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  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma because we are here to help you get those projects done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    We know it’s hot, we know it’s sticky but it is a good time to get all that stuff done because as warm as it is right now, you know that right around the corner is the fall. That means it’s going to get chilly. You’re going to start to pay not cooling bills but heating bills, so why not take advantage of this beautiful weather to get those projects done around the house; the easy ones, the simple ones and maybe even some of the hard ones. But let’s start with the simple.
    You know, one home improvement project that is really cheap, really easy, really simple and always delivers a big impact is painting. But what’s the hardest part of painting, Leslie?
    LESLIE: That would be the prep work, which no one ever wants to do. (chuckles)
    TOM: And for good reason. But on today’s show, we’ve got tips on choosing the tools you’ll need to make this part of the job a lot easier on your hands and your back.
    LESLIE: Plus a good project to tackle this time of year is window replacement and that’s a huge home improvement project that’s going on right now; probably because of those tax credits and those energy-efficient window options are making it really simple to sort of choose the right windows for the home. So coming up this hour, we’re going to share ways with you to make your window replacement project go a little smoother.
    TOM: And this hour, we’re also giving away the Ladder’s Little Helper. It’s a great little gadget that actually gives your ladder a sturdy base to lean against and that will certainly help with those window projects and the painting projects. It’s worth about 40 bucks but it’s going to go to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question on today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Jeff in Georgia needs some help window shopping. What can we do for you?
    JEFF: What I wanted to know is if there are some products out on the market – doors and windows – that are impact-resistant; perhaps if you lived in tornado-prone areas or areas where high winds could be a real problem. Are there some affordable products out there that you could put into your home to safeguard you against flying objects and high winds?
    TOM: Absolutely. They definitely have impact-resistant glass. It’s made very similar to auto glass in the sense that there’s a laminate system where there’s a laminate in between layers of glass. Now what that does is that stops the glass from shattering but it won’t stop it from cracking; just understand that. So it’s designed for safety.
    Now if you want to protect the glass from shattering, what you need to do is to have storm shutters made. Now there are storm shutters that are sort of like louvers that unroll and sort of close down over the outside windows and that will stop – you know, catch basically anything that’s being thrown through the air in a storm.
    JEFF: Got you. And is it if you do not allow your house to breathe during a tornado situation, that it could create a roof blow-off? Is that why you need to at least have your windows cracked maybe or what is – is that just a myth?
    TOM: Nah. Well, I mean pressurization causes a lot of problems but if you have that home constructed correctly – I mean if you’re building a house from scratch, you would use a hip roof instead of a gable roof because it’s got less for the wind to sort of grab onto. If you have the roof structure all reinforced with hurricane ties, which securely ties the roof down to the walls and then the walls down to the foundation, I mean that’s the way you build a house that’s reasonably storm-resistant.
    JEFF: Right, that sounds common sense.
    TOM: Yeah, occasionally we do make sense. (Leslie and Jeff chuckle)
    JEFF: Yeah, you guys are great. Man, we really appreciate what you do for us out there and just hope that you continue to do it.
    TOM: Alright, Jeff, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Pam in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    PAM: Yes, ma’am. About a year ago, we moved into an older home and in the basement there is a drain, a sewer drain, and it has an open vent on it.
    TOM: OK.
    PAM: Occasionally we get some odors coming up from that. I covered up the vent a little and put a bucket on it because it is also being used as a drain for our air conditioning unit.
    TOM: Oh, boy. OK.
    PAM: For the dehumidifier.
    TOM: Right.
    PAM: The other thing I’ve come up with is pour a little bleach around; ammonia.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, listen, unless you have – if you have an open vent for a drain-waste-vent pipe, you’ve got to have that really tight or you are going to get an odor. So our advice here would be to get a plumber in with the right parts to make this do what it needs to do without being open whatsoever because you are going to get a gas out of that and at certain times of the year it’s going to be a really strong odor, as you probably have already discovered, Pam.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah.
    PAM: We have.
