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Lawns Can Come Back to Life, Gardening with Raised Beds, Roof Replacement Tax Credits and more

  • 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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. The number is free; the advice is worth more than what you paid for. We’re here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. But pick up the phone and help yourself, first, by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    We’ve got a very busy show planned for you. Starting off, has the hot, dry summer weather made your lush lawn look dead? Well, not to worry. Coming up, we’re going to tell you why grass that appears dead actually may have a new life in it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And is your dead lawn causing you to have green-thumb envy over your neighbor’s green thumb? (Tom chuckles) Perhaps it’s giving you a little bit of (inaudible at 0:01:14) the way your heart is looking right about now.
    TOM: Full of neighborhood jealousy.
    LESLIE: Seriously. I know my side of the street, lawns are all dead; other side of the street, beautiful and green. I guess it’s just …
    TOM: That’s because the neighbors on the other side of the street are ignoring the water restrictions. (Leslie laughs)
    LESLIE: I was starting to wonder what was going on. (Tom chuckles)
    Well, you know what, guys? Gardening – it’s not as hard as you might think and it gets a lot easier when you build raised flower beds. We’re going to tell you about that, in just a few minutes.
    TOM: And would you like to install a new roof? There’s actually never been a better time. With the energy efficiency tax credits and green roofing systems, you can be sure to save money in more ways than one. But what’s even better, we’ve got a heads-up on a contest whose winners are getting the entire cost of the roof replacement reimbursed.
    LESLIE: Man, that is a huge prize to win.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    LESLIE: Because being in the market for a new roof, they are expensive.
    TOM: Well, I’m pretty sure you can qualify, so we’ll see. (Leslie chuckles) That’s coming up in just a bit.
    LESLIE: No, no, no. I’m not that lucky, so I won’t put my name in; I’ll just let everybody else have a good chance.
    But if you’re feeling pretty lucky, this hour we’ve got a great prize that can actually help you create a beautiful, new façade to your home. We’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card, courtesy of Therma-Tru, that you can put towards perhaps buying a new Therma-Tru fiberglass door, which will make your house look amazingly a million times better.
    So give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and also your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones. They’re lighting up.
    So, Leslie, who is first?
    LESLIE: Mike in Michigan is looking for that extra storage space at his money pit, by looking to the attic. What can we help you with?
    MIKE: Tom and Leslie, thanks so much for taking my call. I stumbled upon your podcast a couple weeks ago and as a first-time homeowner, I’m loving all the information, so thank you guys very much.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Mike. How can we help?
    MIKE: I want to create some extra storage space in my attic. I would like to use the timber, the knotty pine, that the previous owner used to finish a lower-level room. Poking around up in the attic, there are lots of electrical wires and cables running along the boards and the trusses. And I’m wondering if I can buy some 2×2 strips to create kind of a firring strip to bridge these cables and screw down the planks in the attic.
    TOM: Yeah, kind of like a suspended floor?
    MIKE: Exactly.
    TOM: So that you don’t have to notch the cables into the existing ceiling joists.
    MIKE: That’s correct.
    TOM: Right. Yeah. Let me just ask you a couple of questions. First of all, how old is your house, Mike?
    MIKE: It’s four years old. It’s got blown cellulose insulation.
    TOM: OK. Is it a trussed attic or is it a stick-built attic? (Mike chuckles)
    MIKE: (overlapping voices) I believe trusses.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Good question. So here’s the difference. Trusses are manufactured structures and they’re going to have a bottom. It’s called a chord but think of it like sort of a bottom joist and then sort of a top rafter-like piece of it and crisscross in between.
    LESLIE: Like a triangular piece that’s up in the roof peak.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    MIKE: (overlapping voices) Exactly. That is exactly what I have, guys, yep.
    TOM: Alright. So you have trusses. Alright. Well, the bad news is that trusses are not designed to have any type of floor load on them; unless it’s an attic floor truss, which would be unusual.
    That said, I will tell you that in a house that I owned some years ago, I kind of did something that was very similar to what you were suggesting. I took 2x4s and I attached them to the side of the trusses, all in a flat, plane level and then I put some flooring over that. So I kind of created my own floor joist. But I do this very carefully, because you can’t put a lot of weight on these things. I mean, they’re really not designed to take a lot more than they’re doing by just holding up your roof.

    But if you want to just put some light storage on there, create some sort of raised platforms, I think you could do that, Mike, and you’ll be perfectly safe. But just remember, never cut a truss; you will weaken it, you will ruin it, OK?
    MIKE: Absolutely. Thank you, sir.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Ann in Washington needs some help with a cement floor project. What can we do for you?
    ANN: Oh, thank you for your program.
    TOM: You’re very welcome.
    ANN: Here’s my problem. We bought the house when it was two years old and the cement floor already had these cracks coursing through it, almost like tree lines. And they had fixed it up, patched it up, but now it has – everything that has been patched is starting to come out and …
    TOM: Yeah. You know, if you don’t patch cement or concrete with the right materials, it will release within a very short period of time. What you want is an epoxy patching compound; available at home centers, hardware stores. That’s specifically designed to stick to concrete floors. If you try to patch a concrete floor with cement, it’s going to look good for a little bit of time and then it’s going to completely chip and separate and you’ll end up doing it all over again.
    ANN: I see. Does it make any difference – I think the sub-area was not properly prepared and we have clay as our compound of soil around here.
    TOM: Not really. I mean if the garage floor is cracking, then you can just deal with that – aside from whatever it’s on top of – as long as the cracks are not displacing and causing a tripping hazard.
    ANN: No.
    TOM: But I would use an epoxy patching compound and then an epoxy paint. And if you do it right, Ann, it’ll all disappear.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we are smack in the middle of the summer and you still have plenty of warm and sunny weekends to tackle those home improvement projects; so give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with your repair, home improvement, home design question. We can help you get that job done. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Speaking of summer, up next we’re going to talk about that dry, dead grass that’s been all around your yard. It’s not a lost cause; that grass is actually just gone dormant. We’ll tell you how to bring it back, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    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 here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Dial that number right now. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and an opportunity to win a $50 gift card from our friends at Therma-Tru. It’s actually a gift card for Lowe’s and, with it, you could invest in a fiberglass door made by Therma-Tru.
    You know, fiberglass doors look like wood but they insulate up to five times better. And Therma-Tru has a brand at Lowe’s called Benchmark, which is gorgeous. They come in a wide range of styles and they’ll definitely increase your curb appeal and save you some money at the same time.
    In fact, they qualify, as well, for the energy tax credit. You can get more information at MyEnergyTax.com or pick up the phone right now and give us a call with your home improvement question for your chance to win that $50 gift card from Lowe’s, courtesy of Therma-Tru. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. You know, maybe you’ve been sort of perusing the outside of your home and you can’t help but notice that your normally lush, green lawn is looking brown and maybe you’re feeling that it might be kind of dead right about now.
    Well, we’ve all been dealing with hot and dry weather and when that happens, grass actually goes into a semi-dormant state – meaning it’s sleeping – and it’s waiting to come back when the weather conditions actually improve. So during the hottest, driest weeks of the summer, you don’t want to cut your lawn more than once a week because cutting too frequently can actually mean that the grass is going to lose the extra moisture that it’s keeping and the tips just sort of feed off of and the mower wheels can actually leave brown stripes on the stressed lawn, so you really want to be careful about trimming the lawn when it’s been very, very dry and hot out.

