How to Pick the Right Air Conditioner , Best Way to Use Outdoor Lighting, Discover Energy Efficient Light Bulbs 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: Standing by to answer your home improvement questions, your do-it-yourself dilemmas, your projects that you are trying to take on around your house. As you look about your house, perhaps last evening you were sitting outside, staring up at your home and noticed a rotted board, a cracked window, a leaky roof, a fogged skylight and decided, “I’ll just go inside and forget all about it.” But you don’t have to do that anymore.
LESLIE: I’m like, “Have you been to my house?”
TOM: We will show you how to fix it; it’s not that hard. Pick up the phone and call us. We’re here to help you get the job done. 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, hey, are you ready to stop sweating through the hottest part of the summer season? If you don’t have air conditioning, this summer’s soaring temps may have finally helped you get off the fence. But you need to know what kind of system is right for your needs. We’re going to weigh the energy-efficiency costs and overall cooling ability of a variety of systems to help you make the right choice, coming up in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also coming up this hour, if you’re saving your outdoor time for the evenings when the sun is down and the temperatures are much cooler, you do not want to miss our tips on outdoor lighting. You know, just a few strategically-placed lights can be really inexpensive and a great way to make your yard look like a million bucks, which we all love.
TOM: And hey, are you ready to say goodbye to those incandescent light bulbs? We’re going to tell you about one new kind of bulb on the market right now that can actually last longer than the light fixture that you put it in.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller today is going to get what may be the most versatile tool in a woodworker’s shop bag: a newly-designed Skil router and that’s worth more than 100 bucks.
TOM: So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to the phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Claire in Illinois wants to install wood flooring. How can we help you with that project?
CLAIRE: I am getting ready to have installed ¾-inch prefinished hardwood in my kitchen floor.
TOM: Nice. OK.
CLAIRE: I’m considering the pros and cons of having the flooring in a room where there’s possible moisture from a dishwasher or a leaking refrigerator. There is a big bow – b-o-w – under the linoleum that I currently have under there, a kind of a gradual rise and then it slopes down on both sides. I’m wondering what might have caused that and how I could best repair it.
TOM: Well, if you have a big bow in the floor, it’s probably caused by floor joists that have crowned, have bent.
LESLIE: Are crowning.
TOM: Crowning means it’s sort of bent, bent up.
LESLIE: It’s bowing upwards, so it’s creating that lift in the floor.
TOM: Bowing upwards.
CLAIRE: OK. Would that be bent from water?
TOM: No, just sometimes dimensional lumber just does that. And it’s very obvious when it’s under a sheet-product floor like vinyl.
LESLIE: That’s flexible.
TOM: It will be not nearly as obvious under hardwood floor.
CLAIRE: OK. Somebody did say that in order to correctly lay hardwood floor so you won’t have gaps, that you have to address the bow.
TOM: Well, if that’s the case, the way you address it is as follows. Typically, what you do is you can cut the floor joist in one or two places. And what I would do is I drill – when I do this repair, I drill about a 1-inch hole about an inch-and-a-half down from the top of the floor joist. I run a reciprocating saw blade and then I basically cut it right down. So now the joist is cut in half, completely ruining the structural integrity of the floor joist. That will help bring it down to where you need it to be but now you still have the problem of having to reinforce the floor joist.
The way you do that is you add an additional floor joist, which is exactly the same length and size, and you put it against the one you just cut and you glue it and bolt it together, creating sort of …
LESLIE: Is that called “sistering”?
TOM: Yeah, it’s what we call a “sister joist.”
CLAIRE: Alright. S-i-s-t-e-r?
TOM: Yes. So it’s a job that will take a few hours to accomplish but you can level the floor that way.
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 4 to 6 feet from the house. Take a look at the grading. Adjust that grading so it slopes about 6 inches down over 4 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 10 gallons of water I have to scoop out of it in wintertime.
