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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.)


    (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: Call us now with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma, again, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You know, many home improvement projects are shown to increase your home’s value. Painting the entire house blaze orange is not one of them. (Leslie chuckles) Call us for the right steps. 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Especially if you don’t want to piss off your neighbors. An orange home … (laughing)

    TOM: Well, or if you do that’s the hot ticket, you know?

    We’ve got a great show in store for you. Up first, pressure-treated wood. It’s good for a long lasting deck but only if it stays standing. Did you know that there are ways that pressure-treated wood causes the fasteners to actually rot out, rust away and could make the deck potentially dangerous? We’ll tell you what to do so it doesn’t happen to you.

    LESLIE: And if you are just getting a first look at the condition of your vinyl siding after this crazy winter, you might notice some dirt and debris has really accumulated on it. We’re going to tell you the best way to get your vinyl siding looking like new a little later this hour.

    TOM: And taking on a project that requires special and expensive tools? Are you doing just that? Well, you don’t have to buy them; although, I love to advocate investing in tools …

    LESLIE: Who doesn’t love new tools?

    TOM: … it’s always a good investment. No, you can actually rent them. There are lots of new, very cool tools out there that you don’t have to buy but you can rent. And we’re going to get the scoop from the manager of one of the biggest rental houses in America, at the bottom of the hour, about the cool tools that are out there that you can rent to help make your home improvement projects easier to do.

    LESLIE: And if you are one lucky caller this hour, there is no need to rent or buy a new tool because one caller that we pick is going to win a Ryobi One+ right angle grinder. It’s worth 100 bucks. It comes with a battery and a charger and this battery can be interchanged with any of the other One+ tools. So get rid of that clutter in your garage or your shed or wherever you’re doing your work and build your tool arsenal the right way.

    TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Susan in Tennessee, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?

    SUSAN: Hi. Well, I’ve got a kind of strange question but I have a mirror that we’ve been trying to get off our bathroom wall. And it’s – it has been applied with liquid nail.

    LESLIE: Of course it has. So it’s really stuck there.

    SUSAN: It’s very stuck, yes. And we’ve tried to read up on it on the internet and all we can get through is smash it and then replace the plasterboard and I don’t want to do that.

    LESLIE: Before you go smashing it, there’s a trick of the trade that Tom and I know. If you get your hands on some piano wire –

    SUSAN: Yes?

    LESLIE: … and wear safety goggles and wear long sleeves and gloves just in case the mirror does break – and the rule of thumb is when a mirror breaks when you’re doing a home improvement project, it doesn’t count for bad luck so don’t even worry about it. (Tom chuckles) But if you take the piano wire – and if the mirror’s small enough where you can do it on your own or if it’s large enough, grab a partner – go behind the mirror – start at the top – and use the piano wire as a saw to cut through the adhesive. And it might break but it’s going to get you through and it’s going to get it off in less fewer pieces than if you just shattered it. And it would do a good job at not destroying that drywall.

    TOM: Another thing that you can do, Susan, is you can cover the mirror with like a contact paper or something like that that’s going to basically be an adhesive …

    LESLIE: Ooh, smart.

    TOM: … so that if the mirror does break it doesn’t fall off in pieces at you.

    SUSAN: Sure. Well that makes sense. But the biggest fear that I have is ruining my plasterboard.

    TOM: It’s only a wall, OK? What’s the worst that can happen? You’re going to ruin the plasterboard. OK. Then you’re going to cut it out and put a fresh piece in and, believe me, that’ll be a heck of a lot easier …

    LESLIE: You’ll never know.

    TOM: It’ll be a heck of a lot easier than trying to repair it. You know, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get this mirror off without damaging the wallboard. But wallboard is cheap and wallboard is easy to replace. So don’t worry about it. Just worry about getting it off in as few pieces as possible. Use the piano wire trick of the trade; put the contact paper on it; wear the safety glasses; work slowly; work carefully. But you’ll get it done and then you just repair the wall or replace the wallboard. No big deal.

    SUSAN: Well, I appreciate your help and I’ll be calling if it works or if it doesn’t. (laughing)

    TOM: Well, if you call us with wallboard repair advice, we’ll know it worked.

    SUSAN: (laughing) OK.

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

    LESLIE: Roland in New York listens to The Money Pit on WABC and something’s going on with your windows. What’s happening?

