How to Coordinate Your Buying and Selling Real Estate Transactions, Weather Resistant Building Materials, Dorm Room Design Tips and more

  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects. Help yourself first: pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a very busy show for you. Lots of great tips and advice. Coming up this hour, is a real estate sale in your future? Well, if so, coordinating the sale of your current home with the purchase of a new one can be tricky and mistakes, very expensive. So we’ll have guidance, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, with what we’ve seen here in the Northeast with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it really shows how weather-resistant building materials can actually make or break how your home can survive a bad storm. So we’ve got some guidance on how to select building materials that can best protect your home.

    TOM: Plus, shopping for your college student’s home-away-from-home these days? We’re going to teach you about dorm-room essentials that offer up function, flair, and some extra free space, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a Citrus Magic prize pack, including the Citrus Magic Triple-Action Moisture Absorber. It’s a triple threat. It eliminates moisture, excess humidity and of course, foul odors in your home.

    TOM: It’s worth $75, so give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That prize going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show, so let’s get to it, 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

    HOWARD: I built a cedar deck about 10 years ago and I cleaned it and stained it about 4 or 5 years ago. And it needs to be stained again. And I’m just wondering – when I stained it the first time, I washed it. I didn’t sand it; I just washed it really good with deck cleaner and stained it.

    Now, I’m wondering if I should wash it and sand it and stain it again or if I should use a darker stain.

    LESLIE: Well, you got four years out of it, correct?

    HOWARD: Yes.

    LESLIE: And that’s generally – you know, with a good-quality stain on a horizontal surface, you’re going to get three to five years as a duration.


    LESLIE: So at this point – and was it a solid-color stain or a sheer or semi-transparent? I’m sorry.

    HOWARD: Yeah, I used a semi-transparent stain the first time.

    LESLIE: OK. So at this point, I don’t think you need to sand it down. I would do the same thing. I would do a good deck cleaning, get off whatever is loose. If there are some areas that are troublesome or it seems as if the stain is doing something tricky, you could strip it but I don’t think you really need to.

    And once you’ve prepped it properly, I would go with a solid-color stain at this point, because you’re getting more graying, because you’ve done a semi-transparent before. And a solid-color stain is going to give you a heavier pigmentation but still allow you to see the graining through, to let the natural beauty of the wood show. But it’s going to last you a little bit longer; you’re looking at a five- to seven-year duration if everything is prepped properly.

    HOWARD: OK. That’s what I want.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Esther in South Dakota on the line with a shed that is scorching. Tell us what’s going on.

    ESTHER: It is really hot today. We’ve had temperatures outside of up to 102, so it – we just moved here, so right now it just has the sleds and the bikes and the stuff stashed in it. But I want to put my potting shelf out there.

    TOM: Esther, what you’re looking for, for this roof, is something called a “reflective roof coating.” It’s basically paint that’s designed for a metal roof, that is further designed to reflect the heat that your shed is gaining back out.

    The problem is that these products are typically only designed for commercial buildings. So you’re going to have to do a little bit of work to find it; it’s not like you’re going to be able to run down to the hardware store and pick this up. But they do exist and I’m hoping that you can buy it in a gallon container, as opposed to 5 gallons or more. Because, again, they’re typically used on a commercial basis for much bigger roofs.

    One company that makes them is called Sealoflex – S-e-a-l-o-f-l-e-x – and they have a reflective coating called ReflectoWhite that is a very reflective coating for all sorts of roof surfaces. But it’s important that you get one that’s specifically designed for roofs; otherwise, it’s not going to stick. OK?

    ESTHER: I understand.

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

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

    Well there’s only a few short weeks left to summer, if you can actually believe that. So, if you’ve got a project that you are planning, quickly, before the weather starts to turn a bit chilly, give us a call. We’re here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, if you’ve ever bought or sold a home, or if you’re planning that task, coordinating the sale of your current house with the purchase of a new one is not easy. We’ll get expert advice that can help, straight from the National Association of Realtors, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Raid. The Raid Defense System uses a combination of products and tips that work together to better battle bugs in your home. Each system is customized so you can confidently attack, control and prevent bugs. Visit

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question.