    TOM: Yes, yeah.
    PAM: We have. Walking into the house, especially, and noticing it.
    TOM: Yeah, not pleasant. It sounds to me like somebody probably opened it to maybe add that condensate drain, at some point in time, and just didn’t put it back together correctly. This is not difficult. This is not unusual. It’s something a plumber can do very successfully; shouldn’t be very expensive. But I would have it done and have it done right so that you don’t have this problem because that could be very unhealthy.
    PAM: OK. OK, is there any sort of a test that I can get to see if that is hindering our health; you know, in the house? I mean are the fumes going to be …?
    TOM: You know, it’s going to make you very uncomfortable. You’re going to be thinking about it all the time. You know, I would just tell you …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, just fix it.
    TOM: I would just tell you to get it fixed. OK?
    PAM: (chuckling) OK.
    LESLIE: Just for peace of mind and getting rid of that odor, it’s going to be worth it.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
    PAM: Exactly.
    TOM: You’ll feel so much better when the plumber finishes. Instantly, your health will improve; at least your mental health.
    PAM: OK. OK. (Leslie chuckles) Thank you.
    TOM: Pam, 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, making the decision to replace your windows is not hard. What takes a little more planning, though, is getting ready for that project. We’ll have tips on how to do that, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes with an advanced, 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers longlasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Hey, getting up on a ladder can often send a shiver of fear through even the toughest do-it-yourselfers and for good reason. Falls send thousands of you to the ER every year. But this hour, we’re giving away a prize that can help make any ladder project a little safer.
    If you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you’ll have a chance to win Ladder’s Little Helper. It’s a handy tool that wraps around the lip of your gutter and prevents your ladder from slipping, giving you more stability. Learn more at LaddersLittleHelper.com. The prize is worth 39 bucks; going to go to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, pick up the phone and give us a call, especially if you are thinking about perhaps replacing your windows. Now window replacement, it can be a no-stress home improvement project if you keep a few helpful tips in mind.
    First, you want to remove existing window treatments like your shades or your blinds, whatever you’ve got, before the window installers arrive. Just make their job easy for them and easy for you because they’re going to take less time.
    You also want to take down any decorative ornaments that are on or near your current windows. You don’t want anybody accidentally turning around with something and knocking over Grandma’s special vase and then everybody is sad; so just put all that stuff away.
    And on the day of installation, for safety’s sake, keep your kids and your pets away from the areas where the contractors are working. Just take that extra step.
    TOM: Now communication is also the key to a successful project, so you can make it go a lot more smoothly by talking through several things with the window contractor beforehand; such as where the old windows are going to be stored once they’re torn out, what their inclement weather policy window is for window removals and how much cleanup they’re going to be responsible for inside and outside of your house.
    For more details on how to buy replacement windows, simply go to MoneyPit.com and download “Your Guide to Replacing the Windows in Your House” for free. It’s a bonus chapter that we wrote with help from the experts at Simonton Windows; available online at MoneyPit.com right now.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to those phones. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: James in Wyoming is calling in with a decking question. What can we do for you?
    JAMES: We are at the tri-annual point of refinishing our deck. And so we were wondering the feasibility of overlaying the existing deck, using that as a base and putting a composite decking over the top of it. Is that feasible to do?
    TOM: Oh, absolutely.
    LESLIE: But I wouldn’t put it over the existing planks. I would take those planks off and use the existing framework and then put the composite where the old wood decking itself was.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Yeah, exactly. You would strip off the decking and you would install new composite decking on top of that. You would not want to layer it over the old decking.
    JAMES: OK.
    LESLIE: Well no, because eventually that wood is going to fail, decay, decompose. You’re going to have to get rid of it eventually, so just do it now. Don’t sort of sandwich that there.
    JAMES: OK, I was told that the tensile strength of the composite may require additional stringers to be put underneath of it so that it would have less distance between the joists. Is that correct?
    TOM: No, no.
    LESLIE: No.
