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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 questions. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Call us now if you’ve got a New Year’s resolution that has to do with fixing up your home. We can help you get the job done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Speaking of a new year, there’s new color trends that are out this year and coming up this hour we’re going to have some tips on the latest styles. We’ve got some info that you’re definitely going to want to check out because there are some new colors that are particularly hot right now and we’re going to tell you all about it.

    LESLIE: Alright, from hot to ice cold, we’ve got slippery sidewalks out there and they can be a dangerous mess. An ice-melting product; now that’s a great idea. But there are certain chemicals available that can damage your outside surfaces; namely the concrete. So we’re going to tell you which products to use that aren’t going to hurt your driveways and walkways.

    TOM: And speaking of ice, it can cause major problems if it forms in the wrong place on your roof. We’re talking, of course, about ice dams. We’re going to have the solution, though, to prevent that problem in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a perfect New Year’s gift. We’ve got a Liquid Nails tool bag and it’s filled with great, quality adhesives that will come in very handy for all of your resolution DIY projects.

    TOM: So start the New Year home improvement project off right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get to the phones.

    TOM: Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ira in New York has a question about basement flooring. What can we do for you today?

    IRA: In my basement I have a cement slab …


    IRA: … and I want to know is there an adhesive-based product that I can put directly on the cement before – I got something from a home improvement center that I put down and it’s coming up. [Or does all cement have water coming through it?] (ph) And how do I prep it? I mean it’s just a nightmare with this cement floor.

    TOM: I think you probably don’t want to use something that adheres to the basement floor. You’re probably better off using something that floats on the basement floor. For example, a good choice for a basement floor would be laminate flooring. It locks together and it’s self-supporting. It’s not going to go anywhere and it doesn’t have to be glued down to the floor.

    IRA: Do all cement floors eventually have moisture come up if it doesn’t breathe?

    TOM: Well, it is a very damp surface and certainly you could paint it with an epoxy-based paint and that cuts down on the amount of moisture. You can pay attention to the grading conditions at the outside of your house …

    IRA: Right.

    TOM: … because that water eventually wicks down and gets into the cement. But cement is very hydroscopic. It really sucks up water just like a sponge. And so sometimes you have a hard time getting things to stick to it. That’s why I think a floating floor is a much better choice.

    IRA: Are there inexpensive floating floors or are they very expensive, floating floors?

    LESLIE: No, laminates come in every price point and, of course, the price point affects what it looks like. There’s a ton of different kinds out there. I mean you can even find some just at the home center that are available for you to walk away with immediately.

    IRA: OK, now do you put underlayment – do you have to put underlayment first or they have (inaudible at 0:03:25.7)?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, you don’t use underlayment for any type of insulating purposes or anything like that but some of these either have an underlayment attached to them or there’s a separate underlayment product that’s like a very thin foam …

    LESLIE: Like a thin foam sheet.

    TOM: … and that just gives the floor a little cushion.

    IRA: The product I put down from the home center actually said I can put it directly on the floor and it’s coming up. And I just didn’t think that was – you know.

    TOM: Well, we’re going to fix that.

    IRA: OK.

    TOM: Think about laminate. I think that’s a better option.

    IRA: OK, very good. I thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Jim in Ohio who’s dealing with some vinyl siding issues. What’s going on?

    JIM: My kids were having an iceball fight and by all means don’t do it away from the house; do it right against the house. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    JIM: And it was obviously very cold, being an iceball fight, and I have cracked vinyl siding.

    TOM: OK. Is it possible that you can get some more vinyl siding, Jim?

    JIM: I have some scraps, actually, from when it was installed.

    TOM: Alright. OK.

    JIM: I just don’t know how to go about it because it looks like it’s like Z-shaped and it’s very confusing.

