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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: Here to help you with your home improvement project. Let’s tackle that spring do-it-yourself project that’s on your to-do list. Let’s move it over to the done list. Call us; pick up the phone. We’ll help you take that all-important first step because it’s all downhill after that. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you this hour. First up, do you want to save energy with every shower you take? Well, we’ve got not one but two ways a tankless water heater can cut those energy costs for good.

    LESLIE: Also ahead, we’re addressing a serious storage concern that occurs in just about every basement, garage or shed across the country. We’re talking about mixing toys with toxins. It’s a bad idea and we’ve got tips to help you avoid it.

    TOM: And it’s time to get outside and check out all of your exterior wood surfaces – your deck, your porch, your railings, your trim – and maybe give them a bit of a facelift. We’ll tell you how to restore the wear of winter, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a must-have kitchen appliance. It’s an Amana countertop microwave oven worth 250 bucks.

    TOM: Going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us on today’s show, so let’s get right to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Lydia in Massachusetts on the line with a sink question. What’s going on?

    LYDIA: Well, we have three attached, very old, galvanized sinks at the church. And they are unsightly, they’re blackened. And I was wondering if you had any idea on how to clean them.

    TOM: So, they’re galvanized but there’s no other finish to them?

    LYDIA: There’s no other finish.

    TOM: Probably a lot of years of water stains in there, I would imagine. They sort of like brownish, rust kind of color to them?

    LYDIA: Black.

    TOM: Black, yeah, even worse. Even worse yet.

    Well, I guess the first thing I would try would be an abrasive powder and steel wool because you’re going to have to abrade them. If you don’t get something that’s pretty aggressive, you’re not going to get anything off of that. So I would use something like Comet and steel wool and see how that works.

    But typically, what happens with those old, metal sinks is the metal just becomes discolored. So it’s not something that’s laying on top, like a stain that you can wipe away. The metal itself becomes discolored.

    LYDIA: OK. Well, thank you very much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Rich in Illinois needs some help with a painting project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    RICH: I’m working on a house that I’ve been living in since 1988. And the bottom four sections of my steel siding keep peeling. It’s like a 30-foot-long piece. Each piece is 8 inches wide. And it has a wood-grain pattern on it; looks like it’s been stamped. And every two years, I approach this project. First time, I took a wire brush to it and knocked all the loose off and primed it. And two years later, I was doing it again.

    And every year, I try a different method. I tried a wire wheel on a drill. Last year, I took an air compressor and a hose and a drill and a wire wheel and went down to the bare metal.

    TOM: Wow.

    RICH: And went to the paint store and they gave me some primer and some paint. And seemed like everything I try – I wash it with paint thinner sometimes before I do it. Sometimes I just use soap and water. I always make sure it’s a nice, dry day – about 80 degrees – when I paint it. And it seems to always come back about every two to three years.

    I know it should be replaced but I kind of like the siding. But it’s steel and it’s – the company is no longer in business now and so the warranty is up on it.

    TOM: And there’s different qualities of steel. So even if it had a rust-resistant finish on it, it could have just worn off. And I wonder if whatever process they used is what’s causing the paint to not stick.

    When you prime it, are you using an oil-based primer or are you using an alkyd primer?

    RICH: Both. I’ve used both. I don’t know if it’s the primer that I use or if it’s – I’ve even went down to no paint at all and just the galvanized showing and – I don’t know. I don’t know what it – I don’t know if it’s the primer or what I’m using to wash the siding with that’s causing it or it’s the paint. I tried four or five different kinds of paint on this and primer.

    TOM: What I would do – I mean if I was priming it – and you may have done this already. But what I would do is I would use same manufacturer’s primer and paint. So, for example, I don’t think you can go wrong with Rust-Oleum. That’s pretty much one of the best metal paints of all.

    I would use the red Rust-Oleum primer – the oil-based primer – and I would let it thoroughly dry after you knock off all the loose paint and sand it and make sure the surface is ready to accept it. But I would use the oil-based Rust-Oleum primer which, by the way, takes forever to dry. Depends on the weather but three or four or five hours is not unusual. And then, I would use the Rust-Oleum top coat. Again, oil-based. And I rarely recommend oil-based but in this situation, I think that’s what’s going to give you the best adhesion.

