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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We are here to help you with your do-it-yourself projects, to solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas, the project that you know you need to do but maybe you’ve been putting off because you don’t know where to begin? Well, let us help. Begin by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Well, it is officially the fall season. Hooray!

    LESLIE: It’s my favorite.

    TOM: I love this time of year because it’s just perfect. You know, it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold; it’s why we call it the Goldilocks season. And it’s the time of year when you can cruise through those energy bills, because you are paying neither air conditioning nor heating bills, right?

    LESLIE: It’s true. It is true.

    TOM: You’re just kind of enjoying what Mother Nature has to give us right now. But that’s all going to change. Pretty soon, heating bills are going to kick in, so if you’ve got a question about energy efficiency, that would be a great topic to call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Another topic you might want to think about is all those minor fix-ups around the outside, so we can sort of button it all up on the exterior before the cold weather really hits us in just another month or two. And one project that might be on that list is to repair any torn screens that you may have. It’s not that hard of a job; it’s pretty easy. You need a couple of basic tools and we will tell you how to do that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I know that’s a project on my to-do list. Thank you, Hurricane Irene, for all of that lovely renovation you provided to my screened-in porch.

    TOM: Renovation opportunities, courtesy of Hurricane Irene.

    LESLIE: Alright, guys. Also ahead this hour, you’ve dealt with your cracking concrete patio all summer long but if you let it go into the winter – and those cracks are only going to fill up with water, freeze and then guess what? Get even more gigantor than they were before. So we’re going to share some advice to help you stop those cracks in their tracks and repair your concrete patio, your driveway, your sidewalk, whatever is cracking up, coming up in a bit.

    TOM: And with just a little while left to enjoy those outdoor spaces, pretty soon it will be time to head inside and cozy up to your fireplace. But if you fire it up without a good safety check first, well, that’s a risky move that you don’t want to make. So we’re going to tell you how to make sure that the only fire in your house actually happens inside that fireplace. We’ll give you the step-by-step on it to make sure it’s good to go, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: That’s right. That would be a good thing.

    And one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic all-natural air-freshening products. Now, I really do love this stuff because it’s absolutely safe to use around your kids and your pets. And it doesn’t have that harsh, perfume-y smell like the other products out there, so it really does a great job and smells fantastic.

    TOM: If you’d like to win $100 worth of the Citrus Magic, why don’t you give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT? Because one caller we talk to on the air this hour may have their name drawn out of The Money Pit hard hat and be presented with that Citrus Magic package. The number is 888-666-3974. Let’s get to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Justin in Missouri is calling in with a roofing question. What can we do for you today?

    JUSTIN: I have a porch roof – a metal porch roof. It’s probably definitely not more than a 3-12. And I – it’s abutted up to the existing house, right underneath the soffit. And I’m worried about having animals, insects and wind-driven debris, like acorns and leaves, blowing up underneath that gap between the corrugated metal roof and the soffit – the existing house soffit. So I was wondering if there’s a solution to fill that, if Tom’s seen that in his home-inspection days, or should I not be worried about it?

    LESLIE: Now, when you’re talking about this corrugated metal roof, is the gap that you’re seeing just where those ridges are on the metal roof itself? It’s not like a separate spacing.

    JUSTIN: Right, correct. It’s butted all the way up, just with the height of the …

    LESLIE: The peaks are, if you will.

    JUSTIN: Yeah, yeah, the peaks. There you go. And the valleys are where they’re – there’s the …

    TOM: It actually butts up underneath the soffits so the soffit covers the top of that part of the roof?

    JUSTIN: Correct.

    TOM: Hmm. A little bit of an unusual installation but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It’s kind of really hard to get a clean trim when you have corrugated roofing like that. You may have to get up there and do a cleaning occasionally or take a pressure washer and sort of blast out any debris that gets stuck in there. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it and I certainly don’t think I would do anything to change that right now.

    LESLIE: But what about – you know that lumber piece that you can buy that’s cut exactly to the same …?