    ROLAND: Yes, I have a picture window about five feet by six feet …


    ROLAND: … double-pane. And I have this moisture inside of it and I don’t know what to do. It looks terrible.

    LESLIE: How old is the window?

    ROLAND: Well actually the window is about 10 years old but I’ve had this – I guess in the third or fourth year.

    TOM: Well Roland, what you have there is a failed thermal pane seal. Obviously you have two panes of glass – an insulated window – with a seal in between. And as that seal leaks, moisture from the outside gets sucked into that space and then it condenses. Depending on the difference in temperature between the outside and the inside, the level of humidity in the air and the level of temperature, that area is going to get wetter or drier but it’s always going to be somewhat cloudy.

    Now, the good news is it has very little effect on the energy efficiency, believe it or not; still a reasonably tight window. However, it’s going to really look bad and it’s only going to get worse. The only cure for this is to actually physically replace that piece of glass with a new one that has a good seal on it.

    ROLAND: So, one piece of glass I should take out.

    TOM: No, no, no. It’s a thermal pane window so it has two pieces of glass with a seal in between. The seal in between, does it look like a black gasket?

    ROLAND: Yes.

    TOM: That’s called swiggle and a swiggle …

    LESLIE: I love that word.

    TOM: The swiggle seal has failed and, as a result, you have moisture in between the glass and the only way to correct it is to replace it. And so it’s really a job for a window company to do. It’s really not a do-it-yourself job because you’re probably going to have to order a new piece of glass made to fit the exact same size.

    LESLIE: Is it an expensive repair?

    TOM: Yeah, could be. Five foot by six foot window? It’s going to be probably $300, $400 I’m sure. It’s a pretty good – it’s a pretty good job.

    ROLAND: I’m better off just getting another window, then.

    TOM: You may very well be. That’s a good point. It’s wear, tear and bad luck. Sorry, Roland. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jim in Illinois, what can we do for you today?

    JIM: Hello. Yeah, I have a question about something that’s going on in my kitchen and that is getting kind of a dust or a dirt or some kind of residue on my kitchen ceiling. And it seems to pretty much follow the ceiling joist; almost like they’re magnetized to dirt or something like that.

    TOM: Jim, do you burn a lot of candles in your house by any chance?

    JIM: Well no, no more than anyone else.

    TOM: Well now, OK. Let’s – the way you – the way you respond to that it sounds like you do burn a few. What you’re describing is basically dirt – or it could be carbon from candles or other things that you burn or even from the cooking – collecting on the ceiling joists. And the reason it’s doing that is because the ceiling joists are a different temperature than the drywall that surrounds it. They’re colder. And so, as the warm, moist and dirty air washes and rubs against the ceiling, it leaves its dirt in the areas where the moisture condenses more, which is the bottom of the joist. That’s why you’re seeing those stripes.

    Now, what you can do about this, the ceiling above it – is there a second floor?

    JIM: No, it’s a ranch.

    TOM: OK. So what you can do is, first of all, go above it and make sure you insulate this ceiling carefully. I want you to insulate it between the floor joists and also insulate across the top of the floor joists with another layer. This is going to warm that up and stop the condensation; the sort of strategic condensation.

    Secondly, let’s talk about your air quality. Look at the kind of filtration system that you have in the house. You have an HVAC system? Is it a forced air system that’s heating this house?

    JIM: Yes.

    TOM: I want you to put in a good quality air cleaner. I prefer one that’s designed for the whole house as opposed to one that’s like a fiberglass filter; one that – like whole house air cleaner like an Aprilaire or something like that would be very, very effective here.

    And those two things working together are going to reduce this problem dramatically.

    JIM: OK. Now, when you talk about an air cleaner, would just a higher quality filter in the furnace …

    TOM: It would be – it would be better but I would rather you have an electronic air cleaner, which is going to be a lot more effective. It has a lot more filtration space.

    LESLIE: Well, an electronic air cleaner is going to filter out a lot more fine and smaller particulates that could be causing respiratory problems; that could be causing dust to form in the house; it gets rid of odor, pet dander, allergens. They’re more effective because they’re just more powerful and the filter system themselves are highly thicker and a lot more fabric so they really do a good job of trapping everything.

    JIM: OK, thank you.

