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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And it’s a great day to pick up the tools, get outside and get to work. Or maybe it’s raining in your neck of the woods and you want to tackle an inside home improvement project. Outside, inside, anywhere in between, soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles, we are here to do one thing and one thing only and that is to help you get it done. But you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up this hour, spring is a time for renewal and for decluttering your money pit and your life at the same time. You know, sometimes you think that you’ve got nowhere else to put things but there are hidden spaces – the nooks and the crannies of the structure of your home – that could, with a little bit of work, reveal extra storage space. We’re going to tell you where to look for those, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, this is the perfect time of year to be getting your flower beds ready for spring blooms. We’re going to tell you what you need to do now to help those little buds grow in just a few, short weeks.

    TOM: And as our focus turns to the outside after being stuck inside all winter long, it’s time to take stock of your home’s curb appeal. What can you do to take it up a notch or two? It’s a pretty simple project and we’ll tell you all about that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And in honor of Earth Day this month, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs. We are giving away a Simple Flush Dual-Flush upgrade that you can add to your toilet at home, that’s going to save you water because you can choose between a full or a half-flush, so you can dial up the flush that you need, in a nice way to say it.

    TOM: Do they label those Number One or Number Two?

    LESLIE: I’m not talking about it. I’m not even going to go there.

    TOM: It’s a prize worth 150 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, so let’s get to work. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Vince in California is looking to spend his leisure time playing shuffleboard and wants to build one himself. How can we help?

    VINCE: I’m a homeowner with average skills. And I’m looking to build a shuffleboard court, which means it’s got to be 70 feet long and 5 feet wide.

    TOM: Wow.

    VINCE: Obviously with a very smooth surface.

    TOM: Right.

    VINCE: The soil is slightly on the acidic side and it’s well-drained. Other than that, I don’t know what to …

    TOM: Well, I mean don’t you want to create a slab for this shuffleboard surface? So wouldn’t it essentially be a concrete slab? And by the way, you said it’s 70 feet?

    VINCE: Yes.

    TOM: I thought it was 39. Is that incorrect?

    LESLIE: Well, 39 is the playing area. I think 60 feet is the whole surround and the cheering sections.

    TOM: Oh, with the warm-up area. Yeah. Yeah.

    What I would do is – pouring a concrete slab is not an easy do-it-yourself project; it’s something that should be done by a pro. So what I would do is kind of split this into two tasks: the stuff that you have to hire out and the stuff you can do yourself. Getting the ground ready, getting the forms built so that it’s absolutely, perfectly level and properly reinforced is really the job of a pro and you’re going to have a reinforced concrete slab because it will crack. So the ground is going to have to be well-tamped, the concrete is going to have to be poured with a woven wire mesh inside of it. It’s going to have to be the right type of concrete and that’s all stuff you should leave up to a pro to do and they can certainly make it very, very smooth.

    Now, once the slab is poured and then the forms are removed, then you can set about framing it in to contain the pucks. You can also – there are shuffleboard templates available that can help you do all the painting to get it to align properly and have all the scoring right and all of that sort of thing. But I don’t think pouring the slab yourself is a real good idea, because it’s very difficult to pour a slab to begin with and to get one 70 feet long and straight, not a job for a first-timer.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Well and you know what? Also, Vince, if you’re looking for something that perhaps can sit on top of your well-drained yard without major construction, there’s a website called Shuffleboard.com – it’s as simple as that – or PlanetShuffleboard.com; they both take you to the same place. And it’s basically a set that you just sort of lay out. It’s kind of pricey – it’s in the $1,000 range – but when you get to all the details of it, it might end up being the same thing by the time you have concrete poured and paint and everything.

    VINCE: Right. Right, OK. What kind of paint would you recommend over the top?

    TOM: An epoxy paint. It’s going to give you the best adhesion. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you want it to really adhere.

    VINCE: OK, excellent. Well, you guys have been a wealth of information. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright, Vince. Good luck with that project.

    LESLIE: Yeah, have fun.

    TOM: What a fun project, building a shuffleboard court.

    VINCE: You bet.

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

    Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Alicia in Rhode Island has some pipes that are sweating. Tell us about the pipes: when do you see the sweating on it, how often it’s happening.

    ALICIA: Well, actually, I’m not calling about the pipes; I’m calling about the outside water leaking into my house.

