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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. So as you look around your house, as you look around your yard, you’re thinking, “Man, do I have a lot to do”? Well, pick up the phone; we are here to help, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    You know, as we get ready to kick off the start of the summer season, we also get ready to kick off the start of the hurricane season. So we’re going to have some tips on getting your lawn and garden ready for those severe storms.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, got mold? Well, it’s not only unsightly, it can actually be a health hazard. Coming up, we’ve got your mold-control solutions with products that are bleach-free.

    TOM: Plus, go green as you celebrate the red, white and blue. We’ve got advice on eco-friendly grilling options for your Memorial Day cookout.

    LESLIE: And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a set of three Diva C•L Dimmers from Lutron worth 90 bucks.

    TOM: So, let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Andrew in Texas has had something very unfortunate happen to a pool: the steps broke? What happened?

    ANDREW: Well, we were just chilling out in the pool one night and it’s got a brand-new liner in it. In East Texas, they use salt-water pools, so you have to line them. And my buddy was getting out of the pool. He stepped on the fiberglass steps, which were not brand-new. And unfortunately, his foot went through the steps.

    LESLIE: Now, the fiberglass steps are underneath your liner or these sort of sit on top as like an attachment?

    ANDREW: It’s an attachment to the liner. They’re two separate entities that are underwater.

    TOM: OK. Can the fiberglass steps be removed from the pool for repair purposes?

    ANDREW: I believe so. I have not tried it. In all honesty, looking at the degradation of the steps, the shape that they’re in, I think it’d be easier to just do a quick patch right now, if that’s possible, or just entirely remove the steps. But can I do that without sacrificing the liner?

    TOM: Yeah, if you can get the steps out of the pool, like disconnecting them out of the pool, the easy way to do that patch is with more fiberglass. You can go to an auto-repair store – like a Pep Boys or a place like that that sells, perhaps, auto-body supplies – and you can buy fiberglass.

    You could buy the fiberglass resin and you can buy fiberglass material itself. And you apply the resin to the step, you press the material in place, you let it dry and then you would add more resin on top of that and then more – and then gelcoat to finish it off.

    Now, it’s not going to match, color-wise, but it could be very strong and perhaps, next time, your friend won’t step right through them.

    ANDREW: An easy fix is an easy fix, right?

    TOM: Yeah. But the easiest thing is to get it out of the water so that you don’t have to drain the water. And you could do that repair on your – maybe in your garage, on a workbench or something like that, and then just put the whole assembly back in after it’s nice and dry and strong again.

    Andrew, does that help you out?

    ANDREW: Very much so. I sure do appreciate the help. You all have a wonderful evening and God bless, alright?

    LESLIE: Sue in Ohio needs some help cleaning a carpet. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUE: I have a concrete sun-porch slab that has – had been covered with black carpet. And it’s – we had a very muggy summer this year and green mold started to grow on it. And though I tried washing it off and rinsing it off – and it just won’t take care of it. And I know that you had helped other people with mold problems with 10-percent bleach. But I wouldn’t dare put bleach on that black carpet and I wondered if there’s something else that will kill that mold.

    TOM: Well, how do we know it’s mold? It sounds like algae.

    SUE: Could it be?

    TOM: It could be, yeah. What I would do is I would simply – if the carpet’s that dirty, I would simply go out and rent a steam cleaner – rent a carpet cleaner. Those carpet cleaners are pretty darn effective. I rented one myself at The Home Depot just a few weeks ago, for a couple of rooms in an apartment that we own that was getting a new tenant. And I’m always astounded with what a phenomenal job those steam cleaners do on what looks like carpet that has to be torn out.

    But when you steam-clean it with the right materials, use the chemicals that come with the machine, it does a really good job. You’ve just got to take your time. Usually have to go over it a couple of times and it takes a little bit of work but it really does a great job. So I wouldn’t try to do this any other way.

    The way the steam cleaners work is water is injected into the carpet and then almost at the same time, a very strong vacuum pulls that water back out with the dirt and debris attached to it.

    SUE: Oh. So the steam kills the algae.

    TOM: Yes. It’ll clean it. And then if you dry it really well after that, it should stop it from coming back.

    SUE: OK. OK. Well, that’ll help me, yeah.

    TOM: Alright? And that won’t damage the color.

    SUE: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us.

