How DIY Projects Are Putting Your Home At Risk, What Your Weeds Are Telling You, And Garage Organization Tips

  • 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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Whether you’re doing it yourself, whether you’re going to hire it out, if you don’t know where to begin – you want to make sure you get it done once, get it done right so you don’t have to do it again – hey, we can help you with all that stuff. But you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s program, do you hate seeing weeds in your yard and your garden? Of course you do. They feel like the enemy. But they can actually hold clues to help you take back your garden. We’re going to have some tips on how you can read your weeds for gardening success.

    LESLIE: And is your garage so crammed full of stuff that you just can’t even think about getting your car inside? I mean seriously, who parks their car in their garage?

    Well, we hope you do. And we’re going to give you some tips to take control of that messy garage, in just a bit.

    TOM: Plus, what if we told you your home improvement projects could be making you a target for burglars? Well, they could if you’re making some common DIY mistakes. We’ll tell you how to avoid those, coming up.

    LESLIE: And your dishwasher. It cleans your dishes, right? But how does your dishwasher get clean? Ah, the answer to that question is Glisten Dishwasher Magic.

    TOM: Hmm. And one lucky caller this hour is going to experience the clean for themselves, because we’re giving away a Glisten Dishwasher Magic Prize Pack worth 50 bucks. Got everything you need to keep your dishwasher sparkling clean, get rid of all that scummy, gross stuff that seems to accumulate in the bottom of the dishwasher. Or at least it does in mine. But now I use Glisten and it doesn’t anymore.

    So, call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Heading on over to Minnesota where Mercedes is having some roofing issues. What’s going on at your money pit?

    MERCEDES: Well, I had roofing put on a few years ago and they nailed it in the valleys instead of on the ridges.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    MERCEDES: And then now that it has rained these – you know, quite a bit in between, then my paint in my kitchen ceiling is peeling off and the sheetrock is wet because of the moisture coming in.

    TOM: So, basically, it’s leaking through the metal valleys because there’s holes in those valleys, Mercedes?

    MERCEDES: Yes. Yes, in the valley.

    TOM: So, obviously, that wasn’t done right. And so, you have really two choices: you can either replace that valley flashing – and that’s a project, because the metal roof has to be loosened up to get the new valley underneath it – or what you could do is silicone-caulk those holes and hope for the best.

    Silicone, you’ll probably get a good couple of years out of that but you may have to do it again.

    MERCEDES: Well, now, I wonder, did you hear about this product that – they put an undercoat on a metal roof to repair it? And then they put a second coat over the top of that?

    TOM: No. And I don’t know how you get an undercoat under a metal roof that’s already down.

    So, metal roofs have been around for over 100 years and they’re super-durable roofs. But the problem is that a lot of times, the contractors don’t have the skill set to properly construct them and properly repair them.

    If they’re installed properly, then they can last indefinitely and be leak-free. It sounds like there were some errors made in the installation of your roof. And so you have to kind of decide now whether you want to take this apart and fix those errors or just continue to explore opportunities for patching.

    If it was me, I would try to disassemble it and replace that flashing, because it’s going to be a sore spot moving forward, not only with water but also, you’re going to have ice dams that’ll form there in your part of the country. The water will get behind it and that can also work its way into the roof.

    OK, Mercedes? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    BOB: Yes, I have a faulty garage-door opener, diagnosed by the manufacturer as having a bad circuit board. And the question I have to have is with regard to surge protection of garage-door openers. And there are two types that I can identify: one like you might use for your electronic equipment and a special garage-door opener made by a company (audio gap) Chamberlain, that has not only protection for the basic motor and the circuit board but also for the control panels.

    TOM: OK. So, first of all, are you going to repair the garage-door opener and put the new circuit board in it, Bob?

    BOB: Yes. Because it’s under warranty and they will replace the part for free but the labor I have to pay.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s kind of an unusual thing to happen. I actually have never heard of a board like that failing but OK. It can happen.

    So now what you want to do is – you’re thinking that that could have been caused by an electrical surge and you want to protect from that?

    BOB: Most people I talk to do not have surge protectors on their garage-door opener.

    TOM: No, most people don’t. And I would be hesitant to probably add one, because I think this is probably an anomaly. But I will say this: if you are going to put this on and Chamberlain makes one, I would definitely trust that brand. I know a lot about that brand and the people behind it and it’s a good brand. They make good products. And so, if they’re offering something that does this, I wouldn’t be hesitant to invest in it.