    And one caller drawn at random this hour is going to win a great prize. We’re giving away a Citrus Magic prize pack worth 75 bucks. And Leslie and I both love these products.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Except now, Charlie likes to walk around with the solid air freshener. He tries to like dig it out of the diaper cabinet, which is driving me bananas.

    TOM: Yeah. But that could work out. That could work out.

    LESLIE: As long as he puts it back, that’s OK.

    Well, that being aside the point, our lucky winner today is going to get an assortment of solid air fresheners, sprays, and Citrus Magic Triple-Action Moisture Absorber. And this product is like three in one. It gets rid of all the excess moisture, humidity and of course, any odors that you might have in that space, which is really perfect for your crawlspace, your basement, bathrooms and more.

    TOM: Visit to learn more. And give us a call, right now, for your chance to win and the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got William from Texas on the line.

    William, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?

    WILLIAM: Well, my daughter bought a house. And the person that she bought the house from smokes cigarettes. And the house – when you walk -as soon as you walk in the door, the cigarette smell hits you. And it was basically throughout the house. And we’re in the process of trying to figure out how we’re going to get all that smell out, short of ripping the walls out.

    TOM: Does the house have carpet?

    WILLIAM: Yes.

    TOM: Then it’s probably got to go.


    TOM: I mean you can try steam-cleaning it but it gets into the padding and everything else. The least you have to do is steam-clean it. But what you want to do on the walls is you want to paint the walls with a really good primer. And so an oil-based primer or an alkyd-based primer will seal in that odor.

    Clean the walls well, use a TSP – trisodium phosphate -to wash them down and then prime the walls. If you don’t prime the walls, the odor will basically permeate right through the new paint. But if you clean them and you prime them well, that will do a – go a long way towards getting rid of a lot of that odor. That plus removing the carpet or at least steam-cleaning the carpet are the two most important things to do.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? If you do end up removing the carpet, make sure they remove the padding, as well. And if it’s a wood subfloor, you want to paint it again with that same odor-blocking primer because that will do a lot to help with that, as well. And I don’t know if you’ve held on to any of the draperies or any other soft goods from the previous owners. Just get rid of them or really have them cleaned well.

    WILLIAM: OK. That will work. I appreciate your answer.

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

    LESLIE: Pat in South Dakota is on the line and looking to replace some windows. Tell us about the project.

    PAT: I am going to replace some windows in an old house. And I am wondering what type of window to go with: a wooden window, a vinyl or a fiberglass.

    TOM: In terms of energy saving?

    PAT: That’s right.

    TOM: OK. So the answer is it doesn’t much matter, because there’s a lot more to determining what type of window is going to be energy-efficient than just the material it’s made out of.

    PAT: I see.

    TOM: There could be extremely energy-efficient windows in all of those materials. But there are dozens of things that go into the energy efficiency of the window: not only what the frames are but what the glass is made out of, what the weatherstripping is made out of, what the frames are made out of and so on.

    So what I would do is this, Pat. First of all, I would only shop for ENERGY STAR-qualified windows. Secondly, there’s a label on the glass and it’s from the National Fenestration Rating Council – NFRC label. It’s going to have a set of numbers on there. It’s going to measure stuff like how much heat gets through the window and how much insulation the window has and so on. And look at the numbers on the NFRC label and use those to help compare brand to brand to brand.

    You stick with a really good-quality window, like an Andersen, just as a new replacement window, for example. It just came out: their Model 400 Series. You really can’t go wrong. But the decision isn’t just what’s the window made out of but it’s the whole package and how that impacts the energy efficiency of your home.

    PAT: OK. Alright. Thank you.