    TOM: The trim?

    LESLIE: Exactly. The trim piece that goes with the corrugated roofing?

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: I mean can you not recess that in sort of an inch or so back from the edge?

    TOM: It depends on whether or not he’s got enough height to do that. There are trim pieces that are designed to go on top of corrugated-roof products and that’s what Leslie is suggesting.

    So you can take a look at the availability of those and if it looks like it’ll be a clean fit and seal the gaps, then fine. But if not, I don’t think – I don’t consider it an ongoing problem for water infiltration, because it is under the soffit.

    JUSTIN: I do see almost like a small highway of ants that come in and out of there, though. There’s a big oak tree and I wonder …

    TOM: Well, that’s – it’s not the roof that’s causing that problem. If you have an ant infestation, they can find that place very attractive just as well as a dozen others around your house. So you may want to address that with a pest-control technician. Because today, they can put down the right products in just the right amounts that insects will usually pick up and take back to their nest and that takes care of the whole situation.

    JUSTIN: OK. Well, thanks a lot.

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

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

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: I am getting ready to put log-cabin siding on the outside of my house and I’m trying to decipher whether I’m going to use pine or cedar.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: And I wanted to see what you guys thought about that and what the advantages and disadvantages were to both.

    LESLIE: Are there any differences in the process that they put or the sort of weatherproofing that they use on either of the lumber?


    TOM: Well, cedar is more naturally disease- and decay- and insect-resistant.

    LESLIE: Insects, as well.

    TOM: So cedar would definitely be the optimum choice. Is the cedar more expensive than the pine?

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: It’s double the cost.

    LESLIE: Of course.

    TOM: Yeah, yeah, of course.

    LESLIE: And the pine is just going to be …

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: That’s why I’m leaning towards the pine but …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: And I just wonder if I keep up on it and keep it stained, is that going to …?

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it’ll protect it, sure. Yeah, it’ll protect it. You know, there’s plenty of pine siding and Douglas-fir siding out there but what you’re going to want to do is use a solid-color stain. So, the proper way to do this would be to prime it – use an oil-based primer – and then on top of that, you would use a solid-color stain. And a properly applied primer-and-stain combination can last you 8 to 10 years in between coats.


    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Just double check, Leslie, with the folks that you’re getting the siding from. Find out what length of time do they recommend for that lumber to sort of season or sort of dry out from whatever weatherproofing solvent that they use on the lumber. Because if you don’t wait that proper amount of time, whatever you apply on it isn’t really going to stick very well. So just make sure you allow it whatever that timeframe is to sort of get ready to be prepped.

    LESLIE IN ILLINOIS: OK. Makes sense. Alright. Well, I appreciate you guys’ help and I appreciate the information.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Alright. Good luck with that project, Leslie. 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call, because it is officially autumn and we are here to help you tackle all of those pre-winter to-do projects. So give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, if you love your concrete patio but you hate the cracks that form in it, we’re going to give you an easy DIY solution to make it all go away, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by InSinkErator, instant hot or hot/cool-water dispensers. Delivering 200-degree hot or cool filtered water in an instant, at the touch of a lever right at the kitchen sink. Perfect for homeowners looking to save time in the kitchen. For more information, please visit www.InSinkErator.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And one lucky caller to the show this hour is going to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic all-natural air-freshening products. You’ll get both the spray and the solid, which can last up to eight weeks. Those air fresheners? Fantastic. Love those Citrus Magic air fresheners. In fact, we just added it to our shopping list today because we’ve run out and love to have that in the house. It covers the musty smells, the moldy smells, the pet odors, the smoke odors, the cooking odors and yes, even the children odors.

    The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: It really does work: that concentrated citrus spray. Any time that I cook in the house – and especially now that we’re getting into the seasons where the windows are going to be closing more frequently and you’re really kind of sealing yourself in and you could deal with food odors for days. But the concentrated citrus spray makes it go away in like two seconds and I do love the smell of orange, so it really makes me super-happy.

