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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, 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.

    TOM: And it is the official fall fix-up season. We’re here and it’s time to get those projects done. The winter is just around the corner and if you need a project done around your house to one that’ll help you button it up and make it warmer, make it more comfortable or just a project that you’d like to do to make it more pleasant to hang out inside your house for the coming, chilly months ahead, we’d love to help you do just that. So pick up the phone and help yourself first. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    And fall is one of the most popular seasons for home décor, well, except if you’re Leslie Segrete when every day is home décor season, right?

    LESLIE: True. But I will tell you that the autumn is my absolute most favorite. I love to get everything all rich and pumpkin-y and then scary and then festive. It’s my favorite.

    TOM: You have a lot of colors to work with there on the trees and all the landscaping that’s going on outside.

    But it’s also sort of the Falloween season. I mean it’s the season between back-to-school and Halloween and that means that many listeners will be breaking out the bats, the cats and the scarecrows, getting ready to decorate for the season. If you do, you want to take – make sure that you decorate safely. So we’ll have some fall décor tips, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, wooden fences, they’re beautiful but we all know – come on, let’s be honest – maintaining them could be a pain. We’re going to tell you about some maintenance-free options available in vinyl that you can work on less, making you enjoy them more.

    TOM: And also ahead, we’ll have tips on what type of windows will help you save the most energy this year. It all starts with the glass; that has a lot to do with energy efficiency. And we’ll tell you how to select the one that’s right for you.

    LESLIE: Plus, one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to get a chance to step-up their home security and keep those burglars at bay.

    TOM: Yes, that’s right, because we’re giving away a wireless home alarm system from Swann Security. And it’s also one of an amazing number of prizes Swann is giving away right now in their big sweepstakes on the Swann Facebook page. But we’ve got one to give away on today’s show, as well. It’s worth $130. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So, let’s get right to the phones. 888-666-3974 is our number.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to head on up to the attic with Eric in Alaska. What’s going on at your money pit?

    ERIC: Oh, well, we bought a home this last year and unfortunately, the home inspector we’d hired neglected to find a lot of problems and one of them was they didn’t put a vapor barrier up in the attic. And so we’re in the midst of doing all the court issues with that and I’m trying to find something I can do to mitigate the migration of the moisture up into the attic or move it out of the attic until we can do permanent repairs.

    TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, when you say there’s no vapor barrier in the attic – so you’re referring to vapor barrier between the ceiling and the insulation?

    ERIC: Correct. Yeah, they didn’t do anything. They just – we have knotty, hardwood pine interior and they …

    TOM: OK. Just laid the fiberglass on top of it? Is that what happened?

    ERIC: Well, they had blown insulation – blown-in insulation.

    TOM: Oh, blown-in insulation. OK.

    Well, you’ve got to manage your moisture, as you’re well aware, and the best way to do that in an attic is with a combination of roof vents. You want to use a ridge vent that goes down the peak of the roof. Do you have a ridge vent right now?

    ERIC: Right now, we just have eave vents and gable vents.

    TOM: Alright. So what – I think you ought to think about installing a good-quality ridge vent right down the peak of the roof. That really opens up the attic and lets it breathe. I would get one that’s made by the AirVent Corporation. It’s a CertainTeed company. The reason I say that is because the metal vent that AirVent makes, it has sort of a baffle on the side of it, if you look at the profile, that really speeds up the depressurization. So as wind is blowing over your roof, it depressurizes that ridge and really draws air out of that.

    But that’s only half of the ventilation system. The other half is soffit vents at the overhang of the roof. So if you add soffit vents and a ridge vent, then what happens is air presses into the soffit, it rides up under the roof sheathing and exits at the ridge. And that’s a cycle that runs 24-7, 365, so you’re always sort of washing drier ambient air through that attic and pulling moisture out at the same time. That’s a very effective way to go.

    ERIC: Yeah. No, we have a metal roof here. So, do they have an application for a metal roof?

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t see why you couldn’t use a ridge vent on a metal roof. The specific type of ridge vent may be a little bit different and of course, the installation’s a little bit different but we see metal – we see ridge vents and other types of vents on metal roofs all the time. The roof still has to breathe, metal or wood.

    ERIC: OK. Yeah.

    TOM: OK?

    ERIC: Yep, yep. Alright. Thank you much.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to Louisiana with Lois who’s dealing with a grout issue in the bath. Tell us what’s going on.

