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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: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here to help you take control of those projects and get them done. Check them off the list by picking up the phone and call us, because we will help. We’re standing by. We’ve got the gloves on, we’ve got the tools out, we’ve got the measuring tapes ready to go. We’re going to help you get the job done but you’ve got to help yourself first by calling us at 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, we are smack dab in the middle of summer-storm season and when, not if, the next storm hits your neighborhood, it’s important to thoroughly check your home for damage. Minor leaks you may have missed can turn into major problems if they’re not caught and fixed up properly. We’re going to show you exactly how to do that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Plus, those summer storms can also bring on a whole host of mold problems if you don’t know what to do. We’re going to have that solution, a little later.

    TOM: And if you thought your lawn was bad, imagine millions of visitors tramping all over that same lawn every single year. That is the problem that faces the folks that are in charge of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. We’re going to tell you about a major makeover that’s being planned there and what you can learn from that renovation that can help in your very own backyard.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a Philips 12.5-watt AmbientLED A19 bulb. It’s worth almost 40 bucks and it’s going to save you over 100 bucks on energy costs a year.

    TOM: So let us shed some light on your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Nathan in Texas needs some help shopping for a faucet. Tell us about it.

    NATHAN: Yes, I’m actually looking for a matching – something that will work in both my shower and my lavatory faucet in my bathroom.

    TOM: OK, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    NATHAN: It’s a – the design I wanted, the lavatory is going to have the split handle that’s stubbed out of the wall, not off of the sink base.

    TOM: OK.

    NATHAN: Going into a bowl.

    LESLIE: OK, like for a vessel sink.

    NATHAN: Correct, yes. And then the shower, I want a split handle, as well, that’s matching and that’s what I’m having trouble finding: a split handle in the shower. And I had heard rumor that that was against some sort of ordinance or a code or – I don’t know.

    TOM: You mean where the hot and cold are separate handles?

    NATHAN: Correct.

    TOM: Well, I think what you need is – you probably – when you talk about code, you’re probably thinking of a pressure-balance valve where it’s a single handle that mixes the hot and the cold and protects you from sort of shower shock. And that’s the way most new construction would be today. But there’s an awful lot of old homes out there that have separate hot and cold water faucets and I don’t see why that would be a challenge.

    And in fact, Leslie, the very same faucet handles that we’re using for the lavatory, we could probably use for the faucet, right? For the shower.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean I don’t …

    TOM: I don’t see why not.

    LESLIE: I don’t see why not. Generally, the issue is sometimes when you’re shopping for tub-and-shower faucets, it’s completely sold as a set; you’ve got the shower head, you’ve got the faucet and you’ve got the tub spout. Hmm. I’m trying …

    TOM: But you could buy everything separately and put it together.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you could buy everything separate. I don’t see why – have you tried Moen?

    NATHAN: Well, I’ve just been cruising websites and it’s hard to specify what exactly you’re looking for; there’s so many out there.

    TOM: Well, what I would do is I would go to a plumbing-supply house, explain the situation and see what options they present you. This is going to be something that’s difficult to find on a website or a home center but if you go to a plumbing-supply house and just explain to them that you want matching handles for the lavatory and for the shower that come out of the wall, turn everything on and off and you want a spout that matches whatever design.

    LESLIE: And that you want separate hot and cold.

    TOM: So I don’t think this should be that hard to do.

    NATHAN: OK. Well, I really appreciate your show. It’s my six-year-old’s favorite show.

    LESLIE: Oh, alright.

    TOM: We’ve got some young fans out there. That’s terrific.

    NATHAN: Well, he really loves building stuff and he heard your show a couple – several months back and he gets me up every Saturday.

    TOM: Alright. Well, what’s his name?

    NATHAN: Holif (sp).

    TOM: Holif (sp). Alright. Well, Holif (sp), thank you so much for being a fan of The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Holif (sp).

    TOM: And Nathan, if you hold on, we’ll send you guys a book. Then when Holif (sp) gets a little bit bigger, you can read some home improvement tips to him, OK?

    NATHAN: Oh, man, that would be outstanding.

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

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

    JILL: I’m doing some new landscape to a house and the house just is not real elevated; it’s just average height. And there is a landscape plan that I really like that is – has some mounds that are elevated with shrubs and flowers and so forth.

    TOM: OK.

