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  • Transcript


    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)
    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you’re planning an energy-saving home improvement. Maybe you’re planning a decorating project. Maybe you’ve got a ten-foot couch in a nine-foot room and it just won’t fit. (Leslie chuckles) Well, we can help. 888-666-3974.
    Hey, coming up this hour, we’ve got some tips to help you freshen up your home. If you’re planning to do that, a steam cleaning is one way to get the job done. But before you rent the steam cleaner, you need to know how to get it done safely and without damaging your carpets. We’re going to tell you in just a bit.
    LESLIE: Alright, now that’s inside. When you want to clean outside, let me tell you, a pressure washer is your absolute best bet. But we want you to be prepared before you go ahead and start using. It is a very, very powerful tool, the pressure washer, and you will get beautiful results but we want you to do it right; so we’re going to have some tips in just a few minutes.
    TOM: And the first tip is to use the pressure washer outside …
    LESLIE: Exactly.
    TOM: … and the steam cleaner inside. Don’t get that backwards because it may not work out so well; even though they’re both fun tools to use.
    LESLIE: They really are.
    TOM: And for your décor du jour tip today – your decorating tip of the day – why not create some glamour in the bathroom with some interesting lighting. We’re going to tell you why a chandelier isn’t just for your dining room anymore.
    LESLIE: And one lucky caller that we talk to this hour is going to win a $50 prize pack of Earth Plastic paint cups and roller trays. Now, these are made from 100-percent biodegradable, totally recycled plastic water bottles. It’s a great product and it’ll help you do a wonderful painting project.
    TOM: So pick up the phone and give us a call right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to the phones.
    LESLIE: Cathy in Florida needs some help with a window problem. Tell us about the situation.
    CATHY: I have a house – a home in Florida – and I think maybe the windows lost their seal between the two panes of glass.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: Do they look really foggy?
    CATHY: Yes. And what I’m wondering is do you think it’d be more cost effective to just replace the panes of glass or do you think I should replace the entire window?
    TOM: How old are the windows now, Cathy?
    CATHY: Fourteen years.
    LESLIE: Ooh.
    TOM: Yep, pretty old. I will tell you this; that the failed seal probably is not affecting the energy efficiency that much. It’s mostly making it …
    LESLIE: It’s just a cosmetic issue, right?
    TOM: Yeah, it’s making it look pretty nasty but it’s probably not impacting efficiency. If you can’t stand the look of it, I would probably vote to replace the entire window and not just to try to replace the glass panes themselves. Because windows have become so much more energy efficient today, you want to look for Energy Star-rated windows and I think that’s going to give you the best long-term solution here because they’re going to be super energy-efficient and they’re not going to break down and you can enjoy them.
    LESLIE: And Cathy, you’ll probably see a big savings in your cooling costs.
    CATHY: OK. What do you think would have created the break in the seal?
    TOM: What happens is that’s a wear-and-tear issue. There is an insulator between the panes of glass. It’s called different things. One of the most common types – if it looks sort of like a black, rubbery strip it’s called swiggle.
    LESLIE: I love it.
    TOM: And it breaks down and it lets some moisture in from the outside and that moisture condenses inside the glass and that’s why it looks kind of foggy and cloudy and nasty-like.
    CATHY: Alright. Well, thank you. Somebody told me that it could be because we power washed our windows and I didn’t want to make that same mistake again.
    TOM: No, no, no. No, no; you didn’t do it. Nope, you didn’t do it.
    CATHY: OK.
    TOM: Just normal wear and tear.
    CATHY: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Sure Cathy feels better now knowing that she didn’t cause her windows to fail. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: And you know, it happens like without rhyme or reason. We have a window that we put in five years ago, when we bought the house, and it’s – one of the windows, it’s like a full panel of casement windows and one of them has a failed …
    TOM: Right. And all the others are fine?
    LESLIE: All the others are fine.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Bill in Maryland now who’s in the market for a new home. How can we help you?
    BILL: I’m thinking about buying a modular home and I was just trying to weigh the differences between a modular and a stick-built home.