    TOM: Oh, OK.


    TOM: Where is the water leaking from? Where’s the leak?

    ALICIA: It’s actually – we noticed it in the garage when we recently had a lot of rain in Rhode Island.

    TOM: Yep.

    ALICIA: And we just bought this house. It was a foreclosure. And we spoke to neighbors. They said that the people that had owned it before had said that they were complaining of water in the first floor. It’s a walk-in – there’s no basement – and the walk-in on the first floor is the same level as the garage. And we noticed about a good inch, inch-and-a-half of water in the garage after this last rainstorm that we had.

    TOM: So do you think that the water is running down a driveway or where do you think the water is sourcing?

    ALICIA: Well, my husband said, when he was using the wet vac to clean it, he could actually see the water coming in from the foundation on the outside wall in the garage.

    TOM: OK. And opposite that wall, are there any drainage issues? Do you have downspouts? Do you have gutters? Is the neighbor’s lot …?

    ALICIA: We do have gutters along the garage; I’m looking at them right now. On the top of the garage there are gutters and downspouts on – I know there’s one on one side that I’m actually looking at right now. I’m not too sure about around the corner from that.

    TOM: OK, well, look. If you get drainage that’s coming through a wall or up under the floor, it almost always is caused by drainage conditions on the outside foundation perimeter. So, you want to make sure that the gutters are clean and free-flowing and the downspouts are well extended out away from the house; even run them out underground so that the water is discharging far away from that foundation.

    The second thing is you want to make sure that the soil slopes away from the wall. It’s really critical that the soil slopes away so that any rainfall runs away from those particular walls and doesn’t collect in the backfill zone, which is the dirt right around the foundation there. Because if you collect a lot of water in there, it can pull up through the walls because concrete block is very hydroscopic, it’s very absorbent and it’ll pull up and actually trickle out into the floor. So you need to do a little bit of investigation as to where the water is collecting around the outside, because that’s undoubtedly how this is getting into that space.

    ALICIA: OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement, design, décor. Whatever kind of home improvement question you’ve got, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are you ready to get your spring garden growing? Well, we’ve got tips for those flower beds that will have them blooming perfectly in just a few weeks.

    (theme song)

    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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Simple Flush Dual-Flush System. It makes for simple flushing, because you can choose between a half-a-flush and a full flush, which is going to cut your toilet’s water use by up to 50 percent. It’s a prize worth about $150. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call for your chance to win, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, it might still kind of feel a little bit cool in your neck of the woods, wherever you are in the country, but it is officially spring. I swear to you the calendar says it, so I’m embracing the spring season. And it is the perfect time of year to get out into your garden and get your yard ready.

    Now, if you’ve placed mulch on your flower beds to help protect those garden beds from Old Man Winter, it’s the perfect time to get out there. You need to actually remove that stuff; you can’t just sort of dig around in it and replant and hope that your garden’s going to be fantastic. You want to get …

    TOM: Yeah and that’s a good point. You really have to strip that away, don’t you? Because it tends to build up over the years.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Not only does it build up but as it sort of decomposes, it kind of sits on top of itself and then you could get rot and there’s leaves and things in there. So you really want to start removing a lot of that old mulch. And it’s also going to help the sun’s warmth reach that soil, which is what you really need to get everything growing underneath there.

    If you live in warmer parts of the country, where the mulch continually provides moisture, you just want to start to refresh the upper layers; kind of turn them over and just freshen things up. And that’s going to keep your flower beds thriving.

    You also want to be sure to trim back any of your winter shrubs and any of that plant growth, so that you can actually prepare and make room for that burst that’s really about to happen. I mean give it a couple of days; you’re going to see things happening out there.

    And if you just sit back, give it some time, take care of those beds, suddenly everything is going to be beautiful and I promise you, your garden will grow.

    TOM: And if you’ve got a home improvement project that you’d like to grow or just get done, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    You know, home improvement projects are a lot like gardens because once you get started, they just kind of take over the whole space. They have this sort of this viral quality to them?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But it’s all in a good way.

    TOM: But it’s a good kind of virus, that’s right; the home improvement virus. So pick up the phone. We’ll help you with your project and the one that will follow and the one that will follow that. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Bobby. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    BOBBY: My wife had got ready to take me a suit out the closet. It was soaking wet and we couldn’t understand it. We didn’t have no leaks or nothing in the closet or nothing and I don’t know where it’s coming from.