    LOIS: After talking to the people that sold me the grout, on the second complaint they finally acknowledged that there was something wrong with the grout, so now I’ve got it turning white. And it’s a mocha-brown kind of color in the bottom of my shower and I guess the only way to resolve it is to clean it out but how do I do that?

    TOM: So how do you remove grout that’s already installed? Is that correct? So this is grout that’s in the wall?

    LOIS: Floor of the shower.

    TOM: Oh, the floor of the shower. And so the grout’s the wrong color. And it’s a darker color than you want?

    LOIS: No, it’s changed color because they didn’t – they sold me – there was a problem, apparently, from the factory with the grout.

    TOM: OK.

    LOIS: And of course, I didn’t find out about it until after the fact. Now it’s turning white.

    TOM: Right. Alright. So listen. What you might want to think about doing – only because if this doesn’t work, you have to take the grout out anyway – is you might want to think about applying a grout dye. Grout dye is available; it’s kind of like a stain for grout and it changes the color of the grout. It goes from – it can make grout that’s lighter go darker. It doesn’t work the other way around, of course. So I would give that a try first because, really, you’ve got nothing to lose.

    Now, if that doesn’t work, you’ve got to take the grout out.

    LOIS: Right.

    TOM: To take the grout out, there are a number of tools on the market that can help you do that, that come into the category of grout saws. There is a type of saw that fits into the end of a reciprocating saw that enables you to cut through grout. There is a grout saw that works in a Dremel that enables you to take grout out. But you have to grind the old grout out and then regrout the tiles. It’s a big job; don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy but it can be done. That’s why I suggest you try a grout dye first.

    You can take a look online at The Home Depot. They sell a product that’s called Grout Renew and it’s made by Polyblend which is, I believe, one of the grout manufacturers. And so they have a product – they have several different colors and they’re designed to stain and seal the grout in one application. So like I said, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying this out.

    There’s also a website that just sells grout dye, called GroutDye.com.

    LOIS: Alright, sir. Thank you.

    TOM: 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call, because there are just a few short weeks to Halloween. So you’ve got about three weekends to really scary-up the outside of your house. And if you need a hand with that, we’re here to do it. I will personally call you back, because I love this time of year. It’s my absolute favorite.

    So if you really want to scare the kids or if you want to make it fun and festive, we can help you with that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, when you’re window shopping, are you confused by all the features, especially when it comes to the glass? I mean you’ve got low-E, argon gas, double- or triple-pane. We’ll sort out the options, to help you make the best energy-saving choice, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Roxul, manufacturer of fire-resistant, water-repellant and sound-absorbent home insulation products. Keep your home efficient and comfortable this winter and all year long with Roxul ComfortBatt and Roxul Safe’n’Sound insulations, www.DIYWithRoxul.com. Roxul. That’s R-o-x-u-l.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a wireless home security system from Swann Security. It’s easy to install and it gives you two window/door sensors and two motion sensors.

    Now, these sensors set off a siren that blasts a deafening 110 decibels and sets intruders running in the other direction. The system is worth $129. It’s going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. So the number is 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, we’re giving away one system this hour but that’s just one of the many prizes that Swann is giving away in its Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes that they’ve got going on right now at Swann.com. And their website is Swann – S-w-a-n-n – .com.

    And Money Pit listeners could win one of several four-camera Swann Security systems that are being given away, so what are you waiting for?

    TOM: So head on over to Swann.com and enter the Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes at Swann.com. That’s S-w-a-n-n.com.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leonard in South Carolina on the line who’s doing a roofing addition to the garage. What can we do for you?

    LEONARD: I’m coming up with 10-foot studs, 16 inches on center. I’m putting a 10-foot wide, roll-up aluminum door. The first question is: if I breach this 10-foot opening with two 12-foot 2x8s, should I put – do I have to put a flinch plate between them or can I put ½-inch plywood?

    TOM: That sounds like a pretty small header for a 10-foot-wide door; 2x8s sound really thin. In terms of do you need a flinch plate or not – and for those that are unaware what a flinch plate is – so a flinch plate is like a metal – a thick piece of metal. It’s about a ½-inch thick. It’s the same width as the 2×8, 2×10 – or I should say the same height as it. So if it was a 2×10, it would be 9½ inches.

    And it’s designed to go in between the wood beams, so you basically make a sandwich out of the headers, plus the flinch plate is in the middle of it. And it’s kind of like having a wood I-beam, if you can imagine that. It’s a combination of wood and steel and really stiffens that up.

