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How To Get Home Phone Service for Free, Energy Efficient Front Doors, How To Repair a Concrete Driveway, and more.

  • Transcript

    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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects. Let us solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas. What’s the one project that you promised, this summer, you were going to get done? So, news flash: summer has begun. Officially, this is the first weekend of summer, so it’s time to make good on that promise to yourself, that promise to your spouse, to check one off the honey-do list and get to it. We will help you take that first step if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Because we are standing by with some answers to help get you going.

    Coming up this hour, if you’re like most, you probably have faced a few high phone bills in your day. Well, we’re going to tell you about a way to reduce those phone bills to absolutely nothing.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, your front door. You know, it really is the gateway to your home and it does need to look good. But that doesn’t mean that you should completely just ignore energy efficiency. We’re going to tell you which door Consumers Digest says is a best buy in that category.

    TOM: And as the weather turns warm and you spend more and more time outside, perhaps even in your bare feet, you may notice how the rain and cold weather of the winter impacted your concrete walks and driveways. Resurfacing them, though, is an easy, warm-weather project. We’ll tell you how to get it done without spending a fortune.

    LESLIE: And today, we’re giving away a great prize: $500 worth of Serena Cellular Shades by Lutron. They’re battery-operated. That’s completely awesome, because you don’t need any electrical work done to enjoy them and they are completely remote-controlled.

    TOM: Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. Let us help solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alan in Tennessee has got a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us what’s going on.

    ALAN: Well, I’ve got a house; it’s about five years old. And the driveway has started getting some cracks in it. And I just was looking for the best way to patch them and keep it from spreading. For the past, probably, three years, every spring I put – pressure-wash the driveway and put sealer on it. But other than that, that’s about all I’ve ever done to the drive.

    TOM: OK. And what’s it look like now in terms of the condition? Does it have a lot of cracks in it?

    ALAN: It’s not a lot but it’s got a few that run. And some of them have started spider-webbing out.

    TOM: OK. So, here’s the thing. You want to try to maintain these so they don’t get a lot worse. QUIKRETE has a caulk-like product that’s designed to fill cracks in concrete driveways.

    ALAN: Right.

    TOM: And it’s a good idea to use a product like that, because you know it’s going to adhere and expand and contract with the driveway. The goal here is to try to keep a lot of water from getting in there. Because as the water gets in, it will expand and then it will crack. As it freezes, it’ll expand and crack. And then of course, it’s a little bigger, a little bigger and a little bigger and that’s how it really starts to break down and break apart the driveway.

    So, as those cracks start to show themselves and open up, it’s not unusual, so don’t panic; it’s pretty much normal wear and tear with concrete. But it’s also a good idea to seal them using the products that are designed just for that.

    ALAN: OK. So the QUIKRETE is probably the best way to go?

    TOM: Yeah. It’s called the QUIKRETE Concrete Repair. It’s a sanded, acrylic latex caulk and it’s designed specifically for crack repair. Comes in two different tube sizes: either a 10-ounce tube or a 5½-ounce tube. Not expensive, easy to apply. Gives you a really good adhesion and it’s going to stand up to the weather and most importantly, keep the water from getting into those cracks.

    ALAN: Excellent. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Gayla (sp) in Washington is on the line looking for some cooling solutions. How can we help you today?

    GAYLA (sp): So we’re looking at installing air conditioning into our home. We’re wanting to seal all the areas so it doesn’t get hot here too much – maybe like one to one-and-a-half months out of the year – but we really need it during that time. And so, we’re not sure if we really want to go the central-air route to get a full system or if – like if we could – we have a gas furnace. If we could get a gas one – or they also talked about heating pumps. We just don’t really know what the options are and what’s going to be the best investment in our money but also going to be effective during those hot months.

    TOM: OK. How big is your house, Gayla (sp)?

    GAYLA (sp): It’s about 2,700 square feet.

    TOM: Oh. And you want the entire house cool and comfortable and done evenly?

    GAYLA (sp): Yeah, pretty much. I mean the downstairs is already relatively cool but not the upstairs at all.

    TOM: And you have a forced-air system right now?

    GAYLA (sp): Yes.

    TOM: Look, there’s no easy way to do this. You’re going to either get a central air-conditioning system or you’re not. If you had a smaller house or you had maybe just some limited, uncomfortable areas in the house, then what we might recommend is called a mini-split ductless, which can be used for zones in the house and big zones, like two-room combination kind of a thing. But I don’t think – you’re not – certainly not going to be able to evenly cool the entire first floor or the entire second floor of the house with a mini-split ductless. And frankly, you’d end up needing so many of them that it would be more expensive than putting in a central A/C system.