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

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, do you want to leave a smaller carbon footprint? Well, why not go green with your grilling? We’ve got ideas to help, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win a set of three DIVA C•L Dimmers from Lutron.

    These are great because you can enjoy the flexibility of being able to adjust light levels while still saving energy. Because these dimmers are perfectly compatible with both CFLs and LEDs.

    LESLIE: And on top of that, you’re saving energy because you can create just the right light for any mood or activity. And you can avoid bright lights when you really don’t need them.

    And engineers at Lutron have thought of everything to make these dimmers work with dimmable CFLs and LEDs today, as well as whatever light bulbs people are dreaming up for the future.

    TOM: You can learn more about the Diva C•L Dimmer from Lutron at YouCanDim.com. That’s YouCanDim.com.

    And call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

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

    JOHN: I have these double doors – stormproof doors. They’re made out of fiberglass and they have a steel piece that goes down the middle. And the insulation has receded from where it’s supposed to be and I’d like to know where I would find the stuff to replace it with.

    TOM: So these are metal storm doors, John?

    JOHN: No, they’re fiberglass. The metal rod that goes down the middle – there’s a metal piece that goes from top to bottom, in the middle, and that has insulation in it. And it seems to have receded at the bottom of the door and at the top of the door.

    TOM: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. Yeah, that’s the astragal, which is the piece in between. And that piece of insulation typically will pull back at the upper corner and the lower corner of the door. You should be able to find maybe not that exact type of insulation but one that’s similar, in a weatherstripping-supply center, so a hardware store or home center. You should be able to find either rubber or a heavy felt weatherstripping that could replace that original one that was part of the manufacture. Because sometimes with older doors like that, it’s hard to get the exact part.

    JOHN: Right. And the doors have no labels or anything that tells me who the manufacturer was.

    TOM: Yeah, I know. And that’s a part – that’s the piece of weatherstripping that typically does wear out first.

    So I would think about being creative. You’re not going to be able to find the exact part but you’ll find something very similar that you should be able to make work.

    JOHN: Alright then. I think I can handle this then.

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

    LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line with a question about asbestos. How can we help you today?

    NANCY: I live in a home that was built in the mid-1950s. And on the ceiling, there are 1×1 square ceiling tiles. And I would like to take those off and just have a smooth ceiling put up. But I see on all these home improvement shows where they get into pulling things out of older houses and some of the things have asbestos in them. And I’m wondering how you tell that.

    TOM: Asbestos can’t be visually identified; it has to be tested. And what you could potentially do is take a sample of one of those ceiling tiles and send it to an asbestos testing lab and have it identified.

    NANCY: How do you find an asbestos testing lab?

    LESLIE: You can buy kits at any sort of major home center. I know Home Depot carries one. I think that one of the main brands that you can find in stores is PRO-LAB. And then you send a piece of whatever you’re concerned about to this company and they run a test and get it back to you with whatever their findings are.

    Now, the issue with asbestos is that it’s so lightweight that if it becomes particulate, if it breaks up and gets into the air, I mean it takes almost a full day for it ever to reach to the ground. So that’s why there is such a concern when there is asbestos present. But most likely, your ceiling tiles are hopefully fine.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re probably just a fiber tile, which we saw millions of these used in the 50s. But if you’re concerned, that would be the way to do it: to send a sample to an asbestos-testing lab. You can use one that’s available in retail or if you just Google “asbestos testing lab,” you’ll find these all over the country. Find a good one, slip a piece in a plastic bag, send it off and they’ll read it for you.

    NANCY: OK, great. I didn’t know they existed.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to go to Pat in South Dakota. You’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    PAT: We have a problem with our deck. We need to replace it. And we have investigated using composite materials and find that that’s really expensive and I don’t think we’ll be able to afford to do that. So we’re wondering about how well using cedar as the flooring and then using the composite on the rails would work.

    LESLIE: I just actually put composite in our screened-in porch as a replacement to some old lumber that was there that just needed constant upkeep, even though it was a screened-in porch not fully exposed to the elements. And I found, believe it or not, the cost of the decking material and the cost of the railing material, from the same manufacturer, were the exact same price. Equally expensive.

    So I don’t know if you want to mix it up in that capacity. I mean yes, maintaining a spindle or a railing system is a lot of work, if you were to go with a cedar or a pressure-treated type of lumber, but I don’t know that you’re going to save that much money there by going with a composite railing system.

