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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Take a look around your house. We know that there is one area of concern, there is one part of your house that truly is a money pit. It could be the squeaky floor, it could be the attic that’s not finished, it could be the fact that you paid a lot for heating bills this past winter. Whatever that pain is, let us help you with a little home improvement aspirin. We’re going to serve up a solution to that issue if you pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you. Lots of home improvement tips and advice coming your way.

    It’s a good thing to report that spring is not far off, Leslie.

    LESLIE: I know, right?

    TOM: Well, I mean according to the calendar, it’s not too far off.

    And if one of your spring projects is painting the outside of your house, we’re going to stop you this hour from making a very costly mistake, which is to buy low-cost paint. Inexpensive, low-cost, bargain paint is never a bargain because it costs you lots more in the long run. We will do the math for you on that equation and show you how to get the most years out of that paint job, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead this hour, while you find yourself waiting around for the ground outside to thaw, you can actually start your compost pile inside. We’re going to give you some tips to help you turn those kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your garden come springtime.

    TOM: And also ahead, have you noticed fading furniture and floors at your house? Well, strong winter sunshine that streams through the windows can really affect the inside of your home. There is a way, however, to cut down on the heat and the light that pores through those windows: it is window film and it’s becoming very popular across the country. We’re going to have an expert from a national association that actually represents a whole bunch of window-film manufacturers and dealers. A very interesting guy that’s going to come on the show, in just a bit, and tell us about this product, tell us how it’s installed and how it can actually protect your furnishing and also cut your energy bills.

    LESLIE: Plus, we’re giving away a Duck Brand Weatherization Kit this hour worth $60. If your heating bills have you in sticker shock, it’s not too late to keep that cold out.

    TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement project. We will warm it up for you. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jackie in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JACKIE: Hi. I have a house that I’m renting and my landlord is not really willing to do anything to help us out, fix it up. It’s a 1920s/30s cinderblock but the bathroom has just got concrete in it and it looks like they’ve painted it. And also, the shower is concrete and like I said, it’s like a cinderblock and they painted it and the paint’s chipping off. And it’s not really cleanable; it’s really difficult. I just basically use vinegar and pour it on there; that’s all I can do.

    And I was wondering if there’s an inexpensive way of kind of putting something over it. Like I said, it’s in the shower, too, (inaudible at 0:04:06).

    TOM: So the key here is to find an improvement that’s not too expensive, because you don’t own the house.

    And Leslie, I’m thinking about epoxy paint.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That could be a good trick. The only issue is how …

    TOM: Got to get the old stuff off.

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve got to get the old stuff off and also, you’ve got to make sure that it’s really dry before you apply the new. But that works really well. And the stickiness of it – or would you say the viscosity of it – is strong enough where it will stick to the walls and adhere very, very well. But you do have to do some work to get the original finish off or at least enough of it off so that you’ll have an area for adhesion to occur.

    TOM: Typically, epoxy paints are used on horizontal surfaces like …

    LESLIE: Like garage floors.

    TOM: Yeah, like garage floors. But there’s no reason I think that you can’t use it vertically in a situation like this. And in fact, you could even use some of the color chips that come with it, to give it a little bit of texture. It will look better than just the plain concrete that you’re dealing with right now.

    JACKIE: Well, what about it being wet and the mold issue and all that, with that?

    TOM: Not an issue. See, the key here is to get it really dry and get the old paint off. You’ll get good adherence because this is a chemical reaction that causes the drying to occur here. It’s a two-part epoxy, so there’s a chemical hardener that goes in there. And I think that if you get good adhesion by getting the old paint off, you’re not going to have a problem with water or mold, because it’ll be easily cleanable.

    JACKIE: Great. Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Jackie. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Bob in Iowa has got a situation with a refrigerator. Tell us about it.

    BOB: Well, I got an older, 70s-model refrigerator that still works; it freezes everything and keeps everything cold. But the problem I have is some mold and the seal is sort of hardening a little bit. I was wondering if I can restore that or clean that up somehow.

    TOM: So you’re talking about the gasket?

    BOB: Right, right.