    LESLIE: Now, you’re saying that the clothes are wet. Where are you seeing this mold? Is it on the floor? Is it on the walls? Is it physically on the clothing?

    BOBBY: It’s around the walls. After I took all the clothes out, I seen it around the walls.

    LESLIE: And is this closet on an exterior wall in your home?

    BOBBY: Yeah.

    LESLIE: So it’s probably – what’s happening here is that you’re getting such a difference in temperature from that exterior wall of your closet, that the closet on that side is cold. And then on the inside, where the room is, is warm from being heated. So now you’re getting this sort of moisture situation because you’ve got the hot and cold mixing and you’re getting condensation.

    I think what you’re going to need to do, Bobby, is take all the clothes out, clean everything, make sure you get whatever is wet – have it laundered or dry-cleaned; whatever it needs to be – then look at the walls in there. Scrub everything down where you see that mold growing, with a bleach-and-water solution. If you’ve got carpeting in there, take it out; put down some sort of laminate floor or something in there – vinyl floor – just to get that carpet out of there.

    And then what I would do is either undercut that closet door or add a vent into the door or get a louvered door – something – because you need to circulate air through that closet, because that is what’s causing the mold to grow is the condensation and the lack of air flow.

    BOBBY: Uh-huh.

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

    LESLIE: Vicky in Washington has a septic-system question. What can we do for you?

    VICKY: Well, we have a – we’re on a well and septic system.

    TOM: OK.

    VICKY: We live in the country, of course. And we bought a new garbage disposal that is certified for septic.

    TOM: OK. Mm-hmm.

    VICKY: And it seems like when we run it, it tends to want to have our drain run a little slow afterwards. And I wondered, since everyone else is asking the same question around here – how does yours work – we don’t quite know what to say and we don’t know …

    TOM: Well, when you say the drain runs a little bit slower, do you mean the kitchen-sink drain or are you …?

    VICKY: Yes.

    TOM: Oh. Well, the water does have to run through the machine now whereas before, it went right to the trap and out. So, you should expect it to run a little bit slower, because the water’s what actually pushes the food through. So that’s not that unusual. I don’t have any concerns about using that with a septic system. I don’t think it’ll impact the function of the system whatsoever.

    VICKY: OK. And it doesn’t tend to mess up your drain field?

    TOM: I don’t think so.

    VICKY: OK.

    TOM: No. Nope, I think you’re in good shape. You should enjoy it. That’s one of those handy household appliances that once you get one, you wonder how you ever got this far without having one.

    VICKY: Well, I’ve made it alright. I’ve gotten used to not using it too much but I would die without my hot-water dispenser.

    TOM: Well, you have our permission to use it as much as you like.

    VICKY: Oh, thank you so much.

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

    Slaying home improvement myths, one item at a time.

    LESLIE: Greg in South Carolina needs some help with a wood-floor project. What can we do for you?

    GREG: Yeah. I had manufactured my wood flooring for a log cabin and …

    TOM: You manufactured it? You mean you made your own?

    GREG: Well, yeah. I cut – what I fit – I found some beams from an old tobacco barn and I sort of remanufactured those and cut them into slabs and had them made into flooring.

    TOM: Oh, that’s cool.

    LESLIE: Wow. That’s beautiful.

    TOM: Fantastic. What a nice way to recycle some building material there.

    GREG: Right, right. It looks really good but apparently, I didn’t let them dry long enough.

    TOM: OK.

    GREG: And after we got them in, they sort of developed some cracks in between several of the pieces of lumber, so we’re just trying to figure out how we can get those filled. I don’t think there’s an option of actually squeezing them back together. We just really need to fill them; fill the cracks.

    LESLIE: And how large of a crack are you talking about?

    GREG: Ah, I guess anywhere from not very visible but up to about a ¼ of an inch.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Alright. That’s not terrible. You don’t – absolutely do not use wood filler. Don’t use any sort of filling device that they tell you, “Oh, put it in. It’ll stay there.” Because as soon as it dries out, you will vacuum it right out; it will never last forever.

    Generally, a good trick of the trade is getting your hands on some corded twine, like a jute or something that’s in the natural material. Jute really works well of roping. And then what you can do is – and make sure it has many layers of the rope sort of twined together to make that one piece. This way, what you can do is unravel some of it to fit the thickness of that space between your boards.

