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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Where home solutions live. Give us a call right now with your question if you need a home solution. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re standing by to help you get that project done around your house. Ready to dive in for spring? You ready to fix up your deck? Ready to fix that roof leak, maybe?

    Here’s what I did this week, Leslie: I installed a new dishwasher.

    LESLIE: You did.

    TOM: Yep. It was time.

    LESLIE: So wait, you finally got a dishwasher? I’ve been asking one for years for Christmas and you finally get a new dishwasher?

    TOM: And not a terribly difficult project, so you could do it yourself. Of course with, I’m sure, two or three phone calls to me but I mean it can – it could get done.

    So, whatever you’re working on around your money pit, pick up the phone, let us help because it is time to get your fix. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, here’s a project: is your house lacking in the curb-appeal department? If so, adding some really eye-catching details, like trim, can add value and it’s actually easier than you think to install. And there are now products out there that resist wood-destroying insects and rot and mold and mildew, so you will not be adding another maintenance headache to the list. We’re going to tell you all about that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And if adding that curb appeal means standing on a ladder, do you know how important it is to make sure that you’re not going to go plummeting off?

    TOM: Yes, we do know how important that is.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But do you know what to do so that you don’t fall off? It is super-important; you’ve got to pay attention because there are important safety measures that you should be following when you’re using a ladder. So we’re going to get the ups and hopefully not the downs from Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House.

    TOM: And also ahead, chairs and other furniture won’t last forever. You know, whether it’s just age or abuse, wood-based furniture can easily break. If that happens to you, we’re going to tell you about a quick, easy and inexpensive way to fix it.

    LESLIE: And this hour, one lucky caller is going to get the latest technology in lighting. We’ve got the C?L dimmers from Lutron. And they give you full-range dimming for halogen and incandescent bulbs and they can even dim LED, halogens, CFL and LED bulbs on the same circuit. We’ve got a set of six worth a total of 130 bucks going out to one lucky caller.

    TOM: So, give us a call right now. We will shed some light on your project and your home with the answer to your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Bela in North Carolina is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you?

    BELA: The floor is hardwood.

    TOM: OK.

    BELA: And my wife would like to replace the hardwood with ceramic tile. So the question is: can I put the ceramic tile on top of the hardwood or I need – replace the hardwood?

    TOM: No, no. The hardwood makes a great base for it because that’s so strong and straight and flat. So, the hardwood would be a great base for the ceramic tile. You could use a thinset adhesive and probably adhere it right to that existing subfloor.

    Now, since the hardwood is finished, you might need to rough it up first. Or at the least, you could put some thin plywood over the hardwood, just so you have an underlayment that could really absorb the glue. So you could use like a luan plywood but there’s no reason you can’t put ceramic tile right on top of the hardwood floor.

    BELA: Now, the commode would have to be – well, I would have to use longer …

    TOM: Yes, it would be a good idea to take the commode up. Because otherwise, you’re going to have sort of an odd cut of the tile around it. So you would remove the commode and there’s a flange that will raise the drain by the thickness of the tile. And then you put it back together again, OK?

    BELA: Alright, sir. I like your show a lot.

    LESLIE: Oh, thank you.

    TOM: Well, thank you very much, Bela. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Brenda in West Virginia on the line who needs some help with her log cabin.

    BRENDA: I was wondering if it’s more economical to put polyurethane on new logs with a sprayer or roll it on.

    TOM: You want to have the shiniest house on the block, Brenda?

    BRENDA: No, I’m not really looking for shine.

    TOM: Is that …?

    BRENDA: I’m looking for just a protectant. The inside – I’d have to do the inside and the outside and was putting the polyurethane on the inside.

    TOM: You wouldn’t use polyurethane. On the outside, you would use an exterior stain.

    BRENDA: Right.

    TOM: And there are different types of exterior stain: there’s either transparent, semi-transparent or solid-color. Solid-color is going to give you the most protection; it has the most pigment in it. It has to be redone the least frequently. So, that’s going to last the longest.


    TOM: There are lots of good brands out there but solid-color stain would be the material to use on the outside of that home. And you could apply it, by the way, with a sprayer; you don’t – you certainly don’t want to brush it because of all the nooks and crannies and the uneven surfaces. The easiest way to do that is with a paint sprayer.