    TOM: Yeah, well you can replace that refrigerator-door gasket. They have appliance – that’s called appliance gasket. Essentially, it’s an easy-to-find product; you can usually get it at a hardware store, certainly an appliance store or you can go to a site like RepairClinic.com and order some new appliance gasket and just basically replace the seal all the way around the refrigerator.

    BOB: OK. Well, the gasket is still in good shape. It’s not cracked or …

    TOM: I thought you said it was starting to get hard.

    BOB: Yeah, it is. It is starting to get hard and stuff. I just didn’t know if it could be – if there’s something you could use to clean it up and soften it up or would it be better just to …

    TOM: No. No, because what happens is you get some – you get degradation from UV light over the years and it deteriorates the vinyl or the rubber. So you can’t bring it back but you can replace it and it’s not expensive. I will say, though, this inherited, old fridge is not doing you a lot of favors energy-wise because the new refrigerators today – even the real inexpensive ones – run on about the same electricity as about a 100-watt light bulb. A 1970’s fridge, on the other hand, is costing you quite a few dollars to run every month.

    So, frankly, the energy savings alone is enough to warrant replacing this thing. If it costs you any money more than just a couple of dollars, you really want to think about just getting a new one because they’re very wasteful, the old refrigerators.

    BOB: OK. Well, I appreciate that.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, get a jump on spring gardening by starting your compost pile right now. We’re going to teach you how to compost indoors, after this.

    (theme song)

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – and call us with your home improvement question. You will get the answer to that question and an opportunity to win a Duck Brand Weatherization Package. It’s not too late to save on some heating bills. Plus, you will be all set for next year.

    You’re going to get a two-pack of double-draft seals, socket seals, garage-door sealer, an A/C cover and of course, a roll of silver Duck Brand duct tape. No house should be without duct tape. It’s a prize package worth 60 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their question at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Gloria is on the line, calling from Illinois. And you’ve got a question about flooring. How can we help you today?

    GLORIA: My neighbor on the left has laminate floors and they’re glued. And she loves them and I love them. My neighbor on the right has the click type of laminate floors but they look funny. They don’t look level and when you walk on them, they move and not just a little bit. So what do you recommend?

    TOM: Is the floor relatively flat in your kitchen? Is it wavy in any way, shape or form?

    GLORIA: Well, not that I know of, Tom, but it’s carpeting so I don’t really know. I guess I’ll have to use a level.

    TOM: Gloria, first of all, to find laminate floors that are not click-together is rare today. I mean most of them do have some sort of a click assembly. This one floor that you saw that didn’t look like it was laying flat, there may have been an installation issue here that’s causing that. That’s what I suspect because the manufacturers are pretty good at this. And when you put these together and you get them to lay flat, they look really good.

    I will say, though, that I’ve actually assembled some of these pieces and I do know that you’ve got to really do a good job on the assembly. There’s no room for error. You’ve got to push it together just right and get it to click and get it to lay flat. If you don’t get it lined up just right, then it may not completely close the seam between the two pieces of flooring.

    LESLIE: And Tom, I also know that some of the manufacturers, when you’re using laminate flooring – even though the majority of them are click-and-snap-together and meant to be used in a floating situation. But most of the manufacturers will say, “If you’re using them on a concrete slab, you could glue them down.” It’s not something that you have to do but you can if you want it.

    But I really don’t think there’s a necessity for it. I know we have a laminate floor in my home, in the basement, on a concrete slab and it’s great. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t budge an inch and it’s floating.

    GLORIA: Okie-dokie. Thanks so much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, now is a good time to get ready for spring gardening with rich, fertile soil. And you can actually make that soil yourself.

    All organic matter eventually will decompose. So, all you need is an ideal environment for bacteria and other decomposing microorganisms to thrive. And that final compost looks and feels like very fertile garden soil.

    Now, you can easily make compost from vegetable and fruit scraps. You can even use coffee grinds and shredded paper. Just remember that you do not want to compost any sort of diseased plants, meat scraps, dairy, cooking oils or pet wastes. You really want to make sure you get a good, solid soil and that will really be an excellent starting point for whatever you garden.

    TOM: Now, it’s really easy to get started. All you need is a plastic bin, like the kind of sort of large totes that you see on sale at every retailer this time of year.

    LESLIE: Just don’t go clear.