    TOM: Well, if you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home, you might be wondering which do you do first. Do you buy the house? Do you sell the house? If you do it wrong, it could be very, very costly. So we’ve got some solutions to present in today’s Real Estate Tip Of The Week, sponsored by the National Association of Realtors.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Well, if you’re determining if you should buy or sell a home first, it really is an important decision and one that a knowledgeable realtor can help you make, based on the current market conditions.

    For example, that answer might be based on how fast homes are selling in your market and how long it actually takes you to find a new one.

    TOM: That’s right. And the decision also depends on your financing. So, if you choose to buy before you sell, you might want to consult with a lender to see how you can finance the transaction from one home to another.

    LESLIE: On the other hand, if you’re planning on selling first, you also need to be prepared for that transition. You might need some temporary living quarters, rental storage and of course, the gumption to do a move twice.

    TOM: Makes sense. And that’s your Real Estate Tip Of The Week, presented by the National Association of Realtors. Considering selling your home? Today’s market conditions may mean it’s a good time. Every market’s different, so call a realtor today and visit

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Clayton from North Carolina on the line with a question about squeaky floors. What can we do for you today?

    CLAYTON: I’m fixing to put some new carpet. It’s been about 10 years we’ve lived in a townhome. But there’s a lot of squeaking in our master bedroom, the floor. Is that going to be a major repair? One place on my wife’s side, kind of the floor gives away more than just squeaking.

    And then there’s an issue in the master bedroom with a bright orange spot, about the size of a nail, that’s been there about eight years. And you can’t wipe it off. And someone said it’s not a nail underneath. What could cause that? We’ve got to replace that vinyl, as well.

    TOM: Where do you have vinyl? Because you said you have a carpeted floor but where’s the vinyl?

    CLAYTON: Vinyl is in the bathroom.

    TOM: OK. So, first of all, let me just deal with the vinyl issue. What happens is, depending on what’s underneath that floor, if it’s an orange spot – I don’t know. It might be a nail or something. But what happens is you get a reaction between the vinyl and whatever is underneath it.

    Sometimes you get it because of what you put on top of the vinyl, especially if you have like a rubber-backed throw rug; sometimes you see that in kitchens, right up against the cabinet where everybody is standing. The rubber and the vinyl will react and it will discolor the vinyl. That’s usually not a stain in as much as the vinyl has actually just changed colors. And it’s not repairable. So, get a rug to cover it up.

    But in terms of the squeaks, you actually have a golden opportunity now to deal with this. So what we want you to do is take the old carpet out and then go ahead and screw the subfloor down to the floor joist using case-hardened drywall screws. Those are those black screws that are really hard. You drive them in with a drill driver or with a drill with a screwdriver tip in it. And you want to put one about every 12 inches.

    Because the reason the floors squeak is because either the nails are pulling in and out as the floors move or some of those subfloors are tongue-and-groove. And as the tongue-and-groove plywood moves side to side, it will squeak. So if you pull the old carpet out and then you screw the subfloor down, you’ll find that that floor will get a lot quieter. You may even eliminate it 100 percent.

    CLAYTON: Right. OK. Thank you so much for the tip.

    TOM: Clayton, good luck with that project.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Charlotte in North Carolina on the line who has got a popcorn ceiling that doesn’t have butter on it.

    Charlotte, tell us what’s going on.

    CHARLOTTE: Well, what happens now – we have a brown stain on the ceiling from the leak but we’ve had the leak repaired, of course. And it’s a popcorn ceiling. I’ve always hated this popcorn ceiling; I’m not opposed to getting rid of it. But I’m just wondering, what’s the best way to make the repair here? Because I’m afraid if we just take off the section where the stain is, it’s not going to match anymore and it’ll – you can – it’ll be like a repaired look. What would be your suggestion?

    LESLIE: Now, is it truly a popcorn ceiling? Like when you reach up, you sort of end up with remnants of it? Or is it like a textured stucco ceiling?

