How to Add the Light of Windows Without Wasting Energy, Turn a Shabby Piece of Furniture into Shabby Chic, How to Care for Your Wood-Burning Stove, and more.

  • Transcript

    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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects. So, no matter what you’re doing, look around. Well, not if you’re driving. But imagine the walls of your home, imagine the floors, imagine the yard, the siding, the roof. We know there’s a project that you want to get done. The first thing you should do is pick up the phone and call us, because we’ll help you get it done the easy way. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    It is the fall fix-up season and that means there are lots of projects to do. You know, we call this the Goldilocks season. Why? Because it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold, which means it’s the no-excuse season to get projects done around your house. But when the cooler weather is upon us, it means that you may have one thought on your mind when it comes to heating your house and that is: “How do I save money? How do I heat my house inexpensively and efficiently?”

    Well, a wood stove could be a good option to do just that but maintaining it is the key to making sure that it runs safe. So we’re going to talk a little bit about wood-stove maintenance, on today’s edition of The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, do you happen to have some old or beaten-up wood furniture that you’re thinking about tossing? Well, don’t. We’re going to tell you how to turn that trash into a trendy treasure, with a great project that will put a new finish on your old furnishings.

    TOM: And also ahead this hour, we’ve got a great idea for an easy fall décor project that will bring the colors and themes of the season to any room in your house, with no sewing skills required. All you need is some creative flair to transform the windows in your house so they reflect the colors of the season.

    LESLIE: Alright. That’s ahead. And also, it’s super-quick and it’s easy. We’ve got a great prize up for grabs. We’re giving away a fast way to makeover your bathroom flush with creativity. They’re Toilet Tattoos. Have you guys heard of this? The winner is going to get five designs of their choosing. And these are decorative patterns that stick on the top of your toilet lid and it kind of adds some fun to the space.

    TOM: It’s a prize worth $50. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So, let’s get right to it. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    DANA: Well, I have a shelf that needs to be cut down so it’ll fit in the base of our A-frame cabin that we just bought in the Ozarks. And so it’s about 20 inches tall and it’s about 3 feet long and it kind of has those baskets that fit in it. And so, what I’d like to do is I’d like to cut it at an angle so that it fits back in there and it’s not just sticking out into the flooring space.

    LESLIE: So, Dana, what you need to do is that – I mean really what you have to do is sort of resize this piece so that it will fit into that open-bay portion so that it’s not, as you say, sticking out into the room. And you really need to be creative with the angles to sort of figure out what needs to come out of where.

    Can you tell me a little bit more about this A-frame and the size of the shelf?

    DANA: Well, the A-frame is just a regular A-frame; it goes all the way from the top to the peak, all the way to the ground level. And so I was trying to figure out, how do you figure the angle so that I know what angle to cut this shelf on?

    LESLIE: Well, there’s a tool that you’re going to want to get: T-bevel.

    TOM: Yep.

    LESLIE: And it’s like a plastic handle with this sort of a tic-tac, oval-shaped blade that’s got a slide set in the middle of it.

    TOM: Blade. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: And you’re going to open that up. You can get that at any tool area at the home center.

    DANA: OK.

    LESLIE: And you’re going to want to open it up and you put that right in the corner at the angle and then lock it in that position. And then you go ahead and put that at your T-square and that’s going to tell you exactly the angle that you need to cut at. Or you can then take that T-bevel and go right up to the bottom of your shelf, put it exactly where you’re going to want to put that cut and mark that line.

    DANA: OK.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s like an adjustable square and it’s called a T-bevel. And you should be able to find an inexpensive one, like Leslie said, at home center.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It really is going to save your day and make this the easiest project.

    DANA: Ours …

    TOM: I use that all the time for different types of fancy mitering cuts in, too, because there’s a couple of tricks of the trade where you can measure an angle and then divide it so that you can make a miter that ends up perfect on both sides.

    And we also use it sometimes to set the angle on saw blades, so I think you’ll find that it’d be a very handy tool for this particular project. OK, Dana?

    DANA: Alright. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Alaska on the line who needs help with a decking question. Tell us what’s going on.

    DOUG: The cabin we had built by a local builder, it’s remote. And what was supposed to have been done was a decking adhesive used on the floor joists on the three-quarter OSB tongue and groove.

    TOM: OK.

