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How to Clean Grill and Store for the Season, Get Rid of Spiders, Think Outside the Box Kitchen Design 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: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. Help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. As you look around your house, we know you’ve got a fall fix-up project that you’d like to do or perhaps you don’t know where to begin. Begin by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up on today’s program, you can picture new cabinets, you can picture new floors. But an entirely different kitchen layout? That’s a little harder to envision. Don’t let that status-quo thinking keep you from the kitchen of your dreams. We’re going to have tips for seeing the new possibilities in your kitchen, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And if you’re not a fan of spiders, you will be a fan of a new product that provides total home protection against unwanted, eight-legged guests. It’s got a killer name and more importantly, kills spiders on the spot. Got to love it. We’re going to share all the details ahead.

    TOM: And also ahead, simply covering your grill or bringing it inside isn’t enough to keep it in top-notch shape through the winter. We’ve got the recipe for next summer’s burgers and steaks. It starts with cleaning and preserving your grill today. We’ve got how-to tips, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also in this hour, one caller that we talk to on the air is going to get a $50 True Value gift card. You can use it to stock up on supplies for the fall or to help with any home improvement project.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Pat in Pennsylvania is on the line with a leak in a garage roof. What can we do for you today?

    PAT: Well, I have an attached garage to my house and right down at the end where the – near the garage door is there – right where the soffit meets the shingles, I have a leak there. And I was just wondering how I could try to fix that, if I could just put some of that BLACK JACK in there and try to fix it or …

    TOM: How long do you want it fixed for? A week or like forever? Because if you just use the tar, it’s going to be a very short-term repair.

    PAT: OK.

    TOM: Tell me where exactly the leak is evidencing itself.

    PAT: Well, it’s just a little bit of a water spot there right at the garage door and it seems like the shingles are lifted up a little bit. But my – we built our home only nine years ago, so I wasn’t sure if it was the shingles or …

    TOM: OK. So you’re not even sure if it’s the shingles themselves that are cracking. So if you built your home nine years ago, you’ve got a fiberglass-based asphalt shingle. And one of the ways that fiberglass-based asphalt shingles wear is they actually develop sort of fissures or cracks in them. So if you put a ladder against the front of the garage and you kind of go up and look down on the shingle itself and if you see cracks that go through them, that could be the source of the water.

    Now, if you’ve just got one or two shingles that are pushed up like that, usually that’s because a nail is actually backing up through the roof. And you can put a flat bar in there and kind of tap that nail down. And yeah, if you want to put a little bit of asphalt sealing under the tab just to kind of hold it in place, then that would be OK.

    But in terms of leak prevention, that type of sealant is not the way to fix the leak. If it turns out that the shingles are cracked, I don’t want you to tar them; I want you to take them off and replace them.

    PAT: OK. So that’s not a permanent fix then, I guess, is what you’re saying.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. It’s not going to be a permanent fix. If the shingles are cracked, then you should pull off the shingles that are damaged and replace them. And you can do that with a flat bar. You can actually sort of extract – sort of surgically remove – a shingle from the middle of a roof and put a new one back in its place.

    PAT: OK. You wouldn’t think after nine years, though, that the shingles would be cracked already, would you, or …?

    TOM: I have seen it happen quicker than that.

    PAT: Oh, really? OK.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s why – see, that’s kind of the way those shingles wear. It depends on a lot of factors. But I would take a very careful look at that and see if that’s what’s causing it.

    PAT: OK. Well, that sounds good. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Tracy in Ohio is on the line with a question about storm windows. How can we help you today?

    TRACY: My condo is fairly new. It was built in 2005. But the way that my – the front of my condo faces, where the weather blows in – I don’t know if it’s east or west but last year, I tried the strip thing and the plastic. And it – and the wind blew so hard that it came loose. So then I tried duct-taping it and yeah, it didn’t work at all.

    So I’m wondering – you know, we can’t put storm windows on the outside because of the condo-association rules. But I’m wondering, is there a company that makes something that goes on the inside of the windows: something magnetic or something that could help?