    TOM: No, don’t go clear, because it’s not pretty to look at.

    LESLIE: Don’t go clear.

    TOM: You want to cover it up, right? It does its best work in the dark. And keep it in the mud room, keep it in the garage; don’t keep it in your kitchen.

    To get started with that, though, you simply add a few inches of some shredded paper for bedding. Now, the paper can be any kind but you want to avoid glossy paper or anything with brightly-colored inks, because it just doesn’t decompose that well.

    Then you scatter your daily supply of kitchen scraps on top. So, the banana peels, all that sort of thing, throw it on top and cover those scraps with about the same amount of bedding or a little bit more. If you put some putting soil on top of that and a little lime or wood ash and just keep going layer by layer by layer, you’ll be surprised what’s going to happen in a couple of months.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you want to mix your contents up about every couple of weeks with a compost poker or compost aerator. And you can buy one or you can improvise; you really can use whatever you want to use specifically for your compost pile. I’m not saying use it and then bring it back in and make dinner.

    Now, if you don’t put meat scraps, cooking grease or dairy in the compost bin, it should not give off any odor. If it starts to smell, though, you can add some more dry bedding. And by the time your container is full, you’ll be ready to use it in the yard, which will be just in time for spring. And it truly does grow beautiful items in your garden, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Don’t be afraid to give us a try. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ed in Indiana on the line who has got a water-heating question. How can we help you with that project?

    ED: Hi. Thanks for having me on. Well, what I’m looking at right now is I’m trying to make my home more energy-efficient. And I’m looking at the – GE came out with a GeoSpring hybrid hot-water heater, which basically runs like a hot – like a heat pump.

    TOM: It’s a heat-pump water heater, yes. Mm-hmm.

    ED: Right. And if you figure the dollars that it costs – it’s about $1,600 – and the savings per year could be up to about $320. They’re saying about 62 percent more energy-efficient. Looks like about a five-year payback. But this is a new product on – out on the market and I’d just kind of like to have your thoughts on it.

    TOM: So the technology has been out for probably about two years now. We’re starting to see the heat-pump water heaters be released by multiple manufacturers, including GE. GE makes a great appliance. The other thing to figure into this is that there is a tax credit that’s available. Now, it’s not as big as it was last year but it’s still decent; it’s a $300 federal tax credit if you buy and install it in 2011.

    So, the technology is solid and this is for folks, though, that right now have electric water heaters. So you’re not comparing this against gas. You had electric originally? Is that correct?

    ED: Oh, yeah. I’m totally electric.

    TOM: OK. So, you’re totally electric, you’re basically heating your water the most expensive way possible and now you want to try to save some money. With a heat-pump water heater, definitely the way to go with that.

    ED: Yeah. It looks like about a five-year payback period if it is true. You’ll save about 320 a year, so …

    TOM: Right. And you’ve got to use them correctly. They’re very sophisticated, though, with their control systems.

    ED: Yeah, absolutely. And I know water – heating your water is probably the most costly thing that you can do in your home but we’ll have to have a …

    TOM: Yeah. It certainly can be expensive but these water heaters are very, very good at what they do. They employ basically two technologies: they have the heat pump, which does most of the water heating most of the time but under periods of high demand, they still have the electric-resistance heat built into it. So you’re not going to run out of water because you’re heating it with a heat pump.

    ED: Alright. Well, thanks so much. I appreciate that.

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

    LESLIE: You know, GE is so savvy. When we were at the Builders’ Show, Tom, I don’t know if you remember this but at their booth, they were presenting this very new technology that sort of allows all of the appliances in the home to speak to one another and then to speak to the power company, as well, to give you the tools that you might need to decide – “Alright, if I do my laundry right now, it’s going to cost …”

    TOM: Yeah, smart metering. A smart meter.

    LESLIE: It’s really fantastic. So, they’re hopefully – you can monitor your entire home and really make smart choices to use your energy appropriately, efficiently and affordably.

    TOM: Absolutely. And like I said, the technology is solid, so I wouldn’t be concerned about it. And it’s going to be a heck of a lot less expensive way to heat your water.

    LESLIE: Don in Michigan is on the line with a decking question. How can we help you?

    DON: Hey, guys. I’ve got a 20-foot by 18-foot Trex deck.