    So what we would tell you to do is to go ahead and install a traditional central air-conditioning system, to make sure that the home is sized properly. And so the HVAC contractor can do a heat-loss calculation and figure out exactly how many BTUs you need, in terms of cooling power, to deliver cool temperatures on the hottest days of the summer.

    You also want to make sure that the system that you use is an Energy Star-certified system, because that’s going to make a big difference in how much this is actually going to cost you to operate. The good news is is that the system is probably going to last twice as long as any other system in another part of the country because you’re going to use it half as much.

    But there’s no inexpensive way to do this, even though you’re only using it for two months of the year. You’re still going to have to put in a central system with all the work that goes with that: buying the compressor, buying the evaporator coil, the condensing coil, the condensing pump, all that sort of thing. It’s a job, you know? So it’s going to be several thousand dollars to do this. But I would encourage you to make sure that you do it right and use the most energy-efficient system possible so it reduces your operating cost.

    And also find out from your local utility whether or not there are any rebates available to you for using energy-efficient equipment. There very well may be; there’s an awful lot of them scattered about throughout the country.

    GAYLA (sp): OK. Great. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright, Gayla (sp)? 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 MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair, home improvement, outdoor décor. Whatever you are working on these summer weekends, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to lend a hand. Just give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, have you noticed that your home phone bill is perhaps slowly and steadily creeping up? We’re going to tell you about a way that you can get home phone service for free, after this.

    (theme song)

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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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One lucky caller is going to get on the air with us today and get a chance to win the Serena Remote-Controlled Cellular Shades from Lutron.

    And the Serena Shades are an easy way to upgrade a room without doing any electrical work, because the shades are battery-powered. So there’s no wires to run, nobody to hire; you can do it yourself.

    TOM: And you can raise and lower those shades, from just about anywhere in the room, with the touch of a button. Serena Shades come in different colors and textures and they start at an amazing 299 bucks. That’s really cheap for a remote-controlled quality product like this. But one winner today is going to win $500 worth to get that décor project kicked off.

    You can visit ChooseLutron.com to see these in action. You really should do that, because they are beautiful. And call us right now for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: And now we’ve got Kimberly in College Station, Texas with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.

    KIMBERLY: We bought this house many years – several years ago. And we had an inspection of the house and we didn’t know that we had a problem with a roof leak. The inspector didn’t catch it because the people who owned the house first put some plastic over the leaking areas. So when it rained, it held water and we didn’t know that until four or five months afterwards, after we bought the house. And then our insurance wouldn’t cover anything.

    And we’re just – we’ve got more leaks now because the house is getting older. And so, instead of replacing the entire roof, we’re looking for some suggestions on some kind of a seal. And we don’t even know – there’s all these things out there. We don’t know what would be the best, if there’s anything available or what we should do.

    TOM: OK. So, you say that they covered this with plastic and your home inspector never noticed that it was covered with plastic? I mean duh.

    KIMBERLY: No. And it was – it’s on the – up in the inside of the house. And also, they painted the ceiling. They had a 5-gallon can of white ceiling paint in our garage, which – so they kept it covered all the time, which – nobody caught that. Now, I didn’t think anything about it.

    TOM: Was this roof accessible? The area that was covered with plastic?

    KIMBERLY: Yes. And he walked around up there and it – and I guess it hadn’t rained in a while. So, those little sealed-up areas weren’t full of water at this – at the time.

    TOM: Let me ask you this: is this a sloped roof or a flat roof?

    KIMBERLY: Sloped.

    TOM: And has it ever been covered with tar or anything like that?


    TOM: So the metal is still fresh in the sense that it has never been tarred over?

    KIMBERLY: No, it’s not tarred.

    TOM: Well, have you had a roofer look at it?

    KIMBERLY: We have; we’ve had several. And one told us that it would cost us $6,000 or $7,000 to put a seal on it. And now there’s some of those things out there at the home improvement stores. We just don’t know if …

    TOM: OK, look, let me make this real easy for you. You don’t seal a metal roof; you repair a metal roof. Metal roofs can last 100 years. So if any roofer is trying to sell you something in a can that he’s going to seal the roof with, that is a disaster waiting to happen, for a lot of reasons.

