How to Fight Humidity That Can Ruin Flooring, Repair Your Deck Cheaply and Easily, Modular Homes as a Green and Stylish Solution, 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: What are you working on today? We want to help you get that project done. Go to the phone right now, pick it up, call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We want to help you solve that do-it-yourself dilemma. We want to help you get started on that project that’s just been bugging you and you really haven’t taken the first step. Why not call us? Make that the first step.

    You don’t have to go to the hardware store. You don’t have to figure out what paint color you want. You don’t have to take anything apart, get any tools out. Just call us and we’ll help tell you the easiest way to get it done, whether you’re going to do it yourself or direct it yourself. We can help make sure that you don’t do it to yourself by taking a wrong move. The number, though, to help yourself first is calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    We’ve got a great hour planned for you. Coming up, adding new hardwood flooring, a very popular spring project. But if you install it incorrectly, you might find that it cups and buckles just a few weeks later. The secret to avoiding that situation is to make sure there’s no moisture underneath. We’re going to tell you how to do that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And when someone says “modular housing,” do you think about prefabricated boxes? Well, not so. You know, modular housing, it’s affordable and stylish and it’s an option that can help you go green in a big way. And we’re going to tell you all about it.

    TOM: And also ahead, did you walk out onto your deck after its long winter’s nap only to find out that you’ve got holes and cracks in the wood? What, did you take some of that wood inside in the form of splinters? Well, we’re going to tell you a way to make some repairs without having to replace or tear anything down, to make those floorboards feel good all over again.

    LESLIE: And one caller this hour is going to win a way to make your do-it-yourself painting job look like a pro. We’re giving away enough painter’s tape from FrogTape to cover you for your next, big painting project. It keeps paint out and your lines sharp and it’s a prize package worth 50 bucks.

    TOM: So, let’s get to the phones, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Jay in North Carolina is dealing with a supreme oopsie on a countertop. What happened?

    JAY: Well, I don’t know. I purchased the property about a year ago and actually, I have my son living there. He’s graduating from a college in the Raleigh area and he’s living in that – in the apartment and it’s wonderful. The only problem is there’s a burn hole on the laminate countertop.

    TOM: Now, Jay, there’s a story behind that but of course, your son hasn’t – yeah, your son hasn’t coughed it up yet, I’m sure.

    JAY: No, well, no, no. This was before he moved in but hey, it’s OK.

    TOM: Alright.

    JAY: My point is it’s right out in the middle of the thing, so it’s this big burn hole. And I was just wondering, is there a way I can cut it out and then put another patch of laminate over it? It’s in butcher-block style.

    TOM: Well, the good news is that you could do a built-in countertop and – a built-in cutting board or a built-in piece of marble. And if you do it in something that’s complementary – look, it may be a little bit weird to have a cutting board on the finished side of the countertop like that but it’ll certainly look like it was always intended to be there and you’ll get away with it.

    The other thing that you could do is you could relaminate the countertop. You can’t fix the burned surface, because the plastic’s been damaged, so that’s not something that’s possible. You can’t cut in a new piece of laminate, because it’ll be patchy and it’ll look lousy. What you could do is you could put a new piece of laminate across the entire surface. So you’re keeping the structure of the countertop but you’re gluing a new piece of laminate on top of that.

    Installing a laminate is not that difficult if you have some basic DIY skills. You would scuff up the original surface, you would apply contact cement to both the new laminate and the old laminate. You would lay it down and you would press it from the middle on out to get out any air bubbles and rub it all out. And then with a router and a special laminate-trimming bit, you would trim the laminate edge very clean to the existing edge of the top and you’d have a brand-new laminate surface when you were all done.

    It’s best if you can take the old top off temporarily to do this so that you don’t have to work around walls and that sort of thing. But it’s not hard to do and that’s one way to have to – to get it repaired without having to physically replace the whole thing. Does that make sense?

    JAY: Excellent idea. Thank you so much. Appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Ann in Missouri is on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you?

    ANN: Hi. I don’t have very wide walls in my home. And so the – there’s not much insulation between the outdoors and the indoors. And what I was wondering – I want to add to it and so I was wanting to extend the walls out a little bit. I didn’t know whether I should just leave the covering up and put a line of 2x4s on it or if I should take the wall covering off for the insulation.