    Now, a good mowing height is two-and-a-half to three inches when you do mow the lawn. And you want to water lightly in the evening if your town doesn’t have any restrictions in place. You know, you have to follow water usage rules. And if you follow everything that we’ve been chatting about, your lawn is going to be ready to come right back to life once the weather just simmers down a bit. Be patient.
    TOM: Absolutely. But there’s one thing that you want to avoid and that is a lot of foot traffic while those dried-out blades will come back to life. If you grind them into a dust (chuckles), that’s not going to happen. So try to avoid walking across the lawn; try to stick to the walkways and the pathways. Treat it as being very, very fragile because, basically, that’s what it is. If you protect it now, it’ll come back quickly as soon as we get some rain once again.
    888-666-3974. Let’s get right back to those phones.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Rebecca in Kentucky needs some help with a foundation issue. Tell us about it.
    REBECCA: I have three foundation cracks in the basement that leak when we get a heavy rain and I am looking for a permanent solution to repairing the foundation cracks.
    TOM: OK. This is a two-part problem.
    LESLIE: Right.
    TOM: First of all, the reason they’re leaking is because you have a drainage problem on the outside. So you need to look to the exterior walls and make sure that, number one, the soil is sloped away from the wall and, number two, you have a gutter system there and that the downspouts are extended away from the foundation perimeter. Reducing the volume of water on the outside foundation perimeter is going to be very, very important.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    REBECCA: (overlapping voices) OK.
    LESLIE: And that’s important because you mentioned that it’s consistent with rainfall, so these are the reasons why we know that you’re getting the water through this area.
    TOM: Repairing the crack after that is really a cosmetic issue, Rebecca. So you can simply caulk that with a silicone caulk and then paint over them.
    REBECCA: OK. Thank you.
    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Janet in Alaska is dealing with some bamboo floor issues. Tell us what’s going on.
    JANET: My husband and I are building a house out in a remote area of Alaska and we’re getting close to the flooring stage and we keep batting different ideas around. And several people have mentioned using the bamboo flooring and we wondered how it would stand up to, I guess, with any water standing on it; not for long periods of time but – you know, and how it compares to regular hardwood floors.
    TOM: Well, I think that you’ll find that bamboo holds up very, very well. It’s incredibly hard stuff. One of the things to look for is to make sure you buy old-growth bamboo floors versus newer growth. Old growth is defined as being about four years or older and it’s a tougher product. And there’s also – is it a strand product, Leslie?
    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s like a woven strand bamboo and that’s kind of different from the traditional bamboo flooring that you might see, where it almost looks like a flattened stalk of bamboo. The woven one almost looks like a zebra wood. It’s very beautiful, you can get it in a ton of different colors and they actually like weave in the shredded grains or strands, I should say, of the bamboo and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

    You definitely, because you’re going to be dealing with a lot of water, do not want to go with a solid hardwood. If you choose not to do bamboo but you want the look of a hardwood, you want to go with an engineered hardwood, because that’s made to be almost like a plywood base within a layer of that hardwood veneer on top.

    But because you get a lot of wear and tear and you’re probably tracking in salts and dirts, I imagine, you might want to go with one that has a commercial finish.
    Right, Tom?
    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. The finishes today are incredibly tough. I mean almost all the bamboo floors do come prefinished. But the commercial products are even tougher than that.
    So, if you buy good-quality bamboo, it’s old growth. And if you use one that’s got a great warranty, I think you’ll be very, very happy with it, even in the rough winters of Alaska. I think this is something that’s going to stand up incredibly well for you.
    JANET: How do you know if it’s old growth? Is it identified?
    TOM: Yeah, it’s identified in the packaging or you should definitely inquire about it.
    JANET: OK.
    TOM: Alright. You know, a good source for bamboo floorings is LumberLiquidators.com.
    JANET: OK.
    TOM: You might want to take a look at that online. They’ve got good product, lots of choices, lots of colors; also great warranties.
    JANET: Uh-huh. OK.
    TOM: Yeah, our office manager bought some product for her ski house from Lumber Liquidators – and you know, similar in terms of the abuse it needs to stand up to – and she was very, very happy with it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it does take a beating.
    JANET: Yes. Well, it’s just my husband and I and one dog but the grandchildren do come up and neighbors come over. And during Iditarod, we always had a house full, so … (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Oh, how fun. (Tom chuckles)
    JANET: It is.
    TOM: Well, so you need some bamboo flooring that can stand up to the Iditarod traffic, huh?
    JANET: Yeah. (laughs)
    TOM: Yeah, well, I think Lumber Liquidators is a great start. Why don’t you head on over to that website and let us know how you make out?
    JANET: OK. I sure will. Thanks so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Art in Delaware who’s dealing with way too much sun at his house. What can we do for you?
    ART: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I really enjoy your program.
    We have a screened-in sun porch that faces east and we have two back sections, eight feet wide, plus a standard, 32-inch screen door. And we want to find some kind of sun covering that we can retract and put down for the morning sun but also something that won’t hold mildew, since we don’t live there full-time. Since we have vinyl clad over pressure-treated lumber, so hopefully something with a [size to this thing] (ph) so we don’t puncture the vinyl clad more often than not.
    LESLIE: Hmm. And have you thought about one of those retractable awning systems that sort of, you know, attach to the exterior of the home and then roll back up? You see them on campers but you can get like really high-end ones.
    ART: Yeah, the homeowners’ association doesn’t allow anything like that.
    LESLIE: OK. Have you thought about on the interior of your screened-in porch, you can mount some all-weather sort of curtain rods and you can find ones that are made for the exterior. But because you’re covered and you’re not dealing with a lot of direct rain or weather, you can attach a curtain rod to the inside of your screened-in porch. You can do it on all three sides and if you have to sort of break it up because maybe the width of it is too wide along the front, you can do two there.
    But if you go with an exterior fabric – Sunbrella makes prefabricated, exterior draperies – you can have some beautiful drapery panels that when you’re not using them are sort of stashed to each corner and draped in a really lovely way. And when you do want a little bit of shade for the morning times when it’s really beating down, you can close it up as much as you like.
    And you can go with some that are not – there are sheers, as well, for exterior fabrics; you just sort of have to search them out online. Those you might have to have fabricated but if you go with a solid, you can buy those premade.
    ART: Fantastic. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
    TOM: Art, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Tanya in Utah needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
    TANYA: Hi. I had a question about painting my front door.
    TOM: OK.
    TANYA: We bought our home a couple years ago and we repainted pretty soon after we moved in. It was white and we painted it a darker color. But now, a couple years later, there are some chips, you know, where the kids have kicked it or whatever. (Leslie chuckles) So I’m wanting to repaint it and I don’t know if there’s something I can put – like a polyurethane or something – over it so I don’t have to keep redoing this every couple years.
    TOM: What kind of door is it?
    TANYA: It’s metal.
    TOM: OK. And do you have a storm door over it?
    TANYA: No, we don’t.
    TOM: OK. Well, what I would do is I would pull the door off the hinges; wait for a warm day. I would sand it down so you get all of those chips out; you have a nice, smooth surface. Then I would prime it and I would use a good-quality primer. In fact, I’d recommend Rust-Oleum because it’s a really durable primer surface. And then I would use a Rust-Oleum top coat. I don’t know what you used the first time. You can use latex on the door but nothing is more durable than the oil-based or the solvent-based products when it comes to durability.
    TANYA: OK. OK.
    TOM: And that’s what I would do. And just remember, it takes a long – the better the paint, the longer it takes to dry, too, so just make sure you’ve left yourself plenty of time for it to dry out in the sun and then you can get it back in.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Up next, we are going to share with you gardening tips that will actually help cut down on your prep time and still give you a great harvest, so stick around.