    TOM: I mean some of the composites are really floppy but if you have a good-quality product like Fiberon decking, that’s actually a product that Leslie and I have both worked with and it’s very, very resilient. And it’s got an encapsulation process on the outside called Perma-Tech that seals everything in so there’s no real organic piece of the composite that’s at the surface so you never get a mildew or mold kind of growth on it; very easy to clean and it doesn’t fade. That board itself, very, very stiff board. You won’t have any problems with telegraphing.
    LESLIE: And maybe I’m wrong but I mean at our summer home where we used it, we just took off the existing wood decking and put it right on top of the existing joists. You know, everything stayed …
    TOM: Oh, so you did the exact same project.
    LESLIE: Yeah, everything stayed as is. I mean we did have to sister a couple of joists here and there just due to aging of the deck itself but nothing else changed.
    JAMES: OK. Alrighty, well thank you for the advice.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Patricia in Florida is working on a staining project. What are you doing?
    PATRICIA: Well, I’m getting a bookcase which is all the natural wood …
    TOM: OK.
    PATRICIA: … self-stained type, you know? And looking at, you know, getting at it at different angles to do it. So I’m just wondering how that stain would work with this; that Krylon, I guess is what it’s called.
    TOM: Oh, the new spray stain in a can?
    PATRICIA: Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean it’s a good stain product. Now, the bookcase that you’re doing, it’s unfinished right now; so it’s just the raw wood?
    PATRICIA: Mm-hmm, it’s the natural wood.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: So there’s nothing on it. You shouldn’t have to sand it at all.
    TOM: Right. Yeah.
    PATRICIA: Uh-uh.
    LESLIE: Good.
    TOM: OK, so this is something that you can basically take and work on it outside or work on it in the basement or something like that, right?
    PATRICIA: Uh-huh.
    TOM: Well, OK. So the wood stain is a good product. It’s easy to use because it’s in a spray can but, you know, I mean you don’t have to use the spray can stain for this. You could use a traditional Minwax stain, for example, that you apply with a brush and wipe down. Either is fine but the key here is that the wood has to be unfinished and has to be natural and that’s what you have.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And clean and dry.
    TOM: Yep, exactly.
    LESLIE: Yeah, a good test to make sure that there’s nothing on it – because I’m not sure if those unfinished wood stores may put like a wax or something just to protect it a little bit.
    TOM: Or a sealer.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: Sometimes they’ll put a sanding sealer on it.
    LESLIE: You want to make sure – like take a little drop of water and sprinkle it on the wood surface. If the wood absorbs the water, then it’s ready to go. But if it doesn’t – if it sort of beads up or rolls away – then there’s something on there and you want to give it a light sanding and then wipe away all the dust and then make sure that it’s clean and clear and ready to go.
    TOM: Now Patricia, remember; when you’re done with the stain you’re going to have to coat it with a clearcoat finish. So for that, I would use a water-based polyurethane. It goes on sort of like a milky, white color but then it dries clear and it dries quickly as well.
    PATRICIA: OK. Alright.
    TOM: Alright, Patricia. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Chris in Pennsylvania is dealing with a leaky water heater. Let’s hear about what’s going on. Welcome, Chris.
    CHRIS: Thank you very much. I’m calling in regards to the hot water heater. It just recently – probably about a week or so ago I noticed that there’s some water underneath where my hot water heater is located. And I was just trying to figure out what, basically, I can do to maybe diagnose the issue before calling somebody professional in to maybe take a look at it and hopefully fix it without having to get a new one.
    TOM: OK, well let’s start with the basics. Chris, how old is the water heater?
    CHRIS: It’s probably got to be about six years old or more.
    TOM: Alright, well that’s not terribly old. I mean most water heaters last 10 to 15 years. Has the water heater been in constant use? I mean was it ever off and it just got turned on recently or has it always been in constant use?
    CHRIS: It’s always been in constant use.
    TOM: OK.
    CHRIS: We’ve lived in the house for probably about a little over two years now.
    TOM: OK. Because if the tank was really cold and you turned it on, you would have a lot of condensation. I just wanted to rule that out.
