Home Staging, Security and Poison Prevention
TRANSCRIPT FOR AUGUST 17, 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: Call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. As the summer rolls towards a close, we know you’re thinking about tackling some projects before you’ve got to really kind of get back to work, get back to school, get through those vacations. We want to help you get those jobs done around the house right now by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Now, if this fall one of the projects you’re thinking about doing is selling your home, we’re going to have some tips this hour to help you set the stage. You know, the real estate market is starting to show some life and, in this economy, buyers have come to expect a great-looking home. Just picking up the dirty laundry is not going to cut it. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to put on a great show in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, if you are going to sell your home this fall, we are going to have important information on how to keep your home and your valuables protected while your house is on the market.
TOM: And if you pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we’re going to throw your name in the Money Pit hardhat for a chance to win a $50 gift card from Lowe’s courtesy of Therma-Tru, manufacturers of the beautiful Benchmark door available only at Lowe’s. So give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Let’s get to it at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Maurice in South Carolina is dealing with some air conditioning issues. Tell us about the problem.
MAURICE: Yeah, basically I’ve got a detached garage and it’s – I’ve got wiring connected to the house. And what’s been transpiring lately is I had two Frigidaire AC units that went out on me. You know, I figured there was something else besides the AC units because they’re a good company and I was looking at the wiring and it’s like an aluminum braided cable coming out of the garage.
TOM: OK. Hmm, OK.
MAURICE: And then it reduces – there’s like a little bracket and it reduces to a copper wire which is significantly smaller than the braided.
TOM: Alright. And typically, when you have a garage, you’re going to have a subpanel in the garage. Is that what you’re seeing? Do you have a panel where the wiring comes in and then distributes through busbars to circuit breakers or to fuses?
MAURICE: Yes, yes.
MAURICE: There’s a circuit breaker panel in there.
TOM: OK. Alright. Well, it’s not unusual to have a braided aluminum service cable that feeds that …
TOM: … and then, from there, it would go to the bus panel and then go to individual breakers. Now, with air conditioning units, two of them, if they’re big, I’d probably want to have those on individual 20-amp circuits. To achieve a 20-amp circuit, assuming that everything is wired right up to that point, you’re going to need #12 copper wire to run. And if it’s all professionally installed and working correctly, that should have no impact on whether or not the air conditioning units fail. If the air conditioning units are failing, it might just be old age or bad luck; but if the circuits are wired correctly, then that should not affect them.
MAURICE: OK, but the AC units were brand new and, actually, it’s only – they’re window units. So there’s like a hole cut out in the side of the wall and I only had one – there was only in there at a time. So it was twice, consecutively, within a year’s time that they went out.
TOM: Well, you know, I’ve got to say, if they’re standalone – for a standalone building like this, window units cut through a hole in the wall is probably not your best choice. What I would think about using here is what’s called a split ductless air conditioning system. Basically, you have a small air conditioning compressor that sits outside on a pad and then you have an air handler that’s mounted on the inside of the wall and the only thing that connects the two is a refrigerant line. It’s very quiet, very efficient and you can get a lot more BTUs out of it than you could out of this wall unit that you’ve cut through a hole in the wall of the garage.
MAURICE: Right. OK.
TOM: And a lot more efficient.
TOM: Search them out online or at your heating, cooling supplier – split ductless system. That would be the way to go.
MAURICE: Cool. Will do, thanks.
TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair, your home improvement question, your fall fix-up question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, home staging has gone from an insider’s trick of the trade to a totally fulltime job for designers. We’re going to have a few ideas on how to make sure your home presents well, after this.
ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
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 gift card from Lowe’s. You can use it towards a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal and that would be a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark doors are made for super-easy installation. They’ve got the look of wood and the benefits of fiberglass like no rotting, no warping, no swelling or no cracking. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now with your question.
LESLIE: Alright, now a great front entry can actually help invite potential homebuyers inside but, these days, a clean home is just the start of what you should be doing to make sure that your house puts on a great show for those potential buyers. Now, staging houses has become quite a trend that many homebuyers out there are aware of and are expecting. They want these houses to look picture perfect, magazine-ready.