    (theme song)
    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 we’ve got great tips online about how to limit your water use without limiting luxury showers and baths. Just search “Water Saving Tips” on MoneyPit.com for the how-to of just that.
    LESLIE: Steve in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    STEVE: I’ve got, on my roof, something that looks like black soot, mostly on one side of the house.
    TOM: That would be the north side of the house, correct, Steve?
    STEVE: You’ve got it. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: I’m psychic.
    STEVE: Well, yeah. And you’ve got a lot of history, too. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
    TOM: That, too. That’s the cold side of the roof and so you get more condensation and more moisture and you get tree droppings and other types of spores and things that land on the roof and sometimes you will get a moss that will grow and take hold. And I bet you’d like to get rid of that.
    STEVE: Yeah, I really would. It looks disgusting and I almost feel like I need a new roof and I don’t think I really need a new roof.
    TOM: Yeah, you don’t. And you don’t because …
    LESLIE: You just need a good cleaning.
    TOM: Right. Because it’s not hurting your roof; it just looks bad. So here’s what you want to do; couple of things. First of all, you’re going to clean the roof with a mildicide and there are a number of good products out there. You could mix one up out of Clorox and water. You can use a product called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. That’s usually in the paint aisle at the hardware store or the home center. And you apply these mildicides; you let them sit for a little while and then you rinse them off.
    Now, is your roof walkable, Steve? Is it a low-enough pitch where you can walk on it?
    STEVE: It is a bit of pitch but I have walked on it before and, as long as I’m careful, we’re good.
    TOM: Yeah, you do want to be careful or you want to have this done by a pro because you do have to spray this on, let it sit, and sometimes you have to abrade it a little bit with a broom just to kind of get it in there. But when you rinse it off, it’ll be much, much brighter and it’ll kill all that stuff.
    The second thing that you can do is to add a copper or a nickel piece of flashing across the top. This could be by way of a ridge vent or simply a piece of flashing wrapped over the top of the roof. And in doing so, when it rains, the water will hit the flashing and some of that metal will release and that acts as a mildicide, as well, so it’ll run down the roof and keep it clean.
    And the third and final thing that you could do, Steve, is to make sure that you try to cut back some of the shade on that side of the house, because the best mildicide is the sun. So if you can let a little bit more light in there, that will also stop it from coming back.
    STEVE: OK. I appreciate your help.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, do you find that you’re envious of, perhaps, that beautiful crop of tomatoes or cucumbers or peppers that your neighbor is growing and enjoying? Well, you can actually have your own garden, too, if you start planning now for next year’s garden with some simple home improvement projects.
    TOM: And one way to cut down on that prep work is to create raised beds. Here to tell us more about the ups and downs of raised-bed gardening is This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor, and landscaping expert, Roger Cook.
    And Kevin, what I like about this method is that there is a lot less digging.
    KEVIN: That’s right. Sometimes, the best way to start a garden isn’t to dig down but to build up by constructing a raised bed.

    And Roger, you’ve done a whole bunch of these.
    ROGER: I have, Kevin, and it’s great because it controls the type of soil, because you’re bringing in soil to mound up that bed. But it also helps with drainage and it also helps in the spring, because that raised bed will warm up faster than the surrounding soil.

    Now, instead of just a mound, a lot of people will like to edge the bed; edge their raised bed with some type of material that doesn’t decompose.
    KEVIN: And how about size? What size do you recommend?
    ROGER: Four feet, maximum, so you can reach the middle of the bed from the outside.
    KEVIN: What about irrigation? Can you build this irrigation system into the beds while it’s being constructed?
    ROGER: You can. If you have an existing system, you can put in drip irrigation in the bed. If you don’t have a system, you can use those black soaker hoses. They’re perfect because they put the water down at the roots where you want it to be.
    TOM: Like a poor man’s sprinkler system. (chuckles)
    ROGER: Exactly. And if you want to see how it’s done, you can take a look at a segment we did, on ThisOldHouse.com.
    TOM: Kevin O’Connor, Roger Cook, great tips. Thanks for being here.
    ROGER: Our pleasure.
    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know, fresh veggies – they not only taste great but they’re so much less expensive and even healthier for you than the store-bought kind.
    TOM: Absolutely. And if you want more tips, you can head on over to ThisOldHouse.com, like Roger mentioned. And This Old House is brought to you by GMC. GMC – we are professional grade.
    Still ahead, new roofs can be costly but there are ways to recoup part of that investment, if you act now. We’re going to tell you how to do just that, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.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. We’ve all been thinking a lot, certainly, about the real estate market and in a down housing market, when it comes to selling your house, curb appeal is key. Now, one option to really spruce up your front entry is to actually replace your wood door with a fiberglass door.