    Alright, now the next thing to do is to look at the temperature and pressure relief valve. There’s going to be a pipe that comes off the side of the water heater and it goes down towards the floor. And can you tell if that pipe is leaking?
    CHRIS: No, it’s definitely not that pipe. It actually looks like – it’s not coming from any of the pipes where the water lines are coming in or coming out from the top and it’s not coming out from the pipe that goes down to the floor. It seems actually to be originating from underneath the bottom of the hot water heater.
    TOM: OK. It doesn’t sound good. I think we’ve eliminated the basics. It sounds like you do have a slow leak and it’s been a week now; it’s probably not going to get any better and, in fact, it could get a lot worse. So it sounds to me like the water heater may be leaking.
    The two common places that people get leaks that really aren’t leaks is you get condensation when you have cold water in the water heater then you have the hot gas flame. This is a gas water heater, by the way, or is it electric?
    CHRIS: It is electric.
    TOM: Ah, it’s electric. OK, well forget that one. If it’s not – condensation is only an issue when it’s a gas water heater. If that overflow pipe is not leaking, it sounds like the tank itself is leaking.
    Now if it’s six years old, it’s possible the tank could be under warranty, so you might want to take the serial number off of the data plate; go to the manufacturer website; determine if it is in fact under warranty or not. But then if it’s not, heck, now is a good time to do it.
    I would say that you might want to look into the new heat pump water heaters that are available if you’re going to be in the house for a while. The heat pump water heaters will qualify for the federal tax credit available between now and the end of the year and they will actually cost about half as much to heat the water as a standard electric resistance heater would.
    LESLIE: Penny in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    PENNY: Hi there. I’m getting ready to do a major remodel in my kitchen. The whole thing’s going to be taken out and I’m starting over. I’m on a septic tank and I currently have a disposal but I’ve had a lot of people tell me that – and I don’t use my disposal because I know it’s not good for my septic tank, so I’m thinking of not putting a disposal in my new kitchen. Some people say, “Oh, that’s crazy,” and some people say, “It’s crazy to have it.” So I’m torn. What do I do?
    TOM: Oh, you know, for the amount of time you’re going to use that disposal, I don’t think it’s going to have a significant impact on your septic system. I’d tell you to get it. You know, once you have one of those, you never want to go back; they just work so wonderfully.
    LESLIE: See, they kind of freak me out.
    TOM: Why do they freak you out?
    LESLIE: I don’t know. I don’t – I’ve never had a home that had one. I’ve stayed in, you know, sort of those suite-style hotels, you know, for a long term while on the road, that have one. They’re noisy; I get a little scared. I never know what to put down it. So for me, I say it’s not a big deal if you have it or not. I don’t think it impacts your resale value and if it’s something in your budget that you can afford and you think you’re going to use it, I say it’s safe for the septic system.
    PENNY: OK. My thought was maybe to have them wire in some electricity under the sink, so if I ever change my mind and felt like I’d made a big mistake it would be easy to add one later.
    TOM: Well, that’s fine. I mean, you could do that and frankly, most of the dishwashers today need an outlet under the sink too instead of the – none of them are hardwired anymore; they usually have a plug. So why not put a plug down there and have an outlet down there and you’re ready to go.
    PENNY: Alright, well, I appreciate your advice.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Penny. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    LESLIE: Tin roof rusting! (Tom chuckles) George, you’ve got a rusty roof. What happened?
    GEORGE: I had cedar shakes put on the front of my garage and what happened, after the first rain I’m getting what I call teardrops from the nails.
    TOM: Right.
    GEORGE: What he did he put steel nails instead of galvanized or stainless steel.
    TOM: Right.
    GEORGE: Now, I don’t know what I can do about that.
    TOM: Not much.
    GEORGE: I called him and he has – he answered the phone but he’s never come down.
    TOM: Yeah. Not much. He used the wrong fastener, George.
    GEORGE: Yeah.