    TOM: OK.

    DON: A first-floor deck, so it’s about 5 feet off the ground.

    TOM: OK.

    DON: And in the winter, I get a rise in the middle of it.

    TOM: When you say a rise, you mean it sort of swells or what?

    DON: Yeah. It sort of seems as if it’s pushed up right in the middle, about 4 feet from the house, straight up, right underneath one of the 4x4s that holds it up. There are 4x4s under the middle and then around the periphery. And it – I mean only in the winter and it rises up about 2 inches.

    TOM: Right. So, I wonder if the footing that’s right under that isn’t deep enough. Because if it’s not deep enough, when it freezes, it’s going to raise that 4×4 post. And as it raises the post, it’s going to push it up and pick up the deck at the same time. That footing has got to be 3 foot below grade so that it gets down below the frost line.

    DON: Interesting, interesting. None of the others do that but this one might.

    TOM: Yeah. Maybe it was the one that was the hardest to dig or something and you stopped a bit short and – yeah.

    LESLIE: So they just gave up. “That’s good enough.”

    DON: Yeah, it’s the one closest to our house. Yeah, interesting.

    TOM: What you’re describing is – could be the frost cycle.

    DON: Oh, OK. Terrific, terrific.

    TOM: Alright?

    DON: So I guess the idea would be to maybe dig that post up and reset it or would it …?

    TOM: Reset it, exactly. Reset it, yep. Mm-hmm. Yeah and the nice thing about the Trex deck is you could probably pull a few of those boards off and work from the top if it’s easier to get in that way or – can you get under this deck, since it’s about 5 feet off the ground? So you’ve got enough room to get under there and work?

    DON: Yeah. It’s where I store my lawn tractor in the summer.

    TOM: Oh, OK. Alright. So then, yeah, if you can get down there and – what you want to do is dig a hole right next to the one that we think is not deep enough. And then, once it’s plenty deep enough, you could sort of move the post over there, assuming there’s no seam on top of it.

    DON: Oh, yeah. No, no seam.

    TOM: OK?

    DON: Terrific, terrific.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    The winter sun can be welcome when you feel the warmth but not when it gets through your windows and fades out furniture and flooring to a point where it’s several shades over the course of time. We’re going to tell you how to protect your home from the damaging effects of winter sun and how, also, to save some energy on the sun that gets through and overheats your home, by installing window film. We’ll have that tip, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Quicken Loans. Call Quicken Loans today at 888-450-0024 or go to QuickenLoans.com to receive your free home-loan review. They’ll give you their best possible mortgage at their best possible rate, in the shortest amount of time. That number, again, is 888-450-0024. Equal housing lender. Licensed in all 50 states. NMLS Number 3030. Call today. 888-450-0024.

    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 while you’re probably still inside bundling up from the frigid temps and shorter days, did you know that the sun’s harmful rays can still come through your windows and perhaps not give you a sunburn but I guess really start to wear on your furnishings?

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And your flooring. That’s why we’ve got Darrell Smith, the executive director of the International Window Film Association, joining us to explain how you can essentially put sunglasses on your windows.

    Sounds pretty cool, Darrell. Tell us about it.

    DARRELL: OK, yeah. During the winter, there’s a lower angle of the sun in the sky, which means more of the sun’s harmful UV rays actually reach the Earth than they do in summer months.

    TOM: That’s interesting. So do you think that you actually get more damage, in terms of fade and UV, in the summer than you do – I’m sorry – in the winter than you do compared to the summer?

    DARRELL: Oh, yes. Because normally, in the summer, the sun is coming straight down on the roof of the house. In the winter, it’s coming down at a lower angle and actually penetrating deeper into the interior of a home.

    TOM: Now, that’s really interesting. And I guess – you know, we’ve seen the good and the bad of this. Like for example, I once had some patches in a floor of a home that I owned that I had to repair. And of course, once I repaired them, the new wood was distinctly different than the old and it took a couple of years for them to all fade together.

    We’ve actually gotten calls from folks that have had kind of the opposite where they’ve had walls that had different types of picture frames and things hanging on it. And they could – they were – felt trapped by the artwork. Because it was a wood wall and if they moved it, they had a different color underneath and couldn’t do anything about it.

