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Make Your Home Safe for Trick or Treaters, Learn Whether Vinyl or Wood Windows Are a Better Choice for You, Learn About the Latest House Chosen for This Old House, and more.

  • Transcript

    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: Standing by to take your home improvement question, to help you solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. What are you working on? Tell us. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, because we will help you get the job done quickly, easily, inexpensively. If there’s a trick of the trade, either Leslie or I probably know it, may have tried to pull it off once or twice in the past and even had some success. We’ll share that with you. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, Halloween is just around the corner and that’s a time when scary costumes and trick-or-treating are super-fun, that is, except if one of those Halloween pirates or princesses gets hurt on your property. We’re going to have some safety do’s and don’ts for homeowners, coming up, to help you avoid that situation.

    LESLIE: Plus, the 33rd season of This Old House just launched and you know what? There are two really cool, new projects that our favorite guys are working on. And Norm Abram is going to stop by and tell us all about them.

    TOM: Plus, textured paint finishes, they’re back.

    LESLIE: Did they ever go anywhere?

    TOM: Yes.

    LESLIE: I don’t know.

    TOM: They’re coming back. They’re coming back because the technology to create these finishes has made them easier and easier. So, we’re going to talk a bit today about some of the new options in textures, including granite, suede, sandstone and even a few more. There’s a plaster finish that I like; it’s sort of like – I think it’s called “Venetian plaster.”

    LESLIE: Ooh, it’s super-shiny and really pretty.

    TOM: Love it. Really cool.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s really nice. And you know what? I think these kits and these step-by-step processees (ph), if that’s a real word, are making it so much easier for the average do-it-yourselfer to really be creative. So that’s just great and we can’t wait to share that with you.

    And also this hour, one of you lucky callers who gets on the air with us is going to get a chance to step up their home security and keep those burglars at bay. We’re giving away a wireless home alarm system from Swann Security.

    TOM: It’s worth $130. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Tracy in New York is on the line with a gutter question. How can we help you with this project?

    TRACY: I’m thinking about getting gutters put on my house but I’m not sure what I need to know and what I should ask when I have the contractors come over to do the quote.

    TOM: Alright. So you have no gutters right now?

    TRACY: That’s correct.

    TOM: OK. So, here’s a couple things to think about. First of all, what you want are seamless gutters. So the way they’re made is the contractors come out and the gutter material is actually in a sheet stock and it’s on a roll of metal. And they run it through a forming machine that actually creates the shape of the gutter. And this way, they can make the gutters the exact length that you need for the different sections of your house.

    Now, the number of spouts that you put into the gutter is important, because you don’t have – you want to have less than 600-800 square feet of roof surface per spout or the gutters will back up and get overwhelmed. So pay attention to that.

    Also think about where the downspouts come down. You don’t want them dumping water right at the corner of the foundation, because that will collect there and it can soak in, it can weaken the foundation, it can flood a basement or a crawlspace. Just generally a bad idea. So you want the downspout to extend at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. If you had a water problem, I’d tell you to take it out further but if you don’t have a problem, at least 3 to 4 feet out.

    So, if you have, you know, one downspout and you have a – if you have one section of gutter and you have a choice as to whether the downspout is on the left than the right, use our head about thinking about that. Yeah, don’t bring it out near a walkway or something like that; bring it out in the opposite side of the house.

    Now, the other thing to think about is gutter guards: whether or not you want to put them in or not. Because when you get gutters, you’re going to get the need to clean those gutters. And there are such a wide variety of gutter guards that are available today. The kind that seem, in my experience, to work the best are those that work on surface tension. So these have sort of a complete cover to them and the leaves will wash over them and the water hangs this cover or maybe goes through some louvered slots and falls into the gutter. So, think about that. Check out with the company whether or not they offer a gutter-guard option at the time of the installation. This way, you can get it sort of all done at the same time.

