How to Make Sure Your Drinking Water is Safe, Steps for Installing a Drip Irrigation System, Call Before You Dig and more
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: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for joining us on this beautiful spring weekend: the first official, full weekend of spring. What are you working on in your money pit? We’d love to hear. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 and let’s talk about it.
Coming up this hour, the safety of our drinking water is on everyone’s mind as the situation in Flint, Michigan, continues to come to light. Have you ever thought about what you could do to make sure your water is safe? We’ll have some advice, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Alright. If you’re looking to save water, a drip-irrigation system, that might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s going to target your lawn and your plants and your shrubs. It’ll keep them green without overwatering areas that you don’t need to be watering and then, of course, you’ll save some money and some water.
TOM: We’ll have details on – just ahead. And this hour, we’re also giving away a case of LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It Adhesive. This is pretty cool stuff because it works pretty much on anything. It will cover wet, dry, rough, smooth, hot or cold surfaces. It’s a product worth about 85 bucks, so give us a call right now. It’s going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Head to Pennsylvania where Mike has a question about a bathtub. What can we help you with?
MIKE: I have an old, steel tub that’s actually rusting out. And had a few quotes on having it refinished versus – you know, there’s companies out there that’ll put vinyl inserts and all. Or is it better just to have it ripped out and put a brand-new tub in?
TOM: I would vote for having it ripped out and putting in a brand-new tub, because I don’t think that you’re going to be able to refinish it and be happy with that. Most of the refinishing – if it’s done professionally, it can be OK. But man, I’ll tell you what, it’s an awfully big project, it’s a very messy project. They have to use some pretty coarse chemicals to prep that tub and get it ready for the new finish. And then the new finishes are certainly not going to last as long as the original finish.
So I think it’s probably a good option for either a new tub or you could do sort of a tub insert. There are companies out there that make inserts that fit inside the existing tub. Priced, not so coincidentally, just slightly less than tearing out the tub and starting from scratch.
LESLIE: Right. But it’s done in a day.
MIKE: Alright. I just – I appreciate that. Thanks for your time.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got Trish in New Jersey on the line who’s got a remodeling question. What are you working on?
TRISH: I have a wall that goes between the kitchen and there’s a set of steps that go down to the basement.
TRISH: My question is – that it’s also a bearing wall. Is it worth it for me to go through the expense of taking this wall out? And then what do I do about the – when you take the wall out, it’s going to drop down to the basement steps right there.
TOM: Right. So, OK, it’s a big project, Trish. Really big project. Because when you take a wall out like that, you have to reinforce all the structure above it first. And you build the reinforcement, then you take the wall out. You reassemble it with different types of structural members – like laminated beams, for example – that run that span and allow you to have that sort of open space.
Now, you raise another good question, like, “OK, what happens to the basement stair?” Well, obviously, you’re going to need a railing there. So, it’s a really big project. I don’t know if that’s going to be worth it for you in terms of what you’re going to get out of this. What are you trying to achieve, from a design perspective?
TRISH: To have an open concept. And here’s another idea. There’s another wall that goes between the kitchen and the dining room and that’s just a small wall, because there’s a doorway there.
LESLIE: Trish, there are some other ways that you can actually make the rooms feel larger. Considering I don’t know the exact floor plan or the situation of the space – but if you’ve got some windows in, say, your dining room, on the wall opposite it, why not put a really large mirror over, perhaps, a service area or some sort of great storage cabinet? Because the mirror will sort of help bounce the light around and open up the space and make it feel larger. Using paint-color tricks, where you slightly change one wall color to a lighter hue in the same family, can make the space feel larger, as well.
Mirrors really are a huge help. I’m not talking about mirroring an entire wall but I am talking about – perhaps some strategically placed, really decorative mirrors will do the trick, as well.
These are all ways – furniture layout. If you can sort of keep the flow more open to encourage, you know, a good pass-through, that can help make the space feel larger, as well. So there are ways without taking on major construction projects.
TOM: That’ll make it look much bigger.