    LESLIE: Well, alright. Hey, we know you love home improvement and so do we. That’s why you can call us with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at our fun phone number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Now, let’s talk about pressure-treated lumber. You know, you usually see pressure-treated wood when you’re looking for lumber for a new deck or perhaps even to repair or rebuild the one you already have. But did you know that the chemicals used in a pressure-treatment process can actually cause corrosion to the deck’s fasteners? That can cause them to rot away and make the deck very, very dangerous. We’ll tell you what to do about that, next.

    (promo/theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: Stay-Green lawn care products and gardening supplies provide practical solutions for seasonal lawn and garden needs at value prices. Stay-Green products are available exclusively at Lowe’s and come with a written guarantee printed on every package and label. The complete line of Stay-Green fertilizers, growing media, weed controls and grass seed help keep lawns looking beautiful year round and are the perfect blend of science and technology at an affordable price.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We’re like a plunger in every room. (Leslie chuckles) Helpful and nearby, ready to take your home improvement questions right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Let us help you get the job done and also let us give you a chance to win a great prize because we’re giving away, this hour, one of the Ryobi One+ line. It’s a battery-powered angle grinder. It’s part of their popular One+ line. All the power tools in this line can run off the very same battery and charger.

    LESLIE: Alright, folks. When you’re thinking about building for the outdoors – before the break we mentioned pressure-treated lumbers – you know, you almost always grab a pressure-treated lumber or a stock or even like a CDX ply; something like that when you’re building for the outside. But when you buy something that’s pressure-treated, they actually use special chemicals to do the pressure treatment itself to the wood and that’s really what you’re grabbing to build those decks. But these chemicals, they’re corrosive and they can begin to eat away at a deck’s galvanized metal connectors; you know, the fasteners and even the joist hangers. And that can happen as soon as a few weeks. And once this breakdown starts, the deck’s structural integrity can really be compromised and it can turn a beautiful outdoor leisure area into an unsightly hazard.

    TOM: Absolutely. You know, you can use a weather-resistant membrane, though, to protect your deck’s galvanized metal components from corrosion. For example, we like Grace Vycor Deck Protector. It’s a membrane that you wrap around the ends of the deck joists. It’s self-adhering and it kind of creates a buffer between the deck joists and the galvanized metal that is used to support the different parts of the deck. This is going to dramatically decrease the risk of corrosion.

    If you want more information on Grace’s weather barriers, you can check out their website which is GraceAtHome.com. That’s GraceAtHome.com. Or you can call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Lorraine in Rhode Island listens in on WPRO and you’ve got a question about basements. What can we do for you?

    LORRAINE: Yes, I’ve moved into a two-unit condo and the unit next to me gets a lot of water. But I don’t get that much water but it comes right up in the middle of the cement.

    TOM: Does it happen, Lorraine, after you get heavy rain?

    LORRAINE: Yeah, but there’s lots of water in the ground right here. Lots of water. It doesn’t drain.

    TOM: Right. Well, this is the issue. This is a problem that’s originating because of surface drainage. In other words, the angle of the soil around your house is too flat. You’re getting runoff from the neighbor; your gutters are clogged. I don’t know what specifically is the cause but you have to improve the drainage. That’s going to be mission critical if you want to stop this from happening. Water is, you know, very tricky. It will sometimes push down around a foundation wall and show up as a geyser in the middle of the basement floor and really have you scratching your head as to what caused it. But it’s almost always caused by a surface drainage issue and you need to sort of attack it on the outside.

    Now, you say that your neighbor’s house is not quite as bad as yours?

    LORRAINE: Hers is worse. No, she gets a lot of water.

    TOM: Alright, you need to get together and you need to do a couple of things. I would start outside.

    LESLIE: Yeah, are there gutters on the house?

    LORRAINE: There are gutters. This is an association run condo. So they’re on top of it. We’ve had the very best basement solver come in and they cannot figure out why it’s coming up in the middle of a basement.

    LESLIE: Well, like Tom said, it’s just finding its way to the center of the floor. But what you want to do is the gutters that are on the house, make sure the association is on top of cleaning them and making sure that those downspouts are not clogged. Because a lot of the times you can snake the downspout and you’ll find that there are all sorts of weird things stuck in there that are just hindering the water fully moving through and then perhaps it’s overflowing somewhere or popping …

    LORRAINE: Well, what would get into those spouts if there are no trees or anything around?

    TOM: Oh gosh, all kinds of stuff.

