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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: Pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement question; your do-it-yourself dilemma; anything that you got started with, that you got stuck with. We’re here to help you get the job done. 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got lots of tips in store for today’s program, including this one: we’re going to talk about ways that you can add some interest, some style, some texture to your front door. How do you do all that? Well, with container gardening. We’re going to show how you can do that and come up with a design that can last you all year long.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we know that picking a paint color can be a tremendous decision in itself. But what about the best paint finish for your walls. We know it gets confusing; you know, do you go with satin, eggshell, gloss, semi-gloss. Oh, my. We’re going to help you figure out which is the right choice for you.

    TOM: And some home improvements seem rather impossible; like how do you make a small space big. Well, you can do it visually with some decorating tricks of the trade which we’ll give you in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a huge prize on the show. It’s the new ECO Model Reiker Room Conditioner. It’s worth $359 and it’s a ceiling fan but it also works like a space heater when you need it to be one but it’s out of the way so it’s much, much safer.

    TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning that great prize from Reiker, the ECO Model Room Conditioner. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us.

    Let’s get right to the phones.

    LESLIE: Debbie in North Carolina, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    DEBBIE: I got a house about four years ago, here in North Carolina. It was built in the late 1950s, I think. And at the time, I didn’t notice it but a hole is developing in the side yard. And it’s a deep enough hole …

    TOM: A hole?

    DEBBIE: A hole in the yard. And it’s a deep enough hole that I have a seven-year-old granddaughter and they were out playing and one of her feet fell down in it and she went in it up to her hip.

    TOM and LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Hmm.

    DEBBIE: Yeah, and I’m a little concerned and yet I don’t know who to call or what it might be. I don’t know if it’s perhaps a where a tree was there previously and where they took it out, you know it’s just an indentation from the root ball or – we don’t use oil heat in the south very much but I wondered if perhaps since it’s an older house maybe there had been an underground oil tank and has a heat …

    TOM: Oh, there’s lots of possibilities. You know, in our house we found an abandoned septic tank smack dab under the kids’ swing set, believe it or not. (chuckling)

    DEBBIE: Oh.

    TOM: And I didn’t get any father of the year awards for that …

    LESLIE: Oh.

    TOM: … but at least we found it. It was a very old house and obviously we had no idea where it is. So it’s impossible for us to say what’s under there but, you know, possibilities might be the septic tank.


    TOM: It could be some organic debris. It could be an old well. I mean it could be very dangerous. And so you need to get that excavated and figure out what’s going on there.

    LESLIE: Would, Tom, a local call-before-you-dig company – you know, one of the local services that – you know, in my area it’s 311. You know, there’s a lot of different services across the country. If you look up your local zip code and call before you dig, say on a Google search, they can find, you know, where all your utility lines are; anything that’s underground that’s been documented throughout the history of your home, they come out and mark it out on the ground. They might be able to tell you if there was, in fact, something there.


    TOM: Well, if you call that number they come out for a mark-out and certainly that’s something that you have to do before you do any major excavation. But I think you’re going to have to – I would start with a landscaper and let him dig that area out and see what they find.


    TOM: If it just turns out that it’s loose soil or maybe they expose some decayed tree roots or something like that, then you can pack it in there and build it back up again.

    DEBBIE: OK. Great. Well, I just didn’t know where to start or who to call.

    TOM: Yep.

    DEBBIE: I didn’t know what to do about it.

    TOM: You’ve got to do a little exploratory surgery with that space but, gosh, you’ve got to get on that right away because that could be very dangerous.

    DEBBIE: Yeah, yeah. It really could. I was just very grateful that she didn’t fall all the way in it; although, I really don’t know how deep it is. I took a broomstick and the broomstick would go all the way in it. But beyond that, I don’t know.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a little bit over your head, this project, because, you know …


    TOM: … if you’ve got a sinkhole forming there you just don’t know what the end of it is. So I would get maybe a landscaper and start right there.

    DEBBIE: OK, great. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Monica in Colorado is dealing with a situation involving a garbage disposal. Tell us what’s going on.

    MONICA: Well, I moved into this house a year ago and I have a kitchen sink that has a double sink and the garbage disposal, when I use it, the stuff that I’m grounding up is coming up the other sink.

    TOM: OK.

    MONICA: Why is that doing that and in every other house I’ve lived in never did that? Why is it doing that?

    TOM: Because the way the two drains are configured, the out port on the garbage disposer is too close or the pipes are not angled in the right way to push the waste down the pipe. It’s basically looking for the quickest way out so it’s throwing it up the other side. You need to have a plumber come in and change the configuration of those drains. There should be a Y connection that actually points the waste down so it can’t come back up again.

    MONICA: Mm-hmm. OK.

    TOM: The problem is with the configuration of the pipes. I suspect that the sink originally didn’t have a garbage disposer. Somebody came in and put it in; tried to hook the drain pipes up in the easiest way possible but it wasn’t the right way when you have a garbage disposer. So that’s why you’re throwing waste up the other side.

    MONICA: Mm-hmm. OK, well I will get a plumber.

    TOM: You’ve got to rerun the drains, Monica.

    MONICA: Yeah.

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

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and if winter weather is keeping you indoors, why not pass the time with a project or two. We can help, so call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, landscaping around your front door can provide a winning welcome to your home. When we come back we’re going to teach you how to do just that even if you live in a high-rise apartment.

    (promo/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. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we hold the nail for you because we have good health insurance. (Leslie chuckles) Pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will seriously help you get your projects done and we may give you a great prize because this hour we’re giving away a Reiker room conditioner to one caller to the program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s a pretty cool prize because it’s a ceiling fan with an energy-efficient room heater built right in so it delivers year-round comfort. It’s worth 359 bucks. You want to win it you’ve got to have a home improvement question and come on the air and ask us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and with that great prize you can make that chilly room nice and toasty and get you in that summer mindset of those warmer days because now is the perfect time to start your outdoor garden display indoors. If you’ve got chillier temps outside go ahead and head to the nursery and look at those beautiful hothouse flowers and greenery and plant them indoors in some richly glazed ceramic urns or even beautiful pots. Up to you. Whatever your style is. And then go ahead and find them a sunny spot inside your home. They’re going to grow and mature indoors, they’re going to be perfect all winter long inside your house and then they’ll be really ready to be gorgeous on your front entrance come those summer sunny days.

    TOM: Now you can even do this with some of the larger – like miniature bushes and things like that that we’ve often talked about using as a container garden outside; like, for example, an Alberta spruce.

    LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. I mean anything green in your home during the winter, it’s going to make you feel better; it’s going to look springy and nice and it really just boosts your energy all winter long.

    TOM: And the bushes are harder to kill, too.

    LESLIE: Exactly. (Tom laughs)

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Ralph in Arizona, welcome to The Money Pit. What are you working on?

    RALPH: Actually, I’m working on remodeling my kitchen and I could really use some help in trying to figure out exactly what to do as far as tiling.

    LESLIE: OK. Tiling the counter; the backsplash? What are you thinking about?

    RALPH: Actually, tiling the backsplash. We’re going with granite countertops but …


    RALPH: … you know, everyone’s asking – folks are letting me know that tumbled marble or ceramic tile and just not sure exactly what to really use.

    LESLIE: Well, it really depends on what your design style is; you know, what is the d

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