    Alright, guys. Pick up the phone and give us a call because this is the time of year to tackle those home improvement projects before it gets too cold. And a poured concrete patio is a great space for entertaining. If you’ve got a grill and some outdoor furniture, you’ve got the makings for a fantastic party. But after a few years, those settling of the patio, the tree roots and even some burrowing rodents can cause cracks in your concrete patio. The good news is it’s really a fairly easy do-it-yourself project to take on if you use the right kind of material.

    So let’s start by talking about the wrong kind of material, which is what most people go for first. They’re going to grab mortar or a concrete mix and try to patch up those cracks. And that’s the same exact material as the patio. And you might think that’s right but that is a huge mistake because the materials will not adhere to one another. So you might have something that looks like a solid patch but it’s going to crack right off.

    TOM: That’s right. It’s better to use a flexible product like, for example, QUIKRETE. They have a concrete patching compound that works really well. It’s a ready-to-use acrylic latex formula and you can apply it with a trowel. I like this stuff because it can repair cracks that are about a ¼-inch wide or deep into concrete or to stucco or masonry walls, sidewalks, patios, driveways.

    Any type of surface like that, this QUIKRETE Concrete Patching Compound works really well. And I’ve also found it to be very weather-resistant and easy to texture so that you can blend it in with the concrete surface. It’s also very easy to clean up before it dries, so basically a totally goof-proof product.

    If you’d like some more tips on that product, you can check it out at QUIKRETE.com or visit MoneyPit.com and search “concrete patio repair.”

    LESLIE: Leland in Washington needs some help removing a carpet. Tell us what the situation is.

    LELAND: Well, my question is – somebody that likes to work hard to remove carpet that’s glued down. It’s been down a long time.

    TOM: OK. Mm-hmm.

    LELAND: I need to have a good help or idea to help me with this project.

    TOM: Well, Leland, what kind of flooring do you want to put down if you can get that carpet back up?

    LELAND: Oh. It’ll probably be your laminated flooring?

    TOM: OK. Well, if that’s the case then, all you really need to do is to scrape as much of that rubber off as you can. The laminate floor can take a little bit of unevenness underneath it. And so, as long as you scrape off as much as you can, even if some of the staining and little bits of the old rubber backing remain, you can go right on top of that.

    LELAND: If I am not getting it off, is there any solution of a liquid or anything can help release …?

    TOM: There certainly are some options. But I’ve got to tell you that if you do use any of those types of chemicals, you’re going to have an unpredictable result. Because when you add some of those solvents to that old rubber backing, sometimes it comes off and sometimes it gets worse.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And either way, it’s going to be a stinky mess.

    TOM: I think you’re better off scraping it down, getting it nice and flat and then putting the laminate right on top of that. You’ll find that laminate floors come with their own underlayment that helps make up some of the difference in the unevenness of the floor and that’s clearly the best way to go.

    Leland, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Toba in Georgia needs some help with a decking project. Tell us what you want to work on.

    TOBA: I have bought a house and the deck on the house, it probably has not been stained or pressure-washed in seven, eight years.

    TOM: OK.

    TOBA: What product could I use on – the wood is good. It’s just discoloration and …

    TOM: Well, that’s actually a good problem because a lot of folks call us when they’ve got unknown layers of stain on their deck. Yours just has never been done, so you’re pretty much starting from scratch, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah, which is a really good situation to be in because you’re able to sort of put on whatever it is that you want.

    What is the condition of the deck? Is it splitting? Is it cracked? Or do the planks look like they’re in pretty good condition?

    TOBA: In pretty good condition.

    LESLIE: So, are you looking for something that gives it more of a color, almost as if it looked like it was painted? Or you just want to keep it kind of natural and just sort of bring it back to life?

    TOBA: Kind of natural, bring it back to life.

