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How To Maintain Your Lawn in the Heat of Summer, How to Save Water and Money When Washing Your Car, Learn the Best Kitchen Counters for Your Needs, 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: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now because we are here to help you with your home improvement project, your home decorating project, your home repair project. If it’s a project that you’d like to get done around your house, something that’s going to help you turn your house from house to home to castle, pick up the phone and call us. That’s your first step. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, much of the country is still in a very serious drought. And with the record high temperatures we’ve all been enjoying but also suffering through, it’s not going to get any better real soon. So one way you can do to try to sort of do your part to save a bit of water is to change the way you wash your car at home. We’re going to give you some tips on how to get that done and save water in the process, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: I’m going to take that as I don’t have to wash my car?

    Alright, guys. You know, also with the heat, it really is a hard time to maintain that beautiful, lush, green lawn that we all like looking at. So we’re going to tell you why letting your grass go a little brown could actually be the best thing for your lawn.

    TOM: And kitchen redos can take a big chunk of your home improvement budget. So, when picking your countertop, make sure you make the right choice for your style, décor and budget. We’re going to go over some of your options on kitchen counters and try to figure out what might work best for you.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, a great prize for any weekend warrior. We’re giving away a case of LIQUID NAILS Heavy-Duty Adhesive plus a $100 gift card to The Home Depot.

    Now, LIQUID NAILS is the go-to construction adhesive for many of the toughest jobs, like your counters, your cabinets, drywall, plywood, more. I mean it really will hold just about anything.

    TOM: So give us a call right now. Let’s get to those phones. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: We’ve got Terri in Pennsylvania on the line who’s got a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    TERRI: I have white aluminum gutters and on the gutters that face the southern exposure, the part of the gutter that faces out is turning black and there’s like – where the water runs off it, it’s like a dark gray and just water drips all along the face of the gutter.

    TOM: Right. So does it seem like the gutters are overflowing and the water is coming over the top and getting these sort of drip marks? Is that what’s going on?

    TERRI: Well, yeah. I have what’s called a “gutter insert” to keep the leaves out. And I know that – well, I’m pretty sure that that’s not causing it, because I had the same problem when I lived on Long Island. And it was only the gutters that faced south and on Long Island, we had a white aluminum top to the gutter to keep the leaves out?

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    TERRI: And then the water would roll off of that and then go into the – it would be caught into the gutter. So, it’s a different type of leaf system but I’m still having the same black drip.

    TOM: Right. OK. So, first of all, I would make sure that the gutters are not blocked and that water isn’t backing up and overflowing that particular gutter, so that – because that water rolling over the top of it, it can get behind it, it can rot out your fascia.

    The dark stains are probably from the water and tree sap and everything else that gets into those gutters. The gutters also fade quite easily; the paint wears off and fades quite easily. So I don’t think it’s a stain that you’re going to actually have to be able to clean. I think what you’re going to end up having to do here, Terri, is repaint those gutters.

    So what I would do is I would wash them down with a trisodium phosphate, get as much of that gunk off. Then I would prime them and I would paint them again. But just – but do make sure that they’re not clogged, because that could be leading to the problem.

    TERRI: But yeah – no, they’re definitely not clogged. And I tried scrubbing it – the ones that aren’t on the second story, where it’s worse. The ones that are on the first story, I tried cleaning it with a Fantastik and it bleeds into the stain a little bit but I didn’t realize that the aluminum gutters – was it like a hydrostatic or electrostatic painting process?

    TOM: What happens is – and you’ll see this: if you take the gutter and you wipe your hand over it, you’ll probably get some white paint that will come off. It oxidizes because it’s exposed to UV. And so then the paint doesn’t tend to last more than maybe 10 years or so on aluminum gutters.

    So I think, though, if you clean off as much of this thing as you can, prime it and paint it, it’ll look great.

    TERRI: Alright. Great. I’ll give it a try.

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

    LESLIE: Chris in Colorado is on the line dealing with some bathroom mold. Tell us about it.