    DOUG: It wasn’t done. They put nails in and I’ve asked him since if he could go back at least and – they can’t redo that unless you tear everything up – to go ahead and put some decking screws in there.

    And I’ve got kind of two questions. One, would it be worth it after he goes through and does the decking screws to do something underneath, at the juncture of the underlayment of the underside of the OSB, along the top of the – yeah, would that be worth putting some kind of decking adhesive in? And is there a gun that’s made that you can do from the standing position to put extra decking screws in from up above?

    TOM: The answer to the second question is yes. First of all, let me explain what’s happening. When builders nail in OSB, they typically use a special type of nail. It’s called a cooler and it’s about a seven-penny common nail with a black rosin coating on the outside. And when you drive the nail in, it heats and the friction melts the glue, theoretically.

    And then once it cools, it sort of glues in place. The problem is that it doesn’t always do that and as the boards sort of move and pull in and out of the floor joists that they’re attached to, because the rosin is on the nail, it makes an awfully loud sound. So that’s probably why you’re getting the squeak.

    The solution is to screw it down. And do you have – what kind of – do you have a floor covering on that now? Is there anything covering that OSB?

    DOUG: Well, no. We haven’t got any squeak yet because the cabin was just built about – finished the floor about – roughly two weeks ago.

    TOM: Perfect. So, I’m telling you, squeaks will happen – I’ve just predicted for you – unless you screw everything down.

    DOUG: Oh, great. Yeah.

    TOM: But yes, you definitely can screw it down. Easy way to do that, by the way, would be to chalk lines where all the floor joists are, so you don’t have to guess. And then just go ahead and screw about six screws in every floor joist that goes through each sheet of plywood. So you do six on the seam and six on the next joist, the next joist, next joist and so on.

    Now, as far as the screwdriver, there is a special type of screw gun that is specifically made for this and it has an attachment that’s about 2 feet long. And it has a cartridge of screws that sort of roll through it, so you literally can stand up and walk down the line and screw the floor in; you don’t have to do it on your hands and knees.

    DOUG: Right. its worth anything to get up under the underside of the deck and put it – any glue or  the juncture of the top of the joists on the underside of the decking itself?

    TOM: I don’t think you need to get up under the underside of the deck like you were asking earlier. I think that if you screw the floor down from the top, you will be good to go.

    DOUG: You betcha. Bye bye now.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, if you’re looking to save some money on energy and heating in the future, you might need to look to a favorite heating system from the past. We’re talking about wood stoves and we’ll cover the latest in that technology, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Swann Security. Enter Swann’s Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes today at and you could win one of five complete, do-it-yourself home security systems, including the top prize of a four-camera security system, iPad and plasma TV valued at over $5,000. Enter today at That’s That’s 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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. One caller that makes it on the air this hour is going to win a fun and easy way to jazz up their bathroom. We’re giving away $50 worth of Toilet Tattoos.

    They’re patterns and designs printed on electrostatic vinyl that stick to the lid. These are easy to apply, they’re easy to remove and reapply with no residue. We’ve got lots of fun holiday patterns to choose from. Even just a few for Halloween, too. So check them out at or give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Don in Pennsylvania is on the line with a lighting question. How can we help you today?

    DON: Now, we’re going to redo our kitchen ceiling this year and we have these 6-inch pot lights up in the ceiling.

    TOM: OK. Yeah, the can lights?

    DON: Yeah.

    TOM: OK.

    DON: And we were wondering if we would take them out, if we put the LED lights under the cabinets, if it would give us as much light.

    TOM: No, I wouldn’t take them out. I would keep them in.

    Now, one is for area lighting; one is for task lighting. So the LED lights that could go under the edge of the cabinet could give you task-specific lighting for food prep. And they also look darn cool when you dim them in a party or something like that.

    DON: Yeah.

    TOM: But I would keep the lights in the ceiling.

    But by the way, you have a lot of options in the type of bulb that you can put in those ceiling lights. You could actually put in LED bulbs into those ceiling lights, too. And you may find the quality of light is better than what you have with the incandescents.

    DON: I mean take them out and put maybe like 4-inch ones in smaller ones or just leave the 6 ones in there?

    TOM: I would leave them. I think that – I think you could use the 6-inch ones that you have. I don’t think that’s part of the project that’s going to give you a good return on investment. But if you change the bulbs out, I think you’ll find that that will make a difference.

