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How to Increase Space in a Small Bathroom, Microwave Safely, Chemical Free Grill Cleaning Products that Work, How to Organize Your Desk and more

  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    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: Call us right now with your home improvement project. We know there is something on your how-to to-do list and we’re here to help you get the job done. Maybe it’s a project you started and just got disgusted with (Leslie chuckles) because you got in maybe a bit over your head. Hey, we’re not here to judge; we’re here to help. So pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will get you out of that jam. Maybe it’s a project that you’ve been thinking about doing and you just don’t know where to start. Well, how about starting with a call to 1-888-MONEY-PIT?
    Maybe your project is a bath renovation. Like perhaps you have a very tiny powder room; it’s been feeling more cramped than ever. Well if that is your project, you’re in luck because this hour on the program, we’re going to have tips on how to make a small space work better for you.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, I had a – it was a full bath, in my very first apartment in New York City, that I could be sitting on the toilet, put my foot in the shower and wash my hands in the sink at the exact same time. (both chuckle)
    TOM: That is a full bath in Manhattan.
    LESLIE: So if you want to talk about proper space management.
    Alright, also ahead, we’re going to have some tips on microwave oven safety. You know, our busy lives totally would not be the same without them but if yours is mounted up above, it might not be as safe as you would like it to be. We’re going to tell you about the best space-saving place to put a microwave so that you can use it without stretching, reaching or, even worse, burning yourself.
    TOM: And if you’re all about quick-and-easy solutions like we are, we’ve got one for cleaning your grill. It’s a chemical-free and completely biodegradable solution. If you can cut the buildup on your grill with a knife, you’re going to want info on this cleaner that will take the work out of a chore we all hate to do.
    LESLIE: Plus this hour, we’ve got a great prize that we’re giving away. Thanks to our friends at Lumber Liquidators, we have got up for grabs a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators and that’s, of course, for one lucky person whose name we choose at random this hour.
    TOM: So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You could win a $500 gift card to Lumber Liquidators simply by picking up the phone and calling us with your home improvement question. Let’s get to it.
    Who’s first?
    LESLIE: Pete in Colorado is under attack by woodpeckers. Tell us what’s going on?
    PETE: Yep, we’ve got a wood-sided house and it’s beautiful except that every spring the woodpeckers show up and, in about 15 minutes max, they can drill a hole three or four inches diameter in the side of the house.
    TOM: Wow.
    PETE: And I would love a way to get rid of them. And a slight extra complication if you’re thinking of extreme measures; my wife is a naturalist and she wouldn’t want to be too upset.
    TOM: Yeah.
    PETE: So probably no .22s.
    TOM: Yeah. So weapons are out of the question. (chuckles) Well, I’ll tell you. There’s an option, Pete, and that is one thing that actually works very, very well is if you can attach something that’s very reflective to the siding and even have it blowing in the wind – like a couple of tin pie plates works really well – hang it from the fascia or the soffit, in that area, when the woodpeckers decide to come and nest and that usually really freaks them out and sends them to the neighbors’ house.
    PETE: How far apart would you place them?
    TOM: Well, how wide is your house; like 30 feet maybe?
    PETE: Thirty feet wide and a hundred feet long.
    TOM: And do they attack the 100-foot side as well?
    PETE: Oh, yeah.
    TOM: Yeah. Maybe every 10 feet.
    PETE: OK.
    TOM: Give it a shot. Try one side of the house and see if they stay off that side. You’ll know you have a solution.
    LESLIE: And attack the other.
    TOM: Then you just take them down when it gets a little warmer and they are not so into searching for bugs behind your siding.
    PETE: Oh, yeah. Well, they mostly do it in order to attract a mate; so once they’ve taken care of that, we’re done.
    TOM: Tell them you’ll build them a house and leave yours alone.
    PETE: Yeah, really.
    TOM: Pete, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Helen who has a painting question. What can we do for you today?
    HELEN: I have a question about movable shutters.
    TOM: OK.
    HELEN: Needs repainting and the painter seems quite reluctant to do it because he claims that they won’t be moving; they won’t be movable after they’re painted.
    TOM: Well, that’s not true. If they’re painted correctly they would be and if they are movable shutters, they’re hinged shutters, you know what the most important part of that shutter is to paint? The backside, because that’s where it’s going to rot. And if you ignore painting the backside, they’ll start to rot from the back forward and they’re not going to be movable very much longer after that.