    First of all, it’s not the right way to fix it. Secondly, it actually does more harm than good and here’s why: because when you seal a roof with tar – a metal roof with tar – water still gets in; it gets under the tar and then it quickly rusts the roof away. If you have a roof that is cracked or has rusted out in a piece of area, then you repair those; you don’t tar over them like you might, say, an asphalt roof.

    So, that’s – what you need to do is to find a roofer who is a craftsman. And I realize that that’s easier said than done. But if you find a roofer that’s a craftsman that really has experience with metal roofs and doesn’t just know how to tear one off – that doesn’t count as experience with a metal roof which, unfortunately, many will just say, “Oh, we’ll tear it off and do something else.”

    No. If you find somebody that really knows metal roofs, then that should be completely repairable. And I would not encourage you to put any kind of sealant on it but to figure out where it’s leaking and why it’s leaking and fix it.

    You’ve got to dig into it further, Kim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, the cost of having a home phone is going up, on average, 5 to 10 bucks in the past year. Technology, though, has evolved to the point where we can really cut the cord of that home phone bill while still using the phone. Ooma, which is one of the proud sponsors of The Money Pit, has a solution that allows you to use your internet connection to make free, unlimited calls anywhere in the states.

    LESLIE: That’s right. The Ooma Telo allows you to hook up the phone that you already have to your high-speed internet connection. And Consumer Reports says that Ooma is the best way to make calls from your land line, because it pays for itself in a matter of months.

    Now, you can get Ooma at major retailers or just go to Ooma – O-o-m-a – .com. It’s a great website. Lots of amazing testimonials that are pretty much updated by the minute. It’s kind of amazing how quickly people are excited about it and talking about it. So check it out today if you want to stop paying that phone bill.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s one of these things where you feel like it – maybe it’s just too complicated to do yourself; it’s really not. Set-up is 15 minutes and those testimonials are pretty impressive, because people set it up and then they go on the site and they talk about it. So check it out: Ooma.com – O-o-m-a.com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got William in Massachusetts on the line who’s dealing with ants in the driveway. What’s going on, William?

    WILLIAM: Yeah. These ants are pushing up dirt and making mounds in their track. I feel as though they’re weakening that area, you know?

    TOM: Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about them weakening the driveway, William. It’s probably more of an annoyance to you than anything else. They can’t push away so much dirt that it’s going to undermine your driveway.

    But if you want to just get rid of the ants, you could use a multi-insect killer: a product like Bayer. Bayer has an advanced garden multi-insect killer product or something like that to get rid of those mounds. But I don’t think you have any structural concerns as a result of ant mounds in your driveway.

    WILLIAM: Also, how can I prevent the grass from growing in between those cracks?

    TOM: Ah, how can you prevent the grass? Yes, that’s another trick. And what you want to use for that is Roundup. You spray the Roundup and you get it on any part of the grass and it’ll go down and kill it at the root. But here’s the thing: be very careful on the edge of the driveway where it’s near the lawn. If you get any overspray, it’ll kill your lawn, too.

    A little trick of the trade is to take a half-liter bottle – like a soda bottle or something like that – and cut out the – cut off the top – the nozzle part – and cut off the bottom and use it as a funnel so that you cover the actual grass you’re trying to kill. And then spray down through the top, into that and that controls the flow so you won’t get any drift-off into the rest of the yard.

    WILLIAM: Wow. OK, that’s great. You’ve been very helpful. Thanks.

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

    LESLIE: Lena in Missouri is on the line with an old home with uneven floors. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    LENA: Hi. My money pit, it’s a 120-year-old Victorian home, one story.

    TOM: OK.

    LENA: And the floors are terribly slanted.

    TOM: Right.

    LENA: And I would dearly love to know how to fix that problem.

    TOM: Well, Lena, by the time you get to be 120 years old, you’re going to be slanted and uneven, as well, OK?

    LENA: I imagine I will.

    TOM: I wouldn’t worry too much about it. That’s sort of natural for an older house for lots of reasons. And you can’t really straighten it out, so to speak, because if you do, you’ll end up causing more damage than it’s worth. It takes a lot of years for it to get into that condition. If you try to, say, level a floor that’s sloped, you may stretch a wire or break a pipe or something like that. So I would not try to fix that; I would work around it.

