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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 we are here to help you with your home improvement questions. We are here to help you solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas. We are here to help you get the job done but you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, this is the busiest time of year for your kitchen. But with all that cooking, your home might start to smell a little less inviting. So coming up this hour, we’ve got some ideas on how you can keep your vent hood clean and working properly to keep all those holiday cooking odors from taking over your entire house, especially if you burn dinner.

    LESLIE: Seriously. There’s nothing better than a shower, post-Thanksgiving meal, and you take that towel off the rack and it just smells like your turkey dinner.

    Well, while everything in your house, including you, is really super-busy this time of year, you could also say that this is the busiest time of year for your insulation, as well. Winter is right around the corner. So, do you have enough insulation in your attic or your crawlspace? How can you check to make sure that you have enough and what’s the best way to install additional fiberglass insulation?

    Well, we’re going to tell you where to add insulation and how to install it for the best results.

    TOM: And also ahead, this is the start of the holiday party season but with everything else on your plate, planning that party can be stressful. That is where Dina Manzo comes in.

    Now, you might remember Dina from the hit reality-television show, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She’s got a new show now on HGTV that focuses on party planning. She’ll be here a little bit later to fill us in on how to make that process as smooth as possible for you.

    LESLIE: And how would you like to see the very best home transformations from This Old House? Well, one lucky caller is going to get Kevin O’Connor’s book showing the coolest makeovers from the past 10 years. What’s even cooler? It is autographed by the entire cast. If your prize doesn’t arrive, I may have taken it.

    TOM: So give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we draw your name out of The Money Pit hard hat, we will send to you Kevin O’Connor’s new book, signed by the entire cast of This Old House. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

    GEORGE: I have a garage floor that’s been damaged from driving in and out of – in the winter, because of the salt.

    TOM: OK.

    GEORGE: I was wondering if there was any way that I can repair that.

    TOM: Sure. You can resurface it and you would use an epoxy patching compound for that.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Anything else is just not going to adhere to the concrete surface and you – that’s really what the issue is going to be is adhesion.

    TOM: You can find products from QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – that do this. There’s also a website for a company called Abatron – A-b-a-t-r-o-n – that makes a professional-grade epoxy compound.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the Abatron one that I’ve used is Abocrete, I believe. And that one is self-leveling, it mixes up very easily, you sort of trowel it on and it spreads out very nicely. Now, we did it to do our whole basement floor over and so we covered quite a bit of space and it worked fantastically.

    GEORGE: Really? Why, then thank you.

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

    And I think that George was shocked that we had a solution for him.

    LESLIE: Hey, sometimes we’ve got good answers. Alright, every time we’ve got good answers.

    TOM: Every once in a while, it works out. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Alright. Time to talk dishwashers with Marcia. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    MARCIA: Hi. I really love you guys’ show.

    TOM: Thank you.

    MARCIA: I bought a portable dishwasher and I also got a new sink and a faucet put in. And the gentleman that put it in for me told me, “This is a cheap faucet, isn’t it?” And I said, “Well, yeah, kind of.” And so, it didn’t last very long and the dishwasher has broken the faucet and I want to know how to rectify this problem and what I need to do. And I don’t understand why it broke it.

    TOM: Well, when you connect a portable dishwasher to a faucet, usually you have a special faucet aerator, is that correct? That’s like the sort of the valve on the end. So is it just that part that’s broken or is the faucet itself that’s broken?

    MARCIA: It’s the faucet itself. And he told me that, too. He said it’ll probably break at the inside of it and I really didn’t understand what he was talking about.

    TOM: Just because of the weight of the dishwasher line hanging off the end of the spout and that kind of stuff?

    LESLIE: And maybe any movement.

    TOM: Yeah. Why don’t you just replace the faucet?

    MARCIA: OK. So I can just go – do I have to buy a certain faucet?

    TOM: You know what? You can probably repair this faucet but it wouldn’t be worth it because you’d have to – you’d have a hard time finding the parts, most likely. You can buy a good-quality kitchen faucet for probably, I don’t know, $20, $30 at a home center.

    MARCIA: OK. Just get a new faucet then.

    TOM: Yep.

    MARCIA: OK. Well, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania has got a leak somewhere in the money pit. What can we do for you?