    LESLIE: Well, at this point, because of the age, you’re kind of past the point where you could do a clear coat, which would be the most neutral thing you can put on there. But you can pick something that’s called a semi-transparent stain, which is sort of a light coating of color. You’ll still see some color. And you can go in a natural wood tone; there’s lots of things from sort of like a yellowish pine to more of a reddish cedar. So you can pick something that would be in a wood-tone family but it’s almost sheer enough where you really can see the graining.

    And if the decking is in good condition, this is great for you. For somebody whose deck is in far-worse shape, we always recommend a solid stain, which is like super-saturation of the color. But if you go with a semi-transparent, that’ll really do a great job of protecting it from sun damage, protecting it from cracking and checking, from mold growth. I mean it really will do a lot of good for the deck and sort of extend its life even more.

    TOBA: Should I pressure-wash it first?

    LESLIE: You might want to, just to give it a nice, fresh, clean surface. Don’t be too aggressive; a lot of people get really excited with a pressure washer and go super-heavy really close down to the surface. And that ends up splintering and damaging the wood planks themselves. So just sort of be gentle with it, step back about a foot-and-a-half with the wand itself and give it a nice cleaning. Then let it dry very, very well.

    And the autumn is a perfect time because the humidity is low; you’ll have that moisture dry out very, very quickly. And once it’s really dry and you know it’s not going to rain for three to five days, put the stain on.

    TOM: And you’re down there in Atlanta, so you can use this well into the fall. You should take a look at Home Depot. They have the Behr products there – B-e-h-r – and they have premium weatherproofing wood stains and finishes that are really, really excellent. And they also have deck cleaners that you can use to prep the surface of the deck. So it’s a good line of products.

    Take a look at your local Home Depot. It’s Behr – B-e-h-r – products.

    TOBA: Thank you. Thanks so much. Enjoy your program.

    LESLIE: Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Art on the line with a mold question. Tell us what’s going on.

    ART: Well, I’ve got this problem every time it rains from – we water the yard. My driveway gets wet. I’ve got a mold or a moss or something – other greenish color. And I’m wondering how to get rid of it permanently.

    TOM: Permanently.

    ART: Yeah.

    TOM: Unfortunately, you’re not going to get rid of it permanently unless you have a lot of sunlight on that driveway.

    ART: OK. Well, it’s right at the edge of my carport.

    TOM: Yeah, you’re catching a fair amount of shade, I imagine. And the issue here is that you probably get some organic debris that lands in the driveway and then it grows and that’s what gets it started.

    You want to use a siding wash or product like JOMAX or OxiClean. Apply it to the driveway, let it sit for a while, then you can pressure-wash it off. And you’re going to have to repeat that, though, every couple of years unless you can get more light on it. It’s going to be a normal maintenance project for you, Art.

    ART: OK. Alright. Well, I do appreciate your answer.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead, find out how to stay cozy around the fire without your house going up in smoke. We’ll tell you how to get your fireplace ready for the season, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you in part by Arrow Fastener Company, the leader in professional fastening products since 1929. The makers of the iconic T50 Staple Gun, the world’s bestselling staple gun, Arrow Fastener has the right tool for every application. Explore Arrow’s latest product innovations at ArrowFastener.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the HydroRight Drop-In Dual Flush Converter, proud sponsor of Water Conservation 2011. The HydroRight easily converts your toilet into a water- and money-saving dual-flush toilet. Push the quick-flush setting for liquids or the full-flush for more. Look for the HydroRight at The Home Depot and other fine retailers or visit SaveMyToilet.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: How would you like to receive a home decorating makeover, courtesy of one of the most well-known home decorating radio hosts in the country?

    LESLIE: You?

    TOM: No, no, course not.

    LESLIE: It’s me. I’m so excited, you guys.

    TOM: The only home decorating makeover I would agree to do is if it was a man cave. I could handle that one. But I suspect that most in our audience don’t want my decorating skills; they want yours. And yes, it’s true. One lucky listener could win a décor makeover, courtesy of you. Well, so why don’t you tell us about it?