JOHN: 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 4 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: 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, design, décor, plumbing, heating, cooling, swimming. Whatever you are working on this summer at your money pit, we are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, let’s face it: it’s mid-summer, it’s hot, it’s miserable, it’s sticky. And you don’t have air conditioner but you finally decided, “I can’t take it anymore and I have to get a system right now.” Wondering which one is right for you? Lots of choices out there. We’re going to help you sort it all out, after this.
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 long-lasting 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. If you do, you may just win the brand new Combo Router Kit from Skil and this is a beauty. The router has Soft Start technology that practically eliminates that kickback that you get when you typically turn a router on. Plus, you get better control over the tool as a result and it has micro-fine depth adjustments for very, very precise measurements. It is a beautiful, beautiful tool.
LESLIE: That’s right. And the kit even comes with a bunch of extras, including a plunge base, a fixed base and a carrying bag. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your home improvement question and your chance to win.
Alright. The temps this summer have been brutal and we still have August to look forward to. Now, I know many of you have your fingers crossed that your air conditioners will make it through. But if they are on the critical-condition list, you might want to think about replacing them now before it gets any hotter. And my first choice for energy-efficiency and overall comfort is always going to be a central air-conditioning system, because nothing cools better than an A/C.
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh, I have to tell you it’s the greatest thing we ever did for our entire house. And every time we walk in the door this summer, we’re like, “This is the best thing we ever did.”
But with our home, it was a little bit challenging and for many homes, central air conditioning isn’t going to work for the install, it’s not in your budget and maybe you’ve got a home that doesn’t accommodate window units. So what are your options if you want something like a central air system?
Well, a ductless air conditioner works really, really well. And with these systems, you’ve got a blower on the inside wall that’s connected via a refrigerant line to a central compressor outside. Now, we ended up putting one of these in our basement. It’s a split-system is what they call it. We’ve got the – is it the Mitsubishi Mr. Slim?
TOM: Yes. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: And it’s great because the unit on the wall, I mean it’s probably 18 inches by 36 inches. It’s not big, it’s up on the wall, you barely even notice it.
TOM: And it’s quiet.
LESLIE: The condensing – it’s super-quiet. The condensing unit outside is narrow and slim. It can be tucked anywhere, basically, and it works fantastically well. I can’t sing its praises enough. My basement – for living in the Northeast, everybody else I know, their basements are freezing year-round. Mine is hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. So, I really needed it and it’s just been a tremendous help in our home. I love it.
TOM: For more tips on staying cool, simply Google “home cooling tips for summer” at MoneyPit.com.
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’s actually a number of soundproof drywall products out there.
BILL: Yeah, the QuietRocks and so on.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. The QuietRocks 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 – 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. 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: Dixie in Illinois is doing some exterior changes from siding and windows and needs some help with the order of things. What can we do for you?
DIXIE: Well, I assume that it’s better to replace windows before you replace siding but I wasn’t sure of the order and also if that had to be done at the same time or if you can do one, stretch it out and then do the other or if it’s really better to do it, I imagine, at the same time.
TOM: It’s a good question. Now, what kind of windows are you putting in, Dixie? Are they the replacement windows or are they new-construction windows?
DIXIE: Well, I assume they’d have to be replacement windows.
TOM: What do you have now? Double-hungs?
TOM: OK. Well, if you’re going to put in double-hung windows, it really doesn’t matter when you do them, because they’re – the new windows are going to fit inside the old frames. That’s the nature of replacement windows. However, if you do the windows this year, you can qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500 if it’s done before the end of the year.
Online at MoneyPit.com, we have a free download called “Your Complete Replacement Window Guide” that’s actually a chapter from our book and it’s on the home page. You can download it and read up on all of the replacement-window options. But because of the tax credit, if you haven’t taken advantage of that yet, I’d do that first.
TOM: In terms of the siding, that could be done at the same time or it could be done at a separate time. I don’t think there’s going to be any economic savings by doing them both at the same time. There might be a little bit but they’re both substantial projects, so I think probably not enough to make it worth doing both at the same time, if that’s something that you’d rather not do.