    CHRIS: Well, I have tenants living in a rental of mine and as it turns out, I think there were several people using the shower downstairs. And subsequently, we’ve got a lot of mold on the walls. They’re taking off here at the end of July and I want to go in there and completely take all that mold out of there and paint it or put something in place to try and help prevent that from happening again. What can I do?

    LESLIE: OK. Now, where are you seeing this mold? Is it strictly on the caulk? Is it on the ceiling?

    CHRIS: It’s on the ceiling, on the walls. Just right around the shower.

    LESLIE: And what is your bathroom venting situation? Do you have a vent fan? Is it just a window?

    CHRIS: There’s no window. There is a vent. However, I think the vent fan could probably be replaced. I’m not – I think the last time I checked it, it was working but it was somewhat weak.

    LESLIE: Now, that’s – the big cause of your problem there is the venting situation.

    So first off, let’s get rid of the mold. You’re going to want to clean your ceiling with a bleach-and-water solution. Be very careful, obviously, because you’re working overhead. But you want to just do that to kill the mold spores and get rid of what’s already up there.

    Once that’s done and it’s dry, then I say prime the ceiling, the walls with a really good-quality primer like a KILZ or one of those B-I-N Zinsser primers. Prime everything and then go ahead and paint everything.

    And replace that vent fan. You want to get something that’s really powerful, that’s properly vented to the exterior. And you might want to, because it’s a tenant situation and it’s not somebody that you can sort of be on top of to make sure they’re putting it on and there’s no window, you may want to have it installed with an occupancy sensor. So that when someone walks into the bathroom, it triggers that vent fan to come on. It’ll run while they’re in there and then after they leave, it’s set to stay on for 10, 15 minutes.

    This way, when they’ve showered and have opened the door, that’s when you get that high points of condensation, because you’ve got that moist air from the shower and it’s warm and then you get the cool air from opening the door. And then suddenly, you get condensation on every surface. So that could be the best plan of attack, especially since these are people that you’re renting to.

    CHRIS: Terrific. Well, thank you so much for your help.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Chris. 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. Well, we are just a few, short weeks to Labor Day, so if you’ve got some projects that you want to get done before the summer season sadly officially ends, you are on a timer, my friend. Pick up the phone, give us a call. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, as a handy do-it-yourselfer, you probably wash your car at home. But is this the best way to save money and water? We’re going to teach you the environmentally-savvy way to keep your vehicle sparkling clean, 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.

    (theme song)

    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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, because we’re going to help you with all your home improvement projects. And one of you lucky callers who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win – it’s a pretty great prize. It’s a $100 gift card to The Home Depot – courtesy of our proud sponsor, LIQUID NAILS – plus a case of LIQUID NAILS Heavy-Duty Adhesive.

    And I’m betting that most of you do-it-yourselfers out there are very familiar with LIQUID NAILS. It’s definitely a go-to adhesive for just tons and tons of projects.

    TOM: That’s right. And this heavy-duty adhesive type works really well on countertops, plywood, cabinets, you name it. It’s got exceptional holding power, it’s great at filling gaps and it’ll bond, really, the heaviest materials. It’s durable, it’s flexible and the weatherproof bond can definitely outlast any project.

    Call us right now for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Janet in Georgia on the line who wants help with a decking project. What’s going on at your money pit?

    JANET: I just had a deck built last month and already, some of the boards are kind of shrinking because it’s been raining on and off a little bit.

    TOM: Right.


    JANET: And I was wondering when it would be the best time to stain the wood. Is it that I’m staining it against the water or I’m just staining it in general?

    LESLIE: OK. Do you know what material your deck was made out of?

    JANET: We bought the wood at Home Depot. It was supposed to be a pretreated wood?

    LESLIE: So just a pressure-treated lumber.

    JANET: Pressure-treated. That’s correct.