    TOM: Alright, Brenda. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Up next, wood trim can really spruce up the outside of your home but it can also become high-priced real estate for carpenter ants, carpenter bees and even termites that like to move in and destroy your house. We’re going to tell you how to avoid that and add some curb appeal, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One lucky caller this hour is going to get six C?L dimmers from Lutron. These use the latest technology in dimmers to be fully compatible with LEDs, CFLs, halogen bulbs and incandescents. So both the energy-efficient and the not-so-efficient bulbs will work with the very same C?L dimmer. This means your lights are never going to flicker when changing the brightness.

    It’s a prize pack worth 130 bucks. You’re going to get six dimmers in that package. The number to call is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller drawn at random from today’s show’s callers will get that prize package sent to them.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got James on the line. What can we help you with today?

    JAMES: Spent a little bit more money this time and I used a western redcedar for my fence. And I was wondering if you recommend I put some kind of stain on that or just let it run its normal color.

    TOM: Well, its normal color is not going to be red; it’s going to be dark gray to black.

    LESLIE: It’s like silvery gray, even.

    TOM: Even though it’s cedar and naturally insect-resistant, it’s not going to keep that cedar color. The color will fade pretty quickly. So if you want to keep the color, you do have to stain it and I would use a solid-color stain on top of that.

    JAMES: OK.

    TOM: Solid-color exterior stain. And make sure you get the edges of the boards. Otherwise, it will rot, especially from the bottom on up.

    JAMES: Alright.

    LESLIE: And with cedar, a lot of manufacturers recommend leaving it unfinished for 6 to 12 months but that’s not true with cedar. Cedar you would finish right away; this way, it stays really nice.

    JAMES: OK. Should I get a product with a seal in it or a sealer in it or just the color?

    TOM: Exterior stains have sealers built into them, James.

    JAMES: OK.

    TOM: So that’s going to protect it. Just an exterior siding stain.

    JAMES: Great. Well, I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, is your home looking a little shabby on the outside? It is the perfect time of year to step up your home’s curb appeal. Having a home that looks beautiful from the street can raise its value and make your neighbors love you.

    But how do you do this without creating a maintenance headache? Well, you can do so by using products made by our sponsor, Fypon.

    Now, Fypon can help you add stylish touches that won’t fall victim to bugs or warping, cracking or even splitting because their products are made of sealed polyurethane, so those pests and that moisture simply cannot get in. And they look like concrete, stone or even wood.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re really beautiful. And adding Fypon products is pretty easy, even if you’ve got no eye for design.

    So, for example, you could take your front door and make it a real showpiece just by adding a couple of pilasters on either side of the door. Then on top, you add a decorative pediment, which you can choose from a variety of styles. You can use a peaked-cap style or even one that makes more of a statement with a sunburst. Or you can start smaller and just add a window panel under your bay window to show it off.

    If you want to see lots of ideas, you can go to Fypon’s website and that is at Fypon.com. That’s spelled F-y-p-o-n.com.

    LESLIE: Mildred in California is on the line with an air-conditioning question. What can we do for you?

    MILDRED: Yes. I’m in Sonora, California and in the summertime, we usually have 3 to 6 weeks that maybe gets up to 110, maybe 112, really hot.

    TOM: OK.

    MILDRED: Whenever my – I’ve got a roof – central heat and air-conditioning unit. So, whenever the air conditioner kicks on, it’s like hot air comes out first and it even smells almost like the furnace is on, until it gets that hot air out of the vents, I guess.

    TOM: Yeah.

    MILDRED: But they tell me I’ve got plenty of insulation. It’s a tight, little house. I’ve got the screens on the window to keep the sun out and everything, to keep my energy bill down and everything. But that first gush of hot air, can you get rid of that?

    TOM: No, not unless you move.

    MILDRED: Oh.

    TOM: Your forced-air system is going to have stale air that’s going to be in it and it’s going to get really, really hot. And when you first turn on the system, it’s going to blow all that out of there.

    LESLIE: It’s got to evacuate it somehow.

    TOM: And it’ll take a couple of cycles for that to do that. So what you’re describing is totally normal and it lasts for a very short period of time and it’s something that you really kind of have to live with.

    MILDRED: OK. I wondered if maybe there was something where you could put insulation around the vent pipes or something.

    TOM: No, because you – it’s not – there’s nothing to cool the air, OK?

    MILDRED: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Yeah.