    LESLIE: And you would want to remove them from the home for painting in the first place, correct?
    TOM: Or certainly if they’re on hinges …
    LESLIE: Open them out.
    TOM: … open them out, that’s right, so you can paint the back and the front. That’s silly. I mean you definitely can paint the shutters if they’re done correctly. It sounds like you’ve got a painter who just doesn’t want to do the job. (Leslie chuckles)
    HELEN: They’re indoor shutters; not outdoor.
    TOM: Oh, indoor shutters?
    HELEN: Yes.
    TOM: What are they shuttering if they’re indoor shutters?
    HELEN: Windows.
    LESLIE: They’re like decorative – like plantation shutters.
    TOM: Oh, you mean decorative shutters?
    HELEN: Yes.
    TOM: OK. Well, OK. You still can paint them. I don’t see why not. I’ll tell you what. If he’s concerned about it he could take the hinges off and then put them all back on.
    HELEN: Would spraying be a better idea?
    TOM: No, not necessarily. I mean either way is fine. But they certainly can be painted.
    LESLIE: I mean are they plastic or are they wood?
    HELEN: Wood.
    LESLIE: Then there should be no issues.
    TOM: I see no reason you can’t do that, Helen.
    HELEN: Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    She’s got a painter that just doesn’t want to do the job.
    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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, do you have to reach up to use your microwave oven? After a while, this can definitely take a toll on your shoulders, your arms and your back. So we’ve got some tips on how to avoid stretching and straining for your supper with some alternate microwave solutions, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes with an advanced 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers longlasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    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 and you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT this hour because if you don’t have a home improvement project, the prize that we’re giving away is going to give you one, two, maybe even …
    TOM: You’ll want to start one.
    LESLIE: Yeah, exactly. It’s going to make you want to start one. We’ve got a great prize for one lucky caller this hour. We are giving away a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators and that’s enough to do maybe more than one room in your house. And Lumber Liquidators carries everything from hardwoods to engineered woods, green flooring options, laminates. You name it, they’ve got it. There’s probably a store right around the corner from where you live because they’ve got one in practically every state and, if they don’t, they’ll ship it to you anywhere. Lumber Liquidators – hardwood floors for less. So call 1-800-HARDWOOD for the location nearest to you so you can check it out in person. And pick up the phone and give us a call for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, if you’ve got a newer home, there’s most likely a microwave in the kitchen. Builders love to mount microwaves, though, above the stove or high up on a wall. These are places where the ovens are really hard to reach and surveys are now showing they can be a hazard. They force you to reach above your head to get hot foods out of the oven. You lose your balance, you could burn yourself, break a dish or both.
    TOM: There is, however, a better solution.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, that’s right. When you’re placing your microwave, try to keep it in mind that they really shouldn’t be higher than 48 inches above the floor. Now, is your microwave mounted on the wall? If it is, then go ahead and just put a shelf underneath the oven where you can actually rest hot foods after they finish cooking. You know it’s like that little extra step from the oven to your countertop.
    Better yet, you can actually put your microwave on the counter and that’ll leave you plenty of space for your hot dishes.
    TOM: And you know, another option – remember when we did that makeover for the AARP that we filmed?
    LESLIE: Oh, is it Sharp that has that drawer-style one?
    TOM: Right. Yep, it was a drawer-style microwave and we built it right into the cabinets, right under the countertop, and it was like a big, bread drawer. You just pulled it out and the microwave was right there and that was super-easy to use. So there are a lot of safer options for microwave placement. Think about that the next time you’re ready to get a new microwave oven.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: John in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    JOHN: OK, I want to know after a rain – a day or two after a rain – the water trickles through the basement and there’s no standing water outside. Do I have a creek under my house or is it – are the houses sinking or – what does this indicate?
    TOM: No. No, it’s not that complicated, John. What happens is the soil gets very saturated around the outside of the house and it can take a day or two to soak into the foundation. What you need to do is to take some steps to improve the drainage outside so water doesn’t collect as much around the foundation perimeter.