So if you want to sort of look into this, your realtor can actually help you. But some basics include decluttering your shelves, removing your personal photos and all of those things that you like to collect – put the Hummels away – as well as editing furniture to make your rooms appear larger. And here is a little info. Yellow makes people actually want to spend money; so if you don’t want to go as far as repainting the walls, think about a fresh vase of daffodils in the living room or some yellow throw pillows. You know, add it in there. It’s a nice, cheery, happy color and it makes that money come flying out of wallets.
TOM: Is that why my wife always serves me yellow squash like the dinner before her birthday?
LESLIE: What are you, George Jetson? (Tom laughs) She’s like, “Give me $20. It’s Judy.”
TOM: Because yellow makes you spend money?
LESLIE: Yeah, totally.
TOM: Well, good to know.
888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question and we promise to help you save some money on those projects.
LESLIE: Now it’s time to help David in New Jersey get up on the roof. What can we do for you?
DAVID: Well, thank you. You have a great program and I wonder if you could help me. I have a 20-year-old house with a hand-split cedar shake roof that I wanted to clean because it has some algae and dirt.
DAVID: I have mixed opinions: some say clean it, power wash it and then stain it; others say do nothing because walking on it, power washing it may do more harm than good.
TOM: So, David, are you concerned about the color, you know, the moss or whatever that’s on there right now? You don’t like the look of it?
DAVID: The color’s fine. It got dark; that doesn’t bother me. I’m just worried that perhaps the algae – a little bit of film of algae build-up might do harm. But everything’s fine. The roof is solid and doing well. But the painter wanted to also paint the siding or spray it – I wasn’t sure about that – but I find nothing that I need to do to the roof except worry that the algae might do harm over time. And I called up the Cedar Association and they say you could do more harm than good and so I got mixed feelings about …
TOM: Well, I agree and I don’t think it’s necessary for you certainly to put any kind of stain on there. I think that it’s actually …
LESLIE: You almost never put anything on cedar shake when it’s on the roof.
TOM: Exactly. Now, a lot of times folks don’t like the look of the algae and if that’s the case, you can clean it but when you clean it, I’d like to see you clean it by hand and not by hitting it with a real aggressive power washer unless you kind of back off on the pressure.
Cedar is designed to last a long time and the reason it wears out is when it gets too wet and the surface actually starts to degrade. So if you get up there and you’re really aggressive with it, then you can cause some damage. But if you’re worried about the algae causing something, I wouldn’t; as long as it’s not unpleasant to look at, you’re OK. I will give you one trick of the trade, though, that will stop it from growing some of that algae, some of that moss, and that is you can add a piece of copper flashing along the ridge, along the peak.
TOM: And what happens is when it rains …
LESLIE: Or even nickel.
TOM: Or nickel. The water will hit that flashing and it will release some of the metal into the water. That acts as a natural algaecide and keeps the roof clean.
DAVID: Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Elaine in Alabama, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ELAINE: I have a question. I had a leaky roof next to the – it was leaking next to the wall of the house, outside wall, and the ceiling is marred and discolored. I know what to do about that but my question is what can I do about the wallpaper where the water ran down the wall?
TOM: Well, has the leak been fixed?
TOM: OK. And the wallpaper is now water-damaged?
ELAINE: It’s got that orangey, dirty-water look and streaks on it.
TOM: Yeah. You know that’s – what’s happened is you’ve actually had a sort of a chemical reaction between the paper and the water that leaked through and, unfortunately, that’s not something that you can reverse. So this is a situation where you’d have to actually replace that wallpaper.
TOM: Is that a possibility?
ELAINE: I guess so, if I have to.
TOM: Yeah. That …
ELAINE: And it’s only a small amount above the sliding-glass door.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean, you could try to clean it with a little bit of TSP very, very gently but I’d also be concerned about that same cleaning solution taking the color out of the wallpaper.
TOM: It might fade it out.
ELAINE: OK. Alright, I’ll try that before I redo the wallpaper.
TOM: Alright, Elaine. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Heading over to Minnesota to chat with Jim. What can we do for you today?
JIM: I enjoy your show very much.
TOM and LESLIE: Thank you.
JIM: Last winter, I fixed my basement up and under code I had to put an egress window in.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK.
JIM: Well, this spring, the egress window filled up with water.
JIM: And it didn’t come through the window though but it went all the way down and came up through the (inaudible at 0:10:30.7).
TOM: Yeah, I bet. Kind of looks like a fish tank, right? (Leslie chuckles)
JIM: Yeah. (chuckles) And you know the shock when I came down – I had put brand new carpet and everything else down in there.