    MILDRED: Oh, well. It just really shocked me; I guess I’ve never lived any place that it got this hot at one time.

    TOM: Right. Alright. Well, hopefully, we have put your mind at ease. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Terry in Arkansas is on the line with a tiling question. What are you working on?

    TERRY: It’s a bathroom floor and a walk-in shower.


    TERRY: And I was just wondering – my tile on the floor, should I be leaving a ¼-inch grout all the way around, next to the wall?

    LESLIE: Between the first tile and the wall, where you’re going to have your wall tile sort of sit on top of?

    TERRY: Yes.

    LESLIE: I don’t know. I would try – I feel like a ¼-inch doesn’t seem like a lot but once you deal with grout at those joinery points, they lack the flexibility to sort of stand up to the normal wear and tear and movement. So, after you get cranking in the shower, maybe give it a year and that grout’s going to start to crack out.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Whereas caulk, sort of sealing these two areas, really getting as close as you can with the tile to that corner area or that wall surface, that caulk will sort of seal everything together and move with it. I have a contractor friend who likes to mix grout with silicone caulk. I haven’t seen the results. He raves about his work; I’m not sure if it really works. But he does talk about it.

    Tom, what do you think? Does that work?

    TOM: I don’t like the idea of mixing it together.

    LESLIE: Right. It seems like the composition was off.

    TOM: Right, exactly. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So if I were you, I’d just get as close as you can to that wall surface and then just caulk the edge so that it’ll move with it.

    TERRY: OK. And my other question was: would you guys recommend thinset or a type of mastic on the shower walls?

    TOM: Well, I would use a tile mastic, because the thinset is more of a leveling bed sometimes and I would use the tile mastic on the shower walls.

    TERRY: OK.

    TOM: This way, you’ll get good adhesion. And make sure you use a glue trowel on it, because it really requires the glue to stand up a little bit to be able to grab the edge of the tile.

    TERRY: OK. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dave in Oregon is having an issue with a counter/sink combo. What can we do for you?

    DAVE: I’ve got a bathroom sink that’s a combination; the sink is built into the top. The countertop is sort of a composite.


    TOM: Right, uh-huh.

    DAVE: It’s not real granite or anything; it’s just got a surface amount and then composite underneath.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s probably soapstone.

    DAVE: OK. And the bottom of that sink now is really rough; it’s turned yellow and it’s all scratched up.

    TOM: Yeah. The finishes don’t last, you know, indefinitely on that and that’s sort of the normal wear cycle for that kind of product. I don’t think that’s it worthwhile for you to try to fix it. I would just replace that top. It shouldn’t be terribly expensive.

    DAVE: Just refinishing it, I was getting a large amount of money.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. It’s like you don’t want to throw good money into a product that wasn’t really designed to last indefinitely but those tops that are molded like that, they’re standard sizes. You can disconnect the faucet, take the whole faucet and drain assembly apart.

    Then you can loosen up the top. Typically, it’s only caulked in place. You have to kind of take a careful look at it and see how it looks. But try to get that top off, drop the new one in, then hook back up the drain and the faucet. With any luck, you can use exactly the same plumbing connections.

    And then, when you set the top in, you look at the alignment. Sometimes, when you look at the inside corner where it strikes the wall, there could be some spackle that’s built up right there and it creates a bit of a gap. If that’s the case, don’t cut the top; cut the wall. I’ve done a lot of sort of wall-surgery procedures where I’ve very carefully cut around, say, the backsplash and the countertop and then sort of just pressed that countertop into the wall nice and tight and then caulked the seam, so we didn’t have to cut the tops.

    DAVE: Ah, OK. Well, I think part of the problem is that this was a custom job. So it’s not a regular top.

    TOM: Are you sure about that? Because even if it’s a custom, I’m telling you, people don’t mold these for individual bathrooms.

    LESLIE: Like on-site.

    TOM: It’s just not …

    DAVE: OK. Because it’s offset. One side’s got some sink space; the other side is up against a cabinet.

    TOM: Right. So I bet …

    DAVE: And there’s only about 4 inches between the cabinet and the sink bed.

    TOM: Listen, I bet if you did an internet search or checked with a good kitchen-and-bath supplier, then you would be able to find that as a product that you can order.

    DAVE: Mm-hmm. Oh, OK. I was thinking if I do that, though, I may want to just go to a regular, ceramic sink rather than trying to get one of those again.