    Take a look at those Philips bulbs. I’ve got several of those now in my house, including in the kitchen, as can lights. They’re LEDs and we matched them up with Lutron dimmers where you can adjust the dimming range. And they’re super-bright and they cost a heck of a lot less to run than the incandescents. And they last a lot longer. We used to replace those incandescents all the time and these have been – I’ve never had to replace them and I think they say they last over 20 years.

    DON: Where would you find  that?

    TOM: You can get them at Home Depot.

    DON: OK.

    TOM: I know that I’ve gone there. They’re really interesting looking, Jack. They’re the ones that look – they look like yellow. They kind of look – I always think they look like bug lights.

    DON: OK.

    TOM: But you’ll be amazed when the thing comes on how bright it is.

    DON: OK.

    LESLIE: And they’re super-efficient.

    DON: Well, that’s what we’re looking for.

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

    LESLIE: Well, it wasn’t all that long ago that wood-burning stoves were the only way that you could heat your home. And although they got replaced with newer, fancier heating systems, people really seem to love them and they can still do a pretty good job of keeping you toasty for very little money, which we all like.

    TOM: Yes. But you have to treat them right by choosing the right fuel, because the wrong fuel could be very unsafe. It could also damage the stove and certainly decrease its energy efficiency.

    For example, you never want to burn driftwood or treated woods, because they can release a toxic gas. Seasoned hardwood is best for heat release and also for the least creosote buildup, which can be pretty dangerous.

    LESLIE: Also, you want to make sure that you store your wood in a dry spot. Burning wet or green wood is going to waste a lot of energy and it’s also going to contribute to that creosote buildup.

    Now, the harder, denser and heavier the wood, the more heat you’re going to get out of it. So while soft wood like pine is safe to burn, you won’t get nearly as much heat as you want.

    TOM: And don’t forget, your wood stove is not a trash incinerator, so don’t use it to burn garbage. If you treat your wood stove right, you’ll be warm and toasty all winter without those big heating bills.

    LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and needs help with a cleaning question. Tell us what’s going on.

    KELLY: Hi. We have a stain on our breezeway cement. Seems like an oil stain and we just are having a lot of trouble getting that up. Do you have like a professional formula?

    TOM: Where’s the floor and why do you need to get the oil stain on the cement? Oh, wait. Is it in the garage or where?

    KELLY: No, it’s in our breezeway. We have – in between the – it’s an enclosed breezeway. It’s kind of decorated and we use it.

    TOM: I see. So it’s a finished space, yeah.

    Well, what I would do is I would consider painting that cement floor. I would use an epoxy paint. I would use a two-part epoxy paint, which you mix up and has a chemical cure. There’s going to be a degreaser that’s part of the process that preps the surface. And so you clean it with a degreaser first.

    And I assume we’re talking about an old stain here, nothing that’s soppy and oily.

    KELLY: No, no.

    TOM: But you hit it with the degreaser first, let it dry. And then you use the epoxy paint and you’ll get a nice, clean finish and you’ll find that it’s going to be a lot easier to sweep and keep nice and tidy, too, with the epoxy paint. Not terribly expensive, not complicated and it will clearly solve the issue.

    KELLY: Will it be slippery if it gets wet?

    TOM: No, absolutely not.

    KELLY: OK. Well, that sounds great.

    TOM: Alright?

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Richard calling in from Atlanta, Georgia, listening to us on WGST. What can we do for you today?

    RICHARD: Hey, guys. Thanks for taking my call.

    We’ve got carpet in the basement. We just bought this house about six months ago and they’ve got some kind of mold issue and I’m not going to mess with it. I’m just going to rip it out. I don’t want to re-carpet it and I don’t want concrete floors. I’ve heard laminated wood, engineered wood, plastic wood. Could you give me a nickel education on this?

    TOM: Well, absolutely. First of all, you’re really smart to tear out carpet from a basement, for all the reasons you stated. I mean carpet is like – it’s a filter and you put it down in the basement, it traps dust, dust mites and allergens. It holds moisture in and it can be a very unhealthy situation. So removing that, going down to concrete and thinking about a hard-surface flooring is a wise move.

    You do have options. The two best options would be laminate flooring and engineered-hardwood flooring. A good source for both products is Lumber Liquidators. They have good products, good prices, great experts there. We’ve had them on the show a number of times.

    And whether or not you go with laminate or hardwood, the installation’s going to be really important. You’re going to follow their directions on that and make sure you have the appropriate vapor barriers down.