    BOB: Yeah, that sounds good, yeah. All these little devices we have around the house – you have garage-door openers and microwaves and stuff like that – they’re all susceptible to surges of sorts.

    TOM: But generally, you put surge protection on your main panel, not on – not necessarily on every appliance. And sometimes you put them on computers and that sort of thing but this is a very unusual circumstance. But if you’re going to put something on and Chamberlain makes a product for that, I would trust it.

    OK, Bob?

    BOB: OK. Very good. Thank you.

    TOM: Good luck. 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 Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, summer is when most home break-ins take place. And if you’re an avid DIYer, you could be making a mistake that makes your home an easy target. We’re going to teach you how to protect your home, when The Money Pit continues 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: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, here’s a question for you: how clean are your dishes? You’re like, “Whoa, whoa. That’s a personal question.” But no, seriously, guys, how clean are your dishes? Well, they can be cleaner than ever before if you take home this hour’s prize. We’re giving away a Glisten Dishwasher Magic Prize Pack worth 50 bucks.

    Now, Glisten Dishwasher Magic keeps your dishwasher running efficiently, because it’s going to remove all of that heavy-duty buildup that’s caused by hard water, detergent, even food residue. Come on, guys. We know you’re slacking on the rinsing-off the dishes.

    TOM: Yep. And it’s the only EPA-registered dishwasher cleaner and disinfectant.

    One lucky caller is going to experience that magic for themselves. You can learn more at That’s Glisten – G-l-i-s-t-e-n – And call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Lisa from Delaware is on the line with a chimney question.

    Lisa, what can we do for you today?

    LISA: I have two chimneys. One is a brick chimney and the other was a stucco chimney. I recently had them both repaired. The brick chimney needed to be repointed and above the brick chimney, underneath the stainless-steel cap, I guess – I don’t know if it’s cement or mortar but that was all cracked. And in the winter, the ice would form between the cracks.

    So, anyway, I had that repaired. The other chimney that was stucco had a hairline crack in it and they suggested re-stuccoing the chimney and stippling it, which is like a popcorn-ceiling type of an effect.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    LISA: So all that was done. Now, they told me – us – wait about six months and then I should have it sealed to protect it. Now, it’s $75 a chimney to get it sealed.

    TOM: So, what they’re talking about is a masonry sealer. And you probably don’t need this; it’s not like you need it to protect it. Usually, you put sealers on if you’re concerned about leaks. But if you are going to put a sealer on it, they’re silicone-based and you have to make sure that you use one that’s vapor-permeable. Some of the older sealers – sealer products – out there are not vapor-permeable and that means that moisture gets in, it gets trapped under the surface of the concrete and then it’ll freeze and spall or crack. And that could actually accelerate the deterioration of the chimney itself.

    So, if you use a good-quality silicone sealer that’s vapor-permeable, it can slow the absorption of moisture into the chimney. But I’m just not sure you need it. The kinds of things that you’re talking about doing – except for the total re-stuccoing of the chimney; I don’t know if I would have gone that far just to repair a crack. But the other things that you’re talking about are all entirely expected: having to repoint some mortar, having to repair a cracked chimney cap – a concrete cap around the chimney. Those are all normal. I don’t necessarily think that putting a sealer on is going to have that much of a major effect of slowing down any further deterioration. I think it’s just sort of wear and tear.

    LISA: OK. And if – so if it’s not vapor-permeable, it could even harm it.

    TOM: That’s correct. Exactly right, Lisa.

    LISA: So I should ask the mason then if it’s – but he could tell me anything. He could say, “Yeah, it is.”

    TOM: Well, it’s very easy. Find out what product he’s using and go look up the product online and read about it.

    LISA: But you’re saying, really, it’s probably not worth it.

    TOM: I don’t know that it’s totally necessary. Unless the chimneys are leaking, I probably wouldn’t do it.

    LISA: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    Well, did you know that the two top months for residential break-ins are July and August? They are, according to the FBI. And to avoid adding your home to those scary statistics, don’t make it an easy target for burglars by leaving tools outside that burglars can use to get into your house. We’re talking about hammers and saws, for example. I mean that’s kind of like handing them the keys to your house.

    LESLIE: Yeah. After your DIY projects are done for the day, you want to make sure that all the tools go back into the shed or your garage or wherever you keep them, promptly. You might be surprised to learn how many break-ins happen because of an easy opportunity, like a ladder left sort of leaning against your house, you know, right near your window.