TOM: Well …
JIM: Well, anyway, I got it corrected. I went up and put a plastic dome on top of it.
JIM: So that took care of that. Well, now my problem is when I go to open my window and crank it out, the dome holds it in.
JIM: Right. In case of emergency, I wouldn’t be able to get out of it.
TOM: Yeah, good point. Listen, you can have that window not leak; usually if the drainage is set right around the outside, Jim. So did you take a look at your gutter systems? Did you take a look at your grading? Are you moving the water away from the wall? Because it’s not just the water that comes like straight down into the window well; it’s usually water that soaks in from the surrounding area.
JIM: Well, where the window is, there are no eaves there because it’s, you know, the straight up-and-down side of the house.
JIM: So I didn’t – there’s no eaves in, because there’s no way you can put it on.
TOM: (overlapping voices) So there’s no gutters anywhere near there.
TOM: OK. And the soil, does it slope away?
JIM: Yes, it does.
TOM: Alright. Well, the other thing that you could do, and it’s a big job, but if you want to remove that window well, you could put a drain in the bottom of it. You could use PVC pipes and you could cook up a drain and run it around the house, hopefully to a lower side where you can let the water out. Sometimes you have to drain those wells.
JIM: OK. I was hoping there would be an easier way to fix …(Leslie chuckles)
TOM: No, you see what happens, Jim, when you call us we make it worse. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
JIM: (chuckling) Yeah. Well, it sure has been my pleasure to have talked to you people, though.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Same here, Jim.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks, Jim.
JIM: (overlapping voices) I enjoy your show very much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: It’s so funny. A neighbor of mine did the same project and he refuses to listen to me about moving the water away from that.
LESLIE: He’s just got a blue tarp over it. (Tom chuckles) I’m like, “You spent all this time and energy sprucing up the basement and you do this final thing. Now you’ve got this tent fixture on the other side.”
TOM: (overlapping voices) And you end up with the blue tarp. Sooner or later. Sooner or later he’ll come around.
LESLIE: He’ll get around to it.
Jan in New Hampshire, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JAN: Yes. A couple of years ago, we purchased a split-entry home and when we purchased the home, we asked the people if there was any, you know, water leaking in the lower level or any kind of …
TOM: And they said, “Oh no, Jan.”
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) “Oh, of course not.”
TOM: “There’s no water in the basement of our house.”
JAN: Yeah, right. So anyway, well, they said that there was some but they had it sealed and I’m not sure what they meant by that but they said since they had the whole lower level sealed, that they hadn’t seen any seepage. So …
TOM: Now this is not a houseboat that you’ve purchased, huh Jan?
JAN: No. (Jan, Tom, and Leslie chuckle)
TOM: Because that’s the only reason to seal the lower level of your house. Listen, are you still getting problems now?
JAN: Well, yes. What I’m having now is just – I mean, there’s carpeting down there and tile – not tile but, you know, this like linoleum-type tile? But in the walkway – in the hallway, we have a parquet floor …
JAN: … and this is the second spring that we’ve gone through and each time it’s buckling. I mean, it just kind of buckles all up like it’s going to pop right off the floor and …
TOM: OK. Jan, you have a combination of issues here, OK? First of all, you have high humidity or moisture in your basement or your lower level and the way you address that is by improving the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. We’re talking about clean gutters, extend the downspouts, soil that slopes away from the house and a dehumidifier.
Secondly, you have inappropriate flooring materials in your basement. You mentioned carpet – bad idea, holds a lot of mold; lets it grow, especially in that damp condition. And parquet floor also is not a good idea in a very humid space because it will buckle. If you want a hardwood floor in a below-grade space, you have to use something called engineered hardwood, which is made up of multiple layers of hardwood glued together, like plywood, or you could use something like a laminate floor which is inorganic and is not going to be affected by the moisture.
So you have a couple of things to do here. The first thing I would concentrate on is reducing the moisture by improving the drainage conditions outside and reducing the humidity inside.
LESLIE: Going to talk to Gino in New Jersey about keeping the water out of the house and keeping the inside nice and dry. What’s going on at your money pit?
GINO: Well, we’ve got a couple of holes in the walls of our family room and when it rains hard, we get drainage in there.
TOM: How did these holes get there, Gino?
GINO: Don’t know. (Leslie chuckles) I think animals munched their way through.