    And then one other trick of the trade is that before you attach these to the house, do you know if the fascia is wood right now or is it aluminum? What are you going to be attaching it to?

    TRACY: Wood, I believe.

    TOM: So this is the perfect time for you to paint it. This is your one and only golden opportunity to put a couple of good coats of exterior paint on that. Because once that gutter is attached, you are never ever going to take them off or at least not for a heck of a long time. So get a couple of good coats of paint on that fascia now, before you put the gutter on, so that it’s protected.

    TRACY: OK. That’s great. Thank you so much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Paul in Michigan needs some help with a cabinet-refinishing project. What’s going on?

    PAUL: Well, I have some cabinets I’m refinishing and I have polyurethane over a stain on these cabinets.


    PAUL: And I’m wondering whether I should put an oil-based primer on there or a latex primer. I’ve had several different opinions.

    LESLIE: Are you painting them?

    PAUL: Yes. Painting.

    LESLIE: OK. Have you done anything to sort of scuff up the surface to make it a little bit more susceptible to that primer?

    PAUL: I’ve got some sandpaper – 180 sandpaper – and I’m going to start scuffing them.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Because that’s really the first step. You want to rough up that surface a little bit to make it more ready to have that primer adhere, as best as it’s going to, to the surface. You can use regular sandpaper. You can use a little orbital sander. You can actually even use something called the Liquid Sander, which is a liquid material that you brush on and that sort of roughs up the surface, as well. Basically, you just want to clean it and scuff up that surface and mar into that polyurethane a bit so that primer will stick.

    Now, between the oil and the latex – you know, you’re in a situation where you’ve got a lot of moisture, a lot of dirt and grime. And oil-based primer, I think, is going to adhere best to a cabinet situation and then allow your paint to adhere well as a result.

    PAUL: OK. And then should I use an oil-based paint, as well?

    LESLIE: Now, I would use a latex top coat. Something with a gloss or a urethane over a matte finish, just so that you get a good sheen that’s easily cleanable. If you’re going with a urethane or some sort of top coat, you want to make sure that it’s non-yellowing. Because in kitchens, for some reason, all of that humidity and that grime tends to yellow those surfaces.

    PAUL: Well, thank you very much. That’s very helpful.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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. I hope you guys are enjoying these first few weeks of autumn. And if there’s any projects that you need help tackling around your money pit, we’re here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are you tired of throwing energy and money out your windows every time the temperature changes? You might know that you need energy-efficient glass in those windows but what about the frames? We’re going to pit wood against vinyl to figure out which one is the most energy-efficient for your home, 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. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a wireless home security system from Swann. How do you qualify? You pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll draw one name at random from those callers that reach us for today’s show.

    This system is easy to install. It gives you two window and door sensors and two motion sensors. And these sensors set off a siren that blasts a deafening 110 decibels, so it’s going to set those intruders running in the opposite direction. Worth 130 bucks.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we’re giving away one Swann system today but this is just one of the many prizes that Swann is actually giving away in its Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes, which is going on right now at Swann.com. And Money Pit listeners, you guys could win one of several Swann Security systems being given away. That’s a huge prize, so make sure you enter right now.

    TOM: The website, again, is Swann.com. That’s S-w-a-n-n.com.

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Kim who’s dealing with a shower-floor issue. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    KIM: My shower floor is basically coming up. All the tile is coming up and it’s been doing that for a few months. And we’re debating with – should we repair it or should we just replace the whole shower? It’s kind of an old house anyway and we were thinking – we were getting ready to sell it. So, should we put the money in to replace it or should we just try to repair it? I don’t want to patch it up for anybody but if it’s repaired, I really want to do a good job to where they can use it.

    TOM: So this is sort of a walk-in shower stall? Is that what this is and it’s made of tile?

    KIM: It’s made of tile, yes. Walk-in.