    JILL: Will that make the foundation of my house look low? Should I avoid going with height for the landscape against the foundation or does that enhance it to give it some height?

    TOM: Hmm, that’s an interesting question. A good décor question.

    LESLIE: Hmm. Well and the issue with the mounds of soil against the foundation makes me a little bit nervous. You know, Tom …

    TOM: Well, you can’t cover the siding. You can’t cover the wood framing.

    LESLIE: Right. And what about moisture situations?

    TOM: That would be OK.

    LESLIE: Yeah?

    TOM: As long as you didn’t trap water against the house. As long as you had slope away.

    JILL: OK. Yep and we would. And yeah, the drain-off would be fine. It’s a crawlspace. No basement.


    JILL: Which direction do I go? Because I can go either way; I just didn’t want the house to look like it was more of a berm-type house when it’s sitting on an acre-and-a-half out in the country. And I don’t want it to look like the ground is hugging it.

    LESLIE: Right. Eating up the foundation and going right up.

    TOM: I mean I think if you had a – if you used it in moderation. I wouldn’t …

    LESLIE: Right. I think if you used it to sort of accent certain areas like maybe the corners or on the edging – the outermost corners of the house – where you could then put a taller shrub or an arbor vitae or a Leyland cypress just to give height in those areas.

    JILL: And then I wouldn’t have any danger with the drain-off that way either; then I’d be secure.

    LESLIE: Exactly. And mix it up. Make sure you get local sort of grown items that you know will do well in your soil and in your climate conditions. This way, you’re not wasting money on items that aren’t really going to work in your area. Look for irrigation additives that you can put in the soil when things are being planted, to sort of reduce the amount of water you might need. Just think about those things in the selection process and if you’ve got a plan you like, I say go with it.

    JILL: OK. Well, you shifted me back to my original plan with these thoughts.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Good.

    JILL: So, good. OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Jill. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair, home décor, home improvement, design, expansion, renovation-project question. Whatever you are working on, we are here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, extra moisture and humidity from summer storms is a recipe for mold. We’re going to tell you about a new product that can stop mold in its tracks, though, without harsh bleach. That’s coming up, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes, with an advanced, 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers long-lasting beauty and excellent durability. 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 on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here at Team Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that gets on the air with us this hour is going to win the new Philips 12.5-watt AmbientLED A19. Now, this is a bulb that provides soft, white light when it’s lit, just like those incandescent bulbs that we all love. But it’s going to last more than 20 years and get this: it’s dimmable, which makes it the perfect light bulb for pendants, ceiling fixtures and it’s a really rugged bulb. You don’t have to worry about that fragile glass or that filament. It’s a great bulb. The new Philips 12.5 AmbientLED CA19. It’s almost 40 bucks. You can find it at Home Depot.

    If you want to learn more about it, check out our online Green Product Guide at MoneyPit.com or you can give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your home improvement answer and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, check this statistic out: half of all homes in America have indoor mold. That’s right. We said half and we’re not talking about the mold that could be in your refrigerator. Most minor mold issues, though, can be resolved with traditional solutions like bleach.

    However, although the bleach is going to kill the mold, it cannot keep it from coming back. We’re going to tell you now about a new product that can keep it from coming back. It’s from the folks at Planet People and it’s called Concrobium Mold Control.

    It’s a non-toxic, 2-in-1 solution that both eliminates and prevents mold and you won’t have to resort to any hazardous chemicals, bleach, anything like that. The bleach can stain surfaces and also stinks; it gives off very toxic fumes. This Concrobium product is safe for any surface that’s water-safe and it’s completely non-toxic.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? The Concrobium, it’s perfect for mold that you find during home renovations or mold that’s caused by severe weather. In fact, many homeowners choose to use Concrobium behind the walls during the home renovation, because it’s so effective at actually preventing mold growth.

    Now, you can find Concrobium at home centers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards. And if you want some more information, visit their website. It’s www.Concrobium.com.

    TOM: That’s C-o-n-c-r-o-b-i-u-m.com.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    LESLIE: James in Wyoming is calling in with a decking question. What can we do for you?

    JAMES: We are at the tri-annual point of refinishing our deck. And so we were wondering the feasibility of overlaying the existing deck, using that as a base, and putting a composite decking over the top of it. Is that feasible to do?