    TOM: Well, you know the four most-expensive words in home improvement, don’t you? “While you’re at it.” Home improvement projects have a viral-like quality to them. You start small but it just keeps growing.

    Dave, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    RENEE: Hi. I have a metal shower stall that I’m wanting to replace, that’s in a basement where one wall is concrete block and the drain is in concrete slab. But I’m wanting to put in – I have a real tight space that’s 36 inches, roughly, so I am – have to put the plumbing, because of where the toilet is, on the wall between the toilet and the shower stall.

    TOM: OK.

    RENEE: So what I’m wondering is, can I glue that – you know, they make that solid-surface walls that you can get three walls?

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    RENEE: Can I just glue that onto that concrete block that’s been painted with enamel paint or do I have to fur it out and …?

    TOM: Here’s what I think the best way is to handle the situation. I wouldn’t put the liners in, because you don’t really have a surface to work from. I would simply consider replacing the old, metal shower stall with one of the prefabricated fiberglass ones.

    Now, they come broken down, so you have the shower pan, then you have the walls. They all assemble together nice and neat. They lock together; they’re ready to accept a shower door or a shower curtain rod, if you want to use that. And it’ll give you a real permanent surface that is going to be very, very water-resistant.

    I think that if you try to kind of modify what you have right now by just adding liners to it, you’re kind of starting with a bad structure, so to speak, underneath. So I would eliminate that, go with a fiberglass shower stall and start clean. I think you’re going to be much happier in the long run if you do that.

    RENEE: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Say, are you afraid to use a ladder? Or maybe the idea of using the ladder isn’t as scary as, say, the idea of falling off. Well, we’ve got tips on safe ladder usage from a guy who knows the ups and downs very well. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House is joining us, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows. Right now at The Home Depot, all special-order Andersen windows, patio doors and accessories are 10-percent off. Replacing windows or patio doors is always a big decision. Saving 10 percent on Andersen and lowering energy bills? Well, that’s easy. And Andersen makes replacing your old drafty windows easy, with a new 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Replacement Window. Now 10-percent off at The Home Depot. Valid through April 22nd, U.S. only. See store for details.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, do you want to learn how you can save money, energy and maybe do your part to save the planet, as well, just in time for Earth Day? Take a look at our green product guide right now on MoneyPit.com, which is presented, in part, by the Philips Lighting Company.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Philips has created products that can save energy in all of your lighting fixtures while making your home really look fantastic. See what light can do at Philips.com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number you need to know to get a hold of us. Pick up the phone and call 888-MONEY-PIT right now and let us help you with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re heading outside for home repairs up high, a sturdy ladder is a must. But besides having a ladder, you actually need to understand how to use it properly, to make sure that gravity doesn’t get the best of you.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Ladder falls send hundreds of people to emergency rooms every year and some falls can even be fatal. Joining us now with both the ups and the downs of ladder safety is Tom Silva, the general contractor from TV’s This Old House.

    And Tom, I’ve got to tell you, as the once victim of a ladder that left its imprint on me from head to toe, I’m sure you may have known a few from your own experience.

    LESLIE: Oh, no.

    TOM: It doesn’t take much for a ladder to turn against you, does it?

    TOM SILVA: Definitely does not take much for a ladder to turn against you. I had one break on me once.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, yeah.

    TOM: So, I think the most common mistake folks make with ladders is setting them up improperly. They’re too vertical, they’re not vertical enough.

    LESLIE: They’re not actually ladders.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, I want to step back and say one thing. I think the biggest mistake people make when buying a ladder is they buy the cheapest one they can find.

    TOM: Right. And that is a critical mistake.

    TOM SILVA: And that’s a big mistake.

    But yeah, knowing how to set up a ladder is very, very important. You want to make sure that it extends correctly. You want to make sure that it’s the right angle: not too steep, not too shallow, should I say?

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.

    TOM SILVA: So the idea of it is number one, to also make sure it’s not inside-out. Some ladders could be set up different than others and if you have a good-quality ladder, you’ll notice that the round rung – there is a flat side.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: The flat side, you should be standing on; it’s easier on your feet.

    The other thing is you want to make sure that when you set the ladder up at the correct angle, on some of the ladders there’s actually a square on the side of the ladder that you …

    TOM: Like a triangle.