    Now, engineered hardwood is just like regular hardwood except that it’s made kind of like plywood, with different layers that overlap. And this gives it dimensional stability, which is the reason you could put it in a damp area like a basement.

    LESLIE: Right. But then the top layer is actually the hardwood veneer of the hardwood that you’re looking at, so it’s truly a beautiful floor.

    RICHARD: OK, cool.

    TOM: Now laminate is also an option and the laminate flooring today is absolutely gorgeous. And I’m telling you, in many cases, you cannot tell that it isn’t hardwood floor, because it looks so good. If you decide not to go with that hardwood look, you could get a laminate.

    Like I have Lumber Liquidators laminate in my kitchen. It looks like stone and it’s beautiful, it’s tough. We’ve raised three kids on it. You just can’t kill this stuff. So, I would take a look at Take a look at either laminate or engineered hardwood. Not solid hardwood, because that will move if it gets damp or wet, but only engineered. Does that make sense, Rich?

    RICHARD: That makes great sense. Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: Jan in Kansas is on the line with a home that seems to be cracking up. Tell us what’s going on.

    JAN: Well, I’ve got a lot of problems. It’s an old house; it’s over 50 years old.

    TOM: You have a lot of opportunities, Jan, not a lot of problems.

    JAN: Yeah. I’ve got some cracks in the wall.

    TOM: OK.

    JAN: And I have one crack that is going from the dining room to the kitchen and I believe it’s cracking on both sides of the wall. Same crack.

    TOM: OK. You said it’s 50 years old. Do you know if it’s plaster lath?

    JAN: It’s sheetrock.

    TOM: It’s drywall? OK. So, you know, fixing that is not a big deal. The thing is that most people usually fix it incorrectly. What they’ll do is they’ll try to spackle it. And by spackling it, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that it’s going to re-crack. What you have to do is sand down the area so you get rid of any glaze from the paint or dirt or anything like that. And then you’re going to cover it with drywall tape. And you want to use the mesh type of tape that’s sticky.

    So you put a strip of tape across the crack and then you spackle right over that tape. And you’ll use three layers of spackle and the easiest way to apply this is if you buy the plastic spackling knives. You can buy one that starts at around 4 inches, then you go to 6, then you go to 8. And they’re pretty inexpensive and you use that to apply the spackle and you sand in between each coat. And then you prime and paint and you’re done. So those are the proper steps.

    Where most people go wrong is they just try to do a quick-and-dirty spackling job and they wonder why it cracks again and again and again. Because that’s basically an expansion joint right now and unless you spread the repair across both sides of it with new drywall tape, it will continue to show up.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Up ahead, windows, they are the biggest drain on most homeowners’ energy bills but you don’t have to sacrifice beauty to get that energy efficiency. We’re going to tell you how, after this.

    NORM: Hi. I’m Norm Abram from This Old House and when we’re working on our projects, we listen to The Money Pit.

    (theme song)

    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: Now it’s time for your Picture  Perfect Tip presented by Andersen Windows and Doors, available at The Home Depot.

    Windows can make or break the appearance of a home. If you have old, drafty windows that don’t work well – not only will your home look like it’s in a state of disrepair, your wallet will also feel the pinch of in efficient wiondows when your energy bills come in.

    LESLIE: Replacement windows should look attractive but also be made well. If you choose a poorly made window, any money that you think you’re saving won’t be worth it in the long run.

    TOM: Now, Andersen Windows and Doors makes a window that I really respect. It’s the 400 Series Replacement Window. It’s extremely well-made and it’s super-energy-efficient and available in a wide variety of types and trim colors that will match any architectural style of your home and really step up your curb appeal. They’ve got double-hung, casement, gliding, fix-shaped windows, you name it. The 400 Series really has the perfect blend of shape, color and type that adds both energy efficiency and style to your home all year round.

    LESLIE: That’s right. The Series 400 also has low-E4 glass for really exceptional energy efficiency. And there are many types of embellishments for the panes, from grills to diamond shapes and even custom options.

    TOM: And you can choose hardware options, like distressed bronze, brushed chrome. They’ve got matte finishes in black and white, among others. And the experts at Andersen can help guide you through the process so that you choose the perfect combination of features that will match your home’s style.

    LESLIE: So if you’re concerned about upgrading your windows because they won’t keep in line with the character of your home, there’s really no reason to worry. Andersen’s 400 Series is going to cover it: every style and look from mission to Craftsman, traditional to modern and pretty much everything in between.