DIXIE: OK. Well, I just wondered if it had to be where there’d be rough – where the windows didn’t quite fit the same or something along that line.
TOM: Well, that’s why I asked you if it was replacement windows, Dixie. Because if it was new-construction windows, you’d be tearing out siding, then putting in windows and then siding back over it.
TOM: But if it’s replacement windows, they fit inside the existing openings. You can put that in now without any damage to the siding.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. When you do the replacement windows, Dixie, it just replaces the sort of tracking mechanisms on the side and the sashes, which are the operable parts of the double-hung windows and then sort of dresses it up with that trim work.
TOM: The guts.
LESLIE: But that’s all. You’re just sort of contained in that same size.
DIXIE: OK. Because the windows are actually so old they’re bowing out of the – away from the siding. It’s like …
TOM: Yeah, sounds like it’s time for new ones.
DIXIE: Yep. Alright. Well, I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Dixie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Patricia in Wisconsin needs some advice about water saving. What can we do for you?
PATRICIA: Well, I have a toilet that is leaking water around the inside of the stool. I know it’s not coming out of the tank, because I put color dye in the tank and the water stays the same through …
TOM: OK. So the bowl is leaking itself.
TOM: OK. So the reason that would happen is because you have a bad seal underneath it.
PATRICIA: Oh, OK.
TOM: And that’s called a wax seal. It kind of looks like a big, wax donut. And …
LESLIE: And it does break down over time and get compressed and not function as well as it used to.
TOM: So, basically, what you need to do – or have a plumber do – is disconnect the water lines and unbolt the toilet from the floor and basically lift it up, clean off the old wax seal and put in a new one and then press it back down. And the wax seal is pretty thick and as you press the toilet in place, it sort of squishes out and creates a new seal. So get the old one off and do a good job of cleaning it off. It looks pretty disgusting, I will tell you, but it’s just wax. It’s dark, black, gooey wax but it’s just wax. So you need to clean that off.
And sometimes it’s a good idea also to replace the bolts that hold it down to the floor at the same time. But there’s one thing very important to remember and that is, when you do replace the toilet, don’t over-tighten the bolts because people tend to do that and toilets crack very, very easily. You only have to make it snug. Essentially, a water – a toilet stays in place based on its own weight. It doesn’t really get bolted to the floor, so to speak. So just make them snug and then just fight the urge to make that one additional turn. Because, otherwise, you may crack the base.
PATRICIA: OK. Well, that sounds great.
TOM: Alright, Patricia. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sherm in Missouri needs help with a painting and wallpapering project. What can we do for you?
SHERM: Hey, I’ve got a bedroom that came with multiple layers of wallpaper and paint.
LESLIE: Lucky you.
TOM: Multiple layers, at no additional charge.
SHERM: And we just tried to seal it with KILZ and treat it like a new wall, which seemed to work great for a few years. But now it’s splitting at multiple seams.
SHERM: And our worry is if we try to get in and strip it, we’d get into a big disaster. Is there a way to reseal it or is it better to just go ahead and try to strip it?
TOM: Is the cracking that you’re seeing at the seams of the wallpaper?
TOM: Yeah. No, you can’t – there’s no way to fix this at this point.
LESLIE: Probably too much weight of paint on that wallpaper, too.
TOM: Yeah. It’s just not going to behave right.
What I would do is I would rent a wallpaper steamer and a tool called a Paper Tiger, which allows you to sort of perforate the wallpaper. It’s a pretty inexpensive tool. And the wallpaper steamer doesn’t cost that much to rent.
And try to work an area and see how difficult it’ll be. You may find that with all the years that have passed, that that wallpaper …
LESLIE: It might just fall off the wall.
TOM: Yeah, it may come off a lot easier than you think.
SHERM: Even with the paint and sealer over it?