    TOM: Now, another way to prevent this, once and for all, is to have a good security system in place. And one that we really like is SimpliSafe. It installs in 30 minutes without wiring or drilling. And there are no long-term contracts. For 15 bucks a month, you can have a professionally-monitored security system, 24-7, that protects your home and gives you peace of mind.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And the best part is that Money Pit fans are going to get an exclusive, 10-percent-off deal. You want to learn some more, head on over to

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    LESLIE: Steve in Iowa is on the line with a decking question. What can we do for you today?

    STEVE: I’ve had my deck on my house for – it’s been probably at least 15 years. It’s a floating deck, so it’s not attached to the house. And the only problem with that is that part of the deck has a cistern underneath of it.

    TOM: Oh, so it’s covering this old cistern. OK.

    STEVE: Yes. But the cistern is still – I don’t use it often but it is nice to have, so I don’t want to take it out.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: Because my deck is settling at different levels and the cistern – above the cistern, obviously, I can’t put any (inaudible at 0:13:32) in to stop the heaving.

    TOM: Yeah. So how do you actually get to that cistern when you want to get to it? You have to pop deck boards up or is there a hatch?

    STEVE: No, there’s a pipe that runs outside the deck and you just dump the water into there.

    TOM: Well, if the deck is heaving, if it’s structurally moving, then there’s nothing that you’re going to do, short of basically replacing that with a better foundation, that’s going to stop that from happening.

    How big is this deck?

    STEVE: Twenty by twelve.

    TOM: Yeah. Is your concern that the deck is moving and that the floor is getting uneven? Or is your concern that the lumber is cracking and checking? What’s your big concern with it?

    STEVE: The deck is very uneven. By the house, it has settled probably, maybe, 8 inches. And then where the cistern’s at, it hasn’t settled at all.

    TOM: And this cistern, this is not like an open well, is it, where somebody could fall into it? This is a pipe that comes out?

    STEVE: No, there’s – yeah, there’s – it feeds directly into my basement and there’s a concrete lid over the top.

    TOM: So you really do need to have some sort of a structural cover for this. So, I guess what I would do, in this case, is I would probably take the old deck apart and rebuild it. I would reframe it and basically do it all from scratch. And put in some better footings for this.

    Now, you can use columns in the ground but they have to be on their own footings. So what you might want to do is dig down and sink posts – like 6×6 posts – into the ground and kind of do this almost like it’s a pole barn. But you’re really only doing this to support the girders and the beams for the deck. And then you string your new rafter – I’m sorry, new joist – across from that.

    And then I would think about using composite decking on top of this. And I would definitely build in an access panel, which could be sort of like a hatch that lifts up or just the panel that lifts out to give you access to that cistern space, in case you want to use it.

    STEVE: Would you ever consider pouring concrete first and then put – building the deck over top of that?

    TOM: No. I mean if you were going to do concrete, then you would just do a concrete patio. But isn’t that going to make it hard to get to the cistern and access the space?

    STEVE: Yeah, I would have just thought – I didn’t know if pouring concrete all the way around the cistern first would work and then put the deck on top of that or …

    TOM: No. No, no. No, no. You don’t need the concrete to make this deck structurally strong and to stop it from wobbling. If it’s designed properly from the get-go, you’re not going to have this issue. I suspect it was not when it was built and that’s why it looks like it does now.

    STEVE: OK. Thank you much.

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

    LESLIE: Kevin in Rhode Island has a question about keeping a basement dry. What can we do for you?

    KEVIN: I removed the downspout extension that took the water away, maybe, 3 feet from the foundation.

    TOM: OK.

    KEVIN: And I replaced it, because someone said it didn’t look good. I replaced it with a cement kind of water carry-away, which is 2 feet. And I noticed I have some water in the basement. So, it’s very damp. It’s damp is what it is.

    TOM: Yeah.

    KEVIN: So I put a little crushed rock at the end of the extension, hoping that that would maybe help out on the water dispersing down or something.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s not going to do anything except prevent erosion.

    If you want to make your basement drier, you’ve got to move the moisture away from it. You were on the right track with the downspout extension.

    Now, if you don’t want to see that, you might want to explore the possibility of running your leader into a solid PVC pipe and running that underground. But it has to be pitched and then discharged somewhere. So it depends on kind of the shape of your property as to whether or not you could make that happen.

