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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: What are you working on this weekend? We’d love to help you get started on a spring home improvement project. Pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, one simple mistake can cause electric bills to spike. We’ve got a simple solution, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, one of the best ways to add curb appeal to your house is by landscaping. We’ve got do-it-yourself landscaping ideas that can make a big difference.

    TOM: And one caller this hour is going to win $75 worth of Smart Tape. This ingenious product allows you to tape off any area with the measurements right on the tape, so no more fumbling with measuring tape.

    Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win $75 worth of Smart Tape.

    Leslie, let’s get to it. Who’s first?

    LESLIE: Celina in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    CELINA: Last week, I had estimates done on my home to have all my drainpipes replaced.

    TOM: Hmm. Why did you do that?

    CELINA: My house was built in 1944 and we’ve had some trouble here lately with clogs and everything. So, I just decided to go ahead and replace all the drain lines.

    TOM: Is that because the – you were getting roots and that sort of thing in the pipes?

    CELINA: I don’t think there’s roots in them, no, because we’ve had those – the pipe from the house back to the drain replaced already. This is just the inside pipe. And they’re old and yes, we have had a couple of them to rupture but I just decided to get them all replaced.

    However, today, my son told me that all of that is useless if I don’t get the main line coming into the house replaced, also. And I wanted to see what your take was on that.

    TOM: Well, we’re talking about two different types of pipes. You’re talking about drainage pipes versus supply pipes. And the supply pipe that comes into the house may or may not need to be replaced. The questions I would have for you are: what’s the pipe made out of and are we having any problems with it?

    Now, in an older house, you may have the original steel plumbing – steel main-water pipe – coming into the house which, if the house was built – did you say the 40s?

    CELINA: Right.

    TOM: That’s a super-old pipe that definitely is at risk of breaking.

    CELINA: OK, great. So when they come back out to do my plumbing, because they’re doing it in two weeks, I need to ask them to look at the pipe. And that means – because none of the people that gave me estimates even mentioned it was bad.

    TOM: Well, I would take a look at that. And typically, in a house, you don’t replace the drainpipes. I’m a little surprised that you’re doing that. Typically, in an older house with steel pipes, you end up replacing the supply pipes. And you do the horizontal pipes first because they’re the easiest to access. And you do the vertical pipes that go up through the walls last because they’re the hardest to access. And you can do it in stages.

    The first step of a steel-pipe conversion is to do the main. The second one is to do all the horizontals in the basement crawlspace and the third is to do the verticals. And so, typically, that’s what you do in a house that has that kind of plumbing.

    You mentioned you had some problems with clogging with the drainpipes but that’s pretty unusual. And I actually have never heard of anyone wanting to replace drainpipes. Typically, they replace supply pipes.

    So you might want to get a second opinion on this and not just take the opinion of the plumber that wants the work.

    CELINA: OK, great. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Mark in South Carolina is on the line and needs some help defining different types of insulation. Tell us what’s going on.

    MARK: I put some Icynene in my house and then I heard someone say that closed-cell was better. And then I’ve heard that open-cell was better. Can you explain to me the advantages and disadvantages of, for my home now, choosing either closed-cell or open-cell insulation?

    TOM: What type of Icynene did you put in? Is it open-cell insulation?

    MARK: Yes, it was open-cell.

    TOM: You know, there’s a lot of debate as to which one is better and I think that both have good qualities. Open-cell has a good insulating value. It’s more susceptible to moisture than closed-cell but it still gives you the benefit of being not only an insulator but an air barrier. So it protects you against drafts that are going to try to get into the house. The other advantage of open-cell is it has better sound-absorption qualities. So it’s a little bit of a quieter house and it tends to be more economical to apply.

    So I don’t think you made a bad choice and Icynene is a good product.

    MARK: OK. What would be a reason I would choose closed-cell?

    TOM: That’s a good question. I would say that if you were in a very high-moisture area, like seaside, then you may want to consider closed-cell.