    JOHN: Yes. I have a – our house is a little over 50 years old and about 32 years ago, I put an addition on the end. I discovered when I put the addition on the end that when they put the weather – the seal coat on the outside of the block, you know – well, they did mortar and then the seal.

    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: They just used a roller and hit the high spots. So, when I was at that end of the building, I used a sealer and I used a brush and got what I could. But the rest of the basement is that other way and I get water that soaks in at the block and then comes in.

    TOM: John, does the water come in consistent with rainfall and snow melt and that sort of thing?

    JOHN: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Well, listen, I understand that it wasn’t sealed perhaps as much as you would like it to but the good news is that it’s sourcing at the drainage outside, so you need to address the gutter system and the grading, making sure it’s sloping away from the walls, making sure the downspouts are clear, making sure you have enough leaders and get those leaders out 4 to 6 feet from the house.

    Whenever you get water that’s consistent with rainfall like that, it’s easy to control with small tweaks to the outside surface-drainage conditions.

    JOHN: Well, the three sides are level.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem. You want it to drop off about 6 inches on 4 feet and you want it to do that with clean fill dirt, not topsoil or anything that’s too organic.

    JOHN: OK. Thank you.

    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. Now, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re here for you as we ramp up to this holiday season, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, we all clean our kitchens but how many of us clean our vent hood? Probably not too many and that’s why – maybe that’s why they really don’t always do the job. And that’s going to be especially important when the holidays arrive, so we’re going to tell you how to get that done the easy way, after this.

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

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at Icynene.com. I-c-y-n-e-n-e.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: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to get the opportunity to take a look at the very best home transformations from the past decade of This Old House. We’ve got Kevin O’Connor’s new book, The Best Homes from This Old House, autographed by the entire This Old House cast. Going to go out to one lucky caller who reaches us right now with their home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to help you out with all of your home improvement projects. But first, it’s time for this week’s Fresh Idea, presented by Citrus Magic.

    Well, if you’re like most people, one of your favorite memories from holidays past is the smell of food cooking and wafting through your home. But that cooking can quickly turn into a stinky mess when certain odors, like grease, are involved. So, if you want to get your whole house smelling clean again, you want to tackle the vent above the stove.

    You need to make sure that it’s functioning properly, that when you turn it on for your cooking, that it’s clean and doing the job it’s supposed to. Because these vents, they collect grease and bits of food and as gross as that sounds, that can lead to a whole host of stinky odors. So, as long as there’s grease on that vent hood, that smell is going to stay in your home.

    You want to clean them properly. So make sure you remove the filter and soak it in the sink with a degreaser. Now, you can use a degreaser or even a vinegar solution to clean that vent hood thoroughly and then go ahead and replace those filters. And that’ll really give you a fresh start.

    TOM: And that’s today’s Fresh Idea, presented by Citrus Magic. Once everything is nice and clean, you can try Citrus Magic Odor-Eliminating Spray to keep your whole house smelling fresh. Because it’s made with all-natural citrus, it eliminates odors instead of masking them with that perfume-y kind of smell.

    For more on Citrus Magic Odor-Eliminating Spray and other natural cleaning, deodorizing products, visit CitrusMagic.com.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Mark in Iowa is in the market for some new flooring because he’s got two big dogs. What can we do for you?

    MARK: Yeah, I just had a question about – I have two boxer dogs and actually, a three-year-old child. And just wondering the best hardwood floor or laminate or cork or whatever – what’s my best option?

    TOM: Yeah, I’d have to go with laminate floor. I brought up all my kids on a laminate floor and it’s been – and a dog – and it’s been very, very durable. It’s performed very well.

    MARK: OK.

    TOM: With the exception of a couple of chips over the years, never had a problem with it. I think laminate floor is very durable and the good news is that it’s actually gotten a lot better since I installed it. You used to have to glue the boards together; now it’s all sort of locked together. And the colors and patterns are phenomenal.

    A good source for this is LumberLiquidators.com. They’ve got gorgeous floors there; they’ve got great prices. You ought to check that out.

    MARK: Well, good. Well, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Mary in Florida is working on a siding project. How can we help you with that?

    MARY: I’d like to know what your opinion is on a product called HardieTrim. It’s spelled H-a-r-d-i-e?

    TOM: Yep.