TOM: Yeah, actually, that would probably make it come off even quicker, I would think, Leslie.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean it’s anybody’s guess. You’ve got a lot of stuff on there so eventually, what’s going to happen is nothing is going to stick to it anymore, that you need a new surface to sort of work with. If it really becomes such a giant mess, you could always get that ½-inch drywall and go right over it and call it a new surface.
SHERM: Mm-hmm. Well, that’s – we’re trying to stop short of doing that, so …
TOM: Yeah, I think at this point, when you get so many layers of paint and on – especially on top of wallpaper, wallpaper has never really been designed to be painted over. So at this point, I think you’ve reached saturation, Sherm.
LESLIE: But everybody does it.
TOM: Let’s put it that way, OK?
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, well, its days are numbered. We’re talking about the incandescent light bulb. It is about to become history. New options in LED lighting are out, though, and they last about 25 years and they have no mercury in them. We’re going to tell you all about this bright, new solution that you’re going to be seeing more and more of, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by The Home Depot. Upgrade to a Philips 12.5-watt LED light bulb that lasts 25 times longer than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of The Home Depot.
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.
TOM: Well, with incandescent light bulbs on the way out – yes, folks, you will soon no longer be able to find them. But not to fear. Homeowners now have new options in light bulbs and we’ve got one that will fit the bill. LED bulbs can last many, many times longer than incandescents.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? They also save way more energy and they have the same, soft glow that you’re used to and you really like and enjoy about your current incandescents. So here to tell us more about LED bulbs is Brad Paulsen from The Home Depot.
BRAD: Well, thank you very much for having me.
LESLIE: I have to tell you I’ve been stockpiling.
BRAD: I think you and a few other folks have been doing that.
TOM: Now, Brad, you are in charge of all of the light-bulb sales at Home Depot. So right now, with everything happening in the news, you must be one very busy guy.
BRAD: We are very busy. As you can imagine, there’s a lot going on with the phase-out of the incandescent quickly approaching and the introduction of a lot of new energy-efficient lights. Like I said, there’s never a dull moment at The Home Depot right now.
TOM: Alright. So let’s start with the phase-out. What’s happening and when is it happening, for those that are still in the dark, so to speak?
BRAD: OK. Well, beginning January 1st of 2012, the incandescent phase-out will begin. And it’s actually going to occur over a three-year period. So in January 1st of 2012, the 100-watt incandescent bulb will be phased out. In January 1st of 2013, the 75-watt will be phased out and then January 1st 2014, both the 60- and the 40-watt will be phased out.
LESLIE: I’m sweating in my chair; I’m freaking out about this. I think – and I’m somebody who understands the whole technology. I just think there’s so much confusion because they’re labeled differently, the bulbs look different. People are just confused when it comes time to shop in your aisle. And the lighting aisle at The Home Depot, there’s a million bulbs to choose from. So how do you know how to select something that’s going to give you that lighting that you’re used to but meet those efficiency standards?
BRAD: You’re right. I mean this is a category that really has not changed for 100 years. And all of a sudden, with this incandescent phase-out, customers are now going to have to change the way they shop. Historically, they’ve always gone into a store and said, “I want to buy a 60-watt bulb” or, “I want to buy a 100-watt bulb.” Well, as these bulbs are phased out, they’re now going to be forced into buying new energy-efficient options that no longer use the same amount of energy to deliver that light output.
So, the term that a lot of people are going to start using is lumens. And lumens, actually, is the measure of brightness. So as an example, a 100-watt bulb delivers 1,600 lumens, OK?
BRAD: So The Home Depot, along with many other retailers, are really focusing on how we can assist the customer through that shopping experience to say, “Today, I buy a 60-watt bulb. If I want to get the same type of performance, I will look for these types of bulbs in our aisle.”
TOM: We’re talking to Brad Paulsen – he is the lighting expert for The Home Depot – about the big switchover that is coming, folks, where you will no longer be able to rely on incandescent bulbs. Instead, you’re going to be looking for CFLs and LEDs and halogens.