    Now fiberglass doors – they look exactly like wood but here’s the kicker: they insulate up to five times better than their wood counterparts and they qualify for a $1,500 tax credit. Now, Benchmark Fiberglass Doors by Therma-Tru are sold exclusively at Lowe’s and they come in a wide range of really gorgeous styles and they’ve got some wonderful glass designs that you can select from.
    If you head on over to MyEnergyTax.com, you’ll find a lot more information there about doors that do qualify for the tax credit. And to help you along in boosting your curb appeal and maybe getting that new front door for your house, we are giving away a $50 gift card from Lowe’s, courtesy of our friends at Therma-Tru. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and one caller that we talk to on the air this hour and help them with their home improvement project is going to win this prize.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Now another great, exterior update project is your roof. If your roof shingles are peeling, if they’re curling or if they’re just plain falling off every time the wind blows, those are some pretty good signs that it might be time to think about replacing your roof.
    There are great federal tax credits available right now to help you save money. And I think folks don’t often think of roofs as being an energy-efficient component of the house but the truth is they are. There are low-e coatings on roofs today that reflect sunlight and they really can help protect your house and keep you cool and comfortable at the same time.
    Now, there’s also a contest going on by the folks at Owens Corning called That’s My Roof Contest that you might want to take advantage of because you could win the entire cost of replacing your roof; up to 10,000 bucks.
    Now the shingles Owens Corning is promoting for this contest are the Duration Series Designer Colors Collection, which are brilliant. They’re beautiful, they’ve got great-looking color granules on the shingles and they’re graded. And when those individual shingles blend together, they look fantastic. It’s a very, very unique, blended look that you’re really going to love.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Forget about the basic colors like gray or brown or even black. These shingles from Owens Corning actually come in dozens of colors, including greens and blues, mustard yellows and even reds. And Owens Corning stands behind this product with a 20-year limited warranty.
    So if you’re in the market for a new roof and you really want to add some pizzazz to your curb appeal, this is definitely the way to go. And who knows? You might actually win a free roof. Head on over to OwensCorning.com for more info and then you can complete those contest entry forms and learn about all the rules right there. Good luck.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
    LESLIE: Christine in Virginia is dealing with a siding situation. Tell us about it.
    CHRISTINE: Well, my house is actually wood-sided and the wood is doing pretty well but the painted trim has turned a gray, spotted mess. I mean it’s moldy, mildewy; I don’t know what it is. And I back up to a swamp, which probably doesn’t help matters.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) What color is the house painted?
    TOM: Yeah, is it a nice shade of gray? (chuckles)
    CHRISTINE: It’s not a bad shade of gray if it were consistent. The house is actually itself like a cherry-stained cedar.
    LESLIE: So you would notice if there was mold or mildew on that, too.
    CHRISTINE: Right. Well, there had been on one side and I had somebody come in and power-wash it down and take stuff off but he didn’t want to touch the white paint and I didn’t know why.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    LESLIE: Well, it’s just a maintenance issue. Perhaps he doesn’t want to touch the white paint because maybe it’s been a while since it’s been painted and he’s fearful that if he gets at it with the pressure washer, it’s going to start chipping away at some of the old paint and then causing you to have to paint it again and you might think that it’s his fault, which can happen if you’re working with a pressure washer.
    But you can. If you can access those trim areas – if you feel comfortable on a ladder in some of those regions where you need to reach it – you can mix up a bleach-and-water solution and get a stiff bristle brush. And I usually go – I mean if it’s heavily saturated with the mold and mildew I’ll go 50-percent bleach/50-percent water; but if it’s not so bad, I usually go 30/70. I sort of gauge on how moldy, mildewy it is. And then I take that stiff brush and I sort of slop it onto the area; let it sit for a few minutes.
    If I can do it on a day when the sun is hitting that area as best it can – I know it probably doesn’t hit that area so great; that’s why you’re getting a lot of this mold and mildew – then I’ll scrub it and give it a good rinsing off and that usually does the trick. But you’re going to do it again next year or the year after.
    CHRISTINE: And is there anything I can put on it to prevent it from happening again?
    TOM: Well, if it’s painted with a mildicide-based paint, then that actually will slow it down. The other things that you can do, sort of naturally speaking, is that the more light you get to those sides of the house – the more sunlight – the less chance you’re going to have that it grows mold or mildew. So if you can cut back overhanging trees and have it a little bit more exposed to daylight, that will slow the growth. But in terms of paint products, if you use an exterior paint that’s got a mildicide on it, that will slow it.
    Another product that works well is one called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X – which you mix up with bleach and with water and it becomes a very, very strong mildicide. It’s a siding wash and you can buy it at home centers. It’s made by the Zinsser Company. Works very well.
    CHRISTINE: OK, excellent. Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Frank in New York is calling with our number one-asked question on The Money Pit: flooring. How can we help you today?
    FRANK: I have a kitchen floor and a dining room floor. It’s wood planks; they’re probably four-inch planks and I think it’s floating-like, you know? And he didn’t tell me when he installed the floor that the floor was so soft that anything you drop you get a mark in the floor.
    TOM: Right.
    FRANK: So I was wondering if I could have somebody sand the floor and put something – another whatever on the floor – to make the wood a little harder or something to stop all the nicks and stuff. And this floor has only been on two years.
    TOM: Certainly, you can. If it’s only been on two years, I’m not sure that you want to do a total sanding to it, where you’re taking a layer of the wood off, because that’s going to shorten its life.
    FRANK: (overlapping voices) Right. Yeah.
    TOM: What you might want to do is sand it using a machine called a U-Sand. It’s available at a rental center and it’s four rotating sanding discs inside of like one sort of head with a vacuum attached to it, so it’s a fairly dust-free way to sand your floor.
    FRANK: Right.
    TOM: And what I like about this is it’ll only take off a little bit of wood and it’s easy for a consumer to use. You don’t have to use the machine every day to get good at it.
    FRANK: Right.
    TOM: And then once you sort of take off the top layer of finish, then you vacuum up all the dust, wipe it all down with a good tack rag and then you can apply an oil-based polyurethane. Don’t use water-based because that’s very soft and not durable at all.
    FRANK: (overlapping voices) OK.
    TOM: But use an oil-based polyurethane and apply that, Frank, with something called a lambswool applicator; the kind of rag you used to use to buff your car with the wax, that is very soft.
    FRANK: (overlapping voices) Right. I understand that, yes. Yeah.
    TOM: They have lambswool applicators that fit on the bottom of what sort of looks like a kitchen mop – a floor mop; one of those sponge mops. It’s sort of that shape and you wrap it around and it clamps on. And you put the oil-based polyurethane in a regular paint tray and you dip it in there and sort of mop it on; work your way out of the room. And remember, it always takes longer to dry than they tell you, so make sure you stay out of that place for quite a while.
    FRANK: (overlapping voices) Right. And how many would you put on? On the oil-based …
    TOM: I would put at least two to maybe three coats.
    FRANK: Yeah.
    TOM: Because doing the floor is such a major deal that you want to do it once, do it right and not have to do it again because it’s so much work to get everything out of there.
    FRANK: Right. Because I have it in the dining room, the kitchen and in the hallway going into the bedrooms.
    TOM: Yeah.
    FRANK: He didn’t tell me that the wood – I’m telling you, it’s so soft that …
    TOM: Well, you know, it might very well be that they used a water-based polyurethane on that the last time around. I actually made that mistake once myself and I’ll never do it again. The water-based polyurethane is great stuff except it’s just really, really soft when it comes to abrasion resistance. But the oil-based, even though it takes a long time to dry, it’s much, much more durable and it works terrifically.
    FRANK: Because even a lady came in with high heels and it made a mark into the wood.
    TOM: Yeah. I would get the U-Sand machine, take a nice layer of wood off the top of the thing, add the oil-based polyurethane – two to three coats. Give it a couple of days; don’t put the furniture back right away. Be very careful the first couple of days; it takes a while to cure. And you are going to be good to go.
    FRANK: Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Frank. 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. You know, when it comes to choosing materials for kitchens and baths, natural materials certainly are the king but taking care of them can be a little tricky. So when we come back, we’re going to share tips with you on cleaning natural stone, so stick around.

    (theme song)
    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 you should visit MoneyPit.com to hear our show, if you missed anything, because it’s right there online. It’s free and we’ve got all the transcripts with all the links to all the tips that we offered during the program, right there on MoneyPit.com. And you can also shoot us an e-mail question, just like Mary did.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Mary writes: “What is the best way to clean travertine tile and grout in my shower? Every cleaner I seem to find says it should not be used on natural stone.”
    TOM: You know, I think one of the misconceptions of natural stone is that it’s low-maintenance. It’s really not. I mean, it’s actually …
    LESLIE: And it’s specialized maintenance, I find.
    TOM: Yeah. It’s quite high-maintenance and it’s specialized maintenance because the stone is so porous, it absorbs the water stains, the mineral stains, the dirt, the grime. So it really actually needs a lot of work to keep clean.
    There is a website called StoneCare.com that sort of specializes in this and they have a cleaning product designed for shower walls called Marbalex, which is pretty easy to use. But the thing is, you need to clean on a regular basis. You need to use a product like that every week or so. And then once every six months to a year, you’ve got to seal that travertine. If you don’t do those two things, it’s always going to be difficult to maintain it. You really just need to stay on top of it and then you will enjoy the good look of that natural material.
    But again, just because it’s stone doesn’t mean that it’s easy to care for.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Mary, when it comes to the grout, I’m assuming – have you tried bleach? Because bleach really is a fantastic cleanser when it comes to getting mold growth off of your grout. If for some reason that’s not doing it or you’ve really just got a tremendous buildup, you might want to – it’s a bit of work but you can use a grout saw and remove the grout that’s there and then start again with fresh grout.

    And if you do go that route, you have to make sure that once that grout is all set, you seal it. And you want to make sure that you – you can even – Tom, isn’t there a grout, I think – who makes it? Is it LATICRETE that has an anti-microbial in it?
    TOM: That’s correct. Yeah, it’s LATICRETE – and you’ll find it at home centers – and it has Microban in it. So what that means is that once it dries that mold can’t really grow on it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Still seal it, though, once you’re done because this will save you a whole lot of headaches when it comes time to clean.
    Alright. Now we’ve got one from C. Brown who e-mailed in saying: “I have a well with a pressure tank and I want to put a water filter on the system. Should the filter go before or after the pressure tank and pump?”
    TOM: Well, the filter system always goes after the pressure tank and pump but it’s generally not a do-it-yourself project. I mean you can’t put a small filter on here like you would use in a single faucet. You need a pretty massive filter and that typically needs to be installed by a contractor that does this all the time.
    LESLIE: You know, we have one at my family’s vacation home because we’re on a well system and the pressure tank is right there.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: And just off of that pressure tank, in our service room in the house, you’ll see there’s a sort of clear container that houses the filter. It’s a good size. It’s sometimes a little difficult to unscrew to get to the filter, so we keep one of those rubber – I guess it’s like a rubber wrench almost, that really helps me to pull this piece off.
    TOM: Right.
    LESLIE: And then I replace that filter and I’ve made sure to keep the paperwork from that original filter because there are a lot of similar options out there. They can look a little confusing and, truly, only one is going to work right for your system. So hold onto that first package that comes with your filter, so you know exactly which one you’re getting.

    And you want to change it I would say twice a year because it does start to look a little yucky and you think, “Gosh, we’re going to drink that and shower in it.” So make sure you maintain it and keep track of which one you need to buy and then you’ll have no problems going forward.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that we’ve delivered some great tips, some ideas and some inspiration for you to tackle your next home improvement project.
    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.