    TOM: Well …

    LESLIE: Ah, there’s a fantastic tool that’s going to save you a lot of heartache and hand ache as well.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a tool that helps you sort of unzip the old panels of vinyl out. So you would want to remove the cracked panel and you want to put in a new one. Now, you mentioned you have some craps. If you happen to have a piece that’s the same size, great. If you don’t, you might end up sort of piecing this in. Now one thing that may be unexpected, you need to watch out for, is that the color of the vinyl scraps – which is the original color – may not match the color of the siding now because of the exposure to the sun.

    JIM: OK.

    TOM: And so, if that’s the case, what you might want to do is go to one of the least obvious places in your house and take a piece from there; use that for the repair and then put the new piece back there where it’s not so noticeable.

    JIM: Ah, brilliant.

    LESLIE: This way everything will be matchy-matchy.

    JIM: Thanks, guys. Love your show and …

    LESLIE: Happy New Year, everybody. You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we want you to start the new year off right with a fantastic do-it-yourself project at home. So let us help you. Give us a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: That’s right. We say that you don’t have to get in shape. Just get your house in shape. (Leslie chuckles) It’s kind of the same thing; gives you the same level of satisfaction and you won’t feel as guilty if it doesn’t get done.

    Coming up next, we’re going to have the hottest color trends for 2009. Maybe we can pick some colors that will make your room look slimmer.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s not going to help your pants fit any better though.

    (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 with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us with your New Year’s resolution for your house. Let’s see; you want to stay on a budget? We can help you save some energy costs. You want to get in shape? Well, we can help you get the house in shape and that will put you in shape. There’s lots of ways we can work those resolutions into your home improvement projects.

    And one caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win some products to help get those projects done. We’re giving away the Liquid Nails tool bag with a great assortment of adhesives. These are the first products from Liquid Nails that are specifically designed for your home use for smaller projects. You get a bunch of products, including super glues and a two-part epoxy and Liquid Nails will make sure that these jobs are done once, done right. Prize package is worth 50 bucks so pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah, give us a call, especially if you’re thinking about tackling a paint project, because you’ve got to keep in mind new year, new trends. And if you like to keep up with color trends, we have got the year’s hottest hues in paint coming up for you right now. And these come from the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute. Now home design, as you can tell, it often takes a lot of its cues from fashion; like one of the first trends we want to tell you about which is men’s wear. And the colors in this pallet, they’re like grays and navys and browns and black. Man, that sounds like my husband’s closet.

    TOM: (chuckling) See?

    LESLIE: And they really do include textures like leather and patterns like argyle, pinstripes, even herringbone. You know, if you take a smaller pattern like a herringbone and you blow it up, you’ll get a really unique wall treatment that can look fantastic.

    TOM: Now nature is also still a big inspiration for color in 2009. New this year, the colors of the sky are big during a sunset; so we’re talking about dusty purple, deep blue, bronze, metallics and rosy pinks – all trendy colors right now. You can get some great, decorative effects; including large, dramatic, geometric patterns which incorporate sort of metallic finishes as well.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s just lovely. We have got a ton more information on our color trends for 2009 coming straight to you in our Money Pit e-newsletter. Those of you who get it, you know it’s free and it’s reliable into your inbox every, single week and you know we don’t share your e-mail address. And if you don’t get it, sign up today. It is great. Start the new year off right, get good ideas for projects and learn how to get things done right the first time. Sign up today at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Nora in New Hampshire who’s got a question about some unused paint. What can we do for you?

    NORA: I have cans of latex paint purchased four years ago.

    TOM: OK.

    NORA: Some were opened and used with some remaining and then other cans of latex paint were not open. And my question has to do with how long can this paint be good for?

    TOM: Was the paint kept like room temperature …?

    NORA: Like a conditioned space or did it freeze.

    TOM: Was it ever frozen?