    But I would think that a 2×8, which is only 7½ inches tall – or it’s a 10-foot span? Is that what you said?

    LEONARD: Yes, I’m going to span 12 feet to make sure I move the studs a good ways.

    TOM: Oh, boy. Twelve feet? Yeah, there’s no way you’re going to do that with 2×8, even if it’s just a gable wall. I’d probably use at least a 2×12 for that. But I tell you what, what don’t you – you’re going to have this inspected by the local code-enforcement folks?

    LEONARD: I’m so far out in the country, I don’t even know if they know I’m alive.

    TOM: They’re not – nobody alive that’s going to be coming to that?

    LESLIE: “I’m not asking anybody.”

    TOM: Alright. Don’t ask, don’t tell, huh? Easier to apologize than to ask permission? You’re sort or proceeding along those lines?

    LEONARD: Well, we’re not going to have any – no electricity, no water. It’s just an addition room.

    TOM: Alright. So I would – if I was – it’s just an addition but it’s a garage, right?

    LEONARD: Yes, it – you have three sides to an existing garage.

    TOM: This door is going to be a big roll-up door? I would use at least a 2×12.

    LEONARD: OK. Yes, sir. I certainly appreciate your help.

    TOM: Now make sure you run that design by your wife now, too, Leonard. Alright?

    LEONARD: Actually, she designed it.

    TOM: Alright. As long as she’s happy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, when the temperatures start to fall, your energy costs, they start to rise but it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the most important ways to save big bucks in winter is your windows. And Money Pit sponsor Pella Windows and Doors, they’ve got some energy-saving tips that can help when it comes to understanding how windows are actually built.

    TOM: Yeah. And window glass is a really – a big part of that energy-saving model. You’ve probably heard of us talking about low-E windows but I think it’s important to explain to you just what that is and why it’s important.

    Low-E stands for low-emissivity and it’s basically a microscopically thin layer of metal or metallic oxide that’s applied to the glass. It’s inside and it’s virtually invisible, so it doesn’t really distort your view. But what it does do is stop heat from transferring in and out of your house. The heat hits the pane and then radiates to the cooler pane. So it stays out in the summer and in the winter, it reflects back into your house.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And what’s nice is that Pella Windows and Doors, they’re making low-E windows in vinyl, so you’re actually getting the best energy savings that are available.

    TOM: Yeah. Pella’s new 350 Series vinyl windows and patio doors are up to 83 percent more efficient than standard windows. And they’re also ranked number-one in efficiency for vinyl and they look fantastic. You can check out all the styles and options that are available, at Pella.com. That’s P-e-l-l-a.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re welcoming Tim from Illinois to The Money Pit with a water-heating question. What’s going on?

    TIM: Oh, I have a nine-year-old water tank and I’m trying to get the rod that collects all the minerals out and it didn’t want to come, so I was afraid to have busted some pipes. So I was curious, should I just – should leave it alone? And with it being nine years old, it’s almost at the end of its life as far as the water tank. Because I understand that water tanks are usually from 8 to 12 years for a replacement?

    TOM: Yeah. So you’re – you’ve been trying to replace the anode and having a hard time getting it out, correct?

    TIM: Yeah. I think it’s rusted-in or I …

    TOM: Sometimes, you have to put – get a little leverage on the wrench to do that. And once you get the wrench on the anode, sometimes you have to kind of extend that wrench handle to really get that out. It’s a bit of a tricky job. But considering the age of the tank, I probably wouldn’t spend much money on it, because I think you’re right: 10, 12 years is a pretty average life expectancy for a standard water heater.

    And when it comes time to replace the water heater, you might even decide to upgrade it and go with a tankless water heater, which is going to last you a lot longer and be far more efficient.

    TIM: And that might be a good choice for me, because I’m single and no one else lives in my household and I’m gone most of the time.

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s the difference between the tankless water heater and a standard water heater: the water heater is kind of dumb. It just – it heats the water 24-7 whether you need it or not and when the water cools down, it comes back on and heats it some more.

    A tankless water heater is going to heat on demand. And so because that’s going to be a lot more efficient for a single guy – but even a big family with teenage daughters, for example, that don’t know the meaning of a short shower, they never run out of hot water when they have tankless. Could just – works very well in both extremes.

    TIM: So how much is something like – cost for installation and so forth?