    TOM: OK.
    BILL: And that would be in three different categories: one would be cost; the next would be structural integrity; and then the third being resale. And I was just wondering if you guys could help me out on that.
    TOM: Well, I think, first of all, that modular homes can be as well built if not better built than conventional stick-built homes. The reason for that, Bill, is because they’re constructed in a factory where …
    LESLIE: In a controlled environment.
    TOM: Yeah, the quality is totally controlled. You know, they’re going to manufacture the wall exactly to what it needs to be without having to worry about weather and material fluctuations and things of this nature. You know, those modular companies also have very good buying power because they’re just buying a lot of lumber all at the same time; not just one house at a time but tens and hundreds of homes at a time. So I think the quality is really quite good.
    BILL: Great.
    LESLIE: And as far as resale value, I think, you know, modern homebuyers are really open to a good-quality home, good construction, energy efficiency. And if the home offers all of that, I don’t think it matters to them if it’s modular or stick-built. As long as it meets the criteria for energy efficiency, carbon output, are we being environmentally conscious, I think it really does make a good effort if the home is just well put-together regardless of how it’s built.
    TOM: And Bill, I can tell you, after being a home inspector for 20 years, that very many times I would inspect homes and I’d be the first one to tell the prospective homebuyer that it was a modular home. They’d have no idea because it’s just not that obvious.
    BILL: OK, well great. That helps a lot. I appreciate it.
    TOM: Alright, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: I just like the idea of knowing that my subfloor wasn’t like sitting out in a rainstorm for months.
    TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can be part of The Money Pit by calling in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, before winter comes and you need to seal the house for the cold weather ahead, why not take some time to freshen up your whole house by steam cleaning your carpets? We’re going to have a few tips for a job done right, right after this.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home repair or your home improvement question and you’ve got a chance to win a great prize. We are giving away, this hour, a $50 prize package from American Trade Products and in that prize pack we’ve got 100-percent biodegradable and recyclable paint trays and accessories and they’re all made with a breakthrough material called Earth Plastic, which is made from recycled water bottles. We know you’re out there drinking them, so go ahead and recycle them and eventually it’ll get back in your hands as a paint tray. And one lucky caller is going to win this great green prize if you give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, if you’ve got a full house, like I do, you know that kids and pets and family traffic can lead to some pretty dingy-looking carpets very quickly. Fortunately, though, it’s not that hard to steam clean your carpets. This is something that you can do at least once a year to keep your carpets looking new and smelling fresh and it’ll help them last longer as well. You can rent a steam cleaner at your local home center or even at a supermarket right near your house.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you do go ahead and rent it, you just want to make sure that you get the right amount and the right type of cleaning fluid to go with the machine that you’re using. And keep in mind that if you’ve got pet odor issues, there’s also very specific pet solutions available out there. You just want to read and follow the directions carefully. You might even consider getting the upholstery attachment for your hard-to-reach areas or your furniture and the stairs. It will be super-duper helpful. And you may even want to go over extremely dirty areas more than once to get the results that you’re looking for. Remember, a little hard work is going to go a very long way in keeping your home feeling and looking fresh and considering we’re about to close up those windows very shortly and stay inside all the time, this will be very, very helpful to keep your nose happy. (chuckles)
    TOM: Good point.
    888-666-3974.   Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Bill in California needs some help with a flooring situation. What can we do for you today?
    BILL: Hi. I’m in a wheelchair, electric wheelchair, and I am constantly twisting and turning and going back and forth getting up from my desk. And I’ve tried all types of different rugs and everything and I keep wearing them out. And I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong or what type can I put in there or what should I do.
    TOM: Well, carpet is not your best choice for …
    LESLIE: Especially one with a pile, of sorts.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: You probably want something that’s like a super-tight nap, rather than a pile, to get over more easily.
    TOM: And even if you did have that, I think it’s really going to be – not stand up well to the punishment of that wheelchair. What we would recommend is a hard surface. I mean if you use something like a laminate floor or an engineered hardwood with a very, very durable finish, I don’t think you’ll ever wear it out and it’ll be very, very easy to maneuver.