    (theme song)
    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (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 motivate you, to inspire you; to advise you on the tips that you need to get that project done around your house.
    And Leslie, I think a lot of projects are motivated by events.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: There are a lot of events that happen in the summer.
    LESLIE: And they certainly keep you to a timeline.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: If you give yourself, say, a garage sale or a birthday party (chuckles), you really have a deadline you need to stick to.
    TOM: Yeah. And sometimes a deadline is good; it really gets the whole family moving. But if the deadline is like a wedding that’s going to happen with your home improvement or not, we would suggest that’s not the best way to start your life together. (Leslie chuckles) So, don’t stress on that. But give us a call. We will help you out with everything else in between. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Coming up this hour, summer heat may have you sweating up a storm but what about your windows? If they are sweating on the inside, that’s condensation and a sign that your home may be too humid or that you might just need new windows. We’re going to walk you through the reasons and the remedies, in just a little bit.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you’ve got moisture in your house, guess what? Mold is probably not far behind, because moisture and mold usually go hand in hand. But don’t think you’re off the hook if you live in a dry climate. You know, even desert areas are susceptible to mold. So coming up, we’re going to tell you where mold strikes the most and you might actually be surprised.
    TOM: And give us a call right now with your home improvement question because if you do, you may just win yourself a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Ray in Oregon is dealing with water in the garage. What can we do for you?
    RAY: Yeah. I built a 36×40 addition onto my existing building, then put down eight inches of fresh sand underneath and six inches of concrete. And I did this job two years ago but that floor never seems to dry out; it always has like a salty solution on top of the concrete and it’s always wet. And I want to know if there’s something I can paint on top of that to stop that.
    TOM: Well, two things. First of all, do you have gutters on this building?
    RAY: Yeah. And it sits up high and there’s no water. All the water runs away from it; I made sure of that. I made sure the gutters empty into an underground drain system I put in and everything and it’s up high, so there’s no water laying there.
    TOM: So you’re sure, Ray, that you’re not collecting water around the foundation perimeter?
    RAY: Yeah, there’s no water around the foundation.
    TOM: OK. Well, alright, then I think that the best thing to do here is to use a good-quality floor paint like an epoxy patching compound. Those painting kits come with cleaners that will remove the mineral stains or the mineral salts, which is what is left behind right now. And it’ll do a great job of sealing in the floor and stopping these stains from reforming.
    You have to remember that concrete itself is very hydroscopic, which means it absorbs water like crazy. And so, what we want to do is stem that by sealing the surface.
    RAY: OK. So an epoxy-type paint then.
    TOM: Yeah, an epoxy paint. They are two-part epoxies; they are chemical-cure paints.
    RAY: OK. I will do that. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Ray. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mary in New Jersey has a question about radon. What’s going on at your house?
    MARY: I have a dirt crawlspace like under my house.
    TOM: OK.
    MARY: And it’s under – we have a full basement under part of the house and then a crawlspace. And the crawlspace, I always worry about that. Are we losing heat there? Should we be putting plastic on the floor and do we have to worry about radon?
    TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, let’s talk about the plastic vapor barrier on the floor of the crawlspace. That’s always a good idea, because that stops the moisture from evaporating up off the soil and getting into the house space.
    In terms of radon, radon is tested in the lowest living space of the house; so in your case, that would be the basement. If you’ve never tested for radon, it’s a good idea. The fact that you have a crawlspace is not going to increase or decrease the risk of having a radon problem. You could have it regardless because, as far as the radon is concerned, it’s going to go right through your concrete floor just as fast as it’ll go through your dirt floor.
    MARY: Oh.
    TOM: So, if you’ve never tested for it, I would encourage you to do that. Northern New Jersey and some parts of it are certainly known for having high radon levels. If you did test it and it came out high, you could install a radon mitigation system which, again, is not incredibly expensive. I mean it’s not cheap but it’s probably in the $5,000 range. And that would draw off the radon gas before it gets into the house.
    MARY: OK. And as far as the vapor barrier, is that just like plastic that you just roll out?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it’s plastic – yep. Yeah, go ahead and …
    MARY: And how far up the sides? Do you go up the sides, too, or just …?
    TOM: You don’t necessarily have to go up the sides. What you can do is roll it out across the entire dirt floor. Try to use as few seams as possible. If you have to use multiple pieces of plastic viscuine, then overlap it about three feet.
    MARY: OK. Thank you. What about insulation of the beams above the crawlspace (inaudible at 0:05:52)?
    TOM: A good idea to insulate the floor above an unfinished crawlspace. Use unfaced fiberglass batts. They can be …
    MARY: Unfaced?
    TOM: Unfaced. That’s right. No paper; no foil face. They can be supported in between the floor joists with wire insulation hangers. They’re like long pieces of wire that sort of get sprung, bent and sort of stick in between the two floor joists to support the batts in place.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can be part of The Money Pit action. Just pick up the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, in the warm weather, condensation on the outside of your lemonade glass might be a natural occurrence. Condensation in the inside of your windows, however, is not. We’re going to tell you what to do about that, after this.

    (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 long-lasting 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: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, do you find yourself having a do-it-yourself dilemma? Maybe you’ve got a home improvement how-to question. Well, if you do, just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now. If we take your question on the air, not only are you going to get an expert answer but you are going to be automatically entered into our weekly prize drawing.
    And this hour, we are giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed – jam packed – with useful information to help you save money and get your projects done right the first time so you’re not like, “Drat. Why did I do it this way? I should have done it the other way.” We will help you sort out all of the ins and outs with your how-to project, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, is it so hot outside that you think your windows are actually sweating? Condensation or that sweating is a natural occurrence on all windows and it’s caused by excess humidity or invisible water vapor that is present in the air.
    But when this water vapor comes in contact with a surface, which is at a cooler temperature, that vapor, of course, is going to turn to visible droplets of moisture. And that’s not a good thing because that condensation inside the house is going to run down the windows; it can cause mold to grow on the window frames; and it can actually make the house unhealthy. So, it’s a good thing to keep an eye on and to make sure that you take some steps to correct it if the humidity is getting too high inside your house.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, here’s a really kind of obvious tip but so many of us just forget to do it. If you’ve got exhaust fans in your kitchen, your bathroom and your laundry room, use them. They are meant to circulate the air in your home and reduce that moisture. And when it …
    TOM: Especially in the bathroom, you want to make sure that you use it on a timer and let it run for a good 10 minutes after you leave the room after a shower.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because think about it, I mean when you open that shower door, that’s truly when that massive amount of condensation occurs because you’re letting in the cooler air into that nice, steamy bath and then, bammo, you end up with moisture everywhere; so do run that exhaust fan.