    TOM: The walls do have some insulation in it now and you’re wanting to know how you can actually …?

    ANN: Yeah, I want to add to it but I didn’t know whether I should just take the wall covering off …

    TOM: Ann, what kind of walls do you have right now? They 2×4 walls and are those 2×4 wall cavities filled with insulation? When you say they have a little bit, how do you know how much they have and how much they don’t have?

    ANN: I’ve looked in between them. I’ve looked in the outlets and it’s just cold in there.

    TOM: OK. Mm-hmm, OK. Well, look, I don’t think adding more insulation to the walls is going to be the solution to why it’s cold. There’s probably another reason it’s cold.

    Now, the places to add insulation are in ceilings or floors – those are easy to access to – but most importantly ceilings. And if it’s just plain cold there, you may not have enough BTUs of heat getting to that space. How is that area of your house heated?

    ANN: It’s just a furnace, gas.

    TOM: Ducts? What, like …?

    ANN: Ducts.

    TOM: Ducts, OK. And is this an addition?

    ANN: Nope. It’s just my regular domain. So probably underneath more than – and up above would help tremendously.

    TOM: That’s where you would add insulation: in the floor structure underneath and in the ceiling above but not the walls. The walls you can seal, you can caulk. You can replace windows or doors that are drafty. But that’s a difficult place to add insulation. The easy place to add it is in the ceiling or the floor below, OK?

    ANN: OK.

    TOM: 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 Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit on this holiday weekend. We hope that you are enjoying yourself and your family. And now that you’ve got a lot of people over, maybe that great uncle is saying something like, “Hey, you really should fix that project.” Because I know that’s what my great uncle would be sounding like.

    So, if somebody is on your case and you’re building up your spring to-do list, give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, even the best wooden deck that’s been treated lovingly can crack with age. We’re going to tell you about a quick, inexpensive and easy way to fix those signs of aging, with a tip presented by Elmer’s, after this.

    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 brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    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 you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Someone is standing by this holiday weekend to give you a hand.

    Now, pick up the phone, give us a call. We’re going to help you with everything that you’re working on but one of you lucky caller-inners is going to win a great prize. Because every do-it-yourselfer, you guys know that the toughest part of painting is the prep work. So our lucky caller is going to get a leg up on that prepping portion of the painting project. Just wanted to see how many Ps I could squeeze in there.

    We’re giving away 50 bucks worth of FrogTape Painter’s Tape. And it’s really easy on your walls, comes off super-easy. But what it does – it just creates these amazingly super-sharp lines and patterns. Whatever you’ve got in your mind, FrogTape is going to help you accomplish that. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Jeff in Nebraska is working on a vegetable garden. How can we help you?

    JEFF: I want to make a raised garden bed and use wood logs. But I don’t know what kind of – what the best wood is to use, so I’m not having to – so it doesn’t get eaten away and I have to reuse or redo it every couple of years.

    LESLIE: So when you’re saying “wood logs,” you want something that looks more natural?

    JEFF: Yeah. I mean what I want to do is raise the bed up and to use it kind of as a border.

    LESLIE: Right, I’ve got that. But you want something more decorative rather than just pressure-treated lumber: boards that really do serve the purpose of containing the wood and raising the bed?

    JEFF: Something a little decorative.

    TOM: First of all, you want treated wood. Because if you have untreated wood, it’s going to rot. In terms of your options on treated wood, the most common option would be to use a pressure-treated tie.

    Now, ties are available in either 4×4 or 6×6 and they look pretty rustic. And when you put them down, they’re going to be kind of greenish and they’ll look unnatural. But give it a few months, it’ll start to gray out and blend in.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And dry out, even.

    TOM: And dry out, yeah, and blend in with the surrounding area. That’s going to be the easiest, most cost-effective way to go. And you can pick up those ties at home centers and they’re really not very expensive, because they’re designed to be decorative and sit in the ground. They’re not – it’s not the same kind of pressure-treated lumber you might use if you’re building a retaining wall or something of that nature. It’s basically just designed to be a border surround for a garden or a pool or something like that.