    TOM: Well, if you compare it against a high-efficiency, tanked water heater, it’s similar. But if you compare it against a standard, sort of low-efficiency, it’s probably going to be about twice as much. But it will last longer, too, and you’re going to save money on the energy bills, too.

    TIM: I thank you for your time. I love your show and your advice is well worth listening to.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lorraine in Arizona who needs some help with a paneling decorating project. Welcome, Lorraine.

    LORRAINE: We have an older home that has two walls that has paneling on. And I was told that if we took the paneling off, it would probably damage the drywall. So I was considering maybe trying to put something over top of the paneling to give it a different look and wanted some suggestions.

    LESLIE: Well, it depends. It depends on how it’s attached to whatever is behind it. There may not be any drywall behind it; it might just be the paneling attached directly to the studs, in which case you would have to put drywall up. It could be that the paneling was glued to the drywall. Then you would never get it off without completely destroying the drywall. Or it could be that it was just nailed on. You’re not really going to know until you sort of peer at a corner or an area where you can take off a little bit of trim work and see what exactly is going on before you make a decision. So that’s probably best-step number one.

    Now, if you find out that there’s really no removing it and your choices are to deal with the paneling and make it look better or cover over it with ¼-inch drywall, you can do that. It depends on how much work you want to do.

    Painting paneling certainly is an excellent option. I mean it creates a totally different look when you paint paneling a crisp, glossy white or an off-white or something that really just poses a good, neutral backdrop and just sort of go with it.

    LORRAINE: OK. This is very light paneling anyway.

    LESLIE: And are you at a point where you just want to see it be darker, different or gone?

    LORRAINE: Different.

    LESLIE: You know, painting it really does look nice. It doesn’t have to be something that, in the end, you’re going to think, “Ooh, that doesn’t look good.” You just have to make sure that you clean it, you prime it well and then you give it a good top coat.

    Now, I would really start by just taking off a piece of trimming and door frame and seeing how it’s attached. And if you want to truly start with just a fresh look, you can absolutely cover over the entire space with ¼-inch drywall without losing too much space. You’re just going to have to sort of bump out your electrical boxes, your switches, your trim work, et cetera which, for a handy person, isn’t that big of a deal. So it could be a project you could do on your own. Or to hire somebody wouldn’t be that expensive.

    LORRAINE: OK. Sounds good.

    LESLIE: Alright. Good luck with that.

    TOM: 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, wooden fences, they can be a pain to maintain. You’ve got to paint them, you’ve got to stain them, not to mention keeping those wood-munching bugs and rot away from them entirely. So we’re going to tell you about some new options that are available in vinyl that may have you leaving wooden fences in the dirt, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows, the number-one brand of windows in America. Now enjoy 10-percent off all special-order Andersen windows and patio doors at The Home Depot, including the Andersen 400 Series Double-Hung Replacement Window, making it easy to replace your old windows. Valid through October 17. See The Home Depot for details.

    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, now’s a good time to think about your gutters. What kind of shape are they in? Are they clean? Are they leak-free? It’s definitely the time to make sure that they are good to go for the fall season, because there’s a reason it’s called “fall” and it has a lot to do with all of those leaves that are dropping out of the sky. If you’d like to figure out the most efficient way to get your gutters in tip-top shape, search “gutters” at MoneyPit.com. You’ll get great advice on cleaning and maintaining those important parts of your house.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sylvester on the line from Louisiana who’s dealing with some hurricane damage, possibly, with a leaky attic. Tell us what’s going on.

    SYLVESTER: Top of the roof is about – at a vertex, is probably 46, 49 feet. Well, there’s a – where the attic breathes, sometimes there’s squares, some rectangular, some round where it ends, the …

    TOM: Yeah, the vents. Uh-huh. The attic vents.

    SYLVESTER: I’m getting blowing rainwater that’s coming in there, running down the wall, coming in to a bedroom window below on the second.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Oh, boy. OK.

    SYLVESTER: How is that – and it has happened before. But it’s only when it’s a strong, blowing wind blowing the rain …

    TOM: Is it always in the same spot?


    TOM: So it’s probably not all of the vents. It’s just one or two of the vents?

    SYLVESTER: I would think so. I don’t know. I haven’t actually gone into the attic yet to see which – where most of it’s coming from.

    TOM: So I would do that as my next step, because I would go up in the attic and I would look for the leaks.

