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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • 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.)


    (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: Call us now with your home improvement project. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us now if you started a project and it just didn’t work out so well. Anything worth starting is worth starting over with our help. 888-666-3974.

    Hey, maybe one of your projects that you’re planning for this time of year is adding some attic insulation. You know, this is what we call the Goldilocks season for home improvement because it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold; especially if you want to do a bit of attic work and adding insulation is always a great way to make your home energy efficient but only if that insulation stays dry. And one way to make sure it stays dry is to check the vent fans in the bathrooms. We’re going to tell you how to do that in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, do you find yourself constantly worrying about pests plaguing your plants? Well, if you are and you love houseplants and outdoor plants, we’re going to give you a way to keep the bugs away without the use of any harsh chemicals or pesticides. We’ll have a natural alternative that’s going to help your plants and the environment.

    TOM: And another way to stay green is to make sure your front entry is sealed nice and tight to keep the warm or cool air inside so your energy dollars are not escaping through all those gaps and cracks and leaks. And one way to make sure your door is energy efficient is to install a fiberglass door. Fiberglass doors have been around for like 25 years now. We’re going to have some tips on how to find the right door for your home.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, one caller that we talk to is going to win an Energizer Light on Demand prize package. You’ve got to be in it to win it. You’ve got to give us a call, ask your home improvement question on the air and you could win this great prize from Energizer.

    TOM: It’s a prize package worth 70 bucks so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Andy in Virginia, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?

    ANDY: Hi, guys. I was calling because a previous caller on another show – earlier show – asked about how to keep a showerbed from creaking if remodeling a bathroom.

    TOM: Yes.

    ANDY: My showerbed creaks. It’s a brand new townhouse – about two years old – and I, of course, don’t want to rip out the shower pan to fix the creaking. I was wondering how you go about fixing that and also, a second part of that question, now that I’ve had time to think about it, is sometimes the pipes tend to knock a little bit when it’s cold out and I’m running hot water through them from the shower and so forth from the master bathroom. They tend to creak and like just knock in the walls.

    TOM: Well Andy, these – both these problems would have been so easy to fix when the townhouse was being built.

    ANDY: Oh.

    TOM: But now that it is built, they’re very difficult to fix, so I can explain both of them. First of all, the shower pan creaking is because they didn’t put a base under it. Typically, you’re going to mix up a mortar mix when you set a shower pan, especially a fiberglass shower pan, so that you have a real solid bottom to it and sort of squish the shower pan down into it so it’s very well supported. In terms of the pipes, what happens is the pipes are very tight to the framing and so, as you turn on hot or cold water you get this expansion and contraction. Very often it’s described as sounding like a leak but it really isn’t. It’s really just the pipe sort of rubbing across the wood. And fixing either of those requires demolition, which we wouldn’t recommend. So I would say just live with it.

    ANDY: Really?

    TOM: Yep.

    LESLIE: Not the answer you were hoping for. (chuckling)

    TOM: Yeah, I mean if you could get access under the shower pan, you know, I could give you a couple of tricks of the trade; like you could use expandable foam sealant.

    LESLIE: To sort of suck it in there.

    ANDY: I was actually going to ask you about that.

    TOM: You could do that but you’d have to get access underneath and, you know, by the time you do that, if you poke or prod in the wrong place you’re going to end up drilling a hole right through that shower pan itself and then that would get ugly.

    ANDY: Probably could access it from the other side of the wall in my hallway, so that’s actually not a bad idea for me.

    TOM: Well, then give it a shot. But don’t overdo it on the foam sealant because the foam does expand and it can actually push up on the shower pan. So be very ginger about how much of that stuff you put in, OK?

    ANDY: Great, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. I really enjoy your show.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Andy. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Taking a call now from Julius in New York who’s dealing with a long distance for hot water to travel. Tell us about your problem.

    JULIUS: OK, I have a long, narrow house and the gas hot water heater is at one end of the house and my master bathroom is about 60 feet away at the other end.

    TOM: Wow. So you wait a long time for hot water in the morning. Is that right?

    JULIUS: Right, and what I’m thinking of doing is putting in an on-demand heater to replace the gas hot water heater …

    TOM: Right.

    JULIUS: … and that would supply the laundry and the kitchen and one bath we have at that end of the house. What I’m wondering is do I install a second one for this end of the house or do I just wait until the hot water comes down that whole length of pipe?

    TOM: Well, replacing your conventional water heater with a tankless water heater that stays in the same location is not going to affect the amount of time it takes for the water to get from the water heater to your bathroom faucet which is 60 feet away.