    NORA: No, I made sure to keep them in the house and actually in my living room and …

    TOM: Wow, you’ve been looking at them for those four years. (laughs)

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) You’ve been looking at the …

    TOM: The answer is that it’s probably fine. Now with the cans of paint that you opened I’ll just give you one cautionary note and that is you want to make sure that when you open those you don’t have any sort of rust in the lip of the paint can. Because if you do, that rust that falls in the paint will change the color of the paint and it will not be obvious until you put it on and then you’ll notice it’s just slightly darker than everything else. But if the paint is – you know, the paint cans are sealed and there’s no rust – and these are all the same colors?

    NORA: One is – actually, some of it is ceiling paint and other cans have to do with the walls.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Well, what I would do is I would open up the two cans of ceiling paint; I would dump them together in a five-gallon; mix them up really, really well and work from that.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Or you can even take everything closed over to your home center and have them shake it up for you; just to give it a fresh mix. This way anything that settled has time to redistribute and then go ahead and combine things and work from there.

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

    LESLIE: Gary in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    GARY: Question. I have a rental and the bathroom tile is coming off. They’re loose and they’re, well, falling off just about …

    TOM: OK.

    GARY: … above the tub. And I wonder what’s the best and lowest maintenance wall surround material to replace these tiles.

    TOM: Well, is it possible for you to replace the tiles themselves or is the wall underneath rotted?

    GARY: It looks like the wall. The studs are – some of them are.

    TOM: OK.

    GARY: I haven’t got the whole thing off yet but I …

    TOM: Well, if this is a rental, you’re going to probably something that’s reasonably bulletproof …

    GARY: Yes.

    TOM: … and I think probably one of the fiberglass surrounds is probably the best way to go. When they’re properly installed and properly fitted and usually use a silicone caulk at all of the seams, that’s a pretty, tough, durable surface in terms of how it sheds water; which is important. You know, with a tile wall, if you don’t dry it sometimes, all the time, you let the water sit there, if you don’t stay on top of the caulking, it can definitely get in behind the walls and cause problems with rot and even attract insects. So I would probably, because it’s a rental, just use a fiberglass surround.

    So step one is to pull out all the old tile, all the old rotted wall material.

    GARY: Yes.

    TOM: Step two is to sister all of the studs that are rotted as best you can. Step three is to install a new tile backer or a new piece of Dens Armor, which is a fiberglass-faced drywall that’s very water-resistant. And step four is to install the fiberglass surround. Once you do that, you’re going to have a water-resistant, tight, tub surround that’ll be able to take whatever punishment the tenants can dish out and you should be good for at least ten years.

    GARY: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Bob in New York has a question about a copper pipe. What’s going on?

    BOB: Hi. I have little, tiny holes in my hot water heater pipe.

    TOM: Right.

    BOB: Three-quarter and half-inch. I was wondering is there any way to prevent that.

    TOM: Typically, those holes are caused by the acidity of the water reacting with the copper and they’re called pinholes and there’s really nothing that you can do about it. If you have that kind of water you may want to consider replacing those pieces of pipe that actually developed the holes in it. How severe is this? Just a couple of places?

    BOB: Yes, and it’s only in the hot water system and there are a couple of places but there’s a piece downstairs that’s been there for 30 years and then there’s a new piece that’s been up for 11 years upstairs in the bathroom.

    TOM: Well, both of them have lasted quite a while. If you’re going to do any work in that area or if it’s exposed, I would consider replacing it. You could use a plastic pipe instead.

    BOB: OK.

    TOM: I would not put back any walls. If you have anything open I would take the opportunity to replace the pipe. But if you’re getting pinholes after a pipe that’s 10 to 30 years old, I wouldn’t panic over that. I would just consider it normal maintenance that you have to replace. I know we like to say that copper lasts forever but the truth is that it doesn’t and it does react sometimes with the acidity in the water and develops small holes and need to be replaced.

    BOB: OK, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Barbara in South Carolina is dealing with an oven issue. What’s going on?

    BARBARA: Hi, Tom and Leslie. I discovered, when I was fixing Christmas dinner, that I seem to be burning everything …

    TOM: OK.

