas. ROSE: Right. TOM: You can buy epoxy patching compounds at home centers or you can buy it online. There’s a good industrial website that sells products for the home as well, called Abatron. They have a great line, very extensive line of concrete repair products there. ROSE: Thank you very much for your help. TOM: You’re welcome, Rose. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. ROSE: Jacob in Georgia needs some help with a plumbing project. What can we do for you? JACOB: Hi, I’ve got a shower stall in an old apartment. Well, it’s not that old; 1991. But I cannot figure out how to turn off the water supply so I can change the faucet. TOM: That would be the main water valve, Jacob. Do you know where that is? JACOB: Well, I know where the one outside is? Is that what I’m going to end up doing? TOM: Well, the one outside – does the one outside control all the water-flow into the entire house? JACOB: Yes, sir. TOM: Well that would probably be the easiest way to do this. Yeah, just turn the water off at the main while you make that repair. You know if you’re so fortunate that there are shut-off valves in line on the way to the shower, you can always turn it off there but chances are, in an apartment, that’s going to be difficult to find. So the easiest, most positive thing to do is to turn off the main water valve and then replace the faucet. LESLIE: Yeah, but don’t you need to get approval from everybody else in the building since you’re going to be cutting all their water? TOM: No, I’m presuming that it only impacts this one apartment. LESLIE: That’s just for his apartment. OK. (chuckling) JACOB: That’s correct. TOM: But that would probably be a good thing to know before you do that. (chuckles) LESLIE: You go turning it off. JACOB: I have one more question. What’s the value for adding like a tankless water heater to a rental property? TOM: If it’s a rental property I would recommend it to your landlord but I would not do it yourself. I would not pay for it yourself. JACOB: No, that I’m renting. (chuckling) TOM: Right. I know, you’re renting; so no, it’s not the kind of thing because you can’t take it with you and it’s a great product but it’s going to last you 15 or 20 years and so unless you somehow are going to earn the payback for that then I definitely wouldn’t do it if I was a renter. If I was a landlord I would do it immediately because I would have no more complaints of running out of hot water from any of my tenants and I would save lots and lots of money. Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question. When we come back we’re going to tackle one about plumbing systems. One of our e-mailers wants to know are PVC pipes just as good as their copper counterparts? We’ll answer it, next. (theme song) ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie. TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler. LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. TOM: And our podcast is rated the most downloaded home improvement podcast on iTunes. We’re very excited about that and would love to share that with you. Simply go to MoneyPit.com, click on the Listen section and then click to download our podcast. If you subscribe there at MoneyPit.com it will show up in your iTunes every, single week. LESLIE: Alright, now you’re listening to your iTunes podcast of The Money Pit and all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Wait, I have a question but I don’t feel like picking up the phone.’ Go back to MoneyPit.com, click on that little icon that says Ask Tom and Leslie and then we will answer you back like we do every hour when we dip into our e-mail bag. We’ve got a bunch on deck today. We’ve got one from Kim in Urbana, Ohio who writes: ‘Our builder is giving us a choice between OSB and blueboard. Which is better?’ TOM: Hmm. Well, I’ve got to tell you, Kim. I am not … LESLIE: Would this be for like exterior sheathing? What are they talking about? TOM: I’m a little confused by the question because blueboard is – you know the board that’s used for bathrooms; it’s called greenboard? LESLIE: Like a tile backer? TOM: Right, like a tile backer but – except it doesn’t really work that well. (Leslie chuckles) But anyway, the builders use it. It’s pretty cheap stuff and it lasts about five or ten years and then it melts. But blueboard is another type of drywall that’s used for veneer plaster. It’s the base for a veneer coat of plaster. So if you actually did sort of a plaster lath wall where you started with like a drywall and then you put wet plaster over it, that would be put on top of blueboard. LESLIE: Which you wouldn’t use OSB for because that’d be too much moisture, right? TOM: I think what Kim might be talking about is blue stripe OSB which is the Georgia-Pacific brand of OSB. The bottom line is that if your builder wants to use OSB which, by the way, stands for – ready to write this down now? – oriented strand board; that’s the SAT question of the day … LESLIE: And it looks pretty cool. If you ever build furniture out of OSB and then just put like a nice, high, glossy finish on it; it looks really kind of mod and fun. TOM: And also keeps your house from falling down because basically what it does is it reinforces the 2×4 walls and stops them from racking, which is that action where they slide back and forth. And so I think if your builder is going to use OSB it’s just fine and dandy. As for the blueboard, not so sure what they mean about that. I think that there’s also like a weather sort of treated OSB that they may be referring to but frankly, if you use standard OSB and then a weather barrier like Tyvek you’ll be good to go. LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Nick in Charleston, West Virginia who writes: ‘My house, which was built in 1991, does not have copper pipes. Everything is PVC plumbing. Will this be a problem in the future? How long do PVC pipes last? Because I didn’t build the house.’ TOM: Longer than you and me, Nick. The PVC pipe should be fine. Don’t see any reason for you to be concerned about them. LESLIE: Alright, Don in Harrisburg, Virginia: ‘I have a shop building that I would like to insulate through roof purlins or 2x8s. I plan to put in six inches of insulation. Does the space above the insulation and below a steel roof also need to be ventilated as does a conventional structure?’ TOM: Yes, because the insulation is not going to insulate if it gets damp, so you need to provide a path for that moisture to get out. So if you have an eight-inch rafter you only put six inches of insulation. Leave that extra two-inch gap for the air to flow out. To provide a path, Don, make sure that you have vents at the base of the roof; like at the overhang, at the soffit and again towards the ridge. That’ll ventilate it properly; keep the insulation nice and dry and energy efficient. LESLIE: Insulation, ventilation; the perfect partnership. TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. If you couldn’t get through we apologize but want to remind you that the phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and staffed by our very excellent group of call screeners. They’re standing by; live, real people ready to take your home improvement question. Now, you can take a chance and maybe ask them to answer it, but if they don’t get it right don’t worry; we’ll call you back the next time we’re in the studio. But for now the show continues online at MoneyPit.com. 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) END HOUR 1 TEXT (Copyright 2008 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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