    And if your floor is stained a darker color or a certain tone to it, you can actually take that jute and dip it in stain that matches your flooring, let it dry and then take a paint scraper and you can just shove it into that gap between those planks. And that gives it a nice, natural transition between the two spaces. And since it’s only up to a ¼-inch, I mean you’re really not going to see it; it’s just going to blend.

    GREG: OK. So would you – do you re-urethane it after that?

    TOM: Yes. Yes, you absolutely can re-urethane it on top of that. And because the gap is sort of filled in now, what you’ll find is that the gap will not – no longer be as noticeable because the urethane will flow right over that dark jute rope.

    GREG: OK. Alright. Well, it sounds good. I appreciate it, guys.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Tim in Texas is dealing with a leaky house. Tell us about the problem.

    TIM: Well, I’ve got a 13-year-old or 14-year-old home that’s on a slab and the copper pipe underneath the slab develops pinholes in it and they have to bust out the concrete to patch the holes. And I was wondering if there’s something that they’re overlooking.

    TOM: Well, pinholes form in copper pipes when the water is somewhat acidic. Now, this is a – these are heating pipes in the slab?

    TIM: No, it’s the water pipes, you know; runs up to a sink or to a washing machine.

    TOM: Right. Have you installed any type of water treatment to try to lower the acidity of the water in your house?

    TIM: Well, there’s a water-softening system that’s underground out in the valley.

    TOM: OK. Tim, there’s a good article on our website at MoneyPit.com; it’s got a lot of information on this problem. It’s called “Repairing Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes.” You can find it if you simply go to MoneyPit.com and search on “repairing pinhole leaks in copper pipes.” You will find it instantly. And it gives you a lot of detail on the different types of pitting – there’s actually three different types: type I, type II and type III – and a link to a complete study that was done on this, called the ToolBase Case Study on Pinhole Links – Leaks.

    And finally, if you get to a point where you’ve torn anything open and you’re at a place where you can replace a pipe, what we would recommend you do is always use PEX. It stands for cross-linked polyethylene and it’s a type of polyethylene piping that obviously will not develop any type of further leaking issues. So if you do end up tearing things open, that’s what you want to fix it with, OK?

    TIM: Well, I’ll take a look at it and see what I can do.

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

    You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, does your boring, front entry need a makeover? Well, you can upgrade the curb appeal at your house and increase your energy-efficiency with a brand new fiberglass door that looks just like wood. We’ll tell you how to do that project, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. Want hardwood floors but are on a budget? The affordable and feature-filled Skil Flooring Saw is just what you need for your installation project.

    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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now, because one caller we talk to on the air this hour could win the Simple Flush Dual-Flush System. Simple Flush is pretty cool. It allows you to choose between a half-a-flush and a full flush and it can cut your toilet’s water use by up to 50 percent and it’s very easy to install. No plumber required; you can do it yourself.

    It’s a prize worth about $150. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Julie in Pennsylvania who is dealing with some drywall cracks. How can we help you?

    JULIE: Well, actually, it’s in my living room ceiling and it goes the whole length of my ceiling. And it – unfortunately, it seems like it’s right under where the dormers are upstairs in the upstairs bedroom. We live in a Cape Cod.

    TOM: Hey, Julie, how old is your house?

    JULIE: Probably it was built in the 40s.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s what I thought. I think what you have is plaster lath, so the way your house would have constructed is on top of the framing would have been something that looks like what we call drywall today. But then on top of that was a plaster coating. So it was sort of used in between wood lath and straight sheetrock, which is what we have today.

    And the good thing about plaster-lath ceiling construction or wall construction is it’s really dense stuff. When you knock on it with your finger, you can feel that it’s a really hard wall. But it’s not very flexible, so you do get cracks. They’re going to be along seams and it’s not unusual for it to go from end to end. If it really bothers you, you can repatch that with a drywall tape. We would recommend a perforated tape for that.

    JULIE: OK. So I would just put that the whole length of that and then I put the spackling over that?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you want to – when you put the spackle over it, you want to start pretty narrow – the width of that fiberglass tape – and put a nice coat on it, just so it covers over the edges. Let it dry, sand it down but then you want to put another coat over it. Go wider than you did before, let it dry, sand it down. You want to get it to about three coats and get wider and wider and wider, sanding in between each so that it gets nice and smooth and covers everything up.