    LESLIE: That’s right. I’m partnering with Arrow Fasteners and we’re so excited. Because if you head on over to Arrow’s Facebook page – you can go there. The rules of the contest are there, how you enter. You’re going to send us some pictures, you’re going to write a little blurb about what room you just don’t love and you need some help with and why your family really needs this.

    And we’re going to pick a lucky winner and then I am going to be on the phone with you. I’m going to be drawing things up; we’re coming up with projects. And then guess what? We’re knocking on your door in the new year and we’re giving you a makeover.

    So head on over to Arrow’s Facebook page today and enter to win.

    TOM: And if you can’t wait that long, pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we’ll give you a virtual makeover right now. Call us with your home improvement question. The number is 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Well, there’s nothing like the glow of a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. You know, it’s perfect for roasting marshmallows and even just warming your tootsies.

    TOM: Ah, yes. But before you fire up that fireplace or even your wood stove, it’s important to make sure your chimney that vents it is safe. Here to tell us what to look for is This Old House heating expert, Richard Trethewey.

    Hi, Richard.

    RICHARD: Hey, guys. Nice to be here.

    TOM: And I’ve never seen one, and I hope I never do, but a chimney fire is one very nasty inferno that can destroy a home pretty quickly. How do we make sure that our chimneys are safe?

    RICHARD: Well, chimney fires are fueled by highly flammable deposits of creosote. And that builds up inside the chimney as warm smoke condenses on the insides of that cold flue. These fires are just dangerous. They burn hot enough to melt the mortar, they’ll ruin a flue and increase the chance of a house catching on fire.

    TOM: So the secret is to keep it clean. How do you determine how frequently you should do that?

    RICHARD: Well, it really depends on a couple things: how often you burn the wood and some people don’t use their fireplaces at all. So if you’re burning it a lot, you want to make sure you use a wood that’s been seasoned for at least 12 months; you love it to be dried enough that it’s not filled with moisture. It’s going to burn cleaner, it’s a drier smoke.

    You want to maintain a good draft. If the smoke backs up into a room when you’re lighting up the fire, you’ve got issues with draft and you want to make sure you have somebody check that. It’s probably lingering a little too long in the flue.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. We get questions sometimes about folks who see these creosote-cleaning logs that they can purchase and burn with their fireplace. Is there any effect to that or does that just cause more condensation and then sort of impact everything?

    RICHARD: They might work a little but nothing beats a properly cleaned and inspected chimney by a licensed chimney sweep. That’s your best asset to make sure that you can sleep at night after you’ve had a fire.

    TOM: Now, if you’re going to have your chimney cleaned, this, unfortunately, is one of those areas where we do get a fair number of fraud-related stories where there’s chimney sweeps that come out and declare that the chimney is absolutely horribly unsafe and it’s going to kill you if you even light a match in it.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: How do you find a good-quality chimney sweep that’s really going to do a professional job and fix it if it needs to be fixed, clean it if it needs to be cleaned and if not, just shake your hand and say it’s in good shape.

    RICHARD: Well, you want to make sure the sweep is licensed, you want him insured and he should be some member of a recognized trade association. One of the biggies is the National Chimney Sweep Guild. And you might want to check that he’s a member there.

    And then, really, ask around the people that have been in the game for a little while. They’re pretty generally reputable.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I think a lot of people forget that regardless of how much you use your fireplace, the chimney itself acts as the main ventilation system for many of the appliances in your home.

    RICHARD: That’s right.

    LESLIE: So, what kind of maintenance do you need to do to the chimney, just to sort of keep those things in check?

    RICHARD: Well, I want to just build on your point, Leslie. This is carrying CO2 and CO – carbon monoxide – these chimneys from your gas and oil appliances and your fireplaces. If they don’t vent properly, people can die and so it’s a really important subject. You’ve got to look for this efflorescence. It really – you’ve often seen it on the outside of chimneys.