    MARK: Alright. Well, you guys have a great show and thank you for your time and your help.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, is the outside of your house just not saying “spring”? We’ve got some easy tips to help you add curb appeal and bring a fresh, new look, just in time for the warmer weather.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: One caller who picks up the phone and calls us for the answer to their home improvement question might win $75 worth of products from Smart Tape Solutions.

    This is a very ingenious idea. It’s a tape with the measurements marked off right on it, basically like a measuring tape that sticks to anything.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s really awesome. I’m kind of in love with it because you can mark off your projects without using a separate tape measure. And it’s really great because you can write on it, you can drill through it. It’s easily removable.

    You know where it’s a really big helping hand is when you’re hanging a mirror or a piece of art or one of those little ledger shelves that has those two keyholes on the back and it’s got to be exactly 24-and-an-1/8 inches apart on center. It helps a lot there.

    And Smart Tape is also proudly made in the U.S.A.

    TOM: The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Carol in Texas is working on a painting project. How can we lend a hand?

    CAROL: We are painting our bathroom cabinets. They are – they were put in the bathroom in 1980-something. I’m not sure about the date. We bought this house – the people lived in it 28 years and we’ve been here almost 9 years. And they’re kind of a maple color and they’re not very attractive. I’ve used that Orange Glo on them trying to make them look better. I don’t know what they used on them. Probably Liquid Gold or something trying to bring out the sheen.

    But it’s just almost beyond the point. And I’d like to have new cabinets but when we do, we’re probably going to have to redo the whole bathroom, so we decided we would paint them kind of an off-white color.

    What we want to know is: what’s the approach to making that paint stay on?

    LESLIE: Now, you said that the cabinets are a maple color. Are they actually wood and they’re stained?

    CAROL: Yeah, that’s the stain on them. They’re stained.

    LESLIE: So they’re stained wood. It’s not like a thermofoil that looks like wood or a laminate? It’s wood.

    CAROL: No, it’s real wood. They’re real wood cabinets.

    LESLIE: Now, if they’ve been stained and restained over the course of a couple of years and you’ve got a lot of coatings of a cleaner on there, your best bet would be – and this is how I would kind of tackle it. I would remove the doors and the drawer fronts, being very careful about labeling which goes where, you know? A little piece of painters tape on the back side and a little piece on the hinge saying, “A-A,” or “1-1,” just so you know exactly where things go back.

    And I would leave the hinges either on the door or on the box. It’s kind of easier to leave them on the box, just for painting issues. And this way, you know exactly where everything goes back; that just kind of keeps things tidy.

    And then, you really need to get some of that sheen off. So you could do it a couple of different ways. You could use something that’s like a liquid sandpaper that you wipe on that gets rid of some of that sheen. But if it’s a super-high gloss and they’ve been oiled or polished over the years and they’re very sort of gunked up, almost, with a lot of finish on them, you may want to sand them down a little bit. Because you need to get down to something that’s a little bit not so glossy and so built up from years of cleaning and just the yuck that happens in the bathroom, just so that you’ve got a surface that the paint’s going to stick to.

    And once you’ve done that to the doors or drawer fronts and the boxes themselves in the bathroom, you need to prime it very well with a high-quality primer. I would use KILZ or Zinsser – one of those that’ll stick very, very well – let that dry very thoroughly and then go ahead with your top-coat paint. And because it’s in a bathroom and because it’s a high-moisture area and it’s something that you’re going to want to be cleaning a lot, I would go with a glossy finish and an oil base if I can get my hands on one. If not, a glossy latex will do the trick but more durable, of course, would be the oil base.

    CAROL: Thank you and I appreciate your help.

    TOM: Well, does the outside of your house need a little something that says “spring is here”? Adding shrubbery can be a great way to add that curb appeal. And planting a shrub is also something most do-it-yourselfers can handle without the help of a pro.