    TOM: Listen, the restoration on this is to replace the shower pan. It’s a pretty big job, because you have to tear out the tile that’s there and put in a new pan, which is typically fiberglass today, and then retile over all of that. So that’s a big project.

    Is it leaking now?

    KIM: No, it’s not leaking.

    TOM: OK. Well, if it’s not – it’s just appearance that you’re concerned about?

    KIM: Appearance, right. I mean it’s – the tile’s basically coming up. We have like a rubber – what do you call those little rubber things that you put in a – just to stand in the shower?

    TOM: Right, right. Yeah, the anti-slip mats and that sort of thing.

    KIM: Right, right. Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Yeah. Listen, I don’t know that I would do that repair. If it’s not leaking, then you don’t really have a responsibility to repair it. Of course, if you want to do a bath restoration – a bath renovation – you could. Whether that’s going to make your house any more or less likely to sell, I don’t know. You really need to know what’s going on in your neighborhood.

    But that’s a really big repair to do – when it’s not necessary, it’s not leaking – for the sole purpose of trying to sell your house. If it was a cracked shower pan and it was leaking, I’d be telling you something different. But if it’s not leaking, I’d leave it alone and put my money elsewhere in terms of fixing up the house.

    KIM: Great. That’s what I needed to hear.

    TOM: Well, it takes a lot of homework when you’re buying replacement or even new-construction windows. And if you haven’t purchased any lately, you’re going to be shocked by the number of options. It’s really overwhelming. We all know that the glass has to be energy-efficient but after that, one of the biggest decisions is the framing material: what those window frames are made of.

    And Money Pit sponsor Pella Windows and Doors has some tips that can help in that decision.

    LESLIE: That’s right. There’s actually some advantages to wood-framed windows. They can add a classic, warm look to your home. However, the disadvantage is going to be the maintenance they require. And all wood, no matter where it is, is going to require upkeep.

    Now, you’re going to have to paint or stain and eventually repaint and restain. You know how that goes. But they have a special look and if that’s what you like, then that maintenance is worth it.

    Now, vinyl windows, they require no upkeep except for cleaning. Come on, no dirty birdies here; you’ve got to clean those windows. If you’re worried about the look of vinyl, check out Pella’s new 350 Series. They’ve revolutionized vinyl windows. They’re really great. And Pella uses a more premium vinyl, which has seamless corners, and that’s better than any other vinyl design that uses a welded corner, so it’s really great. And that’s going to give you even more insulation, not to mention just being better to look at.

    TOM: And then, of course, you add in the glass. They have triple-paned glass and the solid frame. We’re talking about an 83-percent difference in efficiency with the 350 Series over other windows.

    So, go to the Pella website to see the great styles they come in. That’s Pella.com – P-e-l-l-a.com.

    LESLIE: Doug in Iowa has got a wallpaper question. What can we do for you today?

    DOUG: My parents live in an old Victorian mansion, southwest Iowa, built around 1919. And this is not original wallpaper but it’s starting to kind of peel away from the top of the roof – the ceiling line. And I didn’t know what was a good way to, I guess, re-adhere that to the wall. And what would you recommend?

    LESLIE: So it’s just where the top section of the wallpaper meets that wall/ceiling joint?

    DOUG: Correct.

    LESLIE: Hmm. Now, does it seem like it’s happening all across the entire wall or is it just a piece here and there? Is it just at corners? What’s the situation?

    DOUG: Pretty much just at this one where these two strips meet. And I’m not sure why it was – why that occurred there but the wallpaper is just starting to peel back a little bit.

    LESLIE: OK. Well, there is a glue that you can buy and I want to say it’s called Seam Fixer or Wallpaper Seam Fixer. And it’s sort of like a bottled version of wallpaper paste. And it really is the best solution that I’ve seen for smaller fixes of wallpapering. I just recently used it because my four-year-old has become fascinated with our foyer wallpaper and has started to peel at areas. And as much as I love him, I’m like, “Dude, let’s not do this.” And it really does seem to do the trick.