    JULIUS: Right.

    TOM: That’s a function of the distance. However, if you were to install a second tankless water heater near the bathroom, then that would eliminate that problem; the reason being you would have, essentially, two separate zones of domestic hot water, neither of which would have to travel very far to get to the bathrooms and other fixtures that serve it.

    JULIUS: Right.

    LESLIE: And the tankless water heaters are much smaller so you can really put it in a space that you wouldn’t think would normally accommodate a traditional tanked water heater.

    JULIUS: OK. Does it make sense to install two of them?

    TOM: Yes, and that’s – if you want to stop waiting for the hot water then you have to install two of them. If you don’t mind waiting for the hot water you could still install just one in the same position that the conventional water heater was installed in, but just understand that although it will be a more efficient water heater you’re still going to have to wait that amount of time …

    LESLIE: It still has to travel that distance.

    TOM: Yeah, and you’re still going to waste that amount of cold water on the way there.

    JULIUS: Right, and eventually all that hot water in the pipes just dissipates into the air after I’m done showering.

    TOM: That’s right. That’s correct.

    JULIUS: Well, thank you. That gives me a good idea on how to approach it.

    LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are your home improvement gurus so give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have got an answer for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, your bathroom exhaust fans are great for directing moisture away from the most humid room in your house but where exactly does all that moisture go? Why should you care? Well, if it goes up in your attic it’s going to cost you a lot of energy dollars and perhaps some structural damage. Learn why, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Have spring storms made your house a mobile home but it didn’t start out that way? Well, we can help if you’ve had some damage around your house. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and give us a call at that magic and useful number because one caller that we talk to this hour is going to win an Energizer Light on Demand prize pack. It’s worth 70 bucks and with the Light on Demand you will never be left in the dark during a power outage again. All of the products, they run normally on power and then have a backup rechargeable battery as well. It’s a great prize pack. It’s worth 70 bucks but you’ve got to be in it to win it and ask your home improvement question on the air. So give us a call now for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Time to talk a bit about those bathroom exhaust vans. They’re great because they pull all that moisture out of the bathroom and make sure that our mirrors don’t get fogged up; most important when you’re prepping and pruning yourself. But if that moisture is not being exhausted to the outside, it can cause some pretty serious damage. All of that water, if it gets trapped up in the attic, I can’t tell you how many times, in the years I spent, Leslie, as a home inspector, that I found those bath exhaust fans just dumping all of that humidity up in the attic. And sometimes you can actually see, right above the fan, rotted roof sheathing, rotted roof rafters and mold growth because the moisture is getting trapped in the attic.

    So, what’s the solution? You need to make sure they’re vented to the outside and if you think that you already have one that is, here’s a way that you can check it. Turn the bath fan on and then go look at the little flapper where it comes through the siding and make sure it physically opens up. Because the other thing that happens is sometimes they get stuck. But it’s real important that your bath fans are exhausted totally outside because you don’t want that moisture trapped inside your house and especially not inside your attic.

    888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Paulette in Illinois has a question about a Wayne SmartPump. Tell us what your project is. What are you working on?

    PAULETTE: Well, the sump pump – I was recommended the Wayne Smart and I cannot find it.

    TOM: The Wayne SmartPump is a pretty cool pump because it actually has the ability to reverse itself and clear any clogs. Their website is WaynePumps.com. WaynePumps.com.


    TOM: Or you can call them. They’re out of Ohio. The phone number is 800-237-0987. And you should be able to find a distributor for those pumps by contacting the manufacturer.

    PAULETTE: (overlapping voices) Oh, very good.

    TOM: I saw those demonstrated some time ago. They’re pretty cool because they – if they get clogged with dirt or debris or rocks …

    LESLIE: They correct themselves.

    TOM: … they’re smart enough to know that and they correct themselves; they reverse themselves to clear the clog.

    PAULETTE: Wonderful.

    LESLIE: Going out to New Mexico to discuss window repairs with David. Tell us what’s going on at your Money Pit.

    DAVID: Oh, I’ve got an old, old adobe home.

    TOM: Oh, interesting.