    Now, one way to make sure you’re successful is to choose shrubs that are native to your climate so that they can thrive.

    LESLIE: Now, once you have your shrub, it’s time to dig, which is actually the worst part of the entire project but totally manageable. You’re going to need a hole that’s about two-and-a-half times bigger in diameter than the root ball of the shrub you’ve selected. You dig out the topsoil and then set it aside. And when you reach the gravelly, stony type of dirt, you dig it out and get rid of it; you don’t want it.

    TOM: Now, leave the top 2 or 3 inches of the root ball exposed and place the shrub in the hole. Cut its cord and find its face; now, that’s the best side of the shrub. Then mix fertilizer into the topsoil and replace it.

    Remember to water the root ball for 30 minutes once a day for a week and soon, you’ll have that beautiful look of spring perking up your curb appeal.

    LESLIE: Wes in Utah is on the line and has a question about a very common form of cooling over there: a swamp cooler. What’s going on?

    WES: Yes. I’m wondering if a cooler – the old-fashioned swamp cooler, evaporative cooler – works better in the sunlight or in the shade?

    TOM: Well, it certainly would work better in the shade. You’re going to get better cooling action without having the added evaporation of all of that direct sunlight on the water. So, it’s a good idea to shade those units when it’s physically possible to do that.

    And you’re right: it’s known both as a swamp cooler and an evaporative cooler. And that’s, essentially, what happens: as the water evaporates, it lowers the temperature of the air and that’s why it becomes more comfortable. And in particularly dry climates, like Utah, swamp coolers are very, very common and very popular and have been for many years.

    WES: OK. So it works better in the shade.

    TOM: Better in the shade. If the opportunity presents itself to shade it, do it, Wes, OK?

    WES: Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Yeah, I remember we did a lot of episodes of While You Were Out in Utah and that was really my first sort of introduction to a swamp cooler. I’d never seen them. And they are very popular in the Salt Lake City area.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, you know how if you have the state bird? Well, they have the state air-conditioning unit; it’s the swamp cooler.

    LESLIE: The state cooling device.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.

    Who is next on The Money Pit?

    LESLIE: Tom in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a driveway-cleaning project. What’s going on?

    TOM IN TEXAS: I’ve got a driveway – a concrete driveway – that I put in about 10 years ago. And it’s maybe 60-plus feet, a couple of car lengths wide – a couple of car widths wide. And I had an oil leak in the truck and really wasn’t paying much attention to it until one day I noticed it. And there was quite a bit of staining down there, so I got some Oil-Dri, started putting it down. And it has held but there’s still some staining there.

    I never sealed it. And then I also get – from leaves and stuff. So, I just was wondering – I was thinking about getting a power cleaner and maybe some kind of detergent and clean it up. Or do I just live with it?

    TOM: What you can do to try to clean this is to use a product called TSP – trisodium phosphate. It’s available at home centers and hardware stores, usually in the painting aisle. You mix it up into sort of a paste-like consistency, apply it to the stain, let it sit there for a little while and then you can rinse it off. And that will tend to draw the oil out of it. It’s not a miracle cure but it does a pretty good job of cleaning up oil stains.

    TOM IN TEXAS: But do I need a power washer or just hose it off?

    TOM: No, you just hose it off. A lot of pressure is not your friend here. It’s really just having the right products on that oil to kind of draw it out.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And once – when you’re in the paint aisle getting the TSP, right next to it you can get a paint-tray liner and just maybe slide that under the truck for a little while.

    TOM: There you go.

    TOM IN TEXAS: I should probably just attach something under there.

    TOM: Yeah, attach it and then you can set up a couple of traffic cones. And then every day when you come home, you pull up to the cones, you know that the pan under the car will be directly aligned with the leak and that’ll be it.

    TOM IN TEXAS: Alright. Very good. Well, OK. I will take all that into consideration. Thank you all very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to Georgia where Robin is dealing with a porch issue. What’s going on with the cement?

