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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: Here to help you tackle your home improvement projects. Give us a call right now. That’s the first thing you’ve got to tackle. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The rest is up to us. We’re here to help you get that job done. And if you don’t want to do it yourself, perhaps you’re what we call a “direct-it-yourselfer.” We’re going to help prevent the do-it-yourselfers and the direct-it-yourselfers from becoming do-it-to-themselfers by making mistakes along the way. Give us a call, 888-MONEY-PIT.

    First up this hour, they don’t call it “fall” for nothing. Leaves have probably started hitting the ground around you and raking might be something that you can deal with. But gutter cleaning? Well, that’s one chore that I’d rather not do. So we’ll have tips on how to completely avoid gutter cleaning, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, if your garage is not doing your home’s façade any favors, why not give it a makeover? There are so many styles, colors and looks for garage doors out there. And it’s a simple and affordable project that can completely upgrade your curb appeal.

    TOM: And another fall project is cleaning up inside and out. And if that cleanup includes mold, it could be tough to deal with, unless you have the tip we will provide on a mold-control solution that will tackle it once and for all. And it doesn’t even involve bleach.

    LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re giving away $500 towards beautiful, solid-wood cabinets from CabinetsToGo.com.

    TOM: Cabinets To Go builds beautiful, well-made cabinets that can add to any kitchen. So call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that $500 gift certificate towards beautiful, solid-wood cabinets from CabinetsToGo.com at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Don in Wisconsin is dealing with a window-well retaining wall that’s coming apart. Tell us what’s going on.

    DON: We have a window-well retaining wall that has – have railroad ties in there. Been there for quite a few years. Has started to deteriorate and I’m just now – I’ve been trying to check on what to do and been told to try to use retaining blocks and put blocks on there. And then you have to put some kind of a pea gravel in front of the block to hold the sand back, because we have sand here; it’s a sand country.

    And I’m not sure. I never did this before. And I was just wondering if it’s something that a person – because I’m handy – be able to do myself or is it something that you should actually have a professional landscaper do?

    TOM: At the highest part of the wall, from the distance between the ground to the top of the wall, how high is that?

    DON: Thirty-two inches.

    TOM: OK. So it’s fairly low to the ground. Alright. I think this is project you can do yourself. Concrete blocks – the interlocking, retaining-wall blocks – are a terrific option because they’re very easy to install. Because it’s only 32 inches off the ground, it’s not a lot of soil for you to deal with. You’re going to take the wall apart one sort of area at a time and build the blocks as you go.

    The thing that’s going to be different about the concrete blocks, though, is you’re going to have to have them on a bit of a solid footing. Now, that’s one that you might want to create yourself. You could probably create that out of stone that’s well-tamped down. But you’ve got to get them sat nice and level; you can’t just put them right on the dirt, OK?

    And then as – after you assemble them, then you can add the pea gravel behind it and the sand behind that. But I do think that that’s a good option and it’s going to be – literally, if you do it right, you’re going to get a lifetime’s worth of satisfaction out of that because, of course, the blocks are not going to rot.

    DON: Oh, OK. It sounds great.

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

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

    GLORIA: Yeah. Oh, hi. I’m calling about the product, SUNDEK. It’s also called Kool Deck. And I really just find – it’s that product that keeps your feet very cool? I had a pool put in and so when you get out of the water, it’s nice and cool on the feet; you don’t have the hot cement.

    But I find it very hard to keep clean. It looks kind of unsightly and when it rains, it just seems to attract dirt. Prior to the SUNDEK, I had cement and I found that it dried very quickly. I could take the hose and it was all very fresh. And this product just tends to hold water. I believe it’s an acrylic base. I just wondered – I don’t know if I could even have it removed somehow, kind of with some solution or if there’s some suggestion about how to take care of it.

    TOM: Gloria, I don’t think you have to remove or strip the Kool Deck paint to get it to clean it. Kool Deck is actually made by a company called Mortex – M-o-r-t-e-x. Their website is Mortex.com. And they make not only the Kool Deck but they make a cleaner that can be used on top of that; it’s a commercial-quality cleaner.