    TOM: Well, you certainly can get interior storm windows. It is a product that’s available from – many window manufacturers will – you can order it, probably. I would go to a regular window company and order these. But there’s different types of interior storm windows that are available.

    The other thing that you could do that’s really cheap, especially if these are windows that you’re not going to have to open – we don’t like to recommend this for a bedroom window but for other windows because, of course, in a bedroom, you may have to open it for emergency egress, fire hazard, that sort of thing – is you can get a weatherstripping caulk. It’s a weatherstripping product that’s in a tube, like a caulk tube.

    And you, essentially, caulk the seams of the window shut. And the thing about the weatherstripping product is in the spring, you peel it off and it doesn’t damage the windows. It looks like that sort of white, gooey stuff that they stick credit cards to offers in the mail when you get the credit card and it’s on the back of the card? It’s like that rubbery stuff? It just peels right off and it doesn’t damage anything.

    So, that’s something that maybe you haven’t tried yet; you could give it a shot. And then, of course, if you want to go with maybe a more permanent solution, you could order interior storm windows and have them made.

    TRACY: Well, I could squirt that stuff on there and then in the spring, I could peel it back off?

    TOM: That’s correct. Yep. Unlike regular caulk, this is a temporary caulk.

    TRACY: Wonderful. That sounds wonderful. I will give that a try.

    TOM: Yeah, DAP makes a product called Seal ‘N Peel – the letter N, Peel. So, look it up. You might have to order it in a home center or a hardware store but it works great.

    TRACY: Alright. I will try that. Thank you.

    TOM: Tracy, 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.

    Hey, we are almost officially into the autumn season, so what are you working on at your money pit? Give us a call. Let us help you get the job done right the first time.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are you updating your kitchen? Well, repeating its existing layout might be tempting but the real kitchen of your dreams probably includes updated functionality and flow. We’ll have tips for seeing that full potential, after this.

    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: Standing by for your call to 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    And if you do pick up the phone, you might just also win a $50 True Value gift card. You can use it to stock up on supplies for fall and winter or for your next weekend project. If you need ideas, visit True Value on Facebook and Pinterest.

    LESLIE: And head to TrueValue.com to locate your nearby True Value store, where there are local experts who’ve got the know-how and resources to help you get the job done right.

    Call in, though, right now, for your chance to win a $50 gift card to True Value. The number here: 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Matt in Wisconsin who’s dealing with a splashy toilet. That is the worst: constantly cleaning a toilet seat. Tell us what’s going on.

    MATT: Well, when we flush the toilet, a good portion of air comes up through the trap, forcefully enough to cause the water to splash up onto the seat or the inside of the lid if it’s closed.

    TOM: Well, what really causes that, Matt, is a venting problem. Is this a new problem or has it always been this way?

    MATT: No, it’s just within the last couple of months.

    TOM: OK. So then what I suspect is that you’ve got a blockage somewhere. If your vent for that toilet is partially blocked, then the drain line is being starved with air. And if it’s starved with air, it’s going to try to gulp that air from somewhere else and that’s what’s causing the bubbles.

    MATT: OK.

    TOM: So, what you need to do is try to figure out where that obstruction is. And it’s going to be somewhere in the vent that is connected to the waste line under the toilet, if that helps you narrow it down a bit.

    MATT: Yes, it does. Thanks.

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

    LESLIE: Evelyn in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    EVELYN: Yes, ma’am. I have wanted to redo my – they call it a living room now but it’s mostly your front room? And I wanted to know if I wanted to have it made over – the whole room – do you have any suggestions about how I could go about getting that done? The exception is I have this really big, huge desk that I have to keep in the room.

    TOM: So you’re looking for a decorator to help you sort of redo the room. Is that correct?

    EVELYN: Yes.