    LESLIE: All kinds of stuff. Because birds love to sit in there.

    TOM: Toys.

    LESLIE: Birds might have built a nest.

    TOM: Sticks.

    LESLIE: Anything. And then also, you want to look at where the downspouts are located. You want to make sure that they’re not just sitting right next to your foundation wall. You want them to go away from the house …

    LORRAINE: They are.

    LESLIE: … as far as possible. They are right against it?

    LORRAINE: Yes. That’s why they’re going to extend them for me.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s …

    LESLIE: That should do a huge amount of improvement.

    TOM: You’d be amazed. That simple improvement will make a big difference. You know, a lot of people don’t get this, Leslie. It always surprises me. It’s kind of like – Lorraine, it’s kind of like – let’s say you have an infected toe, right? And the doctor says, ‘Well, I want you to take a pill for this, Lorraine.’ And you go, ‘Well, but you don’t understand. It’s not my mouth that hurts, it’s my toe that hurts.’ (Lorraine chuckles) It’s the same kind of thing, OK? Think of it as a circulatory system. You know, you’ve got to get that water under control because it affects everything around that house; on the side of it, underneath it, everything. You’ve got to get the water under control if you want your basement to be dry.

    LORRAINE: Well, I thank you.

    TOM: Simple as that.

    LORRAINE: I listen to you all the time.

    TOM: Well thank you very much, Lorraine.

    LORRAINE: You’re great.

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

    LESLIE: You know, Tom, I tell you. When we had the water in our basement …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … and we extended our downspouts – and there was one that was sort of next to the stairs going up to the front of the house …

    TOM: Uh-huh.

    LESLIE: … so it was close to the foundation wall but not really.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: And as soon as I extended all of those, we never had a problem again.

    TOM: It’s like turning a switch off, right? I mean it’s amazing.

    LESLIE: I mean it was amazing. And it had never happened before but when I got the gutters really cleaned out well, the two in the front of the house were terribly clogged. And once we fixed that, nothing.

    TOM: We got an e-mail from somebody this week – poor guy. He spent $14,500 on one of these ripoff waterproofers …

    LESLIE: Ooh.

    TOM: … that sold him – swore it was a rising water table; sold him, of course, the very expensive interior drainage system where he dug out the basement floor, put in the drains, put in two sump pumps – because, of course, that adds more money to the job than one sump pump. Anything to get the price up. Really freaked him out.

    LESLIE: You’ve got to be careful.

    TOM: Panic peddled the whole thing and guess what? His basement is still leaking.

    LESLIE: See, you’ve got to – you’ve got to try first on your own. Try the simple things because sometimes the simple things are the most promising solution.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: And then if that doesn’t work, then look elsewhere. But you’ve got to be cautious; especially with folks like that.

    TOM: Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Sandra in Illinois listens to The Money Pit on WLBK. What’s going on at your house?

    SANDRA: We redid our bathroom and we took out the cast iron tub and put in a whirlpool tub. And he ceramiced the walls and he caulked all around the bottom of the ceramic and the top of the tub. But the top of the tub is flat so when you take a shower, the water sits there unless you wipe it off. And then eventually the caulk comes off.

    TOM: OK.

    SANDRA: And I don’t know how to – there’s no drain holes or anything you can put in the top of the tub to make it go into the tub instead of sitting there.

    TOM: Well, a couple of things that you could do. First of all, since – this is like a one piece tub, I’m expecting?

    SANDRA: Right.

    TOM: Alright. So the next time you caulk, what I want you to do is to clean out all the old caulk and then fill the tub all the way up to the top with water. That’s going to make it really heavy. And when you put the caulk on and let it dry then let the water out, the caulk is going to compress. That does a lot better job of making sure it doesn’t fall out the next time you climb in there.

    Secondly, make sure you pay attention to the kind of caulk that you use. You want to use a kitchen and bath caulk …

    SANDRA: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … that’s an adhesive caulk and it has a mildicide in it. So that means it’s not going to grow rot.

    Those two things will make sure the caulk goes in and doesn’t fall out and also doesn’t get kind of all nasty looking from mold and mildew.

    SANDRA: Yeah, I don’t know why they didn’t make the top of the ledge of the tub so it would slant towards the tub; the inside. Because …

    LESLIE: Because then your shampoo bottles would fall in on you.