    LESLIE: And smooth.
    TOM: And there’s so many advances in that type of hard surface flooring, Bill, that it really can look quite attractive. I mean you can get laminate floor that looks just like hardwood.
    If you want to have some carpets, just use some throw rugs; some area rugs that you can replace from time to time but I would not recommend wall-to-wall carpet.
    BILL: That sounds like a good idea.
    TOM: Bill, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to head over to Delaware to chat with Theresa. What can we do for you today?
    THERESA: I’ve got a wall of mirrors in my home and I was wondering what the best way was to remove them.
    LESLIE: And are they like floor-to-ceiling, super-giant, glued-on, as impossibly glued as possible?
    THERESA: Well, I’m not sure. They’ve got – they’re in pieces and there are these little – they look like little rosettes that may be holding them on and I’m kind of afraid to even attempt to remove them.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, it can be somewhat dangerous. We can give you one trick of the trade and that is that sometimes the professional mirror companies, what they’ll do is they’ll actually run a wire behind that and try to get the wire between the mirror and between the wall and pulling it down …
    LESLIE: Just sort of slice the adhesive.
    TOM: Yeah, and generally what it does is strips the adhesive off the wall and almost always takes some of the paper of the drywall with it; so you have quite a bit of repair work to be done but it beats breaking the mirrors up. However, if you do this, you’ve got to be really careful; you’ve got to have safety glasses; you’ve got to have gloves. Because the mirror could break at any time.
    LESLIE: And use like a clear contact paper or some sort of contact paper across the face of the mirror so that if it does break it doesn’t go like shattering everywhere; it sort of just breaks but sticks to the paper and sort of falls off in one piece if it does. But those rosettes that you describe – in the corner, Theresa – those could really simply just be holding like a sheet mirror to the wall because that’s generally what those are used for. So look at those rosettes; see if there’s a screw in it, are they nailed in; if you removed it, does the mirror sort of back away from the wall. You know, start with a corner and see what happens before you get all crazy.
    THERESA: Alright. Well, thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Ben in Massachusetts has a leaky roof and is wondering about mildew. Tell us what happened. Is it still leaking? What’s going on?
    BEN: Yes, Tom and Leslie, I have a little problem with a shed roof.
    TOM: OK.
    BEN: OK, I intend to get it repaired, (inaudible at 0:12:31.5). But stain is coming through inside the house.
    TOM: OK.
    BEN: Ceiling is all stained. Now, how can I detect if I have any mildew or mold?
    TOM: Well, the first thing, Ben, is to get the leak fixed; because if you don’t get the leak fixed, then you could definitely be growing some mildew or some decay in between the roof and the ceiling. But if you get the leak fixed and you dry it out, then all those decay organisms essentially stop deteriorating your wood.
    BEN: Is there any way of telling if I do have mold without pulling (ph) the boards apart now or …?
    TOM: I would worry more about getting it fixed so it doesn’t leak anymore and not so much about what’s happening in a place that you can’t get to and can’t see.
    BEN: OK, so basically you can smell mold. Correct?
    TOM: Well, you – sometimes you can. But if you dry it out, then decay organisms can’t deteriorate your wood. In your case, I’d be more worried about the structure than anything else. You see, if wood gets 25 percent moist, then the decay organisms wake up and start to eat away at the wood and that’s how you get rotted roof rafters and rotted roof sheathing. So you’ve got to fix this leak so that that stops happening.
    BEN: Right. OK, sounds great.
    TOM: Alright, Ben. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Joan in Colorado is dealing with a painting situation. What’s going on?
    JOAN: Yes, well thank you, Tom and Leslie. About four years ago we had the outside of our house painted and now I’ve noticed, from last summer and also this year, the paint is chipping off the foundation because they also – you know, they painted the foundation along with the siding and it’s taking off a layer of the concrete from the foundation.
    TOM: OK.
