How to Store Summer Equipment Through Winter, Keep Electrical Cords Neat, Fall Fix-ups and More

  • Transcript

    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 for your home improvement questions, so pick up the phone and help yourself first by dialing 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    The weather is chilly; it’s brisk. But it’s the perfect time to pick up a paintbrush, to pick up a saw, to pick up the phone and call us with your project, because we will help you get the job done. 888-666-3974. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, it is a beautiful time of year to tackle outdoor projects but it’s not going to last forever. In fact, that season is starting to wind down. So coming up this hour, we’re going to have your last chance for outdoor projects. List the things that you need to squeeze in right now or you won’t get another chance until spring.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And now that all of those bicycles, outdoor toys, giant water toys, basketball hoops, ride-on toys – you can tell, small kid in my house, lots of outdoor stuff.

    TOM: Everything’s big.

    LESLIE: Everything is big. Child, not so much. Toys, gigantic.

    But seriously, you’ve got outdoor furniture, lawn furniture, even all your garden tools. And all of that needs to share the space in your shed for the winter. So how do you go about keeping all of that stuff organized in whatever you’ve got: your garage or your shed? So we’re going to share a few tips to help you control that clutter and organize all of those belongings.

    TOM: And also ahead, the more we embrace technology and electronics, the more cords there seem to be. Just in my family room alone, I’ve got, what, the TV, the stereo, the gaming system and probably a few I’ve already forgotten because …

    LESLIE: Ah, you might complain but you know you love them, right?

    TOM: Well, the kids love them.

    LESLIE: You love them, too. Come on.

    TOM: The kids love them.

    But the good news, though, is that there is a good, easy way to control all those cords. We’re doing it here and we’re going to share that trick with you, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also, one lucky caller this hour is going to get a head start on a new floor. Because we are giving away a $250 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. And they have got a huge selection of high-quality flooring options for way less than you’re going to find anywhere else, because they’re buying directly from the mill, which can help save you a ton of money.

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

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania who’s calling in with an insulation question. What can we do for you today, John?

    JOHN: I’ve got a question concerning installing insulation in my attic?


    TOM: OK.

    JOHN: Do I need to protect the gap between the roof sheathing and the sheathing of the wall? The house does not have an overhang; it’s a simple gable roof with vents at either end and a ridge vent. But where the wall sheathing meets the roof sheathing, there is a gap of approximately 1/8-of-an-inch. And I was advised that that gap should be protected by a home inspector.

    TOM: Now, wait a minute. So you’re talking about – you’re going to reroof and you have a gap between the wall sheathing and the roof sheathing. And isn’t the roof going to go over that gap and hang over the outside wall?

    JOHN: Well, the gap is between the underside of the roof sheathing and the wall sheathing. There is, essentially, no overhang.

    TOM: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying but I don’t understand. The sheathing is not part of – is he worried about water getting in?

    JOHN: No. The question is is for insulation purposes, do I need to keep that …?

    TOM: Nah. No, no, no, no, no.

    LESLIE: So that doesn’t act like a soffit vent? That little gap?

    TOM: No. No. I wouldn’t worry about that.

    JOHN: OK.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s an issue.

    JOHN: So that – I noticed that if I installed drip – a drip edge on the roof when I haven’t reroofed, that gap is going to be closed by the drip edge.

    TOM: That’s my point. Yeah, you can roof right over that.

    JOHN: OK.

    TOM: OK?

    JOHN: OK. That answers my question.

    TOM: There you go. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Kate in North Carolina is calling in with a creative flooring project. What can we do for you?

    KATE: My floor is either linoleum or vinyl. It’s in the kitchen and it’s at least 10 years old. And what I’d like to do, as an interim project, is to paint it.

    TOM: OK.

    KATE: I’m wondering what you thought about that.

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you can paint it. It’s not going to stick. We’d rather you consider using a remnant piece of vinyl or perhaps a laminate floor. These are not expensive options and it’s going to give you far more durability than any type of a surface prep like paint.

    KATE: OK. So paint is not an option at all then?

    TOM: I don’t think it’s a good idea, you know? I’m not sure it would even stick.

    LESLIE: Well, people – I mean there’s a process. Certainly, if you were to go online, you’d find information about how to do it. What generally is done – and really, my only concern is that it’s such a floor that you use a lot, you clean a lot, so the durability of the paint would have to be a factor.