    CHARLOTTE: Whatever that drywall is that they kind of make and they spray on the ceiling.

    TOM: Yeah. So, here’s the thing. You’ve had the roof leak. The roof leak is now repaired?


    TOM: Has it physically damaged the ceiling or is it just the stains you’re concerned about?

    CHARLOTTE: It mostly looks like the stains. To me, it looks like there might be one small section that might have a little bit of a bulge in it.

    TOM: Alright. Well, let’s ignore that for the moment. What I would suggest you do is to use a good-quality primer and repaint that ceiling.

    Now, if it’s just a very limited area, you could prime just the stain and leave the rest. If it’s a bigger area, you’ve got to prime the whole ceiling. But if you use a good-quality primer there, like a KILZ or a B-I-N or something like that, then that should seal in the stain and you could put paint on top of that. You will have to paint the whole ceiling if it’s not been done recently. But if you seal it with a primer and then paint it, that will make the ceiling stain disappear and preserve the popcorn.

    Removing the popcorn, at this point, is just a whole lot of work but it sounds like it’s really not necessary for you to do, unless you just don’t like the look of it.

    CHARLOTTE: Thank you very much. That’ll help a lot. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Ed in West Virginia on the line who’s doing some exterior cleanup. What are you working on?

    ED: Well my deck – I’ve got a covered deck with treated wood. And it needs cleaning to get the dirt and grime off of it because, since it’s covered, the rain won’t come in and wash it off. And I can’t use a lot of water because I’ve got things underneath it that the water would leak down to. Then I also have exterior steps and they’re getting mossy, so what kind of a cleaning product can I use to clean this wood with?

    LESLIE: Now first of all, what’s underneath that you don’t want to get wet? Is it furniture? Are you storing stuff there?

    ED: Well, I’ve got, basically, a workshop. I’ve got two workshops: one inside at the house and one outside, under the deck.

    TOM: You’re going to probably have to cover those with tarps or something, because you are going to need to use some amount of water. But what we would recommend is a wood cleaner.

    Now, cleaners, what they do is they’re very good at removing dirt, removing grime and sort of removing that oxidized, greyish sort of appearance that gets on top of pressure-treated lumber.

    And Flood makes a good one, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah, Flood actually has a product called Flood Wood Cleaner. And you can mix it with water; I think a 1-gallon container makes up to 5 gallons of cleaning solution. And it can actually remove a greyed appearance on lumber and give it a like-new appearance.

    Now, here’s the thing. I know a lot of people think that when it comes to cleaning a deck – “Oh it’s just dirt, it’s pollen, whatever’s on it.” And they think just using some water on it is going to get rid of it. But you get the same things on your car and you don’t wash your car with just water; you actually need a cleaner or a soap product.

    But you don’t want to use soap on wood, so it’s always good to use a product like a wood cleaner. That really will help you get rid of all of the weathering, the dirt, the grime, you know, just the usual stuff that a winter will put on a surface.

    So if you go with the Flood Wood Cleaner, you can use it on exterior, interior, all kinds of woods. I mean I’m saying “interior” because I’m meaning that yours is covered. I wouldn’t use it in the house but that’s what I mean there. And it’ll do a good job. You’ll get about 1,000 square feet total from a gallon, so you’ll get a really good coverage. You want to let it dry but again, like Tom mentioned, you want to cover anything that’s underneath, because it is a cleanser and you don’t want to get it on your tools.

    TOM: Yeah. And you have to wet the deck surface first. And then once it’s wet, then you apply the wood cleaner using kind of like a pump-up garden sprayer. Or you can even roll it on with a brush roller like you would – as if you were painting.

    ED: OK.

    TOM: You let it sit on the surface for a while and then you rinse it off.

    ED: OK. Well, that rinsing it off is a problem.

    TOM: Ed, you’re not going to be able to dry-clean your wood deck.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I don’t know any cleaner that’s going to take that in.