    TOM: And from now until October 17th, you can get an additional 10-percent off all special orders of Andersen windows and patio doors at The Home Depot. Check out the 400 Series and get inspired at

    LESLIE: Andrew in North Carolina is dealing with a plumbing issue. How can we help you today?

    ANDREW: Bought a house about three years ago. It was built in the 1950s.

    TOM: OK.

    ANDREW: And two-and-a-half baths. We bought it – I had it replumbed with all modern PVCs, CPVCs, the whole bit. And after that, the one bathroom – whether you use the toilet, the sink or the shower – on occasion, it’ll have a hum in the pipes. Not consistent. No rhyme or rhythm. Then we had a new septic tank put in and I was thinking maybe if they redid that, it would – something would change and it did not change. And we still have this problem. I was wondering what can be done to stop that.

    TOM: Well, the humming noise in the pipe is probably caused by a valve that’s not completely closing. So this could be the toilet fill valve, for example. As the toilet goes to refill, sometimes the valve doesn’t fully close. You get sort of vibration as the water continues to move over it and that can cause that sort of what you’re describing as a humming noise. It might just be a vibration or it could be something else somewhere down the line from that where you’re running a sink or a faucet or something else that’s just running water through the pipe. It has a bad valve associated with it and that’s causing that vibration, which is leading to the noise.

    Does that make sense as a possibility?

    ANDREW: I would understand that in the toilet but what about the sink? If you draw a cup of water, just that little bit it’ll cause it. That water …

    TOM: Yeah, well, that makes perfect sense because there are valves inside the sink faucets that this happens to, as well. So, if it’s happening when you’re letting water out or when the toilet’s refilling, I would simple replace those valves. A toilet fill valve is very easy to replace, very inexpensive. Probably about $10. Easy do-it-yourself project. Sink faucet, a little bit more money and not quite as easy but it can be a do-it-yourself project if you can fit under the cabinet to get to all the fittings and the fixtures and the faucets and so on.

    But generally, it’s a noise in the valve and it’s a simple fix. And the good news is that it will have no ill effects on the plumbing system whatsoever. So it’s just more of an annoyance that you can make go away, Andrew, if you replace those valves that are affected. OK?

    ANDREW: OK, so we replace the toilet valve and the sink valve, that should stop it.

    TOM: That should do it.

    ANDREW: OK. Well, we’ll give that a try.

    TOM: Alright, Andrew. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ve got to believe, buddy. You’ve got to believe.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Do you happen to have a table, a chair or a bench that’s destined for the dumpster? Well, don’t bring it there just yet. We’re going to tell you how to turn shabby into shabby chic, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows, the number-one brand of windows in America. Now enjoy 10-percent off all special-order Andersen windows and patio doors at The Home Depot, including the Andersen 400 Series Double-Hung Replacement Window, making it easy to replace your old windows. Valid through October 17. See The Home Depot 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    We’re giving away a pretty fun way to make your bathroom a little bit more dressed up. We’ve got Toilet Tattoos and what they are are a static-cling appliqué that go on your toilet lid. They come in a ton of different designs. It’ll really match just about any décor.

    I think the reason why I think this is kind of fun is maybe the boys in my house will actually close the toilet seat, you know, so that they can look at the fun designs?

    TOM: You can hope.

    LESLIE: Could be an incentive there. I’m just saying.

    If you want to check them out, it’s It’s a pretty cool thing.

    TOM: And the winner gets to choose from five designs, which is worth 50 bucks. So, give us a call right now for the answer to your question and your chance to win. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sue on the line who needs some help removing wallpaper. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUE: Well, I live in an older house that has every single wall in the house is wallpapered.

    TOM and LESLIE: OK.

    SUE: And I’m really sick of wallpaper.

    TOM: Yeah. Going to be a lot of years of wallpaper, too, huh, Sue?

    SUE: Yes, it is.

    LESLIE: Well, as a decorator, wallpaper is coming back in a big way. And big, bold patterns sometimes work really well in interesting spaces. But they might not always be what everybody wants.

    Now, Sue, tell me, is it paper or is it vinyl?

    SUE: I think it might be a vinyl. Don’t want it.

    LESLIE: OK. Now, with vinyl, you’re going to need to score that wall covering first, only because the vinyl is going to stop any of your efforts from actually getting to where the paste is.