    LESLIE: OK. So, really, what I always do with a pressure-treated lumber, just because of the fact that they inject a different type of chemical into the wood itself to make it weather-resistant – so it can be a little wet. And since you’re dealing with a high-moisture situation in your weather anyway, you might just want to give it the summer season to sort of dry out as best it can. And then in the autumn – when you’re dealing with some drier, low-humidity weather – it could be a great time to put a finish on it.

    Now, you do want to let it dry out. So if you’re dealing with some wet weather as you’re getting into a weekend that you want to work on the project, wait until you’ve had a good few days of dryness and you know it’s going to be dry the day you’re working, so that that wood does get a chance to dry out. And then depending on how it looks and the look that you want, I definitely wouldn’t paint it, because paint is just going to sit right on top of that lumber and then just peel off throughout the winter season and you’ll have to do something again in the spring.

    JANET: Right. I really didn’t want painting, because I just like the look of the wood. And I know that there’s something that I have to do every so often. They tell me every year I’d have to stain it or something.

    LESLIE: It really depends on what manufacturer’s stain that you buy. And keep in mind there’s solid-color stains and there’s semi-transparent stains. So if you want to see the grain in the wood, you’ll want to go with something more semi-transparent so that you’ll actually get some color or just some natural tone. And you’ll be able to see that grain through it.

    And you want to apply it just in the way that the manufacturer says. And you’re probably going to get about three years on horizontal surfaces, maybe five on vertical before you’ve got to tackle it again. Depends on how dry that lumber is on that decking when you do put the stain on.

    JANET: OK. That sounds good.

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

    LESLIE: Well, this is the peak season for water conservation, as drought conditions are truly blanketing the country. I mean it is hot. So saving water right now is good for your wallet and really best for the environment. But if you’ve got to wash your car at home and you want to save some money on water, you’re way off base. Get this: it actually makes more sense to go to a car wash.

    TOM: You know, after lawn waterings, summer car-washing at home produces the largest demand for water use. But professional car washes actually use less than one-tenth of one percent of the water used in a municipality daily.

    So, you also need to think about the detergents and the chemicals that you’re sending into the groundwater when you wash your vehicle at home, especially if that detergent is going to run into your lawn and your landscaping and your kids are going to play on that.

    Now, many professional car washes send their water into a separate drainage system that recycles it. And so, that not only saves on the resources, it keeps the chemicals out of storm sewers. So if you want to save water, one thing you might not want to do yourself is wash your car at home and that’s why.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got John in North Carolina.

    Welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you today?

    JOHN: I’d like to ask a question about a product that is one of your sponsor’s, I guess: the Wet & Forget Mold and Mildew Remover.

    TOM: Yes. OK. How can we help?

    JOHN: OK. Hearing what you have said and reading the label on it, I’m wondering if it’s appropriate for my application. I have a second-floor balcony, which is supported underneath by floor joists that are pressure-treated wood.

    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: Alright? That is exposed to the point where it’s starting to get a little mold and mildew on it and I would like to remove that and then stain it. It had never been stained. It’s about three years old.

    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: I have the Wet & Forget product but a couple things about it – it said and you have said, as I’ve heard in one of your programs, that the direct sun is one of the activators for it and also that it kind of depends to do its work on rainwater. Well, in that situation, those joists underneath are always in the shade and the water that it gets is not direct rain but it’s just sort of bleed-through between the decking above.

    TOM: Right.

    JOHN: Also, it is a vertical application as opposed to a horizontal one. And in that situation, they say if it is not fully exposed to rainfall or is vertical, some assistance may be required. Can you give me some idea of what that means and if I’m just barking up the wrong tree in trying to use this product?

    TOM: Well, I suspect when they say “some assistance might be required” means you may have to wet it down from time to time if it’s not getting the moisture that it needs to activate. Now, do you have any sun in this particular area or is it totally in the shade all the time?

    JOHN: Well, there’s lots of sunlight in the area but because it’s underneath that deck, it doesn’t get any direct sun.

    TOM: Yeah. Right. But I don’t think it has to get – it has to get sunlight; it doesn’t have to get direct beaming, the heat of the sun.