TOM: Oh, OK.
GINO: And what I did, I put some foam there; some of that expanding foam.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
GINO: And that seemed to work OK except I see water seeping in again and I see little chips – little yellow chips. So either the chipmunk, or whatever it is, is munching away on it but I’m wondering, what’s the best way to put a fix on these two …?
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, what kind of siding do you have?
GINO: Well, Jesus, the siding is concrete, you know?
TOM: So the holes are in the concrete?
TOM: Alright. Then the foam that you put in there is fine but what you’ll find is that that foam does not hold up to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so it breaks down. So what you really need here is to use an epoxy patching compound; it’s a cement patching material that has epoxy in it that adheres very, very well. If they’re deep holes, it’s OK to use the expandable foam to kind of take up some of the space in that hole but …
LESLIE: And then coat over it.
TOM: Right. But the top coat should be an epoxy compound, an epoxy patching compound.
GINO: Very good. Appreciate your comments here.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gino. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dee in South Carolina has a problem with the sidewalk. What’s going on?
DEE: We have a holly tree, about 18 years old; probably around ten-inch in diameter. And it has – it sits between the corner of the garage and the sidewalk and it’s pushing up our sidewalk about an inch where they’ve cut it; you know, when they pour the concrete and there’s a cut.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep.
DEE: And we’ve got to do something because somebody’s going to trip.
TOM: Well, the only thing that you can do in a situation like this is you’re going to have to break out the concrete, dig down and cut out some of the roots and then repour that piece of the sidewalk. Now, if the sidewalk is in sections – say, it’s got three-foot sections or something like that –
DEE: It is in sections.
TOM: – well, you may actually be able to pull them up one section at a time and not have to actually break them up permanently; may be able to break them out into the three-foot by three-foot sections. Get a couple of the sections out, dig down and go to work on those roots. But I will warn you, Dee, that you’re only really buying yourself some time here. Those roots are going to continue to fill in; they’ll continue to push it up. If you take the sidewalk apart and you cut it down and you do a real good job, you know you might be able to buy yourself, say, three or four years but eventually you’re going to have to do it again.
DEE: So what’s – it’s such a pretty tree.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t get rid of the tree. It’s just something that’s going to need some upkeep.
TOM: Yep, exactly. And I think you’ll find that you can take out a fair amount of those roots without affecting the tree.
DEE: OK. I guess that’s what we’ll try and do, then, because …
TOM: That’s the solution, Dee. Alright? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if your house is for sale, along with those potential buyers you could actually be attracting thieves. We are going to tell you what to do to keep your home and your family safe, when we come back; so stick around.
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.
Hey, what are you working on right now? Are you thinking about a renovation? Well, if you are, you want to make sure that you pick the right project. You know, in this market, over-improving your home is actually going to hurt more than it’s going to help. So if you’re looking for some great ideas, check out home improvements for under 1,000 bucks on MoneyPit.com. I mean that’s a great price.
TOM: Great tip. You don’t have to spend a pile of cash to do lots of good home improvement projects around your house.
Well, with the real estate market starting to turn, you may be putting your house on the market some time in the next few months and if you’re going to do that, you want to keep in mind some tips so that you don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation. First of all, you want to make sure your realtor knows who they’re showing the house to. Obviously, get ID; make sure the people that are going to be shown the house are preapproved from the mortgage perspective because you just don’t want to let anybody in the house. When you do show the house, besides decluttering it and staging it to look as good as possible, make sure you put away anything that could be personally identifiable: like bank statements; credit card statements; obviously, cash; valuable things of that nature. You don’t need to have that stuff lying about.
And if your realtor is going to use a lockbox, make sure they use the smart box type. This will identify whoever is coming to use that box and accessing the key. It actually tracks them. You can download a report of who is in your house, what time they were there and so on and it really helps you keep control of the access. If you use a little common sense and some modern technology, you definitely can sell your house and be very safe about it at the same time.
888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number, again, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Doug in Washington needs help installing a second bathroom or maybe a third. Hey, Doug, what’s going on?
DOUG: Hi. I’m actually installing a bathroom in the garage that I’ve converted for my home office.
LESLIE: Oh, perfect.
DOUG: And, yeah, it’s a concrete slab and putting in a shower, a toilet and a tub. And I actually, from the way that it’s going to lay out …
TOM: You plan to stay there a long time, don’t you, Doug? (Doug chuckles) In that office.