    TOM: The only thing I can suggest is if you were to stain those cedar shingles –
    GEORGE: Yeah.
    TOM: – perhaps with a bit of a darker stain – it may not be quite so obvious. But that metal is going to react. If he didn’t use the right fasteners it’s going to react and it’s going to streak.
    GEORGE: That’s why he probably doesn’t come down. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah, probably not. And I suppose you’ve already paid him …
    GEORGE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
    TOM: … so it’s too late for that. Yeah, the only thing else you could consider is small claims court but it might just be easier to stain these shingles.
    GEORGE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. No, I don’t want to do that. No. OK. Alright I want to thank you very much for taking my call.
    TOM: You’re welcome, George. 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.
    Well, painting. It certainly delivers a big impact but getting started can take a lot of effort. We’re going to have tips on the tools you’ll need to make paint prep a snap, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And painting is one of the most popular projects we get asked about here on The Money Pit and it all comes down to having the right tools and taking the right steps. Painting seems like it should be an easy project but if you make some critical mistakes in the selection of materials and the selection of tools, you quickly find out that all that work that you put into the project may have to be repeated. However, right now we’re going to get some tips on the best tools and prep material to use to get your project done; make sure it comes out right every, single time.
    LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got Mark Ksiezyk who is the brand manager for Purdy joining us.
    Mark, welcome to The Money Pit.
    MARK: Thank you. How are you all doing today?
    TOM: We’re doing well. And Mark, you guys make a full line of preparation tools and do you agree that people seem to always love to skip that prep step?
    MARK: (chuckles) They sure do and I’ll tell you, that’s a big mistake because the amount of prep – or the right amount of prep – really will dictate the type of job that you have and the type of finish that you’re going to have.
    LESLIE: And the duration that it’s going to last, as well.
    MARK: Absolutely. You don’t want to be redoing it every year because you didn’t prep the surface properly.
    TOM: Well, exactly. I mean if you don’t have the surface prepared properly, the paint just doesn’t stick and it doesn’t last nearly as long. And we all know that the work in painting is the application of the materials. If you don’t get that right, it’s just not going to last. The cost of the materials is fairly minor compared to the hard work it takes to get it on the wall.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) (inaudible at 0:21:20)
    MARK: Yeah. You know, people know it’s a must-do but they often try to skip through it or not do it appropriately.
    TOM: Alright, let’s start at the beginning. Brush selection – something that folks get pretty confused about. You have natural bristle brushes, you have China bristle brushes, some better for latex, some better for oil-based. What’s the best all-round brush for a consumer to choose today?
    MARK: Well, it really depends, like you said, on the type of coating that they’re using. But there are filament brushes today that are good for both latex and oil base. Purdy makes one; it’s our XL series.
    TOM: OK.
    MARK: And it’s our most versatile brush, which means that it could be used on oil base and latex paints and stains both.
    TOM: What’s your take on those foam brushes that are out? They’re tempting because if you have a very small painting project, it’s a very easy, disposable, throw-away product to pick up. Can you get a decent paint job out of one of those?
    MARK: It depends what you’re using them for. They tend to start to wear away very quickly. On a very small surface, they probably could give you a pretty decent finish, though.
    LESLIE: What about storing brushes? I mean I really do take excellent care because I do buy a high-quality brush and want to hold onto it. Do you just – I mean I usually use a little dish soap if I’m using a latex brush and really just clean up all the old paint, make sure I splash out all the water and then store it upright. But am I storing it the right way? What’s the proper way to clean it and maintain those brushes?
    MARK: Yeah, that’s a great question and, again, I think that’s where a lot of people may miss the importance of doing so. A brush can last you a long time and Purdy is made with the highest quality materials. And the proper way to clean the brush, though – like you said, if it’s latex-based paint, you want to make sure that you’re getting all of the excess paint out of the brush; you want to wash it with warm water and then you could use a detergent, like you mentioned. You want to make sure you wring it out and then you also want to put it back in the brush keeper. Our brush keepers are actually designed to be part of the tool, so it helps to hold and keep that shape of the brush.