    So I would go to their website and look up the Kool Deck product, look up the cleaners. There is a website – there’s a – sorry, a link and a telephone number there where you can call and purchase the product. I don’t think you’ll find it in a home center or a hardware store; you may have to go direct. But we have the technology. No need to repair or replace what you have. You can keep it clean.

    GLORIA: Well, thank you so much. That’s going to be wonderful. I really appreciate your help.

    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 or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, gutter cleaning can be tricky and dangerous, not to mention just plain messy and kind of gross, too. But if you want to cross this home maintenance chore off your to-do list for good, we’ve got advice on how to do just that, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Overhead Door, winner of the prestigious Women’s Choice Award for garage doors. Overhead Door is proud to have the qualities that women value. To find a distributor near you, visit OverheadDoor.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number to call is 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win a $500 gift certificate towards beautiful, solid-wood cabinets from CabinetsToGo.com.

    Cabinets To Go offers high-quality, solid-wood cabinets for roughly 40 percent less than made-to-order, big-box stores.

    LESLIE: These cabinets have solid-wood doors, dovetail drawers, premium hardware and lots of great finishes. There’s a style for every taste, including their brand-new Roberto Fiore frameless, European-style cabinets. You dream it, we design it.

    TOM: Visit CabinetsToGo.com and call us, right now, for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eric in Hawaii on the line who needs help with a roofing question and Tom and I to come there and help in person.

    Welcome, Eric.

    ERIC: How are you guys doing?

    TOM: We’re doing great. How can we help you with your cedar roof?

    ERIC: Well, it is past its life, so I will need to replace it. It’s very expensive out here so I’m wondering, are there any other new products that I can put over – I’ve got skip-sheeted base.

    TOM: Right. You have space sheathing.

    ERIC: Yes, yes. So, are there any other products besides the cedar shake that I can go with that style? Or would I have to sheet it or – I’m looking for affordability.

    TOM: Alright. Maybe is my answer. Is that definite enough for you? I’m thinking about a product that’s a composite roofing shingle that’s called DaVinci Roofscapes.

    Now, these look more like a stone roof, like a slate roof, than they do a cedar roof. But they’re a tile product. So because they’re a tile-like product, I don’t know if you need to put a solid plywood sheathing underneath. I suspect that you will not have to. So you may be able to put them on in much the same way that you have with your spaced sheathing on the cedar.

    How old is that cedar roof, by the way?

    ERIC: Unbelievably, 30 years old.

    TOM: You know, it’s not unbelievable to me and here’s why. The fact that you have it on spaced sheathing means that it was able to dry out from the top and the bottom. Cedar is not waterproof so you wonder, “Well, why does it actually keep the water out of my house?” Well, because it absorbs that water and allows the – most of it to run off. But the way it lasts as long as it does is it has to be able to dry very easily. And so many people that put cedar roofs on today nail them against tar paper on top of plywood sheathing and you really can’t get any air underneath it, so that’s why those roofs last a very short timeframe.

    So, I think your options are either to consider a composite roof, like the DaVinci product – you can look online, find them at DaVinciRoofscapes.com – or you consider replacing the cedar or you could go with plywood and a new asphalt-shingle roof that looks like cedar. I would price it out all three ways, do a little more homework and then make the best choice for you.

    The nice thing about your roof is that it rarely is an emergency. I think you’re starting to identify the fact that it’s worn. I don’t know if you’ve had any kind of major damage. But generally, you can nurse a roof along for a year or two if you absolutely have to. But now is definitely the time to start looking into the options.

    ERIC: Alright. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Eric. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jamie in South Dakota is on the line with a vaulted ceiling with a crack in it. Tell us what’s going on.

    JAMIE: We’ve been living in this house. It’s (audio gap) built in 2000 and I believe it was a modular that was moved onto a basement foundation. And a few years back, we noticed it started to crack. And my husband tried to fix it but apparently, whatever he did didn’t work.