DOUG: Not sure but I do want there to be a bathroom over here, so …
DOUG: So the question is – I’ve never cut through a concrete floor and I think the slab is probably 25-years-old or more. What should I do to tackle that or is that a job that I should hire out instead?
TOM: Well, it’s a big – it’s a big job, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever done it. This whole thing is a pretty complicated plumbing job. The first question is where is the waste pipe and are you above it?
DOUG: Yes. I’ve already located the sewer line and it’s not difficult to tap into that. The big chore I’m going to have is getting through the concrete.
TOM: Well, what you would do in that situation, Doug, is you may go to a rental center and you could rent the saw that is used to cut concrete and, essentially, it’s a saw that has an abrasive blade on it. You sort of curve the concrete around the hole and then you might use a jackhammer to break it out.
LESLIE: So you sort of score the perimeter?
TOM: Sort of score it pretty deep all the way around and that’s the way you get a really clean, square cut.
LESLIE: You know, similar to notching like a four-by-four post or a six-by-six where you sort of create the perimeter and then sort of notch in the middle. Would you do that the same way with the concrete?
TOM: I would just cut the four corners of the place I want to take it out, so I have a nice square, and then I would jackhammer out the middle. And this is the way to do it without disturbing the rest of the floor and then of course after it’s all done, you’re going to have to, you know, pour a patch in there.
DOUG: OK. Very good.
TOM: Alright. Listen, if you feel like it’s too much for you, you wouldn’t be admitting defeat if you hired a plumber just to rough this in for you.
TOM: And then you could concentrate on all the stuff that’s above the floor but have the plumber just rough-in the drain. They could probably get it done in a quarter of the time.
DOUG: Very good. OK. Well, thank you very much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, Doug. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Norma in Indiana, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
NORMA: I’m wanting to know if I could put my washer and dryer in the garage. Well, I know I could do it but how do I keep it from freezing? My garage is insulated but it’s not heated.
TOM: Well, you know, that’s not so uncommon. You could put it in the garage and in the very, very cold months you’d have to be concerned about those pipes. Now, if the pipes are in the wall between the house and the garage and not in an exterior wall, so it’s heated on one side, then it would be less likely.
If I was going to put it in the garage, Norma, I’ll tell you what I absolutely would do and that is I would have a shut-off valve on there – a single lever shut-off valve on the washer supply – so that you could, with one throw of the lever, very easily turn the water off to the washer. And this way, if it did get so cold out there that it froze, then you would not have to worry about water leaking out other than what was in the hose itself, going from the wall to the washing machine.
NORMA: All I would need is a shut-off valve for extremely cold weather then?
LESLIE: Well, I would turn it off any time after I use it.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. I would turn it off all the time.
NORMA: (overlapping voices) Yes.
LESLIE: You know, just in case.
TOM: Yeah, because if those hoses ever burst, and they do burst, you’ll flood that whole garage out. Norma, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bill in Utah needs some help cleaning some shingles. What can we do for you? What’s on them?
BILL: Well, here’s my deal: I’ve got a home that I took a swamp cooler off the roof, made the switch to central air and I put in an attic fan up there.
BILL: But over the years, when I had the swamp cooler, (audio gap) to water run off and I had some – I’ve got some – a wet streak running down my brown, asphalt shingles.
BILL: And I’m just wondering is there anything I can do to get rid of that stain on my roof.
TOM: Two things: you could try a product called JOMAX – J-o-m-a-x. It’s a cleaner that works very, very well on roofs. It’s available at hardware stores. It’s made by the folks at Zinsser and it’s a concentrate; you mix it up.
TOM: And is the stain more from the water or from rust?
BILL: It’s water; hard water.
TOM: Well, then I think the JOMAX will work perfectly fine for that.
BILL: OK. Alright. Well, I (inaudible 0:14:30.6) you guys.
TOM: Alright, Bill. Well, good luck with that project.
BILL: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Those swamp coolers are so popular in Utah; they’re actually perfect for that climate. But when we filmed there with While You Were Out, every house we were in had a swamp cooler.
TOM: Yeah, but I forgot to mention to Bill that putting in the attic fan, not such a good idea. Yeah, bad idea.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) With the central air, not a good combination.
TOM: Yeah, they actually – Bill, if you’re still listening, they actually suck the air conditioned air out of your house, not just your attic.