    JOHN: OK.

    TOM: I’ve never – in all the times I’ve talked with these folks and interviewed some of the chemists, I’ve never heard that it has to be fully exposed. Because, frankly, a lot of areas aren’t fully exposed and secondly, a lot of mold and mildew and algae situations happen because areas are covered.

    JOHN: Sure.

    TOM: And so it’s always good for driveways and sidewalks and areas that get like that. And a lot of times, that happens because they’re under trees and that sort of thing.

    So, I think it would probably work. I think it’s a low cost of entry for you to give this a try.

    JOHN: Yeah.

    TOM: I wouldn’t do anything aside apply it and following label directions. And then if you find, after a week or two, that you’re not seeing much difference, then you might want to try to get into a situation where you perhaps wet it down from time to time.

    JOHN: OK. Any problem with it on pressure-treated wood as a surface?

    TOM: No, none at all. In fact, it’s supposed to work on pressure-treated wood.

    JOHN: Yeah.

    TOM: Look, I used it on a porch that was completely covered by a roof.

    JOHN: Yeah.

    TOM: And open on the sides but it had a total roof. And it did a great job.

    JOHN: OK. Alright. Alright. Now, the fact that it’s a vertical surface, even though they say that that may require some assistance, that’s still, in your experience, a good application.

    TOM: Well, absolutely. There’s a lot of photos I’ve seen of tests that they’ve done with the stuff on railing systems, for example, which are always vertical, where it seems to work pretty well. In fact, these guys are now working on a new product that’s going to take mold out of a bathroom. It’s specifically designed to work on tile.

    JOHN: Oh, OK.

    TOM: So I don’t know how they figured this out with the sunlight component but I’m looking forward to giving it a try, because it’s a constant battle.

    LESLIE: And it’s a special formulation for the interior, as well.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s a constant battle.

    JOHN: Alright. Thank you, Tom.

    LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina is on the line with some hail damage and then a roof leak and now the water stain that won’t go away. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAURA: You hit the nail on the head. We had hail damage about a year ago and we’ve gotten the roof fixed and they changed the plywood up there. But when the roof leaked, it left some brown spots on the ceiling.


    LAURA: And it’s in the kitchen, which leads into the – and then the next room over is the sunroom and then the bathroom’s right next door to the kitchen. And it’s left this brown spot and we’ve tried to putty over it, like use a little jar of plaster and cover over it and paint it. We’ve tried primer and painting it and it still keeps on soaking through or the brown keeps showing through. And we don’t know what to do to fix that.

    LESLIE: And you’re certain that the leak has been repaired?

    LAURA: Yeah. It was really soggy and they could put their foot – in fact, one of them put their foot through. So they changed all that plywood out and changed the – because it was right by where those little three spouts are, those vents? And they’ve changed all that around there and put new flashing around it and everything. And yeah, I mean it’s not wet; it’s just these brown spots keep haunting us and they won’t go away.

    TOM: OK. What kind of primer did you use when you – did you use a water-base primer or oil-base?

    LAURA: It was a water-base.

    TOM: OK. So what I want you to try is use oil-based primer. Assuming that it is, in fact, dry, if you use an oil-based primer, that’s going to stop it. Because there’s a chemical reaction that happens sometimes with these water stains and the material that gets into them that will just leach through paint. And it’s particularly bad with water-based paints.

    But I want you to use an oil-based primer. This is going to seal in anything that’s there and once it dries, you should be able to use a latex paint on top of that without any problems. And you will not see it come through again.

    LAURA: Oh, good to – in fact, we’ve been using a water-based paint, too.

    TOM: Well, the water-based paint is OK but only on top of the oil-based primer. So go buy a good-quality KILZ or B-I-N is another brand, made by Zinsser. Just a good-quality, oil-based primer should do the trick.

    LAURA: Oh, wonderful. OK. We didn’t even think of that. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Laura.