    TOM: Oh, absolutely.

    LESLIE: But I wouldn’t put it over the existing planks. I would take those planks off and use the existing framework and then put the composite where the old wood decking itself was.

    TOM: Right. Yeah, exactly. You would strip off the decking and you would install new composite decking on top of that. You would not want to layer it over the old decking.

    JAMES: OK.

    LESLIE: Well, no, because eventually that wood is going to fail, decay, decompose. You’re going to have to get rid of it eventually, so just do it now. Don’t sort of sandwich that there.

    JAMES: OK. I was told that the tensile strength of the composite may require additional stringers to be put underneath of it so that it would have less distance between the joists. Is that correct?

    TOM: No, no.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: I mean some of the composites are really floppy but if you have a good-quality product like Fiberon decking, that’s actually a product that Leslie and I have both worked with and it’s very, very resilient. And it’s got an encapsulation process on the outside called PermaTech that seals everything in so there’s no real organic piece of the composite that’s at the surface. So you never get a mildew or mold kind of growth on it. Very easy to clean and it doesn’t fade. That board itself, very, very stiff board. You won’t have any problems with telegraphing.

    LESLIE: Wait and maybe I’m wrong but at our summer home where we used it, we just took off the existing wood decking and put it right on top of the existing joists. You know, everything stayed …

    TOM: Oh, so you did the exact same project.

    LESLIE: Yeah, everything stayed as is. We did have to sister a couple of joists here and there just due to aging of the deck itself but no, nothing else changed.

    JAMES: OK. Alrighty. Well, thank you for the advice.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Cheryl in Michigan is dealing with a leaky basement. Tell us what’s going on.

    CHERYL: I live in a home that was built in the 70s and the hole that brings the well water into the house, it used to leak a little bit for many years and then I pulled out what I thought was greasy stuff and I guess it must have been the beeswax that you would use on a toilet seal.

    TOM: OK.

    CHERYL: And I had the well people out and they said, “No, no, use this foam.” They put that foam expander in, which didn’t help at all. So now, when it rains, it really pours into the basement.

    TOM: Yeah. Alright. Well, this is an easy problem to fix. First of all, wherever the pipe comes through the wall, that just becomes the point of least resistance and that’s why, when you broke the seal around the well pipe when it happened to come in, water is just continuing to find that space. But the overall issue is that you have a lot of water in the ground right outside that and if you can address reducing that water, then that will solve this problem.

    So the way you do that, Cheryl, is by looking at the grading; that’s the angle of the soil around the foundation at that area. And then, secondly, the gutters – making sure they’re clean, they’re free-flowing and they discharge water away from the house. Because as you said, when it rains it leaks. So if we can manage the water outside and perhaps seal around that pipe a little bit better – I wouldn’t necessarily use an expandable foam insulation; I’d probably use something like silicone caulk or a urethane sealant – that would solve it.

    LESLIE: Because the expandable foam really doesn’t stop water infiltration, right?

    TOM: No, it doesn’t.

    LESLIE: It’s more like air leaks.

    CHERYL: Yeah, that’s what I thought but she said, “No, this’ll take care of it,” and she …

    LESLIE: Well, it looks effective; it’s not. And you know what else you want to do, Cheryl, is make sure you don’t have any gardens or flowerbeds that are right up against the foundation that maybe have stone walls that sort of keep that water sitting right in there. And when Tom said with the grading, you want to make sure it slopes away from the house. Those are really simple steps that can be hugely impactful if one of those is the problem.

    TOM: You can’t be like the little Dutch boy that put his finger in the dike, OK?

    CHERYL: Right.

    TOM: That’s what you’re doing by sealing that up. You’ve got to stop the water.

    CHERYL: OK. Very good. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Cheryl, I hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Sylvester in Georgia needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what’s going on.

    SYLVESTER: Yes. My wife and I purchased an older house about a year ago and now we want to add carpeting to the basement. And we’re having a moisture problem and I’m trying to find out, what can we do to stop the moisture from coming through the floor?

    LESLIE: Have you already put the carpet?

    SYLVESTER: No, I have not.

    LESLIE: OK, good. What is the existing flooring that’s down there?

    SYLVESTER: It was carpeting. We pulled it up. It was old carpeting but it had that musty, mildew odor to it.