    TOM: OK. Well, let’s give him a little break on that. He can probably try it again but maybe he didn’t take some of the right steps.

    Now, first of all, cracks in vaulted ceilings are very, very common. There’s a tremendous amount of expansion and contraction that goes up there, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the warmest places in the house, especially in the summer.

    So what you want to do to try to fix this is to sand over the area where the crack is so that you remove any loose paint, dirt, debris, that sort of thing. Next, you want to cover that with a piece of perforated drywall tape. It looks a bit like netting; it’s a little sticky and it comes on a roll. And on top of that perforated tape, you want to add three layers of spackle. You start very narrow at about 4 inches and you work out to maybe 6 or 8 or 10 inches, in terms of the width of the spackle blade.

    That netting actually bridges the crack and makes sure it doesn’t come through again. If you were simply to go up there and spackle it, the crack really isn’t fixed. So the next time the ceiling expands and contracts, it’s going to show up again. Does that make sense?

    JAMIE: OK. Alright. Well, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Well, it’s fall and that means falling leaves. Now, raking is one thing but possibly the most hated chore of home ownership is gutter cleaning. It’s messy, it’s dangerous and it’s a downright pain in the neck. Now, you could hire out the job but that gets costly year after year.

    TOM: Now, it’s not something you can skip. Clear gutters take rainwater away from your home’s foundation and that helps prevent moisture in your basement, crawlspace and around your foundation. So how do you make sure your gutters are always clear without the annual cleaning?

    LESLIE: Well, one thing that you can do is prevent gutters from getting clogged in the first place.

    Now, GutterBrush is a product that offers an easy, do-it-yourself solution that eliminates the need for regular gutter cleaning. You just slide 3-foot sections of GutterBrush into your gutters. And at around $200 to $300 to protect a typical home, GutterBrush is going to cost thousands less than many gutter covers, screens and other gutter-guard systems.

    TOM: And GutterBrush, a proud Money Pit sponsor, also offers a money-back guarantee and makes the product right here in the U.S.A. Plus, right now, GutterBrush is offering Money Pit listeners a free sample. Just visit GutterBrush.com and look for the radio microphone to learn how. Or call 1-888-397-9433. That’s 888-397-9433.

    LESLIE: Steven in South Carolina is on the line with a water heater that seems to be leaking and it’s only four months old, so that’s not good. Tell us what’s going on.

    STEVEN: Leslie, I consider myself a home improvement master.


    STEVEN: And I put in this new water heater in a rental unit that I have – a rental unit/townhouse. And I went over there the other day and noticed that the pressure-relief valve is slowly leaking. And I can’t figure out why it would be leaking.

    TOM: Well, Steven, there’s two reasons it could be leaking: the first is that you have a bad pressure-relief valve; the second is that your water heater is not working correctly and it’s actually building up excess pressure. And as a result, the valve is doing exactly what it’s intended to do, which is to open up if the pressure in the valve exceeds – or the pressure in the tank exceeds 150 pounds. So which is it? That is the question.

    And I wouldn’t recommend that you do this project yourself. But I guess the first thing I would do is probably replace that valve and see if it continues to happen.


    TOM: The other thing that you could try to do is you could try to let a little bit of water out of it. Since it’s already leaking, it’s probably not going to get much worse. We almost never tell people to do this, because sometimes if there is a little crud in the water from dirt or debris that’s inside the plumbing system in your house, it can actually make the leaking worse. But if it’s already leaking pretty bad, I would open and close that little valve lever – the lever on the side of the valve that releases some pressure – a few times. Just let some water blast out of that and see if it resets.

    But if it continues, then there’s something wrong with the water heater and it’s doing its job.

    STEVEN: Well, let me ask you this. What about – I put it in the same way it was installed 10, 12 years ago. And it’s just the hot water out, cold water in. And isn’t there some kind of a diaphragm-type valve or something that can go on the newer water heaters?