    TOM SILVA: That’s right. You line that up, almost like a small framing square.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: And you set that framing square up at the right angle so it’s plumb and level on the bottom. And that tells you that. If you don’t have one, if you stand with your feet against the ladder bottom and you run your hand out shoulder-height, the palm of your hand should sit flat on the ladder rung.

    TOM: That’s a good sort of rule of thumb.

    Now, where that ladder sits on the ground is important.

    TOM SILVA: Right.

    TOM: Now, if it’s on the soil, a good idea to flip out those stakes, so to speak, at the bottom of the ladder so it really presses down into the ground?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. Yeah, if you look on a ladder, you’ll see that these are flappers or the feet. A lot of people leave them down on the ground flat. You basically want to flip them up so that the teeth will dig into the ground.

    It’s also important that you try to level the ground. So if you have a – I always carry a claw hammer with me; that’s just who I am.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: I actually have one with me right now, though.

    But I basically take a claw hammer and I dig out a section of the ground, just big enough to get the leg of the ladder in it, and make sure that the ladder is running up the building plumb.

    LESLIE: Now, what about when you’re leaning your ladder against your home? I mean a lot of times, you’re encountering gutters and they’re not really the most sturdiest of structures to be leaning against.

    TOM SILVA: No. If they’re an aluminum gutter and it’s – basically, the type of brackets on that aluminum gutter can make a big difference. If you have a spike-and-ferrule gutter …

    TOM: Now, that’s the type of – when you say “ferrules,” those are sort of the little tubes that the long nails go through, correct?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. And those spikes and ferrules actually don’t allow the gutter to get compressed if you lean a ladder against it. But if you can’t see those nail heads – the little circles on the face of the gutter – you don’t have spikes and ferrules and by leaning the ladder against an aluminum gutter, you can actually pop the gutter out of those fasteners and compress the gutter.

    So you want to take something up the ladder with you. Again, you have to be careful when you walk up, because you don’t want to pop it. Slide a 2×4 in there against the inside edge and the fascia board and that will stop the ladder from compressing the gutter.

    TOM: A couple other things to look out for: overhead wires, of course. You always need to look up. Every once in a while, we hear about someone who’s been electrocuted because they didn’t do that.

    TOM SILVA: Right. You don’t see an electrician with an aluminum ladder, by the way. You see …

    LESLIE: No way.

    TOM: For good reason.

    TOM SILVA: That’s right, fiberglass. Because he knows. If you hit a wire, you’re going to get electrocuted. And also, tree limbs.

    Another thing that’s handy is you want to make sure – you could also use these stand-offs that actually hold the ladder away from you. So if you’re painting a window, the stand-offs go on each side of the window and you can paint right in there. Because you don’t want to be too low; the ladder should always be higher than you need it to be and you work through the rung of the ladder. So if you’re going up to a roof, the ladder should go up past the roof 3 or 4 feet.

    TOM: And those stand-offs are very handy, because they do allow you to sort of work around the ladder. Invariably, if you’re on a ladder and you’re trying to do something – this happens every year when I’m hanging holiday lights.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah.

    TOM: You get to that point where it’s just almost too close to work behind it.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, yeah. You get up to the top, you’re right on – you’ve got to stand back and that’s not smart.

    TOM: No, not a good idea.

    TOM SILVA: The stand-offs are actually – I actually love a stand-off; I think they’re great.

    LESLIE: Now, what about step ladders? I think people really just get complacent about it because, you know, it’s a couple steps off the ground. “How dangerous could it be?”

    TOM SILVA: It’s a big, wide step, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, it can be very dangerous.

    TOM: It’s a dare, too, when it says, “Don’t step above this step.”

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, they tell you right there. It’s always in big – right, big letters. What are people doing?

    TOM: Right. Big, red letters, right?

    LESLIE: Which means: “Stand right here.”

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. And that’s what people think: they stand there.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: I don’t even like to see people standing on the top or the second one down. You should be down a third and lower, because you don’t have any balance, you don’t have anything to hold onto. You could be hanging a light fixture and think about it: you’re in the air on the top of the ladder?

    TOM: My favorite step ladder is one that’s a two-sided step ladder. I have a fiberglass two-sided. It’s great for father-son projects.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, absolutely.

    TOM: And it’s very stable.

    TOM SILVA: And they’re stable on both sides. There’s lots of times when you want to get on the other side of that ladder.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: Those steps are really great. I agree with you.