    Look at your gutter system. Extend the downspouts; getting it out four to six feet from the house. Take a look at the grading. Adjust that grading so it slopes about six inches down over four feet going away from the house. Add some clean fill dirt. If you get the angle set just right, if you manage the gutters and don’t collect water around the foundation, that wet basement problem will dry up very quickly.
    JOHN: Well, now I have a window well and you know how low window wells are. I can actually see water, at times, coming up from the bottom up.
    TOM: Yeah, I bet you can.
    JOHN: And it has filled that window well to at least ten gallons of water I have to scoop out of it in wintertime. It’s not a pleasant thing to do.
    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to stop the water from collecting at the foundation. That’s why it’s going in there. It’s not necessarily falling straight down. It’s collecting at the foundation perimeter and it’s running to areas of least resistance. So look again at the gutter system, look at the downspouts. You want the downspouts out four feet from the house. We want the soil sloping away. If you want to add a cover to the window well, fine; go ahead and do it. But I think your main problem is drainage and if you solve that, the wet basement will go away.
    John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading over to Georgia to chat with Carolyn about a noisy toilet. Tell us about the problem.
    CAROLYN: We have a toilet that automatically flushes. You can hear the sound in the bedroom, in the hall. And all of the sound and water seems to take place in the tank. What causes a toilet to spontaneously flush?
    TOM: Well, you know, some people would pay thousands of dollars to have their toilet automatically flush. The reason it’s happening is because you have a leaking flush valve; that’s the valve in the bottom of the toilet. And what happens is it leaks water out to the point where the fill valve wants to sort of complete the job and refill the toilet.
    And so the solution is to replace the flush valve but since both flush and fill valves are so inexpensive, I would replace all of the guts of the toilet; both flush and fill valve. It’ll cost you about 15 bucks in parts. It’s not too hard to do it yourself and that problem will go away for good, Carolyn.
    CAROLYN: Oh, that sounds great. That sounds great. So I will replace both of them, just as you said.
    LESLIE: And Carolyn, there’s a great website – it’s FluidMaster.com – and they give you detailed pictures of the entire process, step-by-step, how to go ahead and change both of these items so you can actually do it yourself.
    CAROLYN: OK. Thank you very much. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to chat with Bill from Ohio who’s dealing with a soundproofing issue. How can we help you?
    BILL: Thanks, guys. I’m looking to do a home theatre in my basement and I’d like to know what materials or processes you recommend for soundproofing; insulating that noise from the rest of the house.
    TOM: That’s a very fun project. There are actually a number of soundproof drywall products out there.
    BILL: Yeah, the QuietRock and …
    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. The QuietRock and products like that where, basically, you have sort of a sound-baffling technology built into the board. I will tell you that they’re very expensive but if you like your peace and quiet, that’s a way to get a reasonably quiet room without the expense associated with, say, building a separate wall or a separate ceiling. Because in a studio – for example like those that we work in – you have actually double walls and double ceilings that create sort of a baffle for the sound.
    LESLIE: That space between them. There’s also – I did sort of a media room at a townhouse in Manhattan and I used something – I mean they really spent a lot of money and did the double wall but I did something as an additional texture on the outside from a company called AcousticalSurfaces.com. And it’s sort of like a plastic tracking that you can create in whatever shape or size on the walls. You can do them floor to ceiling to do as wide as that blue foam insulated foam sheets. And then you sort of do this track on your wall, put the insulated sheet in between and then you snap fabric around it so you’re essentially covering this foam and the tracking with the fabric and all of a sudden it looks like you have these wonderful, upholstered walls.
    And I did it completely myself. I mean the trickiest part was cutting the plastic tracking when I had to miter it for the corners, just to make sure that I didn’t break it or crack it; so that took a little bit of finessing. But it really was a great do-it-yourself project and they have excellent instructions on the website.
    BILL: Thanks. And what was the name of that site again? Acoustical …
    LESLIE: It’s AcousticalSurfaces.com.
    BILL: Alright. Tom and Leslie, guys, thanks so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Bill. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading to the great north to talk with Sharon in Alaska. What can we do for you in your money pit?
    SHARON: Hi. I have a metal roof and no attic and out on my porch it’s starting to leak. Now how can I tell if it’s leaking in the house and how can I fix it?