    DARRELL: Yeah.

    TOM: So, this really can impact your decorating, as well as fade out any expensive furnishings, as well as your floor.

    DARRELL: Yeah, definitely. And most of the fabrics have some type of synthetic. Either the dyes or the fiber or the thread is made of a synthetic. And those synthetics are destroyed – greatly destroyed – by ultraviolet radiation. You get drying out, plus excessive light, UV and heat. And they are all three things that having window film professionally installed on your window can either stop completely or reduce greatly.

    Having window film – all of the quality window films on the market today stop 99.9 percent of all UV from coming through the window.

    LESLIE: Now, let’s clarify because when I’m thinking window film, immediately I start to kind of think about kind of like a tinting on a car window. Is there any similarity? Do they look the same?

    DARRELL: They can look the same. You go anywhere from the – if you see a bubble purple car going down the road, that’s a very dark film that may – that has faded out. May be 20, 30 years old. May have been a do-it-yourself job that was not professionally installed. But we don’t recognize the other 10 or 15 cars that went by that looked just great and they also have window film on them. So, it’s hard to tell from that perspective.

    But no, window film – the window film that’s made for architectural glass, flat glass – some of those same products are available in automotive forms. But they are made specifically for the issues that you want to address in a building itself, whether it be a residential or commercial building.

    TOM: We’re talking to Darrell Smith. He is the executive director of the International Window Film Association, a group that consists of manufacturers, installers of window films.

    And Darrell, it seems to me like window films could be, in some respects, an alternative to replacement windows if you’re primarily concerned about the heat gain and the fade that you get from having your old windows.

    DARRELL: Definitely. Window films are an extremely cost-effective alternative to full replacement of a window. If you have a window and structurally there’s nothing wrong with the window – it’s just that you would like for it to be more energy-efficient and you’d like to stop this UV from penetrating the house, both for personal safety reasons, skin care, as well as you’re protecting your furnishings – then at that point, putting window film on an existing window becomes not only a much more cost-effective alternative, it also is environmentally a much better solution than having to rip out a window, dispose of it, make a new window and have the window installed.

    So it’s technologically proven. Over 250 window films now are certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council, which is the same people that put energy ratings on windows.

    TOM: We’re talking to Darrell Smith. He is the executive director of the International Window Film Association.

    So, Darrell, not a DIY project. Do you guys have a dealer locator on your website, perhaps, where folks can connect with someone in their area if they’re interested in learning more?

    DARRELL: Yes. In the United States, you can just come to the business locator, which is on our home page of our website at www.IWFA.com. Click in there, put in your zip code and it will give you a list of all the dealers in your area.

    TOM: Terrific.

    DARRELL: And if you only want dealers who are accredited with special education training in different areas, you can also find those and narrow your search just to those dealers.

    TOM: Well, that makes a lot of sense.

    Darrell Smith from the Window Film Association, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. And again, that website is IWFA.com.

    LESLIE: And still ahead, don’t cheap out on paint for the exterior of your home. We are going to tell you why cheap paint ends up costing way more in the long run, next.

    (theme song)

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, all of you are calling in. We’re going to help you with your home improvement projects. But one of you is going to be our lucky caller and you will win a Duck Brand Weatherization Package, because it is not too late to save on your heating bills. Plus, you’ll be all set for next year.

    You are going to get a two-pack of double-draft seals, socket seals, an air-conditioning cover and of course, a roll of silver Duck Brand duct tape. It’s a prize package worth $60, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Cassie in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    CASSIE: Yes. I’ve got a question about stucco. I was wondering if the synthetic stucco performs as well as the regular stucco in North Texas.

    TOM: No. The synthetic – the stucco has had years and years and years of problems associated with it and I just don’t like it. I wouldn’t put it on my house. I think that there’s nothing better than real stucco but the foam stucco that’s out there – the Exterior Insulated Foam Siding: the EIFS systems – if you search that online, you’re going to find lots and lots of complaints and lawsuits and class-action lawsuits associated with the foam stucco. So I would stay away from it.

    CASSIE: OK. What kind of problems are you finding out? Is it falling off or …?