    Now, if you were going to give it a try since maybe in a year you’re going to replace it anyway and why not, what you would want to do is sand the floor, which is crazy. You’d be sanding the floor with like 180-grit sandpaper and you want to just remove that glossy finish and get rid of that slickness to it.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: And then once you’ve sanded, you’re going to use a liquid sander: something maybe like Gloss-Off, just to try to get that additional surface finish off of that flooring. Once that’s done, you’re going to prime the surface with a really good painting primer and you want to use a good, thick coat with a roller and then allow that to dry. And then you can go ahead and paint it.

    Now, you might want to use a porch-and-floor paint or something that’s really made to withstand the traffic. And you can get creative: you can use a stencil, you can use an interesting finish, you can create it to look like anything. But it’s worth a shot if you plan on replacing it in a year or two; just see how it stands up. But my concern is just scrubability, durability. You use the kitchen floor a lot.

    KATE: Alrighty. I will. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. There’s lots and lots of things that can be painted. Vinyl floors are not one of them.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Now, you can call in your home repair, your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Gather around, home improvers, as I tell you the tale of Goldilocks. It is not too hot, it is not too cold. It is just right to get out there and tackle your fall home improvement projects, so no excuses. It’s time to get the jobs done and we’re going to have your fall fix-up checklist, next.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to walk away with a terrific start to a new floor, because we’ve got a $250 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators sells brand-name flooring for less. There are over 200 stores nationwide. Financing and installation are always available.

    And you can visit to learn all about that or pick up the phone right now and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. You must have a home improvement question. And if we draw your name out of The Money Pit hard hat, you could win 250 bucks worth of flooring from our friends at Lumber Liquidators.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call; we’d love to give you a hand with everything that you are working on.

    And now that the outdoor temperatures are dropping, you might be thinking that, “Alright. It’s a perfect time of year. I can store away all my tools and lock up that shed and be done for the winter.” But not so fast, guys, alright? Home improvement, it is a year-round adventure and fall is a critical time to keep things running smoothly at your money pit. So here are some ideas for last-minute fall projects that you can take on before winter’s chill truly sets in.

    First up, power-washing. Now, the leaves and the dirt that are just getting blown all around in this autumn season, it can leave your siding, your decking, your sidewalk, even your driveway just a gigantic mess. But you have to be careful because a power or a pressure washer, they’re super-helpful but you can’t be too aggressive. You’ve got to know the right application for the right surface. Don’t stand too close, don’t point it at your toes.

    People get crazy with pressure washers because they’re a ton of fun and they do a great job cleaning off all that moss and mildew and dirt. Just be careful because you don’t want to splinter the wood, you don’t want to blast off layers of concrete, you don’t want to bust a hole in the siding. So use it but use it wisely.

    TOM: Next up, what if there was one fall improvement that could stop your foundation from cracking, stop you from getting ice around your sidewalks, stop your basement from flooding, stop your trim on the outside of your house from rotting away, would you do it? Sure you would. Well but maybe not when I tell you what it is. Clean out your gutters.

    Your gutters get dirty. The water overflows; it causes all sorts of home improvement headaches. It will cause you all sorts of home repairs that’ll have to be done if you don’t take care of that simple job. So, get the ladder up, get out there, clean those gutters, get the downspouts extended away and you and your house will be much happier for the effort.

    LESLIE: And finally, here’s one last step. You don’t want to forget to mulch your flowerbeds.

    Now, you should have about 2 to 3 inches of mulch. But if you live in an area where winter gets like really chilly or cold, you want to go for 4 inches. And once you’ve checked these things off of your fall to-do list, you can relax. That is, until next weekend when the list will grow again.

    Check out for your fall weekend checklist.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your first to-do project and we will help you get the job done.

    LESLIE: Donna in Texas is dealing with a moldy smell coming from a crawlspace. Tell us about it.

    DONNA: Yeah. When we bought our house about three or four months ago, we noticed, as we were looking at the house and as we moved into the house, that there’s just really a pretty significant odor when you come into the house. And it is kind of a moldy, mildew-y, old-house smell. And the house was built in about ’84 and it’s got pier and beam; it’s pier-and-beam, obviously.