    TOM: That’s right. (chuckling)

    SANDRA: But I don’t use it for that. (laughing)

    TOM: Well, for those that do. Sandra, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, OK. Hey, Money Pit listeners. Are you getting ready for an extensive DIY project? Well, before you run out and buy an expensive tool that you’re not quite sure how to use, why not visit The Home Depot? Not only will they help you but they’re going to rent you just about any tool that you might need and teach you how to use it safely and properly. Learn more, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer. And add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s a great hour, it’s a great idea. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Hey, if your home improvement project list involves taking on a project that requires special and perhaps expensive tools, well don’t rush out and buy them just yet. Did you know that you can rent them instead? In fact, with both Trading Spaces and While You Were Out, we are constantly renting tools; especially for, you know, larger outdoor jobs with things we might not be using all the time –

    TOM: Sure.

    LESLIE: – maybe post hole diggers or augers; something bit that you really need to just pick up to tackle a huge job. So if you’ve ever needed something like that – have you ever checked out the tools over at the Home Depot rental shop, Tom?

    TOM: Absolutely. In fact, we just got done doing a major home improvement project here, as you know. It started with a furniture purchase; led to floors and painting.

    LESLIE: Led to complete renovation at your house.

    TOM: That whole viral quality of home improvement. It sort of grows. But anyway, I went to Home Depot and I rented a floor sander. And of course, I’d like to own as many tools as I can – it’s like a collection thing. You know, some people collect cars. I collect tools – but I couldn’t justify the floor sander to my wife. (Leslie chuckles) But she did let me rent it. And it’s impressive because they do have a lot of tools there and with us to talk about that is Jim Summers. He’s a director of the Home Depot tool rental center.

    Hey, Jim. Welcome to the program.

    JIM: Well, thanks a lot for having me on, Tom. Hi, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Hey, Jim.

    TOM: You must get involved with some pretty heavy duty home improvement advice. We do the light stuff but when it comes to the big projects, you guys are sending out, I guess, besides the floor sanders, the John Deere tractors and the post hole diggers too, huh?

    JIM: Oh, we have all kinds of equipment; especially now in spring time. We’re renting our aerators, our sod cutters, tillers. I mean you name it. People are cleaning up their yards. They need chainsaws, irrigation; you know, making sure that they have enough water for their grass and they rent our trenchers.

    TOM: You know, it seems that when it comes to these very big, heavy tools that, you know, you really have to know what you’re doing because the bigger they are perhaps the easier it is to get hurt. When somebody wants to rent a tool, something that they don’t use everyday …

    LESLIE: Is there an exam process?

    TOM: (chuckles) Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: I’m like, ‘What kind of questions and answers go along?’

    JIM: Well, I’ll tell you. We have some really well-trained, experienced associates in our tool rental centers. And what they do is they walk you through exactly how to use that tool, how to start it up; everything you need to know to be successful at the job that you’re doing. And then we give you some advice on how to – you know, what materials to buy also to go along with that.

    TOM: What are some of the newest tools that folks are starting to rent now? For example, with my floor project I rented a U-Sand machine, which was pretty innovative, I thought, because …

    LESLIE: You love that thing.

    TOM: I love that thing because it could sand floors without damaging them. Sometimes when you use the belt sander it can really take a chunk out. Are there any new, innovative tools out there that are becoming more popular?

    JIM: Yeah, we actually – we’ve actually taken it a step further from the U-Sand and one of the companies – Alto Clarke – had helped us develop a sander that’s even better than the U-Sand, we feel. And we’re starting to get that out in stores and we’re testing it right now.

    TOM: How does it work?

    JIM: It works fantastic. I mean it …

    TOM: Does it operate similar to a U-Sand?

    JIM: Very similar.

    TOM: And for those that don’t know what that is, it’s a sander with a head with four rotating discs inside of this head. And it does have a vacuum bag attachment to it. And floors are the number one thing that we’re asked about more than anything else on the show and so we’re kind of interested in those floor tools.

    JIM: Well, we have a full line of floor tools. And like I said, this new sander that we have out there right now, if you like the U-Sander – which is, you know, complementary for people that, you know, are not professionals at it but, you know, want to give it a shot on their floors in their house – this new one that we have is fantastic. It makes the job much easier. It has a vacuum – a special vacuum attachment – so that you have it. It’s 99 percent dust free.