    JEFF: OK. When I put it down, am I going to have to – say, if I’ve got two or three stacked up, am I going to have to drill through them and spike something into the ground?

    TOM: Good question. Now, if you’re going to have two or three of them stacked up, you’re going to – what you’re going to want to do is obviously alternate the joints so that you have one long one go across two smaller ones, you know what I mean?

    JEFF: Yeah.

    TOM: And then once it’s all done, you can predrill and put in some long – they have 12-inch spikes that you drill through those. So you get a long drill bit, predrill it and then put a couple of spikes and that will hold it all together nice and neat. But you will also find that the weight of them – the sheer weight and the strength of them – is pretty sturdy by itself. But if you want to really tack it together, you can do that with long spikes. Or you could toe-nail it on an angle with Number-12 common nails towards the base, just to kind of keep everything in place.

    JEFF: OK. So, if I just nail them together and then add the dirt up against them, they shouldn’t go anywhere?

    TOM: That’s right. They’re pretty sturdy.

    JEFF: OK. Well, that answers all my questions. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve waited months to get out there and get back on your deck and finally enjoy spring. But if your deck was a snow-catcher all winter, you might find a few holes or even some cracks when you finally get under that snow and step onto it.

    Well, even well-treated wood can become damaged from age. And you can actually fix those cracks pretty easily if they don’t go all the way through. If they do, that could pose a structural threat and that’s a different approach. But what you want to do is just first get a putty knife and scrape off any of those stray pieces of wood and then lightly sand the area. This way, you’re going to see exactly what you’re dealing with and you’ll be able to repair that spot.

    TOM: That’s right. And this way, you’re also going to cut away all that winter grime that has sort of piled up over those chilly months. Then you’re going to use that putty knife to apply a wood filler.

    Now, it’s very important to pick the right kind of filler. Some fillers are only designed to be used for interior projects and some are used for both interior and exterior projects. One that is made by one of our sponsors, Elmer’s, is called Filler Max.

    And I like it because it works for both outside projects and inside projects. And it also has wood fibers in it so that once it dries, you can sand and stain it. Now, many fillers don’t take a stain well, so adding the wood fibers to the filler makes a lot of sense because it helps the filler actually hold the stain color. Now, if you don’t want to stain it, you could also pick one of the Elmer’s colors that already matches the color of your deck.

    And the other thing about Filler Max is it also has ceramic microspheres in it. And that helps it actually stand up to the elements and be very, very strong. In fact, this is about three times stronger than anything that Elmer’s has ever created.

    So, what you do is inspect your deck, repair those cracks and save your feet. It’s an easy project: one that can be done in a very short amount of time, with just a little bit of the right materials and the right know-how.

    If you need more of that, you can visit and they’ve got a whole list of terrific wood-project ideas right there.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Gwen in Virginia on the line who needs some help protecting her kitchen wall. How can we help you?

    GWEN: I actually saw this product at a show: an invention – female inventors’ show that was being aired – was being taped in Chicago. And this lady, she had a product that you take it and it just sort of sticks to the wall. She had it in different colors, that it would blend in with your kitchen wall or if you wanted to have a stainless-steel look – but it was just a piece of material that went behind the trash can, that when you hit – when you would step on the flip tops, it would hit up against that area and would not damage the wall.

    And then when you decided that you want to either move your trash can to another area in the house or you were tired of that particular pattern, you could just peel it off. It didn’t mess up the paint but it protected the wall.

    LESLIE: So it was like a sticker.

    TOM: That’s interesting. I’ve got a couple of ideas for you on that.

    First of all, you don’t need an invention; you could simply put a small piece of clear Plexiglas on the wall using double-sided tape. Or the second thing you could do, which is even easier, is you could add a bumper to the top of the garbage can so that when it comes up, it doesn’t scuff the wall. You could use a felt-tip bumper on it.

    LESLIE: Or even if you go to childproofing – in the childproofing section of any baby store, you’ll find that rubber edging that you can put on coffee tables and things. And you could put a piece like that right on the edge of the garbage can.