    MARY: I’ve got some boards on the ends of my house, between the brick siding and the roof, that needs to be replaced because they’re getting old and rotting. And this man has recommended that and I know nothing about it and I thought I’d see what your opinion was about it then.

    TOM: Well, it’s good stuff. It’s a composite siding product. I actually have one of the Hardie products on a garage and it’s called HardieShingle. But HardieTrim and HardiePlank, it’s all the same stuff.

    MARY: Oh, OK.

    TOM: And it’s not organic, so it doesn’t rot. And it may be available already primed or actually fully painted. I put the product up on my house; it was already painted.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it looks beautiful.

    TOM: And it’s beautiful. So, it’s really good stuff and I don’t think you’re going to have any problem with it. And it’s a good recommendation from this contractor.

    MARY: OK. Well, I just didn’t know what it was and I wanted to get your opinion.

    TOM: Alright. Well, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Scott in South Carolina is calling in with an insulation question. How can we help you today?

    SCOTT: Yes. We’re building a new house and we were wondering the difference between foam insulation and the regular insulation and if it would be worth the difference in price in doing that.

    TOM: Well, the key difference between a spray-in insulation – you’re talking about a product like Icynene?

    SCOTT: Right.

    TOM: Well, the key difference is this: when you use a spray-on insulation like that, you both seal and insulate in one step, which can be very effective. And in a new house, it’s a pretty good idea to do that.

    Now, a company like Owens Corning also has a product that is used in new construction, where they seal – they spray all of the corners and all of the critical areas of the house where you can get leaks. And that’s another way to do it, with an expandable foam insulation like that. But the issue is that they seal and insulate when you use a product like that, not just insulate.

    SCOTT: So it is a good product to use?

    TOM: Yeah. Yep. They’re both excellent products and good choices.

    SCOTT: OK. Well, that’s basically what I needed to know and I really appreciate it.

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

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

    PAT: I have older bathtubs. They have large cracks – chips – off of them. And I’m wondering where I could buy the paint to match it to fix it, to look better.

    LESLIE: How large are large when you say large?

    PAT: Oh, it’s probably just about 3 inch and narrow, you know? It’s not that big.

    LESLIE: Hmm. Because, generally, with like small chips and small, little hairline issues, there’s a product out there called Porc-a-Fix, which comes in a variety of the standard manufacturer, neutral colors like the whites and the creams. And you’re bound to find – especially if you know the manufacturer, you’re able to really match it.

    But it’s kind of in a nail polish, bottle-type situation. You have to apply it in layers: put a little bit, let it dry more, more, more and more. So it’s really not great if it’s something really large.

    Now, you can have your bathtub reglazed, which a pro does. Can either take it out of the house or comes to the house and does it. It’s a stinky process but it’s very scientific, lots of different steps and it’ll last for ages and ages. It’s not as good as the original glaze but it does really well.

    TOM: Pretty darn good.

    PAT: Good. Where would I get the Porc-a-Fix?

    TOM: Pat, you can find that product online. The website for the manufacturer is easy to remember: it’s Find-A-Fix.com and there’s a dash between that. So Find-A-Fix.com. You click on the Bathroom section and they manufacture the Porc-a-Fix.

    PAT: Oh, great. That’s wonderful. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Babette in Texas is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you?

    BABETTE: I wanted to find out what information you have on Allure flooring and the durability and cost-effectiveness of doing it yourself.


    TOM: Well, the cost-effectiveness of doing it yourself is the easy part because, certainly, it is a do-it-yourself project – product. If you don’t have – it doesn’t require a whole lot of skill. Some of it cuts, basically, with a razor knife, so it’s not a hard project to install.

    LESLIE: Now, Allure manufactures a couple of different kinds of flooring: one is like a planking style that would be almost similar to a laminate that floats and the other is a – it’s called TrafficMaster, I think, and it’s a stick-down vinyl. Which one were you looking at?

    BABETTE: Ooh, the first one.

    LESLIE: Not the stick-down vinyl.

    BABETTE: No.


    BABETTE: The one that we saw with a display that – of the kind that just – going to slide together and then float.

    TOM: Right. Yeah and a lot of floors do that today. I mean laminate floors do it – have done it for quite a while now and it’s a fine way to install a floor. You need to leave a bit of a gap around the outside of the room, which you cover with molding, but it works quite well.