    Now, I’ve done this before and it depends on how you’ve actually put up the paper and how long it’s been there and what it is adhered to. Was the drywall behind it prepared first? That’s all going to depend on your success rate in removing the wallpaper. But believe it or not – and it’s definitely worth trying; it doesn’t always work but it has been successful many times for me – you can actually remove wallpaper with fabric softener.

    SUE: Really?

    LESLIE: I know it sounds crazy.

    TOM: Works great.

    LESLIE: But you can mix about a 1/3-cup fabric softener with 2/3-cup hot water. Or you can even do it with – what is it – laundry starch: equal amounts of laundry starch and hot water.

    And the laundry starch, the benefit I find with that is that it ends up being like a thicker consistency, so it holds the moisture on the wallpaper where you want it, whereas the fabric softener and water is a little bit wetter.

    But you – if you’re using the fabric softener, you want to put it in a spray bottle, spritz that wallpaper, get it super-wet, let it sit there for 10 to 15 minutes. That wallpaper, you’re going to feel it start to loosen and then you’re going to peel it away. Start at the bottom, work your way to the top. You may need a scraper to sort of get underneath it and give it a lot of elbow grease. But with the laundry starch and hot water, you can put that on with a paint roller or a sponge. Super-wet the walls again, let it stand until you can peel away.

    And I would start there before I start renting steamers and getting crazy chemicals. Just start and see your success rate.

    SUE: OK. That sounds easier than I thought it would be.

    TOM: Well, that’s what we’re here for. Thanks so much, Sue, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that wallpaper project.

    SUE: Well, thank you. I’m going to be starting it probably in the next couple of weeks.

    TOM: Good. And then we’ll talk to you next year when you’re finished, OK?

    SUE: No, no. It’s going to be . Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome.

    Well, at some point in your life, you might end up with old wood furniture. Nothing that’s structurally broken but more worn out and definitely out of style. The experts at Elmer’s, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, have a great idea for you to take this old furniture, to go from shabby to shabby chic.

    LESLIE: You know, this is a project that works great on benches, chairs, tables or even a wooden headboard.

    First, you’re going to need Elmer’s Wood Filler Max and that’s going to fill in any holes or dents or scratches that you might have. It’s a really great product because once it’s dry, you can sand it, paint it, stain it and it’s super-strong.

    Now, once you’ve repaired any dings, dents or scratches, you can paint that furniture any color that you like. Let it dry thoroughly and once it is, you can brush on a coat of Elmer’s Wood Glue. And while the glue is still tacky, apply the top coat of paint. That’s right. I said put the paint on wet glue.

    TOM: Now, when it dries, what you’re left with is the crackle look that makes the furniture look whimsical and unique. You can use just about any paint color you want. And if you’d like to learn more about this project and others, head on over to –

    LESLIE: Michael in North Carolina is on the line with a water heater that’s making some curious sounds. Tell us what’s going on.

    MICHAEL: Recently, the last four to six weeks, I’ve been noticing – it sounds like a bubbling and a popping noise inside of the water heater. I’ve read several things on the internet but I can’t quite put my finger on it and I’m worried that either the vessel is getting ready to go or – I’m not sure, at this point.

    TOM: How old is the water heater?

    MICHAEL: It looks to be of considerable age. I’m guessing between six and eight years.

    TOM: Well, I mean water heaters generally go about 10 to 12 years, so that’s not – that’s kind of middle-aged; it’s not too terrible. By the way, if you look at the data plate on that water heater, usually there’s a date stamp sort of buried into the serial number. Sometimes, it’ll actually say what the date of the manufacture is or at the least, it’s going to have a gas standard in terms of which code it was built to and it’ll give you a year there. So you can get an actual sense of what the age of the water heater is.

    The noise is usually caused by a sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank. So, if you drain the tank occasionally, that will usually stop that. Have you ever drained your tank?

    MICHAEL: In the eight months I’ve been there, no. But I’d read something somewhere along the lines that you have to be very careful with – it’s got a plastic drain valve on it. And when you have a water heater that’s a little bit older, I guess they get – become brittle. And I’m worried about breaking that and making things much worse immediately.

    TOM: Well, you could very carefully try to drain the water heater. You simply hook up a garden hose to that spout; it’s designed to be drained. And let some of the water out of it and try to spill off some sediment with that. You get sediment on the bottom of the tank and that does tend to make it pretty noisy sometimes.