    LAURA: Thank you. OK. Bye bye.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, the options that you’ve got available for kitchen-countertop choices has really just exploded lately. We’re going to talk about how to pick the right surface for your individual needs, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.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: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. And with much of the country suffering extreme heat right now, that goes side by side with extreme power outages as the summer storms tend to knock us out. That’s why it’s a good time to think about standby power, how to ride out power outages in light of a big storm. And we’ve got tips on how to do that, on our website at MoneyPit.com. Just search “power outage” and you will be led right to those pages.

    LESLIE: Now I’ve got Rosie in Iowa who’s got a window question.

    Hey, Rosie. What’s going on? How can we help you?

    ROSIE: We have Andersen Windows, which we just love the low-E glass on the first level. We want to put some – keep the hot sun and the cold out in the – we want to put new windows on the third level, in the bedroom, the guest rooms.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Yep.

    ROSIE: Can you suggest what type of window? We’d have to do a replacement window.

    TOM: Yeah. Andersen has a replacement window called the 400 Series. It’s a tilt-wash window, so like a double-hung that tilts down for cleaning. And it’s specifically a replacement window.

    So, you order the window to fit the size of your existing windows there that you’re going to replace. And you can order it at The Home Depot. And I think the average cost is about $300 across the country, more or less, depending on size and features. But that’s a good window. It’s got high-performance glass in it; it’s got low-E4 glass in it.

    ROSIE: Oh, we just love the ones we put in the basement. You can leave it – the window – open. You know, I’ve got plants down there and it doesn’t even feel warm, the sun.

    TOM: Yeah. Take a look at the Andersen 400 Series Window at The Home Depot, OK?

    ROSIE: Well, we were thinking about a cheaper one, like Window World or somewhere like that.

    TOM: Why do that? You’ve had great experience with Andersen and the price is pretty fair. The average price is about 300 bucks.

    ROSIE: Thank you so much. And that was Series 400?

    TOM: Series 400. 400 Series. That’s correct.

    ROSIE: 400. Well, now you want to come and put them in for me? You’re so good at it and I know you love extra money.

    TOM: I can’t do that but I’m sure the pros at The Home Depot could help. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, kitchen counters serve as the work surface for family life. It’s where you prepare food, eat your family meals, perhaps even pay bills and help your kids with their homework.

    TOM: And if you’re thinking of replacing your countertop, there’s lots to think about when it comes to choosing the right materials. Here with tips to help us sort it all out is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Thank you, guys. Great to be here.

    TOM: Now, the most basic countertop material is laminate. But that conjures up images of kitchens that can qualify, truly, as antiques. That’s a material, though, that’s making a comeback.

    KEVIN: Well, it has been around for a very long time but it is completely different today than it used to be. And it has got some great features to laminate. You can get a lot of better looks out there right now. It’s very durable and one of the most attractive features: it is not expensive at all.

    TOM: And lots of colors besides avocado green and Pepto-Bismol pink.

    KEVIN: That’s right. I have to confess: I’ve got it in my own house.

    LESLIE: On purpose or you sort of moved into it?

    KEVIN: Well, I moved into it but I haven’t changed it. And I may update it at some time but I’ve got three young kids and it takes a beating and it looks alright.

    TOM: It does. And we should talk about how laminate is made. It’s a resin with a transparent layer that protects it. And laminate is used not only for countertops today but for floors. And it can actually be quite durable with the new technology.

    KEVIN: Yeah. It’s going to withhold against scratches, it’s going to take a beating over the years, it’s actually going to put up with some heat. And so it’s served us very well and there’s no reason we should dispense with it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that, really, today you could have it look like anything. I’ve seen beautiful laminates that look like butcher block, really creative colors and patterns. So, it’s a really interesting lifestyle choice for your kitchen and one that’s affordable.

    Now, I think one of the countertop materials that people really sort of look up to when it comes to kitchens are natural stone surfaces. How do you feel about those?