    The reviews online, though, are mixed. There’s people that love it and there’s people that hate it. It’s a very affordably-priced product so …

    LESLIE: Yeah, I think it ranges from like a dollar to 3.60 a square.

    TOM: So I think it’s probably a good value for the money.

    BABETTE: OK. Especially, we’re going to eventually make the house a rental home.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BABETTE: We weren’t real thrilled about investing the money on carpet, because things happen with carpet you can’t fix.

    TOM: Yeah. Right.

    LESLIE: Of course.

    TOM: Well, I’ve got to tell you, if it’s a rental home and you want something that’s really going to be durable, I would probably lean towards laminate.


    TOM: I think a laminate floor is going to be a lot more durable, especially if you get a commercial-grade laminate. I’d spend a little bit more money now and have something that’s super-durable, that can really take the spills and the scuffs and the furniture being dragged across it without tearing. Lumber Liquidators is a really good place to shop for that. They’ve got a big selection.

    LESLIE: A huge variety of price points, as well.

    TOM: And very good-quality product, as well.

    BABETTE: Lumber Liquidators?

    TOM: Yes. And you can even shop online or you can find a store near you. LumberLiquidators.com. They’ve been a sponsor of ours now for about a year and we’ve had their expert president on, Tom Sullivan, a number of times. Very knowledgeable people; I learned a lot about flooring that I didn’t know, by talking with them. So, I’m a fan.

    BABETTE: I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re very 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. Coming up, do you look forward to having your friends and your family in your home for those holiday parties? Or does it just send you over the edge with panic at the thought of that doorbell ringing?

    Well, Dina Manzo, the host of HGTV’s Dina’s Party is going to be joining us with tips on stress-free entertaining in your home, 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 Skil. And now you can easily cut through the most difficult projects with ease, with a Power Cutter from Skil. With powerful, lithium-ion technology and an auto-sharp blade system, Skil’s lightweight Power Cutter will soon become your favorite tool, too. The Skil Power Cutter. It cuts just about anything.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, 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, the holiday season is just around the corner. Now, most people see this as a time when family and friends gather and your home is transformed into a place for joyous celebrations. Others, however, see it as a disaster waiting to happen when your home is invaded by people you barely know, with manners that slip away with every sip of wine they consume.

    LESLIE: Well, here to make sure that you have the joyous kind of celebration and not the disaster kind of holiday party is the host of Dina’s Party on HGTV, former Real Housewife of New Jersey, Dina Manzo.

    Welcome, Dina.

    DINA: Hi. How are you?

    TOM: Now, you have got a very fun job, because I’m sure a lot of work goes into this. But you get to be there at the end when the celebration happens.

    DINA: Yes. I mean it’s not all fun and games; there’s lots of stress involved in event planning. People think it’s all about the party but there definitely is a lot that goes into it. But the reward at the end is the best.

    TOM: So what’s the first step when you’re thinking about getting your house kind of ready for the big event? Is it necessary to kind of do the theme thing every year or is it OK to just clean it up, prepare the hors d’oeuvres and invite a few folks over?

    DINA: Well, I think that’s the most important thing. You have to remember little things. Your powder room, is it all ready? Do you have stocks of candles and do you have enough liquor on hand? Because you never know when – the holiday seasons, people are just going to drop by without notice and you want to be able to at least light a pretty candle and pour a glass of wine, so stuff like that.

    Definitely, fix up the front of your home to be a little bit more inviting during the holidays. People tend to think it’s all about the actual event itself but everything surrounding it really plays a big part in making a wonderful day.

    LESLIE: Well, we’re about to dive headlong into the holiday season and Thanksgiving really is the first big celebration on the plate for many families. And how do you really go about getting ready? I host Thanksgiving every year for 25 people, so I’m up at like 4:00 a.m. cooking, cleaning, getting everything ready. But really, what can I do to make sure that I’ve streamlined my day and I’m going to have a successful event?

    DINA: Well, starting as early as you possibly can. You know, don’t do it the week before; start a month before. If you have – just be organized about it. Again, make sure you stock everything up: unexpected things you’re going to run out of, everything from hand towels in the bathroom. That kind of takes the silly stress off of things.

    But prepare your amenities in advance, make sure you know who is possibly going to stop by. So a vegetarian like myself may stop by. You want to make sure you have options for everyone.