    LESLIE: Jim, do you find that as new tools hit the market for any capacity or any job, is that tool readily and quickly available in the rental center or is there sort of a time lapse between it hits the rental center? Or once it’s on the market it’s rentable as well?

    JIM: Yeah, there’s not much of a time lapse. And actually, believe it or not, sometimes there’s tools out for rent before they even hit the – you know, the other market. Because the tools that we rent are these, you know, heavy-duty professional tools. That’s why our customers like to come there; because they can get professional results by using these tools.

    TOM: Speaking of heavy-duty professional tools, do you ever have customers come in and try to rent, say, more tool than they really can handle?

    JIM: Yeah, sometimes, you know – and that’s, you know, part of the process of asking them some questions on, you know, some of the experience they have. Like, you know, for an example, landscaping jobs. A lot of people think they can come in and, you know, use one of our earth-moving equipment pieces. And one of the things we’ve come up with is what we call stand-on technology where they’re a lot smaller. You know, it’s not something as dangerous as a big, you know, John Deere earth mover but it can get the job done for you.

    TOM: But it’s just as fun to drive. (Leslie chuckles)

    JIM: It’s fun. (Tom chuckles) Oh, they are a lot of fun and our …

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Which is the real reason for the rental.

    JIM: Our folks will take you outside and show you exactly how to operate it. And we’ll get a good feeling right then if somebody, you know, can handle something like that.

    TOM: So if you’re having a slow Saturday afternoon, just head on over to The Home Depot and you can drive some tractors around the parking lot. That could be fun. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    JIM: You never know. That could be happening.

    TOM: What’s the last tool you rented, Jim?

    JIM: Last tool I rented was a tile saw.

    TOM: Oh, there you go. And that’s a perfect example. Yep.

    LESLIE: See that’s great. Do people feel confident when renting them? Because I know it seems like a little bit of a dangerous tool.

    JIM: No, actually you know, when you look at the tile saw and we explain to people how to use it, it’s really not that difficult to use. It looks a little bit intimidating. But once we explain it to them, they feel much more comfortable and confident doing it.

    TOM: And like you said, you can try it before you buy it, so to speak. So you can try it out and make sure it works for you.

    And you know, the rental doesn’t just stop with the tools themselves. You guys are renting storage units now and obviously you always rented the trucks for delivery.

    LESLIE: Even trucks to pull the lumber that you need.

    TOM: Pretty soon you’re going to be renting the tool and the Ford F150 to drive it home.

    JIM: (chuckling) Yeah, and maybe somebody to do the job. I mean gosh knows where we’re going to go. (laughter) No, just joking.

    TOM: Jim Summers, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you want more information on tools that you can rent and not buy, you can visit Home Depot’s rental website at HomeDepotRents.com.

    LESLIE: Hey, that’s an easy website. Well, has your vinyl siding seen better days? We’re going to teach you how to spruce it up so it shines like new, after this.

    (promo/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: Measure twice, cut once and always keep a fire extinguisher handy. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, full of helpful home improvement advice to keep you safe and help you get the jobs done all at the same time.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance to win a Ryobi right angle grinder. I wonder if they have a left angle grinder to match it. (Leslie chuckles) I need to have a complete set. It features a four-and-a-half-inch wheel. It’s ideal for removing paint and rust, grinding steel or polishing metals and it’s part of the popular One+ system; all running off the same 18-volt battery. If you want to win it, you’ve got to call us now and ask your home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well here’s a project that you can’t use the right angle grinder for but you can use some other things you’ve got around the house. If you find that the siding on your home has got some spots and some mildew, you might want to brush up on your cleaning skills. You can use a soft cloth or even a long handled soft bristle brush – soft bristles; not a wire one; soft – and any household cleaner like Fantastic, Lestoil or even Windex. If you’ve got some really tough stains like paint or tar, you can use a mild abrasive cleaner like an Ajax or a Comet or even a Soft Scrub. But you want to work carefully on your siding and not really mar it up too much in the cleaning process. If you tread carefully and test in an inconspicuous area first – just to make sure there’s no odd reaction – you’re going to have your home shining like new in no time.

    TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you have a home maintenance question like how to clean your siding or a home repair question like how to fix that leaking roof.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I was going to say how to fix the hole in the siding …

    TOM: From the right angle grinder. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: I made with my power washer. (laughing)

    TOM: Yes, call us now. 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Dale, you are live on The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    DALE: Hi. My home has a well and septic system and the water pressure on the second floor showers is not very good. And I was wondering if you might be able to help me by figuring out what I could do to increase the water pressure in my second floor showers.