    TOM: And also, cedar does require a lot of care. I know that it’s insect-resistant and decay-resistant but if you don’t stain it, it’s going to crack and check and split. And in doing so, you’re going to have to restain it every few years, so it is going to cost you some money. And I wonder, on a lineal-foot basis, how much you’re really saving.

    I don’t know what kind of composite you priced out but the composite that’s available at home centers – like at Home Depot, the Veranda product – it’s not terribly expensive. And it’s really pretty indestructible stuff. Once you put that down, you don’t have to worry about it any further in terms of any type of maintenance.

    So, I would think carefully about using cedar over composite because I think that it’s going to be a fair amount of maintenance expense for you. It looks great for a year, then it gets all dark gray and blackish and then you’ve got to stain it.

    PAT: OK. Well, that gave me the information. I can go forward with it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, just in time for Memorial Day – you know, the great summer-kickoff weekend – we’ve got ideas to make your backyard grilling more eco-friendly this season.

    First of all, you’ve got to think about your fuel choice. Now, a propane grill is much more eco-friendly than a charcoal grill. So, if you’re grilling with gas, you’re already ahead of the game.

    TOM: Now, if you have a charcoal grill, you want to consider a charcoal made from ecologically harvested wood. These charcoals are carbon-neutral and you can even get them in a flavor-enhancing variety, like mesquite.

    Next, think about your grilling utensils.

    LESLIE: Right. You should look for ones that have bamboo handles and stainless-steel parts. Bamboo is an extremely renewable resource. And the same thing goes for your serving supplies. Consider reusable plates as opposed to paper or foam.

    TOM: And to keep those summer bugs away, consider all-natural citronella torches. Being green when you celebrate that red, white and blue weekend is going to help you save money and make you feel better about the footprint you’re leaving behind on the planet.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Rudy in Tennessee joining us here at The Money Pit who had a leaky roof and now you’re trying to fix up all the remaining issues. Tell us what happened.

    RUDY: So, we had a big rainstorm. And just got a call from my wife and I came in and looked at it and I had a bunch of water running down the seam of my drywall, into the – onto the landing inside my house. Then I called a handyman. He came and took down the drywall and wait, he noticed that it was kind of leaky. The roof was leaking and then it came in on the drywall.

    I had a roofer come out, licensed. He came, he repaired the roof and also put some water guards to kind of channel the water away. And then the handy-guy put up the drywall and taped it, painted it over. And so then, probably about a month later, all that drywall – the new drywall – kind of buckled, kind of came out.

    And there’s no more water. It’s rained here multiple times since then. I haven’t seen any more water come in but I didn’t know if it was moisture still in the wall or if it was just bulky drywall that the person put up.

    TOM: Well, it’s not – is no such thing as bad drywall. There are bad drywall contractors but no such thing as bad drywall. And when you say “buckle,” is it swollen or is it sort of popped off the wall?

    RUDY: It’s popped off the wall. Like you can push a little bit on it and you can see the exact place where the patched drywall was. You can look at the seam and it’s kind of uneven.

    TOM: OK. So, if it sort of popped off the wall, then I suspect that it just wasn’t adhered properly and it might just need to be resecured. You might need a few extra drywall screws or nails in that.

    If it’s swollen and starting to look like it’s wet or damp or stained or moldy then, of course, the roof leak could be continuing. But if it’s just loose and came off the wall, then it might, in fact, be that it wasn’t attached very well and normal expansion and contraction of that area has forced it to sort of release. So I would go back to the contractor and ask if he can resecure it and retape it, respackle it.

    RUDY: Perfect. Thank you, guys. Enjoy listening to your show.

    TOM: Well, thanks so much for calling, Rudy. We appreciate it.

    LESLIE: Jackie in Colorado is working on a flooring project. How can we lend you a hand?

    JACKIE: I have a battleship linoleum on the floor. I can live with it but it’s starting to crack in front of the door in the furnace. And it was probably put down in 1930 but …

    TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what, those old linoleum floors, they lasted a long time. But I think, Jackie, it’s time for you to consider redecorating.

    JACKIE: There’s no way I’m going to get this floor up.

    TOM: OK.

    JACKIE: I know it’s underneath some old boards and I have a half-a-basement underneath. And when I walk across it, it squeaks, so I know it’s the flooring underneath the linoleum. It’s probably not good.