    TOM: Just not going to happen. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, wild weather can strike anyone at any time. And if your home is built to withstand the elements, your house will do far better than those that aren’t. We’re going to get some tips on weather-resistant building materials from This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, up next.

    TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by BOSTITCH Mechanics Tools, delivering the rugged reliability you’ve come to expect from BOSTITCH. Designed for the professional, built to last.

    Back with more, after this.

    ADAM: I’m Adam Carolla. I’ve built hundreds of houses and I can tell you how to avoid falling into that money pit: listen to Money Pit Radio with Tom and Leslie.

    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

    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: Well, backyard barbecues are fun until it’s time to clean up. Then you’ve got to deal with things like picnic stains, like ketchup and barbecue sauce and mustard and red wine. It can all do a number on your outdoor furniture. That’s why we’ve got tips on how to clean those stains, on Just visit the home page. It’s right there at

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

    JODY: Actually, I have a big enough house where I have three furnaces. And the condensation that comes off the heat exchanger – sometimes the tube will get plugged without anyone knowing. And then it’ll overflow the pan; then you’ve ruined ceilings and what-have-you in my house and stuff.

    TOM: Right.

    JODY: And I wanted to know if there’s – I read this article in one of the magazines about woodwork and stuff and helping people with doing things around the house, where they would have tablets you could put in the pan and you would never have that fungus growing that’ll plug up your tubes.

    TOM: OK. So what’s clogging up the tube, in this case, is algae. Is that correct?

    JODY: Yes.

    TOM: One of the things that you can think about doing is to apply a product called Wet & Forget, which is generally used to keep algae from growing off sidewalks.

    JODY: Yes. Uh-huh.

    TOM: But when that pan is dry, I would suggest that you try to spray it down with Wet & Forget. And that prevents algae from growing, on contact. So that’s not a bad idea to give that a shot.

    JODY: So I’ll try that.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if there’s one thing that we’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s that weather can impact our lives in ways that we just never imagined. And it’s even starting to impact the way we think about our homes.

    TOM: That’s right. In fact, we saw that right here in our own backyard, at the Jersey Shore, when Hurricane Sandy struck. The homes that were built to withstand the elements did much better than those that were built decades ago. Kevin O’Connor is host of TV’s This Old House and got to see both the benefits of storm-resistant building materials and the utter destruction of homes built with less.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi guys. Thank you for having me.

    TOM: Now, Kevin, you witnessed the rebuilding efforts after Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey. So what do you think we’ve learned about constructing homes that are weather-resistant?

    KEVIN: Well, I actually think we learned a lot of the lessons that we employed when we rebuilt the houses after Sandy. I think we learned a lot of that stuff many years ago. The problem is is that a lot of houses were built before we had learned these things.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: And we don’t often go back and retrofit houses before they’re damaged. So, some of the key lessons – if you’re going to be in a zone that you know you’re going to be impacted by weather and in particular by water – is to choose the right materials.

    So, there is a very stringent building code in this country and it’s down in Miami-Dade, Florida. And it came – it was born of Hurricane Andrew, back in the early 90s. And they learned a lot from that damage and devastation and they put in a very stringent building code.

    Now, not every jurisdiction in the United States is that stringent. But if you look to that code as you build your house, wherever you are, and abide by it, you’re probably building by the most stringent code and you’re going to be in a really good place.

    TOM: That’s a good point. And I also noticed that certain building products, like windows and doors and so on, they will cite in their description that it’s approved for use in Miami-Dade County. And so if you see that as part of the description, you can be assured that that particular component is tough enough to stand up to the weather.

    KEVIN: Yeah. I think within the builders’ circles, that is sort of the gold standard in terms of code and what you should be building and how you should be building.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: In terms of materials – from experience, some of the things that we did down in New Jersey when we were working on our houses post-Sandy – there’s lots of great materials out there that can withstand water. Composite decking is one of them. There’s different types of composite decking out there. But generally speaking, these things can withstand really tough conditions, lots of water. Sometimes, there’s even composite decking out there that can stand to be submerged, which is quite impressive.