    MICHAEL: OK. Is there any chance that I have the temperature turned up too high and it’s causing – well, I guess not at 125 degrees. It wouldn’t cause a boiling, would it?

    TOM: No, it wouldn’t. And 125 degrees, though, is pretty hot. You really want it to be more like 110.


    TOM: Just for safety’s sake, if nothing else.

    LESLIE: Yeah, because you could easily get scalded.

    MICHAEL: OK. Alright. I’ll give that a shot.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project and 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 Still ahead, do you think that redecorating for fall should cost a lot of money and it’s just way too much trouble to even do? Hey, not so fast. Up next, we’ve got a great way to change out your window dressing each season – yes, you should be doing that if you want to keep your house looking fresh – in a way that’s inexpensive and requires zero sewing, so stick around.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows, the number-one brand of windows in America. Now enjoy 10-percent off all special-order Andersen windows and patio doors at The Home Depot, including the Andersen 400 Series Double-Hung Replacement Window, making it easy to replace your old windows. Valid through October 17. See The Home Depot 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: And The Money Pit is now heard 24-7 on You can listen to us whenever you want, all day, every day. Just visit or look for the TuneIn logo on our Facebook page.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And when you’re online, you can head on over to the Community section of The Money Pit website. And you can post a question there, like Phil in Indiana did who writes: “I have two bedrooms in my home that no one ever uses. I have an electric, forced-air heating system. I’m wondering if there’s some way that I can seal off those two bedrooms and not pay to heat them.”

    TOM: You know, certainly there is. I mean we just did this in our house when my son headed back to college. Why heat his room while he’s not there in the winter?

    No, so what we did is we closed all of the vents that feed air into his room. So what you need to do is to find the damper in the duct system. Now, the damper is a sort of a paddle that closes internally across the duct and seals it off. You can also close it at the register inside the room but it’s more effective if you actually close it at the damper …

    LESLIE: Because it’s still getting to that register, right?

    TOM: Yeah, because it stops it from getting that far and doesn’t waste as much energy. So do that. If you’ve got a hot-water system, you can turn the radiator off inside the room. Just make sure that you’re also not impacting any plumbing that’s nearby. So, for example, if there’s a bathroom in the room, you can’t turn off the heat because the pipes are going to freeze unless you turn the bath off and drain the water, as well.

    LESLIE: And you know what? I did actually read in some magazine that if you’re suffering from empty-nest syndrome and you’re missing the kid too much that’s gone off to college, they’re like, “Close the door to the room; you’ll think about them far less.”

    TOM: Hey, are you one of the many homeowners who get the itch to add a little fall color around your home this time of year? Redecorating for each season can be expensive and time-consuming unless, of course, you have the tricks of the trade of my co-host, Leslie Segrete, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Are you like me? Do you love fall colors? Well, one of the best ways to bring fall inside is with your window treatments. You don’t have to spend a ton of money or drag out your sewing machine to turn your windows into a fall treat. One easy way is to use kitchen towels on your kitchen windows instead.

    Now, kitchen towels, they come in super-rich patterns and are frequently discounted this time of year. And pretty much, you can find them anywhere in a ton of different patterns, from cute and whimsical to kind of serious to just plain. So, really, you can have a lot of fun. All you need to do is clip drapery hooks to the towels and then hang them from a café curtain rod. Then when winter or spring comes along, swap them out.

    Now, you can also use drapery hooks to hang inexpensive shawls on longer windows. And if you’ve got a glue gun, you can add some decorative ribbon or fringe. And you can actually also do that with a product called Stitch Witchery or Bondable Fusing or Heat Bond. It’s basically a ¼-inch to an inch. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. Sort of a fusible tape that you use with an iron to sort of adhere trimming to different fabrics. That’s a great and easy way that you can dress up something without doing any sewing, as well.

    Now, if you want to add some pizzazz to curtains that you already own, you can get magnetic buttons in a variety of colors, at a ton of different fabric or craft stores, and they just pop on and off at your whim. No sewing at all. So really, some fun ways to dress up what you’ve already got or inexpensively enhance your space so you get that autumn vibe in your home, on the cheap.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, oil stains, cracks and frost heave, all things that can turn your beautiful driveway into a frightful scene. We’re going to talk about how to make those disappear, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    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.


    (Copyright 2011 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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