    TOM: Sure. Now you said that you have a well. Have you checked the well pressure at the point of entry?

    DALE: No.

    TOM: Alright. Well, that’s the first place for you to go. If – the well should be maintaining like 60 to 80 pounds of pressure when it’s off and about 40 to 50 when it’s running. So you want to run about three faucets and take a look at the pressure gauge where it comes into the house. And make sure you’re staying in that 40 to 50 pounds per square inch range.

    DALE: OK.

    TOM: If that’s the case, the next thing you need to do is take a look at the piping. How old is your house?

    DALE: About six years.

    TOM: Six years. OK, well good news is that the piping is going to be copper and that means it’s not going to suffer from anything like internal rusting or something like that. And I would suspect that if you’re still having a problem and the water pressure is OK then it’s got to be traced down to a valve and you’re going to need to start backing up from the second floor and testing each of the valves to see where the problem is.

    DALE: Mm.

    TOM: How many plumbing faucets do you have on the second floor that are affected by the water pressure? Is it just a sink, by the way?

    DALE: Well, it’s really most noticeable in the showers. I really don’t notice it in the toilets or the sink.

    TOM: Have you – for a six year old shower, have you ever checked to see if you had a pressure-reducing valve on the shower? Because I bet you you do.

    DALE: Hmm. Well …

    LESLIE: And it – well …

    TOM: ‘No would be the answer, Tom.’ So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to try to take the showerhead off.

    DALE: Yes, I did replace it once.

    TOM: Alright, well take it off – don’t replace it at the moment; just take it off.

    LESLIE: And then look into it.

    TOM: Well no, actually, turn the shower on and see what kind of water flow comes out of that pipe. If it’s like soaring out of that pipe, then it’s probably water restricted and if you take the showerhead off now and look on the inside of it – like the part that screws on – you’re probably going to see a rubber washer or a rubber plug. That is the water restrictor and if you want more pressure …

    LESLIE: Take it out.

    TOM: … pull that out, screw it back on and you’ll be amazed at the difference.

    DALE: Great.

    LESLIE: Dale is this a new problem? This is a new problem. This has always been happening?

    DALE: It’s been this way ever since I bought the house and I …

    TOM: Wow. Well, I bet you that’s the case.

    DALE: I purchased one of those fancy showerheads that, you know, does all these great things and I screwed it up, turned it on and it wouldn’t do anything but just dribble water out. Never got to use any of the cool features because the pressure wasn’t that great.

    LESLIE: Like Tom said, check for that pressure valve on the back side and if, for some reason, your showerhead doesn’t have one of those, you could have an aerator installed into your showerhead like you do at your faucets at your sink. And what that does is it puts more air into the water so it makes it feel like there’s more pressure even though it doesn’t actually change the pressure. It’s similar to what happens at your sink. So it would be called a shower aerator. So if you find that it’s not that pressure valve, go ahead and put in an aerator. You’ll really notice a difference.

    DALE: Thank you so much for all your options and ideas. I really appreciate it.

    LESLIE: Dawn in California, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    DAWN: I have purchased a product called Alock (ph) flooring.


    DAWN: I was wondering – it has a 30-year warranty. And I was wondering like what kind of value that would raise for my house appraisal and do I need to seal it in any way because it’s going to be in the kitchen and the bath.

    TOM: Well, first of all, in terms of a return on investment, you know, any good quality flooring is going to probably give you the same return on investment. I don’t think that that’s the kind of thing that you can necessarily, though, peg with a specific number. If it was a room improvement – like adding a kitchen, adding a bathroom or even adding a deck or a patio – it’s easier to figure out how much the return on investment – that will give you. Because there are actually studies that are done on that every year. But just, obviously, maintaining your house is a good idea because it does maintain the value of your house.

    Now, in terms of the laminate floor, it’s an excellent choice for the kitchen and the bathroom because it’s a very, very durable, water-resistant finish. There’s nothing to seal. It’s basically the same kind of a laminate that we’ve used for years on countertop with one key difference; it’s about 30 times more durable than the laminate used as a countertop. There’s a test called taber abrasion test where they rotate these grinding discs into the laminate surface to make sure it’s thick enough. And this test for the laminate floor is about 30 times tougher than the same test for the countertop. So, same technology but just a lot thicker and it can look a lot better because, obviously, on the floor you can choose – anything you can photograph you can make a laminate floor out of. So I think it’s a good choice all the way around.