    Now, Rich, there’s one other piece of advice that we could offer you on this and it comes from a process that’s very – that’s done very often when people work on cars. There’s a product called Prep-Sol – P-r-e-p-S-o-l. And it’s a solvent that’s designed to be applied to bare metal before the primer. You might want to look that up as – I don’t know what – you said you were using a solvent. I don’t know if you were using mineral salt – mineral spirits or something like that – but this is specifically made for it. Just Google it. It’s called Prep-Sol – P-r-e-p – S-o-l. And it’s a cleaning solvent.

    RICH: OK. Do I apply it with a brush or a rag or …?

    TOM: You apply it with a rag. Use a clean cloth and you apply it – you soak it in with the cloth.

    RICH: Yeah, I’ll try that. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. 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, learn how to save energy and water with your morning shower and everything else when you go tankless, with a water heater that heats water only as you need it. We’ll have the details, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Arrow Sheds, the leader in steel storage sheds and buildings. Steel sheds are durable, secure and a great value. Arrow Storage Products, available at national home centers, hardware stores and online. See a complete line of products at Sheds.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And we are taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to get a beautiful, new countertop microwave oven from Amana. Now, it’s a 1,200-watt unit with a recessed glass turntable, so you can fit large items in there. And it comes in black, white or stainless, so it’s going to match any winner’s kitchen décor. And it’s worth $250.

    Check it out at Amana.com and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lynn in Colorado who’s got a tricky, leaky shower. Let’s see if we can help her find it.

    LYNN: I had a plumber come out once and he said that the pipe and the bottom where it comes out of the shower doesn’t always hook up right. So he siliconed it and it didn’t leak but now, once in a while, it’s leaking again. Of course, it’s upstairs so I see it on the ceiling. And I’m wondering, is there some kind of a liner you can put down the pipe like they do for sewage lines that go out?

    TOM: You talking about the supply pipes or are you talking about the shower stall?

    LYNN: I’m talking about the stall – the drain pipe.

    TOM: Do you have – is it a tile shower pan or is it like a plastic shower?

    LYNN: Yeah, it’s one of the insert ones.

    TOM: Those pans can develop cracks in them and you have to figure out where that crack is. One way to try to figure out at least how high on the pan the crack is is if you block the drain of the pan and fill it up with water and see if it leaks. If it doesn’t leak, then the pan’s fine. Then the next thing you have to do is move up with your sort of analysis and now you’re going to get into the seams of it.

    If you’ve got existing caulk, what I would recommend, as a first step, is to remove that caulk using caulk softener. And that’ll allow you to strip out everything that’s there and start clean with some new, good-quality bathroom caulk that’s got a mildicide built into it. And I would just caulk very carefully every single seam and also around all the pipes and the faucets and the fixtures, where they come through. Because, sometimes, you get direct leaks where water fills up in the pan and leaks. And a lot of times, though, with showers, you’ll get leaks when the water bounces off your body, hits one of those seams, works its way in behind the wall and down.

    So, I would take out the existing caulk, recaulk it and check the shower pan for leaks. And somewhere in that analysis, you’ll probably figure out what’s going on.

    LYNN: OK.

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

    Well, it’s time now for our Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron. And this week, we’re going to talk about green bath remodeling. If that’s your next project, you really have the perfect opportunity to update your bathroom by adding a tankless water heater.

    Let me explain how this works. A tankless water heater is more energy-efficient than a traditional tank-type model because it heats water only as you need it, instead of keeping 40 or 50 gallons of water or more hot all the time.

    LESLIE: Now, another benefit to installing a tankless water heater is the simple design and compact size. This means it doesn’t have to go on the basement; it could go in the back of a closet, right next to your bath. And that brings us to water-saving properties of a tankless water heater.

    Now, if your tankless unit is close to the bathroom, you’re not going to need to run the water while you’re waiting for it to heat up. And you might not even be aware of just how many gallons a year you’re actually wasting doing this.

    TOM: And if you’re interested in saving money while enjoying the comfort and convenience of continuous hot water for your family, a tankless water heater is a good choice.