    TOM: So a ladder is a great tool but you’ve got to be really careful to make sure gravity always remains your friend.

    TOM SILVA: And buy a good one.

    TOM: And buy a good-quality one. Great advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    TOM SILVA: As always, it’s my pleasure.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on home improvement projects you can tackle this weekend, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: Up next, unless your wood furniture is getting the same care as the antiques that maybe a museum like the Smithsonian – they’re going to break eventually. If that happens, we can tell you how to keep that broken chair out of the trash and get it back into your house for use. There’s an easy way to do that. There’s some products that can help. We’ll share those secrets, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes. Formulated to restore, beautify and protect decks, fences and siding year-round. Behr is available exclusively at The Home Depot or you can visit the new Exterior Wood Care Center, built to help you find the right products and colors for your project. For more information, visit B-e-h-r.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. Tired of reminding your family to turn off the lights? Install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor and you’ll never have to remind them again. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit ChooseLutron.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call for the answers to your home improvement questions and for a chance to win this hour’s prize. We’ve got a package of C?L light dimmers by Lutron and you get three Diva dimmers – they sound so glamorous – for your wall switches and three Credenza dimmers for your lamps. And these are great because these C?L dimmers work with more than 200 kinds of light bulbs, so there’s really no confusion here; it’s going to work.

    And it’s a prize package worth 130 bucks, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Ed in West Virginia. You’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    ED: Yes. I’m thinking about building a – I guess it would be called a porch, since it’s going to be like a deck with a porch – with a roof over it and a patio beneath.


    ED: And I was wondering whether I should use composite material or just treated wood. Since it’s going to be covered, I figured the treated wood may be the best way to go.

    TOM: Well, the treated wood will last a long time and because it’s not going to be exposed to the sunlight, it also will be less likely to crack and check.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also less likely to need to be refinished as often as one that were baking in the sun.

    ED: Right. OK. So the treated would be just as good?

    TOM: It would be fine. It’s going to be less expensive and you are going to need to refinish it from time to time but because it’s under a roof, it’s not going to be exposed to the UV radiation and therefore, it’s not going to crack and check and it’ll look good for a long time.

    ED: I see. OK. Well, good.

    TOM: And you’ll save some money.

    ED: OK. That’s what it’s all about.

    TOM: Well, if you’ve got kids, you probably understand that most wooden chairs are temporary, meaning that, eventually, someone’s going to break one. And the most common breaks are a leg cracking or an arm that breaks off. And in the old days, that meant two things: either the entire arm or leg had to be replaced or you used the chair for firewood. That’s not the case anymore.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, the experts at Elmer’s, they say all it takes is a little wood glue and a clamp to fix that broken chair. And they make glue, the folks at Elmer’s, so they know what they’re talking about.

    Now, you have to match the broken pieces as best as you can and apply the glue and then clamp all of those pieces in place together. Now, Elmer’s makes a Carpenter’s Wood Glue and a Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max, depending on how much stress the break will be under.

    Now, the cool thing about these glues is that once they’re dry, they can be sanded, stained or even painted. And they’re going to be invisible, which is awesome. And they also set really fast and last longer than, get this, the wood itself.

    Now, Elmer’s is a proud sponsor of The Money Pit and if you want to learn more, visit Elmer’s website at Elmers.com.

    TOM: That’s Elmers – E-l-m-e-r-s – .com.

    LESLIE: Lisa in Iowa is on the line, dealing with some vinyl siding. How can we help you today?

    LISA: Hi. We were just wondering, there’s lots of stuff out on the internet about how to take care of it and wash the vinyl siding. And we just wanted to see what you guys thought about what’s the best way to do it.

    TOM: Very simple solution to that. There’s a product that’s available at Lowe’s and lots of hardware stores called Krud Kutter – K-r-u-d K-u-t-t-e-r. Environmentally-friendly product. You apply it to the siding, let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes, rinse it off and it does a really good job of cleaning it. They have an exterior cleaner version, specifically, of Krud Kutter. You do have to wet your plants down underneath it but other than that, it’s a really easy way to clean your siding.

    Do you have sort of mildew and algae that’s forming on it?

    LISA: Yeah, there’s some little black specks that are there. It comes right off just if we wipe it with a damp cloth.