    TOM: Well, the fact that it squeaks doesn’t mean it’s not good; it just means that it’s dry and there’s – perhaps loose and some boards are rubbing against each other. Quieting the squeaks is one thing; getting a new floor is another. So, let’s just talk about how to quiet the squeaks first.

    And this is something that a pro can do for you. Your floor, no matter how old it is, is going to be installed and secured to floor joists below – floor beams below. A pro can identify where those beams are and they can drive screws from the floor, through the subfloor, through the linoleum and into the floor below. Doing that every 12 to 18 inches will stabilize that floor and cause it to squeak less. Be unlikely to expect no squeaks but you’ll definitely quiet it down.

    Now, once that’s done, you could put a new floor on top of that. And one of the easiest, new floors to put down is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring doesn’t actually physically attach to the old floor; it floats over it. The panels all snap together and they are cut up to about a ¼-inch away from the wall. And then you trim the edge that’s left and it looks terrific and it’s incredibly durable. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to last the 80 years that your first floor lasted but I tell you what, I’ve had it in my house for over a decade and it’s worked great. And we brought three kids up on it.

    JACKIE: I went to a department store in Home Depot and he said, well, the only thing he would recommend – he said, “You can’t put tile or anything like that, marble.” He said it will not work. But he said, “We have what they call a ‘floating floor.'”

    TOM: Yeah, that’s the same thing. It’s not attached; it floats on the old floor. But laminate is the type of material that you’re interested in. They sell it at Home Depot. Lots of different types are there. You can also look at a website like LumberLiquidators.com. You know, you can buy this laminate floor from anywhere from about, oh, roughly $3 a square foot to maybe $5 a square foot. So it’s not terribly expensive and it’s beautiful.

    It comes in many different designs. If you want it to look like tile, it can. If you want it to look like old hardwood floors, it can. And if you want it to look like linoleum again, it could do that. So you choose the design that matches the house.

    JACKIE: Sounds good then. So, I just need to go back and tell him I need a floating floor.

    TOM: Yeah, laminate. Laminate is what you’re looking for. And have it installed professionally, OK, Jackie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, hurricane season, it’s almost here. So as you are getting ready to celebrate summer, you need to also keep hurricane readiness in mind.

    TOM: Up next, we’ve got tips on how to get your yard ready for the severe weather ahead.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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 I’ve been enjoying, Leslie, a very, very comfortable existence because I now have Icynene insulation in my home. We put it in just a few weeks ago and I’ve got to tell you, it’s perfect because I am not feeling any extreme temperature swings. My air-conditioning bills are going to be super-low this summer. We pretty much turn the heat off as soon as we put it in and I’m really happy with the product.

    If you want to check it out, go to their website at Icynene.com.

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

    TERRY: I’ve recently laid blacktop down probably about two years ago. Now, I’m starting to get some cracks in there. And some of them might be at least a ½-inch wide to ¼-inch. And I’m curious if you have a new product you’re aware of, that was rated highly, to use now to fill cracks with on blacktop?

    TOM: Well, it’s interesting that the driveway was only two years old and it’s already forming cracks. That can mean one thing and one thing only, Terry, and that is that it wasn’t put down very well to begin with. Perhaps the base wasn’t as solid as it should have been. Is this a project that you had a contractor do for you?

    TERRY: Yes. And you’re absolutely right. What happened – I didn’t get the 3 inches I was guaranteed to get. And I drive a semi and in the wintertime, I’ll back my semi up there to plug it in due to the cold weather. I live in Wisconsin.

    TOM: Right.

    TERRY: And I got off on the edge a little bit and it pushed it down.

    TOM: OK. So, what you want to do is use a latex asphalt crack filler. And then also use a latex topcoat sealer. The latex products today, the formulation is pretty good and they’re a lot easier to work with. But don’t use the sealer on the cracks until you put the crack filler in first. The crack filler has some depth to it, so it can fill up those voids – those ½-inch voids – that you described. Then after you apply the crack filler and seal those cracks up – because, remember, what the purpose of the crack filler is really is to just keep the water out of it and keep it flush so the water doesn’t get in and freeze and make it worse.

    So use the crack filler first and then put a coat of latex sealer on the whole thing. I would just buy one of the squeegees on – with one side, the broom on the other – kind of application tools. Start on one end, go to the other and then stay off it for a couple of days.