    ROBIN: The back of the cement porch, where it meets the house, has sunk down from the brick about an inch and maybe as much as 2 inches in some places. And then, up the wall, the brick has also got lines in it, in some places, that have dropped down, as well. And you can see where the brick has dropped down under the windows.

    TOM: OK. So what’s happening here is settlement and it’s happened slowly, probably over a number of years. And typically, what happens in porches is – you know, you frame the outside sort of foundation wall of the porch and then you pour the concrete last. And sometimes, when they backfill the porch, it doesn’t compress properly or sometimes you get organic debris in there, like tree stumps and that sort of thing. And then they, of course, rot away, you get voids and then the porch drops.

    So the question is: can you patch something that has dropped 2 inches? And my answer is no. It’s too much to patch. So, you really have two choices. You can temporarily seal those gaps. The only purpose in doing this is to stop some of the water that might collect from rainfall of running in there and making the matter worse. But it really is a very temporary fix.

    The proper thing to do would be to have that concrete floor torn out. Once it’s torn out, you’ll be able to work on the brick wall that’s sagging underneath. The bricks would probably be sitting on top of a ledge of a foundation. I don’t know why they’re dropping but you need to investigate that, rebuild the bricks up under the window and then pour a new concrete floor on properly tamped, properly compacted base.

    That’s really all you can do at this point because you can’t patch something – you can’t put a layer on it of additional concrete to kind of fill that in. It just won’t stay. It won’t look right. OK, Robin?

    ROBIN: OK. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to John in Iowa who’s dealing with a leaky shower. Tell us what’s going on.

    JOHN: Well, I’ve got a shower on my main floor, where it basically leaks onto the floor in the basement. And when I removed the 2-inch trap – this is a home that was built in ’41 but it’s been remodeled recently, probably within the last 10 years or at least the shower has – I noticed there wasn’t a whole lot of room between the tile and the flooring or the main wood behind it, as well as they sealed up the drain. It was basically just a 2-inch PVC sealed with some sort of cement and then a drain popped on top of it.

    And I’m curious – I mean how can I remedy this issue? Obviously, it needs a proper drain. But I couldn’t find anything to fit the hole that they had.

    TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, it’s still leaking and you’re in the middle of this project? Is that correct, John?

    JOHN: Well, I just bought this home and I basically said, “OK. We’re not using this shower. We have an upstairs shower that we can use during the remediation process.”

    TOM: Is this a tile shower?

    JOHN: Yes.

    TOM: So, with a 1940 tile shower, the first thing I would expect to leak is the lead pan. And the way those showers are built is there’s a lead pan put in against the drain, then the tile is put on top of the lead. And so, over the years, those pans would crack. And the way you test a lead pan is simply by blocking the shower drain and then filling up the bottom of the shower with as much water as you can get in there – usually 4 or 5 inches of water – and then wait and see what happens.

    So if it’s possible for you to test the pan, I would do that before I start assuming that the leak was at the drain. Because it might very well be that the drain is not leaking; the pan is leaking. And if that’s the case, then you have to tear out the shower base and rebuild it.

    JOHN: Ah, I see. Alright.

    TOM: It’s the lead pan. Because a pan that’s 60, 70 years old, they just don’t last that long.

    JOHN: Alright.

    TOM: OK? So seal it off, test it off. You know what works well? One of those – you know those rubber jar openers that are about 6 inches in diameter?

    JOHN: Yeah.

    TOM: Put that across the drain, fill it up with water and then watch for a leak.

    JOHN: Alright. I’ll try that.

    TOM: OK, John. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector, I used to check those pans for leaks all the time that way. And we got – you get smart after the first time this happens to you – is that you never let that water sit very long. Like you fill it up, you go downstairs immediately and see if it’s leaking.

    LESLIE: Really? It’s that fast when you’ve got a crack in the pan?