    TOM: Yeah, you want to get right on that. If there’s little black specks, that could be artillery fungus, which can sort of eat away at the surface of the vinyl. And that’s often caused by the kind of mulch that you use around the house.

    LISA: OK.

    TOM: So if you have shredded mulch, you have a higher risk of getting the artillery fungus. If you have chips or bark, then you usually don’t.

    LISA: OK.

    TOM: Give that Krud Kutter a try. I think you’re going to be very happy with it.

    LISA: OK, great.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LISA: Thanks for your help.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Are those weeds already rearing their ugly heads in your beautiful yard? Well, we’re going to tell you about one very common weed and how you can get rid of it, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Santa Fe, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient basement and crawlspace dehumidifier. Santa Fe offers a complete line of high-capacity, Energy Star-rated dehumidifiers, specifically designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of crawlspaces and basements. Visit DehumidifierSolutions.com to learn more.

    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 one of the questions we hear all the time here on The Money Pit is: “What do I do about a wet basement?” If you’ve got water problems in your house, if you’ve got water in your basement or even in your crawlspace, chances are very, very high that the problem is not your basement at all; it’s usually the drainage system. So log on to our website at MoneyPit.com, search “basement waterproofing tips.”

    It’s actually one of the most popular pieces of content on the site. We will walk you through the step-by-step on how to make that problem go away once and for all. And you will be shocked to find that it costs almost no money to make it go away. It is super, super cheap. It has everything to do with your gutter system, how it’s designed, how it’s draining and also the grading around your house and it’s online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question in the Community section. I’ve got one here from Melissa who wrote: “Hey, guys. I have a new ugly weed in my yard. My neighbor says they’re called ‘nutsedge.’ Any idea on how to get rid of them without killing my lawn?”

    TOM: You know, that’s actually a very common weed in the United States. It can simply be pulled if you get it right now, if you pull it before the late summer, when it actually starts to seed. And make sure you get the roots.

    If that doesn’t work, you can use an organic herbicide with clove oil. Clove oil works really good on broad-leaf weeds like nutsedge. And that will take care of the problem, Melissa.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. I hope that helps. I’ve never even seen that.

    I was telling you earlier, Tom, that we found a scallion in our yard. How weird is that that things randomly grow?

    TOM: Just one scallion?

    LESLIE: Just one, on its own, which – you know it probably came from a bird’s tush and was very well-fertilized. My husband would not let me eat it but I was fascinated by the whole thing.

    TOM: He’s a wise man. I’d keep that out of my salad, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, I’ve got a post from Ted who writes: “I have some cracks in my driveway that I fear will get worse in the summer sun. Can I repair the cracks myself or do I need an entirely new driveway?”

    TOM: Driveway repairs and cracks are very, very common, especially in asphalt, as well as in concrete. And so, it’s kind of a several-step process.

    For the cracks in the driveway, you simply use a driveway crack-repair material. There are a variety of them out there. Typically, they’re latex-based these days, which is nice, makes the water cleanup. But you clean out the old crack, you apply the crack filler. If there’s any bigger holes, you can use a patching compound and then you can reseal the entire driveway.

    And on our website at MoneyPit.com, we’ve got “Driveway Sealing and Repair: Easy Tips for Great Results,” an article that will kind of walk you through it. And that is right there online, for free, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s an easy project to tackle and it will make your driveway look a gajillion times better, Ted.

    Alright. I’ve got a post here from Alice who writes: “I want to hang silk curtains in my living room. Is it true that silk fades?”

    Well, Alice, all fabrics are going to fade unless you get an outdoor, fade-resistant fabric like a Sunbrella or something like that. But nobody’s really using those on their interiors. So what you need to think about is how the light is getting into the space.

    And there are coatings that you can put on your windows. You may even already have a window in your home with a low-E coating, which reduces the transference of light into the home, thus will reduce the fading. I think it’s the nature of the beast: silk drapes are beautiful; the back side is what’s going to fade. Generally, a silk drape is going to be lined and interlined, so the lining will be what will fade. And generally, that’s white or off-white, so you’re not really going to see that too much.

    So I say enjoy your beautiful drapes. Don’t be afraid; put up something really stylish and fabulous and change that look in your room.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. It’s now time to stop listening to the radio and go outside and get something done. We know there’s a project on your list. If you ever get stuck, 24-7, you can always pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or log on to MoneyPit.com and post your question online right there.

    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 2012 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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