    And that’s your Green Home Tip, presented by Lutron. Lutron products are available from your local home center, lighting showroom or electrical professional. For more energy-saving ideas, check out our online Green Home Guide at MoneyPit.com and also visit LutronSensors.com.

    LESLIE: Richard in Ohio is living in a pretty drafty house. Join the club. Tell me what’s going on.

    RICHARD: Insulation contractor came and blew cellulose insulation in the walls. Left a lot of voids in it, which caused forced drafts. I had infrared-camera work done and the floors are like 31 degrees and about 45 degrees waist-high. And I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on here or what to do about it. However, I found a physics teacher that restores old homes. She told me that if you leave a void in an insulation – insulated wall – it will cause a forced draft. [Be creating] (ph) quite a few forced drafts in here.

    TOM: Well, maybe, maybe not but here’s the thing. First of all, you had blown-in insulation done and you followed that up with an infrared-camera inspection. I’m guessing you didn’t do that right after the installer was done, correct? You did this later on to try to figure out why it was still cold in the house?

    RICHARD: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s very difficult to install blown-in insulation in a wall and do it correctly, so we’ve heard this before. The best installers will take a long time to make sure it gets in just right. They put in just the right amount and they knew how to get it in every bay and then they use an infrared camera to figure out if they’ve missed anything. So it sounds to me like now we’ve got a real mess in the outside wall. We don’t know what’s insulated, what’s not insulated.

    Let’s set that aside for right now and cover two other very important basics. Number one is the attic. You want to make sure that you have enough insulation in your attic because if you can trap the heat from escaping from the attic, which is where most of the heat leaves the house, you may find that it’s going to make you more comfortable.

    In the attics of Ohio, where you’re located, you’re going to need at least 15 to 20 inches of fiberglass insulation. Most people don’t have that much. But that is what the Department of Energy would recommend. So if you don’t have that much insulation, the first thing I want you to do is add insulation to your attic.

    The second thing – you mentioned you’re on a crawlspace. Your floor has got to be insulated. Again, unfaced fiberglass batts. If it’s a standard 2×10 floor joist, you want to fill that up with a full 10 inches of insulation. If you can insulate the floor and the attic – two areas that are accessible and easy to access – you’re kind of halfway there.

    Now, what are we going to do about the exterior wall? Well, short of taking it apart, we’re not going to easily solve this problem with a blown-in. If you had an insulation company that could work with the camera and add additional blown-in, they might be able to fill it in. But that’s going to be expensive and I don’t know that you’re going to get a good return on investment.

    So what I would suggest you do is everything else that you can do to stop the drafts. So that means sealing around windows and doors and outlets and light switches, especially, to make sure that we get as many of those gaps closed as possible.

    And then from a decorating perspective, very often – Leslie, you jump right in because I’ve heard you recommend heavy drapes over these windows, too, to try to short-circuit those drafts that are sort of falling around the windows.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you can do it sort of two-fold. You know, we have drafty windows. Unfortunately, the previous owners installed not the greatest of windows and they were poorly installed. So, short of doing a major project here, I’ve gotten creative. I’ve done a sort of double-lined fabric shade that’s up against the glass portion of the window itself. And I’ll draw those down during the colder times. And then I have a heavier drape that I use in the winter, as well, that’s lined that I will just close up to make sure that I’m keeping those drafts out.

    Also, if you’ve got baseboard heating in that room, you want to make sure that nothing is blocking those baseboards. Your furniture – you’ve got to pull away from the walls. Think about giving it some air, just sort of circulate the heat around the room a little bit better. But really, heavy fabrics, heavy draperies, that really does make a huge difference.

    TOM: Richard, I hope that advice helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Cynthia calling in from Brooklyn, New York is dealing with some wet-basement issues. Tell us what’s going on.

    CYNTHIA: I have a question I want to ask you about the waterproofing for the basement. Because I live here in a flood zone and then we had Hurricane Irene and was greatly affected by that.

    TOM: OK.

    CYNTHIA: So I had one company come in and they were asking like 21,000 – a little over 21,000 – to do that waterproofing. Does that sound reasonable or whatever going down there with that company?

    TOM: Absolutely, completely not reasonable.

    Now, the water problem that you had was associated with the hurricane?