    TOM: That’s not that old.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    DONNA: Yeah, it’s not that old to be smelling that old, let me tell you now.

    TOM: Right, exactly.

    Now, what’s it built on? Is it on a crawlspace?

    DONNA: Yes, it’s got a pretty good-sized crawlspace under there. It’s probably about 4 foot, 3 feet, 4-foot tall.

    TOM: Right.

    DONNA: It’s on the slope, so it does get some drainage from other areas, which we have worked to move to where it doesn’t come in that much to the house.

    TOM: Right. So …

    DONNA: And there were French drains in place when we first got here but we think they probably have been kind of eaten through by roots and things out there in the yard. Are actually going to dig those up, because I think they’re just not working anymore, quite frankly.

    LESLIE: Well, I mean generally, the situation when you get a mold or a musty smell coming from a crawlspace that sort of inundates the house, it just means that you’ve got a moisture issue and you know this. So, what you really need to do is address the moisture outside.

    And you’re right spot-on to look at this French drain and see what’s going on and see what’s happening with the root system. But also, kind of a first step would be check your gutters. Make sure that you have gutters on this house. Make sure that you have downspouts, that the downspouts on the gutters aren’t clogged.

    And then you want to look where the downspouts deposit that water, you know? Are they connected to that drainage system? Are they buried underground? You want to make sure that everything’s connected and that the downspout doesn’t just drop the water right next to the foundation with one of those splashguards. You really want it to move that water maybe 4 feet, 5 feet away from that foundation wall, just to get it away from that house.

    Then you also want to look at the grading; you said there’s a slope. So, look at all the flowerbeds and whatever soil is around the perimeter of the foundation and make sure that it slopes away from the house. And you want a gradual slope so you can go down maybe 6 inches over 4 feet and that’ll do a great job of moving that water away.

    Now, with crawlspaces, Tom, you can get a crawlspace dehumidifier or even a humidistat for down there, right?

    TOM: Well, yeah. What you would do is you would put a fan into the crawlspace vent and there are fans that are actually made to fit inside the crawlspace vent.

    DONNA: OK.

    TOM: And that is hooked up to a humidistat so that whenever the humidity gets high in the crawlspace, it comes on.

    DONNA: OK. Fantastic. Well, I think you might have solved our problem then.

    TOM: Well, we’re happy to help. Donna, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got James in North Carolina who needs some help leveling a garage door. Tell us what’s going on.

    JAMES: The home that we have purchased, the garage door – the way they built it, the garage door is level but the ground is not. I guess they repaved it. I put in a threshold to try to raise up the ground a little bit. However, there’s still a gap.

    TOM: Is the garage door metal or wood?

    JAMES: Metal.

    TOM: Hmm. OK. Have you tried to adjust the garage door where, essentially, it’s sort of almost tilted in the opening so it strikes evenly?

    JAMES: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So if you’ve done all those things – of course, metal is inflexible in the sense – if it was wood, you could actually trim the bottom part of the door to match the angle. But since it’s not, since it’s metal, what you want to do here is you’re not going to be able to visually close the gap. What you could do is seal it by adding another piece to the back of the garage door.

    And let’s just, for argument’s sake, say it’s a 1×4 or a 1×6 with a – with weatherstripping on the bottom edge of it attached to the back of the door. And then that strip, actually, is mounted on the angle that it has to to seal tight to the ground.

    JAMES: OK.

    TOM: Do you understand what I mean?

    JAMES: It’s attached to the door but mounted while it’s on the floor, correct?

    TOM: Correct. Right. Mounted while it’s on the floor, so you get the angle correct.

    JAMES: So that you have …

    TOM: That’s right. That’s how you would line it up.

    JAMES: Right, OK.

    TOM: Yeah. There’s a way to kind of make that work.

    JAMES: OK. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Damon in Texas has a question about radiant barriers. How can we help you with that?

    DAMON: Hey, guys. It’s getting about that time of year where I can actually go in the attic and live for a couple hours.

    TOM: OK.

    DAMON: And I want to put in a radiant barrier but one of my concerns is moisture buildup on either side of it and if it’s on the top side where I hang it on the rafters, will it get into the wood or will it – if it’s on the bottom side, will it trickle down into the blown-in insulation just above the sheetrock deck?