    DOUG: Yeah, that sounds great. I’ll look into that.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rhonda in Washington who needs some help with window cleaning. Tell us what you’re working on.

    RHONDA: Hi. Well, you know what? We bought new windows and then my husband turned the sprinkler on and now we’ve got water-deposit stains all over these new windows. And it’s on the west side of my house and it’s just baked on. And I cannot find any way to get that cleaned off and I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

    LESLIE: There’s actually a super-easy trick of the trade. Have you tried white vinegar?

    RHONDA: Oh, you know what? I soaked paper towels in white vinegar and just soaked it on there and it didn’t seem to do anything to it.

    TOM: Rhonda, have you tried LIME-A-WAY?

    RHONDA: Uh-uh.

    TOM: LIME-A-WAY is a cleaner that’s designed to dissolve mineral deposits. What you have are mineral salts. And it’s kind of like CLR. It’s made by Reckitt Benckiser. They’re a big cleaning manufacturing company. And it works very well on vinyl siding and other vinyl surfaces and I’m sure it will work well to take those deposits. It’ll take lime off; it’ll also take rust stains off.

    RHONDA: Soak it in a paper towel and stuff and then just put it on there like that and let it just sit?

    TOM: No, it’s a concentrate. You just mix it.

    RHONDA: Alright. Well, cool. Thank you so much. Love your show.

    LESLIE: Ron in Virginia is on the line and he is dealing with some woodpeckers who are eating the house. They do like to do that and they do bore those perfectly gigundo (ph) holes in a matter of seconds. So tell us what’s going on, Ron.

    RON: Well, we’ve been living in the house about 15 years and never had the problem before. But there are a lot of other houses with cedar siding that have had the problem. And when I’ve talked to folks, they’ve tried things like hanging aluminum-foil strips around and sometimes the birds would even take it and put it in their nest. And it didn’t scare them away.

    TOM: “So there.”

    RON: They tried the plastic owls. It seems like they last on the house for a little while and they just disappear. And it started about two weeks ago and I’ll patch up a hole, come home the next day from work and I’ve got another hole or two in the house. And I keep patching every day and I don’t know what else to do with them. I called an exterminator, just to see if they could trap them, and they said, “Oh, no. Not in the U.S. There’s a $500 penalty for doing that.”

    LESLIE: Oh, yes.

    TOM: Really?

    RON: So what do I do?

    TOM: Well, what we’ve heard and what has worked for our listeners in the past is a combination of a couple of things that you’ve just mentioned. First of all, not so much the aluminum strips but more like tin pie plates. Hanging them in the air …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because they’re super-shiny.

    TOM: That are super-shiny and they kind of fly around and freak them out. Plus, if they get really close to them, they can see themselves and that kind of freaks them out, too. So tin pie plates and then, also, long strips of black plastic. So think of a long hefty bag.

    LESLIE: All things that make your home look really attractive.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    RON: Yeah, great. And I’ve got it on the market now trying to sell it, so …

    TOM: Oh, well, this will close the deal right there, you know? But those kinds of things – maybe you could put it on the non-visible sides of the house from the street and try it. But those two things, we have gotten feedback from our listeners that they’ve worked very successfully. And then, of course, when they stop coming to your house and get comfortable going to some poor neighbor’s house down the street, you can remove the décor. Or if you leave it up long enough, maybe you could work it in with some holiday décor.

    RON: Start a new style.

    TOM: There you go.

    RON: Is there any kind of – nothing’s in stone but is there any time limit? Will it bother them after a week or two, a day or two, months?

    TOM: Not totally sure but I don’t think we’re talking about indefinitely here. My sense is it’s a week or two.

    LESLIE: Yeah, we had – I remember when my son was little and I was like the nap commando. And whenever he was sleeping and anybody made a ruckus, I’d go outside and be like, “Shhh! Quiet!”