    TOM: Well, I mean, if it was leaking in the house, you would certainly see some evidence of moisture. But how do you fix it? Well, it depends on why it’s leaking. Generally, you can use a silicone sealant on a metal roof because it attaches very, very well to metal.
    SHARON: OK. How can I tell if it’s leaking like in between the ceiling and the roof?
    TOM: You definitely would see it because that ceiling material is not going to hold back the water. So if you’re not seeing any stains, I wouldn’t worry about it but on a dry day, if you can get up on the roof over the porch and try to figure out where it’s leaking – and if you want some help trying to figure that out, an easy way to do that is to grab a hose and work the roof one section at a time and see if you can actually make it leak.
    TOM: And that will give you an indication as to where the leak is and then you could seal that with silicone and you’ll be good to go.
    SHARON: Now the silicone; do I have to do that again in a couple years?
    TOM: No, it’s pretty durable stuff. So I would just do it once and see what happens.
    SHARON: OK, thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Sharon. Good luck with that project. Thanks for checking in with us from Alaska.
    LESLIE: Mike in Missouri has a house that’s over 100 years old and is spending a ton of money on heating. Tell us about it.
    MIKE: Well, I tell you what. I have a house that was built in 1895. That’s the best I could do; they think it’s actually a little bit older. But my house is brick, two-story, about 3,500 square feet. I have three furnaces and three air conditioners that I use to cool and heat the house. And I mean what we do – you know, we put plastic over the windows; we put draft things underneath the doors. And our heating bills, especially, and cooling bills, in the peak seasons are just outrageous. And I’m thinking about adding some more insulation up in the attic but I don’t know what else I can do to – I mean I feel like I’m putting the utility company’s kids through college with what I’m paying. (Leslie chuckles) So …
    TOM: Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Well, I tell you what. And the problem is here, Mike, you’re doing the same thing that so many people do in this country and that is they guess at what they think the energy-efficient improvement is that they need. There’s a way not to guess and it’s called a home energy audit. And in your situation, it would be very wise for you to invest a little bit of money in this.
    Now there may even be some TARP money out there to help pay for this because I know that in our state, the homeowner pays about 100 bucks and the state pays another $300 to the auditor to get this whole thing done. It’s a pretty comprehensive process; involves checking not only insulation and doors and windows and things like that but even doing what’s called a blower door test, which can check how drafty your house is.
    What you need is a comprehensive assessment so that you know what are the biggest, weakest links, in terms of energy-efficiency, in your house. And then you can direct your dollars to attack the biggest one first and work down the list that way.
    MIKE: That sounds about the right way of what I need to – what steps I need to take to get this resolved.
    TOM: You know, a home energy audit can actually help make you a much smarter investor in the energy-efficient upgrades of your house because it’s very sophisticated. It can even predict return on investment so that you’ll know if you spend $500 in insulation, how long it’s going to take to make that money back. So that’s where I would start. I’d contact the utility company to begin with, see if they have a home energy audit program and, if not, hire a private home energy auditor that’s not too expensive and you’re going to get a very comprehensive report that’s going to tell you what you need to do to make your home more energy efficient and save yourself some money and be more comfortable at the same time.
    MIKE: That sounds great. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ll call them tomorrow.
    TOM: Alright, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And tell those utility guys that their kids need to get a scholarship.
    TOM: Good point.

    LESLIE: Alright, well it’s officially the summer season and you guys know that I love cooking on the grill. I love it. But what I don’t love so much is that post-cookout cleanup. I hate that chore. Up next, we are going to share info with you on a 100-percent soy-based, biodegradable grill-cleaning solution that works. It is miraculous and it’s going to help make this dreaded chore a bit easier.

    (theme song)
    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.
    Well, after a summer’s worth of cooking outdoors, you can probably cut the buildup on your grill with a knife and a fork. You know, the idea of using harsh chemicals is not so appealing; so how do you get that greasy, burnt-up buildup off of your grill?
    TOM: Well, there is a solution. We just discovered a line of cleaning products that are soy-based, making them completely biodegradable. But just how does the stuff that tastes so good in Asian food actually clean your grill? Here to tell us about Nutek cleaning products is Cathy Horton, the company’s CEO.
    Hi, Cathy.
    CATHY: Hi, how are you?
    TOM: So I can only imagine you were having sitting having dinner at a Japanese restaurant …
    LESLIE: Eating edamame.