    TOM: Now the brush keeper, of course, is the box that the brush comes in. (Leslie chuckles)
    MARK: Yeah. (chuckles) And then if you’re using oil-based paints, obviously you want to use like a mineral spirits or a paint thinner to get all the paint out. And another neat trick that a lot of people aren’t aware of is using a brush comb. And it actually looks like a comb. You don’t want to use it, though, on your hair (Tom chuckles) but you can actually help to remove the dried paint that’s in the brush filament or bristles.
    TOM: Now that’s neat because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a brush comb and I was going to ask you is it OK to sort of pull apart the bristles as you’re trying to get the water down deep into the narrowed part of the brush handle.
    MARK: Yeah. It’s better to use the comb and it does look like a comb and it actually has metal tines and they’re pretty sharp, so you have to be careful. But it actually will get right through the filament or bristle and just help to really get that paint out of there. So you can get them at any paint or home improvement store.
    TOM: Well that sounds like a very, very handy tool.
    We’re talking to Mark Ksiezyk. He’s a brand manager with Purdy and an expert in preparation tools.
    And Mark, you’ve got a tool out called the 6in1 Painters Tool I want to ask you about; very inexpensive tool – I think it’s what, 5.99 or 6.99 – but it seems to do an awful lot.
    MARK: Yeah, it absolutely does. It can really help you with your job, whether it’s scraping a surface or removing caulk from corners. And it actually has a rounded end to it where you can use it to scrape off the excess paint off a roller cover, so it really is a useful tool throughout the whole job.
    LESLIE: Mark, is that the sixth tool? Because I’ve always heard of these things being called 5-in-1 tools and when I see 6in1 I’m thinking, “Wow, what’s the extra one?” (Tom chuckles)
    MARK: Yeah, in our case there’s also a hammerhead end; so if you’re working with nail holes or popping paint off the surface, you can also use that as well, too. So there’s another use for you.
    TOM: Mark Ksiezyk from Purdy, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. For more tips, Mark, where can we go?
    MARK: You can go to PurdyCorp.com.
    TOM: That’s PurdyCorp.com – P-u-r-d-y-C-o-r-p.com.

    Mark, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    MARK: Thank you both. Have a good day.
    LESLIE: Alright, well we are certainly enjoying those lazy days of summer but is it making you ease up on the rules for your kids? Well, if you are, that is a mistake. Summer is the most dangerous time of year for children and it’s time for you to be the most vigilant. We’re going to have some safety advice after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Well, if you’re like us, you have probably been out on your ladder a bunch of times this summer already and taking on some of the projects that you’ve planned around your money pit. Well, if a ladder is involved, you know that a ladder can be a dangerous tool if you’re not using it correctly. So this hour, we’re giving away a prize that can help you with those ladder-necessary projects. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win the Ladder’s Little Helper. And it’s a handy, little tool that’s going to wrap around the lip of your gutter and it gives your ladder more stability. It’s worth 39 bucks but it could be yours for free, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, as you kick back and enjoy these lazy days of summer, don’t get lazy about safety. Check this out: in the average summer, children ages 14 and under will be rushed to the emergency rooms nearly three million times for serious injuries and more than 2,500 of these kids will die. Drowning is the leading cause of death for young kids in many states, so remember that your kids are constantly learning new skills and a fence, for example, that cannot be climbed one day, can easily be leapt over the next. It’s important to have fences, door alarms, pool alarms and pool covers all being used effectively together to protect kids from that particular hazard.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you also want to remember to always make your children wear their bike helmets and any other protective gear. I know with Henry, when we got the bicycle seat for my bike, my husband and I suddenly had to start wearing bike helmets, which I know we should have been doing the whole time but we never did. But Henry refused to put his on until we got ours on, so everybody follows safety rules.
    Now, during the summer months, falls also increase as more of us are opening our windows wide open. You’ve got to remember that the screens on your windows, they’re meant to only keep the bugs out and not support the weight of a child who might lean against it. So keep your furniture away from windows and even consider installing window guards.