    JOAN: And so, we really don’t know what to do; whether we should repaint the foundation or – basically, my husband would love to just get rid of the paint on the foundation but, again, we have that problem of the concrete chipping off with the paint.
    TOM: Well, probably what’s happening is the paint is separating from the concrete foundation and the reason it’s doing that is because …
    LESLIE: Because of the moisture.
    TOM: Yeah, the concrete is very hydroscopic, Joan. It soaks up an amazing amount of water. And they probably used the same paint they used on the house and the foundation, which was the wrong thing to do.
    LESLIE: Rather than using a masonry paint.
    TOM: Yeah, correct. So I think that what you might want to do is try to get off all the loose paint you can on the foundation and then I would prime it again and do this on a really, really dry day. Make sure it’s primed …
    LESLIE: Yeah, let it dry for a couple of days.
    JOAN: OK.
    LESLIE: Like wait until that foundation is as dry as it can possibly be.
    TOM: Yep.
    LESLIE: Take two, three days dry weather.
    TOM: Prime it; use an oil-based primer. You’ll have the best adhesion and then you can put a topcoat of foundation paint, masonry paint, over that. You could have the paint tinted so perhaps your husband can get a different color, if that’s what he’s trying to go for. You know, maybe go back to the gray color. It doesn’t matter.
    LESLIE: What about patching any of the concrete that sort of chipped off with the paint with an epoxy compound?
    TOM: Yeah, if you have chips or holes, you can patch it and, as Leslie said, use an epoxy patch material for that.
    JOAN: Oh, OK.
    JOAN: (overlapping voices) Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. It’s not critical; it’s more cosmetic. OK, Joan?
    JOAN: OK. Well, thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Sally in Georgia has got a water problem at her house. It’s causing her house to sink. What’s going on?
    SALLY: Actually, the water is streaming (ph) underneath my house and every time it rains you can tell the yard starts to fill and then we look under the house and it’s full. And the house is – well, it was built in the 30s; so it’s up on bricks and we could tell that there were cracks in the bricks starting to appear. And we had someone come in and take measurements and apparently the floor is all out of level. And so the house is sinking and no one will come in and fix the house from sinking until we solve the water problem. So we’re trying to figure out how to get the water from underneath the house.
    TOM: Does the water only accumulate after heavy rainstorms or does it seem to be there all the time?
    SALLY: Any time it rains. It doesn’t have to be a heavy rain; it can be a light rain; any amount of water.
    TOM: OK, well then we need to trace how the water is getting from the sky to under your house and typically that happens because it’s not being managed properly either right at the house or around the house. For example, do you have, Sally, gutter systems on the entire house?
    SALLY: No. There’s no gutters.
    TOM: Alright. Well, that would be part of the problem right there; in fact, that might be the entire problem. You need to collect the water at the roof’s edge; you need to run it down downspouts and you need to extend those spouts well away from the foundation perimeter. If you’re going to allow the roof to spill the water right at the side of the house, it’s going to run right back under the house and it’s going to erode a lot of bricks along the way. So you need to get gutters on the house. And once you do that, I think you’re going to see a dramatic difference on the amount of water that’s collecting.
    LESLIE: And I think if you also look at the grading, it’s possible that somewhere along your property you’ve got, you know, maybe a higher area that’s forcing the water to go right towards your house; so if you can sort of …
    SALLY: Everything in the area is higher.
    LESLIE: Yeah, make it so that that is lower and the water will go away from your house.
    SALLY: Thank you.
    TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: She sounded desperate but it’s not that bad.
    TOM: I know. No, I mean we hit the nail right on the head when we asked her if she had gutters. If you don’t have gutters, you’re going to flood. I mean that’s a house waiting for a flood, without gutters.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live and one of the solutions to the dirty, dingy places in my house is a pressure washer. It’s one of my favorite tools because once you get started with it, you never want to stop. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know to use one on your house, after this.
    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And this is a great time of year to do some of those outdoor chores like pressure washing your deck, your patio furniture or even your siding. Now, if you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent them by the day at your local home center but there is a right and a wrong way to use this tool.