    TOM: Is this something you do every year with installing a radiant barrier or is this a new project now?

    DAMON: Oh, this is a totally new project. I was just – one of those things that – you know, you try to figure out ways to save energy in your house and …

    TOM: Right. I know radiant barriers are popular in your part of the country but I’ve never been able to conclusively prove that they do anything, in terms of actually being super-effective.

    As far as moisture is concerned, though, as long as the attic is properly ventilated and especially if you use ridge and soffit vents, then moisture shouldn’t be an issue because any moisture that builds up should vent out.

    DAMON: Right, OK. And if I were to put it in, I would have to make a slot along my ridge to make sure the air got …

    TOM: Make sure or add a ridge vent if you don’t have one.

    DAMON: Ooh, well, that can get expensive.

    TOM: Well, it’s not terribly difficult to put a ridge vent in. I mean typically, if you put a ridge vent in, you take a circ saw with a nail-cutting blade and you cut a slot down at the peak of the roof, peel out all the asphalt there and then attach the ridge vent on top of that. There are – there’s a wide variety of ridge-vent quality.

    Take a look at – I think it’s actually It’s the site for CertainTeed. They make – Air Vent is one of their brands and they make a ridge vent that’s got a baffle on it that speeds up the depressurization at the ridge and helps the air really get drawn out very efficiently.

    DAMON: Wow. OK. So you don’t have any good experience with radiant barrier?

    TOM: No. And I’ve seen a lot of hard sales for it and that makes me really uncomfortable: a lot of promises without a lot of data to support that it works properly.

    DAMON: Right, right. Because I’ve had demonstrations where the guy, he takes a cigarette and he puts it out on there and he has it sitting in his hand and he’ll take a lighter to it and all this, but anyway …

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, OK, that’s – yeah, I would throw a guy like that out of my house really quick.

    DAMON: OK.

    TOM: Alright?

    DAMON: Alright. Well, thanks, guys.

    TOM: If I want a magic show, I’ll go to the theater.

    DAMON: Nice.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, the bane of a busy family’s existence: cords and cables making a beautifully-decorated room look like an electrical grid. We’re going to tell you how to solve that problem, once and for all, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. And now you can easily cut through the most difficult projects with ease, with a Power Cutter from Skil. With powerful, lithium-ion technology and an auto-sharp blade system, Skil’s lightweight Power Cutter will soon become your favorite tool, too. The Skil Power Cutter. It cuts just about anything.

    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: Well, speaking for guys, Leslie, there is nothing cooler than a totally in-your-face home entertainment system, with a JumboTron-sized television and booming surround sound. My wife, on the other hand, may see it just a bit differently.

    LESLIE: Yeah, seriously. I cannot understand the male gender’s obsession with having the biggest, loudest, coolest, whatever adjective – insert there – sound system.

    Now, I can only speak for my own husband but just from that, I can tell you that dudes love televisions and audio and video equipment.

    Now, when my husband finally indulged his obsession and set up surround sound, the first time that we watched a movie, I was completely scared out of my mind. I just kept asking, “What’s that sound? Are the police here? Did you hear that?”

    TOM: You know there were like sirens coming around the corner and stuff like that.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I was really losing my mind; I was amazed that the sound was truly coming from every corner of the room and I guess I just wasn’t mentally prepared for that.

    Now, seriously, I can’t control the amount of equipment that ends up in my living room. There is, however, one thing that I can be in charge of and that is cable and cord management. Because nothing bugs me more than seeing that big mess of cords lying loosely under a media cabinet. Heck, even when that mess is just out of sight, knowing that it exists can absolutely send me over the edge.

    So to put my mind at ease, I make sure that the cables are neatly secured along the baseboard of the room. And the best way to tidy up all of that cording is with an Arrow T25 Professional Wire and Cable Staple Gun.

    Now, the T25 is going to fire both round and square crown staples. And those are made to accommodate a variety of cable and wire sizes. And the nose on the gun itself even has a channel to help protect and guide those cables in place. So the next time you find your home welcoming a new piece of equipment, take a deep breath and know that the cable and cords are not going to take over your entire living area.

    TOM: Good point.