    LESLIE: OK. We’re going to reach into our e-mail bag after the break and answer a question about a bathroom redo. What happens when all is said and done and you discover some squeaks and creaks? Do you have to rip everything out and fix it? Start over? We’ve got all the answers, next.

    (theme song)

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can e-mail us at MoneyPit.com. While you’re there, you can also sign up for the free Money Pit e-newsletter which, this week, is going to have some great tips on decks and getting decks ready to rock and roll for the summer. How do you get decked out for the summer? That will be covered in the next edition of our free Money Pit e-newsletter.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I think more importantly, get your deck barefoot ready. Because nothing …

    TOM: That’s a good way to put it.

    LESLIE: … says summer than walking around on your deck barefoot. And if it’s got splinters, if it’s crackling, if it’s blistering, you are going to end up with some sorry tootsies. So we’ll help you get everything in tip-top shape quick before the summer hits us.

    And while you’re there, like Tom said, e-mail us. We love to answer your e-mail questions. In fact, we’ve got one here from Bob in Valley Cottage, New York. ‘We recently completed gutting and installing a new bathroom including a fiberglass tub. The problem is that when the new floor under the tub has settled and now when you step around in it the tub floor squeaks like crazy. Any ideas on how to stop the squeaks without ripping out the tub.’ Ooh, is he in trouble?

    TOM: Hmm. Hmm. Well, that’s a tricky one. The problem is that the new floor in the tub has settled. You see, when you put a new tub in, what you should be doing is putting, actually, a …

    LESLIE: Would you put the tub on top of mud instead of a floor?

    TOM: Yes. It’s exactly what he should have done. He should have put it down on top of mud. Usually what you want to do is take like a bag of QUIKRETE and make sort of like a dry mud mix out of it, spread that out on the floor right on top of the wood floor and then drop the tub into that. Because it gives it some support across that whole underneath area of the tub because tubs can be somewhat flexible.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And if you don’t do that, then you could get some movement in the floor that’s going to cause noise or, of course, you would actually eventually crack the tub.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you could break right through the fiberglass, can’t you?

    TOM: Now, in this case, since he has not done that, probably the best thing to do is to open up the ceiling right below the tub. And this is going to require some drywall surgery, Bob. But I think this will do it. Open up the ceiling below the tub and I want you to add blocking in that ceiling. That’s basically taking wood that’s the same size as the floor joist – if they’re 2×10, then use 2×10 – and you cut pieces that fit in between the floor joists in at least the two to three floor joist area that’s under the tub. This is going to sort of lock all of those floor joists together …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You’re creating like little mini Hs.

    TOM: Yes, that’s right. Now, as a result, it should be very, very solid and it should not move any further and that will silence the squeaks and, hopefully, save your tub.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and get you relaxing in your beautiful new bath. Sorry, a little bit more work before it’s tub time, Bob.

    TOM: Well, Leslie and I love animals but we do draw the line at termites. (Leslie chuckles) Termites do not make good pets.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: We want to prevent the termites from getting into your house. That’s why, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word, she’s got the details on how to do just that.

    LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well, when you’re deciding on a treatment plan for either preventing or, unfortunately, getting rid of termites, you want to make sure or consider – but really think about it – going with an undetectable type of pest control. An undetectable treatment is going to be exactly what you want. It’s not detected by the termites and then they’re going to carry it back to the colony and wipe out everything before they even know what hit them. The other type – which is known as a barrier – it’s going to prevent those termites from penetrating wherever it’s applied. But those little buggers, if they can’t get in one way, they’re going to find a place where they can. So, undetectable is probably the better choice. But see what your local guys have to offer and always go with something that’s right for your area.

    If you want some more advice on pest management – what to do when you see termites, rather – visit MoneyPit.com and we’ll give you all the down-low on the termite treatment info that you need.

    TOM: Or call us anytime of the day or night at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That line is always open for your home improvement questions.

    Next week on the program we’re going to teach you how to make some simple changes in your home that will help you through every single stage of your life; tips on everything from raising kids to spending those golden years in your dream home, next week on The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2007 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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