    TOM: When you think about all the work, the crack doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

    JULIE: Not really, no. But you know what? I’ve been trying to tackle this year after year and it just drives me crazy and I …

    TOM: Yeah. Because it closes and opens and closes and opens with the seasons, right?

    JULIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah.

    JULIE: Yes.

    TOM: Well, a house is always moving, Julie, and that’s what’s going on and it’s perfectly natural. If you want to fix it, that’s what you need to do.

    JULIE: OK. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Marie in Georgia needs some help with a cleaning project. What can we do for you?

    MARIE: We bought a house that was built in the early 70s. The grout between the patio tiles is very dirty and also mildew-stained. And the brick around the bottom of the house is clay-stained and also very dirty. We have tried several products and even a pressure-washer on a patio and we haven’t had much results. And we were wondering if you had anything to recommend.

    LESLIE: Have you tried a store-bought grout stripper? It’s like a chemically product that you would get that would really strip off some of that top layer of the grout, which would probably get rid of a majority of that dirt.

    MARIE: Oh, no, we haven’t. We just bought the general household cleaners; lots of bleach and scrubbing and pressure-washing. That’s all we did so far.

    TOM: Yeah, I think that if you used a grout stripper, that would be – do a much better job of removing the dirt and the mildew. Make sure that when you apply it, you let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes to go to work. Then scrub over that with a good, stiff brush and I think you’ll find it’s going to come out a lot brighter this time.

    MARIE: OK. And should I do the same thing on the brick? The brick is clay-stained around the bottom of the house, because there wasn’t anything to prevent the backsplash from the water.

    TOM: It may clean it but if it’s just brick that you want to clean, the other thing that you could use is trisodium phosphate – TSP – which will do a good job.

    MARIE: OK.

    LESLIE: Hmm. That should do a good job.

    TOM: That’s available in usually in the hardware store in the paint aisle or in the home center in the paint aisle. And that will do a pretty good job. You want to mix it up into a fairly thick consistency and again, put it on, let it sit. I am not sure that I would do both; I would do one or the other because I’m not sure how they would react to each other.

    MARIE: OK.

    TOM: OK?

    MARIE: Very good. Thank you very much. That was a big help.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, as warmer weather beckons you outside more and more, you might be realizing that the view of your home from the street really isn’t doing your house any justice at all. In fact, something as relatively inexpensive as changing your front door can make the biggest of differences out there. It really does just change what your home’s – what really your home is perceived as. It changes the whole look of the house completely. Even a simple coat of paint in an eye-popping color like red just says something special about your house and it really does make it stand out.

    You can even add a brass or maybe a pewter foot plate and a knocker. That just dresses up the door and then you’re well on your way to just creating that instant curb appeal for your house. If you really want to go a step further, why not think about replacing your whole front door and then you’re just taking the entire front entry of your house up a notch?

    TOM: And in fact, that’s a project that I’m getting ready to do right here at my money pit. In fact, Therma-Tru is one of the longtime partners of this show. And I’m actually buying one of their doors from their Fiber-Classic Oak Collection, which is pretty cool because – you know, you hear about high-definition television, high-definition radio and that sort of thing. This actually has a high-definition, oak wood grain right built in; it’s an embossment that looks exactly like real oak.

    In fact, when you look at this, you cannot tell and believe me, I’m an expert. I look at a lot of wood.

    LESLIE: You’re looking.

    TOM: You cannot tell that it’s not wood. It looks like a finished, oak wood door. And they’re very energy-efficient. The fiberglass doors are about four times the insulation value of a good-quality wood door. And on our door, we use one of their decorative glass options called Sedona, which is super-cool because they also have vented sidelights. So, you know the sidelights on the side of the door? These are actually hinged.

    LESLIE: Oh, you can actually open them?

    TOM: Yeah, they’re hinged so you can open them. And this way, if you want some ventilation, you don’t have to open the door. You can only have the sidelights open and you get plenty of air that streams through the house.

    LESLIE: That’s really great. It’s a great idea, because so many people are opting to not have a storm door or a screen door because you want to enjoy the beauty of the door. So that’s …

    TOM: Yeah, you don’t want to cover it up.