    And just be organized. That’s the biggest tip that I can give with event planning altogether. Organization is key.

    TOM: We’re talking to Dina Manzo. She’s the host of Dina’s Party on HGTV and a former Real Housewife of New Jersey which, I guess, is not exactly true because you are a real housewife from New Jersey. What happens on the show, for those that haven’t seen this? Kind of give us a peek behind the scenes.

    DINA: On Dina’s Party, we throw events out of people’s homes. So we’re going to show you how to entertain out of your house and of course, there’s going to be some aspirational, over-the-top design. But along the way, you’re going to get some great takeaways, even if you’re throwing a little dinner party, to if your wedding’s coming up. You’re going to get these great tips along the way and you’ll definitely be entertained. We’re quite a bunch at Dina’s Party.

    LESLIE: Now, Dina, I imagine your clients who are hiring you really have sky-high budgets and no limit to spending. Are there ideas that everyday folks can take into their smaller parties that they’re doing on a limited budget?

    DINA: Oh, absolutely. And my clients do range of all different budgets. We just did one show that already aired and I think they’re going to repeat it. It was great. We did the entire living room for $1,000 and threw the party for under $1,000. So, I like the challenge of making things look beautiful on a budget and you’ll see a lot of that.

    And that’s what’s so great. At the end, nobody’s going to know where you cut corners, because everything is going to look so beautiful. But I’ll give you hints and give away all my secrets. But I like sharing.

    TOM: Dina Manzo, host of Dina’s Party on HGTV, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great ideas.

    DINA: Thank you.

    TOM: If you’d like to check out Dina’s work, perhaps get in touch with her, find out when you can see an episode of Dina’s Party in your area, it all starts at DinaManzo.com. Dina’s website there is also chock-a-block full of great party ideas. Again, that’s DinaManzo.com.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, winter temperatures are knocking at the door. To make sure that they stay outside and not inside your cozy home, you need to know how to install extra insulation. We’re going to tell you how, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, because we’re giving out home improvement advice – that’s a given – but we are giving away, to one lucky caller, the new book from This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor. And it’s a look at the best home re-dos from the past 10 years of the show.

    And – and this is a big “and” – it’s autographed by all of the cast members. It’s really a fantastic prize and the book is awesome. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for help with your home improvement project and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, when your home is properly insulated, you start to see instant savings in your energy bills. To find out how much insulation you need for that project, consider these tips, which are presented courtesy of Arrow Fasteners.

    First, you want to consider the recommended R-value for your area of the country. Now, R-value is the measure of thermal resistance or the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more insulating power you’re going to get. If you want to know what R-value is recommended for your neck of the woods, you can go to EnergyStar.gov for a guide on what’s recommended for your area.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, your home’s attic really should be the first place to make sure that your insulation is up to the recommendations. For best heat retention, you really should have about 19 to 22 inches of R-38 insulation. Now, to best attach that insulation, you’re going to need a good staple gun with the proper fasteners.

    Now, I recommend the Arrow T50 Stapler. Now, if you’re putting insulation in your attic, you’re going to want to just lay it on the floor, sort of fill up those open spaces between the floor joists. And then you want to run another roll of the fiberglass insulation perpendicular to the floor joists so that you really get good coverage.

    Now, if you’re insulating from a crawlspace to sort of get that floor below on the first level, you want to use something called an insulation hanger. And these are straps that you’re going to staple in place with that T50 stapler. Because that really makes a huge difference. It’s going to hold everything in place and it’s going to make that floor above seem a lot warmer. And you’re really going to start to see those energy bills drop.

    And you want to make sure to check out my blog at MoneyPit.com for step-by-step installation and information. And go to Arrow’s Facebook page for a chance to win – get this – a $10,000 room makeover with decorating help from yours truly. So head on over there today, because I hope to be going to your house right in the new year.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question or perhaps a home décor question that would cost less than $10,000 to fix, I bet.

    LESLIE: Mike in Tennessee is calling in with a squeaky floor. Tell us about it.

    MIKE: Yes, ma’am. We had a pop-off valve on our water heater go off and ran about 3 – about 5 gallons an hour for 3 weeks in our house.

    LESLIE: Oh, my God.

    TOM: Wow. Well, it’s better than the water heater blowing up on you.