    TERRY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your kindness in answering my phone call.

    TOM: Terry, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Diane in Illinois who needs some extra storage space at her money pit. How can we help you today?

    DIANE: Well, I have a deck off of our master bedroom. And it’s a 12×12 deck and I want to turn it into a walk-in closet. And I want to bring my washer and dryer from the basement upstairs and put it into that closet.

    TOM: Well, this sounds like a good project, Diane, but I have to tell you that generally, when people try to convert a deck into a finished room – I’ve seen it done many, many times, especially in the 20 years I spent as a professional home inspector – it just doesn’t work, for a lot of reasons.

    And I can understand that you want it to flow nicely into the house and all of that but you’re really talking about an addition here. And if you’re going to build an addition, you typically were going to build it different than a deck. What I would recommend is that even though this is a small project, it’s a complicated project. Because not only do you want a closet, you also want laundry there.

    I think this is a great opportunity for you to consult with an architect because you have a lot to do to get this done correctly. And you also don’t want to make it look like it’s sort of slapped on the outside of your house because it’s going to detract from your home value.

    But every single time I’ve seen somebody try to take a deck and convert it into living space, it’s never worked out too well. It might be that you can preserve some of the framing and maybe incorporate it in there but it’s going to now be living space. It’s going to have to be heated, it’s going to have to be cooled, it’s going to have to have wiring, it’s going to have to have plumbing. It’s an addition; it’s no longer going to be in a deck. So while that space might fit well for it, starting with the existing deck doesn’t always make the most sense, OK?

    DIANE: OK. So what would – we would have to just tear that deck down and start over or …?

    TOM: You may. But that’s why I say – let’s not speculate on this and let’s not make a wrong step. This is a type of project where you are well advised to hire an architect. It’s not going to be an expensive consulting fee because it’s a small project. But it’s really smart to do that in this situation because you’ll find out what you can save and what you have to tear down. You won’t make a costly mistake.

    DIANE: OK. I didn’t want anything falling off the house and tearing the roof apart. And I didn’t want to have to do all of that, so I appreciate your advice.

    TOM: Thank you, Diane. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, when the forecast calls for severe weather, you want to make sure you’re ready for the storm with this tip, presented by KOHLER Generators.

    Now, even in moderately windy conditions, harmless items around your home can become dangerous projectiles, so here’s how to get ready.

    TOM: First, bring in loose items, like toys, bikes and scooters. And also, put away garbage and recycling bins. Next, consider tying down or bringing in any outdoor furniture, especially those larger garden containers and any lawn-and-garden ornaments so that they don’t launch into your house in that high-wind situation.

    LESLIE: Then you also want to check the trees on and around your property. Dead, rotting or even damaged tree limbs can become dangerous. And they should be trimmed before the storm does it for you.

    If you have any large potted plants or trees, these can either be brought inside or if you group them together under a shelter, that should do the trick, too.

    TOM: And this severe-weather tip is presented by KOHLER Generators. Running on clean propane or natural gas, a KOHLER standby generator is permanently installed outside your home and comes on automatically within seconds of a power outage. To learn more, visit KOHLERGenerators.com. That’s KOHLER – K-O-H-L-E-R – Generators.com.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.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. Pick up the phone and give us a call. The number here at Team Money Pit is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a set of three Diva C•L Dimmers from Lutron. These are great because you can enjoy the flexibility of being able to adjust light levels while still saving energy dollars, because these dimmers are perfectly compatible with energy-efficient bulbs.

    TOM: You can avoid bright lighting when you don’t need it and create just the right amount of light for any mood or activity. The Diva C•L Dimmer works with CFL and LED bulbs. And it’s designed to work with whatever light bulbs might come in the future.

    You can learn more about the Diva C•L Dimmer from Lutron at YouCanDim.com. That’s YouCanDim.com.

    Give us a call right now for the answer to your home improvement question and a chance to win three Diva C•L Dimmers from Lutron, 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    KATHY: I have a problem with the squirrels chewing into my roof.

    TOM: OK.

    KATHY: And I was wondering, how can I – what can I repair this with and what can I put in there to keep them out?

    TOM: Now, where are they chewing in? Are they chewing through the trim or the soffits trying to get into the attic space? What’s the story?

    KATHY: Well, they have gotten into the attic space.

    TOM: The holes. Are you repairing those holes or what are you doing?