    LESLIE: I mean that’s really a fantastic idea. If you think that changing your front entry might spruce up your home and add to your curb appeal, just like it’s going to do for Tom – we all know it will – check out the many beautiful options that are available to you at Therma-Tru.

    Go to their website. It’s really user-friendly. You can see what different types of doors look like on different types of homes’ architecture. It’s really user-friendly. You’re going to enjoy it and you’ll have a lot of fun creating a custom door for your house. And their website’s ThermaTru.com.

    TOM: That’s ThermaTru.com.

    Still ahead, are you running out of room to reorganize? We’re going to have some tips on where you can find those little, hidden spaces that you can use to maximize the storage at your house, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide four times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One of you lucky callers that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Simple Flush Dual-Flush System. It’s really easy to install; you can do it in just a couple of minutes.

    And the Simple Flush allows you to choose between a half-a-flush and a full flush. You can understand why; I’m not going to go into it. You get to choose your usage and your flushing and it will cut our toilet’s water usage by up to 50 percent, so that’s really a lot of water savings that are going to add up over time.

    And the prize is worth 150 bucks, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, right about now, we’re all in the midst of our spring cleaning and reorganization projects. But what do you do if you are running out of storage space? Well, the solution could be the hidden space that you might not have thought of but it’s there if you think creatively.

    For example, the space around a staircase is the first place that you should check for storage. Whether the staircase is an open or closed-style, the space underneath can become a new home for cabinetry, for open shelving or even a built-in desk.

    Now, in our money pit, we happen to have a closet under a staircase. And I was able to remove that closet, because we didn’t need it, and create a little, home-office space under that stair.

    And then the very bottom part of the stair, Leslie, we made that in sort of a triangle-shaped storage cubby for office supplies.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s really smart.

    TOM: So that was a space that didn’t exist before, was easy to do – pretty much a weekend project – and now we have a new, whole-new sort of office space on the first floor of our house.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It really does help.

    Another good place to look, which is really just a top-secret spot for storage solutions, is actually right over your head. It’s in your attic. But you have to be careful, because you want to make sure that you’re not messing up your insulation and you want to make sure that you’ve got the right type of attic that’s going to work for you for storage.

    So if the structural style and the details will allow, an attic can actually be finished and then transformed into a valuable bonus space, which is going to really have a ton of buyer appeal. And building in great cabinetry or shelving will have those shoppers doing a double-take.

    Smart wall systems, hooks, even hangers can also make great, smart storage for tools and gear. And that’s really going to make use of any available storage space that you might have in your garage. So really, look around. Be your home-storage detective, if you will, as you’re looking for those secret spots.

    And if you want some maps to help you find those good areas, head on over to MoneyPit.com or even just Google “money pit hidden storage” and you’re going to get a ton of articles right there that will help you be the best home-storage detective you can be.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Corbin in Iowa is working on a tiling project. How can we help you?

    CORBIN: Yeah. I have an old, cinder-block shower and I’m remodeling my bathroom and it’s got paint – layers and layers and years of paint – and I tried sanding it off and it’s pretty much impossible. It smells terrible. I just was wondering if the mastic – a real good mastic – would be good enough?

    TOM: So it’s a cinder-block wall right now?

    CORBIN: Right. It’s a complete cinder-block shower.

    TOM: I see.

    CORBIN: And I’m just going to make it a tile shower.

    TOM: Alright. So you just want to kind of spruce it up a bit and you’re wondering what your options are to get the tile on that block. Have you got off as much of the glue – as much of the paint – as you possibly could?

    CORBIN: Well, I started with an angle grinder and I was kind of worried about what could be in one of these layers of paint.

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t blame you, because you could be breathing in lead paint.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    CORBIN: Right, right.

    TOM: But I mean the paint that’s on there is not loose? It’s really well-adhered to the block?

    CORBIN: Yeah. Very well.

    TOM: Then I think you could apply a tile mastic and go right on top of that.

    CORBIN: That’s what I was hoping, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, as long as it’s not peeling, because you can’t put the glue over the paint; otherwise, it’s all going to fall off. But if it’s on there really well, I don’t see why you couldn’t just mastic right over that.

    CORBIN: Right. Excellent, excellent. And I thought maybe I’d do maybe a little extra on the actual floor to make sure I get good adhesion down there.