    CYNTHIA: Yes, yes.

    TOM: The reason the water came in was because it was sourced on the outside of your house. In other words, when you have heavy rain like that, your gutters become overwhelmed. They dump a lot of water right at the foundation and then pretty soon the soil can’t handle the water and it drains into the house. And so I’m sure this is what happened.

    And if you’re only getting water when you have really heavy rain conditions like that, then you absolutely, positively do not need to spend $20,000-plus on a system to pump water out of your basement. What you do need to do, on a regular basis, is to make sure, first of all, that your gutters are – that they exist, that you have them, that they’re clean, that the downspouts dump the water at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house and even more than that or run them through underground pipes and take them out. And then your grading around the house, the angle of the soil slopes away. Those two things will go a long way towards preventing any further wet-basement problems.

    The problem with the waterproofers is this: they don’t make money by selling you gutter-cleaning services and extending downspouts; they only make money when they come in with their jackhammers and tear up basement floors and put in drain tile and sump pumps. And they do it whether you need it or not. And in this case, you don’t need it because you told me that this only happened when you had an extraordinary weather event like that. And that means you absolutely don’t need that service. What you do need is to make sure your drainage conditions are set up on the outside of your house. Does that make sense?

    CYNTHIA: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Saved another one from the perils of the waterproofing contractor.

    If you look at our website, Leslie, and you look at all the articles I’ve written about this and look at all the comments …

    LESLIE: They’re all from waterproofing contractors.

    TOM: Oh, they hate me. Oh, they totally hate me because I take business away from them, because I tell people the truth. They don’t – you don’t need sump pumps, you don’t need drain tile. All you need is clean gutters. It’s very, very simple.

    Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Up next, toys and toxins do not mix. We’re going to teach you how to keep kids safe in the garage this summer, after this.

    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: You can head on over to MoneyPit.com to check out our Green Guide, which is presented by Lutron. Here we’ve got money-saving and energy-saving tips and ideas and product recommendations, all assembled into an easy-to-navigate slideshow. It’s all at your fingertips, online, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Joyce in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JOYCE: Have an in-law apartment and someone who was living there for a while was smoking. And we wanted to do whatever we could to get the smell of the smoke out of the apartment.

    TOM: Do you have wall-to-wall carpet in there?

    JOYCE: There is.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a bit of a problem because I’m sure the odor is into that carpet.

    So, a couple things you could do. First of all, if you’re going to paint the apartment, you’re going to want to prime all the walls first. Well, first of all, wash them down, then prime them with a good-quality primer, then paint them. That will help seal in what’s gotten into the walls.

    As far as the carpet, a good, thorough, deep steam-cleaning of that. You may have to go over it a number of times to try to get as much dirt and debris and odor out of that carpet as possible. I mean the best thing – if we have situations where this is a real problem, the carpet’s kind of worn, we’ll tell people to take it up and prime the subfloor underneath, believe it or not, to make sure we really seal out any of those odors that have soaked into the wood. But if you prime and paint the walls and if you steam-clean the carpet, that’s probably the best you can do.

    What about furniture? Is this place furnished? Do you still have the old furniture in there that the smoker lived with?

    JOYCE: The only furniture that’s really in there is a leather living-room set.

    TOM: Leslie, what do you think about that? Will the smoke odor get into the – go through the leather and get into the cushions?

    LESLIE: You know, leather is such a natural surface that it is porous in its own right and it depends on what the cushioning is on the inside. You really have to be careful and of course, you can’t really thoroughly clean leather because of its inherent natural qualities. You don’t want it to stain. You might want to see what those cushions are like on the inside. Take out the inserts. If you can replace those, that could be a huge help.

    JOYCE: OK, great. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Home safety is always important but never more so when you’ve got young children. And one of the most hazardous rooms of your house may be your garage, a place where many people keep a dangerous combination of toys and sporting equipment, of course, right next to those fertilizers and household chemicals.

    TOM: Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, is here with some great, safe-storage tips for that space.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.

    TOM: It’s true that this is one of the rooms in the house where kids can definitely keep their favorite outdoor gear right alongside the gasoline and the yard tools that we keep in there. So, how do you make sure that everyone’s stuff is stored safely?