    And I heard this horrendous racket outside as soon as my son was down for a nap. And I run outside and I’m looking around trying to find out which kid I can yell at on the block and I’m all excited about it. And all of a sudden, there on the side of my house is this gigundo (ph) woodpecker just having a field day. And I could do nothing to scare him away but I did put up a tin pie plate. I actually used it to cover the hole that he had made. And it didn’t come back and I kept it up for probably two weeks. Never saw it again, never heard it pecking on anything. Who knows? Maybe it was just satisfied or maybe I trapped it in the attic. Who knows?

    RON: Great ideas. So I’ve got to go find some tin plates now.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, Tom and I happen to know all too well, because we both have them, that older homes do come with more than their fair share of problems. Can you imagine, though, the troubles with a home from the 1800s? We are going to talk to This Old House‘s Norm Abram about the historic homes that they’ve selected for this 33rd season show, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, the cast and crew of This Old House are hard at work on their home turf, taking on two renovations: a 10th century Victorian in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a cottage in Essex, Mass for the 33rd season of the hit TV makeover show.

    LESLIE: That’s right. The new season is underway and here to tell us what we can expect is master carpenter and friend of The Money Pit, Norm Abram.


    NORM: Good to talk to you again, Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Nice to have you, too, Norm. And you guys have been very busy with not one but two houses for the 33rd season. First, how does it feel to be starting the 33rd season? Did you ever think that you would be still involved at this point?

    NORM: Oh, unbelievable. I mean every time I think about it, I go, “Thirty-three years? Where did they go?” But I guess that’s a good sign because if we were bored, we’d be saying, “Oh, how long do I have to keep doing this?”

    TOM: Yeah.

    NORM: But on the other hand, every project brings up some new ideas and the technology changes, so there’s always something new for us.

    LESLIE: And it’s interesting. You get to work with so many different designers and styles, so it must always be a fun challenge for you, as well.

    NORM: Right. And the thing that This Old House, I think, has always been unique at is that we love problems. We love disaster, in a way. Tom and I did a scene the other day on the Cambridge house. We had no idea what we were going to run into and we were hoping it wouldn’t be too boring, it might generate a little bit of excitement. And sure enough, we open it up and carpenter ants come flying out and there’s rot and it’s like, “Oh, boy. This is great TV.”

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. So let’s start by talking about the Cambridge project. Beautiful home. I understand it was a worker’s house from the 19th century. Can you – what is a worker’s house? What does that mean?

    NORM: Well, it’s just – it’s a little more simple; it’s not as elegant as you might find in some of the other homes, even in that immediate neighborhood. It’s a small lot. It’s a relatively narrow house. Not extremely large. Rooms are tight and it’s kind of dark inside. And in fact, when we got there – we think it was always originally built as a two-family but at the time we got there, the only kitchen that was existing was actually on the second floor.

    TOM: Yeah, I saw the – I saw on your website the floor plan. It’s really interesting that this house had a kitchen on the second floor and the first floor, which is where most of us would consider our sort of primary living space, really was very underutilized, wasn’t it?

    NORM: Yeah, it had a huge front hallway. You know, you walk in the front door and the stairs are immediately there. That’s no mystery and it’s quite common. But the fact that the hall was so large that the first thing I thought of when I walked in the house is, “Look at all this wasted space.”

    TOM: Sure.

    NORM: And it was these little rooms and kind of dark, because one house is very close to it on one side. And the homeowners, thankfully they can’t do a lot to the outside because even though it’s not an official historic district, there is a historic commission. So they kind of keep an eye on everything and they want whatever we do on the outside to blend in with the historic houses in the neighborhood. And we’re all for that.

    But on the inside, the homeowners wanted just to open the whole space up and make it just a more open floor plan. And because she has Scandinavian blood, there’s a Scandinavian theme to this whole thing, so white walls and some wood used in the ceiling, some things like that. So it’s going to be quite different. We’ve never done anything quite like this.