    But I would rather see those downspouts extended away from the foundation wall than deal with the water that can accumulate in the basement as a result.

    KEVIN: Good idea.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got – calling in from Money Pit territory, we’ve got Diane from New Jersey who’s got a question for heating up a home.

    Diane, how can we help you?

    DIANE: Yes and thank you. I love your show. And I think I realized most people, when they call their house a “money pit” – even though that’s a bad word.

    TOM: Well, for us, Diane, it’s a term of endearment, you know? We love our homes, even though they can be money pits. And we’re here to kind of help take the pain away.

    So, how can we help with your house? What’s going on?

    DIANE: Well, my mom is 89 years old. And every year, she’s cold and she doesn’t want to put on the heater because – higher because it’ll take too much money. So, I got determined. And last winter, I insulated – it’s a split-level home. So I insulated the basement and I painted the walls – the cement walls. And yet she’s still cold. So I’m wondering, what is it?

    TOM: Well, how much insulation do you have in the attic of Mom’s house?

    DIANE: There is a plank where you walk. And on either side of the plank, it is insulated. It was done by a modular-home company, so maybe it’s not the best.

    TOM: Because here’s the thing: if you’re going to pick one space in a house to insulate, you need to pick the attic. Because heat rises and that’s where you get most of your heat loss.

    DIANE: OK.

    TOM: So I would take a look at that attic. And in New Jersey, you need to have 15 to 20 inches, easy, of insulation – of fiberglass insulation. So I – most homes need additional insulation. And you can add that by adding unfaced fiberglass batts. Not with the paper or the foil type of face but just plain, old, raw fiberglass batts. And you lay them perpendicular to the insulation you have right now.

    And that’s the single, most effective way to reduce your heating costs and improve your comfort.

    DIANE: Alright.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, are you seeing weeds in your yard, in your garden? Well, they hold secrets to gardening success, so don’t just yank them out right now. Up ahead, we’re going to have Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House to help you understand what your weeds are telling you.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment on The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools and their FatMax Diamond Screwdrivers, featuring Diamond-Technology Tips to reduce cam-out and double the tip life. Available in four-, six- and eight-piece sets.

    To learn more, visit

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs. To get more information about how to help improve your home’s electrical safety, visit

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And when your house and yard need work, you can DIY or hire a guy. But if the guy or the girl you hire doesn’t do the job right, you’re kind of back to square one. If you want to find the right contractor the first time, you need to ask the right questions. And they’re all online on our website at Just search “how to find the right contractor.”

    LESLIE: Bill in Missouri has a new driveway and needs some help with finishing it. What can we do for you?

    BILL: I had a new driveway – concrete driveway – put in.

    TOM: Yep.

    BILL: And I’m wondering if I need to put some kind of a sealer on that or just leave it like it is. The finish they put on it looks like they used a real stiff broom or something on it and it’s got the lines cut all the way down it on both – all over it, you know.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s designed to give you some traction in the winter so that you don’t slip on it as easily.

    I don’t think it’s necessary for you to seal it. If you were to seal it, you would need to make sure you’re using a vapor-permeable sealer. Because what happens with some sealers is the moisture gets trapped underneath of them and then it can’t evaporate out. And it will cause the concrete to spall or crack.

    But concrete driveways are not – it’s not necessary to seal them on a regular basis.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: Just be cautious with the type of salt that you use to deice. Don’t use anything that has rock salt in it.

    BILL: I’ve got a real quick question for you. I had a new deck built in the back and they used pressure-treated yellowwood on it. And I had no idea that the yellow they were talking about was going to be the sap coming out of it.

    TOM: OK.

    BILL: And I was wondering, is there some kind of a sealer or something that I can do about that?

    TOM: Well, when you have a new pressure-treated deck, we generally suggest that you wait about a year before doing this. And then you could apply a solid-color stain to it. If you put a solid-color stain to it, it will cover some of the sap, as well. And frankly, by then, some of it will have already evaporated. You could sand those areas to try to get rid of any big deposits but I would wait about a year and then I would treat it with a good, solid-color, exterior deck stain.

    BILL: Oh, OK. Well, I sure appreciate your help.

    TOM: New driveway, new deck. You know what to do next. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, weeds are the scourge of those of us who are trying to maintain a pristine lawn. But before you try to wipe them out, stop and listen. They might actually be telling you something.