    KATHY: No. I was calling you to see how you could help me, because I listen to your show all the time and you give such good advice.

    TOM: Well, if they get into your attic, you can trap them and release them. You can use something called a Havahart trap. And this is a trap that is a wire cage with a trap door. And the way to bait it is to take an apple and put it in the far end of the cage and wire the apple to the cage; don’t just put it in there. But usually, I’ll take a hanger or a piece of picture-frame wire or something like that and I’ll thread it through the apple and wire it off so that it can’t bounce around.

    And if they’re in the attic, they’ll come looking for that food. They’ll get trapped in there. Then you can pick the whole cage up and take it far away from your house and then release them. And believe me, as soon as you lift the door up, they’re like out like a light.

    LESLIE: They’re gone.

    TOM: They just fly right out there and they’ll take off. They want nothing to do with you, so it’s completely safe.

    Now, in terms of those holes, you have to repair them. Now, you can put – if it’s a small hole, you can put steel wool in it or something like that. But if it’s a bigger hole, you really should simply rebuild it or repair it, whatever it takes. So if it’s wood or if it’s vinyl or if it’s metal soffit material, you really just need to completely rebuild that.

    And then, the other thing I’ll mention that seems to have been pretty effective over the years and that is if you were to put moth balls down in your attic, that does seem to have a deterring effect on the squirrels, as well. So if you spread them …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It will, though – that odor does seep into the house, so don’t go crazy with it.

    TOM: Yeah, right. You sprinkle them in there, yeah. Especially along the eaves.

    KATHY: But is there anything else I can put up there to keep more from coming in?

    TOM: Well, we want to identify the holes and get those fixed. It’s really an entry issue. You’ve got to basically close the door on them here. And so, if we can identify those holes and those entry points and seal them up, then you shouldn’t have a problem with squirrels. They don’t naturally live in the attic but they’re obviously finding a way into your house.

    If you’re not quite sure where they’re getting in, you obviously can’t get in there – up there – to kind of look that closely, then work from the street level, walking around the outside of the house and looking up. Try to get a pair of binoculars or borrow one and see if you can spot the holes where they’re getting in. But that’s what has to be closed up.

    KATHY: OK. Thank you so much. I’m so grateful.

    LESLIE: If your home has unsightly mold stains, you might be tempted to turn to bleach to just quickly get rid of them. But bleach does have its drawbacks. You know, it doesn’t work against mold on porous services and it’s also toxic.

    TOM: Now, a better option is Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser. This is one of our top product picks from the National Hardware Show. It’s a very powerful cleaning solution that targets tough and embedded mold and mildew stains without bleach or harmful chemicals. It restores both indoor and outdoor mold surfaces to like-new condition and it’s perfect for those black-mold stains.

    LESLIE: Yeah, this really is your must-have product for outdoor cleaning this spring season. Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser can be used on decks, patios, fences, walkways, your siding and even outdoor furniture. And inside, you can use it in the bathroom and the basement.

    TOM: It’s safe for wood, composite wood, concrete, grout, stone, tile, plastic, laminate, aluminum and metal. You can find Concrobium Mold Stain Eraser at home improvement and hardware stores or visit CureMyMold.com.

    And be sure to follow @MoneyPit on Twitter, using the hashtag #TopProductsNHS to learn more about our favorites from the 2014 National Hardware Show.

    LESLIE: Pam in Missouri is on the line and has a question about installing a dimmer, a great do-it-yourself project. How can we help you, Pam?

    PAM: I have a room that has fluorescent lighting in it and there’s two entries into that room. So there’s a light switch on each door, so it’s a two-way switch. Can I put a sensor on that so that when you walk in and walk out, the lights come on and go off?

    TOM: Are you asking me if you can? Can you put a sensor on that?

    PAM: Yes.

    TOM: Is your concern that you want the lights to come on automatically or is your concern that you don’t want people to leave the lights on when no one is in the room?

    PAM: Both.

    TOM: Well, I guess you could use an occupancy-sensor switch there but you would need to set it in vacancy mode, not occupancy mode. See, in occupancy mode, the light comes on when there’s motion. So if you had a three-way, what could happen is you walk in the room, the switch closest to you picks up your motion, turns the lights on. You continue halfway through the room until the one on the other side picks it up and turns the lights off, so that wouldn’t work too well.