    GWEN: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Billy in Texas is on the line with some deck-building questions. What can we do for you today?

    BILLY: My question is what wood should I build it out of to last longer: redwood, the treated timber or – I don’t know. I’ve had buddies tell me I needed to go with the Louisiana wood that they …

    TOM: Yeah. I mean your options are treated wood, a decay- or disease-resistant wood like redwood or cedar or a composite. You wouldn’t use untreated wood because it would rot quickly.

    But here’s the thing: if you like real natural-looking wood, then there’s no reason not to use treated wood. If you want to step it up a little bit, you could use redwood or cedar; it’s going to be an expensive upgrade. But no matter what kind of wood you use, you will have to treat it. Because even if you use redwood or cedar, if you don’t put a seal or a stain on there, it’s going to fade because of the sun and it’s going to splinter and break down and crack. So if you’re going to go with wood, you’re going to have to use a solid-color stain on there to make sure it’s preserved.

    Now, the other option – what you didn’t mention – is composite. And if you go with composite decking, then there’s really almost no maintenance that you have to do to it. Sometimes it gets a little dirty and has to be scrubbed but it doesn’t crack, it doesn’t check, it doesn’t twist. It’s always comfortable under bare feet. It’s going to be a little more expensive but when you add up the cost of the wood and the maintenance and the stain and all of that, maybe …

    LESLIE: And the physical cost of actually doing the maintenance.

    TOM: That’s right. Maybe not so much.

    So, those would be the pros and cons of going with wood versus composite. But if you want something that’s not going to have a lot of maintenance headaches and it’s going to last a long time, I would definitely go with composite.

    Billy, 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, modular housing doesn’t just save you money during construction, it can actually save you a mint on your energy bills. Kevin O’Connor, host of both This Old House and This New House will join us with tips about the advances in prefabricated green houses, after this.

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    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 we are kicking off an eight-week campaign here at The Money Pit, aimed at helping you save money while helping the environment. It’s our Green Home Series and it’s brought to you in part by Lutron. Lutron makes state-of-the-art light controls that add beauty and drama to any home, while saving energy. In fact, if every home in the U.S. replaced two standard light switches with a Lutron dimmer, there would be a $1.5 billion savings on electricity. So why not get your part of that? Start today, replace a couple of those standard light switches with a Lutron dimmer.

    For more green home money-saving ideas just like that, why not go to and check out our green home product guide?

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jackie in Colorado on the line with a wood-paneling question. How can we help you today?

    JACKIE: Well, I’ve got this old, medium-colored wood paneling, which is really light, that was put over concrete walls. It’s one that’s got the black stripe in it.

    TOM: OK.

    JACKIE: I just want to know how the best way to clean it. Years ago, I used Murphen (ph) Oil.

    TOM: You mean Murphy’s Oil?

    JACKIE: Uh-huh.

    TOM: Yeah, Murphy’s Oil Soap is the best way to clean wood. Have you used that again?

    JACKIE: Well, I just used maybe a tablespoon with a bucket of warm water. Would that be OK?

    TOM: Yeah, I think you can actually use a little more than that. Follow the label directions. But when you’re trying to clean old wood paneling like that, Murphy’s Oil Soap is really the best way to go, because it’s not going to dry out the wood and damage it. It’s very, very gentle. Just follow the instructions but I think that’s the best product to use for that situation.

    JACKIE: OK. I really enjoy your program. It’s just very enlightening for me and I’m not – you know, if I need to find something else, I’ll just call you guys.

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

    LESLIE: Well, when you think of a home being built, most of us picture the sights and sounds of carpenters, roofers and other tradesmen building a home on a lot from the bottom up. But there’s another way to build a house and it happens usually far away from the site of the actual building itself.

    TOM: That’s right. Modular or factory-built homes are becoming more and more popular these days and for some very good reasons. With us to talk about that is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Great to be here, guys.

    TOM: Now, it seems that building a roof under the protected roof of a factory can make the entire homebuilding process a lot more efficient, right?

    KEVIN: Yeah, I really think it can. And sometimes we call them modular homes. I often call them prefabricated homes. But whatever we call them, there are some efficiencies that you can get from building them in controlled environments.