    LESLIE: Well, there is an association of interior decorators; it’s ASID. And these are folks that are registered with the Interior Decorating Society. And they’re listed by zip code. You can go to the website, ASID – I don’t know if it’s .org, .com. And that way, you can find a decorator in your area.

    I will let you know that pricing ranges from decorator to decorator. Some will do an hourly consulting fee, some will do a flat fee, some will do a percentage of the items ordered. It really depends on the project. I think if you start at that website and start looking for people in your area, visit their websites. Take a look at the style of work that they do; this way, you can find somebody that matches your décor. And then that’s a good way to find somebody that’ll fit well.

    EVELYN: OK. Well, listen, that was what I wanted to know. You think that would be worth the while?

    LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. I think it makes sense to start that way.

    EVELYN: Oh, OK. Well, thank you.

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

    Well, when you update your kitchen, it might be easy to stick with the same, old design. And if you have some difficulty thinking outside the box, we’ve got some advice on where you can turn for inspiration on a brand-new kitchen layout. And that comes straight from the experts at Cabinets To Go.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And they tell us to look for inspiration in several places. First, have you ever gone to a friend or family member’s home and thought, “Wow, this is really the kitchen of my dreams”?

    Well, if you’ve done that, go back, revisit, take stock of exactly what brought out those feelings. Is it the functionality of the counter space? The location of the sink? The cabinets? The drawers? Do they have unique organizational features? Really pay attention when you find something you like and write down what it is about it that you love.

    TOM: Next, design magazines are a great source of inspiration. Photos inside might bring your attention to adding a desk, an island, a peninsula or even a built-in eating area you didn’t think of before. Also, check out social media sites, like Pinterest, and real estate sites, like Realtor.com, to get a peek inside other people’s kitchens.

    LESLIE: Yeah. If you want some inspiration from the past, you can check out vintage design books and old magazines. A retro look can really bring a new feel to your old space. Hunting down inspiration, it can seem intimidating but you can avoid the pitfall of repeating the same kitchen design when you remodel.

    TOM: And this tip is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you can get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit them online at CabinetsToGo.com.

    LESLIE: Mike in Florida is on the line and needs help with a stucco project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    MIKE: I recently bought a house. Well, I bought it, actually, about a year ago. I moved here from Virginia and I’d looked around for just the right house, you know? Just finding the right house for the right money, then got a great deal on the house.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: Very sound house. Have virtually remodeled the whole interior on the house to my liking. I’m very happy with that.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: But the outside of the house has a very coarse stucco finish to it. If you rubbed up against it, it’d probably take the skin off of you; it’s that coarse. And I’m just curious, is there anything I can do to reduce the coarseness or take that stucco off without damaging the cinder block underneath? And it is cinder block, of course.

    TOM: OK. So it’s a masonry stucco on top of cinder block, correct?

    MIKE: Correct.

    TOM: So I mean you could add additional stucco to it and put a different finish on it but it’s a heck of a big project, Mike, for what you’re going to accomplish. And the adhesion is really important, so it has to be done right. They usually use a very stickier mix of stucco to get it to grab onto the old stuff. If it’s very rough like that, that can actually help you with the adhesion, help it hold on. But you’re going to have to have a mason come in and re-stucco the entire house to get that done.

    MIKE: Well, it would have to be – in order to take up all of this, I would say there was going to be anywhere from an inch to an inch-and-a-half of stucco additional.

    TOM: And you know what that’s going to do to your windows and doors, don’t you? You’re going to – all the window and door wells are going to be that much deeper.

    MIKE: Yeah.

    TOM: You know what this sounds to me like? It sounds to me like the kind of outside you’re going to have to get used to. So, I might think about a décor solution, I might think about changing the color, I might think about changing the landscaping. But the stucco itself, I’d probably leave just like it is.

    MIKE: Yeah, yeah. Maybe I’ll just – maybe at the other – a paint scheme of some sort would soften it.

    TOM: Exactly.