    TOM: Yeah. That would be a really bad idea.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’re always, always, always going to have a situation like that when you put carpeting in the basement, unless you have the best dehumidification system, no issues with water getting in from around the foundation, no gutter problems. It’s just a recipe for disaster when you put carpeting in a basement. If one thing sort of goes off, you’re going to end up with that musty, mildew smell; allergen generation; mold growth. It’s really just not a good idea just because of the inherent nature of moisture in basements.

    SYLVESTER: OK. What would be the ideal floor for a basement then?

    TOM: You would want to use – I would use a laminate floor. Or if you wanted hardwood, you could use engineered hardwood. That’s pretty resilient when it comes to moisture.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: But we would also tell you, at the same time, to go through the basics to try to reduce the level of moisture that’s down in that basement. So make sure that your soil is sloped away from the outside walls, make sure your gutters are clean, make sure downspouts are extended.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you go with a laminate, you can – I mean if you go to LumberLiquidators.com, they have locations all across the country. The price points are excellent. I have a friend who just did a laminate floor from them that was 60 cents a square.

    So you can find something that’s really affordable, that looks pretty much like everything from wood to stone and then it goes down very easily. It can be a do-it-yourself project, if you like. And once that’s down, you can add area rugs to give you that same sort of cozy, warm feeling that you would get from carpeting but you’re not going to have that moisture situation.

    SYLVESTER: OK. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dave in Ohio needs some help with building a house. What can we do for you?

    DAVE: Yeah, I was wondering if it’s cost-worthy to go with 2x6s instead of 2x4s for the – I hear there’s only a dollar difference in the wood but – and would it be better to go R-19 instead of R-21 that you can special-order through Owens Corning?

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, listen, it never hurts to put in as much insulation as you can. That said, keep in mind that if you use a 2×6 wall structure, you can only go – you can go 24 inches on at center instead of 16s. So that means you need fewer studs than you would if you used a 2×4 construction.

    So I think all in all, it ends up being slightly more expensive but not that much and you are able to get a much thicker wall and a better-insulated exterior wall. So I think it’s probably a good way to go.

    DAVE: Alright. Yeah, for the price difference, you can make it up because it’s kind of like a no-brainer to me. But now they have R-21 value but it’s three times as much.

    TOM: Yeah. I’m picking up that three R – that additional three R – is probably not going to be worth the additional cost.

    DAVE: Well, that’s what I was thinking.

    TOM: Yeah. I would stick with the basics, you know? Six inches of fiberglass batt insulation inside of a 2×6 is going to give you a really nice exterior wall. And that’ll deliver a lot of protection for you from the elements.

    DAVE: Right, right. OK. And that’ll – yeah, because we live up here towards Cleveland.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, do you think your lawn has seen better days? Well, find out what is likely the biggest lawn repair in the history of America. It’s the makeover of the National Mall in Washington D.C. We’re going to talk to an expert involved in that project, find out what they’re doing and how this technology can help improve your lawn, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by The Home Depot. Upgrade to a Philips 12.5-watt LED light bulb that lasts 25 times longer than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of The Home Depot.

    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.

    TOM: And are you enjoying all of those days and nights of beautiful green lawns in front of your house? What? You say, “No”? You have problems in your lawn? Well, what if you had millions of people walking on it every single year. If you do, you could imagine the problems with the National Mall.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s right. The National Mall is the open-area park downtown in our nation’s capital and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. And it’s actually in need of a major makeover, so we are joined by Caroline Cunningham, the president for the Trust for the National Mall.

    So what is going on down there in D.C., Caroline?

    CAROLINE: The National Mall is just loved to death. It is an amazing and beautiful park, a majestic park. And 25 million people come there every year but the reality is that about 30 years ago was the last time this park has seen any infusion of cash in it and it shows.

    TOM: Now, we saw an article recently in USA Today where there was an explanation of the technology that you guys are actually doing to improve the lawn. Let’s talk about that. I understand in some areas that the ground is so dense, it’s almost like concrete. So you really have to completely strip and rebuild this, is that correct?

    CAROLINE: Absolutely. We brought in Murray Cook, who is with Brickman, one of the leading landscape companies in the country. And Murray actually does fields for Major League Baseball and frankly, throughout the world.

    And what they’re trying to do is reengineer this soil and it’s basically a three-step process: one, we’ve got to restore it; we’ve got to maintain it; and we’ve got to better manage it.