LESLIE: And out of your ventilation.
TOM: So a better solution might be to put in a ridge vent and soffit vents; but attic fans, not so much if you have central air.
Up next, we’re going to tell you how to protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide.
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: 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 you can be part of the Money Pit right now by picking up the phone and giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And not only will you be part of the show and get your home improvement question answered, but one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card. Now you can use that gift card towards a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal. You could pick yourself up a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Those are available exclusively at Lowe’s. Now your number to get in on this awesome giveaway and learn everything you ever wanted to know about home improvement is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, as the summer wraps to the end and the fall starts to begin, we start to think about one of the toxins that we deal with in our house and that is carbon monoxide. You know, it’s odorless, it’s colorless, it’s tasteless but it’s definitely got the potential to be very deadly. So to help you prevent a CO poisoning situation, you want to make sure you get an inspection of all the fuel-burning appliances in your house including furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers, water heaters and space heaters. Now is a really good time to get this done before it gets super cold out, before all the heating pros out there get pretty, pretty busy and before that heating season begins. And also remember to have carbon monoxide detectors installed on all levels of your home, especially near bedrooms.
Now, it’s funny. When people get carbon monoxide detectors, they always think they should put it in the basement near the furnace. Not the best place because carbon monoxide is easily distributed throughout the entire house and the number one place that people die and get sick from this is while they sleep. That’s why it’s important to have a detector near the bedroom. And if yours ever goes off, open the windows, open the doors, clear the air and get out of the house. Call 911 and let the pros come in and figure out what’s causing the problem before you ever turn those appliances on again.
LESLIE: Marie in Rhode Island needs some help in the kitchen. What can we do for you today?
MARIE: Listen, I was wondering – I can’t find anything that will clean all the grease and gunk off my walls and my cabinets.
MARIE: And I was wondering maybe if you knew something real good that you know I could use?
TOM: Are you familiar with a product called Simple Green?
TOM: It works very well; widely distributed, environmentally friendly; works on cabinets, works on glass, works on mirrors, works on walls. That’s probably a good first step. If you find that the grease or the dirt is so thick that you need something heavier, then I would tell you to use TSP. That’s just something that you use like, for example, if you have smoke on the walls and that sort of thing. TSP stands for trisodium phosphate.
TOM: It’s available at hardware stores and home centers and you can mix it up.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a paint-prepping product.
TOM: Yeah, it really …
MARIE: Called TSP?
TOM: TSP, yes. Mm-hmm.
MARIE: Oh, OK.
TOM: But I would start with the easy stuff first; Simple Green works really well.
MARIE: Oh, well, that’s good. I’m going to try that then, if it works that good.
MARIE: OK. And listen, thank you very much and I listen to your show every weekend.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
MARIE: I enjoy listening to both of you.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright, Marie.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
TOM: Have a great day.
MARIE: OK. Bye.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and you can reach us, just like Marie did, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to my neck of the woods, Long Island, New York to chat with Steve about moisture. What can we do for you?
STEVE: My wife and I are about to purchase a home that, you know, the previous owners had a flood in the basement from plumbing.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
STEVE: And that was repaired. However, they have carpet in their basement and, apparently, the flood happened about six months ago.
STEVE: And we had a mold inspection done and there was some mold found in the basement. I was wondering if you could offer some advice as the best way to remediate that?
TOM: First, get rid of the carpet.
LESLIE: Yeah. That carpet that was ruined is still there? Get it out.
TOM: Carpet in the basement is a really bad idea, Steve, because it’s essentially mold food. You know, not only can the backing be food for mold but all the dust and the dirt that gets stuck in carpet is great food for mold; so it’s a really unhealthy material to have in a below-grade room.
LESLIE: So get rid of that; think about an alternative flooring for the basement. A great option is laminate, just because it’s made for high-moisture environments. I mean, it’s sitting on a concrete sub-floor, you’re going to get constant moisture wicking through; so get something that’s not going to produce mold when exposed to those moist situations – laminate flooring.
If you’re dead set on having some sort of hardwood, you can go with an engineered hardwood because the base of that is actually made from sort of a plywood material that’s alternating layers of the graining on the wood, so it makes it structurally stable for a moist environment and then there’s a thin veneer on top that actually is that hardwood that you like – or tile. And then you can always sort of warm up the area with area rugs, throw rugs, bring your color in there.