    TOM: Sometimes, yes. Because if it’s going to leak, if it’s a bad crack, you – it may never have been discovered or it might have been so slow. But by filling the whole pan up with water, you prove it very quickly that it’s leaking. So that’s why we always check very quickly to see if there’s a leak. And then if not, fill it up, let it sit there for a half hour and go back and check again.

    But it’s a very, very common area for a leak and unfortunately, a very expensive one because think about it: you’ve got to tear out all that tile and you’ve got to rebuild that pan. And today, of course, we don’t use lead; we usually use fiberglass. But it’s a pretty big renovation. Probably a couple thousand bucks worth of work.

    LESLIE: Well, if you gasp out loud every time you get your smartphone bill, you might be surprised to learn it could be driving up your electric bill, too. Geez. How much you got to pay for these phones? We’re going to show you how to avoid a common mistake when you charge it, coming up.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the brand most preferred by builders for wiring devices and lighting controls. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs.

    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. We are here to help you with your home improvement project and we’re gearing up for one of our biggest annual events here at The Money Pit. And that is our coverage of the National Hardware Show in Vegas.

    We’re going to be out there bringing you all of the hot home improvement products from our Top Products Pavilion, right on the show floor. Check out all our top products, online, at MoneyPit.com and follow along on Twitter with the handle @MoneyPit. And be sure to use the hashtag #TopProductsNHS.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, we really love this show because all of the manufacturers in this industry use it to roll out the coolest new products for the season. For example, Krylon has got a new spray-paint formula from Krylon called Dual Superbond. And it’s really great because the paint will adhere to many surfaces that traditional paints don’t, including laminates and melamine. And it’s also great for metal, wood, plastic and anything that’s already got a coat of paint on it.

    TOM: And the Krylon’s Dual Superbond product is just one of the many products featured in our Top Products Gallery that’s on MoneyPit.com. Just remember to follow us @MoneyPit on Twitter and you’ll get all the updates as they occur.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to New York where Rita is on the line with a mysterious odor. What is going on over there?

    RITA: Well, I purchased a new refrigerator and I had it installed. And overnight, the water line broke and it flooded through the second floor where my kitchen is – through the cabinets, the floor – went downstairs through the ceiling and then into the first floor, in through the garage.

    TOM: Gravity stinks, huh?

    RITA: Yeah. I definitely think – we just bought the house.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    RITA: So as first-time homeowners – and then we’ve been in the house only for a couple of weeks. When we got the refrigerator, we were excited and then that happened. We had a company that came out and dried everything out, because it went all night, and they told us there was no mold.

    And then two weeks later, our garage, when we were getting the work done to repair everything, one of the workers left a valve on the water hose in the garage and that exploded. And then everything that we had in the garage got completely drenched, wet. And we were able to dry that out without getting another company in.

    But the first time after the first flood happened, we smelled – it was like a sweet, sickly smell when you open the door to come in. The garage is right next door to the entrance. And that smell was wafting up towards the upstairs where the kitchen cabinet is, where that flooding happened. And now, after the second one, that smell got really strong.

    And there’s no mold; there is no sign of any mold anywhere. But the smell isn’t going away. And we’ve been running a dehumidifier but we just don’t know how else to resolve it.

    TOM: You should know that mold is not going to form instantly, so the fact that you had a leak and then you’re saying you’re smelling this right away is not likely the result of mold. It’s more likely just the humidity mixed in with ever – with whatever got into that water that caused that.

    By the way, when this refrigerator line broke and you did all this work, did you contact your homeowners insurance company?

    RITA: We had to because the company who we purchased the refrigerator from, they were all pointing fingers at each other as to the cause of this water-line break. And so, they really didn’t want to take anything. So we had to wait – because it happened on a weekend, of course. We had to wait a few days. And then, once my homeowners insurance got involved, we didn’t know anything about getting a company to come in and look at the water. There was a lot of water still in between that area.