    MIKE: OK. I appreciate it. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Sherry in Georgia is on the line and dealing with a basement crack in the wall. Tell us what’s going on. Is it in cinder block? Is it in your foundation wall? Where do you see this?

    SHERRY: It’s in the wall of the foundation. It’s poured cement. And just recently, I noticed that there is a – not a straight but kind of a curved crack. And it looks like maybe a little bit of dust or water has come through it.

    TOM: OK. Sherry, is it a vertical crack or is it a horizontal crack?

    SHERRY: Kind of vertical but it kind of curves.

    TOM: OK. And it’s a poured concrete foundation, so has the crack always been there or is it something that’s very recent?

    SHERRY: It’s not actually in the floor; it’s in the wall. It’s actually a basement wall and yes, it’s poured.

    TOM: Right. Has it always been there or is it something that just recently popped up?

    SHERRY: I think it’s pretty recent. I don’t remember seeing it before.

    TOM: Well, cracks in foundation walls are really pretty typical and that includes poured concrete walls – poured foundation walls. So what I would do is not panic. If it’s a minor crack like that, I would simply seal it with a masonry caulk or a silicone caulk. And all you’re doing is really keeping the water from the outside ground from kind of leaking back through the wall. But a minor crack like that is generally caused by a little bit of shift in the foundation, perhaps some settlement or some shrinkage in the wall itself.

    So are we talking about a hairline crack here, I presume?

    SHERRY: Yeah, it’s a very – yes, it’s very, very thin but it looks like something has seeped through that I guess that’s what worried me the most.

    TOM: Right. It might be water. And what happens – if you get ground water that gets through and then it evaporates, it leaves its mineral salts behind and that might be the dust that you’re seeing. It’s sort of like a whitish/grayish dust and that’s the minerals in the water when it leaks through and then evaporates.

    SHERRY: Oh, OK.

    TOM: So just sweep that out before you put the caulk in and I think that’s all you need to do right now.

    SHERRY: Well, thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it.

    TOM: OK, Sherry. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    TOMMY: My question concerns my dryer. I moved into a house that had the washer and dryer already here in my laundry room. And when I was cleaning back behind the dryer – the dryer hose is aluminum type and it’s attached with tape. Obviously, not done correctly. And what I want to know is what would you recommend? Is there a better dryer-vent hose or a tube of some kind? It’s a fairly short distance from the wall to the dryer.

    TOM: If it’s the flexible aluminum hose, then that – I would probably go ahead and put that back in. If it’s vinyl, I would not. But you’re sure it’s aluminum, right?

    TOMMY: It is. It’s like shiny aluminum foil.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And that’s the one that you want there, because that’s heat-resistant.

    TOMMY: Oh, you do. OK.

    LESLIE: Yes.

    TOMMY: Rather than the white vinyl? It’s better than the white vinyl.

    LESLIE: Right. Because the white vinyl could overheat and potentially cause a fire hazard. So the aluminum one is great because it won’t hold onto all of that heat.

    Now, the question is, where does your dryer hose vent to? Does it go to the outside? Has it been cleaned in a while? You know, these are all maintenance things that you need to be doing for your dryer.

    TOMMY: Right, Leslie. And that’s what I wanted to do, because I am so afraid of fire hazards. OK, so I need to detach it? And it is vented to an outside vent.

    TOM: So what you should do is get a dryer-vent cleaning brush. There is one that’s available online called the Gardus LintEater. Leslie and I both have one of these brushes. They’re really cool. They’re like brushes on the end of fiberglass rods. And you stick them into a drill and just spin them into the vent and go back and forth and pull them out.

    TOMMY: Oh, my goodness.

    TOM: And you’d be amazed how much dust comes out of those things. So that’s one – I’m sure you could probably find it at a home center or at a hardware store, as well. But a dryer-duct cleaning brush is what you really need for that.

    TOMMY: OK. And then when I reattach that hose to the vent and then to the dryer, obviously I don’t want to use tape, which is what they’ve used.