    TOM: It doesn’t – it’s not for that, OK? You may be talking about a water-hammer arrestor but this has nothing to do with the pressure in your water heater. The water heater is an appliance that’s designed to work by itself. It’s designed to heat the water and deliver the water to your domestic system. And specifically, if it’s not doing that correctly, in terms of this valve, it’s going to open up and prevent it from rupturing.

    So, no. The water heater is not supposed to leak and if it is leaking, something’s wrong – either a bad valve or a bad water heater – and you’ve got to get to the bottom of it.

    STEVEN: I appreciate your insight.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.

    STEVEN: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully, it works out for me.

    TOM: Alright. I’m sure it will. Steven, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Kerwin in Mississippi is on the line with a septic-system question. What’s going on over there?

    KERWIN: Hey. Comment allez-vous? We’ve got a situation. We bought a tax-sale property.

    TOM: OK.

    KERWIN: Paid 3,000 for a trailer that still had all the stuff in it from Katrina, so it was a mess; took a couple months to fix. And it was a 100×150 lot with a trailer and an addition on it, so it was a great deal.

    TOM: OK.

    KERWIN: My problem is when we went through the process of trying to get power turned on, which we have no – we’re really living off the grid. We have no water, no power.

    TOM: OK.

    KERWIN: And we’ve got a compost toilet. And the problem, when an inspector came out from the Health Department, was it should have been grandfathered in but they started hemming and hawing about it being – they changed the rules. Instead of it being 10 feet from the property line, now it’s got to be 25 feet. And ours sits at 22.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.

    KERWIN: So, we’re dealing with the raw sewage with the compost toilet. We need to deal with the septic-system graywater. And I’ve been looking – and they also tried to say that, oh, it might be a wetland. Well, it – I actually found a …

    TOM: Still think it’s a good – still think it was a good deal?

    KERWIN: Actually, I do.

    TOM: OK. Alright. So what’s your question, Kerwin? Is it the septic inspector – the health inspector is telling you you can’t put in a septic system? Is that right? Is that what it is?

    KERWIN: We’ve actually – we can’t get anybody from – we had an engineer come out and he said there doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    TOM: OK.

    KERWIN: They told me I had to – they referred me to an engineer. I got one to come out and now I can’t get a septic company to even come out and repair it. He said all it needs is repair.

    TOM: OK.

    KERWIN: So, I’m in a bind. So I looked for grants. I’ve thought of moving it myself.

    TOM: What’s the job that actually has to be done? What’s the repair?

    KERWIN: I think if we can find a way – if there’s a source or information on doing a graywater system, we can get by.

    TOM: First of all, you did the right thing by involving an engineer. The engineer will – his opinion will basically supersede that from the Health Department. The engineer is recommending a repair. The first thing I would do is ask the engineer if they can give you a referral to somebody that does this kind of work, aside from the two guys that you’ve been calling over and over and over again. I can’t believe there’s only two guys in this area that do this sort of work.

    I would not try to change the entire way you’re putting this system together just because you can’t get a contractor out there that does this. I would place an ad on Craigslist to find a contractor or some other online directory, rather than change my approach, to basically redesign the system. If the health inspector says you get an engineer and the engineer says it’s repairable, let the engineer – I mean put the engineer in charge of the project. Let them find somebody that does this.

    Yeah, you want to find somebody that can – has some credibility with the guys that are doing the work, that wants to get more work for them. You’re just kind of one and done. But if you have your engineer that’s doing this all the time maybe GC the project for you, maybe that engineer can help you identify a contractor that’s going to be responsible and reliable. Even if it costs you a little bit more, it’s going to be less than trying to redesign the entire system. And if you get it done right, then you can get the power moved in and kind of move on your way.

    So that’s the way I would approach it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, still ahead, fall is a great time of year for cleanup. If tackling mold is one of the chores at your house, forget about bleach. It can actually be the worst thing that you can use.