    The best thing to do is to let the soap solutions do the work. At close range, a pressure washer can actually damage siding; it can drive water deep into walls, which can cause mold problems; and it can splinter the wood on your deck as well. So remember to use a good-quality soap solution with it. They have mildicide solutions as well – if you’re trying to get rid of moss and mildew and siding, for example. And make sure you saturate the area. Let that sit for a while and don’t just try to blast off the dirt; let the soap do its work. Then gently rinse off, using as light a setting as possible, all the dirt and the debris on whatever surface that you are trying to clean.
    You know, with a bit of finesse and without being too overly aggressive with your pressure washer, you’re going to get some really great results. It’ll really spiff up the way your outside looks for the fall.
    LESLIE: Now if you’re like me and getting very, very tired of borrowing your neighbor’s pressure washer (Leslie snickers) – I’m always borrowing my neighbor’s pressure washer; I’m super-duper thankful but I am getting to the point where I definitely want to buy my own. So if you want to buy your own pressure washer, we are going to have some great shopping tips for you in our next Money Pit e-newsletter. It’s absolutely free and comes to your inbox every, single week; so sign up now for some great information at MoneyPit.com.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’ve got a fall clean-up question because we are here to help.
    LESLIE: Mark in Arizona is dealing with an odor at his place of business. What can we help you with?
    MARK: Well, we’ve owned the business for 11 years and the whole time we’ve owned the business – [the building had a den] (ph) – has always had a smell only in the summertime, never in the winter, and it’s always been like a sewer smell; like you would smell – like that smell that would come out of those vent pipes that come out of your house.
    TOM: Right.
    MARK: And I tried – like there’s two of them in the – there’s two bathrooms, so there’s two vent pipes going up and out of the building and I tried extending but it’s only on one side of the building we have the smell. So I tried extending that pipe, thinking because it was coming over – the wind coming over the building was blowing it into the air conditioner unit and putting it inside the building.
    TOM: Right.
    MARK: But that didn’t work. And I was wondering maybe if there was something that could be done to – you know, that would make that smell go away.
    TOM: Generally speaking, when you have a sewage odor issue, there’s a problem with a trap. And the trap is the curved part of the pipe that basically holds water inside of it so it won’t let …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To stop those sewage gases from coming out.
    TOM: To stop the gases from leaking back out. Now, do you have any kinds of showers or anything of that – or is it just – what’s in the bathroom itself?
    MARK: It’s just a sink and a toilet (inaudible at 0:21:38.4).
    TOM: Sink and a toilet? I wonder if you’ve got a broken vent pipe somewhere in the wall. Can you see the vent pipe all the way up and out, the way you’re building this design?
    MARK: You can see some of it. I don’t know if you can see all of it. I tried looking at that a year or so ago and we tried different things and we just never can resolve it. And it’s only in the summertime, it’s never in the winter; which is strange. It gets really hot here.
    TOM: Right.
    MARK: Like 120 degrees hot.
    TOM: Right.
    MARK: So I’m thinking it has something to do with that, obviously; because versus the winter you never get it. So …
    TOM: Right. Well, here’s what you might want to think about doing. You could have a pipe inspection done. And the folks that are – that usually do the drain cleaning, like Roto-Rooter and that sort of thing, they have drain cameras that can actually run through these pipes …
    LESLIE: So you don’t have to disrupt anything.
    TOM: Yeah, without doing any demolition and try to figure out where this disconnect is because, obviously, that’s what’s going on. The trap is either improperly constructed – it’s too shallow; it gets warm; the air dries out; something of that nature – but if it’s happening inside the building cavity, that might be a good way to identify it without doing any demolition.
    MARK: Alright, thank you.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Nancy in Colorado needs some help with carpeting. What can we do for you?
    NANCY: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. We have an outdoor carpet on a patio. Our home was built in the 70s and I …
    TOM: Mm-hmm. It was popular back there, wasn’t it, Nancy?
    NANCY: I think maybe so.
    TOM: Not such a good idea today, though.
    NANCY: No. I haven’t even told my husband, until I made the phone calls, that I was even thinking about wanting to do it.