    TOM: There’s a big bracket that is sort of like a clamp that fits around that. And it goes over the hose and the hose goes over the vent and then it all sort of screws together. And I’m sure you could also find those at a home center or a hardware store. No, you should definitely not tape it together.

    TOMMY: I will do that. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Still ahead, are you not a fan of spiders? I mean have you ever met somebody who is? And if that’s you, yikes. Tune out for a second. But seriously, if you don’t like spiders, we’re going to share some tips to make your home completely off-limits to those unwanted houseguests, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, one of the most annoying nuisances for homeowners is sharing their space with unwanted guests, like bugs. Well, if spiders gross you out and you’d love a way to get rid of the creepy-crawly little guys, you’re going to love our next guest.

    TOM: Adam Smith is from Wet & Forget and he’s here to talk about one of their new products. And get ready for the great name: Miss Muffet’s Revenge.

    Adam, welcome to the program.

    ADAM: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So Miss Muffet’s Revenge is a spider killer. And gosh, I tell you that’s – of all the insects that really creep you out, spiders have got to be on the top.

    ADAM: Very true, very true. And we targeted this product for that reason. People are very sensitive to spiders. And it hits a cord and I think Miss Muffet’s Revenge hits that cord with them where they understand what the product is.

    TOM: OK. So how do we protect our homes from spider infestations? Are there things that we should be doing, before we apply the product, in terms of just making the house less likely to be infested by spiders?

    ADAM: Spiders are everywhere. They’ll come, actually, in the fall; they will actually come closer to your house because your house is warm. To keep them away, it’s difficult, OK? But a product like Miss Muffet’s Revenge, what you’re going to do is you’re going to apply it, you’re going to build a barrier. And when the spiders cross that barrier, the active ingredient gets absorbed and it takes care of the spiders. And you can actually apply it right along all the spider webs. And then come back in a few days and wipe them off.

    TOM: Yeah. Now, how long does that application last? Is this something you have to do regularly?

    ADAM: Indoors, it’s going to last you up to 12 months inside, OK? So if you have a problem area, you can rest assured for about a year, you’re going to be fine. Outside, it’ll vary depending on where you do apply it. If you put it under a covered area, you’re going to obviously get longer residual than you would in an area that’s going to be – get with direct weather.

    LESLIE: Now, will this – I’m trying to think of a politically correct way to say this. But will this get all spiders or only certain types of spiders?

    ADAM: Well, right now, the only spiders we do not have it registered for would be black widows and brown recluse.

    TOM: And what’s the application process like? I know sometimes when you apply pesticides, they can be somewhat sloppy to apply; you want to really be accurate and strategic. Is there an application tool built in to the Miss Muffet’s Revenge container?

    ADAM: We actually have a high capacity sprayer that is built into our particular bottle. And this sprayer will spray up to about 12 feet fairly easily. So you’re going to be able get to most places without having to get up on a ladder or anything like that.

    TOM: And you don’t have to get too close to the spiders, either.

    ADAM: Exactly, exactly. You could sit across the room and take care of them.

    LESLIE: Now, you had mentioned that we could use this indoors and we’ll get about a 12-month coverage with Miss Muffet’s Revenge. But I’ve got small kids. So what – do I have to take any other special precautions because I have small children in the house? Do it when we’re not there?

    ADAM: Not necessarily. Typically, you’re going to want to apply the product, obviously, with the kids away. Once the application is done, you really don’t need to worry about it. Typically, you’re going to be spraying up where people are not going to be.

    TOM: Well, that’s terrific. And the product’s odorless, so there’s no strong fumes that are going to be offensive to use. It sounds like it’s a very easy product to apply.

    ADAM: That’s where – at Wet & Forget, we’re all about easy. Simply apply it, let the product do the work for you.

    TOM: And I tell you what, it’s a great product from the folks at Wet & Forget. And of course, we have been promoting Wet & Forget for many years on this program, because it’s the best way to get rid of mold, mildew, algae and all those other yucky things that surround the outside of your house. And it works and it works really, really well.