LESLIE: I’m in denial.
TOM: So let’s talk now about LEDs, because they do seem to be the latest and greatest technology. As you mentioned, they last up to 85 percent longer. How long is that, Brad, in terms of working hours?
BRAD: Well, it all depends on the type of bulb that you’re buying. But what you’re going to see – for the most part, 25,000 hours from an LED, which can be just over 22 years. As you walk into most retailers, you’re going to see a lot of signs that say, basically, an LED is going to give you the same life as 25 incandescent bulbs.
LESLIE: Hmm. Now, Brad, I think the other confusing component is that so many of us have dimmable fixtures. So how do you know? Because I know you have to really pay attention when you’re looking at halogens, CFLs and LEDs as to what you can actually use in that fixture when it comes to dimming capability.
BRAD: So, that has always been one of the issues with CFLs and the fact that people have not been overly happy with the performance when it came to dimming.
BRAD: And that’s one of the strengths of LEDs. Because you’re no longer using a filament or fluorescent technology and you’re actually using a semiconductor inside of that LED, their ability to dim is phenomenal. And you’re going to find, as that technology matures, that the performance that you get, from a dimming perspective, is going to meet any expectation that a customer might have.
LESLIE: Brad, can I ask you a real quick one other thing? What about specialty lighting, like candelabra bulbs? Will that sort of fall into the same market or are they staying untouched?
BRAD: So LEDs are going to impact every segment of the business. So, today, you can find LEDs in indoor and outdoor flood lights, you can find them in the A19s, you can find them in decorative or chandelier lights and you can also find them in outdoor landscape lighting.
TOM: Very, very interesting.
BRAD: So, already, very early in this life cycle, they are touching most applications and as I mentioned earlier, the performance is only going to continue to improve while the cost is going to come down.
TOM: Yeah, let’s talk about the cost. Now, that has been an issue because let’s face it, we’re used to paying literally pennies for incandescent bulbs.
LESLIE: Four for a dollar.
TOM: And now we’re going to have to pay dollars and quite a few dollars. But I think there has to be sort of a change in mindset here. Any time you buy a product – any type of product – that lasts 20 years, you expect to pay more for than one that’s going to literally last six months. And so, we’re really talking about almost an investment level here that’s consistent with the longevity. What is the price of LEDs now? Where do you expect it to go?
BRAD: So the price, it obviously depends on what type of bulb you’re buying. We actually sell an A19 on our shelf that is – retails as low as $18.
TOM: Wow. That’s a great price.
BRAD: Exactly. Or it can go up in – up to $40.
BRAD: I think the big question is where do see it going over time? And it really is a play on supply and demand. As more customers begin to buy LEDs, you’re going to find the cost of the product coming down. And as we look and forecast where we think it’s going to be in two or three years, I think it’s going to be at a place where the normal, everyday customer is going to find it affordable and a great value, assuming they understand the features and benefits of the technology.
TOM: Alright. So, Leslie, if you stockpile the incandescents right now, by the time you go LEDs, they’re going to be really, really cheap.
LESLIE: You should see my basement. It’s like it’s a light-bulb store.
TOM: But wherever you get them, pick them up at The Home Depot. With a guy like Brad in charge, you know you’re going to get the best-quality product out there.
Brad Paulsen, thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us. I think it has been an area of great confusion and I’m so glad that you took some time to join us and straighten us out.
BRAD: Thank you for the time.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, as long as we’re on the topic of lighting, let’s keep on that path. You know, when it comes to your outdoor space, figuring out the landscaping alone is difficult enough. So how do you make it look its best in the evening? Well, when we come back, we’re going to share some tips on creating a beautiful, outdoor-landscaping light-scape that will really set your yard apart from the rest, 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.
TOM: And we’d like you to pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you may be the lucky listener who gets this hour’s giveaway and it’s a beauty. It’s a newly-designed 1830 Router from Skil.