    KEVIN: Well, I think some common sense goes a long way in this situation and so you need to recognize the hazards. And it starts by just taking a good look around that garage and seeing what you’re actually storing there and think about what could be dangerous.

    And so, if you’ve got dangerous chemicals, certainly put them out of reach from the children. Or better yet, if you can, put them in a locked cabinet. And also, it helps if you’ve got chemicals, keep them in their original container with the labels in good condition so that you know what’s there and you see all the safety warnings.

    And here’s a good idea: don’t purchase any more of these chemicals than you need because then you’ll go through them and they won’t be stored in your garage for long periods of time.

    LESLIE: What about combustibles? I feel like so many things that we use in our outdoor spaces require a fuel like propane or gasoline. And you really need to think especially carefully when it comes to storing those items.

    KEVIN: Well, you do. And again, those things should be out of the reach of the kids but also, it’s important what you store them in, right? So these fuels really should be stored in containers specifically designed for their storage. Gasoline cans, for example, well, they’ve got special vents to avoid any dangerous buildup of combustible fumes. So storing gas in anything else, any sort of a lesser container, it’s just an explosion waiting to happen.

    TOM: Now, when it comes to all of the other storage that we put inside of our garage – the toys, the ladders, all that kind of stuff – the garage is sort of chock-a-block full of tripping hazards, right?

    KEVIN: Yeah. And it’s not just gasoline and fertilizers. Those things will jump out at you but if you think about stuff, you’ll start to see other dangers.

    So, for example, a ladder. Well, if you store it up in the upright position, kids can climb up on it and it can tip over. So, store it in a horizontal position so they’re not going to climb on it and no one is going to tumble over it. Rakes, hedge trimmers, shovels left on the garage floor or leaning against a wall, they can easily fall, they can cause injuries, they can cut people. So use the wall space and get as many of your tools off the floor and into a safe area as possible.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? We, as Tom likes to make fun of me, we have an especially dated garage at our home. And I feel like the door is just a hazard waiting to happen. So, are there any sort of tips that we can use to make our garage door safer?

    KEVIN: Most garage doors, at least since 1982, have been required to have an automatic reversing mechanism so that they’ll go back up if there’s anything underneath that door. But unfortunately, the mechanisms can wear out or they can even fail if they’re not properly maintained. So test yours. Make sure it’s actually working, because it’s a great safety feature.

    TOM: And then another risk is pinching. As those doors come down, kids get their hands in. I’ve seen door designs, though, today that are pinch-free designs, which have the ability to sort of push fingers out of that sort of crushed joint so that you really can’t get it stuck in there.

    KEVIN: That’s a cool feature. I just scream at my kids and tell them to get away from the garage doors when they’re moving. But yeah, keep them away. And if you’ve got those safety features on those doors, you can use those.

    Also, you’ve got to understand that a lot of these garage doors, when they’re powered, these are heavy doors. And so they use springs that are actually going to provide the strength to lift the door. Well, the problem is that the springs can break.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: And if they do, well, they’re going to fly across that garage and they can actually hurt somebody. So, here’s a little tip. When the door is closed in the closed position, just thread a wire, like a picture-hanging wire; that’ll work well. Thread it inside the extended spring and then secure it to an eyelet at each end. So if the spring ever does break, it’s not going anywhere; it’s going to stay in place.

    TOM: So that wire will contain the spring and stop it from flying off and hitting somebody. Yeah.

    KEVIN: But it doesn’t become a projectile.

    TOM: Yeah, good advice. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, great tips on how to stay safe in the garage.

    KEVIN: Great to be here, guys.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot, more saving, more doing.

    And still to come, we’ve got great tips to help you prep your exterior wood surfaces for staining and sealing projects that will definitely last.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Bostitch professional-quality, pneumatic nailers and staplers. Designed for productivity, built to last. For more information, visit Bostitch.com.

    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: Hey, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just get a beautiful, new addition to your kitchen because we’re giving away a countertop microwave oven from Amana. It’s a 1,200-watt unit with a recessed glass turntable. It comes in black, white or stainless and it’s worth 250 bucks.