    TOM: Well, that’s true. Weeds contain clues for their own demise: information you might need if you want to address the root problem and keep them from coming back, once and for all. Here to tell us how you can take your turf back is This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, Roger, you’re like the weed whisperer, right?

    ROGER: Yeah.

    TOM: You’ve got to read those weeds and let us know what they’re telling us about our lawns, right? We really can get some clues from the type of weed that hits it.

    ROGER: We can. But the first thing I want to start out with is: every lawn has weeds.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: And a minimum amount of weeds isn’t a bad thing. It only becomes a problem when they overtake an area. So, a little weeds is OK, alright?

    TOM and LESLIE: OK.

    LESLIE: Now, I feel like the internet has become such a huge tool for me when it comes to diagnosing things that are going on in the yard. Because if I see a weed growing in the lawn, I’m not going to know that it’s crabgrass or if it’s whatever. I’m going to look at it and then look online and be like, “Oh, crabgrass.”

    So once you identify, say, crabgrass, what do you do?

    ROGER: You can’t treat anything until you know what it is.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    ROGER: Crabgrass is caused by a couple things: usually an injury to the lawn from a plow or a lawn-mower blade cutting too short or a drying-out of an area. Any area that faces south or southeast and has a lot of gravel or sand underneath it dries out very quickly. A regular lawn with bluegrass and fescue can’t stand up to that and it dries out. And that’s where crabgrass thrives: in those real hot areas. And it gets …

    TOM: Now, we could actually be causing that problem if we cut our lawn too short, right? People think if you cut it too short, you’re going to have to cut less frequently but you’re really opening yourself up to a whole bunch of weed problems.

    ROGER: The worst thing you can do for a lawn is to cut it too short. It likes to be left – 2½ to 3 inches is a general rule so that it shades itself out a little bit. And by having that shade there, it actually stops some of these weeds from germinating.

    TOM: Alright. Here’s another weed that’s an issue in a lot of parts of the country: common plantain. What causes that?

    ROGER: It’s a weed that grows in really damp, wet areas. So it’s telling you A) that you’re getting too much irrigation there B) the soil is really heavy and it’s not draining properly. So if you can improve the drainage through aeration – or just adjust the sprinkler system.

    LESLIE: Now, here’s a weed that has a funny name, because I thought this was just my son crawling around the house. But there’s one called “creeping Charlie”?

    ROGER: Yep. It’s a weed that we find when you have a lot of shade. Tough thing for a grass to grow in. Our regular lawns, they don’t like shade.

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: And once something gets weak, a weed comes in. There’s a weed for every spot: too dry, too hot, too wet, too shady. A weed loves that, not your lawn.

    One of the other things – one of the best things you can do for your lawn is to get a soil test done. Because very often, if the pH is off or the fertility is off, it’ll help these weeds to grow in.

    TOM: So, really, the weeds are talking to us and telling us something’s wrong with the lawn. So, aside from determining what weed it is, it really is a clue to a bigger problem. And getting a soil test can really provide a lot of information.

    ROGER: Right. Knowing what the weed is, knowing what your soil is telling you, you can have a good, strong lawn without doing a lot of spraying of different herbicides.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And since I like to do my investigative research online, is there a good resource for me to sort of look up pictures of what I might be seeing on the lawn?

    ROGER: Most of the local nurseries will help you out if you bring in a sample in a bag and say, “What’s this? What’s this?”

    LESLIE: Right.

    ROGER: But the National Gardening Association has an online weed library. I read it all the time.

    TOM: A weed library.

    ROGER: A weed library.

    LESLIE: It’s fascinating.

    TOM: Alright. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: It’s a little scary that I know about the weed library.

    TOM: Yes, it is a little scary.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, you can 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 on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.

    Coming up, it’s time to come clean about your messy garage and get it clean, too. The garage-organization tips to help, when The Money Pit continues next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by SimpliSafe Home Security. SimpliSafe has no long-term contract and the award-winning, 24/7 protection is just $15 a month. Money Pit listeners, save 10 percent when you visit today. That’s

    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 clean dishes are a key to your health and your home’s health, too. So why not make sure your dishwasher is doing the job right?

    LESLIE: Glisten Dishwasher Magic is going to remove grease and buildup from dishwashers so you get better performance and results, which can increase your appliance’s lifespan.

    Now, one lucky caller this hour is going to get to experience it for themselves with a Glisten Dishwasher Magic Prize Pack worth 50 bucks.