    LESLIE: Now, there’s a new product – well, I don’t know how new it is but it’s different, certainly. There’s something called SnapStone. Have you heard of this? It’s a floating, porcelain tile floor and it’s basically a porcelain tile that’s on some sort of a plastic base.

    And then they all snap together, so you don’t use any adhesive but you use a specialized sort of flexible grout once you’ve got that in place. And they come in large sizes but they also come in, I think, 6×6 squares which could be kind of nice for a bathroom shower floor. It’s worth it; this way you don’t have to worry about adhesion there.

    TOM: That’s a good point.

    CORBIN: Yeah. Well, thanks a lot, guys.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Corbin. Good luck with that project. Let us know how it comes out, would you?

    CORBIN: Yeah, I will.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, warmer weather means getting those beloved pets of ours outside for longer periods of time. And while Fido might enjoy doing a bit of digging around your yard, your formerly lush lawn certainly won’t thrive with all of that constant scratching and digging. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips on how to get those dogs to stop digging up your lawn, next.

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    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. Well, we love to share home improvement information with all of you but maybe you weren’t quick enough to write something down or we weren’t talking about the project that you’re working on right at this moment. Fear not. All you need to do is head on over to MoneyPit.com.

    And while you’re on the website, you can search a year’s worth of transcripts from the radio show and get answers to all of those questions. You can get product reviews and you can listen to guest interviews. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com, where it’s all at your fingertips and it’s all totally free.

    TOM: George did just that. He’s posted this question from Chicago. George says, “We have had some really severe rain in my area. And in fact, last week, my basement flooded after the sump pump and the battery backup both failed. What can I do to stop the water from coming in and make sure this doesn’t happen again?”

    Well, unfortunately, George, that is an all-too common situation. There are a couple of things that you can do. First of all, there are steps that you can take to reduce the amount of water that gets anywhere near your basement, especially important right now. And that includes angling the soil around the house to slope away from the building and extending those downspouts.

    And in terms of having that sump pump on when you need it, it’s a real good reason to install a standby generator. Standby generators run on natural gas or propane. They do not require gasoline to operate and whenever that power goes off, they will come on within 10 seconds and repower your entire house.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for posting your question at MoneyPit.com. We look forward to hearing from more of you.

    TOM: Well, spring is a great time of year to get back outside, not only for you but also for your dog. But if your dog is into digging, this can really pose a problem for your landscaping. Leslie has got some ideas on exactly why those dogs are digging and how to stop them, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, some dogs dig just because it’s in their blood – either it’s their breed or their disposition – but they just can’t help themselves. And they want to get out there and dig those holes. But digging can also be evidence of anxiety or isolation or even your dog’s desire to escape. Or it might just be that something smells great to them in that particular spot.

    Dogs don’t know their hole-digging is a negative behavior, so they don’t know that they’re not supposed to do it and then they’re not going to stop. So, the folks at DogTrainingSpot.org, what they suggest – here we go. We’ve got several ways of clearly communicating to your dog that digging holes in the lawn is just unacceptable and has to be ended immediately.

    Now, one way is to place something that the dog doesn’t like, inside that hole. And then lure the dog away from the hole and drop the offending object in the hole when he’s not looking, so it’ll be there when he returns, like a particular object or a toy that might scare them. And then when they dig it up, they’ll be like, “Ah! I don’t want to dig there again or I’m not going to dig ever again, because who knows what’s hiding under there?”

    Now, if your dog is burying things like food or bones, you might want to dig up those items when he’s not looking, so they won’t be there the next time he digs. After a while, he’s going to get the point that digging provides no reward and then stop doing so.

    You can also reward positive behavior in your pet; give him a treat when the dog roams around the yard but doesn’t dig. Be like, “Hooray! You did it. There’s not a giant hole in the yard that I’m going to fall in again.”

    But the most important thing that you really have to remember is that you need to be consistent. Anything that you do over and over again is eventually going to sink in with your pet, so just take the time; be consistent.

    If you want some more information, check out our article on MoneyPit.com called “Dogs Digging Holes in Your Lawn? How to Stop Him.”

    TOM: And that’s online right now at MoneyPit.com.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, it’s probably happened to you once or twice. You’re standing in your shower enjoying the warm water when all of a sudden, yikes, it turns freezing cold or scalding hot. That is technically known as “shower shock” and it’s a problem that has a relatively simple solution. We’re going to tell you what to do, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    (Copyright 2011 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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