    Now, if you had one room, like a kitchen or something, and you really wanted it to be a lot less sloped than it was, then I would float that with a leveling compound – a floor-leveling compound – and bring it up that way. But I would not get involved with jacking up things or anything of that nature, OK?

    LENA: OK, OK.

    TOM: Consider it charm, Lena. Consider it charm.

    LENA: Thank you. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: It’s so funny. In our house, whenever our son rolls something underneath our bedroom – like if he’s playing with a ball and it rolls under the bed, I’m like, “Just give it a second and it’ll come right back to you.” Hundred-year-old home. What are you going to do?

    Kathleen in Colorado is looking to create an indoor garden. How can we help you with that project?

    KATHLEEN: Hi. Yes, I’m actually living in a basement apartment and so the lighting doesn’t seem to be as good. And I’d like to have an herb garden and the only place that I can really put it is in a darker corner, close to my kitchen. I don’t have any southern exposure at all and in the room where I would have it, I would have a little bit across the room of some eastern exposure in the morning and western exposure at night.

    I was looking at possibly putting up a baker’s rack and attaching grow lights somehow. I don’t know if you have any experience with this or if you think that would work.

    LESLIE: Hmm. So you want to create an herb garden in your basement apartment. You need lots of light. There’s actually – I mean there are so many different – I believe they’re called grow lights or horticultural lights. But each light has a different output that is meant for different types of gardening or plantings.

    And there’s actually a good website online called LittleGreenhouse.com. And they sort of sort out which type of grow light is best for whatever it is that you’re growing and where you’re growing it. There’s all sorts of things with wattage and wavelength. I do not have a green thumb, so I’m talking about this in a way of like, “I understand the concept but I would kill everything.”

    But I found the website to be useful in sort of sorting out what would work best for what conditions.


    TOM: Well, you’ve probably paid a lot of attention to how attractive your front door is but have you paid attention to how energy-efficient it is? We’re going to talk about the latest in front-door technology, after this.

    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: Well, across much of the country, this is the time of year to get our A/Cs ready to swing into high gear. And you don’t want that cool, conditioned and might I say, very expensive air going right out the front door. The best way to increase your energy efficiency and make sure that doesn’t happen is to think about replacing your front door with a fiberglass door.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we here at The Money Pit are huge fans of fiberglass because it’s very durable, it’s super-low maintenance, it’s energy efficiency and security. And of course, our favorite brand of fiberglass doors are Therma-Tru. Tom even chose them for his front-entry makeover.

    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, I couldn’t be happier. My family is really enjoying them right now. I put in three in my door. And with us to talk about fiberglass doors and specifically, to talk about Therma-Tru’s Classic Craft line – which just made the grade with Consumer Digest, as well – is Heather Sonnenberg from Therma-Tru.

    Hi, Heather.

    HEATHER: Hi. How are you guys tonight?

    TOM: Good. And I’ve got to tell you, I really am loving my doors.

    HEATHER: I’m excited by that.

    TOM: Yeah. They’re beautiful. And I got a door with the vented sidelights. So instead of having a solid sidelight, we have sidelights that swing open like screen doors.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s so great.

    TOM: And I tell you what, we’ve been using them all spring and summer, because it’s just nice to have that cross-ventilation without having to put a big screen door and cover up your beautiful entry door.

    So, well done. I’ve been a fan for a long time now. I’m an owner of Therma-Tru doors and I really am appreciating them in a whole new way. And I’m not the only one. You guys just scored a big mention from Consumers Digest. Why don’t you talk about that?

    HEATHER: We have. I’m very excited to say that in 2011, we were named by Consumer Digest as a Best Buy for the fiberglass entry-door category. It was the first time that fiberglass doors were reviewed by themselves in a category. And our Therma-Tru Classic Craft line was denoted as being energy-efficient and the best buy in that category.

    I think the real exciting thing is all five collections earned that designation of Best Buy. We have five collections that support the Classic Craft line: our American style, which is more of a Craftsman styling; the Mahogany, Rustic, Oak and Canvas lines are all included.

    LESLIE: Now, Heather, we know that the doors, because they’re fiberglass, are super-energy-efficient. How do they compare to a standard wood door?

    HEATHER: What’s really great about the fiberglass is that it doesn’t rot, twist or bow like wood. And I think an added benefit is if you look at it versus steel, it also does not dent or rust.

    TOM: Now, the thing that always surprised me about fiberglass doors, when I first started looking into them, was you probably mentioned that you guys invented the fiberglass doors, it must be, 25 or 30 years ago now, right?