    Now, you can also use a dehumidifier and you also want to make sure that your home’s gutters – make sure they’re clean and make sure they’re not just dumping the water against your house where it’s going to eventually soak into the foundation and then evaporate into your home’s air and then raise that humidity level all over again.
    So really, you’ve got to tackle some things outside, maintain some things inside and stick to some regular practices when it comes to those exhaust fans, because that’s what they’re meant to do: reduce that moisture.
    If you want some more tips on condensation and how to get rid of it in your windows, head on over to our expert friends at Simonton.com. They’ve got tips to make your life and your home way more comfortable.
    TOM: And also check out the free window replacement guide that we put together with the folks at Simonton that is on the home page of MoneyPit.com.
    888-666-3974 is the telephone number that you need to call for the answer to your next home improvement question and someone did just that. Let’s get back to the phones.
    LESLIE: Talking countertops with Cathy in New Jersey. Tell us about what’s going on with yours.
    CATHY: Yes, hi. My countertop is lifting in a section. It’s Formica. Just like a little section and my husband tried to stick some glue in there and clamp it and hold it overnight but when he took the clamps off, it just lifted back up.
    TOM: What kind of glue did he use?
    CATHY: A cement glue, I think.
    LESLIE: Was it a contact cement?
    CATHY: I’m not sure.
    LESLIE: Because generally, what you want to do, if it’s just the Formica or the laminate peeling up off of the sub-counter or the particleboard, whatever it’s covering, what you can do is if you can get a brush or a roller underneath there, you want to lift up the piece of laminate that’s sort of lifting up so that you can get in there. You want to put contact cement on both sides; on the sub-counter and underneath the laminate itself. Then you need to let it sort of air dry just the tiniest bit so it’s tacky.
    CATHY: OK.
    LESLIE: So you’re going to be holding it up for a little while.
    CATHY: OK.
    LESLIE: You want it to be tacky. Then you put those pieces together and then clamp it and leave it be.
    CATHY: (overlapping voices) OK.
    LESLIE: And that should do the trick.
    CATHY: Oh, great. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Pat in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    PAT: I’m the unlucky owner of three cats: two male and one female.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: OK.
    PAT: The ancient one that refuses to croak had a kidney infection and urinated on the carpet. (Tom chuckles)
    TOM: Nice.
    PAT: And on a twice-used, new guestroom mattress. (Leslie groans)
    TOM: Oh, great. Great.
    PAT: If that wasn’t bad enough, the other, younger, insecure male exercised his dominance and repeated the offense. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Oh, man.
    LESLIE: Oh, well, this must be the thing to do.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: Alright.
    TOM: You’re going to have to order some cleanup products by the caseload, I think.
    LESLIE: No, you know what, Pat? It’s not going to be that bad. There is actually a great product and it’s called 1-2-3 Odor Free. I discovered it when my husband and I got a puppy who is now five years old and very well-trained, but at first she refused to find the out-of-doors and loved our carpet in the hallway.
    And just in searching the web, I found this product. The guy who owns the company used to be a professional cleaner and in retirement got super-bored and his kids were like, “Why don’t you go back into the business and do it online?”
    And so he put together a kit. It’s called 1-2-3 Odor Free and it’s sort of a series of different products. One comes with this like crazy syringe that you inject into the carpet so it gets into the matting. And then another is something that you put on top with a damp rag that goes overnight. And I kid you not, the odor is gone and the stain is gone and Daisy, our puppy, never went in that spot again.
    PAT: Oh. Well, that would be good.
    LESLIE: And there …
    PAT: I tried one of those enzyme things but now it just smells like cat urine with a floral overtone.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: Thanks for sharing, Pat. (Pat chuckles)
    LESLIE: This one does not have any scent to it, so you’ll find that it really does the trick.
    PAT: (overlapping voices) Oh.
    LESLIE: The website is JustRite.com and “Rite” is spelled R-i-t-e. And Bill is the owner and he is just a lovely man.
    PAT: Wonderful.
    LESLIE: So tell him Leslie says “Hi” because it’s been a long time.
    PAT: (overlapping voices) I will.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Terry in Minnesota needs some help building a house. What can we do for you?
    TERRY: I have a rather unique situation. We have an option of purchasing a large lot in a rural area but it has a small house on it that would not comply with code.
    TOM: Why would it not comply with code?
    TERRY: Electrically, plumbing or any other way; insulation-wise or anything.
    TOM: Well, when you buy a house that’s non-code compliant, is the local municipality going to force you to bring it up to code?
    TERRY: Well, that’s part of what I’m calling about.
    TOM: Yeah, the first thing that you should do is really talk to the municipal authorities: the code enforcement authorities, the zoning authorities. Find out about the house and find out what’s going to be required, because you understand that it’s in very poor condition.
    And very important, make sure, make sure, make sure that you get a home inspection because what you see, that could be the tip of the iceberg. Get a professional home inspector to go in there and do a detailed inspection for you. You may find out that it’s got fatal flaws that make it totally not worth buying or you might find out that the things that you see are not so bad and may be easier to fix than you imagined.
    But I would recommend a home inspector. The way to find a good one is to go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org – A-S-H-I.org. You can put in the zip code for the area you’re buying the home in and they’ll come back with a list of ASHI-certified inspectors. And I’d call the guys in that list; choose one of the few that they send you and then find someone to go inspect that house.
    LESLIE: Joe in Iowa needs some help getting rid of termites. Tell us what’s going on.
    JOE: Well, doing a little bit of work underneath the back deck and lifted up some old boards that were laying underneath there and found a little nest of termites and eggs. The house has a history of having a little bit of termite damage around it.
    TOM: OK.
    JOE: And I was curious – I’ve heard you talk about Termidor before on your program but only exterminators are allowed to spray it, from what I understand.
    TOM: Yep.
    JOE: So I was wondering if there’s a product on the market that I could self-apply that would help me out.
    LESLIE: It’s not going to work as well.
    TOM: Yeah, definitely not going to work as well and not that I’m aware of. There are some baiting systems that are do-it-yourself and I’m trying to recall the company that makes it. It might be Spectracide but …
    LESLIE: The baiting systems are something that you sort of pepper around the yard, Tom? They’re sort of little places that they kind of come to and then get the treatment?
    TOM: Yeah. Conceptually …
    JOE: Yeah, it’s a little plastic cap with some treated wood in it. Yep, I’ve seen those at the hardware stores before.
    TOM: Right. Conceptually, what happens is that you wait for the termites to find this and then once they find it, you replace the wood with a piece of material that has termidicide in it and then they take the termidicide back to the nest. But it takes a long time, you have to monitor them regularly and I really think that using a product like Termidor is the quickest, most effective way to be sure that you get them once, you get them right and they’re not going to come back again.
    See, the reason that you use this product is because it’s an undetectable product. That means that termites don’t know it’s there. Now they live in the soil; they live deep in the soil. And when the product is in the soil, they go through it; they get it on their bodies and take it back to the nest. I’ve used Termidor now in two houses; been very happy with it and haven’t had any recurrence after we did the application.
    JOE: OK. So, sounds like it’s worth the investment to have an exterminator come on and apply it then, huh?
    TOM: I think it is because, I’ll tell you, those termites will keep coming back and they can find a lot of ways in.
    LESLIE: Ben needs some help putting up some decorative items around his money pit. What can we do for you today?
    BEN: I live in one of those Brooklyn brick houses.
    TOM: They’re gorgeous.
    BEN: And my neighbor and I are attached with a wall.
    TOM: OK.
    BEN: Maybe it’s cinderblock; maybe it’s something – I don’t know. It’s something really strong.
    TOM: OK.
    BEN: But if I try to hang up frames or hooks in the wall, the nail goes in just a little bit, partially. And then it starts bending and all the sheetrock starts chipping away around it.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, nails aren’t necessarily good for nailing into masonry. (chuckles) Probably not the best choice.
    LESLIE: So you’ve got drywall on top of the cinderblock or concrete; whatever is back there.
    BEN: Right.
    LESLIE: Well, what I’ve done, if I’m ever attaching something into brick or concrete or any sort of stone, is use something that’s called a Tapcon, which is a screw that’s specifically made to go into a masonry product.
    Now, I’ve never done that through drywall, Tom. Does that work?
    TOM: Well, it’s not drywall; it’s plaster. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. When you buy Tapcons at the hardware store or home center, Ben, they come with a drill bit that’s properly sized for the screws that you’re buying. And you use that to pilot out the hole first and so …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you’ll go through your plaster and then into whatever masonry is behind there.
    TOM: Exactly. Well, you’ll feel it when you hit the masonry and just make sure you use a long-enough screw that you attach it into the masonry and not into the plaster part.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. And bring your strong arm that day because you will be leaning on that drill.
    BEN: Hmm. So it’s T-a-p-c-o-n.
    TOM: That’s correct.
    LESLIE: Yeah. They’re blue.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s called Tapcon. Mm-hmm.
    LESLIE: Make sure it’s got – some of them come just the screws themselves. Make sure you get the kit that’s got the drill bit attachment with it.
    BEN: Uh-huh. Just drill it in and then knock it in with a screw.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And that’ll hold anything.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. They’re super-strong.
    LESLIE: Well, screw it in with the driver.
    TOM: Yeah, you could use a screwdriver or you could use a ratchet or something like that.
    BEN: (overlapping voices) Screw it in. Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Yeah, they work really well. I actually built a bench to hold some computer equipment in our basement with that and attached the whole table with Tapcons to a block wall and it worked great.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we are right in the middle of the summer season and you might be starting to notice that your outside wood table and those chairs are really taking a beating this summer.