    If you want some more tips, visit MoneyPit.com and search “summer safety tips,” so this way we can keep you and your family safe.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your summer home improvement project question. Let’s get back to the phones.
    LESLIE: Sylvester in Georgia needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what’s going on.
    SYLVESTER: Yes, my wife and I purchased an older house about a year ago and now we want to add carpeting to the basement. And we’re having a moisture problem and I’m trying to find out what can we do to stop the moisture from coming through the floor.
    LESLIE: Have you already put the carpet?
    SYLVESTER: No, I have not.
    LESLIE: OK, good. What is the existing flooring that’s down there?

    SYLVESTER: It was carpeting. We pulled it up. It was old carpeting but it had that musty, mildew odor to it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Yeah. That would be a really bad idea.
    LESLIE: You’re always, always, always going to have a situation like that when you put carpeting in the basement, unless you have the best dehumidification system, no issues with water getting in from around the foundation, no gutter problems. It’s just a recipe for disaster when you put carpeting in a basement. If one thing sort of goes off, you’re going to end up with that musty, mildew smell; allergen generation; mold growth. It’s really just not a good idea just because of the inherent nature of moisture in basements.
    SYLVESTER: OK. What would be the ideal floor for a basement then?
    TOM: You would want to use – I would use a laminate floor.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Or if you wanted hardwood, you could use engineered hardwood. That’s pretty resilient when it comes to moisture.
    LESLIE: Right.
    TOM: But we would also tell you, at the same time, to go through the basics to try to reduce the level of moisture that’s down in that basement. So make sure that you soil is sloped away from the outside walls; make sure your gutters are clean; make sure downspouts are extended.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you go with a laminate, you can – I mean if you go to LumberLiquidators.com, they have locations all across the country; the price points are excellent. I have a friend who just did a laminate floor from them that was like 60 cents a square. So you can find something that’s really affordable, that looks pretty much like everything from wood to stone and then it goes down very easily; it can be a do-it-yourself project if you like; and once that’s down, you can add area rugs to give you that same sort of cozy, warm feeling that you would get from carpeting but you’re not going to have that moisture situation.
    SYLVESTER: OK. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Joyce in Maryland is dealing with some walls that are cracking up. Tell us about the seams you’re seeing.
    JOYCE: Well, the previous owners had done a very poor job of putting the drywall up. Evidently, the firring strips are bigger than what they need to be so when they put the drywall on they kind of bow in two seams and it’s very noticeable; especially when you have your table lamps on.
    TOM: Right.
    JOYCE: And I don’t know – is there are a way, other than tearing the whole wall down, to either camouflage it or to make it not so noticeable?
    TOM: Is it concave or convex?
    JOYCE: Well, let’s put it this way. The seams stick out.
    TOM: They stick out.
    JOYCE: They stick out further than they should.
    LESLIE: It seems like something’s missing from the middle.
    TOM: Well, you know, who knows what’s underneath that’s causing this buckle but short of cutting into the wall, what you could try to do is this: you could add some additional spackle and if you do it really well and very skillfully, you can sort of feather out this area so that it’s not quite as aggressive a bump.
    JOYCE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: The other thing to do is to repaint it with a really good-quality flat. Flat is very key; flat latex paint. Because the flat paint does not bounce the light around as much as other types of paint and it’s less likely to show up.
    JOYCE: That sounds like a better idea than tearing the wall down.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, you can always go to that step next. (chuckles)
    JOYCE: Yeah. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: And then, Joyce, just don’t turn the lights on.
    TOM: There you go.
    JOYCE: Well, that’s the other option. (Leslie chuckles) But I’m learning so much from your show; things that I would have never even given a thought about, you know? So your show is really beneficial. I appreciate having you on. (chuckles)
    TOM: Thank you very much. It’s very kind of you. Joyce, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Up next, we’ve got tips on how to figure out the least expensive way to cool your house. That’s all coming up, next.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, we love having you be part of The Money Pit but if you’re feeling a little too shy to pick up the phone and give us a call, why not head over to our website, MoneyPit.com, and you can e-mail us your home improvement questions. You know we always answer them every hour.