    LESLIE: How challenging is it when you’re dealing with two very distinctly different styles, to sort of mesh the two: the Victorian exterior and the Scandinavian interior? Is there any way to connect them or at that point, you’re just sort of working with these two styles and making them as cohesive as possible?

    NORM: Well, there is one connection that we touched on a little bit the other day and that was the selection of the color on the exterior. The homeowner started looking at a couple different colors. When we got there, it was sort of a gray, kind of a dull color and we’re not even sure if that was the original color of the house. But the color that she actually chose, with the help of a specialist, is sort of a yellow color. So it fits in with the neighborhood, yet it has some of that – it’s a popular Scandinavian color, as well.

    So, you don’t have to necessarily change the outside to sort of flip it on the inside to make it a completely different architectural style. The only thing that – and this house, fortunately, has good – nice-sized windows in it. So the rooms that do get a lot of sun, by bringing these white colors and a very clean look to the inside, it’s going to look really good on the inside.

    TOM: We’re talking to Norm Abram, the master carpenter from TV’s This Old House. In their 33rd season, they’re working in the historic neighborhood of Avon Hill in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to help turn the interior of a badly outdated 1887 Queen Anne into an open, airy, Scandinavian-inspired home for a family of four.

    Now, Norm, this is not going to be your only project this season. You also have another home that you’re working on that is called the Essex Project. And you’re touching, in that home, on an area that’s particularly near and dear to Leslie and I and that is the idea of universal design: universally accessible living, making a home that will work for folks of any age and any physical ability, whether it’s a young mom with kids or an aging parent. How is that project going?

    NORM: Right. That project is going very well. In fact, the theme of our series this year is sort of city/country. So on the Cambridge project, we’ve got the city, tight streets. There’s a whole mindset to working in the city, which is a little bit different. And then we’re out in the country, which is completely the opposite. Not far from the coastline – the Atlantic coastline – which is unique in itself.

    And the house is small. I love this project. It’s kind of – we call it the Hansel and Gretel Cottage. Very steep-pitch roof lines, smallish windows. And the owners really bought it so that they would have a place, as you said, for aging parents to live comfortably. So, we touched on one point recently where the patio on the outside comes in absolutely flush with the floor level of the house and the sun porch so that there’s no step there. So if people start to have difficulty in walking, they’re not going to have to go on steps or find a little threshold that’s going to trip them up.

    And the floor plan is open and certainly, even though there’s rooms on the second floor, they’re not really meant for them as much as maybe grandchildren staying over. But there’s a master suite on the first floor, so it’s first-floor living, nice open space, big openings and just going to be a very comfortable house to live in, very easy to get around.

    LESLIE: Norm, did you find that you weren’t sacrificing any style to create these universally designed enhancements? It’s still a very attractive space?

    NORM: Right. Not at all. I mean I think we’re certainly not anywhere near finishing stages yet; that’s still to come. But the framing is done and you walk in there and you would never think that – you don’t think of it right away when you walk in as being any different than any home. But I think when people get in and see how it functions, then you really see the – how well it works.

    TOM: Well, we are thrilled for you in your 33rd season of This Old House. Norm Abram, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, filling us in on the two projects that you’re tackling this season.

    If you’d like to tune into This Old House, check your local listings or go to ThisOldHouse.com.

    Well, you might see ghosts, goblins and ghouls but we see safety hazards. Up next, we’re going to give you some important pointers on how to make sure your Halloween is safe.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Total Protect Home Warranty. Get total protection against unexpected home repair or replacement costs for appliances, air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electrical. Visit BuyTotalProtect.com to see if you qualify for a special offer. That’s BuyTotalProtect.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now, 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you love your home, you know that burglars may, as well. And that’s why one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to be able to scare them away with a 110-decibel siren. We’re giving away a Swann wireless home security system worth 130 bucks.