    Well, there’s a new, spray-on wood stain product that’s going to deliver an easy fix to that furnishing. We’ll tell you all about it, 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.
    Well, outdoor wood furniture – it looks great and can last a long, long time but it has to be maintained to do so. Well, if the thought of pulling out the stain and paintbrush has got you just cringing, we have got some fantastic news for you.
    TOM: That’s right. Krylon has now created the first-ever exterior spray stain in a can. It sprays right from the can and it’s easy to use and it’s also very easy to clean up. Here to tell us all about it is Krylon Product Manager, Denise Patterson.
    Hi, Denise.
    DENISE: Hi.
    TOM: Now this is a terrific invention because, typically, when you need to use wood stain, you pretty much have to get it in a bucket, right? It comes in a quart can or a gallon can. I know in my house, I always end up having a lot more than what I need to get the project done. And it goes on pretty loose, so it’s easy to drip, it’s easy to spray this stuff or sort of shoot it off your brush and it gets all over the place. But in the can, now you’re not going to have that problem.
    DENISE: Right. And you’re not dealing with brushes and rags and it’s easier all the way around.
    LESLIE: So there’s no wiping in the same fashion that you would if you brush on stain?
    DENISE: No. You don’t have to wipe it. The EZ Touch 360 Dial Tip allows you to put on light coats of the stain, so you really don’t deal with putting too much product on. Of course, you can always run a rag over the surface if you feel like you’ve overdone it but it really isn’t necessary.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. That’s very cool. Now, does this have the same UV protection that you might get in a stain that comes in a can?
    DENISE: It does. It has UV fade-resistant protection.
    TOM: Right. Interesting. Now, how did you guys come up with this idea?
    DENISE: Well, I mean, Krylon is all about innovations and looking for new things that we can put in a can and spray. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And we realized that people were spending a lot of time brushing on stain for small projects like chairs and picnic tables and spindles. And we thought, “Hey, there might be a solution here.”
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    DENISE: So, we gave it a try and it’s really a terrific product.
    TOM: Now, solid color stain is typically – or even if it’s going to be transparent, it’s typically heavy because of the pigment. Did you have to reformulate that pigment to get it to work through a tiny spray tip?
    DENISE: No. We really have experts at our research and development lab, so they do a terrific job of knowing just the right proportion of product to put in there so it sprays evenly. And I think that when you look at that final sprayed surface, you can tell that it’s worked out just right.
    LESLIE: Can I ask you an application question? I know whenever I’m spray-painting something, you end up with a tremendous amount of overspray, so I’m always really cautious to put down a drop cloth or newspapers or spray in a box. Do you have to take similar precautions with the spray stain?
    DENISE: Well, certainly, you want to be mindful of the areas around your point of spray. And if it’s a windy day, you certainly need to be mindful of the fact that that wind can carry the product away.
    But the 360 Dial Tip that I mentioned earlier allows you to turn the fan pattern and if you’re spraying something like a spindle, you actually have a spray pattern that’s only an inch wide.
    TOM: Wow.
    DENISE: So you don’t have a lot of overspray and you don’t have a lot of wasted product.
    LESLIE: Wow, that’s fantastic.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It sounds like a very, very handy design because I mean besides the big things that you may want to stain – you know, the big picnic tables – there are a lot of small things, too, you know. You have wood planters, you have mail boxes, you have shutters and, as you mentioned, spindles and railings.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which are the biggest pain in the butt.
    DENISE: They are. (chuckles)
    TOM: And they’re very difficult. Yeah, they’re very difficult to do. Now, I understand that this comes now in three new colors, too?
    DENISE: It does. This year, we’ve introduced a weathered gray, which has a driftwood look to it; Olive Grove, which is a really nice green; and then Earthen Brown, which is a really, deep brown color and really natural-looking.
    TOM: And how long does it take to dry, Denise, once you spray it?
    DENISE: This product dries to touch in about 15 minutes.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, wow.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s great.
    DENISE: So I mean very quick. You can certainly pick it up and put it in place and then let it cure while it’s out on your deck; anywhere outdoors.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And how long do you want to dry between coats?
    DENISE: You can apply coats – after a minute or so, you can put on your second coat. Wait another minute, put on your third. And your stain will set up better if you do that.
    LESLIE: That’s great.
    TOM: Well, it sounds super-easy to use. The Krylon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain.
    Denise Patterson from Krylon, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and telling us all about this cool new product.
    DENISE: Thank you for having me.
    TOM: For more tips, you can head on over to Krylon’s website at Krylon.com. That’s K-r-y-l-o-n.com.
    LESLIE: Alright.
    Well, up next, it has been a dry, hot summer but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from mold. We’re going to tell you why moisture and mold don’t necessarily always go hand in hand and what you need to do to stay safe year-round, 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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We can help with any project you’re about to tackle. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to keep us there right next to you when you’re working? Not in sort of a stalking capacity (Leslie chuckles) but in sort of a helpful friend capacity.
    Well, you can if you win a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed with the same kind of advice we give you on the radio and we’re sure that you’ll refer to it over and over and over again. And if you pick up the phone and call us, you could win that book because one caller to today’s program is going to receive an autographed copy. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright.
    Well, if mold is a topic that is currently popping into your mind – you know, specifically as you’re dealing with maybe a humid summer in your area or just taking a lot of hot showers, because the summer season has just been so awfully warm across this country – well, mold really does not sort of discriminate in the places it likes to show up. You know, a recent survey started telling us that wet areas of the country are not actually the only ones most susceptible to mold.
    Now, states with dry climates like Nevada and Arizona, they’ve actually been ranked among the top 10 states for mold risk. And on the other hand, some of the Gulf states didn’t even come close and that’s after the hurricanes hit the area.
    Now, drier climates – they’re often at risk for mold because they are constantly hot. You know, think of Phoenix, Arizona and the house that is continuously sealed off from the heat with that air conditioning running virtually non-stop. I mean, why would you want to turn it off?
    TOM: Well, it’s important to know because insurance companies are becoming wise to the whole mold issue and mold damage is now excluded or severely limited on standard property insurance. So if you live in a dry state or a humid area, check your insurance policy and also check out our mold section for more mold safety tips for the entire country, online at MoneyPit.com.
    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.
    LESLIE: Jay in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    JAY: I am going to be moving into a home that needs a new furnace and a hot water heater and I heard so much about these hot water panels. I spoke to my plumber and he said that it’s very expensive to install but, in the long run, it will be cheaper for you.
    TOM: Jay, I think you’re talking about a tankless water heater, correct?
    JAY: I believe so, yes.
    TOM: Yeah. It hangs on the wall as opposed to being sort of a stand-up water heater and your plumber is right; they are a little more expensive to buy than a standard water heater – probably about twice as expensive – but they last a lot longer and they’re also more efficient. It’s definitely the way to go.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) How long do they last?
    TOM: Probably a good 20 years.
    LESLIE: So double the life span?
    TOM: Double the life, at least. Yes.
    JAY: He said a 25-gallon hot water heater will give me anywhere from 7 to 10 years.
    TOM: Yeah, well, not 25. That would be really small. The smallest water heater for your average residential house is about 40 gallon gas but the tankless water heater is going to be about a quarter the size of that. It’s going to deliver an endless source of hot water; you’ll never have to run out of hot water again. It’s more efficient because it only heats water when you need it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So think of all your energy savings.
    TOM: Exactly. If you add it all up, I think it’s the way to go.
    JAY: Alright. Very good.
    TOM: Alright, Jay. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to messy Tiffany in North Carolina who spilled some paint on a hardwood floor. Did you do it or did a pro?