    LESLIE: And that’s like a white deposit, right?

    RICHARD: Yeah, it’s a white, salty deposit. It looks like it’s – salt water has been all over the side of the chimney. And that really means that some of that moisture from the fireplace is bleeding through and making some of the mortar come through to the outside. That might be a reason to call the chimney sweep.

    And then the chimney lining. You have to have a chimney lined. It has to have a consistent liner without any breaks in it. It comes from the basement all the way to outside. Otherwise, you’re going to have hot spots and you can have a fire, so – and a chimney sweep would always check that, usually with his camera coming down or up the chimney, to be sure it’s all set.

    LESLIE: I mean technology really just has helped so much in this industry because as a homeowner, we can’t see what’s going on up there. And we had our heating system serviced at the end of the year last year and the gentleman took off the venting pipe from our boiler to the chimney.

    And as he pulled it off, the entire lining just started crumbling out. And he stuck his iPhone in there, took a couple of pictures and then turned and showed it to us and was like, “And that’s all your lining in there.” Something I would have never seen short of sticking my head up there, which I’m not going to do. But that’s a valuable maintenance that we needed to make for the house.

    RICHARD: We love our little cameras and technologies to get into places we can’t fit anymore.

    LESLIE: It’s great.

    TOM: Yeah. And Richard, the high-efficiency systems that we’re putting in today, they vent more condensation than gases sometimes and that condensation can be very acidic. So when you put in a higher-efficiency heating system, you have to be even more concerned about the quality of that chimney?

    RICHARD: Tom, you often can’t vent into a chimney because the higher the efficiency, all that’s left in the flue is water and a little bit of temperature. So they often had to be vented directly through its own pipe to outside, because you just can’t go into a chimney; it would sweat too much.

    LESLIE: Is that because they would have that clay liner and then you need the steel liner or is it …?

    RICHARD: Well, one of the things about efficiency is I’m trying to extract as much heat out of the fuel that I’m burning and put it into usable heat into the house. And that means there’s less temperature in the vent that’s going to go up the chimney.

    Now, if I don’t have as much temperature and I have nothing left but moisture, I don’t have much draft.

    LESLIE: Right.

    RICHARD: You know, a fireplace has draft because there’s plenty of temperature and it pulls all the flue products out. But modern, high-efficiency equipment has to be vented individually, not into the chimney.

    TOM: Great point. Richard Trethewey from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    For more great tips on how to maintain your heating system, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    LESLIE: And you can watch Richard and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    Hey, has the summer season wreaked havoc on your screen doors? Replacing those screens is an easy DIY project. We’ll have the step-by-step, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac, makers of the number one-selling Guardian Series Home Standby Generators. Now introducing a full line of consumer and professional power washers. Whether you need to power it, clean it or protect it, Generac can help. Visit Generac.com to learn more.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, would you like a quick way to have a clean-smelling house?

    LESLIE: Kick out your husband.

    TOM: Well, pick up the phone and call us right now, because one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to win $100 worth of Citrus Magic air fresheners. These are all-natural air fresheners. The spray can be used around kids and even in the kitchen without worrying about any harsh chemicals. And the solid can keep a room smelling fresh for weeks. Give us a call right now with your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT to qualify.

    LESLIE: Well, the kitchen is definitely a room in the house that takes a good beating, whether it’s from cooking or just general use. But with the summer months – thankfully, we’re in autumn but summer season generally gives your areas with screening – say, like a screened-in porch, screened windows, screened doors – a thorough onceover over that summer season.

    So, if you’ve got some screens around your house and they always seem to be in some sort of disrepair, think about it: fixing them, it’s really not a huge deal at all. So let me help you get started because this is the perfect time of year to tackle those screening projects. It’s not too cold, it’s not too warm. You enjoy being outside; you’re going to have those windows open anyway. You’re going to be sitting on that screened-in porch, so tackle it now before the winter sets in.