    TOM: … and had this vision for this product. How did it all begin?
    CATHY: You know, I was very fortunate to be offered some green chemistry by some very gifted scientists and also to discover and formulate some on my own, which has enabled Nutek to launch some superb, high-performance cleaning and lubricating products.
    LESLIE: Well, and it’s interesting. When I first learned about Nutek and really understood that soy was the base of what was working here in the product, I had no idea that soy had this sort of cleaning power to it. How did that all sort of come together? Because having used the products, it truly does work.
    CATHY: Thank you for trying them and I know you’ve been a huge supporter, so I appreciate that.
    Soy, in its basic formulation, is both soybean oil – that you would know; soybean oil that’s extruded from the bean – and then there is a solvent base which you can add to soy which is known as soy methyl ester. And soy methyl ester is a little bit – well, very similar to those product characteristics of a mineral spirit, except it’s not toxic.
    LESLIE: Oh.
    CATHY: It’s even certified for safe use around food.
    TOM: Well, that’s terrific. And I think a lot of us tend to go straight to the chemical route when it comes to choosing a cleaning product but the truth is that natural products have been around a lot longer and offer just as great an experience without the risk of harming your health.
    CATHY: Exactly.
    LESLIE: Now I mean it’s really interesting because I’ve been familiarizing myself with a lot of your products – specifically the Simply Soy and, most recently, the GRIME OFF – and when it got time to start our grilling season, I grabbed for the GRIME OFF wipes and took one look at the propane tank on my grill and saw all the overspill of sauce and what have you from the season before and went right at it. And it was amazing how quickly the GRIME OFF truly took away all of the yuck that had built up on the tank; so much so that I grabbed that little, silver dish underneath – you know, that catches all of the …
    TOM: All the grease.
    CATHY:  Oh, yeah.
    LESLIE: … grease and juices that sort of fall off at the bottom. And I know for three bucks I could have replaced it but with one GRIME OFF wipe and a little bit of elbow grease from myself, that was spotless.
    CATHY: Super. You know, the GRIME OFF, it’s an amazing detergent cleaner which is 100-percent nontoxic, 100-percent natural cleaning product which, actually, we were just certified to a Boeing standard for use on aircrafts to clean the entire outside, the landing gear, stripping off brake dust and grime from landing an airplane.
    LESLIE: Oh, wow.
    CATHY: You can’t imagine. It just – three GRIME OFF wipes, I completely cleaned the landing gear.
    LESLIE: That’s truly amazing.
    Now what about for the grill interior itself? I mean it truly – the grill plates get so disgusting and the interior of the grill itself. Can I use some of these products on the inside as well?
    CATHY: You know, actually we’ve been working on a process for putting together an entire maintenance-and-restoration packet for grills and you certainly can. And what I’ve done on my own grill – and in fact, we have a little video link that I’ll send you for your website – we basically spray all grill plates and pieces of metal on the grill with Simply Soy and you let it sit for a couple of minutes and then use your regular grill brush and it will just eat the grime off your grill. And then use a Simply Soy wipe to finish cleaning off the debris that’s left.
    And what a process. I mean after spraying the Simply Soy wipe, I run my fingernail down the grate and show the debris just peeling off. I mean it’s a magnificent video. And really, you can just scrub away at it with a brush hog and just whatever you use to clean your grill and it just flies right off. And then the wipe obviously cleans the grill and leaves it beautiful-looking.
    LESLIE: You know, Cathy, everything is just so amazing. Where can we run out and pick it up today?
    CATHY: You know you can always get things on our website and from our company store. But we are very blessed in the last year. We’ve only had our products out a year and we are in Home Depot, Ace, True Value, Northern Tool, Kroger. We just got into Tractor Supply, Advance Auto. We’re really beginning to get traction in the marketplace. So those are the stores that you can find us in and there’s a store locator on our website for your ease of use.
    TOM: Now here’s the real test of a green company. Is your packaging also green?
    CATHY: You know, I love this question and thank you so much for asking it. (Tom chuckles) We use soy ink.
    TOM: Wow.
    CATHY: We use recyclable and recycled cardboard or corrugated for our boxes. We use aluminum cans because they’re a third less weight for travel and for freight; recyclable, at that. And we fill with nitrogen gas, which is a 100-percent safe gas. And we use recyclable plastic in our actuators or our nozzles on our products. So we really go at it to be true and sincere to a green message; not just greenwashing in who we are.