    HEATHER: About 30 years ago, we – yep, we came to market with the first fiberglass door. So we were first to market that product and really start looking as – doors as being energy-efficient.

    TOM: When you think about fiberglass – I live near the shore, so I always think about the hull of a boat, right? That’s how I associate fiberglass; that would be the first thing that pops into my mind. When you look at these doors, you can absolutely not tell that this is fiberglass. These look like wood with all the beautiful graining. And the staining system that you guys have developed brings that grain out in a really attractive way.

    So if you are looking for a wood door and really any type of wood finish, this door is so well-made that it really looks like oak. It can look like cherry, it can look like lots of different – what other woods do you make it – maple?

    HEATHER: We have a mahogany, a rustic, which is more of that kind of similar-type grain species. We have the oak and then we have the American style, which is more like a fir or a hemlock.

    TOM: Right. And I might add, if you want to paint the door, that’s fine, as well. And the nice thing about a fiberglass door is that because it’s not an organic material like wood, it holds paint and it holds stain. And you’re not going to have to repaint it or restain it nearly as often, frankly, if ever the way you guys make these doors.

    Now, what makes the Classic Craft line different from other lines that you guys offer? And what type of house is a good fit for a Classic Craft door, Heather?

    HEATHER: Well, we have a wide range of styles that really fit any house, to be honest. With the style in the doors being from Craftsmen to real standard, traditional stylings – but also the Canvas line, which can support more modern, contemporary homes. So really, I’d say from a home style, we span the gamut of options.

    But really what makes Classic Craft different is our attention to details: constructing a Classic Craft door as a wood door would be constructed, with true architecturally-correct details and then real, rich, embossment details that really make it come across as a wood door. And I think that’s really what helped us earn some of the commentary that we got from the Consumers Digest award, which was: “No other door that is in this price range replicates the look of wood better than this Classic Craft series.”

    So I think it’s really about that attention to detail: the crisp lines that we have in the architecturally-correct styling but also we construct it like a wood door would be constructed.

    LESLIE: And Heather, because – I mean I’ve seen your show-floor displays and I know just how vast the collection is and how many options there are. How do you make it easy for a homeowner to really design the entry that’s going to work for them in their house?

    HEATHER: We have a lot of visualization tools on our website. So if you go to www.ThermaTru.com, you can go on our Door Designer and look at pictures of homes that are similar to yours and start to pop in different designs of doors. And then you can actually take that to do some quoting at your local dealers.

    TOM: Yeah, I actually used your Door Designer to upload a photo of the front of my house and I was able to put the door right into sort of my house and see what it was going to look like. And frankly, that’s how my wife and I decided on the doors that we chose.

    So, well done, Heather Sonnenberg from Therma-Tru, here to tell us about the Classic Craft Fiberglass Doors.

    If you’d like to learn more, check out Therma-Tru’s website. Take a picture of your house, play with the Door Designer tool. That website is ThermaTru.com – T-h-e-r-m-a-T-r-u.com.

    Thanks, Heather.

    HEATHER: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Well, winter’s freeze-and-thaw cycle can really damage a concrete driveway. And guess what? This time of year, summer, it is the best time to fix them. We’re going to tell you how, 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: Pick up the phone, call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because today, we’re giving away the Remote-Controlled Cellular Shades from Lutron.

    These are beautiful. They’re called Serena Shades and they’re a very easy way to upgrade a room at a very affordable price, because they start at just 299. And that’s a real bargain compared to many of the remotely-operated cellular shades on the market that are right now.

    Leslie, I know you see a lot of these in your decorating business and I’ve never seen any that were as inexpensive as 299.

    LESLIE: Oh, no. That’s an amazing prize. It’s just ridiculous how expensive motorized shades can be.

    And the best part, really, is that these are not wired, because Serena Shades actually only use regular D batteries. But they’ve got a really innovative technology that, listen, gets the shades to run on that very same battery you’re going to put in when you get that shade for three years, which is huge. Really. You know how much batteries cost? Not that much but still, if you’ve got a window that’s up high, you don’t have to be changing them all the time. That’s really fantastic.

    Now, you can raise and lower the shades from anywhere in your room with the touch of a button. And one lucky caller who gets on the air with us today is going to win $500 worth of Serena Shades. You’ve got to check them out, because they’re very beautiful, a lot of fabric options, a lot of great colors.