    DAVID: Probably 120 years old; something like that. The adobe is very thick at the bottom; it’s about two feet wide and it tapers at the top to about, oh, maybe 16 inches. In that crawl (ph) I have double-hung wood windows with the pulleys and the sash cords and the sash weights, et cetera.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVID: I need to be able get into the inner part of that window. Now I’m familiar with that. I restored an old Victorian here the last few years ago. But my question is the adobe, the window is set into the adobe and the adobe has been molded to that thickness in a curve up to the edge of the window. So the entire outer frame of the window is covered with this adobe. I’m going to have to take that off. I’m going to have to remove that to get into the cavity where I can work on the sash cords and …

    TOM: Can you open up the trim from the inside of the house or is the adobe surface also wrapped to the inside? In other words, isn’t there a window trim on the inside?

    DAVID: I’m going to work from the inside. The adobe is wrapped on both sides.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    DAVID: OK? So what I’m going to – what I need to do – and I know how to get to it but what can I use to make that – to fill in and make that – it’s about three inches thick of adobe trim …

    TOM: Let me ask you a question, David. How in love are you with these old wood windows? Have you considered replacement windows?

    DAVID: No, I like them. I’m going to keep them.

    TOM: (chuckling) OK. Alright.

    DAVID: They’re not – I understand that they’re not real efficient but where I live the climate is not real fierce.

    TOM: OK.

    DAVID: You know? So it’s not a real problem.

    TOM: The reason I say this is because this is a situation that is – that a replacement window would be perfect for because the replacement window could fit within the existing wood window jambs. In other words, you would just take the sashes apart, leave the weights inside the wall and slip the replacement window in exactly the same space. All replacement windows are custom made so they can be made to fit that exact space of the old window.

    DAVID: I have more in mind to take out part of the adobe, maybe a 16-inch section, and be able to work in – I have to get the sash weight tied to the sash cord. That’s my problem. (laughs)

    TOM: David, one of the tricks of the trade for restoring an old adobe building is to actually save the chunks of material that you’re taking off and then to regrind those and use that material to actually create the replacement mortar for the same space. Now, obviously there’ll be some coloration differences but perhaps that could be taken care of with either a dye or a paint.

    There’s a good website that has lots of adobe repair techniques – it’s called Old House Web – that you might want to take a look at for some more detailed ideas. It’s OldHouseWeb.com.

    DAVID: Excellent. Thank you very much.

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

    Gee, you don’t get an adobe repair question every day, do you?

    LESLIE: No, how interesting. It’s such a nice, historic home.

    Sharon in Pennsylvania is looking to change some cabinets. What’s going on? Tell us about them?

    SHARON: I purchased this home and it’s an older model home. It has the cabinets about 50 years old. They’re dark; they’re heavy; they’re just outdated cabinets. And instead of purchasing a new whole cabinet set I would like to know could y’all tell me a way that I could update my cabinets?

    TOM: Sure.

    LESLIE: Are they solid wood?

    SHARON: Yes.

    LESLIE: Are you looking to paint them or stain them?

    SHARON: Well, I’m trying – it’s a country – it’s like a country-theme kitchen. I want to bring it up to date.

    TOM: Well, a country-theme kitchen I think would be a good candidate for painting the cabinets; maybe doing some …

    LESLIE: Yeah, I mean it could go any way. It could go pickling; it could go a whitewash; it could go even a crackle finish. I mean there’s a ton of different …

    SHARON: What about if I could brighten my kitchen up? Since it’s so dark with that dark wood and I also have dark panel in there.

    LESLIE: Well, I think paint is excellent and it’s also quite simple to apply. It does take a bit of elbow grease and a whole bunch of prep work but if you do everything right and do everything in the proper steps in order, you’re going to get that paint to stay. And to keep with the country theme there’s something called a crackle finish and I think first what you’re going to want to do is you want to make sure you clean those cabinets very, very, very well. You want to get off all of that grit and grease and grime that’s been building up there over the years of this use in the kitchen. And you can use an orange cleanser; you can use trisodium phosphate – called TSP – to give it a good washing; and then I would use something called like a liquid sander and it’s basically a liquid lotion that sort of roughens up the surface of the cabinet just to make it a little bit more happy to adhere to paint or primer; and then you want to use a good – would you use an oil-based primer in the kitchen, Tom?

    TOM: Yeah, I would use an oil-based primer only because it’s more durable for the kitchen cabinets with all the banging that goes around. Plus, you know, you want to make sure that those surfaces are super cleanable.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I would do an oil-based primer and then if you really want to brighten things up and give it a country look, maybe you want to do a base coat of like a sage or like a light green or a lemony yellow; something that’s like soft and pretty. Do that in a flat finish then apply a coat of the crackle paint and then apply a super high-gloss white on top of that and you’ll see that the white paint crackles away a little bit and then that base color that you put on – whatever color you choose – sort of shines through in all these crackly, age-y techniques. But it really does make a nice, country effect and if you’re not into that, simple topcoat of any color paint that you like, as long as you go with a glossy paint, will really stand up to a kitchen.