    KEVIN: I love them. I’ve got laminate in my house right now but my previous house, when we renovated, we upgraded to granite. I think it’s a great way to actually put a big splash in a particular room and there a lot of great features. Stone is very durable, as well. There are a lot of choices out there. And people just like the look. It’s a good feel and it’s a good look.

    TOM: Now, ceramic tile is actually pretty popular these days and I think it is because it’s a very do-it-yourself kind of a project.

    KEVIN: Do-it-yourself, lots of choices out there. You put it down in small pieces, you lay it out. The one thing I would say with ceramic tile is that you’re going to have grout between the individual tiles.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: And that’s going to be a surface that needs to be sealed and could potentially get dirty after a lot of wear.

    TOM: And the best time to do that is right after you put it down.

    KEVIN: Absolutely.

    TOM: Because wait a week and you can be sure there’s going to be tomato sauce or something worse spilled on it.

    KEVIN: No doubt.

    LESLIE: Now, Kevin, one other counter material that’s really growing in popularity and certainly is gorgeous would be concrete. But is that a do-it-yourself project?

    KEVIN: Well, it’s interesting that you bring this up, because we have actually put in several concrete countertops on This Old House over the last couple years, so I agree. I think they are becoming more popular.

    Now, in 90 percent of the cases, I would say, it has been done by a professional. But there are some kits that you can buy that allow you to create a form, pour the concrete in, trowel it down and you’ll have yourself a nice concrete countertop.

    TOM: Now, that’s a fun project. But one that you can’t do yourself is solid-surface material. Now, I’ve got those in my house. They’re beautiful but it’s not DIY.

    KEVIN: No, it’s not DIY. But the material is incredibly durable. They’re typically non-porous, so they really put up with a lot of wear and tear. You’re not going to have to worry about things like bacteria. And again, the choices? Every year, there seems to be more choices out there. It’s a sharp look.

    TOM: And because it’s solid-surface, if you get a little ding or a scratch, you can actually sand it out.

    KEVIN: Sand it out and patch it.

    TOM: Something else that you can sand is butcher block.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I think that’s really sort of a classic kitchen touch: a butcher-block countertop. But they really require a lot of maintenance to sort of keep your family safe, right?

    KEVIN: On the scale of sort of maintenance, this is probably highest up there right now. They’re not going to be as strong, so the knife cuts are going to get in there. But also, you want to make sure that you don’t get any bacteria buildups. They have to be kept clean all of the time.

    TOM: Now, speaking of safety, there was a concern some years ago about granite countertops containing radon. I never really made very much of it. What do you think?

    KEVIN: Well, radon is typically found in our basements and there are systems out there to mitigate any radon buildup. They actually have fans that pull the air out from underneath the slab and then they exhale it away from the house. I’ve heard these reports that the EPA has found trace amounts but generally, I think the final analysis is they haven’t determined that you can actually have enough radon from a granite countertop to cause any health trouble.

    TOM: Makes sense. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: My pleasure.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and some great step-by-step videos on many projects, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

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

    Well, up next, it’s about this time of year that you start to see some lawns go from velvety green to haystack brown. We’re going to have some tips on summer lawn survival, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by BATH FITTER, the one-day bathroom remodeling company. Call 866-654-BATH today for your free, in-home estimate or visit www.BATHFITTER.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 with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who does just that could win a $100 gift card from The Home Depot, courtesy of our proud sponsor, LIQUID NAILS. Plus, we will toss in a case of LIQUID NAILS Heavy-Duty Adhesive.

    I am betting that most DIYers are probably pretty familiar with LIQUID NAILS. It is definitely a go-to adhesive. When you need it, nothing else will do.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And you know what? The heavy-duty type of their adhesive really works well on their counters, cabinets, plywood, you name it. It’s really got superb holding power and it’s great at gap-filling. And it’s going to bond the heaviest of materials.

    It’s durable, flexible and it’s weatherproof. So it’s really going to outlast – pretty much that bond will outlast your project if you want. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re going to help you tackle your home improvement project and give you the tools to do so.