    This system, which you can set with a remote, will not go off unless an object of substantial size moves in front of it, so no false alarms.

    LESLIE: That is great because, generally, with those motion-sensor lights, like a raccoon sets it off. So these are some really serious sensors here on the Swann system.

    Now, we’re giving away one system this hour but this is just one of really many prizes that Swann is giving away in its Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes, which is going on right now at their website, Swann.com. And the system is worth – today, the one we’re giving away – $129. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: Yeah. And you can win big, because Swann is giving away several four-camera Swann Security systems as part of the Get Connected, Be Protected Sweepstakes, which is online right now at Swann.com – S-w-a-n-n.com.

    LESLIE: Well, Halloween is a favorite holiday for a lot of homeowners, me included. And spooky decorations, costumes and candy can add up to lots of fun but it can also be a big safety risk. So here are a few do’s and don’ts to help keep you and your trick-or-treaters safe.

    TOM: That’s right. So first, as tempted as you may be to turn your front yard into a dark chamber of terror, probably not a good idea, because costumed feet and masked eyes have a hard enough time walking as it is. You do need, however, to shed some light, so choose a safe lighting option like your porch light and maybe pumpkin twinkle lights. Don’t go for anything that requires a flame.

    Now, if you’ve got a candlelit jack-o’-lantern, pull it up on a sturdy table and not on the ground where it could be kicked or stumbled upon. And in fact, make sure all of your decorations are not blocking the walkway or posing a trip risk.

    Also a good idea to keep all your pets indoors; they don’t need to be scared, as well.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, if you are taking your kiddies out trick-or-treating, remember this: more children are hit by cars on Halloween than any other day of the year. I mean think about it: they’re excited, there’s candy, got to cross the street, got to go to that house. So really, if you’re not going out with your kids, talk to them about the proper way to cross a street.

    And if you are, I just read something from our local police department that it’s really recommended that you hold your children’s hands, until they’re about eight, crossing the street. So just be safe when you’re doing that.

    And besides being cautious when you’re crossing the street, make sure you take a flashlight or glow sticks or something with you so that cars can see you. And if you have a house on the route that you’re trick-or-treating and you see that it’s completely dark, skip it. Why bother? Those people might not be home or they’re just simply telling you, in a very obvious way, “We don’t want you to trick-or-treat here.” So just follow those rules.

    TOM: And finally, and this is the most important thing to remember, if you come off the trick-or-treat run with tons of chocolate, ship it to us here at The Money Pit. 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Carl in South Carolina is dealing with some tricky doors. Tell us what’s going on.

    CARL: I put the tiles floor in my laundry room and I took the door down. And when I put it back, it won’t stay open; it’ll swing back to close. And the one in my bedroom does the same thing. I have to prop them open with something.

    TOM: So they used to stay open before and now they just want to stay closed all the time?

    CARL: Right, uh-huh.

    TOM: So there’s two ways to fix that, Carl. One way is to rip out the door and rehang it, properly shim it because it’s out of level somehow. And that’s a pretty big job. And the other way to do it is to pull the hinge pins out, put them on a hard, concrete surface and give them a sharp rap so you bend them slightly.

    CARL: OK.

    TOM: Then tap them back into the hinges and you will have added some friction to that connection.

    CARL: Right.

    TOM: You follow me?

    CARL: Yes.

    TOM: The slight bend on the hinge pin – a little trick of the trade. That will give you a little more tension on that door. Just take one out and give it a rap so it has a little bit of slight bend to it. You might not even see it. Just a slight bend. Tap it back in, try the door, see how it works. If it kind of stays where you want, that’s fine. If not, maybe do the top one and then do the bottom one. Give that another rap. Keep adding a little pressure to it by doing that until you get it just right. OK?