    A better option might be to just replace one side of it – just one of the switches – with an occupancy sensor but set it in what’s called the “vacancy mode.” So what that means is you manually turn the light switch on but if there’s no motion in the room, it will automatically go off.

    So we use these, for example, in the bedrooms upstairs at our house because kids turn lights on but as we all know, kids don’t turn the lights off. So, if you set it in the vacancy mode, they can turn the lights on but then they’ll go off, depending on the period of monitoring you set. They’ll either go off 1, 5, 15 or 30 minutes later.

    PAM: Oh, OK. Alright. That would work. Thank you.

    TOM: Hope that helps you out and thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, before you throw anything out, you need to decide if you can use it as a side table. “What? That sounds crazy, Leslie. What are you talking about?” Well, we are going to share an ultimate repurposing tip, just ahead.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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, are you looking for some great ideas on everything from cleaning to decorating? Well, check out The Money Pit’s Pinterest page. Love Pinterest. Great website. You can follow our boards and you can pin your ideas, as well. It’s all on Money Pit’s Pinterest page.

    And you can post a question in The Money Pit Community section at MoneyPit.com, just like Cliff in New York did who writes: “My kitchen has a drop ceiling. It’s old and dirty.” I imagine it’s so disgusting and greasy from being in a kitchen. Ugh, sorry, Cliff.

    Alright. He wants to know: “How do I paint old, acoustic ceiling tiles and the grid and get a good job? Can I avoid taking them down and painting each one individually? Will they crack and break up? They’re at least 20 years old.”

    Oh, dear Lord, Cliff. Go to the home center and buy new ones, please.

    TOM: Yeah, really. I mean there’s – it’s so much work for you to take those down. Or even if you didn’t take them down, if you wanted to paint them, just imagine all of the – even the pressure of a paintbrush would push them up out of the frame. You’re going to be pulling your hair out, Cliff.

    I agree with you, Leslie, 100 percent.

    Get new ones. They’re not that expensive. Take the old ones down and replace them. Now, if you absolutely, positively can’t get new ones, then by all means take the old ones out of the frame. They usually are not very brittle. Sometimes they’re a little tricky to get out, depending on whether some of the wires are in the way.

    LESLIE: You may break one or two.

    TOM: Yeah, you might break one or two. But generally speaking, they will come out in good shape and then you can lay them down flat and you could get a roller set up and just kind of get the job done quickly.

    The one caution I give you is to make sure that you have – if you have any that are cut, that you number them on the back or somehow indicate where they belong, so that you don’t have like this big puzzle when you’re all done trying to figure out where everything goes back together.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And when it comes to painting the frame, Cliff, really the best thing that’s going to work is a spray paint. So make sure you properly ventilate and properly protect everything around the kitchen. But that will do the trick to give you the best coverage.

    TOM: Well, the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – are the key to a green lifestyle. Leslie has tips to help with one green, table-building project that delivers all three, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: You know, this is truly a case where being green can also be a cover-up for being cheap or frugal. Because this project here that we’re going to talk about is truly about repurposing. And maybe it’s something that you find in a thrift shop or something you’ve already got kicking around the house. This usually is a great trick of the trade. But we just love to turn unusual items that you’ve got around town, the house, the stores into functional, good-looking side tables.

    Now, for example, you know those glazed, ceramic garden stools? You can find them everywhere, from discount shops, even to those high-end stores. Now, these really look fantastic as little, unexpected side tables or even in a bathroom as a place to put a little candle on or an orchid or a little, rolled-up towel. I mean it’s really just another use for something that might normally just be put outside. And boy, do they look great indoors and they come in a million different colors and finishes.

    Now, rain drums, vintage wire baskets, old suitcases, even musical instruments, they can work just as well. All you need to make that transformation complete is a custom piece of tempered glass and then you can go ahead and use this whole thing as a table. All you’ve got to do, especially if it’s a weird shape or a strange size, is think about how to properly support that glass top or even just a nice piece of wood. You can find wood rounds at the home center in MDF or actually stainable wood. So you can paint a top or stain a top and suddenly, you’ve got a side table that’s functional and completely unique.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program: outdoor entertaining. It’s on your wish list this year? Well, nothing makes a party like music. We’re going to teach you how to get the tunes outside, when Roger Cook stops by the program to talk about outdoor speaker systems, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2014 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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