    TOM: In fact, you just told me you were using it just last week to hang some drapes. So even there’s another use you didn’t think of, right?

    LESLIE: I did. I used it to put up sort of a track that glides little drapery slides for my sister’s apartment. It worked great.

    TOM: So lots and lots of uses.

    The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And of course, that $100 gift card comes in handy, as well. Give us a call right now. We’ll toss your name in the hard hat and we might be sending that $100 gift card and the case of LIQUID NAILS to you.

    Well, have you ever watched your lawn fade from luscious green to weed-field brown during these dog days of summer? You might feel a bit helpless but you just might want to take a chill pill, as my kids always say to me. Because you know what? It’s not all that bad and it’s actually quite normal. And you just might want to leave it alone.

    LESLIE: Yeah, chill out, man. You know that brown grass? It really doesn’t automatically mean that your lawn is dead. That brown grass can just mean that your lawn is taking a nap in the hot days of summer.

    I mean really, certain types of lawn do go dormant. So to deal with summer grass, first you want to cut back on how often you mow it. It’s actually best to keep your lawn a little bit longer in the heat of summer. Also, cutting too much can actually cause that grass to lose more moisture from those cut tips. And if your lawn is in pretty good shape, you can actually allow your grass to go into kind of a semi-dormant state by just cutting back on the watering. You know, you kind of want to condition it for those atmospheric conditions.

    TOM: Now, if brown is not your color and you prefer to water it, do so very early in the morning. This will give the lawn a chance to dry by nighttime. And that will make sure that you discourage problems like bugs and diseases. It’s usually best to water your lawn a couple of times a week pretty heavily to encourage that deep root growth, rather than sort of light watering every day.

    Now, if you want more tips on how to make sure your lawn can survive the summer, head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got lots of lawn-care advice waiting for you right there.

    LESLIE: Jason in Kentucky is on the line with a shingle question. What can we do for you?

    JASON: I got a house in Kentucky and it’s a pretty old house but it’s got those asbestos shingles on it and I’d like to know what the cost would be to remove those shingles. I’ve heard it was kind of expensive but I’m not really sure on it.

    TOM: Well, first of all, the shingles are going to be contained – asbestos shingles are where it has asbestos contained in a cement binder. So it’s not very easy for that asbestos to be released to the air.

    LESLIE: Unless you completely shatter them and crumble them.

    TOM: Right. Now, in most jurisdictions, removal is not regulated but disposal is. So that means that anybody can really take them off the house but they have to be disposed of properly.

    So, what kind of siding are you thinking about putting on, Jason?

    JASON: I was wanting to put that vinyl siding on there and like you said, I know that you can’t really nail that stuff on there because once you crack it, it’s airborne and you can’t do that.

    TOM: Well, that’s true and a lot of siding companies will do that: they’ll nail right through that stuff. And I always think that’s a very bad practice, so I would encourage you to take it off. I don’t think it should be terribly expensive. It’s all outside, it’s held inside of a cement binder. If you’re concerned about dust, sometimes you can wet it down; that will cut back on that. Wear the appropriate respiratory protection.

    But you can get that off and then just have it properly disposed of and then you’ll be able to put the new vinyl right onto the sheathing.

    LESLIE: And Tom, when you’ve removed this before, your trick was to sort of tap the nail completely through the shingle so that it …?

    TOM: Well, that was only if I was pulling one shingle off, like to do a repair.

    LESLIE: Not all of them.

    TOM: If you’re pulling them all off, you’re going to use a big, flat-ended sort of pry bar and lift them all off. But you’ll find that they come off pretty easily.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, if you are a parent, I’m sure, like us, your kids are your pride and joy despite the shocking and somewhat imaginative damage they can do to a house. We’re going to tell you how to fix some common, child-related mishaps, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    And hey, I’m talking to you, all of our tech-savvy listeners. You guys like us on the radio, right? Well, make sure you “like” us on Facebook, because it’s going to open the door to the best home improvement advice around. And you’ll also learn about our exclusive, weekly prize giveaways.