    You can see it and all of Amana’s appliances at Amana.com or pick up the phone and call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win. You must have a home improvement question. We will draw one name out of those that reach us for today’s show and it could be you. And we’ll be sending you a beautiful, new Amana microwave oven.

    LESLIE: Tim in Virginia is dealing with some stuck windows. Tell us what’s going on.

    TIM: Hi. Run into an issue a lot of times, with some of the older homes that I had, with the windows. For some reason, they are painted shut or nailed shut. But I’d like to know how I can resolve that, as well as some of these windows being dual-pane windows with condensation already in them. Next to replacing them, what can I do to resolve that problem?

    TOM: Alright. Two separate issues. First of all, I presume we’re talking about old, wood windows being painted shut? Is that correct?

    TIM: That is correct.

    TOM: You’re going to need three things. You’re going to need a putty knife, a wood block and a hammer.

    Here’s what you do. First of all, you take the putty knife and you run it in between the wood window sash and the frame, all the way around, as many places as you can. Wherever you can get that in there, wiggle it in there, that will free it up.

    And you take the block of wood and from the inside, you put it on top of the sash and you take the hammer and you take a – make a quick rap. We’re actually driving the window down, as if you’re trying to close it more. Do that on both sides, on both ends. And what that quick rap does is it tends to break the paint seam that’s sticking it to the sides. So if you run the putty knife around and you take the block of wood, give it a quick rap downward, that should free up the bottom sash.

    A lot of people try to get their hands under the window and push up. That tends to pull the wood frame of the window apart. But if you give it a shot down, which is somewhat counterintuitive, that works very well.

    Now, as far as the windows that you’re dealing with that are thermal-pane and the seals are failed, can’t do anything about that. When they’re failed, they’re failed. And those windows would have to be replaced if you want them to be clear again.

    TIM: OK, OK. Alright. I will certainly put that to use probably within the next week or so with the new unit Pella just purchased. Thank you so very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, the wood on the outside of your home really takes a beating all winter long and it’s about to get beaten again by that summer sun. Now, the stress that’s caused by the elements not only makes your wood unattractive but it can also make it pretty weak. And that can spell danger for a deck.

    That’s why now is a great time to talk how to treat and stain your exterior wood surfaces – like decking, porches, railings and more – with a few tips presented by the experts at Flood Wood Care, one of The Money Pit’s proud sponsors.

    TOM: Now, first of all, if you’re working on new wood, it’s got to have some time to dry out and allow the pores to open up and receive the stain. If you’re wondering if your wood is old enough for that, if you’ve allowed enough time for that drying to occur, you can give it a simple test. Just pour a cup of water on the wood and if it’s absorbed in 30 seconds, it’s good to go.

    Then, whether the wood is old or if it’s new, you’ll need to prep it so the stain will take. Now, Flood makes a finish remover that can help get rid of the old finish and also a brightener and a cleaner. So just follow those instructions but be sure to wear safety glasses while you’re working on this part of the project.

    LESLIE: It’s also important to be mindful of the weather when you’re working on this project. You don’t want to start the project if the wood’s going to be in the direct sunlight or if the temperatures are shooting, say, north of about 80 degrees right after you finish it.

    Just as important, be mindful of wet weather. Because if rain is expected in the next two days, you’re really better off putting this project, you know – and wait for a window of much, much drier weather.

    Most importantly, take your time and do it right. The result will be wood surfaces that are protected for years to come.

    TOM: For more tips on projects just like this and for help picking the right kind of stain for your project, you can head on over to Flood’s website at Flood.com. That’s Flood – F-l-o-o-d – .com.

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

    BOB: Yeah, I’ve got 10 years of cigarette suds (ph) on top of my ceiling here and I’d like to know how to take care of that. I’ve got a textured ceiling and what do I have to do to repaint it to make it look new again?

    TOM: Wow, it’s tough because you’ve got a textured ceiling. So what we’re going to tell you to do is to use an oil-based primer on the textured ceiling. You’re going to need a very thick roller and they sell special rollers for that that have slits in them, so it’s designed to get in …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They look like a spiral ham.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s designed to get in those nooks and crannies of the textured ceiling.