    So they ran their fans and the dehumidifiers and they pulled all the water out and they dried everything out. But it destroyed our floors on both levels, because they’re wood floors.

    TOM: Right. And that should have been covered by your homeowners insurance.

    RITA: Right. Yeah, we did go through them and they’re going to go after, now, these companies that are involved in the installation but …

    TOM: And that’s what you should do because the homeowners insurance company is there to cover sudden water dispersals like that. And you don’t need to get involved with the finger-pointing. Let them pay for the claim and then if they want to collect it against the contractors, then so be it.

    Well, look, it seems like the correction here is not 100-percent complete. So, as part of that mitigation, was there a flood-cleanup company involved?

    RITA: Yeah, they came over and they did everything and they said it was fine. And it was only a week after they had left that I started noticing that odor. And it wasn’t very strong but after this second time that we had the flooding, which was only now a week ago, the smell got really strong.

    TOM: I would go back to that same company as an extension of the original repair and just tell them it’s not been 100-percent resolved. Because I think you should keep this as part of that same claim.

    Now, the complication is going to be that now you may – because you had a second flood, who’s responsible for that? But I still think it’s the same issue. You should go back to that company and they have ways of treating those surfaces with disinfectants that will kill any materials that are left behind that could be contributing to that odor. And that plus the good dehumidification that you’re doing should stop it. It’s just going to have to dry out. But I do believe you should go back to the company that did the original cleanup work.

    Was it like a SERVPRO or somebody like that?

    RITA: Yeah, that’s who we used: SERVPRO.

    TOM: Yeah, yeah. So this is what these guys do and they know how to get paid through the insurance companies and it shouldn’t be a lot of stress for you. So I would go back to them and have them continue to treat the issue, because it’s not been resolved.

    RITA: Alright, great. Well, thank you for your help.

    TOM: Well, good luck with that project.

    RITA: Thank you very much. Have a good one.

    LESLIE: So, do you have stacks of photos maybe just sitting in drawers or saved on your phone or your desktop? Well, print up those photos and create your own home gallery. It’s going to bring some interest to your walls and free your memories. So, we’re going to share some framing tips, coming up.

    ANNOUNCER: Starting an outdoor staining project? Make it faster and easier with Flood Wood Care products. Start today at Flood.com/Simplify and use the interactive selection guide to find the right Flood Wood Care products for your project. Flood, simple across the board.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who gets on the air with us this hour could win $75 worth of products from Smart Tape Solutions.

    It’s really an ingenious idea. It’s basically a tape that’s got the measurements marked off on it, so it’s basically like a measuring tape that you can stick to anything.

    TOM: Great idea. You can mark off projects without using separate tape measures. And you can also write on it, drill through it and then it’s easily removable when your project is done.

    There’s also a version for parents, too. It’s called Mommy Tape. Stick it on the wall and mark off dates with measurements as your children grow. What a great idea.

    Smart Tape is proudly made in the U.S.A. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call right now for the answer to your home improvement project and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Frank in Texas on the line with a structural question. What’s going on at your money pit?

    FRANK: Yes, I’ve got an older home, post-and-beam construction. I have about a 4×8 beam that’s cracked diagonally. And I’ve already poured a footer – a 2-foot by 2-foot by 6-inch footer – and I plan on bracing that. But what I’m wondering, once I jack it back into position, number one, is there an adhesive that might help hold it together? And on the sides, I want to marry in a support. Should I use OSB, plywood or 2×8?

    TOM: What you would do is you would put another beam next to it that has to go the same width. It has to go bearing point to bearing point as the split beam. And then you would glue it with a construction adhesive from the new beam to the split beam. And I would bolt them together. And if you do that on a beam-by-beam basis, then it should be an acceptable repair.

    It’s just a little tricky because you’ve got to get that new beam next to the old beam and it’s going to not be straight. And you’re going to have to work around wires and plumbing and such to get it in there and nice and tight.