Trish, 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. Give us a call, let us know what you are working on. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We want to give you a hand to get your money pit looking the best it possibly can, 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, do the stories out of Flint, Michigan have you concerned about the condition of your drinking water? Learn how to make sure it’s safe, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. We’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat for an opportunity to win a case of the new LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It Adhesive. Now, this product bonds to pretty much everything and it creates a durable, flexible bond that’s about twice as strong as fasteners by themselves.
You could find it at Home Depot. You can visit LIQUIDNAILS.com to learn more. It’s worth 85 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Tom in Missouri is calling in with a pretty crazy question. His garage is pulling away from the house. Tell us what’s going on.
TOM IN MISSOURI: My garage is pulling away from the side of my house. And we determined it was a gutter-overflow problem and we got that rectified. And now I’m wondering how to get my garage back up where that it’s not pulling away from the house. It’s pulled away an inch or so.
TOM: OK. Once a building moves, because there is water that got under the foundation or whatever caused it to rotate, you can’t shove it back to kind of close that gap. So, you need to get used to it in its present position.
But tell me this: is the gap that’s opened up, is that a problem from a weather perspective? Is water getting into the building?
TOM IN MISSOURI: Yes.
TOM: Does the roof of the garage attach to the side of the building above it or next to it? Is that where the leakage issue is?
TOM IN MISSOURI: Yes.
TOM: Alright. So what you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to reflash that: essentially take apart the roofing in that area and replace it, reroof that 1- to 2-foot strip between the garage roof and the adjoining building. Because that’s pulled apart, I can only imagine that all of the flashing is extended and there’s lots of places for water to get in there. If you don’t do that, during driving rain the water will get down between the garage roof and the second-floor side wall of your house. And that’s going to cause leaks and rot and all kinds of problems.
So you’re going to have to tear out the roof where it joins the building and replace it. But now that you’ve fixed the gutter problem, you’ve got the foundation stable again, that should really take care of it for the long run.
Tom, good project for you there. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Karen in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KAREN: Yes. I had a tile floor put in my bathroom. And where you walk in, the tile has – the grout has tipped out. And so I called the tile guy and he came and he took that piece of tile out and regrouted it and it’s happening again. Is there something I can use just to seal that up or do we have to regrout it a third time?
TOM: Well, if the grout is falling out, then sealing it is not going to change anything. It sounds like the grout might have been not mixed correctly, perhaps it was too dry. Is it falling out in the same place that it fell out the first time?
LESLIE: Karen, is it a small tile or a large tile?
KAREN: I think it’s 12×12.
LESLIE: OK. And you’re not seeing any cracks in the tile? It’s just strictly on the grout?
KAREN: Yeah, just the grout is tipping out. And it’s just in the one place: the same place he replaced it.
TOM: Well, when you say he replaced it, did he just sort of fill in the missing areas or did he actually really physically take out all the old grout?
KAREN: He took out the old grout and put in a new tile.
TOM: You’re going to have to have the tile guy come back again, pull out the grout and try it one more time. But have him look this time, carefully, to see if there’s any movement in the floor there that’s causing this to happen. Because I agree with Leslie on this: I definitely think something’s going on there that’s causing it to loosen up. It shouldn’t be happening.
If the grout was not fully removed the first time, then I would think that maybe it just wasn’t adhering. But if it’s completely totally and completely removed and it’s still coming up, then I think that there’s something unstable about that floor surface and that’s why it’s popping up. You’re going to have to get the tile guy involved again. It’s definitely not a maintenance issue.
KAREN: OK. Well, I will do that for sure then.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, the news from Flint, Michigan, about contaminated water certainly is tragic and it might have many of you wondering if your water is safe. Now, even though our tap-water supplies are considered to be one of the safest in the world, water contamination, as we’ve all learned, can still occur, including things like sewage releases, naturally-occurring chemicals and minerals and even local runoff, like fertilizers and pesticides, that leak into the water.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, if you want to find out where your water ranks, you want to start with a local utility or municipality that sources your drinking water. Every community-water supplier must provide an annual report. Sometimes it’s called a Consumer Confidence Report. Now, this report provides information on your local drinking water’s quality, including the water source, contaminates that are found in the water and how consumers can get involved in protecting their drinking water.