    MIKE: That’s true.

    TOM: And it did its job but of course, it made a big mess at the same time, didn’t it?

    MIKE: Yeah. Yeah. A good hint is when somebody puts a water heater in, make them pipe the pop-off valve outside.

    TOM: Well, you can pipe it. That’s right, you can pipe it outside. So, what damage did it do and how can we help you?

    MIKE: Well, the insurance came and they ripped up all of our carpeting and our subfloor and everything and put it all back. And instead of going back with carpeting, we wanted to use a floating floor: a laminate.

    TOM: OK. Alright.

    MIKE: And now, in some of the places they did not take up, they used their meter to make sure that it was dry and et cetera but we’ve got squeaks now.

    TOM: Hmm. OK. And it’s under the laminate floor?

    MIKE: Yeah. And my wife is not going to let me put the new floor down until I figure out how to stop the squeaks.

    TOM: Oh, OK. So you’ve not put the new laminate floor down yet?

    MIKE: We have subfloor down and then on top of that, they put a ¼-inch structure wood, I think they called it.

    TOM: OK. OK.


    TOM: Alright. Well, this is good because all you need to do now is identify those squeaks and get them fixed. Typically, the squeaks are going to happen right on top of the floor joist. So where the floor joists are, you’re going to want to reattach the floor throughout that entire surface and what we would use is probably 2½-inch drywall screws: these case-hardened screws.

    And you’ll drill through the ¼-inch, through the subfloor, right into the floor joist itself and pull that flooring down nice and tight. The nice thing about using the screws is that they don’t pop out, they don’t loosen up, they don’t get – they don’t allow the nail to pull in and out of the wood, which causes the squeak.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: So you need to rescrew that whole floor down. You do it with case-hardened screws; you do it with a drill driver. So, it’s a pretty easy project and it won’t take you very long and it’ll silence that floor. And you’re smart to do it now before you put down the laminate.

    MIKE: OK. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Albert in Michigan is dealing with a moisture issue. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    ALBERT: Yeah, I’d recently purchased a home in northern Michigan and my basement just smells mildewy and I’m getting about a gallon-and-a-half of water to my dehumidifier every two days. And I’m just wondering if I can – if this is going to stop.

    TOM: Well, I mean there’s a couple of things you can do. First of all, as far as that humidifier is concerned, let’s see if we can dry up the moisture and then we’ll tell you what to do, what’s left over.

    You want to start outside the house. Now, most of the time when you have a basement moisture issue, it’s sourcing at the foundation perimeter. So you need to look at the grading and the drainage. This is the angle of the soil around the house and also the gutter system. Make sure it’s clean, free-flowing and the downspouts are 4 to 6 feet away from the house.

    Now, those two things are going to dry up significantly moisture that’s forming inside of a basement. Does this get damper or wetter after a rainfall? A heavy rainfall?

    ALBERT: Nah, I don’t get any water or anything in the house. I don’t know if they told you, I do live on a river.

    TOM: Right. So you’re dealing with humidity all the time.

    LESLIE: Generally.

    TOM: So, managing that moisture is going to be the key and the grading and the drainage is what’s going to do that. Now …

    LESLIE: Now, Albert, do you have a forced-air system in the house for heating or cooling?

    ALBERT: Yeah. Yep.

    LESLIE: OK. Well, that’s a good thing because there are several products out there that are whole-home dehumidifiers and they get hooked into your HVAC system. And they’re sort of set up on a humidistat system so you can have it do the entire house, just the basement. You can have it set for different time periods; you can have it kick on, generally, when there’s too much moisture.

    And I think when operating at sort of peak efficiency, you’re getting, what is it, 90 liters of water out of the basement daily?

    TOM: Ninety pints of water a day.

    LESLIE: Ninety pints, thank you.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.

    LESLIE: And it goes, you know, right out of the house. There’s never a bucket to empty; you don’t have to worry about the process, in case you forget. And that’ll constantly remove that moisture.

    ALBERT: Yeah. Alright. I guess I’ll have to check my downspouts and my gutters: check that first. I didn’t even think about that.

    TOM: Well, I think you’re going to find that that has a dramatic impact on the amount of moisture that gets into that basement space.

    LESLIE: That gets in there.