    BARBARA: … and finally determined that my thermostat on my oven was broken. And I’m pretty handy with everything and replaced the eyes (ph) and so forth. Is there any way I can replace that thermostat?

    TOM: You absolutely can. It’s not that terribly difficult to do. The key here is getting the thermostat part itself. We’re going to recommend a website called RepairClinic.com and on that website you can actually first select the brand of oven and then you select the type of part – you’d select thermostat – and it sort of drills you down into the exact part that you need. And some of these thermostat parts are pretty expensive. I was looking on their site and it looks like anywhere from like four to thirty bucks for a thermostat and they’ll actually give you the step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself whether it’s electric or gas; they’ll walk you through it.

    LESLIE: And that’s good because those instructions are specific to your type of oven; so you’ll really be skilled in tackling this.

    BARBARA: OK, that sounds good. Thirty dollars doesn’t sound bad at all or maybe even a bit more.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, it’s cheaper than hiring somebody to do it.

    BARBARA: I know. And then I priced a new oven and I’m – I mean a new stove and I’m talking about like $1,500 or something. So that sounds great.

    TOM: Well, if you really want a new stove, Barbara, then you can use us as the excuse, OK?

    BARBARA: OK. (Tom and Leslie) Thank you so much.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: You know, Tom, when my husband and I lived in a rental apartment in Queens, I was wondering why I’d bake an apple pie and like the crust would be burnt in five minutes and the pie would be raw …

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: … and like cookies were charred and things were just going totally bananas. And one day I opened up the stove – you know, I had it set at 350 and opened up the oven door and it was so hot it singed my eyelashes off.

    TOM: (chuckling) Oh, no.

    LESLIE: And let me tell you, it took a long time for them to grow back to normal.

    TOM: Yeah, because without the thermostat working right it’s just on all the time.

    LESLIE: Everything was like at 500.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: I made a turkey in like an hour. Like it was crazy.

    TOM: Oh, man.

    LESLIE: And you know, it was the simplest repair but what a disaster.

    TOM: You can definitely do it yourself. Barbara, good luck with that project.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show helping you usher in the new year with some great home improvement tips. Coming up next, we’re going to have some info on how to pick the right kind of salt to season those slippery sidewalks without damaging the surface.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should visit MoneyPit.com right now. If you go to our website, it is full of wonderful information for you. You can search our entire archive of articles and columns and tips. You can search by project. So if you’ve got something in mind for this weekend and you’re looking for some ways to better approach it or some ways to figure out materials or costs, go to the site; put in whatever project you’re working on – flooring, carpeting, painting; you name it, we have got something there that will help you get the job done right. Everything’s available for you absolutely free at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: For example, here is a tip on how to properly season your slippery sidewalks. If you use the wrong kind of salt, it can cause major headaches because it’ll deteriorate the sidewalk surface. When buying salt for sidewalks, you want to choose salt made from potassium chloride. This is a type of salt that will melt ice without damaging the concrete surface the way that sodium chloride does or rock salt; which is not so good for that surface. So for best results, you want to purchase potassium chloride and also mix it with some playground sand. Keep a supply stored near every entrance of your home so it’s very easy and convenient to put down and make sure you keep it, of course, out of reach of your kids and your pets. This way it’ll be there to throw whenever you need it so that you won’t do a throw-down on that sidewalk (Leslie chuckles) when you step out upon it and also you won’t damage the concrete and calling us next spring to ask us how to repair all of those pock marks that are going to form in that concrete surface.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and here’s a tip from experience: do not reach into your combination bag, bucket, whatever of your salt mixture with your favorite leather gloves on because wet hands, wet leather gloves, snow reaching into the salt; all of that makes for an interesting shrunken glove effect (Tom chuckles) that all of a sudden the glove is a child’s size and pops off your hands. So you know, use a little dispenser. You’ll be very happy.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get to it.