    Now, it might be that maybe it’s not blowing in the vents; it might be blowing around the vents. The vents could be leaking. Because every one of those vents has to be cut through the roof, so this may not really be what you think it is. But I would get up in the attic with a high-powered flashlight and take a look in the area of the problem. Remember that water will run downhill, so it might start up high, run down a rafter and then drip off down below into – and show up in your bedroom or wherever.

    But I would take a careful look to try to find those leak stains. That would tell me exactly where it’s leaking. And if I can identify the vent that’s leaking, I would just simply reseal it or replace it.

    SYLVESTER: Thank you much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, it’s a slice of the American dream: a little house with a white picket fence out front. But what do you do when that dream’s paint starts to chip?

    TOM: Well, you might never have to worry about that if you choose a vinyl fence. Landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is a guy who has probably installed enough fencing in his career to surround the entire city of Boston. And he’s here to fill us in on the options available in vinyl fencing today.

    Hey, Roger.

    ROGER: That’s a lot of fence.

    TOM: It sure is. You sure have hung a lot of sections in your day and of course, you started, like we all did, with just wood fencing. But the last decade has really been the decade of vinyl fencing in that particular industry. It’s got a lot of advantages, doesn’t it?

    ROGER: Well, it’s come a long way since the first pieces we saw and now it’s good because you can get stuff, especially at the pro level, that’s really heavy fencing, that will really stand up to even gusts of wind to 75 miles per hour.

    TOM: And kids and dogs and slamming gates.

    ROGER: All that good stuff, too, yeah. I don’t know how it does with a baseball but we’ll find out about that.

    TOM: Now, there are different levels of vinyl fencing. You know, I guess we could probably put them in the budget in the high-end sort of category. The budget. What are you giving up when you go for the budget level of vinyl fence?

    ROGER: Well, it’s a thinner material. It’s got a little more spacing in it. The detail probably isn’t as good as the high-end. The fitting-together, the parts are not going to be as tight as the more expensive pro one will be.

    LESLIE: Roger, what about yellowing? I know that tends to be an issue with certain grades of vinyl fencing. Is it really the more you spend, the less it will yellow?

    ROGER: They have a process where there’s two layers on it. And the outside layer on a good fence is a titanium oxide and that’s the part that keeps it from yellowing. So if a fence has that, it’s not going to yellow.

    The other thing that bothers me sometimes is the shininess.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Right.

    ROGER: When you drive down the road, you can still see that shiny. But they’ve come up with some that almost have a buff exterior on them now and it’s come a long way.

    TOM: We’re talking to TV’s Roger Cook, from This Old House, about vinyl fencing.

    Roger, what about installation? How does this differ from sort of the standard wood-fence install?

    ROGER: Pretty much the same. It’s panels and posts that go in together. But some of them have posts that you have to fill with concrete to make them structural, especially if it’s a gate. You have to go do extra work on that part of it. But they just snap together. The wood ones slide together; these ones snap together.

    LESLIE: And what about maintenance? Any sort of cleaning tips? Anything you have to do?

    ROGER: It can mildew. You get vinyl – anything vinyl can get mildew on it. But that’s simply – a little Clorox bleach and spray it on and wash it off and it should take care of it. But other than that, it should be – you know what they say: vinyl is final.

    TOM: Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: My pleasure.

    LESLIE: You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and a step-by-step video on vinyl fencing and other projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    Up next, get ready to pull out the scarecrows and the pumpkins from storage. It’s time for fall decorating. We’ll tell you how to keep décor safe and enjoyable, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to give you a hand with all of your home improvement questions, issues, situations. Whatever you want to call them, they’re yours.

    TOM: Scenarios.

    LESLIE: Your money pit’s got them; we can sympathize and we can help.

    TOM: Disasters.

    LESLIE: Now, you know – exactly. Instances, slight situation. Come on, whatever that term of endearment is, we’re here to give you a hand. We can relate, seriously. It goes on in our own house; we know it goes on in yours, so let us give you a hand with that.

    So, speaking of homes, we know you guys love your homes, right? Well, you know who else does? Burglars. So we’re giving away a great prize to actually make your home less attractive to the burglars out there. One caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to be able to scare off intruders – and I mean really scare them off – with a 110-decibel siren. We’re giving away a Swann wireless home security system that’s worth 130 bucks.

    And this system, it’s great because you can actually set it with a remote. It won’t go off unless an object of substantial size moves in front of it, so that means no false alarms.