    TOM: Mostly moisture-related, where the moisture gets through it and can’t drain out of it. There’s been several iterations of it over the years to make it more water-resistant but most of the problems stem from water just getting behind it. It was a very difficult product to install and even if you did follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, I suspect that the skill set was just not out there. And the contractors that were putting it together – you know, one little mistake really cost them.

    CASSIE: OK. And then how does brick compare to stucco? The regular, original stucco.

    TOM: I think they’re both extremely durable materials. They can last a lifetime. It all comes down to installation. If it’s done correct …

    CASSIE: And cost?

    TOM: And cost. Yeah, I suspect brick would probably be more expensive than stucco but probably not terribly so more.

    LESLIE: Well, when you’re dealing with an aesthetic choice, brick is something that you pick. It stays that color forever and ever and ever. Some people paint it but it’s really once you paint brick, you can never go back. And with stucco, at least you have the opportunity to, if you like to have a home that’s of a certain color, you’re able to do so.

    CASSIE: Mm-hmm. OK. Well, that’s helpful. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, if you’re thinking about having the exterior of your house painted but perhaps looking for some ways to save money on that project, well, whatever you do, don’t buy bargain-basement paint. Cheap paint is never a bargain, people, because it just doesn’t last. When figuring out the true cost of a paint job, you need to measure that cost on an annual basis and include the cost of both the paint and the labor.

    So, let’s do the math. If you spent, say, for example, 7,500 bucks to paint your house, which included $500 on premium paint, your total cost is 8 grand. But that paint will last for 10 years, so the average cost per year is $800.

    LESLIE: Now, if you spend the same amount on labor and only pay about $300 for your paint, your total cost, of course, is going to be lower at 7,800 bucks. But you will have to repaint your home much sooner: probably in about five years. So your cost per year would be about $1,560 and that’s nearly double.

    The bottom line: do not get cheap paint and you will end up saving money in the long run.

    LESLIE: Mike in North Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    MIKE: Hi. How are you guys doing?

    TOM: We’re well.

    LESLIE: We’re great. So you’re working on a flooring project?

    MIKE: Well, no, not yet. I’m not much of a handyman but – say, my wife and I bought a condo about a year ago and it’s got linoleum flooring in it, which is nice, but we’re wanting to put some laminate down in our kitchen.

    TOM and LESLIE: OK.

    MIKE: And one of the things I read that you need to consider is if you have any appliances that are underneath the countertop, that installing the laminate isn’t going to interfere with that?

    And our dishwasher is right snug up against the bottom of the countertop, so if we put anything underneath that it’s not going to – or if we just …

    TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a problem. Yeah.

    MIKE: Yeah.

    TOM: So what kind of flooring do you have down now?

    MIKE: It’s just linoleum.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: OK. Now, Tom, how much play does adjusting the feet on the dishwasher give you?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. You should have at least an inch of play in the feet of the dishwasher.

    LESLIE: And the laminate’s going to be about three-quarters, correct?

    TOM: Less than that.

    LESLIE: Less than …

    TOM: Probably less than a half.

    LESLIE: Because, Michael, what you would do is before you start your flooring project, you would pull the dishwasher out, floor underneath it and then you’ll see on the bottom of all appliances – ovens, dishwashers – there’s some feet that sort of screw in and out to adjust the height. And then you would just drop it down all the way and slide it back in. And that should give you enough clearance.

    But before you start anything, you might want to just disconnect that dishwasher for a hot second, pull it out and see how much adjustability there actually is there. You don’t know what kind of position it’s already set in. You may have way more clearance than you think.

    MIKE: If I don’t – what if I don’t have enough clearance?

    LESLIE: Well, Tom has dealt with the crazy, floored-in dishwasher situation before, which is never fun.

    TOM: Yeah. What kind of countertop do you have?

    MIKE: Well, it’s not granite, if that tells you anything. I guess I’m not sure what it …

    TOM: Is it laminate?

    MIKE: Yeah.

    TOM: Well, look, you can pull the top off and drop the dishwasher in from the top, if you had problems getting it in and out.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: But if you – but if this is the original floor and it’s a vinyl floor – so you don’t have multiple layers there – it would be very unusual that you can’t adjust this dishwasher down.

    MIKE: Yeah.