TOM: Now, about 10 percent of the people in the United States rely on water from private wells. Now, if that’s you, you need to take special precautions to make sure your drinking water is safe. One potential problem is a breached septic system, for example, that could occur near your well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, a water filter, that can help put your mind at ease and remove a lot of those harmful contaminates that are in your water. If you have an under-the-counter or an in-the-refrigerator filter, you want to make sure that you change it as needed so that it stays effective at keeping the water safe. You might consider installing a whole-house water filter, though.
TOM: Now, lastly, if you’d like a breakdown of exactly what is in your water, you can get a water testing kit at your local home center. The Home Depot has free kits at some of their locations or you can visit EPA.gov to learn more about drinking-water safety.
LESLIE: Joe in Texas is looking to collect some rainwater. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
JOE: Alright. Well, we have a ranch near Stephenville, about an hour-and-a-half southwest of Dallas/Fort Worth. And it can get pretty arid out here. So, we have some rain barrels – or some black, large barrels – hooked up to our rain gutters. And we’re trying to get it to where it’s actual potable water that we can use and drink in – just in our ordinary, daily lives. So we were kind of wondering what type of filtration system to put on to run that water through and also how to keep the junk from our gutters blowing in there.
TOM: Well, rainwater harvesting is something that’s actually gone on for centuries. And there are modern systems that are available to help you both collect the rainwater and purify it, because that’s the key and you want to make sure it’s safe.
A good place to start is RainHarvest.com. That’s a website for a company that has specialized in this area for many, many years. And they have everything from small, home-size systems up to industrial-size systems. And they also have the specialty filters you asked about keeping the gunk out of the water. There are special filters to keep out the leaves and the tree droppings and things like that from getting down in there.
So it sounds like you’re kind of well on your way but what you’re going to need to pick up is a purification system. And that’s a good place to start: RainHarvest.com.
LESLIE: You know, another good site that’s out there is HarvestH2O.com. A lot of articles on there about filtration, purification, some products. Good list to resources and inventors, as well, there.
JOE: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Diane in Minnesota has got a steamy bathroom. Tell us what’s going on.
DIANE: Yes. The exhaust fan, it just does not seem to take the steam out of the bathroom at all. It just doesn’t work, for some reason.
TOM: Well, where is the exhaust fan mounted? It’s on the ceiling and goes into an attic? Is that correct?
DIANE: Yeah, it’s in the ceiling. I just live in an apartment, so I’m not exactly sure where it goes but …
TOM: OK. Well, see, that would be a good place to start. Because you want to make sure when you turn on an exhaust fan that you can see it actually exhaust somewhere. And generally, it’s going to be a vent outside the building somewhere. And you can turn on the exhaust fan and see that vent open. So you need to figure out – or if it’s an apartment, you need to have a super figure out where it’s exhausting. Because it could be obstructed, it could be crushed, it could be blocked, it could be terminated. There could be a lot of things wrong with it.
And the other thing that you might want to think about – and you may or may not want to do this, because it’s an apartment and not a condominium that you own, but there’s a different type of exhaust fan that’s out now. Broan and NuTone make it. Same company. It’s called ULTRA. And what’s cool about it is it has a moisture-sensing switch built into it – a humidistat – so it runs whenever the room gets moist. So, you can kind of set it and forget it. And you take a shower, it’ll just stay on until all the moisture is evacuated out of the room and then go off again.
DIANE: OK. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Diane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is up next with an electrical question. How can we help you?
DOUG: I did some remodeling work in upgrading the island. And it used to be a floating island. And now that it’s fixed to the floor, I’m considering putting electrical outlets. And I’m just curious as to what might be the best location, as well as what the code – the electrical code – might require.
TOM: Well, are you over a basement or a crawlspace?
DOUG: I’m over a basement.
TOM: OK. Because what you’re going to want to do is run the wire up from the basement below, into the side of the island. Is it a standard kitchen cabinet that you’ve used to create this island with?
TOM: Because you can mount the electrical outlet, basically cut it into the side of the cabinet. You’re going to want it off the countertop, down below on the side of the cabinet. And the key safety aspect here is you want to make sure that it’s a ground-fault outlet. Those are the outlets that have the test and reset buttons in them for wet locations.
DOUG: I did see something online concerning that.