And then you really want to look at the outside-in to control moisture. You want to look at your gutters and your downspouts. You want to make sure that there are enough gutters on the house and that the downspouts are free-flowing and you want to make sure that where those downspouts deposit the water is not right up against your foundation wall. You want those downspouts to go out three feet, however far; bury them, get them away from the foundation and get that water away.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, we’re going to answer a question about a mystery on home ownership. You know, when you own a home, Leslie, there are many, many mysteries that come along with it like mysterious sounds; you know, banging pipes; squeaky floors; some mysterious smells and the mysterious roof stain like what has happened to one listener who wrote us this week. We’re going to peer into our home improvement crystal ball (Leslie chuckles) and answer that question, 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 and here at The Money Pit we have got your staycation solutions all summer long on our radio show. And in our special online section at MoneyPit.com/Staycation, there you can learn how to create an outdoor oasis in your own backyard, which we all know has become your vacation playground. We’ve also got tips on landscaping, decks, porches, patios; you name it, it is all there and it is all totally free at MoneyPit.com/Staycation.
TOM: You can also click on Ask Tom and Leslie and e-mail us just like Jane did in Georgia. Jane says: “A little over a year ago, I installed a new roof. Now, about three-quarters of my roof has pollen stains that haven’t come off no matter how hard and how often it has rained.” Yes, Jane, they’re not going to come off because of the rain; they’re actually going to probably get worse. “The shingle manufacturer has offered to pressure wash my roof. I think that would compromise the integrity of the shingles. What do you think?”
Well, yeah; possibly, Jane. A couple of things. First of all, you can’t just blast this stuff off. You know, once that stuff starts to land it does definitely grow and expand and sort of fill in. So what you want to do is this. First of all, you’ve got to clean the roof. You’ve got to apply a mildicide to the roof: you know, a bleach-and-water solution; Jomax; there are a lot of different products that will work out there; even OxiClean. You need to cover the roof with the mildicide, let it set for a while, then you can wash it off. Can you use a pressure washer? Sure, just don’t set it on a very high pressure; wide spray, gentle pressure kind of will actually make the job a little easier to do. Will it wear off the roof? Not so much if you keep it to be a very gentle situation.
But the most important thing you do is after that. Once you’ve got it clean, you need to keep it clean. To do that, you need to make sure you have some sunlight on that roof. If you’ve got a lot of overhanging trees, the sun can’t get to it. You’re going to definitely have this problem reoccurring. So trim trees back, get a little sunlight there; that’s a natural mildicide. And finally, little trick of the trade, you can add a copper ridge vent or a nickel ridge vent. When the rain hits that, it will release some metal. That also works as a mildicide and it’ll clean the roof every time it rains.
LESLIE: Alright, Jane. I hope that helps you out and enjoy your new roof. You did a great improvement to your home.
TOM: Well, when it comes to home décor, attention to detail can mean the difference between boring spaces and a really warm and welcoming place that you feel real good about coming home to. Leslie has got some tips to help you do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: You know, I think a really nicely-designed space is paying attention to the unusual places in your home that you can add a detail that is truly going to catch the eye. And I think a pass-through between rooms is the perfect location for a surprising detail.
You want to draw the eye to this space because it’s generally an unnoticed area. So look at these pass-throughs. You can add something that’s called a transom. There are some with glass or something that’s even called a wood spandrel. If you Google it, you’ll find so many different vendors that sell these spandrels and it’s basically something that would cover the width of your pass-through at a variety of heights and give you some just beautiful detail. It’s almost like a staircase – you know, the side – and it really gives you a great chance to add something to a space that generally no one would look at.
You can also, in these pass-throughs – the space that’s created with the molding in the actual pass-through itself, you can put like a foil wall covering in there in an unusual color or just paint it a different color or add a stencil detail in there. It just provides a beautiful transition from one space to another. It’s an area where nobody ever thought about putting in a detail. You can add architectural corbels or shelf supports to those corners as well. Just think out of the box when you’re at a salvage yard or a yard sale. Look at unusual pieces that you can add in there. Dress it up and you will truly have a beautiful space that you will enjoy being in and happy to invite your friends to.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, if you’re thinking about selling your house, getting it on the market, we’re going to have some tips to make that process as easy, successful and profitable as possible.
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.)