    Think about this, right? I’ve heard studies that say that a typical home has over 40,000 individual parts, right? And the traditional way of doing this is by shipping all these individual parts to an exposed job site and they sit there for maybe six months, out exposed to the weather, in the mud. It’s just the opposite when you do it with modular housing, because you’re building it in a factory.

    So, you’ve got a controlled environment. These materials are never exposed to the weather and neither are the workers. And that can lead to some significant efficiencies.

    TOM: No rain days there.

    KEVIN: No rain days there at all.

    LESLIE: And I imagine you probably waste far less materials because you have access to so many and then they can be repurposed for the next project.

    KEVIN: Well, a good builder who does it the traditional way – a stick-built home on the job site – they can be very efficient. But generally speaking, I think you’re right, Leslie. I think when it’s in a factory and the materials are right there and it is very well-controlled, you’re going to have less waste because you’re building many homes in one location. So anything that’s left over from one project goes immediately to the next. It’s not like you’re building in one town and then two towns over, which is the case when you do site-building.

    TOM: And that makes it a very green process, as well, because you’re really not leaving anything to go back into the environment.

    KEVIN: Less materials, less resources is always better for the environment. And it can actually save you some money, too.

    TOM: And the quality control has got to be a lot better. Let’s face it: you’re out on a job site, you’re working in very cold weather, for example. You’re measuring out lumber plus or minus a ¼- or a ½-inch. Sometimes that doesn’t mean much in that environment. In a manufacturing sense, though, you’re in a factory – all that stuff could be precut and perfectly accurate. One board is just the same exact length as the next, if that’s what it needs to be.

    KEVIN: Yeah. I mean I don’t want to suggest that you can’t get a quality-built home if it’s built on the site, built by traditional methods. But I will say it is a lot easier to do it when you have a controlled environment and all of your workers are dry and all the materials are dry.

    LESLIE: And how does that affect construction time? Is it quicker if you go with a modular home or depending on the job of your contractor himself, does that sort of really impact how long it actually takes to build a home on site?

    KEVIN: I think it depends but I think the general rule is it’s faster when it’s done in a factory. But here’s the thing: it’s not so much about the total length of time; it’s really the amount of time that you’re on the job site. Because you can actually order up one of these modular homes long before you actually start prepping the site. And so you can coordinate those two that once the house is primarily built in the factory, you can actually deliver it and assemble it on-site very quickly.

    TOM: Now, besides being efficient – from a green sense, in terms of not having any waste – these homes have to be more energy-efficient.

    KEVIN: Well a lot of energy efficiency comes from how tight we can make our homes. Now, we were working with a prefabricated builder not that many years ago, on This Old House. And he was building the wall panels in the shop and he was actually installing a gasket around the entire wall panel. So that when it was brought to the job site and lowered down by crane, these wall panels are actually coming together with an airtight seal, both to themselves and also between where the wall panel hit the deck. That makes for a super-tight house. And that kind of quality control can mean a more efficient house to operate.

    TOM: So, is modular housing something that can be ordered for just a single house or is this something that you’re seeing more and more developers take on?

    KEVIN: Well, actually, I think we see more of it with developers, with these large-scale projects where they do it. I think it’s now the individual, one-off, site-built homes for the residential market where it’s not as common. But as these efficiencies improve, as these techniques improve, I think more and more people are going to be ordering some level of a modular or prefabricated home.

    TOM: And just because it’s prefab doesn’t mean that you have any shortage of design possibilities, though. I think that’s important to point out.

    KEVIN: No, not at all. There are hundreds, literally thousands of different models out there that you can choose from. And you can also design your own and have it just prefabricated in a factory before it gets to the job site.

    TOM: Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: Thank you for having me, guys.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and step-by-step videos on many projects, visit

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

    Up next, if your wood floor is buckling or cupping, it’s probably not the wood that’s the problem. You’ve got to think lower, as in your basement or crawlspace. We’re going to talk about why moisture under your floor can ruin it and how to fix it, with a tip presented by Santa Fe, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. If you want to change a look of a room, install a Lutron C?L Dimmer. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We can help you with a painting project. And this is a great time of year to tackle a painting project, freshen up the look of your home. I mean it really is the least expensive way that you can totally and possibly dramatically, depending on your color choice, change the look of that room.