    TOM: Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    When we come back we’re going to tell you how to make your front entry energy efficient and more beautiful from the inside and out.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us if you’re thinking about putting a brand new door on your house because Americans do want to do their part to help cut down on energy use and be a little greener at home and according to a recent study, if you want to stop air leaks, one good place to do that is right at your front door.

    LESLIE: That’s right and there are so many different materials available for your front door on the market today and a fiberglass door, they are extremely energy efficient if you choose one. And Therma-Tru pioneered fiberglass doors 25 years ago and the company continues to introduce ground-breaking products today. And here to tell us more is Therma-Tru’s General Manager of Product Marketing, Jim McElroy.


    JIM: Thanks, it’s great to be here.

    TOM: So Jim, tell us what the trends are now and how a manufacturer like Therma-Tru is responding to this. Obviously we’re hearing a lot about green construction right now. I mean fiberglass by itself has surprisingly been pretty green because it’s a material that’s easy to generate and it doesn’t take a lot out of our natural resources. But how about some of the decorative trends that you’re seeing right now?

    JIM: OK, well, there are a number of important decorative trends going on. One of those that I would like to highlight for your listeners is a trend towards using more glass in doors – in and around the door; both clear as well as decorative.

    LESLIE: Now Jim, if the trend is for a lot more glass, how does a homeowner feel confident as far as security or even privacy if you’re bringing so much more glass into the equation?

    TOM: And to the green question, what about energy efficiency? Is the technology so that we can get good energy efficiency even by increasing the amount of glazing?

    JIM: Yep. Yes you can. First of all, all of our products are Energy Star-rated, so even as you’re adding glass into the doorway we have Energy Star options for all areas of the country to help conserve energy. And then, in terms of dealing with issues around privacy or security, there are probably three things I would mention. First, a lot of the glass that we’re using is increasingly what we call privacy glass. That is glass that will let light go through but you can’t see through it clearly.

    LESLIE: Oh.

    JIM: So imagine something like a rain glass, that we call, or a granite glass where that is a pattern in it or design that does not let you see through it clearly. So that maintains your privacy but it gives you light. Another way we provide that is with internal blinds that go inside the glass and these blinds can be tilted or closed as well as raised or lowered. So whether you want privacy or you want to see through it, you have that option.

    LESLIE: And that’s good because if you’ve got kids or pets you don’t have to worry about cords or anything hanging down to be, you know, a danger to them.

    JIM: Yep, you keep the kids and the dog away from it and it also means that you don’t have to clean them because they’re inside the glass.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) (inaudible at 0:20:26.4)

    JIM: The other thing we have, related to that, which is maybe more of a security issue as well as for some areas of the country that experience really severe weather, is we have impact-rated glass and doors and these are products that are designed to take a heck of a beating and will not allow anything to get through them.

    TOM: We’re talking to Jim McElroy from Therma-Tru.

    Jim, with respect to the glass, is there any glass out there that is opaque from looking in from the outside but allows you to see out from the inside?

    JIM: You know, we have looked at that and we don’t design specifically for that because it turns the glass more into a one-way mirror.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Right.

    JIM: So instead, what we have found is a way to provide that feature is more with the privacy glass that I mentioned that doesn’t allow you to see through as clearly. Now, what we do also provide is in our designs of all of our glass we rate those on a one-to-ten scale for privacy: you know, one being completely clear – you can see through it; ten being you can’t see anything through that while the light still passes through.

    TOM: And speaking of all those options – you have so many choices today – is the technology getting such that consumers can really, essentially, build their own door and order it from the factory and have it delivered in an affordable way?

    JIM: Pretty much. I’ll tell you, one of the things – as we have so many options that are available, all designed to start with the look and the architectural style of your home – we have so many options, though, that we built a new tool that we put on our website which we call the door designer. It allows someone to go onto our website, pick out a home style – and we have a wide variety of them so you can find something that’s very close to your home – and then we have a little tutorial that will guide you through some selection so you can pick out the door and the glass that matches your style.

    TOM: Jim McElroy from Therma-Tru, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you want more information on Therma-Tru products, you can log onto their website at Therma-Tru.com.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Jim. Great advice about changing the look of your home.