    TIFFANY: I did. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And I really had the plastic down but I didn’t have it taped down. So when ladders were picked up and slid across the floor to another location it kind of tracked the paint on the floor, too.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Oh, boy.

    LESLIE: And it gets really slippery, so you have to be careful.

    TIFFANY: Yes. And they had just been redone. It was a 1950s house and the previous owner had just finished them just for the sale of it. And I did find something that took the paint off real quick – was an SOS pad – and it also takes the shine off really quick.

    TOM: Yeah, steel wool was probably not the best choice for that.

    TIFFANY: No. And I want to know what can I do to get the paint off and what can I do to replace the shine that I took off from the SOS pads?

    TOM: Well, you’ve already abraded part of the surface off now. You’re not going to get the shine back without you doing like a hard paste wax or another coat of polyurethane.


    TOM: Now, probably the easiest way to do this is – and it’s a big job; I mean don’t get me wrong. But if you were to rent a floor sander with a sanding screen, it sort of looks like a window screen-like material. It’s somewhat abrasive and it spins under the floor sander and abrades off the top layer of the finish on the floor. That will take all the paint off that’s stuck to it. I mean the fact that they just refinished these floors can actually work in your favor because at least the paint’s not getting into the pores of the wood.

    And then once you get that paint off, you vacuum the floor. You can damp mop it to get all the dust off. And then what you can do is apply another layer of polyurethane – probably a satin finish – and you want to make sure that you apply that with what’s called a lambswool applicator, which is sort of like a pad wrapped under a flat stick that is attached to a mop. And you actually mop this stuff on; you don’t brush it on or roll it on. Sort of mop it on; work your way out of that room and about four or five hours later, you’ll be done.

    TIFFANY: OK. Very good. I think I can handle it.

    TOM: Alright. Get to it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And next time, use a bigger drop cloth, would you? (Leslie chuckles)
    LESLIE: Don in North Dakota is dealing with a situation with his windows. What’s going on?
    DON: Well, we built the house about 11 years ago and we put e-gas windows in the front – the south side of the house with the picture windows – and they started clouding up about two years ago.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Oh, boy. Well, Don, I’ve got good news for you and I’ve got bad news for you. What do you want first? (Tom snorts)
    DON: Well, (Tom chuckles) I kind of got -it’s going to be bad news; it’s going to be the cost to replace them.
    TOM: Well, the bad news is that the fogging can’t be corrected by any type of repair because the seal is broken between the panes of glass and the condensate is building up and that’s what’s causing that sort of cloudiness to it.
    The good news is there’s never been a better time to replace your windows because the federal energy tax credits, which are available through the end of 2010, will reimburse you for up to $1,500 of the cost of that window. So if you are going to replace it, now is a great time to do that.
    And being up in North Dakota, I would recommend that you use triple pane because the farther north you live, the better return on investment you will receive from using better-quality, very energy-efficient windows and the ones that qualify, actually, under the federal energy tax credit program are very, very efficient. So I think that you’ll enjoy the new windows that you’ll get under that program and it’ll save you some money at the same time, through the tax credit.
    LESLIE: Hey, Tom, another thing is will the failed seal impact the energy efficiency; especially because I mean they’re living in a pretty cold area?
    TOM: Yeah, it definitely will affect the energy efficiency. I wouldn’t tell you to replace it just because of that but because the impact – you know, even if you got a new window, it’s probably going to take you a bit of time to get a return on that investment. However, if the cloudiness is really bothering you and you want to improve your home and improve the value of your home and save some energy and cash in on a tax credit, for all those reasons added together, I think it’s a good time to do the project, Don.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, real wood looks great but there is a measure of maintenance involved. So what looks like wood without the work? Well, we’re going to tell you, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.com.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, even though summer is halfway over, you’re probably thinking about that vacation you’ve really been meaning to take this summer but maybe it’s just not in your budget. Well, if that sounds like what’s going on at your money pit, why not take a staycation instead?

    You know, you’ve got a backyard out there. Why not actually relax in your own backyard? We’ve got a ton of staycation solutions – from decking to outdoor living to accessorizing your patio – all available for you at MoneyPit.com/Staycation. And you will find a lot of fantastic ideas to really spruce up your outdoor space and then you’ll think, “Why did I want to go anywhere at all?”
    TOM: And while you’re online, why don’t you hit Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us your e-mail question just like Bradley did in Cranston, Rhode Island?
    LESLIE: Alright. Bradley writes: “I’m planning to rebuild a house on the water and I would like to use cedar shingles. I know they can be stained to prevent them from turning black but are there any artificial shingles that look like real cedar?”
    Sure there are, actually.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Two things. First of all, if you’re going to build a house on the water, you want to use white cedar, not red cedar. Red cedar turns black; white cedar turns a pleasant, light to gray color. So never use red cedar shingles when you’re on the water.
    Secondly, there are artificial products out there. Probably the most durable are the composites like hardy plank.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like the hardy planks, right?
    TOM: Hardy plank. And in fact, I’ve got some siding on my garage to match wood cedar shingles on my house and the hardy plank shingles in the garage look pretty darn good because they’re painted to match the house. And I don’t think you can tell the difference; certainly not from the street.
    LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got one from Justin in Rochester, New York who writes: “What product should I use to remove the greasy buildup from my wood kitchen cabinets? And once that’s done, should I apply urethane or what as the finish?”
    Now, you know what, Justin?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Trewax. Trewax.
    LESLIE: Yeah. Oh, yeah, Trewax as the finish, right?
    TOM: Trewax is a natural cleaner. Their website is Trewax.com and it’s fantastic for removing the grease and cleaning kitchen cabinets. It’s actually a hardwood floor cleaner but it works fantastic on cabinets.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I was going to say I’ve also used something called Simply Soy. It comes in a wipe format and that works fantastically, as well, to get a lot of greasy grime off of any sort of wood furnishing. So both good methods. Give them a try; see how you do.
    TOM: Well, one of the busiest rooms in my house, Leslie, and I am sure in yours, is the laundry room. And if you find that you have developed a cluttered, dark laundry room, we’ve got some tips that can help you in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: You know what, Tom? I had thought I have seen some pretty cluttered, messy laundry rooms but working on $100 Makeover, we saw a really, really bad one in Seattle. So make sure you tune in on Saturday.
    TOM: Totally disgusting, huh?
    LESLIE: Because this was insane. The people ended up dry-cleaning everything because they just couldn’t know what was clean and what was dirty; I mean piles of clothing. So let’s not make that laundry room your laundry room. And most of us already feel like laundry is not the most fun chore but if you make a few simple changes to your laundry area, you will start to love doing this chore.
    First of all, you want to make sure that your supplies are always within easy reach. Then you want to make sure that you store those supplies in maybe a low shelving unit or in wire baskets, so you can easily get at everything.
    Now, if you have room, you should use a rolling cart to help you sort out your clothes. Now, if your space is limited, you can attach a fold-down shelf to the wall, which will really help you figure out this task. You can fold there, you can sort there; it really is super-helpful.
    You also want to put up an ironing board hanger maybe on the wall or behind your door. There are even smaller ironing boards that attach to the wall and flip down, so there is no excuse for not ironing.
    Now, if you make these changes in your laundry room, it’s going to be a great chore that you will look forward to doing and you might actually even drop the word “chore” from your list when you say, “I’m going to do the laundry.” (Tom chuckles)
    TOM: Great tips. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, did you know that nearly half of your home’s energy use is devoted to simply heating and cooling? We’re going to have some tips on how you can save some money on the cooling cost of your home and allow you to have a few dollars left when it comes time to heat this fall.
    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.

    (theme song)
    (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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