Now, 1830 is not the year the router was built; it’s the model number, just in case there was any confusion.
LESLIE: Oh, OK. Good.
TOM: It’s got a dual on/off switch so you don’t have to reach around the tool to turn it off. That is usually only available on a professional-grade router. This kit comes with everything that you’re going to need, including a plunge base, a fixed base and a carrying bag. The Skil Combo Router Kit goes to one caller this hour. It’s worth 109 bucks. To win it, you’ve got to be the caller that we draw out of The Money Pit hard hat.
So pick up the phone. What are you waiting for? The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call, because we would love to lend you a hand. And now that we are fully into the dog days of summer, the hot weather really leaves so many people only spending leisure time out of doors when the sun is down. So if you don’t want to sit out there in the dark, you might want to think about new outdoor lighting.
It’s really an inexpensive way to give your yard a professionally landscaped look but you don’t want to light up your whole yard. So the trick is to decide which areas are the highest priorities to be illuminated in the night.
First of all, you want to start in the daytime and pick out which parts of your yard that you love the most and that you really want to highlight. Now, it’s better to start with your lighting closest to your home, where most of the activity is going to take place. Because even simple path or accent lights, they can make a huge difference.
TOM: Now, you’re going to want to use low-voltage lights. They’re inexpensive, they’re safe and they’re pretty easy to install. In fact, a handy homeowner could do it in a weekend. You’ll just a need a transformer and a copper cable for the installation; all typically comes in these low-voltage lighting kits.
And another way to save on energy is to use a photocell. These will automatically turn the lights on and off, so you don’t ever make the mistake of lighting your yard in the bright sunshine.
If you want to learn more about how to do exterior lighting, simply Google “money pit outdoor lighting” and you will be introduced to a whole slew of articles that we have written about that topic.
LESLIE: Cynthia in Kansas is looking to redo some floors. Tell us what’s on top of it.
CYNTHIA: I have a lovely linoleum that I – this little house was built in ’48; the floor might have been there that whole time and that was covered by carpet. We got the linoleum up but it’s left this tar paper and black glue on the lovely oak floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
CYNTHIA: We’re looking for a way to remove that.
TOM: Yeah, well, that’s very difficult to do. Has this floor ever been sanded, do you think?
CYNTHIA: You know, the finish on it, where you can see finish, looks very nice. So I don’t honestly think it’s ever been sanded.
TOM: Well, then this might be the time to do that because, frankly, that’s the only way you’re going to get it all off. That’s really thick, gooey stuff and if you used chemicals to get it up, you may end up having it – even if you loosened it up, some of that black goo might go saturate down into the oak and it could stain the oak.
LESLIE: It might still stay there. Well and you’re going to have to experiment with so many different chemicals because if it’s alcohol-based – it really depends on what that glue is made of what’s going to take it off.
LESLIE: So it’s like you do have to do some experimentation and that’s just a whole, big pain in the butt, as well.
CYNTHIA: Right, right. So …
LESLIE: And then you’ll probably end up sanding it anyway.
CYNTHIA: Yeah, I cannot tell if it’s ever been sanded but – because it does look like – there’s just spots where you can tell they didn’t get as much glue down and it pulled up pretty clean in little areas.
CYNTHIA: And there, the finish looks very nice. So I’m hoping that I can recover a decent floor.
TOM: Well, I think you can. But professional finishing here is the way to go. I would not do this myself, because you don’t have the right tools and if you rent the big, heavy, belt sander that’s about 12-inch-wide belts, if you just hiccup while you’re using that thing you’ll ruin your floor. It’s very hard to handle as a newbie DIYer. So I would have it professionally sanded. Even if you wanted to do the finishing yourself, I would have the floor professionally sanded; get down to a nice, new, fresh, raw floor and then take it up from there.