    So I’ve got one here from Randy who writes: “Love your show. My front porch railings are cracked and split.”
    TOM: He really did write that, didn’t he?
    LESLIE: I know, he really did write that. (Tom laughs) I would never just put that in there. He totally wrote it. So “Love your show” – let me say it again. “My front porch railings are cracked and split. What’s the best way to refinish them?”
    TOM: Well, the good news is that the finishes for exterior woodwork have gotten a lot smarter these days. I mean it used to be that you just whip out some oil-based paint, slather it on there and five years later you do the same thing. I mean today, the best way to finish woodwork is with acrylic products. There are acrylic wood stains and acrylic wood finishes that really have a lot of great features. They soak deep into the wood, they have excellent UV protection and they have a lot of color choices that are available.
    Behr has a line of them which is called their premium wood stains and finishes, which you should check out. These have 100-percent acrylic formula and they’re really easy to apply and they clean up simply and they last for a lot of years, so that’s what I would use today on any exterior woodwork like that.
    Now if it’s already got a finish on it, there is a procedure for stripping off the old finish, which you can find outlined in the Behr materials. They also have some kiosks at Home Depot that will walk you through it called WoodSmart. So check it out. That’s what I would do with the railings and I’m sure they will come out and last great for many, many years.
    LESLIE: Alright, now I’ve got one from Sharon in New Jersey. “Please settle a difference of opinion between my husband and I. Which is cheaper: running air conditioning at a constant temp or running oscillating fans continuously in all rooms for a total of four fans”?
    TOM: I think running the AC is going to keep the domestic harmony where it needs to be. (Leslie chuckles) Running four fans does actually use quite a bit of electricity and the actual question depends on how much power you’re drawing from those fans. But I think from a comfort perspective, you’re probably better off with the AC. Just why don’t you just sort of negotiate a little bit and run it at a slightly higher temperature like 80 or 82 degrees? Dehumidify; it’ll be quite comfortable and will keep everybody happy.
    LESLIE: I know the number seems high but it really does make a difference. (chuckling) I hope that keeps both of you happy with that answer.
    TOM: Well, are you thinking about a redo for your kids’ room? If so, Leslie has got some fun and easy ideas for sprucing up the spaces for the youngest members of your family.
    LESLIE: That’s right. When you’re working with your kids to redesign their space, you really want to include them in the whole process and you want to kind of figure out what it is that they like and want to show off. And if they’ve got a big collection of, say, Barbie dolls, why not show off what they’ve been working on to gather for all those years? Or even if it’s action figures; you know, the lighter the better.
    You can take your existing draperies and get some of that iron-on adhesive and then cut out a coordinating fabric or maybe even like a plastic-y, sheer-type fabric. You just have to be careful if you use the iron-on fusing with the plastic-y fabric; you might want to use glue then. And you can sort of adhere these little fabric pockets to the drape and then put their little toy collection in there. It kind of shows it off and makes things nice and tidy to go away.
    You can also create a scheduling center on their door with some chalkboard paint or you could put a United States map between their work table and then a layer of clear plexiglass on top of that and just put four screws in a corner to sort of sandwich that map in there and hold that plexi on top. And if you use that plexiglass, you can take dry erase markers and then they can sort of mark all the places that they’ve been to or work on a geography project and then it wipes all away.
    It’s really great, little projects like that that help to personalize a kid’s space. Just get them involved. They’ll be really happy to own the project. It’ll help you with the design process. Heck, maybe you can even get them to clean up their rooms a little bit better if they like how it looks. Just get them involved and have fun.
    TOM: That’s optimistic.
    LESLIE: Yeah, right. (chuckles)
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Up next, one heating bill that you have to pay all year long is your water heating bill. We’re going to have some tips on how to cut those costs 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 2010 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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