    LESLIE: Now, how will you be able to work on the Mall itself and still keep it open for the enjoyment of these 25 million visitors?

    TOM: Yeah, when you build new lawns, don’t you have to keep them off for – folks off it for some period of time?

    CAROLINE: Well, the reality is is the park is 700 acres. So that 3rd to 15th Street that’s going to be repaired is only a small portion of the park.


    CAROLINE: And they’re not going to shut that entire area down and do it all at the same time. Clearly, there’s a love of this park; there are a lot of people who come here. So it’s going to be done in phases.

    TOM: And no plans to go AstroTurf, huh?

    CAROLINE: No. That would be awful.

    TOM: Now, let’s talk about some of the other elements of the makeover. I understand that a lot of the properties there are also suffering: everything from the walkways to some of the monuments. Is there going to be money budgeted to make those repairs, as well?

    CAROLINE: There’s work already underway there, which is really exciting. So the front of the Jefferson Memorial – which, literally, was breached by the tides and the front of it was falling into the Tidal Basin – has seen $18 million and is almost ready to reopen, which is really amazing.

    LESLIE: Oh, wow.

    CAROLINE: The Lincoln Reflecting Pool, which was leaching about 50 million gallons of water every single year – and that’s D.C. drinking water – is being repaired and that never saw any real work since it opened in 1925, with a little patching in between 1925 and now.

    And there are other projects that we’re going to be undertaking. The redesign of Sylvan Theater over on Washington Monument grounds and making that a food facility for visitors, with performance base, is going to be beautiful. Constitution Gardens, that lake is – fetid, dead fish in it and that will be restored. And there are projects throughout the Mall that really need our attention and we have a long project list.

    LESLIE: Caroline, I hate to say this but Washington D.C. is sort of notorious for things taking forever. So, how long can we expect this makeover to take?

    CAROLINE: Well, that’s the beauty of doing something in a public/private partnership. I think what the private sector brings to the table is not only funds in this very tight budget time on Capitol Hill but a sense of urgency about this space. So, our projection is that it’s going to take about seven years to raise the money, perhaps a little bit longer to execute the projects, only because we want to make certain that these places in the park are open for everyone’s enjoyment.

    TOM: Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. And if our listeners want to follow along on your progress, your website?

    CAROLINE: We are at NationalMall.org. We’d love to have people join us.

    TOM: That’s NationalMall.org. Thanks, Caroline.

    CAROLINE: Thanks. Have a great day.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, when a big summer storm hits, it’s important to assess your home immediately for any damage. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by The Home Depot. Upgrade to a Philips 12.5-watt LED light bulb that lasts 25 times longer than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of 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: And you should pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Philips 12.5-watt AmbientLED A19 bulb.

    LED bulbs are fantastic. They save you 130 bucks a year in energy costs. It’s got a very soft, white-light output; kind of equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb but it’s perfect for table and floor lamps. And although it’s as bright as an incandescent, it only really uses 12 watts of energy. It’s totally Energy Star-certified, available at The Home Depot.

    You can visit MoneyPit.com for info on that and all of our green-product picks. Just look for the Green Product Guide online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We would love to give you a hand with what you are working on.

    Well, being that we’re in almost mid-July, we’re a good month into hurricane season. And even if you don’t live on the coast, summer storms can really do a whopper of damage to your home. So after a storm, here are some things you want to do: you want to check your siding, you want to look at the metal trimming and you want to look at your soffits.

    Now, if these parts are loose or missing, you could have a really good chance of developing some leaks happening there. You also want to look for cracked, loose or even broken window panes.

    Now, even the best roofs, they can leak under extreme conditions like driving rain, which can then push up under the roofing shingles and result in some major leaks. If this has happened, repairs may not be necessary unless those shingles have been damaged, causing a new access way for the water to get in there.

    Also, you want to look for loose flashing around your chimney and any sort of plumbing vents or protrusions that you may have through the roof. And you also want to inspect those same areas from inside your attic. So you want to look at them from the outside and you want to look at them from the inside. Use a really good flashlight and check out what happened or what didn’t.

    TOM: You know, that’s a good point. And speaking of flashlights, I got a new one last month for Father’s Day, which I really liked. It’s the LED Tripod Flashlight.