    Well, while you’re outside and you’re beeping around looking for projects to tackle, you might want to take a look and see if your outdoor plants are being plagued by bugs or any other problems that seem awry with your foliage. We’ve got some cheap, safe alternatives to insecticides coming up.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: If you think your last home improvement project would make a great addition to a reality TV show, well you are tuned to the right place because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we are as realistic as it gets when it comes to giving you advice about projects you can do and you can’t do around your house.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT one caller who asks their question on the show is going to win the Energizer Light on Demand prize package worth 70 bucks. All of these Energizer Light on Demand products look like regular lighting fixtures with one very big difference: they run on both electricity and a rechargeable battery backup. So great prize to have. If you want to win it you’ve got to call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, now that spring is definitely here, maybe you want your garden to grow and also do some good things to help the environment as well. Well before you resort to the toxic chemicals that are generally in all of those insecticides and pesticides that you use to get rid of unwanted pests around the yard, try your first best defense: water. That’s right. A good, strong spray of water often tackles a lot of those bugs and other outdoor plant problems and it’s much safer for you, your family and the environment; plus, it makes the garden grow.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Jim in North Carolina has a question about his driveway that’s cracking up. What’s going on?

    JIM: Yeah, we’ve lived in this house about seven years. When we moved in it had a large expanse of driveway without any expansion joints and I complained about that when they first built the house and they came in and they cut a couple of lines in there, of course.

    TOM: And said, ‘Oh, we forgot. Sorry.’ (Leslie chuckles) ‘We’ll saw a couple in for you just to make you feel better.’

    JIM: Yeah, right. But they weren’t very deep and the driveway cracked in a number of places.

    TOM: Lo and behold, you were right.

    JIM: Right, I was absolutely correct.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: And so I rented a concrete cutter and I cut right through the concrete in about six places.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: But the cracks were still there, of course.

    TOM: Right, of course.

    JIM: Now I guess I’m looking for a way to address the cracks because of settling.

    TOM: Let me suggest a line of products that are made by a company called Abatron; A-b-a-t-r-o-n. This is some of the toughest stuff that I’ve ever run across for dealing with all sorts of concrete issues. Very industrial-looking website but you can order the product and it does a really good job. The website is Abatron; A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com. They have patching compounds, they have joint fillers and you’re going to get a supply of this stuff and keep chasing these cracks to try to get them to slow down. At this point, it’s a maintenance issue. It sounds to me like this driveway was never installed correctly in the first place. They obviously didn’t put the expansion joints in; they probably didn’t pitch it right, and so once it started to crack it’s just going to continue and, lord knows, they may not have even compacted the soil underneath. So at this point, all you’re doing is maintaining what you have. You’re not going to be able to improve it, but I would use some of those products from Abatron to try to do just that.

    JIM: OK. That sounds good. I will give that a try.

    TOM: Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Pat in Oklahoma has a question about bathroom flooring. What can we help you with?

    PAT: Yes, I have inherited a tile job on my daughter’s bathroom and …

    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.

    TOM: You inherited it, huh?

    PAT: Yeah.

    TOM: You could have inherited some money but no; he inherited the tile job. (chuckling)

    PAT: Yeah, you win some; you lose some. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Alright. How can we help, Pat?

    PAT: Well, this floor and – it’s both a floor and a shower …

    TOM: OK.

    PAT: … grouted about one to two months ago.

    TOM: OK.

    PAT: And some of – the grout wasn’t cleaned off of the tile very good. Now the grout lines look good. But it’s six-inch porcelain tile and it’s kind of rough and has some indentations in it and it has some grout in those indentations and just trying to figure out an easy way to clean off the excess grout without ruining the grout line.

    TOM: I have never had a lot of success taking dried grout off, have you Leslie?

    LESLIE: No. I mean especially at this stage. You know, at one point, if it were just the clouding or the hazing, that’s fixable.

    PAT: Right.

    LESLIE: But at this point, you know, it’s pretty on there.

    TOM: It’s got a porcelain finish to it?

    PAT: It’s actually porcelain tile.

    TOM: Well, you might be able to buff some of it out if you used a buffing wheel and some very, very fine abrasive.

    PAT: OK.

    TOM: That’s the only idea I have. I’m thinking of the type of abrasive that you use on a car finish. Rubbing compound.

    PAT: Yep. OK.

    LESLIE: It might be gritty enough.

    TOM: Yeah, it might just be gritty enough. I don’t want to use too much and, you know, I would try it very, very slowly. If it’s nice in the joints of the tile itself, then you can leave it alone. If it’s too much in the joints there’s a grout saw that’s available to take excess grout out of the joints in the tile.