    CARL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, a quick coat of paint can make almost anything look fresher, unless you’re using the wrong kind of paint or putting it on the wrong kind of surface. We’ll have tips to help you get it done the right way, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit has been brought to you by Andersen Windows. Replacing windows or patio doors is always a big decision. Lowering energy bills? Well, that’s easy. And Andersen Windows, the number-one brand of windows in America, makes replacing your old, drafty windows easy with the new 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Replacement Window. Available 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.

    Well, it’s autumn. The weather’s getting cooler. You guys can actually put away your tools and relax a bit, right?

    TOM: Not possible.

    LESLIE: No. Fall, you guys know we love to tell you this: fall is the perfect time of year to fix up your money pit. We can actually help you come up with some projects to do that. Head on over to MoneyPit.com, search “easy fall home improvement projects” and you’re going to find a list of things that are really perfect for this time of year. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com, search “easy fall home improvements.”

    And while you’re there, check out the Community section and post your question there. And I’m going to jump into one that was posted here from Len in Wisconsin who writes: “I’m repainting my hall and want to add a sand texture. Do you foresee any problems if I added the texture to the primer and put it on in one step, then paint?”

    I’ve never heard of the primer having the texture in it, Tom, have you?

    TOM: It doesn’t seem like it would work well to me, too, because the primer would coat the sand and then the top coat would coat the sand, so you really wouldn’t have much texture left by the time you got to it. I mean typically, if there’s an additive for paint, it’s going to be on the top coat. That said, the primer is critically important.

    But there are a lot of options in textured paint today to choose from, so it’s a really good time to think about looking at those options and being well aware of all of them before you choose one for your house. So you can get a sandstone finish but besides that, there are options for granite finishes and there are options for – one that I like is called “Venetian plaster,” which is sort of the look and feel of marble on your walls. It’s almost like an old-fashioned, I think, Sistine Chapel sort of plaster look.

    LESLIE: True. And it has like a sheen to it a little bit.

    TOM: Oh, man, there’s stone finishes, as well.

    The thing to remember, though, about all of these fancy finishes is that – two things. First of all, sometimes they require special applicators and you’ll find them usually next to the product.

    LESLIE: Most times, I would say.

    TOM: Yeah, at the paint store. And secondly, watch the coverage.

    Now, when you buy a gallon of normal wall paint, you get 400 square feet per gallon. When you buy these specialty paints, you might only get as little as 60 square feet per gallon or 150 square feet per gallon, because sometimes they have two coats that they required. And there’s one, I think, that says it covers 120 square feet with the gallon but you need two coats, so that only gives you, really, 60 total square feet of surface coverage. So make sure you read the label and pay attention to the coverage. It’s going to be a little more expensive that way but it really looks pretty cool.

    And Leslie, one that I saw recently that I wasn’t familiar with and maybe you’ve seen it – it’s an additive called “paint crystals.” And it gives kind of a sparkly finish, right?

    LESLIE: And I think you and I had seen that on the Valspar website. You know, it’s important that Tom and I sort of stay up to date with what new products are out there and how they’re applied.

    And Valspar has got a great website about their different paint finishes. And they did have an additive called “paint crystals” and I think that’s really sort of when you’re doing a granite texture or maybe you just want something to sort of kick up a solid color a little bit. It’s that – you know when you see a granite countertop and you get those little spots that are sort of iridescent with a slight sheen to them and they look shimmery and special? Those are those little chips that you can pop into their granite or any sort of solid paint to just give it something special. So I would recommend checking out the Valspar website.

    I also would recommend Ralph Lauren Home; they have beautiful specialty paints. But I’m not going to lie, if there’s a video attached to any of these paints that you’re interested in, watch it. Because there are some special techniques to how you have to apply certain textures.

    Now, with the sanded finish – or I think Ralph Lauren calls theirs a “river rock.” There’s a different applicator and you can’t go over the same spot twice while it’s wet. So pay attention to these little tips and tricks of the trade that you get in the video and you’ll be really happy with that finished product.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. This is all the time we have but the show does continue online, 24-7, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 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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