    But take your time fitting that beam. If you get the new beam in right, then it could be quite strong.

    FRANK: Alright. I appreciate the advice. Thank you.

    TOM: Well, we all love our smartphones and our laptops but you might not love what they’re doing to your electric bill if you’re not careful when charging them.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Believe it or not, 40 percent of the electricity used to power mobile devices and other home electronics is consumed after those devices are turned off. So, when you’ve charged up your device, don’t just unplug it from the charger, unplug the charger from the wall socket, too.

    TOM: Now, if you’ve got a hard time remembering that, try a power strip. Some of them will sense when power is flowing below 30 watts and then shut off the power to the entire strip.

    If you make a change in your electronic-charging routine, you might find that you’ve also made a change in your energy bill for the better.

    888-666-3974. We are here to help you make your home better, so pick up the phone and give us a call with your question, right now.

    LESLIE: Natasha in Missouri is on the line with a molding question. What can we do for you today?

    NATASHA: Our house is about 11 years old and the interior walls – the sheetrock or the drywall – is finished with a nice, round, bullnose corner, so it doesn’t come to a right angle, so to speak. And just through wear and tear with kids and dogs, we have found several dents appearing. And I’m wondering if you have ideas on how we might repair that or if we are going to have to just replace that whole corner edging. Any thoughts?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean is this like the metal rounded corner?

    NATASHA: I think it’s metal. I tap on it and it sounds plasticky but it might be metal, which would explain the dents.

    TOM: Why not just plaster over those?

    NATASHA: I thought about that. Some of them are just little dimples but I don’t know if I can successfully fill and sand and patch. But that’s one thought we’ve had.

    TOM: Yeah. You could skim-coat it. And the other thing that you could do, if it’s a crisp dent, is you can use auto-body filler. We use that on metal doors, like metal doors that have dents in it and that sort of thing. It’s just a little harder to sand. But if it’s just the outside corner on drywall, you could use spackle for that. Build it up and then sand it. It sands really easily. You’re just going to have to prime it and repaint it.

    NATASHA: Yeah?

    TOM: Shouldn’t be a big deal.

    NATASHA: Great. Well, that’s exciting. Some other advice I’d had was to replace the whole corner, so I love your suggestion much, much more.

    TOM: Well, you can always do that but why don’t we try the easiest stuff first?

    NATASHA: Maybe in the bedrooms where it’s not so obvious. We’ll try that first, so …

    TOM: Then you can practice and you’ll get good at it.

    NATASHA: That’s right. Hey, thanks so much. I really appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Pam in Florida has a porch question. How can we help you today?

    PAM: We live on the water and in Florida, there’s a lot of wind on the water. We’re close to the Gulf of Mexico. And we have a screened porch with aluminum railings and the wind keeps blowing the screen sections out. We’ve tried all different types of screens and double-screening them and all different types of splines. And I wondered if you had any better ideas for us.

    TOM: Are we talking about on doors or windows?

    PAM: We’re talking about screen sections on a screened porch.

    TOM: Screened porch. OK. And so, how big are these sections?

    PAM: Probably 4×6.

    TOM: Pretty big. Are you using vinyl screening or are you using metal screening?

    PAM: Vinyl.

    TOM: Yeah, I think that’s the issue. The vinyl screening is pretty soft and pretty flexible. Not very sturdy. I think you’re going to need to use a heavier-gauge screening in order to make this more permanent. And you’re also going to need to consider not only the attachment points – I’m not quite sure how you’re doing that – but it’s got to be super-secure. And you might want to add grilles to divide that up into a bit smaller space. It could be a thin grille but it could – but a grille would give it some additional strength.

    So I think you’re going to need to use much heavier screening and not vinyl screening, OK? Because I think putting on a double layer of the vinyl is going to really not get you where you need to be. It really should be heavy metal screening when it’s that – when it’s a 4×6-foot area.

    PAM: Right. Do you know if metal screening comes in a fine enough mesh to keep no-see-ums out?