    TOM: Learn why bleach won’t get rid of mold permanently and what will, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is 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. If you do, we’ll throw your name in the Money Pit hard hat for a $500 gift certificate to CabinetsToGo.com. This is a fantastic website where you can buy beautiful wood – solid-wood – cabinets with dovetail drawers, the works, for 40 percent less than you could in big-box stores.

    Head on over and check it out, right now, at CabinetsToGo.com.

    LESLIE: Janet in Illinois is working on a decking project. How can we help you with that?

    JANET: We have ordered the material for the flooring of the deck and it’s going to be waterproof and where we have a patio beneath it. And we would like to finish the underneath side so that we can do some canned lighting or – and/or some ceiling fans. And wondered what the best product would be to finish the underneath side.

    LESLIE: To sort of waterproof it, block it from any sort of water, be it rain or snow, getting to that lower underside.

    JANET: Well, the top product is going to do that. So we just want to finish it so it’ll look nicer than just having the wood showing from the framework.

    TOM: OK. Will this be exposed to the weather from the sides, though? I understand you’re putting a roof over the top but will there be sides on this or is it possible for wind and rain to blow in?

    JANET: It will be possible for wind and rain to blow in so, yeah, we would want that.

    TOM: So you do need a good-quality product that’s going to seal and protect the wood.

    So in that case, Leslie, I guess I would go with solid-color stain – a deck stain.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But I think you’re looking for a material, first, to put on the ceiling, correct? Other than wood.

    JANET: Right. Yes.

    TOM: Oh, for the ceiling? The underside of the ceiling?

    JANET: Yes.

    TOM: How about AZEK?


    TOM: Yeah, A-Z-E-K. Yeah, AZEK is an extruded PVC product that’s available in many different finishes. It’s synthetic, so it doesn’t rot and it doesn’t need paint.

    JANET: OK.

    TOM: So if you go to A-Z-E-K.com and look at a lot of the sheet products …

    LESLIE: Yeah. I bet there’s a beadboard or something that would look like a shingling or a paneling for the ceiling.

    TOM: Right.

    JANET: OK.

    LESLIE: That could be very lovely.

    TOM: Right. But the deck surface is also going to need some protection. So that – for that surface, I would use a solid-color stain.

    JANET: Alright. Sounds wonderful.

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

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve probably heard that bleach is the best weapon against mold. But in reality, bleach, it’s really only a short-term fix and can actually interfere with mold removal and pose health risks for you and your family. So, here’s a tip to help you safely win the battle against mold once and for all, presented by Concrobium Mold Control.

    TOM: First up, while bleach can give the impression of effective mold removal, not even the strongest bleach can permeate surfaces to kill mold at the roots. And it’s only a matter of weeks before the bleach-treated mold makes a comeback, especially on porous surfaces, like drywall or lumber or grout and even upholstery. And even worse, the water in the bleach, well, that adds moisture that actually contributes to mold growth.

    LESLIE: And that’s not the only way bleach makes the problem worse. It leaves behind a carbon-layer residue that blocks effective mold cleaners from actually reaching the mold’s roots. So if you’ve used bleach on a moldy surface at any point in the past, be sure to wash the treated area down with warm water and detergent and let it dry before attempting to treat it. Otherwise, you’ll be working in vain.

    TOM: And keep in mind that ditching bleach for mold cleaners also means ditching the health hazards that come from using the potentially toxic compound around your home.

    This tip is presented by Concrobium Mold Control. Fight mold like a pro, without harsh chemicals. To learn more, visit CureMyMold.com.

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

    COREY: Yeah, I had a question about the house that I was looking at buying.

    TOM: OK.

    COREY: And it’s got a major problem with the second floor. It sags probably about 6 to 8 inches; it looks literally like a bowl on the second floor.

    TOM: Wow. OK.

    COREY: And yeah, it’s pretty bad; it’s really noticeable. And the house was built during the Civil War, so it’s an extremely old house. And it’s an old farmhouse.

    TOM: Hmm. OK.

    COREY: And just wondering, how extensive a repair would that be?