    They’ve also got a bathroom product they came out with not too long ago that keeps the shower clean and now, Miss Muffet’s Revenge. Tackling yet one more disgusting part of the house, making it go completely away.

    Adam Smith, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Congratulations on the new product and we can’t wait to hear all the great results you’re going to have.

    ADAM: Great. Thanks, guys. Have a great day.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, you know, it’s never too soon to start thinking about next summer’s burgers and steaks. So before you pack away your grill for the season, take a few, easy steps to assure that its top-notch performance will happen again for you next year. We’re going to share tips and more, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone, so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.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. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller who asks us their question on the air this hour is going to win a $50 True Value gift card. You can use it to stock up on your fall supplies or maybe something you’re working on this weekend or maybe some holiday décor. That’s right. I said “holiday.” It’s right around the corner.

    TOM: And True Value has inspirational ideas to get you started. Check out True Value’s Pinterest page and give us a call for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Carl in South Carolina is dealing with some tricky doors. Tell us what’s going on.

    CARL: I put the tile floor in my laundry room and I took the door down. And when I put it back, it won’t stay open; it’ll swing back to close. And the one in my bedroom does the same thing. I have to prop them open with something.

    TOM: So they used to stay open before and now they just want to stay closed all the time?

    CARL: Right, uh-huh.

    TOM: So there’s two ways to fix that, Carl. One way is to rip out the door and rehang it, properly shim it, because it’s out of level somehow. And that’s a pretty big job. And the other way to do it is to pull the hinge pins out, put them on a hard, concrete surface and give them a sharp rap so you bend them slightly.

    CARL: OK.                                                         

    TOM: Then tap them back into the hinges and you will have added some friction to that connection.

    CARL: Mm-hmm. Right.

    TOM: You follow me?

    CARL: Yes.

    TOM: The slight bend on the hinge pin – a little trick of the trade. That will give you a little more tension on that door. Just take one out and give it a rap so it has a little bit of slight bend to it. You might not even see it but just a slight bend. Tap it back in, try the door, see how it works. If it kind of stays where you want, that’s fine. If not, maybe do the top one and then do the bottom one. Give that another rap. You can keep adding a little pressure to it by doing that until you get it just right. OK?

    CARL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

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

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

    BUCK: I was calling to ask a question about a built-up roof, about 4,000 square foot. I was thinking about taking and putting a coating on top of it. No insulation in the attic. And was wanting to know if it really would actually defer the heat in the lower floor by putting a brilliant-white roof coating on top.

    TOM: Well, those types of roof paints do have UV reflectors in there and they’re designed to make the roof cooler and certainly, it will be a heck of a lot cooler than the black roof that you’re starting with. So I think that that’s probably a good idea in your situation, especially being in such a warm part of the country, Buck.

    BUCK: Any particular product brand that you can suggest going on top of tar?

    TOM: No. But make sure it’s a roof paint. I mean typically, you use a fibrous aluminum paint for something like that. What you really want to look for is the UV reflectivity of it because the more UV it reflects, the better the job it’s going to do.

    And by the way, it will also extend the roof life, as well, because the cooler the roof is, that means less of the oil is going to evaporate out of the asphalt and it’ll last a lot longer.

    BUCK: OK. Good.

    TOM: Buck, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’ve enjoyed a summer of grilling sizzling steaks and juicy burgers, a few simple steps can make sure your grill is ready for a repeat performance next season. Start by closing the lid and heating the grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Once it cools, give the grates a good scrub, using a nylon brush for porcelain or a metal brush for stainless.

    LESLIE: Next, you want to remove the lava rocks and the burners and give both a good brushing. You want to make sure that you check the burner carefully for any cracks or split seams or holes. And if you find any, then the burner should be replaced.

    Now, you want to reassemble the grill and test your propane connections for leaks by spraying some soapy water. If you start to see bubbles, you’ve got a leak somewhere and you’ve got to fix that, stat.