    TOM: So give us a call right now for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    And while we’re giving away one of these systems this hour, this is just one of the many prizes Swann is giving away in its Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes that’s going on right now at Swann.com.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And you know what? Money Pit listeners could win one of several four-camera Swann Security systems that are being given away. So what are you waiting for? Enter Swann’s Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes today at Swann.com. And that’s S-w-a-n-n.com.

    TOM: The grand prize for that contest includes a large-screen TV and an iPad, so pretty sweet prizes. Check it out right now at Swann.com – S-w-a-n-n.com.

    LESLIE: Esther in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    ESTHER: Well, you can tell me how I can put little windows into a metal garden shed.

    TOM: Oh, OK. So, it’s just a single-wall metal shed?

    ESTHER: It is. It’s like overlapping metal sheets.

    TOM: Yeah. Hmm. Why do you want to put the windows in there? Just for light?

    ESTHER: For light and also because if we put shutters on the outside of them, they’re dressed up and it’ll look kind of cute from the outside.

    TOM: And it looks pretty, right? Yeah.

    If you purchase very inexpensive, new-construction style windows – new-construction style windows have sort of a fin – a nailing fin – on the outside of it, like a strip that surrounds it. If you were to do that and you cut the hole in the wall to just fit around the outside of the window and install the window backwards – in other words, instead of putting it in from the front and covering it with siding, you’re going to start on the inside and mount it there and then stick it sort of through the hole that you cut, that fits around the window. And then you could bolt them in place and then cover the bolts with the shutters. That would be the way to create the illusion that the windows were built into the shed.

    So, just to review, you would purchase a very inexpensive window, because we’re not in the least bit concerned about energy efficiency; this is just for show. Make sure it has a nailing flange around the outside of it: sort of this fin that sticks out. Cut the hole in the metal wall that’s the exact size of the window, insert the window from the back and then the nailing flange that’s on the back you can bolt in to the metal that’s all the way around. And then you would cover those bolts with the shutters. And you’ll have to caulk it to make sure it’s watertight.

    ESTHER: Oh, sure. Great. OK. Well, thank you.

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

    Well, this is a really fun time of year. I mean you’ve got apple-picking, hayrides and of course, Halloween. And it’s also one of the most popular home décor holidays. Besides Christmas, it pretty much is the best time to decorate your house. So go ahead, have fun with your Halloween decorating. Just do it very safely.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Here’s what you need to know, guys. You want to make sure that any pathways you’ve got going up to your house and the lighting fixtures are in great shape, because you’re going to get a lot of visitors. Trick-or-treaters are going to come knocking. So if you’ve got loose bricks, paving stones, any uneven areas of the walkways, make sure that you take care of them.

    Also, you want to make sure that your outdoor porch lights are bright and in working condition. If you don’t have a well-lit path to your front door, you might want to install a low-voltage lighting kit. It’s really easy to do it yourself or you could even consider solar-powered lamps. They’re really affordable, there’s no need to wire. You just sort of pop them in, they charge up and they work and there’s some really attractive styles. And they can provide a great purpose, especially for Halloween.

    If you want some extra security and safety in dark corners, you can add some motion-sensor lighting.

    TOM: Now, if you decide to add some scary fun to something like a stair railing, make sure the decorations don’t hinder the ability to grab the railing for extra support. Anything hanging above should definitely be high enough to clear even the tallest visitors.

    Now, we’ve got more tips just like this, on staying safe during the Halloween season, online at our website at MoneyPit.com. Just search “Halloween safety.”

    LESLIE: Do you want to hear what we’re dressing up as for this Halloween?

    TOM: I would love to know.

    LESLIE: So Henry, our four-year-old, really, really, really wanted to be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Which I’m like, “OK. That sounds good.” But I like to do …

    TOM: A little ahead of the season but that’s OK. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: A little ahead but it’s fine.

    I like to do family costumes for our trick-or-treating.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: So I got my husband this amazing, almost stuffed-animal Christmas tree from head to toe. It’s kind of ridiculous.

    TOM: Oh, you’re going to be the Christmas family, huh?

    LESLIE: The dog is going to be an elf and if I’m still pregnant – you know, I’m due two weeks after Halloween. So if I’m still gigantically pregnant, I will be Santa Claus. Because who else has the perfect, built-in belly?

    TOM: You could be Mrs. Claus at any time. That would work.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: That should be your fallback plan.