    TOM: It’s somewhere between nothing and tearing the house down. Does that sum it up for you? It’s really hard to tell …

    LESLIE: Does that make you feel better?

    TOM: Yeah, until you really get into it.

    COREY: Yeah.

    TOM: A couple of things that you could do. First of all, Corey, have you had a professional home inspector or an engineer look at the house?

    COREY: Yeah. I’m actually in the military and I had a – the Veterans Affairs actually had an inspector go out and look at it. And the structural engineer that inspected it said that it’s structurally sound because it was built with green wood but it shrank.

    TOM: OK.

    COREY: And he said it’s sound but if I ever wanted to resell the house, I’d have to make it better in order to be able to get what I paid for out of it, because …

    TOM: Well, with all due respect to the military and the Veterans Affairs and the guy they sent out, I sincerely doubt he was a structural engineer. You may have – you may be calling him that but it would be unlikely that they would send out such a professional. They probably sent out a housing inspector who inspects everything, from homes that people are buying and need loans on to rentals.

    I would strongly – underline strongly – recommend that you at least have a professional home inspector look at this. These are guys that look at homes every day and they really know how to sort the wheat from the chaff and figure out whether it’s a major problem or a minor problem. And if you’re really seriously interested about this place, the step above that is to consult with a structural engineer.

    Now, with a problem like this, if you’re going to fix it, and it sounds like you are, it’s very important that you do it the right way. And that is that you work with an architect or an engineer to inspect the property, actually spec out the exact repair that needs to be done and then reinspect it after it’s completed and give you a letter to that effect so then now you sort of have a pedigree or proof that the problem was identified, evaluated and correctly repaired. And you have the word of a professional – a licensed professional – that’s certifying that.

    This takes you out of the responsibility loop. You understand what I mean? If you just had a slopy floor and you say, “Well, I fixed it,” that doesn’t really mean as much as whether or not you had pros look at it, explain exactly how it should be fixed and then certify that it was done correctly. So, if you’re real serious about this, I would get another expert to look at it and look at the specific problem. It’ll be well worth the investment.

    COREY: OK. Yeah, because the house is pretty cheap and I could definitely resell it for a higher value. So I was really looking into – it’s five acres of land and everything like that, so I was really wanting to get the house but I didn’t know if it was going to cost me way more to fix the house than it was to buy the house.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s definitely a cost-benefit analysis that has to be done. I would definitely recommend that you spend $350 or whatever it costs to get an inspection done.

    If you go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, it’s ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. There’s a zip-code locator. You will find ASHI-certified members in your area. I would use that as the first list to call. And then work through that list and have a conversation with the inspectors until you find one that you really feel knows what he or she is doing and you’re comfortable. And then hire that person to evaluate the house.

    COREY: OK. That sounds great.

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

    COREY: Alright. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Still to come, an easy improvement to your home’s façade that will give you a ton of curb appeal. Find out why garage-door replacement is a good fall fix-up for homeowners, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $500 gift certificate towards beautiful, solid-wood cabinets from CabinetsToGo.com.

    TOM: Cabinets To Go offers high-quality, solid-wood cabinets for roughly 40 percent less than the made-to-order, big-box stores. And these cabinets have solid-wood doors, they’ve got dovetail drawers and premium hardware and lots of great finishes.

    LESLIE: There’s a style for every taste, including their brand-new Roberto Fiore frameless, European-style cabinets. You dream it, we design it.

    TOM: Visit CabinetsToGo.com and call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that $500 gift certificate to CabinetsToGo.com at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    BARBARA: We’re restoring my mother-in-law’s 130-year-old home. Not that she’s 130 but this home is.


    BARBARA: And I’m having a problem with the carpenter. I want to put in pocket doors and for some reason, he keeps telling me not to do that. He doesn’t want to do it. It’s not structural; it’s just he doesn’t want to do it.