    TOM: Finally, disconnect the propane tank and either cover the grill or bring it indoors.

    For more tips, visit MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Elizabeth in Idaho who’s dealing with some siding that’s coming apart. Tell us about it.

    ELIZABETH: So I have a 1970-built house and with composite siding on the entire house. But on the west side – where it gets most of the weather, the heat and the rain and wind and so forth – the horizontal siding has split where the siding joins themselves and has spread open as much as a ¼- to ½-inch.

    TOM: Was it just in one area or is it all over the place?

    ELIZABETH: It’s mostly on the west side of the house that gets the brunt of the weather.

    TOM: OK. So many places it’s coming apart or just a couple of places?

    ELIZABETH: Quite a few, quite a few. I’d say 10 places on the back of the house.

    TOM: I would caulk the seams. If it’s ¼- to ½-inch, I would caulk it. I would get caulk that’s colored to match the siding and I would apply a bead of caulk. Because the other thing to do, of course, is to put new siding in. You would have to cut out the old siding and overlap that space and then paint it and it’s a really big project. So, I would caulk it and call it a day.

    ELIZABETH: OK. We have tried that and we’ve used a product – is it OK if I say the name of the product?

    TOM: Sure.

    ELIZABETH: It’s DAP – D-A-P.

    TOM: Right.

    ELIZABETH: And we used DAP DYNAFLEX 230. And we’ve also tried DAP Alex Plus. And after we put that in, we went out to look at it after about two or three days and then the – that area has just gone concave. So it’s just sunk into the siding, so it leaves a big, concave area where it was once just a crack.

    Now, can we put something over that? Should we just keep putting layers on?

    TOM: I think there’s a misunderstanding with what you’re trying to accomplish here, OK? What we want to do is keep the moisture from getting in there. And when you caulk, yes, it is going to dry and it’s going to shrink and actually sort of fill in very tightly any gap that you have there. You’re not using a wood filler, OK? You’re using a caulk.

    And so, I would not worry about small, concave gaps like that in between the caulk; that’s what I would expect it to do. Doing that, if you want to paint it over so it’s all the same color, you can probably blend it in more. But that is exactly what it should be doing.

    ELIZABETH: Alright. Well, it’s just kind of unsightly where it comes together; it’s just a big, concave area. But it looks better than the crack, so …

    TOM: Let’s hope that’s the biggest problem you ever have with your house, OK?

    ELIZABETH: I hope so.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Tom in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a driveway cleaning project. What’s going on?

    TOM IN TEXAS: Well, I have a couple of old, large oil stains on my driveway and wanted to know what you thought about getting it removed.

    TOM: What kind of driveway do you have? What’s it made out of?

    TOM IN TEXAS: Just concrete.

    TOM: It’s a concrete driveway, OK. And they’re really old oil stains?

    TOM IN TEXAS: Yes. About a year, maybe.

    TOM: One thing you can try to do is you can mix up a paste of trisodium phosphate – TSP. You can pick that up in a home center or a hardware store. It’s usually in the paint department.

    And mix it up into a paste, so not a whole lot of water. Just a real sort of soppy paste, kind of like wet concrete. And then spread it onto that stained area and let it sit, let it dry in place. You may find that that draws out some of that stain and lightens it up enough where it’s not quite as obvious as the rest of the surface.

    If that doesn’t work, then I think you’re going to have to chalk it up to charm, because it’s pretty difficult to get oil out of something that’s as absorbent as concrete.

    TOM IN TEXAS: OK. TSP then.

    TOM: TSP.

    TOM IN TEXAS: Alright.

    TOM: Now, here’s a more important question: have you fixed the oil leak in the car?

    TOM IN TEXAS: Yeah. I finally got that done, yes.