    TOM: To learn more, visit And call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that fantastic prize pack from Glisten Cleaners.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Vernon in Colorado who’s fixing up the bath. How can we help you?

    VERNON: I had heard a while back on your show, if you’re going to recaulk your bathtub, to fill it up with water? But I do not remember if anything was said about removing the water immediately after it was caulked or letting the caulk set up first before you would let the water out. So I wanted to check on that before I started my project with some good kitchen-and-bath caulk.

    LESLIE: Well, absolutely. The tip you heard about filling the tub with water is totally correct. And the reason why we do that is when you fill the tub with water, it sort of weighs down and sits down onto the base a little more.

    So if you fill it with water and then go ahead and caulk, then you let the caulk dry and then you drain the bath. When it sort of empties out, it’s going to lift back up and compress that caulk. So the next time you actually go to take a bath or a shower and you’re standing in there and the tub presses down on the base, it’s going to stretch the caulk and it’s all going to stay in place.

    So that’s really a good trick of the trade because it keeps it in its place longer and it really lets it adhere to where it needs to be.

    VERNON: Perfect. OK. That’s what I’ll do. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, I want to let you guys in on a little secret. Come here. Guess what? Garages? They’re designed for your cars. Did you know that? But all too often, garages are becoming a catch-all for your tools, seasonal decorations, toys, bikes, pretty much every odds and ends you’ve got living at your house.

    TOM: A survey by Gladiator GarageWorks found out that a whopping 74 percent of Americans wish their garages were more organized. And one in four can’t even fit a car in their garage because of all that junk or in my case, all those tools.

    LESLIE: Well, if your garage has slowly morphed into a storage unit, take control of that mess in just a few easy steps.

    Now, the first one might be the hardest: you’ve got to go through all that junk and trash or donate anything that you do not want or do not use. You just have to make sure that hazardous wastes, like paint or motor oil or pesticides, do not go to your curb. You need to check with your town’s public-works department for the proper disposal advice.

    TOM: And speaking of hazards, it’s not unusual to see toxic materials and toys side by side in a cluttered garage, which is incredibly unsafe. So think about vertical or overhead storage for keeping anything dangerous out of kids’ reach. And make sure combustibles are stored properly in specially-designed containers.

    LESLIE: And consider compartmentalized storage bins for tools and other household items or even simply hang a peg board and outline each item in its designated hanging space with chalk or paint. It’s going to look great and it’s also going to be like, “Hey, ding dong, this is where your things go,” so you know exactly where to put things back.

    TOM: And if all these steps still don’t make a dent in the clutter, consider installing a backyard shed. There are many affordable prefab sheds on the market and they can be set up fast, provide extra storage in just a single weekend.

    888-666-3974. What are you working on this weekend? Give us a call. We’re here to help.

    LESLIE: Lydia in Massachusetts on the line with a sink question. What’s going on?

    LYDIA: Well, we have three attached, very old, galvanized sinks at the church. And they are unsightly, they’re blackened. And I was wondering if you had any idea on how to clean them.

    TOM: So, they’re galvanized but there’s no other finish to them?

    LYDIA: There’s no other finish.

    TOM: Probably a lot of years of water stains in there, I would imagine. They sort of like brownish, rust kind of color to them?

    LYDIA: Black.

    TOM: Black, yeah, even worse. Even worse yet.

    Well, I guess the first thing I would try would be an abrasive powder and steel wool because you’re going to have to abrade them. If you don’t get something that’s pretty aggressive, you’re not going to get anything off of that. So I would use something like Comet and steel wool and see how that works.

    But typically, what happens with those old, metal sinks is the metal just becomes discolored. So it’s not something that’s laying on top, like a stain that you can wipe away. The metal itself becomes discolored.

    LYDIA: OK. Well, thank you very much for your help.

    LESLIE: Harold in Illinois needs some help with drywall repair. What can we do for you?

    HAROLD: What I’m really wanting to know is – I hear different stories about fiber mesh and paper for drywall? And my experience has been maybe fiber mesh isn’t for corners and butt joints and things of that nature. Maybe that’s just for paper. But which one’s stronger?

    LESLIE: Now, Harold, I’m going to say this in a way that I hope doesn’t offend anybody but I feel like both are really great for a seaming application or a repair in drywall. It depends on the skill level of the person doing the seaming/repairing/application of either the paper or the fiberglass. Both are going to do a great job. It’s just that with paper tape, there’s a little bit more finesse as to how it needs to be applied, how it needs to be sanded, reapplied, feathered out to make sure that that tape really stands up and does a good job.