    TOM: I mean they all look like they’re up close to the top but they almost always have an inch of space on those legs.

    MIKE: Sure.

    TOM: So, you need to take off the control panel on the bottom and take a look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    MIKE: Awesome. That’d be – I had – I didn’t even think of that, so appreciate it very much.

    TOM: Alright. Well, that – but you thought to call us and that was the right thing to do.

    MIKE: Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up, we’ve got tips to give your laundry room a checkup so that you can avoid problems that could range from floods to fire, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Santa Fe, makers of the world’s most energy-efficient basement and crawlspace dehumidifier. Santa Fe offers a complete line of high-capacity, Energy Star-rated dehumidifiers, specifically designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of crawlspaces and basements. Visit DehumidifierSolutions.com to learn more.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or if you’re just terribly shy and you really don’t want to talk to us, then you can go to the website and post your community question at MoneyPit.com. We don’t want you to drive off the road by calling us, either, so think about it, go to MoneyPit.com, post your question in the Community section. There are lots and lots and lots of folks there that are standing by to answer those questions.

    And we’re going to take one right now from D.J.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And D.J. posted: “You say you should have one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof. What determines the proper size of the gutters and downspouts? Won’t a 4-inch carry at least 25 percent more water away than the 3-inch? Why can’t I use a 5-inch?”

    TOM: Hmm. Listen, I wouldn’t get too hung up on these numbers. The general rule of thumb is that you use one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface. And we’re talking about 4-inch, K-styled downspout systems. That’s the average type of downspout system that’s used across the country.

    Now, if you have a situation where you’d expect to exceed that estimate – like, for example, where you have an upper-roof downspout that might discharge to a lower roof; a lot of times, we’ll see the second floor of a house discharge to the first floor or maybe just the garages – then that lower roof or maybe even the lower downspout, you might want to increase the size of that to handle the heavy rains.

    It’s a good rule to follow because undersized downspouts can become overloaded. The excess water then overflows, it lands right against your foundation, it seeps into your basement. It can freeze the soil, crack them. Just make sure that you have the proper-sized downspouts for the roof that you have and watch out for any that want to back up, because it’s just not a good thing for your house or your basement when that happens.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And with your downspouts, make sure that they’re not just depositing all that water into one of those splashguards. Try to get them 4 or 6, whatever you can, away from the foundation, 3, 4 feet. If you can do it, move it away. You will be so happy with the dry basement. Believe me, I know.

    TOM: Well, happy laundry rooms start with good bones: basic, functional systems that work the way they should to help both clean your clothes and prevent disaster. So, why not give those bones a checkup to make sure that all systems are go? Leslie will tell you how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You want to start with the basics in your laundry room and I’m talking about your water-supply hoses.

    Now, typical, rubber-based water-supply lines, they’ve got a tendency to swell and then burst. So we recommend replacing those hoses with the braided-steel ones. Also, you want to install an automatic shut-off valve, because they can detect an out-of-the-ordinary water flow before it turns into an all-out flood.

    And while you’re at it, get familiar with the location of your water valves. You want to know where they are in the event of a problem. And once you know where they are, you want to make sure that those valves are all accessible and functional and label them correctly. Let everybody know exactly what it is and where it is.

    Now, if you’ve got separate water valves for hot and cold water, take the opportunity to upgrade to a single-lever, turn-off valve, which will turn both the hot- and cold-water supplies off at the same exact time.

    Finally, you need to clean out your dryer-vent exhaust every six months. Because lint that collects in there will be responsible for multiple deaths and nearly 15,000 dryer fires each year. It’s a very easy chore. Pick up a Gardus LintEater. It’s basically an expandable pole that you attach to a drill-driver motor. You put it in from the outside, where it vents outward, and you will clean out so much lint you will be embarrassed. And you may even find a sock. But it’s a super-fun chore and it really is one that can save your family’s life, so don’t skip that one today.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to be on location at the site of the current This Old House renovation in Barrington, Rhode Island.

    This is actually the first time This Old House has ever taken on a beach house right on the open water. And guess what happened when they did? A hurricane blasted right through the entire project during the middle of construction. We’re going to find out how they recovered, next week on The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

    END HOUR 2 TEXT

    (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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