    If you want more tips like that, be sure to check out Leslie’s blog, where she doesn’t hold her feelings back on cord mess and how to get rid of it. This tip has been presented by Arrow Fasteners. Also, check out Arrow’s Facebook page to win a $10,000 dream-room makeover with decorating help from Leslie. And you know there will be no visible cords in that room.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jeff in Iowa on the line who’s doing some caulking, getting ready for the winter season. What can we do for you?

    JEFF: Yes, I was wondering if I should caulk around the outside of my windows on my house. I have vinyl siding and I was told to caulk around the windows to seal the weather – the wind – out. But a carpenter friend has said that vinyl siding shrinks and expands so much, it wouldn’t be a good idea to caulk it.

    TOM: Well, it depends. First of all, Jeff, how old is your house?

    JEFF: It’s 1955.

    TOM: OK. So, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do that. If you use a very good-quality window and door caulk and you put it on with patience and accuracy around the window trim, I think it could do a good job of cutting down on drafts.

    I will give you, though, another trick of the trade and that is to not only caulk outside but caulk inside. If you caulk between the wood window trim inside and the wall and the trim and the window, if it’s painted trim, you can use a white, acrylic latex caulk and you will be amazed how many drafts come around the body of the window and exit out around that trim.

    So I think if you caulk both inside and outside, you can definitely reduce the amount of air infiltration that comes through the space.

    JEFF: OK. OK. Alright. I’ll try that then.

    TOM: Alright, Jeff. Give it a shot.

    JEFF: (inaudible at 0:23:53). Thank you.

    TOM: Be confident. It’ll work.

    JEFF: Alright, alright. Thanks.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Sandy in Missouri is dealing with some cracky wallpaper. What can we do for you?

    SANDY: Yeah, I’ve got some 23-year-old vinyl wallpaper that at the seams, it’s separating. And I’ve tried like four different types of adhesive and nothing will keep those edges down and I want to keep the wallpaper. What can I do?

    TOM: You know, what ends up happening is the adhesive layer separates from the paper layer and so you’re just kind of dealing with a situation, Sandy, where it very often will delaminate. And being that it’s been on the walls for 23 years, you’re going to be fighting this now until you decide to replace it.

    SANDY: Really?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean you’re kind of – I’m trying to tell you in the nicest possible way that you’re fighting a losing battle and after 23 years, you ought to give it up.

    There’s lots of options out there; there’s lots and lots of options. And I’m sure if you like wallpaper, you can find another beautiful wallpaper to replace this with. But you’re just going to keep regluing and regluing and regluing and if you get it to stop in one place, it’s going to open up somewhere else. So I think at that age, I would definitely think about replacing it.

    SANDY: OK. Well, thank you for the advice.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Sandy. 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 Well, it’s time to take your summer equipment inside until the return of the sun. But are you just going to dump them in your cluttered garage and close the door and forget about it? Well, we’re going to have some tips for organizing your storage space, when The Money Pit returns.

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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: The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now with your home repair or your home improvement or your home décor question. And if we choose your name out of The Money Pit hard hat, of all callers to the program, you might win a $250 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. And that will be a great start to a brand new floor. So call us now with your question at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone; we want to give you a hand with all of your projects.

    Now, unless you live in a climate that’s sunny year-round, you probably have outdoor things that need to be stored for the winter season. And it seems the most popular place to store yard and sports equipment is your garage, of course.

    Now, it can handle more weight than your attic and it’s easier to access than your basement. But you don’t just want to chuck everything on the garage floor, because it’s a giant mess. Mentally, it’s going to drive you crazy knowing that it’s in there. Oh, wait. Maybe that’s just me.

    But there are ways to keep it safe, neat and most importantly, easy to access.

    TOM: Well, first of all, storing things on the ground is a safety hazard. Besides tripping over it, you can’t find what you need and it always looks like a big, stinking mess. So, wall storage is always a better option.

    You may also want to think about investing in a garage organizer. There are lots of really innovative pieces out there, like wall components and cabinets that are on the market. And if you’ve got kids of any age, you’ve got toys of some kind. So bicycles, sports equipment, they can also turn a garage into a real disaster zone. So look for organizers to accommodate kids and all of their stuff, like the simple hooks that you can attach to the ceiling and then hang the bicycles from the ceiling, get them off the floor.