    So, to get started, all you need is a roll of screen material and a good-quality staple gun, like the Arrow T50. Now, I like this gun because it’s been the bestseller for over five decades and it just keeps getting better and better.

    Now, to get started, first you’re going to need to remove any trim pieces that you have around that screen in your porch very carefully. And you want to sort of take it out on one side of the screen and see what you’ve got there. And once you’ve removed the trim, you can either reattach the existing screen if it’s doable, if you can stretch it over, depending on what kind of damage is done to it. If not, you want to get some new screening and use that. But if you can reuse the existing screen, you want to make sure that you really press it into place with the business end of your Arrow T50 Staple Gun.

    Now, if that existing screen does need replacing, what you want to do is you want to cut a new piece to fit and then you’re going to staple it in place with the Arrow T50. And you want to add staples around the perimeter, about every 4 inches. And this is going to make the project super-easy and it’s going to securely hold the screening through years of weather ahead.

    Finally, you’re at the point where you can replace the trim pieces. And you want to hold those in place with a 1-inch brad nail, which conveniently can also be fired by your Arrow T50 Elite Stapler. It’s a great tool because it does fire both brads and staples, so if you’re working on a project like this, it saves so much time and money if you’ve got a tool that handles pretty much every aspect of the project.

    Now, once you’re done putting up those trim pieces, fill your nail holes and give the whole porch a fresh coat of paint. And this is going to be the perfect spot to enjoy those chilly nights before Old Man Winter comes a-knocking and makes your backyard his permanent home.

    TOM: For more tips on simple projects that you can do with tools just like that, visit ArrowFastener.com. That’s ArrowFastener.com. Or download our free project guide on MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to Ohio where Rita is looking to experiment with paint chemistry. What’s going on, Rita?

    RITA: Well, we have a basement that has a little room in it; it’s kind of like a cellar. And I had different paints and I want to paint the floor. And I want it to look like stone.


    RITA: What I have is a brick color that is gloss. I have some cream color that is flat and then I have some brown and some cream that is satin. And my question is – I want to use them up and I want to know if I can take the gloss and the flat and mix it.

    LESLIE: Mix them together?

    RITA: Uh-huh.

    TOM: Bad idea. Bad idea. First of all, it’s not a good …

    LESLIE: It’s going to mess with the adhesion.

    TOM: This is a basement floor?

    RITA: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah. And this is not basement-floor paint, is it?

    RITA: No, this is just an indoor …

    TOM: Yeah, yeah. First of all, you’re not going to have the durability that you need for a floor paint, because you’re talking about a wall paint.

    LESLIE: Well, unless you put a million coats of urethane or something on top of it.

    TOM: On top of it, yeah.

    RITA: OK.

    TOM: Yeah, bad idea. I would save it and look for another wall to apply it to. But for a basement floor, you want to use an epoxy paint today: basically, a two-part epoxy; it’s the epoxy and the hardener. You use that because it adheres well to the concrete.

    LESLIE: And it deals well with that moisture issue that you get from concrete.

    TOM: Right.

    RITA: OK.

    TOM: And it’s also very durable.

    RITA: Even though we have a dehumidifier in here?

    LESLIE: Yes.

    RITA: OK.

    LESLIE: Because the moisture that that concrete floor is going to sort of absorb and wick up is coming from the ground underneath your house and surrounding the foundation. So no matter what you do to control the moisture level inside the basement room, you’re still dealing with everything that’s on the outside. And coming with the winter season, you’re just going to get a ton more of that moisture coming up through because of the heat differences – the heated basement, the cold outside, the cold ground – so you really have to be careful with that.

    Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get that epoxy coating and buy two or three different colors and create your stone pattern to get that same look, with that ultra-durable finish.