    LESLIE: You are the biggest fan of this flashlight. And it’s really super-cool, because it’s almost like three super-spotlights connected to make one awesome flashlight.

    TOM: Yeah and it’s got three legs so that when you’re working inside the cabinet, you can just set it up and turn it on and it just stands there; nobody has to hold it for you. So, not as much as a father-son project as those projects used to be but still totally does the job.

    So, if you want some more information on that, you ought to check it out at the StanleyTools.com website. But I like it because there are three, multidirectional heads that swivel about 120 degrees. They’re totally shatterproof, too, so we’ve been using this on indoor projects inside the house and also, actually took it on a camping trip down the Delaware River. So, it works inside, works outside. Great flashlight. Just thought I would mention that and pass that on to you. The website again: StanleyTools.com.

    Now let’s take your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Madeline in Rhode Island is dressing up her kitchen. What can we do for you?

    MADELINE: Hi. I want to change my kitchen and give it a quick fix by changing the color scheme, repainting cabinets and changing out the hardware and stuff. I’m really limited by the color of my countertop, which I believe is Formica.


    TOM: OK.

    MADELINE: I don’t know what the real brand name of it is but it’s a laminate. I’d like to change the color of it and my question is, can it be painted? People tell me it can be but what is the proper procedure as far as roughing it up, I suppose it would need and …?

    LESLIE: Well, there’s a couple products on the market that are made specifically to be countertop paints. Perfect for a laminate-countertop situation. Sanding it – I would definitely make sure, first, that I clean the countertop very, very well. Because sanding it, you don’t want to be too aggressive with because some of that sort of scuffing that you might do will show through in the painting process.

    Rust-Oleum has a countertop paint and they call it simply the Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating. And it comes in a quart size. It’s less than 20 bucks a quart. It comes in, I want to say, 20 different color choices so you can go from buttery yellows to ones that are more earthy, taupe-y, grays. Ones that even look like concrete.

    It works really well. We used it on an episode of $100 Makeover because it was right in our price point. It does take three days to cure. So once you get it on there, you want to make sure that you don’t touch it, clean it, put anything down on it. Just really let it do its work. And that works really well.

    Tom and I also know of a company called Giani. They make a granite paint and that takes a little bit more skill in the application, because you’re doing a base coat and then you’re sort of putting on the veining, if you will, by brushing on, in an artful way, a different type of coating on it.

    So that can create a granite look. It’s available in sort of a black tone and a creamy tone. I prefer – when I’m painting my countertops, unless I’m really skilled at faux-finishing – to sort of just go with something more simple, because it’s kind of …

    MADELINE: Yeah, I’ve never done anything like this before. So I probably ought to stay with the basic, solid color.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Rust-Oleum, I would go to their website, which is RustOleum.com, just because to search it out, the countertop paint is kind of new so it’s not available everywhere. So you might want to start with the website, just to see who might have it in your area.

    MADELINE: OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ron in North Carolina is calling in with an insulation question. What can I do for you today?

    RON: Hey. I wanted to ask about insulation under my floor. I have a subfloor for my house.

    TOM: OK.

    RON: I have a crawlspace and the insulation was washed out during a hurricane one time. And I had the subflooring put down and I had the ¾-inch plywood put down as a new floor. And I’m wondering if it’s cost-effective for me to put that insulation back and what kind of insulation would I put back under there if I was to do that?

    TOM: Well, certainly, it’s very cost-effective to insulate your crawlspace floor, because that’s what keeps your feet warm and keeps the heat in your house and keeps it much more comfortable in the colder weather. What you want to do is remove all of the old insulation and then the next thing you want to do is add unfaced fiberglass batts. You’ll support them with insulation hangers.

    LESLIE: The little insulation hangers, right?

    TOM: And you want to put those about every 12 to 14 inches. And I think that you’ll find that it’s a project – as long as you get access to the crawlspace, it’s not that difficult to do and one that gives you a great return on investment.

    RON: And it’s unfaced insulation, you said?

    TOM: Unfaced fiberglass batts, correct. Unfaced.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s just the pink fluffy stuff on both sides. No foil covering.

    RON: OK. And it’s – could be a do-it-yourself job?

    TOM: Absolutely. Not that hard to do.

    LESLIE: Yep. You can get under there? You can do it.