    And you can also get instant access to the newest Money Pit shows, articles and videos and get priority access to ask your question right here on the radio show. Just log on to our site, MoneyPit.com, and click the Facebook icon and you will find lots of great opportunities for home improvement fun right there.

    TOM: And you can post your question while you’re online, on our Facebook page. And that’s what Sue did from Oklahoma. She said a neighbor’s child poured a whole glass of juice into “my floor air-conditioning vent.” “The A/C seems to be running fine but do I need to worry about that causing problems down the road?”

    No, I …

    LESLIE: “The whole house smells like apples. Should I be …?”

    TOM: Yeah, it probably smells quite pleasant. Well, sort of orange-y or apple-y, depending on what kind of juice she poured down there, you know? But I don’t think it’s going to be much of a problem, Sue. Frankly, to clean that, you’d have to take the duct apart. I just don’t think it’s worth it. It will evaporate. It’ll be sticky but heck, you’re not going to have to touch it. So don’t sweat it, Sue. Just watch the kid next time she comes over to play, will you?

    LESLIE: Move a little table over that vent.

    Alright. Mandy in New York wrote in: “I have a very high-traffic hall in my home that has wall-to-wall carpeting. I have two young kids and many spills. I really wanted carpeting but what kind of advice do you have?”

    TOM: Well, if you really want carpeting, I would definitely go low-pile, like maybe a Berber or something like that? And I would buy a good-quality carpet that is stain-resistant. And I would keep plenty of carpet cleaner on hand, because the secret of most stains is the quicker you get that stain up, the less chance you’re going to have it’s going to cause an ongoing problem. If you let it sit for a while, especially if it’s anything that has acid in it, it tends to lighten the carpet and not come out.

    Sometimes people call us and say, “How do I get this stain out? I’ve tried everything.” Well, you can’t, because whatever it was discolored the carpet. So, if you really want to have carpet in that hall, good-quality carpet and just be mindful and keep the carpet cleaner nearby.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Mandy? There’s actually a carpet – a wall-to-wall carpet – that you can look at, from Mohawk. And they’ve done some crazy testing where they’ve actually carpeted a pen for elephants at the Atlanta Zoo or somewhere. And after however much time – and I mean I stupidly smelled the used one, because they had half of it concealed behind glass with a little window that was like, “Hey, Dummy Leslie.”

    TOM: Ew.

    LESLIE: You know me. I have to test everything. I was like, “Let me smell it.” I was like, “Why am I smelling this?” But the carpet that they cleaned, the other half was spotless, not smelly. So if it’s time to replace, definitely look at that Mohawk carpet, because it’s absolutely worth it.

    Alright. Next up – and don’t smell the dirty other one.

    Next up, I’ve got one from Sammy in Mass who writes: “My two-year-old redecorated the bath with his crayons. I got it off the tile but what about my matte-finish paint?”

    TOM: Ugh. Well, you’re going to have a hard time getting it off that matte-finish paint. First of all, you might be better off actually painting over it. But before you do that, you need to get as much of that crayon off as possible, because I’m concerned that the wax is going to not allow the paint to soak in and stick. So I would try to get it off as much as I can.

    I would put some primer over those spots, as well. Spot-prime them to cover the crayoned area and then repaint. This way, you’ll get good adhesion of that new color. And if it wasn’t done that long ago, well, perhaps you’ve got some extra paint waiting around just for these situations.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Sammy? Give a Magic Eraser a try first. I know with the matte paint, as soon as you wipe it with the Magic Eraser, you’re going to see a little bit of discoloration. But it could be tolerable. I swear that thing gets everything off of any surface, so it’s definitely worth it.

    If you don’t have a Magic Eraser in your house, what’s wrong with you? You’re a parent. Get 12. You’ll need them.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you lots of tips and advice and ideas, a bit of inspiration on how to get the stuff done around your house that you need to do. If you’ve got questions, 24-7, we’ve got answers. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com, post your question in the Community section or call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 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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