    And speaking of kids, Leslie, we also want to say be very careful to clean your garage of any pesticides or other toxic materials that could hurt kids. Because you don’t want to mix toys and toxins.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s amazing the things that you combine in a garage space that everybody in the family uses. So, do store things carefully, get those dangerous items completely out of reach from the little guys.

    And if you find that you’ve got just too much stuff for your garage, why not think about a shed? If you do, you want to make sure that you get one that can stand up to weather extremes. It should also be able to have lockable doors that you can keep out those intruders and really keep the tools away from your kids, because that’s super-important. You know, it’s curious hands, a brightly-colored tool and all of a sudden, it’s a danger zone. So just think about safety.

    And there are many affordable, prefabricated sheds available on the market. They can be set up really fast and they can be used for storage in a jiffy. So if you find you’re running out of space, think about that auxiliary space in the shed and just pop it right next door to your garage.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ron in North Carolina is working on some storage in the basement. How can we help you?

    RON: I have some metal shelving units and under our home, we have crawlspaces, actually, over 6 feet high. And I would like to secure these metal shelves to the wall but I’m afraid that if I do it improperly, that I will crack the concrete blocks that is actually the foundation to our house.

    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too terribly much about that. You can use Tapcon hardware for that. You know what a Tapcon bolt is?

    RON: Yes. Is that the same thing that’s similar to what they call Red Heads?

    TOM: Hmm. I don’t know. I’ve never heard it called that. It’s a brand name, Tapcon, but basically it’s a hardened bolt and it comes with a pilot drill usually in the package. And you pilot-drill it out and then you can screw right into the block with this and it’ll do a great job of holding stuff up.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s really made for this purpose. I’ve also seen some people – and I’ve done this myself when dealing with brick and sort of building a fireplace surround. When you drill out the hole and you’re ready to screw in or attach whatever you’re working with, some people take like a length of wire and sort of fold it in half so it’s U-shaped and just tuck it into the hole. And as they put in the Tapcon, it sort of acts as an extra anchor. But either way, it works.

    RON: Oh, OK. OK. And you buy those at Lowes Hardware or Home Depot?

    LESLIE: Anywhere.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely.

    LESLIE: In the fastener aisle. Make sure you get the one that has the drill-bit attachment: the piece that goes with it.

    RON: OK. Alright, great. I will try that and I appreciate you answering my question.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    MARVIN: I have a house with cedar siding.

    TOM: OK.

    MARVIN: And the woodpecker – now deceased, unfortunately. But he pecked two holes about an inch-and-a-half in diameter in the side of my house. And I was wondering if they make a product that I can put in that would fill in those holes and it would be sandable and I can blend it in and then stain it the same color as the original.

    TOM: Well, inch-and-a-half holes are pretty darn big. What kind of cedar siding is this? Is this clapboard or cedar shingles? Shakes? What have you got?

    MARVIN: It’s clapboard.

    TOM: Clapboard? Was he courteous enough to make both holes on the same piece?

    MARVIN: No. No.

    TOM: No, huh? Because to try to fill in an inch-and-a-half gap like that, it’s going to look like a patch. I presume this is stained and not painted?

    MARVIN: Oh, it’s a colored stain.

    TOM: It’s a colored stain, yeah.

    MARVIN: So it’s not a clear cedar.

    TOM: Right, yeah.

    MARVIN: It’s more painted than stained.

    TOM: Right. The best thing to do here is to replace the piece of siding and it’s not that hard to do. What I would do is I would gently pry up the piece above it and then try to cut out the bad pieces and then put a new piece in.

    The key here, though, is not to put a small piece in but to put, actually, a sizeable piece; I’m talking like a 4-foot-long piece in. And if you replace both of those pieces of siding, then you sand it and prime it and restain it, it’ll be invisible. If you try to fill that in – because an inch-and-a-half hole is actually way too big to use, even if you use an epoxy wood filler. Or there’s different products that are used for rotted wood and things like that that work and sort of fill it in like a cavity.

    I mean even if you use those products, I think no matter what, you’re still going to see it. So I would rather see you replace it, because it’s just not that hard of a project to do. And this way, it’ll be done once, done right and you won’t have to think about it every time you stare up there and remember that woodpecker – respectfully remember that woodpecker, of course, that is now – that’s right – that has now gone to the big tree in the sky, so to speak.