    TOM: (chuckling) OK. Now that the idea is out, how can we help?
    NANCY: Well, do you have suggestions on how to take it off the concrete patio pad?
    TOM: Well, the carpet comes off easy; it’s the glue that doesn’t come off so easy. (Nancy chuckles)
    LESLIE: And the remnants of the carpet.
    NANCY: Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. You know what you’re probably going to end up doing here is taking the carpet off, scraping as much glue as possible off of that old slab and then I would use an epoxy paint. And you can do a really good job painting a slab and have it look very, very attractive today and that will kind of hide all of these sins and, in fact, there are some cool techniques where you can sort of paint the appearance of carpet on …
    LESLIE: Or even tile.
    TOM: Yeah, or tile on slabs and have it look really attractive.
    NANCY: OK, yeah. Well, I …
    TOM: Aren’t there like stencils for that, Leslie?
    LESLIE: Well, there are oversized stencils – I think the website is ConcreteResources.com – and there’s large stencils that you can get for an entire, you know, concrete patio that will help you. But you can lay out a tile pattern with tape and you can use the grayness of the concrete or even you can paint a gray basecoat – let that dry – to create a grout line and then you can create a beautiful terracotta-look tile.
    NANCY: Oh, that sounds great.
    LESLIE: I mean there are ways to do it. As long as you get proper concrete paint and prep the surface properly, you can really make something very, very attractive.
    NANCY: OK, well thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate that.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, are you looking to add a little glamour to that boring bath? Then the right lighting fixture is your solution. We are going to tell you how to bring high drama to your bathroom, next.
    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And this is where home solutions live. If you pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you could win a $50 prize package from American Trade Products. It’s 100-percent biodegradable and recyclable paint trays and accessories made with a breakthrough material called Earth Plastic. It’s made from recycled water bottles, so it’s pretty green and it can help you get your next painting project done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, well give us a call if you’re looking to make your bathroom a much nicer place within your money pit. Now, the right lighting can really make a huge difference in your bathroom; so why be bored in your bath? Why not try something unexpected? For example, your bathroom, it’s the last place that you would expect to see a high-glamour, gorgeous chandelier. But whether you choose a chandelier that’s a simple, hanging pendant or even an ornate crystal, this really beautiful overhead fixture – when combined with a dimmer – can set the mood for a relaxing bath or shoot that dimmer all the way up and now you’ve got the perfect lighting for shaving, makeup, whatever you need to do that you need a lot of lighting for. It does make a huge difference, it’s totally unusual and I promise you it’s gorgeous.
    TOM: Personally, I don’t like a lot of light in the morning.
    LESLIE: Well, sometimes you need it.
    TOM: Kind of like to slide into it. So the dimmer idea is a good one. (Leslie chuckles) Start low and kind of work up as your confidence builds.
    LESLIE: As you’re waking up. (Tom chuckles) [“Oh, I’m kind of awake.”] (ph)
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now if you are not confident about your next home improvement project. We will restore that confidence; give you the tips, the ideas and the inspiration to get the job done.
    LESLIE: Joseph in New York is going to have a very chilly fall and winter with no insulation in his home. What’s going on?
    JOSEPH: Yes, we have kind of an old house here. It has no insulation. It’s a solid masonry building with no insulation and it has firring strips and wood lath and plaster on that. We were wondering if we put a rigid insulation over the plaster …
    TOM: OK.
    JOSEPH: … and then sheetrock that – OK, so that that would take care of the fire problem – and if it would be a – if there would be any condensation problem.
    TOM: No, I don’t believe there would be. I mean that’s a technique that’s fairly common, actually. Let me think about this. Should you put a vapor barrier in? Yeah, you probably should put a vapor barrier in first.
    JOSEPH: Well, actually, the material that I was using, thought of using, is already encapsulated with the foil on both sides.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, alright. Yeah, that’s isocyanurate foam insulation.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, then that’s fine.