    Then there are PVC materials. We’re used to those products for trim boards. We should be looking at using those. We built a deck and the stairs running down, from the deck to the ground, where we trimmed out those stairs with PVC, the risers, the skirt boards, and stuff like that. And we ended up with a deck and a set of stairs that really could hold up against any amount of water over any length of time. So they’re out there.

    TOM: Good point. And another area to be concerned about – which is really a big, weak link in the exterior of a home – is that garage door, correct?

    KEVIN: Yeah. And so, for us, we actually raised a bunch of these houses that we worked on up one story and we ended up putting garages underneath. And so we expect the water to rise around those houses.

    You can actually go out and get a garage door that has no wood on it at all. It has composites, it has metals and such and it can be practically submerged in water. And because of its materials, it can withstand that submersion. And it’s a great choice if you know that you’re going to be in an area that has a potential to flood.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s also important to know that certain building materials are being modified to make them even stronger. You know, there’s a concrete lumber that I think you guys found really useful during your renovations.

    KEVIN: This is one of the coolest things. The guy who we were working with to do the composite decks is actually perfecting this technology.

    Concrete lumber. So what does that mean? Think of all of your traditional, dimensional wood lumber right? The 2×8 that is really 1¾ by – what is that? -7½.

    TOM: Right. Seven-and-a-half, yeah.

    LESLIE: Seven-and-a-half.

    KEVIN: Yeah. All these (inaudible at 0:25:26). Well, he’s actually got concrete lumber that is the exact same dimensions as all the dimensional wood lumber. And why is that important? Well, because sometimes you are building and the drawings are specced for those dimensions. Well, now you can go and get concrete lumber that’s exactly the same size and build with it just as easily.

    It’s reinforced but it also – because it’s concrete, it can be submerged. I mean this is rated. They use this stuff to build submerged docks and such. And so now you have an alternative where you can build the bottom half of the house – say, the foundation, the basement area, or the storage area – using concrete lumber. Get great strength, great spans. It’s the same dimension and it’s impervious to wet conditions.

    TOM: That sounds like this is a question that you really need to ask yourself, no matter what kind of project you’re doing. Whether you are rebuilding an entire house, building a new home from scratch or maybe just replacing a window or a door or a roof, you ask yourself, “What is the weather resistance of the particular materials I’m working with?”

    KEVIN: Yeah. You’d really need to know what’s the environment you’re in. And there are things that are sort of intuitive. Do we get lots of storms and such? And then there are things that are a little bit more scientific. What’s the likelihood of getting floodwaters? And if we do get floodwaters, how high will that go? There are FEMA maps out there that will help you with those types of questions. And that should help dictate how you actually rebuild or build new.

    LESLIE: But we have to consider other types of storms, as well: perhaps ones that aren’t included with water and in different parts of the country, like tornadoes. We’ve seen such devastation with tornadoes in the past few years, so is there a building technique that just sort of keeps things better together when faced with that?

    KEVIN: Well, certainly the way we actually make the connections of our houses – think about what we’re doing: we’re connecting 2x4s to sill plates and the top plates and roofs to walls, sheathing to those types of things. Those connections can be reinforced. They can withstand high winds if we use clips and fasteners.

    But there’s also styles of houses. Roof design, for example. As it turns out, the hip roof is less susceptible to being pulled off the top of the house than the traditional A-frame, gabled roof, because there’s less of a chance of uplift and pulling that roof off.

    So a smart builder will know those things. There’s technology out there that we can help build these houses so they can withstand all types of severe weather.

    TOM: Great advice. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and teaching us, once again, how to make sure our homes can stand up to whatever Mother Nature deals out.

    KEVIN: Always a pleasure to be here. Thank you, guys.

    LESLIE: Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.