    TOM: Yeah. And you know what, Barbara? I mean a pocket door is a lot of work. And maybe that’s why he’s trying to talk you out of it. It will be far more expensive than a normal door to install because, essentially, it’s not just a door; it’s a wall, too. You have to put in the pocket side of it in addition to the door side of it. And that means that you have to kind of re-drywall that whole section so that it truly is a disappearing door.

    That said, I’ve got a pocket door in my office and I love it because I don’t have room for the swing. And we’ve got a full-size, 30-inch by 72 or – I’m sorry, 30-inch by 80-inch door in this pocket and it swings into the wall. But I remember the process of getting this thing in and it is a lot of work. So that might be why your contractor is a little reluctant to take it on.

    BARBARA: Do you have some words of wisdom I can share with him to encourage him to do that?

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, tell him to expand his horizons, that the customer is always right and you want your pocket door and you’re willing to pay for it, pay him to do it. And he’s probably working by the hour, “so stop whining and get to work.”

    LESLIE: And phrase it exactly like that. No, don’t.

    TOM: Just like that. “Stop whining and get to work.”

    BARBARA: I like it. That’s great.

    TOM: Well, without looking, can you describe the style of your garage door? If you can’t even remember what it looks like, it’s time for a new one. We’ve got some ideas in your Pinterest Tip of the Week, presented by Overhead Door.

    LESLIE: That’s right. If the words you use to describe your garage door include “plain,” “white,” “paneled,” you are missing a huge opportunity to bring some major curb appeal to your house.

    Now, your garage is a big part of what people see when they take in your home’s front façade. And sometimes, it’s up to 60 percent of what they see.

    TOM: Now, you can completely transform the look of your home simply by replacing your garage door. There are so many options, from a carriage-house style to a barn-door look and even ones with sleek, modern lines. Garage doors can be steel, fiberglass, vinyl or wood. The options are truly endless.

    LESLIE: And if you’re not sure which type would suit your house best, that’s where Overhead Door comes in. They have a DoorView tool on their website. And this is really cool, because you can upload a photo of your home and then swap out different garage doors to see exactly what they would look like right on your house.

    TOM: And then when you’re done, you can pin your final selection to your Pinterest page to see what others think.

    Check it out at OverheadDoor.com, the genuine, original Overhead Door.

    LESLIE: Chuck in Texas needs some help preserving a wood project. Tell us what’s going on.

    CHUCK: I have three decks and when I made them, I used, of course, the Wolmanized lumber.

    TOM: Right.

    CHUCK: And then I have treated them two or three times now with Thompson’s WaterSeal.

    TOM: Right.

    CHUCK: But it seems like it doesn’t even last a year. And we don’t even get that much rain here.

    TOM: Right. So when you say it doesn’t last a year, what are you seeing in terms of the wear and tear?

    CHUCK: Well, they’re dulling, which I expect, but when they get wet, the water far from beads up.

    TOM: Right. So, look, in my experience, Thompson’s WaterSeal is a good application for regular lumber, not pressure-treated lumber.

    CHUCK: OK.

    TOM: And it does preserve it but if you want to really protect the deck, I would use a solid-color stain. I would use a solid-color exterior stain.

    Now, exterior stain comes transparent, semi-transparent and solid-color. The more color, the more pigment, the longer it lasts.

    CHUCK: OK.

    TOM: You’re never going to – that natural color of the wood will fade no matter what you put on that’s clear. So why not just give it a nice color that you like? If you like it to be a cedar color or a darker brown color, whatever color you like, choose that in a solid-color stain and stain the deck. And then that’s something that could last you five years.

    CHUCK: OK. Well, that sounds great instead of having to do it every year, every year-and-a-half.

    TOM: What else are you going to do with your weekends, Chuck?

    CHUCK: I have got so much stuff going on. I just got done building the wife a big pagoda out here in the backyard and putting the biggest fan and all that stuff in it.