CYNTHIA: OK. Alright. I thank you for your advice.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, summer picnics are a fun way to entertain but eating al fresco, well, that can mean a few extra stains on your outdoor furniture, your tablecloths and yes, even your clothes. We’re going to tell you how to get rid of the most common picnic stains, after this.
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TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And hey, since it’s summertime, you guys may be looking at your backyard and thinking, “I really want to spend time out there but there’s no place for me to hang out.” So maybe a deck is in your future.
If you are thinking about putting one at your money pit, make sure you check out our website at MoneyPit.com for tips on how to choose the right, best-looking, most-durable decking materials that are going to work perfectly for you. All you need to do is Google “money pit decking materials” and you will get a slew of answers, directions, links to help you out with that project.
TOM: And while you’re there, you can click on the Community section and post a question. We’ve got one here from Rick who says, “We have a bar in the basement that we want to decorate with old paper money and then pour a clear resin finish on top. The idea is that it’ll look like something you’d see in a true bar.”
I don’t know. Do they glue money under the bar-top surfaces?
LESLIE: I’ve seen all sorts of things and I’ve actually done something like that on While You Were Out with sort of like racecars and plates and forks and stuff.
TOM: Yeah, there’s a solution that you can use for that.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can do all sorts of things. Even on While You Were Out, I did one episode where we built a bar, sort of dine-in, breakfast-nook thing with a 50s’ diner motif, with little cars and a table setting in there. But you do have to build a frame. So once you get your money down on the bar surface, build a wooden frame around it to hold it in.
And there’s a product on their website called LiquidGlassCoating.com. It’s a commercial-grade table and bar sort of epoxy resin. It dries super-clear. You can build it up to about an inch. Follow the directions. You’re going to need a lot to cover a large area; it depends on how big your surface is. But it works great and that money is going to look so great in there.
TOM: And you could use it for paper money, for coins, for photos, really anything that you want to permanently encase under the surface of that bar. Just don’t encase your wedding photos. It’d be really hard to explain to your wife that you spilled a beer on them.
LESLIE: Alright, Rick. Good luck with that project.
TOM: Well, it’s that time of year for picnics but does eating outdoor conjure images of the giant nest that would ensue? I mean we’re talking about all those stains that get on your clothes, your tablecloths and your furniture? Never fear. Leslie has got quick fixes for all of that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. You know, outdoor dining, picnics, barbecues, patio meals – whatever it is, they are great summer traditions. But we all know that eating outdoors can be messy. Last month, we want to a couple of graduation parties and now that my son is three, he’s super-messy. And for some stupid reason, I wore white pants to one of these barbecues. And let me tell you, it was the biggest mistake I ever made. From bubbles to ketchup, to barbecue sauce, to corn rolled in butter, the white pants did not really look very nice towards the …
TOM: Didn’t work out so well, huh?
LESLIE: Not so much, towards the end of the party. But luckily, we here at The Money Pit have some amazing stain-removing techniques that I’m going to share with you.
So, first of all, if it’s barbecue sauce, you want to flush the stained area with cold water but from the underside of the fabric. You want to blot with liquid laundry detergent, then sponge the stained area with vinegar. Then you can go ahead and apply a stain treatment and launder. And the same steps will work great for ketchup and mustard. Believe me. This is what I did to my white pants and they look fantastic.
If it happens to be berries – say you’re eating some pie or a plate of strawberries with whipped cream – you want to mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with a ½-teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and a quart of water and let that fabric soak for 15 minutes. For tough stains, you can actually blot the stained area with alcohol and then go ahead and launder as usual.
If you want some more tips – maybe you didn’t have a chance to write it down, you’re driving, you’re in the process of cleaning some barbecue sauce off your pants – fear not. Head on over to the web, Google “money pit picnic stains” and you will get all of the recipes there.
I promise, you can wear those white pants. You might look silly all stained up but I promise they will be clean again.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to talk about windows. They can be one of the most beautiful parts of your home but they can also be the biggest energy drain. We’re going to tell you how to stop those leaks, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2011 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)