    Still ahead, do you have a college-bound student heading off to a dorm room? Some fun and functional organizational ideas can help. We’ll have those tips, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and give you a hand with those almost last-minute summer projects. And of course, we’d love to give you the tools to get the job done.

    And this one is a great product that we’re giving away this hour. We’ve got a $75 prize pack from Citrus Magic, which includes solids, non-aerosol sprays, and Citrus Magic Triple-Action Odor and Moisture Absorber Air Freshener, which is going to give you the convenience and value of three products in one.

    TOM: It’s perfect for damp, musty areas, like basements, closets, crawlspaces, bathrooms, and more. And it works up to a full eight weeks.

    It’s a prize pack worth $75. Visit and give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Ladonna in Colorado who’s got a gardening question. Welcome to The Money Pit.

    LADONNA: Yeah, I have a sod issue. I laid some brand-new sod in my backyard and I’m watering several times a day to keep it so it catches and stuff. But I have lots and lots of mushrooms. I’m picking mushrooms in the morning, picking mushrooms at night and they’re not even edible. I have dogs, cats and grandkids who are on the yard, so I don’t want to use anything, you know, that would be bad for them. So I need something organic to get rid of mushrooms. Any ideas?

    TOM: Great question. Now, if you don’t want to use a commercially-available fungicide – because that’s what will take care of the mushrooms – you can also sort of make your own by mixing baking soda and water. If you put about a ¼-cup of baking soda per gallon of water and spray that whenever you see the new mushroom growth, that will help to deter it.

    And the other thing that you could do is add lime, because mushrooms love acidic soil and lime can make that soil less acidic so that the mushrooms will tend to not grow. So there’s two ways to help limit or reduce the amount of mushroom growth on your lawn without turning to chemicals.

    LADONNA: OK, great. Well, I will go ahead and try that.

    TOM: Well, back-to-school time is just about here. And for college-bound kids, that means shopping for dorm-room essentials. To make sure your scholar has furniture that’s functional, we’ve got a few things for you to consider.

    LESLIE: And of course, you always want to have stylish furnishings, as well. I have to laugh. I was in Target the other day and there were four college-aged boys shopping for bedding. One of them was getting some like stylish décor, one of them was getting Batman sheets, the other one was getting something equally ridiculous. So I was like, “Oh, ok. At least they’re, across the board, having fun with decorating their dorm room.”

    But seriously, when it comes to moving into that space, a lot of times you’re dealing with small spaces and lots of people sharing that small space. So when it comes to storage, why not think about tower shelving? Doesn’t take up that large of a footprint but it will allow plenty of storage going up high.

    You also want to look for storage ottomans. These cubes are perfect when you need some extra seating or a side table but they’ll also give your student a place to stow their extra stuff.

    TOM: And to make most use of every inch of dorm room, you can also pick up some under-bed storage bins and over-the-door hanging racks. And if you add in a collapsible laundry bin for their closet, your college-bound kid will be all set and good to go for the school year.

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

    JANET: My house is over 100 years old and there was a large, three-trunk tree in the backyard that had to be cut down. But it had so many nails in the tree that after using two chainsaws and losing the chains because there were so many nails in it, we have this humungous trunk left in the backyard. And I’d like to know how to get rid of it, because I can’t use the grinder on it.

    TOM: Why can’t you use a – well, you mentioned chainsaws. But why not a trunk grinder: the type of grinder that tree services have that basically ground down or grind down the stumps to below-grade? That sort of grinder should certainly be strong enough to handle the nails that are in the tree.

    JANET: OK.

    TOM: So I would have a pro come out and use a stump grinder. And that’s the best way to get rid of that. You don’t have to get it all out; just get it down to below the surface and Mother Nature will do the rest.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, don’t let the wrong paint ruin your kitchen facelift. We’re going to tell you which paints work on your kitchen cabinets and which won’t, 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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And hey, are you hoping that Labor Day is going to live up to its name? Well, you can kick off work on an outdoor room that’ll make your yard the talk of next summer’s barbecues. We’ve got some great ideas and tips for all of your backyard retreats, right on the home page of right now. So get some great ideas that maybe you can squeeze in quickly before the season ends or start planning for the next warm-weather season that rolls your way.