    TOM: Yeah, that should be fine. That shouldn’t …
    JOSEPH: Oh, you don’t think there’d be a problem with that, huh?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Not at all.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, I don’t think so.
    JOSEPH: (overlapping voices) Oh, great.
    TOM: No, you can put that right against the masonry. You can frame around that and then put drywall on top of that and that’ll seal it up quite nicely. Also, take a look at those windows and doors. This is also a good opportunity for you to think about replacing some of them that may be particularly drafty.
    JOSEPH: Oh, yeah. We’re going to be doing that also. And the whole idea was, with the oil being the way it is, you know, we ought to really do something here.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, I think that’s a good option.
    JOSEPH: I appreciate it very much.
    TOM: Alright, Joe. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Karen in California is hoping that her dryer will serve double purpose in her home this cool season. What can we do for you, Karen?
    KAREN: Well, yeah, along the lines of conserving heat/money, is there any way to harness the heat from the dryer vent that just melts the snow in the winter outside the house; but while inside …
    LESLIE: But it’s helping you shovel that area. (Tom chuckles)
    KAREN: (chuckles) Well, there’s bunny holes. I mean somebody’s benefiting. (Leslie and Karen chuckle)
    TOM: You know, Karen, that’s a good question and it might seem like a logical question because why dump all that heat outside your house. There actually have been, over the years, manufacturers that have designed these damper-like devices that basically filter the air but sort of bypass the cleaned air back into the house. The problem with that is that it’s not just hot air. It’s hot air that’s got a lot of water vapor in it. And when you dump all that water vapor back into your house, you cause all sorts of air quality issues including mold. And that moisture that gets up into the attic space eventually …
    LESLIE: Oh, and I bet it just feels gross.
    TOM: Well, kind of gets pretty damp. If that moisture gets up into the attic – because eventually a lot of that vapor pressure gets up there – then it also saturates your insulation and that makes that very ineffective.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which won’t work as well.
    TOM: So good question but not – there’s no practical solution to it. If you’re concerned about conserving energy, I would start with a good energy audit. You know, the EPA website, the EnergyStar.gov website, has a great section on home energy audits. They’ve got home energy audits that you can do yourself and then they’ve got referrals to find an actual auditor that comes in your house and looks for those kinds of areas where you can conserve some energy. So I don’t think that that’s a good place for you to start though, for all those reasons.
    KAREN: Oh. OK. Well, the bunnies, I guess will have it. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Good idea. That’s right. Alright, Karen.
    LESLIE: Let the bunnies enjoy their heat.
    KAREN: Yeah.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Going down to the basement with Stacy in New Jersey. How can we help?
    STACY: I’m wondering if there’s an alternative to running a dehumidifier all the time. Is there something that we can have installed that will vent to the outside? It’s a finished basement. It just smells of mildew all the time.
    TOM: Sure. How is your house heated and cooled, Stacy? Do you have a forced air system?
    STACY: Yes, we have central air and heat.
    TOM: And what about the basement? Is that covered by the central air system?
    STACY: Yes.
    TOM: Alright, well this is good then. What you can do is you can install what’s called a whole-house or a whole-home dehumidifier. It actually gets installed into the HVAC system and it runs 24/7 to maintain the proper humidity; not only in the basement but throughout the entire house.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Throughout the whole house. And it even, Stacy, will kick on more often within the basement zone where you end up with the most moisture and I think in tests it removed 90 pints of water a day, one of the products; one of the whole-home dehumidifiers from a company called Aprilaire.
    STACY: Aprilaire?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes.
    STACY: OK.
    TOM: Yeah, Aprilaire.com. Now, the other thing that you can do, Stacy, is to take some steps to reduce that humidity by looking outside your house and making sure your gutters are clean and free-flowing and that the grading around the house slopes away from the walls. Because, typically, basements get real humid before they have poor drainage conditions around the outside that allows the water to sort of saturate the foundation and then that water evaporates into the basement. So it’s really a two-step process: outside you can improve the grading and drainage so you try to keep it as dry as possible; and then inside, add a whole-home dehumidifier and you’ll find that the home gets real dry and real comfortable very quickly.