TOM: Yeah. So as long as you use a ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet and you just bring the wire up from the basement, that’ll be the most practical way to do it. It’ll probably end up not being on the same circuit as the kitchen because, generally, what you do in a situation like that is you grab the closest power source that you can, that’s convenient and safe, and just kind of go up from there.
DOUG: OK. Sounds good. Thanks for your help.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathleen in Rhode Island who’s doing some decorating and needs some help choosing floors. How can we help you?
KATHLEEN: Ah, there are so many choices. We’re looking at laminate, engineered and hardwood. What do you suggest? I have one concrete floor, which is the walk-out basement. And then it’s the first and the second floor. First is main living area and second is bedroom.
TOM: Well, in the basement, you can’t use solid hardwood; you can only use engineered hardwood or the laminate because it’s too damp.
LESLIE: Right. And the laminate’s probably the better choice.
KATHLEEN: But what about wear and tear? That’s the other thing. I mean laminate cannot ever be sanded. You need to rip it out and redo it when engineered can be.
TOM: Well, I’ve got probably 10 years on the laminate floor in my kitchen and 3 kids that grew up on it. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty tough stuff.
KATHLEEN: And now there are different degrees of laminate, too, no?
TOM: There’s different finishes, there’s different durability. There’s a test called a Taber Abrasion Test that’s done on laminate surfaces. It’s also done on the finish of hardwood surfaces. And that’s what determines how durable they are.
So, as long as you – if there’s an option in the quality of finish from something that’s maybe designed for residential or commercial, I’d always go with the tougher one.
LESLIE: Right. Well, Kathleen, in my home, our basement is where my kids hang out, it’s my workspace. And I put a laminate floor down there and I chose one that has a beautiful grain to it. It looks like a hardwood. And then I’ve used area rugs to sort of warm it up and make it feel more homey. But it’s super durable. I had a plumbing issue go awry and lots of water underneath it and it didn’t buckle, bend. I was able to dry it all out and keep it really, really in good shape. So I’m all for a laminate in a lower level.
Now, when it comes to your main floor and your bedroom area, I’d be more inclined to lean toward an engineered hardwood or a hardwood, depending on your budget and depending on the aesthetic. You know, you can go with – if your concern is wear and tear and refinishing, you can go with a commercial-grade finish. It’s going to be a little bit more costly but it’s going to allow that hardwood to really stand up.
The other option to consider is in your entrance foyers or places where you come in and out, like a mud room, go laminate again in there or do a tile or a marble or something that will be more easily cleanable, more durable, just to handle that type of wear and – wear situation.
Now, I personally, on a second floor and even in living spaces – you say you’re by the salt water. I imagine you have a certain sort of design style that could be sort of – I’m guessing like a traditional but contemporary at the same time, since you’re on the water. And wider planks are very popular now.
KATHLEEN: Yes, I agree. They’re very attractive.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They’re very attractive. You can go for a plank that has some sort of a hand-scraping detail to it that looks a little more age-y and more worn and – but still be durable.
KATHLEEN: OK. And so you’re comfortable with that for a full living space? The laminate.
TOM: Alright, good, we talked you into it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, we’re going to tell you about the one phone call to make before you pick up your shovel this spring that could save your life and your home and your neighborhood and your neighbor’s house. It’s an important number to remember, so stick around.
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TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
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LESLIE: Yeah. And right now, Lumber Liquidators is having their end-of-quarter clearance, so every floor that they have in stock is on sale. They’ve got 100-million square feet of top-quality flooring and it’s been priced to sell.
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LESLIE: Yeah, guys. It’s going on now and it’s first come, first serve. So get to your local store today. You can’t afford to miss it.
TOM: For locations, call 1-800-HARDWOOD or visit LumberLiquidators.com. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.
LESLIE: Alright. Colleen in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
COLLEEN: Yes, I was wondering about a product called Restore. It’s called Liquid Armor Resurfacer and I have a dock that I wanted to put it on.
TOM: Alright. I’m familiar with those Restore products. I’ve not used them but I know what they’re supposed to do. One thing I would tell you is – I don’t know about the brand you mentioned. I would make sure it’s a brand that’s been around for a long time. Because we’ve seen some of those thick-paint products do more damage than good.