    And while you’re online, you can post a question in the Community section. This one’s from somebody who I imagine loves to ski or makes snow for a living. This is from SnowMogul who writes: “I’d like to paint my kitchen cabinets but I’ve heard that they can turn out sticky. What kind of paint should I be using to avoid that stickiness?”

    TOM: Sounds like this is a conversation going up the chairlift one day: “Hey, I painted my cabinets and they came out sticky.”

    LESLIE: You know, you do need something to talk about while you’re on your way to have some fun in the snow.

    TOM: That’s true, that’s true.

    So, first of all, if you want to paint your kitchen cabinets, the first thing you need to do is to prep them because they’re probably one of the dirtiest things in the house to paint, mostly because of all the cooking grease and smoke that travel around the kitchen. So you want to clean them really, really well. And we would recommend that you use something called TSP; stands for trisodium phosphate. It’s in the paint aisle at hardware stores. It’s basically a really soapy mixture that will do a really good job of cutting out all that grease.

    Beyond that, you need to sand; sand well, my friend. Do not let any of that shininess remain on the cabinet. If you don’t sand it, you’re not going to get good adhesion. Once they’re sanded – and by the way, the easiest way to sand kitchen cabinets and really just do this whole project is to take the drawers out, take the doors off, take the hardware off. You might want to number them so you remember where to put everything back. But just get it back to the boxes themselves. They’re a lot easier to handle when you don’t have to work around all that stuff.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And number both the boxes and the doors and the drawer fronts. Because once you take a door off, you’re not going to remember – “Where did I start? Was this one? Was that one?” Put a piece of painter’s tape on the inside and on the back of the door. This way, you’ve got it easy-peasy. And leave the hinges on one of them. I usually leave them on the box.

    TOM: I bet there’s a story behind that but you don’t have to tell it right now. A lesson learned, perhaps.

    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. I’ve renovated how many kitchens?

    TOM: I know.

    LESLIE: And I should say “renovate” lightly because I say “renovate,” really meaning I’ve painted kitchen cabinets hundreds of times.

    TOM: So after you sand them, then you need to prime them. Priming is really important because you want to make sure that the new paint sticks.

    Now, the choice of the top coat is really where the rubber hits the road. I would not, not recommend latex paint for this. I would use a solvent-based, semi-gloss paint.

    And the reason I say that is because the one thing that solvent-based paint still has – even the no-VOC/low-VOC paints – is it’s a lot harder of a finish than the latex paints. And you really need that durability when it comes to kitchen cabinets. The doors are always slamming, and you’re bumping into them and that kind of stuff.

    So I like solvent-based paints for kitchen cabinets. Pretty much that’s the only thing except for maybe floors I like them for. So, remember, clean them, sand them, prime them and then paint them with a good solvent-based paint. They will not come out sticky and you will be good to go.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Becky who writes: “Our new deck was built using pressure-treated wood, which still has stamps from the lumber yard. How do we remove them so they don’t show through when we stain?”

    TOM: Well, if you’re going to use solid-color stain, which is what we recommend, you don’t have to worry about that. It will be covered by that. And we do recommend solid-color stain because although you might think it’s going to be like painting your deck, it’s really not. There’s a lot of pigment in it, soaks in really, really well and does a great job. I mean we solid-stained my house just recently and the last time before that was 14 years ago. That’s how long it lasts if you do a good job. So, solid stain and don’t worry about the stamps.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But with pressure-treated lumber, you do want to let it dry out for a season before you put anything on it.

    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show always on air and online at Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you a few great ideas to spruce up your money pit on these warm summer days and into the fall season that’s just ahead. You can reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT, also 24/7, where we are happy to take your calls.

    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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