    STACY: Oh, perfect. Sounds good. Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Stacy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, if you’re looking to add more space to your money pit, is prefab a good way to go with your addition? We’re going to answer that, next.
    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, when you’re listening to The Money Pit, did you ever think, “Oh, my God. I just missed that super-important piece of information. I don’t have a pen. How am I going to write it down? I’m never going to remember that product.” Well, if that’s been you at any point, no worries, friends. We’ve got a year’s worth of past shows all available online completely for free at MoneyPit.com. They’re totally free, as I said; they’re downloadable; totally searchable. You will find whatever you missed and then some.
    TOM: And while you’re on MoneyPit.com, you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie just like Steve did from Iowa who says: “I am looking to add a second floor to a ranch home. I wanted to get your opinion on using a modular home company as opposed to a builder or contractor.” Steve, good question. First of all, in general, modular homes versus stick-built homes – I’m a big fan of modular homes because they’re factory-built, so they can control the quality; they don’t – weather is not an issue as the home is being assembled; plus, they can get built a lot quicker once they get to your site because they’re already sort of in chunks.
    Now, in terms of adding a second floor to your home, I’m actually not aware that that’s available as a modular unit. So if it is in your area, not that familiar about it except to say that assuming it’s available and it in fact is completely factory-built, there’s nothing to be afraid of from that perspective because you do have a level of quality control that you wouldn’t have in the field.
    LESLIE: Alright, next up we’ve got one here from Wayne who writes: “I have a concrete pad in my backyard that’s 12×22. The previous owner had a large shed on it. I will be installing a 12×10 shed on the existing pad and for the remainder of the exposed concrete, I want to dress it up. Can I put pavers over the concrete? What other options do I have, besides pavers, to dress up the concrete? And I want to put a patio set on the remaining exposed concrete.”
    TOM: Well, you certainly can put pavers on top of the concrete. Now …
    LESLIE: Will that cause a step down or a door issue?
    TOM: No, I mean as long as it’s – you know, you’ve got to, obviously – I’m assuming he’s going to put those down before he builds the shed.
    LESLIE: So put the pavers completely down then the shed on top.
    TOM: Yeah, I would. I would. I’d even actually create a bit of a curb and put the shed on top of the curb and then paver up to that. So that’s clearly something that you can do. But you can also take this concrete slab and turn it into sort of a painted patio.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean there’s a lot of options, Wayne, when you start thinking about it. There is acid staining, which previously was kind of a – you know, a pro-only project. I mean those who did venture to do it themselves, some did great and some got mixed results. QUIKRETE, however, now has a do-it-yourself acid staining kit for the outside. It’s available in three colors; sort of a copper, an ochre and a green. It’s beautiful.
    You can also paint. Make sure you get paints made specifically for concrete. Do a beautiful pattern, make it look like tile. Totally up to your imagination. Do some research online and you will create something that’s absolutely unique and gorgeous.
    TOM: Well, if you’re bracing for a chilly and a costly heating season, there’s one thing you can do right now to save a bundle when it comes to the heat you’ll need for your home this winter. It’s a fairly inexpensive project and it’s a good do-it-yourself job as well. Leslie’s got info on how to install a programmable thermostat in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. A program thermostat is going to ensure that you don’t play with the temperature all day long and that’s going to mean that you save money. So keep it at a steady temperature when you’re in the house and then you want to keep it set to about 55 degrees at night or when you’re not at home; when you’re away for long periods of time. This way, you’ll have the heat come up automatically about an hour before you wake and you won’t freeze after your morning shower, which we all know nobody likes to do, and you can do the same thing just before everybody comes in for the evening. It’s super-convenient; it’s going to save you so much money and energy, you are going to wonder why the heck you didn’t install one sooner. It’s an easy project, so go out there and get yourselves one.
    TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, it’s the time of year to check your house for leaks and to button it up. We’re going to tell you how to track down the sneakiest leaks; the ones that you can’t see but collectively are adding up to huge holes in your wall through which your heating dollars escape, on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 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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