I know, for example, that Rust-Oleum, which is a good brand, makes a product called Restore. It works on concrete and decks, as well as vertical siding. So I might start by taking a look at the Rust-Oleum product. Just make sure you stick with a name brand that’s been around a long time so that you know that you’ve got a really good product that you’re putting on the deck.
And I would also make sure that you tested it in an area, maybe on a couple of deck boards, to make sure you’re completely happy with it before going all-in on the entire deck or dock.
COLLEEN: And is it harder to use this type of product versus just a regular paint?
TOM: Yeah. It’s going to be more difficult because it’s about 10 times thicker than paint. So the application has got to be done right. You’re going to use similar tools but it’s just going to be slow.
COLLEEN: OK. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bud is online with The Money Pit looking to convert a garage to some living space. Tell us about the project.
BUD: Well, actually, it’s already been converted by some real amateur people.
BUD: And it has, I believe, 24-inch-on-center studs all over and no insulation. And I’m looking to possibly – I don’t want to disturb what drywall is there because I’ve got all the ceilings and the walls that were messed up by these people.
BUD: They turned the gas off and it froze and water broke and that damaged (inaudible at 0:23:30). But anyway, I need to get – if you have a source of low-expansion insulation – foam insulation?
TOM: Well, you’re going to have to use a blown-in insulation. I don’t think there’s a low-expansion foam, if that’s what you’re asking us. I think what you have to do is you have to use a blown-in to get insulation behind those walls. That’s your only option right now. I don’t see a way around that unless you want to take that drywall down and do it right. And frankly, the cost of the blown-in is – for a small job like that might be pretty expensive. It could possibly make sense to take that drywall down.
But you would blow that in and you’d blow it in under pressure so that it’s set – it basically fills up the whole cavity. Usually, there’s two holes – one in the middle and one towards the top – that assures that it gets all the way up there. But I think blown-in is probably the way that you have to go.
Now, you’re only going to need to insulate the walls that are over exterior – that are exterior walls. If it’s a wall between the house and the garage, that you would not have to insulate because that would already have been insulated.
BUD: I think your advice is good. I’ll just probably have to rip all the drywall down and just put …
TOM: Sometimes, it’s hard to put lipstick on a pig, so to speak, you know what I mean?
BUD: I thought maybe you had some lipstick kind of advice.
TOM: Bud, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Marie calling in to The Money Pit with a cabinet question. How can we help you today?
MARIE: I’m in a dilemma over kitchen cabinets. I really like this fairly contemporary look but it’s a slab. We’re at – we’re on the salt water and I’ve been told to maybe stay away from a slab cabinet door because of the way it expands and shrinks. What’s your opinion on that or your advice?
LESLIE: When you say “slab,” are you talking about a full overlay?
MARIE: No, it’s an actual slab. I don’t think it’s an overlay or veneer at all.
TOM: I think you mean a solid-wood door, one-piece wood door as opposed to one that’s made up of panels, like a raised-panel door?
MARIE: Yes, it’s not a raised panel but you can actually see the pieces of wood – well, I guess they’re glued together. But there’s no raised panels or anything on it.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a solid piece of wood. It’s a laminated door, basically. Solid pieces of wood glued together.
I don’t know. I mean if the door is made right and the wood is dried when it was built and it’s sealed properly, I don’t think it’s more or less likely to swell than a raised-panel door would be.
MARIE: You know, that makes total sense the way you put it that way. Why wouldn’t they dry it out first and then seal it properly?
MARIE: Huh. I never even thought about it in that context.
LESLIE: The boxes themselves that the cabinets are – the cabinet box is going to be constructed out of a wood-laminated ply so – or something that’s more structurally stable. And I don’t think you have to be concerned about the door.
MARIE: Hmm, I think, looking at it from that point of view, maybe I won’t be. I’ve had people tell me that they’re just going to get all warped and – but why would they? If they’re – if it is, like you said, a reliable cabinet maker – I guess that would be the question.
TOM: Right. Exactly. A good-quality cabinet should be dimensionally stable.
MARIE: I agree with you. Ah, I found a beautiful door and I think I might go for it then. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, we’re going to share some ideas to help you save on your summer watering bills for a lush lawn that won’t break the bank, so stick around.