    TOM: Oh, nice. Well, there you go. Thanks so much, Chuck. I really appreciate that. Have a great day.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, are your kitchen cabinets tacky or sticky? And I don’t mean that’s how they look; I’m talking about residue, probably from all that cooking. We’re going to tell you how to clean your cabinets and keep them from getting that grimy buildup, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: On Facebook, right now, we are running our Healthy Home Sweepstakes. We’ve got three winners that will each get a Get Clean Kit from Shaklee. Also available at GreenMyMoneyPit.com.

    These are natural products that work great. They’re safe, as well. The Get Clean Kit includes laundry and household cleaners, along with the tools you need to get the job done. It replaces thousands of dollars in cleaning products, because each is a concentrated solution that will last for months.

    Check out the Healthy Home Sweepstakes at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or visit us at GreenMyMoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. And you can post a question, just like UncleYaya did who writes: “We have oak kitchen cabinets. And especially when it’s humid, the doors are tacky or sticky. They are 16 years old and I probably used some spray item at one time but now I just use oil soap. Can you help me with getting all this residue off or do I need to strip them down?”

    TOM: You know, it’s hard to say what’s causing this particular problem, because they haven’t really been cleaned in such a long time with anything but oil soap.

    I would tend to think, Leslie, and you can tell me if you disagree, that a citrus-based cleaner would be a good place to start here. Because we really do want to get – we don’t want to get the finish stripped down; we want to get that oil, the grease, any of the old cleaner completely stripped off of that so that we have a neutral surface to start with.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s really going to be the challenge there. And it’s going to be – in addition to a citrus oil – which will work very, very well – you’re going to also need a lot of elbow grease. Because that’s really going to be what does the trick to get everything off of the cabinet surface.

    And once you do, I mean that should really help you to get things off. If that doesn’t do the trick, maybe a little liquid sander to just sort of get some of that grime off. But I wouldn’t go that way unless you’re trying to refinish them.

    TOM: And probably the best way to tackle this project, if they’re that tacky, is to simply take the door off the cabinet, empty the cabinet. And it’ll just be so much easier to work on the door when it’s on a low-level surface, like a table, perhaps, with some newspaper under it.

    Alright. Up next from Tiffany who says, “We have a slow-running drain in our bathtub. I bought a bottle of chemical drain cleaner from the local store. Followed the directions. The water now drains faster than before but when the tub starts to drain, I hear loud gurgling sounds. What’s going on?”

    Venting, Tiffany. You don’t have enough air getting into that drain. And that means that the vent, which goes up to the roof, is probably A) missing or B) clogged. That’s not something that a chemical drain cleaner will help you with. You probably need to snake that drain with a mechanical snake, from the top down and from the bottom up, to get the clog truly cleaned.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? It makes sense and it’s a lot safer than those dangerous chemicals.

    TOM: Well, if you’re only using your microwave to heat up leftovers, you might be missing out on some very other handy uses. Leslie has some great ideas, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: OK. So, a microwave is a great appliance to have if you’re heating up leftovers. But did you know that you can actually disinfect sponges and get rid of that funky smell with a microwave? That’s right. You just soak your sponge in a water-and-vinegar mix and then zap them for a minute. Now, you can also do the same with your cutting boards. But you need to rub a little bit of lemon on it, heat it for just a minute and then you’re saying goodbye to last night’s raw-chicken germs.

    Now, if you’ve ever found a honey jar and it’s become a crystallized, solid mess, you can bring it back to life on medium power for 30 seconds. You can also cut grilling time by heating your potatoes for two minutes and bell peppers for one minute before you place them on the grill. Now, just be sure to use oven mitts when you’re taking them out of the microwave, because they get pretty hot.

    Now, another great tip is to use your microwave to warm up citrus fruits. Not only is this going to help release the juices when you’re using them in recipes but it also helps release the oils in the skin for zesting or flushing out pleasant scents when you’re just displaying the citrus fruit in maybe a pretty bowl, which makes them a very nice and all-natural air freshener.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on The Money Pit, we’re going on the road with the cast and crew of This Old House. We’re going to bring you a preview of their 35th anniversary season, direct from Boston, including a behind-the-scenes look into the latest old house that they’re renovating.

    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 2014 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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