    LESLIE: Well, the products are fantastic. Congratulations.
    TOM: The website is NutekGreen.com. That’s N-u-t-e-k-Green.com. The CEO is Cathy Horton.
    Cathy, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and showing what a powerful additive soy can be to our cleaning arsenal.
    CATHY: Thank you so much for having me and for being such gracious hosts. I’m very grateful.
    LESLIE: Alright. Well, are the cramped bathroom quarters around your money pit driving you bonkers? You can actually save space and make a small bath seem much bigger with a few simple ideas. We’re going to tell you all about them, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: You should pick up the phone right now and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Why? Well, because you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a great prize because this hour we’re giving away a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators, which is enough to redo the floors in at least one room of your house. Now Lumber Liquidators is a great company. They’ve got everything from hardwood to engineered wood, green flooring options, bamboo floor, laminates. You name it. And they’ve got stores in nearly every state and if they don’t have a store near you, no problem because they’ll ship just about anywhere. Lumber Liquidators – hardwood floors for less. We’ve got a $500 gift card going to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. And maybe your summer project is to tackle that small bathroom in your money pit that’s kind of driving you a little bit up the wall just because you don’t have a lot of space in there.
    Well, a small bath really doesn’t have to be a problem bathroom. You know there are plenty of products out there that you can install, without a major makeover, to make that tiny space more functional. For example, you can consider a corner sink. Whether it’s pedestal-style or wall-mounted, a corner sink really does free up a ton of floor space.
    Now, setting up space-saving storage elsewhere in the room means you don’t need the traditional cabinet and vanity and a smaller bowl still provides plenty of capacity to do all your washing needs.
    TOM: Now another sink option is the vessel-style, which is mounted on a scaled-down cabinet or other furnishing that provides a bit of storage. Now you’ve seen these vessel-style sinks before. They look like bowls and they sit on top of the wood vanity cabinet. They look really cool and it’s sort of an old-fashioned look but there are a lot of very modern-looking vessels that really pull it nicely together.
    There’s also a flat-top tank option that gives you another storage spot. And whether you place organizers directly on top of it or take advantage of the wall space above, you can definitely hang a cabinet or some shelves for some more storage.
    So no matter how big or small your bathroom is, there are lots of space-saving solutions for you to take advantage of.
    888-666-3974 is the number that you need to take advantage of, though, if you have a home improvement question. Let’s see who we can help next.
    LESLIE: Josh in Pennsylvania is calling about a foundation. What can we do for you?
    JOSH: I own a home. It’s over 100 years old. I recently bought the home; I’d say, within the year.
    TOM: OK.
    JOSH: And it has a stone foundation that takes on some water. The whole basement does not flood. It’s almost like it’s concaved on one side where it leaks in a little bit and runs down into a hole where there’s a sump pump.
    TOM: Right.
    JOSH: I guess my question is: one, I had it quoted to get it “repaired.” Their definition of repaired was dig up the cement there; put a drain under it.
    TOM: Right.
    JOSH: Or two, just get cement and smooth over the whole basement and just clean up the walls with cement, pretty much.
    TOM: Yeah, and neither of those solutions will work. OK? You know, just the other day, we had a call from a writer at the New York Times that had this exact same question for an article that she was working on and I’ll tell you exactly what we told her. You almost never, ever need to install an underground drainage system like that.
    LESLIE: Uh-uh.
    TOM: And in fact, doing so does not stop the walls from getting wet; will not protect the walls from caving in. Because the water collecting outside those walls will remain whether or not you collect it on the inside or not. And especially when you have a solid wall, there’s going to be no relief in pressure whatsoever. So the solution is how do we stop the walls from leaking without tearing up the inside of the house. The question is how do we stop the walls from leaking without tearing up the inside of the house and the answer to that is outside drainage, outside drainage and outside drainage.
    Look at the gutter system. If you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it’s clean, free-flowing, the downspouts are extended four to six feet away from the foundation perimeter, and look at the angle of the soil around the house. It’s probably flat. It’s probably settled over the years. Add clean fill dirt – not topsoil; clean fill dirt. Tamp it down, pack it down. Should drop about six inches over four feet. And those two things alone will solve 95 percent of all wet basement problems.