    TOM: Oh, yeah. It comes in different mesh densities and different gauge metals. You’ve just got to find a good source or supply down there for it.

    PAM: Thank you very much. Appreciate the help.

    TOM: You’re very welcome.

    LESLIE: Hey, this is a chore that I absolutely hate doing and maybe you do, as well. Do you hate scooping all of those yucky food scraps out of your kitchen-sink drain basket? I don’t know why I think it’s so disgusting but I do. So, why not install a food disposer and never scoop out those scraps again? We’re going to share some tips to choose the right disposer for you, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the brand most preferred by builders for wiring devices and lighting controls. With a focus on safety, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs.

    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.

    Please visit us on Facebook and you will get in on our Go Green for Earth Day Sweepstakes. We are giving away $1,000 in prizes from Staples to one lucky winner, including 500 bucks worth of Sustainable Earth by Staples products.

    TOM: This is an eco-friendly line that helps lessen your impact on the environment. And it includes everything from office supplies to cleaning products. Just “like” our page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit to enter. And don’t forget to share the sweeps for bonus entries.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, you can post your question in the Community section, just like Bradley from Tennessee did. And he writes: “I want to install a garbage disposer but I have a septic tank. Are the two compatible?”

    TOM: Yeah, they certainly can be. Now, most professionals that deal with septic systems would tell you to never put a disposer in. But there are brands that make disposers that are specifically designed for septic systems.

    For example, InSinkErator has a disposer that’s designed for septic systems. And it also includes something that they call Septic Assist, which is an enzyme treatment that is basically injected into the food particles every time you run the disposer. And that helps sort of spur on the further deterioration or the further breakdown of those food particles inside the septic system.

    So, while I would say to approach it cautiously and with the right products, you can, in fact, have a disposer with a septic system.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Mort in Illinois who writes: “My house was built in the 80s with prefabricated trusses in the attic. Can I use this space for storage?”

    TOM: Not designed for storage, Mort. But if you were to add some platforms where, perhaps, you added some crossmembers on the existing trusses to be able to support some boxes up in the air, above the insulation, then it’s OK. Remember, just don’t cut those trusses because they’re all designed to work as one structural unit. And if you try to cut some of those cords out of the way, you’re going to have a problem.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Like your roof might not stay up.

    TOM: That’d be bad.

    Well, if you think about it, the walls of your home are really nothing more than a canvas waiting for your personal touch. Leslie has a tip on how to do that with photos, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, one of the greatest ways to make your space your own is to hang some pictures that mean something to you and your family. But if you’ve visited a frame shop lately to check on the prices, you know it can actually be super-expensive. So instead, buy some cheap frames just about anywhere and you can customize the matting. It’s much easier than you think; you actually just need some heavy-duty paper. And just pick a color that really compliments the picture or the room.

    Now, you want to cut outside of the paper to match the dimensions of the inside of the frame. And then with an X-ACTO knife or an actual mat cutter, you cut a square or a rectangle big enough to display how much of the picture you want showing.

    Now, here’s the trick: you need to get non-acid tape because a tape with acid in it is going to deteriorate the back of the picture. So get a tape that says “non-acid” and then tape only one side of the picture to the mat. Because taping more than one side could cause it to not lay exactly straight or the image to wrinkle.

    Now, you can be matting like a pro. It really does just take a little bit of practice. Maybe the first one is not going to come out so great but by the second, third, fourth, they’re going to look awesome.

    You can create some groupings of similar photos and it’ll give you some added impact. Or you can use black-and-white prints to bring a cohesive look to some very different photos.

    Go crazy. Create a gallery. Don’t hide these memories. Let them out and enjoy them.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, there are some looks that just never go out of style and one of those is the look, charm and quality of older plumbing fixtures. You can recycle them to use again in a bath or a kitchen or even use them in a completely different way. Find out more, 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.


    (Copyright 2014 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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