    With the fiberglass, that mesh tape, the – it sort of has – the openings in the mesh itself allow for the compound to get in and behind it and really stick around. You still have to do sanding in layers and have some finesse there, as well, but it almost requires an artisan to do the paper work. That’s why, I think, when it comes to an average do-it-yourselfer, we tend to lean towards the mesh.

    HAROLD: Oh, OK. That works.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, all the high-end products in the world cannot undo the effects of hard water on your hair or your clothes or your dishes. We’re going to tell you which water softeners can actually help, when The Money Pit continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Glisten. Glisten makes it easy to clean, freshen and maintain your dishwasher, disposer, microwave and washing machine. So improve the performance of your appliances with cleaning solutions from Glisten, the machine-cleaning experts. 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.

    Hey, welcome back to The Money Pit, guys. We want to take a moment, right now, to welcome KFMO-AM in Flat River, Missouri. They are the newest addition to The Money Pit family.

    Welcome, guys. Flat River can tune in to The Money Pit on Saturdays at 9:00 on KFMO at 1240 AM on the dial.

    TOM: Now, Ashley wrote us and said that she needs to replace her water softener. She’s debating buying one that uses salt or one that doesn’t. “I know both keep pipes clean but how do they affect hair and clothes? I use color on my hair and they recommend soft water. Would the one without the salt work the same way on my hair? Help.” So we have a beauty emergency here, Leslie.

    But I will say that, yes, there’s different technologies for making your water soft when it already is hard. And it’s hard because it has a lot of mineral deposits in it. So one way to approach this is with a product called EasyWater. And they sent me their product some years ago. I had a chance to use it at a friend of mine’s house because I didn’t have hard water. And he had fantastic success with it.

    And here’s how it works. You know how magnets kind of repel one another when two positives are pressed together? Well, the technology is very similar. When water comes into your house, this EasyWater product creates a magnetic field within the water. And it basically prevents the hard particles from sticking together.

    And another easy perk is that it’s actually installed at the main water line, so it treats all the water in your house without the need for any devices at your faucet. So I would take a look at that, because they have a money-back guarantee.

    And if you’re not satisfied, Ashley, you can send the whole thing back. It’s easy to install. Give it a shot; you’ve got nothing to lose.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Ashley? There’s actually multiple lines of, you know, high-end hair products that actually make a shampoo and conditioner for people who have hard water. I know that Ouidad has one, Joico has one, Malibu C. They’re all called “clarifying shampoos.” But if you just Google “shampoo for hard water,” you’re going to find a whole host of things, because you might need to sort of work to get the mineral deposits out.

    And if you’re like me, highlights cost a lot of money, so we need to really take good care of our hair. Tom is tuning out right now but seriously, you’ve got to take care of those highlights.

    Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Jesse who writes: “What’s the better way to check a Freon leak: a dye test or an electronic device? I’ve had about 5 pounds of Freon leak over the past 9 months. My home warranty plan refuses to send out another company to check for the leak using the dye test. They say, ‘Wait 60 days and see if you can find the leak.’ What do you suggest?”

    TOM: Easy for them to say because they’re not paying your cooling bill. I mean first off, you’re not the best person to be searching for a refrigerant leak which, by the way, may or may not be Freon, depending on the age of your A/C compressor. So, rather than check for actual leakage, you want to check for performance.

    And here’s how you do that and this will give you some data to share with the warranty company. You want to measure the temperature of the air inside the house at a return duct and then also measure it at a supply duct. And you want to measure it at a supply duct kind of pretty close to the air handler itself.

    Now, if the system is working normally, Jesse, your – you should have a 12-to-20-degree differential between return and supply. If the differential is less than 12, you are well within your right to demand a repair. And as far as the home warranty company’s refusal to address the problem, this, unfortunately, is somewhat typical. I can only suggest that you be very, very persistent with them and always ask to discuss the matter with a supervisor.

    So, good luck. Check the temperature and take it from there.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’ve got to stay on top of this and make sure that you’re doing it right. Find that leak, get the pros to come out and do their job.

    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. If you’ve got questions, remember, you can reach us, 24-7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Because we love answering your questions, either via the call center or on our Facebook page at So, let us know.

    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 2015 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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