    RITA: Sounds good. Well, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, is there ever a time when a hole in your roof is a good thing? When we come back, we’re going to let you in on a secret to keeping your home energy-efficient all the while there’s a sneaky hole in your roof, so stick around.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by The Iron Shop, the leading manufacturer of spiral stair kits. Visit www.TheIronShop.com today to find out how you can own a beautiful, iron spiral staircase.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, do you have a DIY project that you have questions about or you’d like to share? Well, go to The Money Pit Community section at MoneyPit.com. Send us what you’re working on. You’ll get great ideas, great project tips from not only Leslie and myself but from the entire Money Pit community. It’s online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’re going to jump into some of those questions that were posted right now. The first one being from Kim in Delaware who writes: “My husband and I will be replacing our asphalt shingles with architectural ones. The old ones started curling after five years. The house is now 15 years old and the shingles are crumbling. Do you think ventilation had something to do with this?”

    TOM: Yeah, definitely, roof ventilation could be an issue. When you have a roof that has a short life like that, you definitely want to make sure that you have enough ventilation.

    So, here’s the type of ventilation that you best want to have in that house. It starts with the ridge; that’s the peak of the roof. You want to make sure to use what’s called a ridge vent.

    Now, a ridge vent is cut into that peak and it basically opens it up to the elements and then keeps the rain from getting in and lets the air out. So, it has – think of it as sort of a mini-roof on top of a hole in your roof. That’s kind of what it looks like. It goes down the peak; it’s pretty attractive when it’s all done. But it definitely opens up the top of the ridge and lets the hot air out in the summer, lets the moist air out in the winter.

    LESLIE: Is that something that you can do if your home has a cathedral ceiling and essentially – like are you compromising the integrity of, say, your family living room if you put a ridge vent in that room?

    TOM: No. No, because you’re only cutting through the sheathing on the outside. I mean if you have roof shingles on and you want to cut through it, you use a nail-cutting, circular-saw blade. Plunge right through the shingles into the plywood and basically dig out that chunk, so you have a 1-inch gap in that ridge going all the way down. Then you drop the ridge vent on top of that and that keeps the weather out but lets, again, the hot air and the moisture get out.

    But the other piece of that is soffit vents. You have to let air in down at the soffit area, because it’s a two-part system. The air gets pressurized at the soffit, goes up underneath the roof sheathing and exits at the ridge.

    Now, you mentioned “cathedral.” If you have a cathedral ceiling, you need to make sure that the insulation is the proper size. If you have a 2×8 rafter, you can only use 6 inches of insulation because you need that other inch-and-a-half to let the air flow from the soffit, up under the roof sheathing and out. But proper ventilation is key to making a roof last as long as it’s designed to, which is typically 15 to 20 years.

    LESLIE: OK. And hopefully, you know, you’re going to get a roof that’s going to last a long time on this if you do tackle those issues. Alright, Kim. Thanks for writing in.

    Next up, I’ve got one from Jim on Long Island, New York who writes: “I’ve lived in my house for 27 years and my crawlspace flooded for the first time during Hurricane Irene. Do you think I need a sump pump?”

    TOM: I would not overreact. If your crawlspace or your basement flooded for the first time in 20-plus years, this is not a recurring problem. I mean the hurricane …

    LESLIE: Which is when you would get a sump pump.

    TOM: Right. Hurricanes are a rare incidence and unless you’re having flooding on a regular basis with every rainstorm, I wouldn’t really even think twice about a sump pump.

    And that said, the first thing that I would do is to address the number-one cause of floods and that is poor drainage conditions. So that means make sure gutters are clean, downspouts are extended well away from the house. We’re talking 4, 5, 6 feet away. If you keep that water from collecting near the foundation, you’re not going to have any floods because you’ll be moving it away from the area that leaks.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Jim? As a fellow Long Islander who also went through Hurricane Irene, we just had a ton of rain, so don’t get yourself crazy. Definitely replace any vapor barrier if you had it in there, if it hasn’t dried out or you see any mold. But other than that, you should be fine and just keep the perimeter dry.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Happy Fall, everybody. It’s a great weekend to get out and get something done around your house. Remember, if you have a question 24-7, you can reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 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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