    BOB: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: But you’re going to have to use an oil-based primer and that will seal in all of that cigarette smoke. Because it’s just so darn hard to clean a textured ceiling. You’re going to have to repaint it with an oil-based primer. It’s as if the house was in a fire, you know? It’s the same kind of thing.

    BOB: Exactly, yeah.

    TOM: You’re sealing in all of that old smoke. And then once you do that, you can use a latex ceiling paint on top of the oil-based primer. But you need to use a really good-quality oil-based primer underneath first. That’s the only way you’re going to have a half-of-a-chance of sealing in that smoke smell and not having to live with it over and over again. OK, Bob?

    BOB: OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up, just because it’s the garage, it doesn’t mean it has to look like an auto shop. We’ve got an easy, do-it-yourself way to perk up dirty garage floors and have your space looking like a showroom.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question or head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com and post that question in the Community section. We answer lots of questions there throughout the week and we’ve got a couple here for the show.

    The first is from Nancy in Florida.

    LESLIE: Alright. And Nancy writes: “What are your recommendations for a concrete garage floor in Central Florida? I’m thinking about an epoxy-painted, sparkle-type floor. Are they durable? Do they tend to peel? Any suggestions?”

    TOM: Actually, they’re really durable. I mean I really like epoxy as a paint material for concrete because it is a chemical-cure product. So in other words, it doesn’t rely on just exposure to the air to actually get dry and get hard. When you buy epoxy paint, it comes in two separate mixtures; you have the base and you have the hardener. And the base paint will not harden until you add the hardener, so you have to kind of be really organized when you do this project and get all your stuff out, do a really good job cleaning the floor.

    And these manufacturers also have cleaning solutions that come with the paint, which is important to use because it makes sure that you really get any grime or old oil spots or stuff like that off the floor.

    You mix it together, you apply it and you add the sparkle finish, which also comes with a lot of these painting kits, while it’s drying. And the only thing you have to decide after that is whether or not you want to clear-coat it. Some people do clear-coat it because they like the super-glossy look to it and that’s fine if you want to do that. But you absolutely don’t have to clear-coat.

    So, I like the epoxy finishes and they come in a lot of colors. And they’re available from a number of manufacturers.

    LESLIE: Alright. And it’s really easy to do and you’re going to like it, as well.

    Next up, we’ve got John in Ohio who writes: “Is latex- or oil-based paint better for exterior trim?”

    TOM: It’s interesting, Leslie. You probably see this that the painters that are used to using oil-based, they just – they stopped learning, right? They never want to try the latex-based after that. And the truth is that latex really is better in almost every circumstance than oil-based today.

    In fact, the only time I will still use an oil-based product is on a floor because I don’t think that the latex has sort of the durability in terms of the scuff resistance than the oil does. But pretty much for every other application, I use latex today. What about you?

    LESLIE: I almost even find that oil is not as readily findable. So I always just go for a latex paint. You know, I really think it does a great job. It’s really perfect for every application. And I feel like it’s better for you and better for the environment. You have to be concerned about VOCs, off-gassing and how you clean your brushes and how you take care of it.

    So, I think for an ease and – ease of a do-it-yourself project, latex really is best.

    TOM: Yeah. And I’ll also say that quality counts, so you don’t want to buy a cheap paint. You do want to stay with the major manufacturers because it really makes a big difference.

    LESLIE: Tom, you’re absolutely right. You get what you pay for, especially when paint is concerned. I’ve worked on makeover shows where budgets are really a big deal and we’ve had to spend less money on the paint just to get the paint that we wanted, to get it into the program. And it really – it doesn’t cover as well; you end up needing more paint. So, spend it upfront so that the paint lasts longer and you do far less work, I think.

    TOM: Yeah. And also flows a lot better. And so not only do you get the coverage, you get the flow, you don’t see the brush strokes. And really, it does a great job. So, make sure you prep properly, invest in good-quality paint and you’ll get a paint project that will really last for many, many years.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That really does make sense. Good advice.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and it is time to spring into home improvement projects. That’s all the time we have. We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to get out there and get going on the projects that you’re tackling for your money pit.

    Remember, if you’ve got questions, 24-7, you can post them to our website at MoneyPit.com or pick up the phone and call us at 888-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 2013 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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