    LESLIE: Larry in Utah is on the line and he’s got a question about wiring. What can we do for you?

    LARRY: I’ve got this 100-year-old house; at least half of it’s 100 years old and the other half is in the 50s and it needs to be rewired.

    TOM: OK.

    LARRY: Some of the wiring is still the original wiring; it was put in about 1920. And the other half of the house it was put in about 1950 and it still has screw-in-type fuses.

    TOM: OK, well first of all, why do you want to rewire it? Is it because you’re concerned about the fuses? Because if that’s the case, there is no concern. As long as the fuses are correctly installed they will protect the wiring. Or do you want the convenience of circuit breakers?

    LARRY: Prefer to have the circuit breakers, but my insurance company tells me they’re not going to continue to insure it with the old wiring in it.

    TOM: Because of the 1920s wiring? Do you have what’s called knob-and-tube wiring?

    LARRY: Yes.

    TOM: OK, well I understand that. Knob-and-tube wiring was sort of the very first form of house wiring and it basically looks like pieces of wire that is strung from beam to beam and wherever they go through the beams they go through a ceramic tube and wherever they go across the beams they sort of hang off like these ceramic sort of spacers and that’s why they call it knob-and-tube wiring.

    The other problem with knob-and-tube wiring is that it’s not grounded, it’s not groundable and, also, in a more modern house we tend to insulate over those wires and that’s a problem because they were designed specifically to be air-cooled. So when you insulate them they become unsafe. So I certainly understand that concern.

    If that’s the case, you have a couple of issues here. First of all, you need to rewire those circuits and, separate from that and only if you want to, you need to replace the panel. My point about the fuses is that if they’re properly sized they’re just as safe as circuit breakers but if you’re doing all this work, probably not a bad time to install new circuit breakers at the same time. As far as that 1950s wiring, that could be wired right into the panel. I don’t see any reason to replace that. That wiring should be grounded. If you need to add some additional circuits do that but the only wiring that you have to replace is the knob-and-tube. The 50s wiring, probably armor-clad cable; that’s probably OK.

    LARRY: OK, thanks very much.

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

    LESLIE: Betty in Minnesota, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    BETTY: Well, I sure hope you can because it’s really cold up here …

    TOM: OK.

    BETTY: … and my furnace is on the blink.


    TOM: What’s going on?

    BETTY: It won’t stay lit. It will keep running. I light it and it gets nice and warm and runs and the pilot light goes out but the motor keeps blowing cold air.

    TOM: Well, the way a furnace works is when the burners come on the furnace heats up and then, when it gets warm enough, the blower comes on, circulates the warm air and then the burners go off but the blower continues to go and that’s a cycle. Now, if the burner is coming on but going off quickly, then probably the thermal couple is worn out and that’s that piece of metal that’s usually right next to the flame. Sometimes the flame is sort of embedded into it. And when the thermal couple goes bad, that’s exactly the scenario that happens. You’ll light it; it will come on but then it won’t stay lit.

    So, at this point, you’re going to have to get the gas company or the HVAC service provider that you have in your area to come in and take a look at that because that’s part of the control circuit. It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project but, at the same time, these types of repairs are typically fairly inexpensive.

    BETTY: So that means – that’s the reason why the pilot light goes out?

    TOM: Yes, because the thermal couple tells the pilot light to turn the gas on and if there’s no flame then the gas goes off. And so if the thermal couple is bad, the gas is just going to go off and not come on. It’s a safety system.

    BETTY: So it’s not the motor?

    TOM: No. The motor, you’re telling me, is running.

    BETTY: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Yeah, so I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s a problem with the control circuit and it’s most likely the thermal couple.

    BETTY: Thank you so much. I think you saved me a ton of money. (chuckling)

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Stay warm.