    RON: OK. Yeah, there’s plenty of space under there for me to get there. Is there a certain kind or make or model or …?

    TOM: Owens Corning makes excellent insulation products. For more tips, why don’t you go to their website at OwensCorning.com? They also have a website – I believe it’s called InsulateAndSave.com – that’ll help you figure out exactly how much insulation you need for your part of the country.

    RON: OK, great. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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. Well, tunneling rodents, they can really tear up your yard and be totally gross to look at. So, up next, we’ve got some sure-fire solutions to stop those moles from ruining your yard and your barbecue weekend, so stick around.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.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. Hey, if you’re getting your first cooling bill of this summer season, you might still be in for a shock when you’re opening that envelope. You know, that recent heat wave that a lot of us have been dealing with have got our air conditioners cranking. We are going to give you some tips on how to lower your cooling costs, at MoneyPit.com.

    All you need to do is when you get onto the website, search “air conditioning efficiency” and you will be given the golden rules of how to operate your air conditioning efficiently and save some of those energy dollars, which we all like to do while staying cool this summer season.

    And while you are online, you can head on over to the Community section and post your home improvement question, just like Paul did who writes: “We have a lot of yard damage from moles. Then with all of the rain we had in the last few days, we had a lot of washout. Now, we have huge sinkholes in our front yard. Can you please help me figure out the best way to repair our yard?”

    I’m assuming the moles are still there, you think?

    TOM: I’m thinking that they are and you really need to deal with that first.

    Now, the reason that you have moles in your yard is because you also have mole food in your yard, by the way of insects that they love to eat. Now, moles typically feed on grubs. So, how do you get rid of them? Well, you use grub control. You can use a product like GrubEx.

    Scotts actually has one that is called GrubEx1. It’s a season-long grub control, so you only have to put this down once and it lasts the entire season. If you do that, the grub population will go down, the mole population will leave. They’ll just go over to your neighbor’s lawn to feed on and find those fresh grubs, because they won’t find them in your lawn.

    Now, in terms of the repair, what you want to do is fill in those areas with top soil, tamp it down gently, then seed it. Now, it is tough to get grass to grow in the heat of the summer, so you may even want to think about putting this off a little bit until the fall, which is the perfect time to get it to grow, because it has enough time to get a deep-enough root so that it will last throughout the second summer. You can try it; if it is a shady area, you might get away with it. If not, I would put it off until the fall.

    LESLIE: Can you patch in sod or is that a gamble?

    TOM: You could but you have the same risks; you have to actually be very careful and not let it get totally dried out. So you’ve got to be very, very careful to water it very, very frequently every evening for a good hour or so, to make sure it has enough water to survive.

    LESLIE: Alright, Paul. Start making nice with your neighbors, because the moles are headed their way.

    TOM: Well, the summer is a season that we all totally enjoy but it can turn tragic without proper pool-safety measures. Leslie has got advice on how you can create layers of protection to protect your family, in this edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. With a pool in your yard, it is so super-important to keep your kids safe with more than one safety measure in place around your money pit.

    Now, a pool alarm, that’s really just the first step. Now, these are going to sound if any child-sized object disturbs the water’s surface. So you won’t have to worry about every pool toy or a leaf setting off the alarm and freaking everybody out. Now, you can also look into locks, alarms or alerts on the back doors of your homes or any door, for that matter, that’s going to lead to that pool area.

    Finally, a properly-designed pool fence is really the most effective way to keep small children from danger. First of all, your fence height should be at least 48 inches and the spacing between those chain links should only be about 1¼-inch because anything larger, if you’ve got a climber on your hand – and pretty much when I was a kid, if I saw a pool, I could get over anything. So you want to make sure that the links on the fencing are no larger than an inch and a quarter, so that climbers just simply can’t get a toehold in there.

    And most importantly, you want to make sure that all fences have self-closing hinges to prevent those gates from accidentally being left open. If you take all of these measures, you are sure to have a safe pool season for your family. But remember, nothing beats parental supervision, so keep an eye on those kids all the time. Even when you think someone else is looking, keep an eye on those kids around the pool. Alright, guys?

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up next week on the program, would you like a lush lawn that would be the envy of the entire neighborhood? Cultivating green grass can be a challenge in hot summer months but we’ve got some tips that will help get you there, 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.

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    (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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