    LESLIE: May he rest in peace.

    MARVIN: OK. Well, I appreciate your expertise and saved me some time.

    TOM: You’re welcome.

    MARVIN: Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: The cedar-sided palace in the sky.

    TOM: The cedar-sided palace in the sky, that’s right. Woodpecker heaven.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Coming up, it is time to clear the air: what you can use to actually clean a fireplace that has seen years of smoke damage. We’ll tell you all the details, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And trust me, you don’t want to know what’s living in your washing machine if you haven’t cleaned it in a while. Yes, it’s true: you do have to wash your washer. You want to know how to do that right and be totally germ-free? Head on over to and search “cleaning your washer and dryer.” Your clothes and your family will thank you.

    LESLIE: And while you’re online, you can head on over to and go over to the Community section and post your questions there, just like Phil in New Jersey did who wrote: “I have a marble slab on the wall over our wood-burning fireplace that has become discolored from the smoke. Is there anything that I can use to try and clean this? I know marble is quite porous and it is probably deep in the stone by now.”

    TOM: Yes. We would recommend TSP – trisodium phosphate. What you want to do is pick this up. It’s in the painting aisle, typically, at home centers or hardware stores. Mix it up into a paste, apply it to the smoky area and let it sit for a bit. It will tend to draw out those stains – those carbon stains – from the stone.

    You might want to try it on one area of the stone, perhaps even if it’s not stained, just to kind of see its effect. Because it is going to lighten the area.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Make sure it doesn’t react weird.

    TOM: Well, it tends to lighten everything, so it not only may pull out some of the smoke stain but it could lighten the area around it. So that’s definitely something where you want to test it first. But TSP works very good to pull out smoke stains.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Virginia who writes: “I have a bungalow house with a metal roof. I’m planning to convert the attic into living space and would like to insulate and drywall. When I look at the underside of the roof, I see boards running lengthwise and a space of a few inches in between them. In the spaces in between, I see the underside of the metal roof. How should I insulate it?”

    TOM: Well, you want to insulate not necessarily up to the underside of the roof but to the ceiling between the two spaces. So if you have ceiling joists here, you would insulate at the ceiling layer. If you don’t have them, you could simply add them on 24-inch center, simply to support the insulation. So you don’t have to get up into the attic space against the roof; you want to insulate, though, right at the ceiling before that.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And the ceiling? That really is the most important place that you can have the insulation. Really think about the roof as your hat when you wear a hat in the wintertime; it truly keeps the heat in. So if there’s really only one place that you can insulate, that’s it. And enjoy that extra living space; you are going to benefit so much from it.

    TOM: Well, cheap and easy: two words that are never used to describe Leslie but are always used to describe her decorating.

    LESLIE: Aww.

    TOM: She’s got the low-down on how to create a luxurious look with inexpensive tables, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Man, if our broadcast table wasn’t so wide, I’d reach over there and smack you right now, Mr. Kraeutler.

    Alright, guys. All kidding aside, the holidays are coming up. And for a lot of us, that means that you’re going to be hosting your family and your friends. And if you have ever been relegated to the kids’ table, you know a card table really isn’t the most comfortable or even stable option out there.

    But you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive table to handle all of your guests that you’re only hosting one or two times a year. Simple and inexpensive tables, they can be converted to rich, fine furniture by simply adding a new top. What you want to do is buy a small Parsons table at a discount furniture store or a place like IKEA and then add a fabulous stone top. You can have your local stone supplier cut it to your size, even fit it and apply it.

    For best results, you want to let that stone edge overhang the original top by an inch or so on all sides. And large and synthetic tree-size flower pots, they also make great table bases. You just have to think creatively. You can combine two of those flower pots with a large piece of glass and suddenly, you’ve got a gorgeous wall table to display all of your finery or create a buffet on.

    This is going to make you and your guests feel really comfortable. It’s going to make the room look glorious and glamorous and festive and that’s really what you want for the holiday season. So think outside of the box before you send Grandpa to sit at the kids’ table.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on The Money Pit, it is time for you to make an appointment: that is, a service appointment with your heating-and-cooling professional to get that service done for your furnace. You’ve got to do it now, because you want to make sure it is purring properly all winter long. We’re going to tell you what has to be included in that project, 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.)

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