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TOM: You are listening 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.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’re going to help you with whatever you’re working on at your money pit. But this hour we’re giving away a prize, as well, to one lucky caller. We’ve got a case of LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It. It’s their new adhesive and it’s going to bond pretty much everything to everything else. And it creates a super-durable and flexible bond that’s going to be two times stronger than other fasteners alone. And the best part is that it can be applied interior, exterior, hot, cold, wet, dry, pretty much any surface. So it kind of narrows down all of those choices that you’re like, “What glue can I use to stick this to that?” Well, you can Fuze*It.
LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It is going to work on pretty much everything and it’s available exclusively at The Home Depot. And you can visit LIQUIDNAILS.com to learn more. And it’s a prize worth almost $85, so it’s going out to one lucky caller. So give us a call for your chance to win.
TOM: 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Steve in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVE: I have a cabin way out in the woods – small cabin out in the woods – and years ago, I built a bathroom on. And I put in a – I believe it is an iron base but a porcelain-coated tub. And I don’t use it that often but it has developed this very light-blue staining all around the drain and it has – it faded out. I’ve used bleach, I’ve – different cleaners. And I’m wondering, is there a painted surface or what is going on with that, if you might know?
TOM: It’s probably minerals from the water. Are you on a well, by any chance?
STEVE: It is, in fact. Yes, it is way out in the woods.
TOM: You may be getting some mineral salts from water – probably hard water – that are just evaporating and staying behind and then reacting with the drain metal material to kind of form that. I’ve seen that before. It’s almost fluorescent.
STEVE: Yeah. In older houses that I’ve been in, I’ve noticed that, that you will sometimes see that.
TOM: Yeah. The best thing to use is CLR – Calcium Lime Rust Remover. That product is pretty effective at making the minerals go away. But you might find that if it’s worn the surface off of the drain and that sort of thing, that it just doesn’t clean very well anymore.
STEVE: Oh. OK. Well, thank you so – oh and by the way, I wish you all would just every other show, play the trailer music and just let it play. I love that (inaudible at 0:30:10). I really do.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
STEVE: “Live in a money pit.” The music is great.
TOM: Alright, Steve. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, this summer, you can keep your water bills low and landscaping lush with something called “micro irrigation.” Now, this is also known as drip irrigation. Micro irrigation is going to help your landscaping thrive through very targeted and timed watering. It’s an extremely efficient system.
LESLIE: Now, unlike sprinklers that are going to send excess water down your driveway, into the air, on the sidewalk, at your neighbor’s house, a micro-irrigation system puts the water right where the plants need it and that’s at the roots.
TOM: Now, installing a micro-irrigation system is a pretty simple summer project. You’re going to need an adapter to connect your household water supply along with some drip hoses, some tubing and the sprayers themselves.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And micro irrigation allows you to give individual attention to specific plants while you then regulate overall water use. You just wrap the tubing around the shrubs, you wind it through the garden beds and you can even add it to hanging plants.
TOM: Yep. And you could even create different watering zones within your micro-irrigated yard and add some timers to take the guesswork out of watering. It’s a great way to give your lawn, your garden some precise watering, which is going to save you water and assure that you have a beautiful, green result.
888-666-3974 is our telephone number. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement project question.
LESLIE: Pat in Louisiana is on the line and needs some help with a cleaning project. What can we do for you?
PAT: We had our carpet cleaned about a year ago. And in this bedroom, we have a heavy, clear, plastic mat that goes underneath the computer chair.
PAT: Well, recently, I moved it over a bit and I noticed that it was wet underneath it.
PAT: There’s no leak in the roof; water hasn’t come in the house. So only thing that could be is a year ago, the water from the carpet-cleaning service got underneath this mat and it’s been there all this time.
TOM: Hmm. OK.
PAT: So, we cut out a large circle, like a 5-foot circle and got all the part out that was wet. So we’re going to have to replace the carpet and the pad. But on the concrete – the bare concrete – there are some spots of discoloration, so I don’t know if that’s mold or mildew. My question is: how do I clean that concrete before we have the new carpet installed?
TOM: The concrete spots, if anything, are mineral-salt deposits; it’s not mold.
TOM: And so, it’s really cosmetic at this point. If you can wash it down with a vinegar-and-water solution, it’ll melt the mineral-salt deposits away.