    JOSH: OK. Wonderful. I appreciate both of your help. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, if you do it right, window replacement is always a good way to increase energy efficiency and cut your heating and cooling cost. But not all window replacement projects are created equally. We’ll have tips on the easiest ways to get that done at your house, 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: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And since we are all very tech-savvy these days, why not add The Money Pit to your Facebook page? You guys can totally fan The Money Pit. All you have to do is text, “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 right from your cell phone and you will be immediately added as a friend to The Money Pit.
    TOM: And you can also send us an e-mail message by logging onto MoneyPit.com or you can even post it to our Facebook page and you perhaps will get a very prompt and thorough answer just like Frank did from California.
    LESLIE: Alright, Frank writes: “I want to replace windows and walls of stucco. What is the best way to cut and remove the stucco?”
    TOM: The best thing to do, Frank, is to not cut and remove the stucco but to use a replacement window. Now a replacement window is automatically made to any size that you need and it would fit inside the frame of the old window; therefore allowing you to insert a brand new window without damaging the stucco, which is very difficult to get back in good shape. So I would tell you to use replacement windows and, in fact, we have a free download online at MoneyPit.com on the home page, “Your Complete Replacement Window Guide,” right there so you can actually get some tips on how to choose the windows, how to get them installed, what the glass options are. It’s all free at MoneyPit.com.
    LESLIE: Alright, Edwina in New Jersey writes: “I love your show. We have two fiberglass showers – hunter green and gray. They look worn, scratched and water-stained. Is there a product that can revive the showers to a new look? We don’t have the money to replace them.”
    TOM: Yes, two things. First of all, clean them. Make sure you use CLR, which will get rid of all of the mineral deposits from the water. And then secondly, head to a marine store and get fiberglass polish; like what’s used on boats. That has a very slight abrasive in it. It will remove any fine scratches and leave it looking much, much better without you having to replace those doors, Edwina.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? You can use car wax on the walls only – only on the walls – once everything is super-sparkly-clean and that soap scum won’t even stick to it.
    TOM: Hey, you need a new way to get and stay organized? A good place to start might be to get all that clutter off your desk and onto the wall where it’s easy to see and easily accessible. Leslie has a great idea on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: Yeah, but there’s got to be a method to your madness. You can’t just start tacking everything up on the wall; then it’s a whole other area for clutter. So let’s start by actually creating something that you can use for storage.
    Now, Homasote, it’s a compressed, gray paperboard. You can find it at a traditional lumberyard.
    TOM: Made in New Jersey, by the way.
    LESLIE: Is it really?
    TOM: Yeah. Homasote capital of the world.
    LESLIE: That’s fantastic. Who knew?
    TOM: Yeah, New Jersey is known for a couple of things: Homasote and pork roll.
    LESLIE: The Sopranos?
    TOM: Pork roll. And The Sopranos, yeah.
    LESLIE: Oh, OK. (both chuckle) Well, the Homasote – which we now know comes from New Jersey – it’s basically a compressed, gray paperboard and it makes for a terrific pushpin-holding organizer for you and your family. It’s sold just like any other lumber sheet product; in 4×8-foot sheets. And what you can do is you can cut it or, for a couple extra bucks here and there, maybe your home center will cut it for you. I know my local one does. And you can cut them to a variety of sizes that are going to work for your space.
    Then take that piece home and cover it with fabric. Now you can staple right into the backside of each panel and then you can use the fabric as is; just for a decorative background. Or you can take some ribbon and create a decorative grid, maybe on the diamond pattern; maybe sort of like a tic-tac-toe board. This way you can actually have just something a little bit more fancy on your board or maybe even tuck cards over those strings of ribbon. It’s really a nice way to just get your family organized.
    And then what you do once you’ve got it all made, you just hang your new organizer on the wall by attaching a picture hanger right on the back. All you need are thumbtacks, clips and you are good to go. It looks great and, I promise, it will help keep you organized.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
    Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to talk about hurricane season and the summer storms that can not only damage your house; they can also damage trees in your yard. We’ll have tips on how to care for storm-damaged trees from This Old House lawn-and-garden expert Roger Cook, next time on The Money Pit.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    (Copyright 2010 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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