    LESLIE: Well, the winter weather certainly can be very beautiful when you end up with lovely icicles forming at your roof line. But what’s beautiful can also be quite damaging to your home. We’re going to tell you how to avoid serious problems associated with ice damming, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we are here to help you with all of your New Year’s resolution home improvement projects. Heck, even if you have one from last year, like a 2008 resolution, we won’t judge.

    TOM: Yeah, we allow carryovers.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah. We’re not going to judge. Just say you put it to the top of this new list. (Tom chuckles) We’ll help you get it done. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only are you going to get help with your home improvement project but one caller that we talk to on the air this hour – you’ve got to be on the air and ask us your question – is going to win a Liquid Nails tool bag. Now Liquid Nails, they are the leader in adhesives and they’ve now designed a whole line of household-use glues for small projects and repairs. Now your kit is going to include easy-to-use squeeze tubes and single-use glues. The entire kit-and-kaboodle is worth 50 bucks but it could be yours for free; plus you’re going to get a project done. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Here’s a project that we hope you don’t have to get done and that is fixing an ice dam that’s caused a leak in your roof. What’s an ice dam? Well, if you get a heavy snow followed by a warm day, it can often allow the ice to sort of dam up at the roof edge where it sort of blocks the melting snow that’s above and causes some pretty serious leaks inside your house. To prevent this, you want to make sure that your roof is adequately ventilated. So if you plan to replace your roof soon be sure to have the contractor both install good attic ventilation and ice and water shield as an extra layer of protection against those ice dams.

    If you want some tips on the best types of ice and water shield, go to GraceatHome.com. That’s the website for the Grace Company. They pretty much invented the product and they’ve got some great tips right there at GraceatHome.com.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.

    LESLIE: Robert in Virginia needs some help with a project. What can we do for you?

    ROBERT: Well, thank you for taking my call. I really appreciate it. My problem is that we built a new home and during the course of the construction the hardy plank siding that was to be applied came into contact with some of our famous Virginia clay soil that …

    TOM: Oh, the red stuff.

    ROBERT: The red stuff.

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    ROBERT: And it seems to have stained it in a few spots and we can’t get it off.

    TOM: OK.

    ROBERT: And I don’t know if I have to paint the whole doggone thing over or what do we need to do?

    TOM: Well, not yet. There’s actually a good product that Krud Kutter makes that’s specifically designed for removing stains from red clay. You can go to their website …

    LESLIE: Yeah, on all types of surfaces like concrete, clothing, everything, stucco.

    TOM: You can go to their website at KrudKutter.com and that’s spelled with a K. So it’s K-r-u-d-K-u-t-t-e-r. And they make a lot of different cleaning products but one of these – what they call a specialty product that they sell – is the Krud Kutter Red Clay Stain Remover and that should be probably your best bet for trying to pull those stains out. Of course, you can always go the painting route but we’d like to see if we can get it lightened up first and that might be a good way to start.

    ROBERT: Thank you very much. That’s what I’ll do next.

    TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Martha in Texas is looking for some help revamping her kitchen. What can we do for you today?

    MARTHA: Well, I’m circumnavigating a money pit right now I’m afraid.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK. (Tom chuckles)

    MARTHA: We bought a 1981 contemporary home that is basically being fully remodeled and we’re bringing the bathrooms down to the studs. The kitchen, however, had been recently renovated in that it’s had new granite countertops and stone tile backsplashes. We had hoped that the solution for us would be to remove the old cabinet doors with visible hinges and old hardware …

    TOM: OK.

    MARTHA: … and just sort of reface that way. We’ve found out since that because the base cabinetry is plywood paint-grade the new cabinet doors are going to be very heavy and not a great solution for this.

    TOM: So wait a minute. You’re concerned that the new cabinet doors will be too heavy for the cabinets themselves?

    LESLIE: What about the granite countertop that’s sitting on top of it?

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t think that’s an issue.

    MARTHA: I imagine there’s some substrate there but the doors we’re looking at are a very contemporary, thick door. They’re not a Shaker style. They’re probably a good

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