    And in fact, one lucky caller this hour is going to receive a prize pack from FrogTape worth 50 bucks. Now, FrogTape, it’s the only tape that’s treated with a trademarked PaintBlock Technology that actually allows you to create these super-sharp edges and really patterns. Whatever you’ve got in your mind, you can do so with the FrogTape and you will get zero bleed-through. I promise, no bleed-through.

    So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Barbara in Florida is on the line and has a pool-cleaning question. Well, really, the screen. How can we help you, Barbara?

    BARBARA: Yeah. I’m here in Northwest Florida and I have a very large screen enclosure that’s just covered with green mold on it. So I’m looking for something. I’ve tried just a pressure washer and it’s not taking it off, so I need something – some ideas of cleaning it that’s also environment-friendly, because I do have plants around the screen enclosure.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And probably because of the height, you want to do it once and not have to do it again for a long time, right?

    BARBARA: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: You know, Barbara, Tom and I have worked with a product called Wet & Forget. It’s actually perfect for your type of environment, because you have high mold growth because of the humidity in Florida.

    And what it is, it’s a product that you put on and I bet in your application – Tom, it’d probably – best for her to roll it on or can she spray it on?

    TOM: Well, she’d probably spray it on with a garden sprayer.

    But you apply it and basically, that’s it. Mother Nature, wind and rain do the rest.

    LESLIE: And it’s not going to make it go away that moment you put it on but give it a week’s time and that mold and mildew is gone.

    BARBARA: OK. And you think with spraying it on the screen it would still – the screen would catch some of the product?

    TOM: Yes, absolutely. It’s designed for any exterior surface so, certainly, screening is fine.

    LESLIE: And it won’t damage the pool or any surrounding plants.

    TOM: Or the plants.

    BARBARA: OK. Well, that sounds like a perfect solution then.

    TOM: Take a look at their website. It’s

    LESLIE: And the results will last for a long time.

    BARBARA: Well, that’s great to know. Yeah, it’s something I don’t want to have to do. Well, I don’t mind doing it once a year but that would be the max on it.

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

    Well, if you’ve been thinking about installing wood floors, it’s a good idea because solid-wood floors are an investment that adds beauty and it definitely adds some value to your house. But what happens when that investment starts to buckle and cup just after you lay it down? That’s not a good thing and that could happen if the humidity is too high in your basement.

    With wet air that seeps up, it’s not just the wood floor that’s at stake but also your floor joists, the beams, the subflooring, insulation. Pretty much all of your building components can get damp if the humidity is not right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Fixing it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can place a dehumidifier in your basement or your crawlspace and that can cut down on all of those problems. Plus, it can help stop mold.

    Now, Santa Fe makes powerful, energy-efficient models that can remove 105 pints of water from the air a day in a 2,500-square-foot space. Now, you can put a Santa Fe dehumidifier directly in your basement or your crawlspace and immediately, you will notice a difference.

    TOM: To learn more, you can visit That’s

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leroy on the line who’s got a painting question. How can we help you today?

    LEROY: Yes, I had some water damage on my ceiling. It has left a stain on the ceiling in the bedroom. I was wondering, what can I do to repair that? I paint over it and it still comes through.

    TOM: Yeah, if you don’t prime it first, Leroy, it will come through. So the key is that you have to prime the stain spots, because the chemical reaction that occurs in the stained area absolutely has a way of pulling right through the topcoat of paint. So if you prime it and then paint over it, you’ll be OK.

    Now, I will say this: if you spot-prime it and then flat-paint over it, you may see a slightly different sheen, even though it’s a flat sheen, because the absorption rate is going to be different on the primed versus the non-primed spot. If you really want to do it right, you would prime the entire ceiling and then repaint the entire ceiling and then it would be completely invisible. But if you don’t prime it, you will see the stains pull through.

    LEROY: Great. Hey, thank you.