    So check out their website, ChooseLutron.com, for some more information. And give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for help with your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Nick in Iowa on the line who’s building a new home and needs a hand. How can we help you?

    NICK: Yeah, I was wondering if you could tell me the proper way to insulate the exterior walls and the vapor barrier of the inside.

    TOM: Well, what are you – what kind of siding are you using?

    NICK: Right now, probably vinyl.

    TOM: Vinyl? OK. So, what you would do is you would insulate the interior walls. Do you want to use fiberglass?

    NICK: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. So, you would use a fiberglass with a vapor barrier attached. So the vapor barrier always goes towards the heated space or the living space, so the fiberglass will create the vapor barrier on the inside surface on which drywall goes. Outside, you would use a product like Tyvek, which is a different type of vapor barrier that goes under the siding. That helps stop some of the air infiltration, as well.

    So, basically, on the inside, you’re going to use the vapor barrier that’s attached to the fiberglass insulation. On the exterior, you’re going to use a building wrap like Tyvek.

    NICK: So like a paper-backed interior insulation?

    TOM: Yes.

    NICK: OK. Because they won’t let – in our area, they won’t let you put a vapor barrier like Visqueen or anything on the wall.

    TOM: Well, you wouldn’t put Visqueen, because you want something that’s vapor-permeable.

    LESLIE: And Visqueen is going to trap that moisture in and then cause mold.

    TOM: Yeah. But you use the vapor barrier that’s attached to the fiberglass insulation. That’s the easiest way to go.

    NICK: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Alright?

    NICK: Great. Thank you.

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

    Well, as the weather turns warm, we get outside, maybe take our shoes off walking around the yard and the driveway, you may have noticed some cracks that are starting to form. They can be really ugly but perhaps not as ugly as the cost a contractor might charge to have you replace that concrete. It could run $10,000 or more if you’ve got a significantly-long driveway.

    So what can you do? Well, you can fix it yourself for a fraction of the cost. The experts at QUIKRETE, who are a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, have tips to make it easier. And they’ve got a great product that makes it super-easy, as well. It’s called Concrete Resurfacer and it’s a really good DIY product that allows you to get that job done yourself.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? The process itself is pretty easy. What you have to do is you start by removing any loose or flaking concrete that you might find. And then you clean the driveway and rinse it. And you really want to make sure that you saturate the entire surface with water.

    Next, you mix up the QUIKRETE Concrete Resurfacer and you pour it on in 1-foot-wide strips. Now, a squeegee is really the best tool to use to spread out the resurfacer onto the concrete because this way, you’re going to get it nice and even and good coverage.

    TOM: And lastly, you can create a non-slip finish in that resurfacer by simply using a concrete broom. You wait for it to cure, like around five minutes or so, and then you just use the broom on top of it. You want to make sure the strokes go in the same direction and go the entire length of the driveway. Then you want to mist it with water – not blast it with water but just lightly mist it – and wait for it to dry. You do this right, you’re going to be able to drive on that surface with your car in about 24 hours.

    If you want more information on this project and maybe to see a video of how to get it done, you can visit QUIKRETE.com. That’s Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com.

    LESLIE: Joseph in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JOSEPH: I have a well and the water is excellent; it tastes good and we love it. But it’s got a lot of lime in it and everything is covered with lime all. We would – I can live with that but I’m on my fourth hot-water heater in 12 years.

    TOM: Wow.

    JOSEPH: We open up the bottom and try to spoon the stuff out. It burns up the elements. I bought those special, wavy-type elements that are supposed to last so much longer but they don’t and I’m on the verge now – the fellow that cleaned it out the last time told me that it’s not going to last much longer.

    TOM: Now, do you have a water-treatment system?

    JOSEPH: No. All I’ve got is just the well water.

    TOM: OK. But the well water has never needed any type of treatment? So you – OK.

    JOSEPH: No. Well, the lady that lived here before, she had some type of old-fashioned softener that took a liquid of some kind but they went out of business.

    TOM: Right.

    JOSEPH: And when I moved in here, we liked the water so we just didn’t do anything.

    TOM: Alright.

    JOSEPH: And now the lime has become a big problem on water heaters. It’s down in a crawlspace; I can’t get to it, so everybody always has to go down there for me.

    TOM: OK.

    JOSEPH: But I see this thing advertised, called ScaleRID, put out by EdenPURE and it’s an answer to all of my problems.