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

    Hey, has this ever happened to you? Perhaps you have an old house and you love it but you are surrounded by cracks, wherever you look, in your walls and your ceilings? You’re thinking that maybe there’s absolutely nothing you can do to fix that? Well, it’s just not the case. Whether it’s a minor crack or a major crack, whether that plaster is solid or falling away, we’ll have solutions to keep it in place and make it look great, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit them online at CabinetsToGo.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: And are you looking for a unique way to bring nature indoors this fall? Consider using Mother Nature’s stains, rather than stains out of a can, as wood finish. On MoneyPit.com right now, we’ve got tips on how to stain wood using berries, walnuts and even coffee: a natural, non-toxic way to add beauty and character this fall.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question. I’ve got one here from Bowhuntr10 who writes: “I have plaster walls in my house and they have cracks. I’ve tried to fix the cracks with paper, tape and nylon wall tape but they keep coming through the mudding. How can I fix them permanently?”

    TOM: Well, if the plaster has separated from the wood lath underneath it, that could be the cause of the problem. What I would do is I would knock on the plaster. And if it sounds loose or hollow, then what you might have to do is secure that to the wood lath.

    Now, there are special screws that are available to do this with that essentially have a very large washer. And as you drive them in through the plaster, it grabs that plaster and pulls it tight to the lath. If you secure the area around the cracks with those fasteners, you should be able to tape and spackle it and not have that crack reappear.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got one here from Carlotta who writes: “We purchased a fiberglass front door and installed it last fall. A few months later, we realized it warped because we hadn’t sealed it. Is it common? Is it too late to seal it now? If not, is there anything else I can do to keep it from warping more?”

    TOM: That’s really odd, because fiberglass doors don’t have to be sealed. So something else is going on here. It might be that the opening that you put it in twisted, moved with the weather. Something shifted in the installation. I suspect something is wrong with the installation, Carlotta, because fiberglass doors are absolutely terrific and they don’t need to be finished. People finish them for cosmetic reasons. But if it’s installed correctly, it will be rock solid.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That shouldn’t be happening. You really should be able to enjoy it very, very well. So, figure out what’s going on and then you get to enjoying that door.

    TOM: Well, school started and the drop in temperatures has begun. But that doesn’t mean outdoor entertaining has to come to an end. Leslie has tips for extending the use of your outdoor space well into the fall and even beyond, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Unlike your swimming pool, the outdoor space doesn’t have to wrap up when summer does. You want to start with the obvious details for keeping a space useable as the weather starts to cool.

    You need warmth. So, an outdoor fireplace is not only going to provide ambiance but will also keep away that chill. You should consider buying a simple fire pit or build a custom one fueled by wood or gas.

    Chimineas are another easy option for introducing comfort and mood to your patio or your deck or your porch, whatever you’ve got. They’re a bulb-shaped, portable clay fireplace that forces the smoke up and away through a vertical chimney.

    And if fireplaces or open flames really aren’t your preference, you can consider a standing patio heater. They’re less expensive than you might think and they can turn even a fully exposed space into a year-round oasis. You just have to make sure that you follow all of the safety guidelines as specified by the manufacturer.

    Now, an all-weather rug, that’s another way to warm things up, especially if you have a cold, cement patio. And when it comes to coziness, don’t just stop there. You want to keep a selection of throws and lap blankets handy for your guests. Just make sure you bring them inside or store them in a weatherproof bin or container once you do head in. Because if the blanket gets a chill, then you’re never going to lose that chill once you’re sitting outside.

    Now, you can also consider seasonal serveware or other touches to get your family and guests into the season’s spirit. You know, there’s no shortage of fall decorations and scents on the market.

    And once your outdoor space has been transformed into an all-weather getaway, don’t forget to reward yourself by sipping a pumpkin latte as you breathe in that crisp fall air.

    TOM: Excellent advice, especially the pumpkin latte.

    Hey, coming up next week on The Money Pit, that one cracked tile on a floor, a backsplash or a walkway or even a driveway not only catches everybody’s eye, it can really ruin the look of your otherwise beautiful space. We’ll have tips for repairing, rather than replacing, those troublesome tiles, 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 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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