    TOM: You’ve got to manage that first 4 to 5 feet of soil around the outside of the house. Keep that dry and the basement will be a heck of a lot dryer. And by the way, with that dehumidifier, if you don’t go with a whole-house, you can get a condensate pump for probably less than 100 bucks. That will pump out the water that’s filling up that pan in the dehumidifier and you won’t have to do it manually.

    ALBERT: Yeah, alright. Alright. Well, thank you very much.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next, cold floors on bare feet. That has to be one of the more uncomfortable parts of winter. We’re going to have ideas on how to keep your floors and toes toasty, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And forecasters say it’s going to be a stormy winter. Are you ready for the power outages that might follow? Get tips on how to survive those power failures, at MoneyPit.com. That’s MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, you can head on over to the Community section of The Money Pit website and post your question, just like Mendon did who wrote: “We put on a 12×15 addition. The room is cold in the winter, particularly the hardwood floor that opens to the kitchen. What option should we consider to get the floor warmer?”

    TOM: So many people, when they put on an addition, don’t really thoroughly consider the heating aspects. You can’t always extend your existing heating system to that addition. But the answer really depends on what kind of heat you have.

    If you’re fortunate enough to have hot-water heat, then you could add hydronic heat to the underside of the existing floor, wind it back and forth. You’re going to use a type of plumbing pipe called PEX – P-E-X – and it attaches to the bottom of the floor. Wind it back and forth and it will make the floor nice and warm and it can be, basically, a separate zone. If you don’t, then your options are really quite limited because electric radiant heat, you would have to take the hardwood floor up to do that.

    So what I would do in that case is I would add insulation to the floor. Make sure it’s thoroughly insulated and then I would improve the heating supply to that main room. How are you going to do that? Again, depends on the type of heat you have. But worst-case scenario, if you’ve got to add more heat, electric radiant heat along the baseboards is the least-expensive way to do that, especially if it’s an addition kind of an extra room that maybe you don’t use all the time. That might take the edge off.

    Alright. Now let’s turn to a post here from “Bigb” called “Smelly Bathroom.” And “Bigb” says, “Boy, I have a money pit. One of my problems is that I have a dirty or a musty smell in our master bath. The master bath was remodeled about a year ago: new walls, paint, floor, shower, sink, et cetera. The smell isn’t constant; it comes and goes. And I can’t figure out why.”

    LESLIE: I don’t hear a vent fan added to that list of things added in the bathroom.

    TOM: Yeah, right? Well, that would help get the smell out.

    But I’ll tell you this. If it comes and goes, you’re not really sure that it’s a specific source, it most likely is the drain. Sometimes with shower drains, bath drains, even sink drains, they get what’s called a biofilm on them.

    And if you can get them opened up and scrubbed out, not just with a – not just any kind of drain cleaner but physically scrubbed out to remove that film, that usually eliminates the odor. So take a look down deep in those drains – take them apart if you can – and get rid of the biofilm and that’ll do it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And remember, operate your vent fan. Let it run for a good 15 to 20 minutes after you shower, because that’s when the real condensation occurs, alright? Enjoy that new bath.

    TOM: Well, it’s a very popular time of year for inside painting projects and why not? Just a single coat of paint can change the look of an entire room. But what about painting in cooler temperatures? Can it be done? Leslie has got that advice in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, painting a room is really an inexpensive way to redecorate in time for the holidays. A new color and some accessories to match or contrast, depending on your style, and you’ve got a whole new space. Plus, without summer’s humidity, you’re going to save on some drying time, actually, big time; it’s going to dry a lot faster.

    But what about paint? It kind of is stinky, depending on the kind of paint that you choose. And this really isn’t a time of year when cracking a window is the best option. So when you’re shopping for your paints, you want to look for a high-quality, low-odor paint. And they’re available from several manufacturers. You want to look for key words like “low VOC,” “no carcinogens,” “low odor.” Those are all things that you want to make sure you’re looking at in a paint.

    And these are great paints for kids’ rooms, any room in your house, really. You’re not going to have to throw open those windows. You’re going to be doing a really good thing for the environment and you’re going to be making your home look fantastic, just in time for those holiday parties.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, do you have dining room chairs that perhaps look so bad they simply take away your appetite? If you do, we’ve got some DIY tips on how you can re-cover those chairs, just in time for the holidays.

    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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