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

    You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, when you install a new floor in the kitchen, what goes in first: the floor or the cabinets? You’ve got to get the order right or you’re going to have a big problem later on. We’ll tell you what that is, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Santa Fe, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient basement and crawlspace dehumidifier. Santa Fe offers a complete line of high-capacity, Energy Star-rated dehumidifiers, specifically designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of crawlspaces and basements. Visit to learn more.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Now that we are entering April, I’m super-excited because Tom has got a pretty big event.

    You’ve got something going on on April 12th, right, Tom?

    TOM: That’s right. I’m working with the AARP and I’m going to be doing a webinar with free tips on how to stay safe and comfortable in your house for 100 bucks or less. So you can get your questions answered, you can hear which home improvements help you get the most bang for your buck. And we’ve partnered with AARP because they are a source of terrific information, just like we deliver here on the show.

    If you’d like to find out and register for the webinar, you can visit That’s

    LESLIE: That’s really exciting, Tom. I know you are going to rock it and knock it out of the park and really do a great job and share a lot of good information.

    Now, if you’re thinking, “I’ve got a project I’ve got to work on out there,” but you just don’t know exactly what to do, go to the Community section of Post a question there and we will answer them.

    And I’ve got one here from Jolyn from Nebraska and she posted: “We are installing new kitchen cabinets and porcelain-tile flooring. Which goes on first: the floor or the cabinets? I’m concerned about changing out the tile if it’s underneath the cabinets.”

    TOM: Well, that’s a good question. And assuming you’re putting in all new cabinets, what you want to do is put the floor down first and then you can use spacers to bring the cabinets up to kind of where they’re supposed to be. You don’t have to waste a lot of tile by physically tiling under the entire cabinet. Some people just like to do it because that’s just the way they want it to be done but you don’t have to. You do, however, have to tile in under the dishwasher, you have to tile in where the refrigerator goes. And the rest of the area, you can use spacers to hold the cabinets up.

    You do not want to put the cabinets down first, however, and tile up to them. Because what’s going to happen? Well, one thing that could happen is you could end up tiling in your dishwasher, because eventually it’s going to break and have to be replaced. And that’s a major hassle if you can’t get it out again. And of course, you can never afford to tile in your refrigerator, so that’s why you put the cabinets down second to the tiling. Get the tiling done first, set the cabinets on top of it and this way, you will be good to go.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got one from Peter who’s sticking in the kitchen-flooring section. He says, “I want to install laminate flooring in my kitchen. There’s vinyl tile there now. Do I need to rip it up first?”

    TOM: No. Actually, you don’t need to rip it up first. As long as the floor is flat and in good structural condition, you can lay the laminate right on top of that. Most laminates today lock together; they don’t have to be glued together anymore. There is an underlayment that goes down first that’s very, very thin, like a very thin foam pad. But Peter, you can put the padding down, put the flooring on top of that.

    But again, you’re going to have the same situation with kitchen cabinets. You want to make sure that you don’t go too high that you lock in that dishwasher. So it may be a good idea to pull the dishwasher out and floor all the way to the back of that and then put it back in again.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. Now we’ve got one from Stacy who posted: “A friend scraped her high heel on my bamboo floor and it left a huge scratch. Do I have to redo the whole floor or can I just spot-repair?”

    Can you use those waxy fillers on bamboo?

    TOM: No, because it’s going to be really super-soft. But what you could do is lightly sand it out and then you could get an oil-based polyurethane and a small paint brush, like the kind a kid might use for an art project, and actually fill in the scratch with the urethane very, very carefully. A couple of thin coats is better than a really thick one and you will kind of be able to blend that back in. It’s the scratch itself that you’re seeing. If you blend it in with an oil-based urethane and then buff it, it’ll probably all go away.

    LESLIE: Alright. Great tip. You know, flooring, it’s the number-one topic of questioning we get here at The Money Pit and they do take a ton of beating and abuse, your floor. So if you’ve got questions, post them today and we’ll get right to them on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Hope you enjoy this holiday weekend. Maybe you can use it to just relax or if you’re going to tackle a project, we are here to help you 24-7, if you help yourself first by picking up the phone at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, we will call you back the next time we are. And you can also visit us online at

    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 2012 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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