    TOM: OK. Well, I’m not familiar with that one. I am familiar with one that’s made by the FREIJE Company, called EasyWater?


    TOM: And that one, they actually sent me one a couple of years back and gave it to a friend of mine that had a well system and got very good results out of it.

    JOSEPH: Really.

    TOM: Yeah. So you might want to take a look at their website. I think it’s EasyWater.com.

    JOSEPH: EasyWater.com.

    TOM: Yeah.

    JOSEPH: Well, I appreciate it. It’s probably pretty close to what EdenPURE has got out here. They do a lot of things where they …

    TOM: Yeah, I think the FREIJE guys were there first. I suspect the other one is a – came after the fact.

    JOSEPH: Right.

    TOM: OK?

    JOSEPH: Well, I will certainly look that up.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we’re always reminding you to make every remodeling dollar count but not all improvements will deliver a good return on investment. We’ll share tips on one to avoid, next.

    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 we here at Team Money Pit invite you to connect with us on Facebook. We’re not going to play Words with Friends with you. Alright, I might. But seriously, head on over to Facebook because you really get kind of like a backstage pass to the show. And you’re going to get the best home improvement advice pretty much any time you want and be the first to learn about our exclusive weekly prize giveaways.

    So just go to MoneyPit.com and click our Facebook icon right there and you can “like” us immediately. And you know what? You can even post a question right there on our Facebook page.

    And Mary in Illinois wrote: “Hi. I’m installing new, faux-wood blinds in my home. It’s an older house with huge window stills. Should I install them flush with the wall or closer to the window?”

    TOM: Isn’t that like – isn’t she asking whether or not you should go with an inside mount or an outside mount?

    LESLIE: That’s what it would sound like. And I guess at this point, the question is, Mary, did you already buy them? Because …

    TOM: Yeah, because – that’s right. Because if you already bought them …

    LESLIE: You can’t make one the other and vice versa.

    TOM: You can’t add – yeah, you can’t add water and have them stretch. And they’re really hard to cut although, I’ll tell you, I have cut them in the past. It’s not easy.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But with a wood blind, the mechanism itself for operating the shade and in the header and the head rail, I wouldn’t mess with that. You know, it is what it is. I personally like to see a shade mounted inside.

    TOM: OK. Just so that we’re clear, what does that mean: inside versus outside?

    LESLIE: Inside the trim of the window.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: So it covers the sashes – the operating sashes – but exposes the window trim work. Does that make sense? And then when it comes to rest, it’s on that interior sill.

    TOM: Right. So outside mount, obviously, is as wide as the window is plus the trim.

    LESLIE: Correct. It could even be wider if you’re going for – if you’ve got a fabric shade or a Roman shade or something like that that you want to give a statement of a larger size. But I prefer an inside mount with a wood blind or any type of a fabric shade, just because then it gives you the opportunity to do a decorative valance or a cornice or even just some stationary drapes. It really gives you an opportunity to do something a little bit more stand-out with the window.

    TOM: So there’s a pro decorating tip, on window shades, from Leslie.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Inside mounts are easier to install, especially because you’re going right into wood.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s the most important part.

    LESLIE: And if you’re dealing with plaster or what-have-you around your window and you’re doing an outside mount, don’t bother.

    TOM: Well, we are always on the lookout for ways to help you get the best value out of every home improvement dollar you spend. But there are some home improvements that deliver a lower return on investment than others. And one of which is, surprisingly, a home office. Leslie has the details, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Each year, more and more people are working away from the office. But apparently, one place that they aren’t working from is a home office. Now, with all the mobile technology that’s out there these days, work from home can actually mean working on a park bench or your lounge chair or a deck or a beach somewhere.

    Now, an average home office remodel can cost about $30,000, which is money that you’re really not going to recoup. You can go ahead and have a dedicated work space if you need one but make sure that that room can easily be used as an additional bedroom or a multi-purpose space if you’re putting your house on the market.

    We’re definitely a society on the go but it’s always important to make sure that your remodeling money doesn’t go out the window. So think wisely before you invest in a major construction project to create the office. For me, my design business, I hate to say it: it’s just carved out of a space in my basement. It functions fantastically but all of that furniture could go away and it’s completely back to a basement space. So think wisely before you swing a hammer.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to talk about mold. You know, household mold poses a very serious health threat to you and your family. So we’re going to tell you how to prevent mold from growing and how to get rid of it if you’ve got it, 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.


    (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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