    PAT: Really? OK.

    TOM: And so, if the joints are a little bit sloppy you could use a grout saw to try to pull some of that out. But if it’s the tile surface itself, you might want to try to buff that out; perhaps with some rubbing compound and a buffing wheel.

    PAT: OK. I hadn’t thought about rubbing compound.

    TOM: Give it a try. Might work.

    LESLIE: It’s worth a shot.

    TOM: If it doesn’t work, don’t call us back, OK? (Tom and Leslie laugh)

    PAT: I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Up next, a rolling stone gathers no moss but what about a roof? Well, you can gather plenty of moss there. We’ll tell you what to do about it, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question or log onto our website at MoneyPit.com where you can also sign up for a bit of Tom and Leslie to go; that is, our Money Pit podcast available for free at MoneyPit.com. You can also review over a year’s worth of programs there and search our transcripts for the answer to your exact home improvement question because chances are if you have a question about home improvement we’ve probably answered it at least a dozen times and it’s going to be somewhere in one of those shows at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And while you’re there you can also click on Ask Tom and Leslie if you don’t feel like picking up the phone or feeling a little too shy to do so and we will answer your e-mail question like we do every hour at this point. We’ve got one here from Cathy in Olympia, Washington who writes: ‘We have moss starting to grow on our roof and we would like to clean it off. Most products are harmful to the grass and end up killing it. Is there a product that will remove the moss but will not kill the grass once it gets down to the lawn? We then plan on putting the zinc strips but need to remove that moss that’s already there first.’

    TOM: Alright, well second things first. The reason that Cathy is putting strips of zinc on her roof, we often recommend that once you get the moss off your roof you can put a copper strip at the ridge or a zinc strip at the ridge and then …

    LESLIE: Or even nickel.

    TOM: Yeah, or even nickel – that’s right – because as the water, the rainwater, hits that, some of that metal gets released and sort of actually cleans the roof as it runs down your roof.

    But in terms of actually getting that moss off without causing harm to the plants, couple of products that we typically recommend. One is called Roof Reviver, available online. I think their website is RoofReviver.com. Another one is called Jomax – J-o-m-a-x; available at home centers and hardware stores. Also a good idea to cover the bushes and gardens and plants before you use any of this stuff because why not, you know, protect them just a little bit. But it’ll do a good job cleaning the roof without killing the plants.

    LESLIE: And even good old-fashioned bleach and water solution. You know, go a little bit heavier on the bleach than you would normally if you’re just using normal bleach water applications to clean up some mold or mildew. If you’ve got some heavy moss, you know, give it a little extra; give it 40/60.

    TOM: Yeah, but whatever you do, just make sure you cover the plants, cover the bushes with some tarps and this way they’ll be protected. Even if you happen to get a little of that solution on them during the process, you can always rinse it right off.

    LESLIE: Alright, hope that helps you, Cathy.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    Well, sometimes your home improvement projects can be noisy and other times they can create a Zen-like experience. And if you want to have that type of experience while showing off some of the cool stuff around your house, you’re going to want to listen to today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word because she’s got some tips on how to create a calming place for your book collection.

    LESLIE: That’s right and I do consider home decorating projects also home improvement projects, so this is where this really falls in and …

    TOM: And very Zen-like.

    LESLIE: And very Zen-like. And if you’re like me and Tom, you know, we get a lot of books from a lot of different companies and we buy a lot of books for references and resources and information and inspiration and you probably have a lot of them kicking around your house. And if you want to make your collection look a lot more uniform, why not give it an interesting and nice, clean look by covering them in solid color paper like white or any other color that you like? This way they sort of all look uniform. And if you want to dress up the starkness a little bit you can add a ribbon in a solid or even a stripe to just create a fun detail. And then, you know, on the top of it you can write what it is so you don’t have to go through every single one of them. But at least when you’re looking at the spine from the stacks, everything looks the same and gorgeous. And if you don’t feel like getting that crafty and creative and spending a day making book covers – maybe it takes you back too much to high school – you can simply go ahead and remove each of your books’ paper jackets. It always gives it a nice, clean and classic look right there to your collection. It’s a nice way to just unify everything and dress up that book collection that’s just sitting there doing nothing. Read them!

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, the 2008 hurricane forecast is out and actually doesn’t look too good. (Leslie moans) So we’re going to help you get storm-ready right here on the program.

    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 2008 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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