    LESLIE: Post-baby, wear the Mrs. Claus. If still pregnant, throw on Santa Claus.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

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

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

    TOM: Is the garage door metal or wood?

    JAMES: Metal.

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

    JAMES: Yes.

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

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

    JAMES: OK.

    TOM: Do you understand what I mean?

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

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

    JAMES: So that you have …

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

    JAMES: Right, OK.

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

    JAMES: OK. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, one of the scariest parts of owning a home is having to hire a contractor to fix it. We’ll tell you how to complete that task without fear, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows, the number-one brand of windows in America. Now enjoy 10-percent off all special-order Andersen windows and patio doors at The Home Depot, including the Andersen 400 Series Double-Hung Replacement Window, making it easy to replace your old windows. Valid through October 17. See The Home Depot for details.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, we know you guys are all tech-savvy but maybe some of you have not quite yet discovered the fun that is in Pinterest. If you don’t know about it yet, it’s a completely additive social-media site that lets you pin – you know, like post up a picture – pin interesting articles, projects or pictures so that anybody who’s following your little Pinterest page can actually see them.

    And The Money Pit is now on Pinterest and we are pinning interesting and money-saving home improvement ideas. So make sure you follow us to see what cool projects that we’ve been sharing.

    TOM: Now, Sylvain (sp) in New York has been on MoneyPit.com and just moved into the area, posting a question here about how to hire a contractor. Says, “Can you tell me how to go about hiring a contractor to redo my kitchen? I’m new to the area and I don’t know any contractors.”

    Well, you know what, Sylvain (sp)? That’s not such a problem, because you’ll be surprised to know that many of your neighbors don’t know contractors either. Because fortunately, we don’t need to use contractors all that often. But fortunately, today there are a lot of great ways to help you find contractors.

    The first advice we would give you is to make sure you know what you want. Now, if possible, do a lot of research on your own, even going so far as to coming up with a sketch or a specification of what kinds of kitchens you expect to build. Because if you get your specs down, if you get your plan down, it’ll become a lot easier to find a contractor, because the pros that you talk to can come in and bid apples to apples.

    Where do you find contractors? Well, if you’re working with a kitchen shop, that’s going to be easy because they’ll be giving you lists of folks that they work with. But if not, you can jump online. Turn to services like Angie’s List, for example, where you have thousands of members across the country that are completing reviews on pros that they’ve worked with.

    Social media today has made it so much easier. You know the quintessential – well, ask a neighbor, ask a friend? Well, your neighbors and friends have gotten so much bigger when you use the tools that are online to be able to find pros, because people give very unbiased opinions when they’re reviewing people like that online.

    And occasionally, you’ll find one that might be – I have seen people that just want to vent and they’ll give somebody a horrible review. But invariably, there’ll be five more great reviews and if you know that was the case, then that’s probably a disproportional response. But you can really learn a lot and kind of go deep when you read reviews online about contractors, so that’s a good thing to do.

    And the other thing I like to do, Leslie, is if I’m trying to check somebody out, I will search their name and the word “complaints” next to it. So if it’s like Acme Plumbing, I would search “Acme Plumbing complaints” to – and if there have been any complaints against that business or the people that are involved, they usually pop up. You just can’t hide today when you’re online.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And any time you say “Acme,” all I think about is Wile E. Coyote.

    Alright. Next up, we’ve got one from Tom in Alabama who posted: “I have some old linoleum floors in my kitchen. I want to put down some of the new laminates that are available. My question is: do I have to rip up the first flooring? Of course, concerned about moisture being – that’s in my kitchen.”

    TOM: No. There’s no structural reason or installation reason to have to take up the old linoleum flooring. Being in a kitchen, though, just keep in mind that every time you put the layer on, the distance between that floor and the underside of the countertop gets tighter and that can impact your dishwasher, especially. So, as long as you’ve got the height, then there’s no reason to rip it up. Go ahead and lay a new floor right on top of that.

    Laminate floors are not glued down; they’re floating floors, so you simply lay them down and then trim out the gap between the floor and the wall when you’re all done.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that really is a great way to do it. It will make a huge difference, it’s great for the moisture, they’re comfortable on your feet and you’ll find a ton of different styles out there that can really update the look of your kitchen.

    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Good luck with your fall fix-up projects. This is the weekend to get out and get that job done.

    Remember, if you need help, you can contact us 24-7 at 888-MONEY-PIT or log on to our website anytime and post your question in the Community section at MoneyPit.com.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2012 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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