But the other thing that occurs to me is sometimes, concrete will draw moisture into a house. And so if anywhere near that area outside, you’ve got water that’s ponding or collecting, it’s possible for the concrete to sort of draw that moisture up into the slab and across. And it may not have been able to evaporate where the pad was covering the concrete, which is why that area stayed damp, whereas the other area dried out. So there may be a different explanation as to why that stayed wet.
One of the things that you might want to do, since you have the carpet pulled all the way back, is to paint the concrete. Paint that area with an epoxy paint. That will seal in that concrete and stop some of the evaporation if the moisture is being drawn through it and up into the floor surface.
PAT: So, should I – we paint the whole room? We don’t have all of the carpet up yet; we just cut out the middle part.
TOM: Well, if you’re going to take all the carpet up, then paint the whole floor. If you’re only going to take part of it up, then just paint what you can get to. But I would definitely paint the floor.
LESLIE: Hey. Do you live somewhere where your neighbors feel like maybe they’re sittingin the living room with you? Well, we’re going to share some tips to help you quiet the neighbor’s noise, when we come back.
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, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your home improvement question to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got one here about a very noisy townhouse.
LESLIE: Yeah. It goes like this: “I live in a townhouse. There’s a steel I-beam that runs through the basements of all the houses in my row. This I-beam seems to carry a lot of noise. When I’m down in the basement, I can hear the conversations that my neighbors two doors down are having and my next-door neighbor can hear every word of the books on tape I listen to down there. How can I insulate that I-beam so the sound doesn’t travel so much? By the way, property values have plummeted in our city lately, so the cheaper I can do this, the better.”
TOM: You know, I find it unlikely that the I-bean is actually doing the sort of the wiring and carrying that sound. The problem is more likely traced to the way the walls were constructed, including the possibility of openings around light switches and outlets that are really too big.
So you have a couple of options, one of which is to insulate up to and including the joists the I-beam goes through. And you want to add a second layer of drywall to do this and something called Green Glue for even more resistance. It kind of looks like a caulk, like a green sort of silicone caulk, and it goes between the old and the new layer of drywall and helps to isolate those sounds.
Another option, though, is to buy and install what’s called “sound-resistant drywall.” And these are products that you could put over the existing drywall. They have baffling sort of built into that.
Now, one critical area, though, is around any outlets or light switches or those sorts of openings. That has to be packed with a sound-resistant sort of clay-like material that you’ll find in the same area of the home center or hardware store. Perhaps those solutions will help quiet this community down.
LESLIE: Yeah. In the meantime, don’t tell secrets in the basement.
TOM: Well, spring is here and that means homeowners across the country are going to start picking up their shovels for a variety of outdoor projects, like planting trees and installing fences and building decks and so much more. But be aware: there is one phone call you need to make before you do any of that that could save your life and some property damage. Leslie has the details, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. A recent survey found that more than half of the homeowners who are planning to dig had no plans to check on underground lines and pipes. So here’s the deal: digging without knowing the rough location of your utility lines, it’s a gamble. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid serious injury, you could still end up disrupting service to your entire neighborhood and possibly be responsible for fines and the repair cost to that damage. Now, damage to gas pipelines, that can cause devastating explosions. Every digging job, guys, requires a call, even small projects like planting shrubs or hedges. And whether you’re planning to do it yourself or hire a pro, that call has got to be made.
So here’s what you do: you call 811 from anywhere in the country a few days before you start your digging projects. And your call is going to be routed to your local one-call center. Now, you tell the operator where you’re planning to dig and what type of work you’re going to be doing and your affected utility companies are going to be notified about your plans. In a few days, they’re going to send a locator to your house and he’s going to mark the approximate location of your underground lines, pipes, cables, everything. So now you’re going to know what’s below the surface and of course then be able to dig safely and not potentially blow up your entire house, yourself, the neighborhood. Just be safe, guys, 811. Super easy to remember.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, warmer weather means you’ll soon be using your deck more often to entertain. But before you plan a crowd for a barbecue, you want to make sure your deck can handle all those people. Coming up next time on The Money Pit, we’ll cover five signs that your deck may be in danger.
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 2016 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.)