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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

    (Note: The timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show.)


    (theme song, commercial)

    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: Standing by, 1-888-MONEY-PIT and waiting for your phone call. You got a question about your do-it-yourself dilemma? Are you trying to decide how in the world you’re going to tackle those New Year’s resolutions you made to yourself, not too long ago, about fixing up your money pit? We’re here to help you. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yep, we’re doing something really exciting this hour, Tom. Don’t forget.

    TOM: Ah, that’s right. And I’m getting hungry already.

    LESLIE: Yeah, we’re …

    TOM: We’ve been running this Renovation Recipes contest. And we have a winner.

    LESLIE: We’re not going to share the winner with you yet. But let me tell you, there were some really interesting ideas out there. Some things involved stuffing, some involved corn chips, some even involved many steps of like blanching tomatoes and roasting fish and interesting things that I was like, ‘How could I do all of this if I didn’t have my kitchen?’

    TOM: Yes, and that was the concept, we should explain. If you … how could you make a quick meal for your entire family if …

    LESLIE: Maybe if I had six crock pots (laughing) and an electric skillet and a hotpot, I could do that.

    TOM: If your home was under …

    LESLIE: Some were like 12-course meals.

    TOM: If your home was under a total renovation, you would need all those portable appliances, Leslie. So we got some pretty creative recipes and they will be on our website at moneypit.com. We got the … what were some? The one outlet soup.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there were good ideas.

    TOM: They were very creative. People were talking about how many upside-down spackle buckets you would need to seat …

    LESLIE: To seat a whole family.

    TOM: … for the complete meal.

    LESLIE: And it kind of made me wonder, being a person who does not own a crock pot – and I don’t know why I don’t; I just don’t – it made me feel like perhaps I needed to run out and get one immediately. I felt I could …

    TOM: Well, it could be a hot plate; it could have been a gas grill; it could have been a wok. Could have been anything. But we’re going to pick the winner and interview the winner, coming up later in the hour.

    But everyone’s a winner that listens to this show and that’s why we’ve got the Ryobi Measure-Tech Plus to give away. Worth 39 bucks. So call us. If you come on the air and ask your home improvement question, you’ll qualify for that Ryobi Measure-Tech Plus. Let’s go right to the phones.

    LESLIE: Right now we’re going to June, in Pennsylvania, where we’re going to try to help her out of a very sticky situation. What did you spill on this floor, June?

    JUNE: Oh well, Leslie, it’s actually a wood floor and we were taking it up and it was … the glue that’s on underneath the wood floor.

    LESLIE: Okay, and that’s on your cement floor underneath?

    JUNE: Right. We have a slab and ‘the wood floor was placed’ and it’s not a floating floor; it just has all this … some kind of adhesive.

    TOM: Hmm.

    LESLIE: And what are you looking to put back on top of the cement floor? Or you just want to use the cement floor as is?

    JUNE: Correct.

    LESLIE: So you just want to have the cement floor as it … what room is this?

    JUNE: It’s in the … it’s in the dining room. And we have to replace some of the woods a little bit. It doesn’t look too nice so we want to take it up and put some fresh pieces down.

    TOM: Oh, you want to put new wood down.

    JUNE: New wood down. Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Well, in terms of removing the old wood all – the old – all you have to do is get off enough so that you can have a flat surface to work with.

    JUNE: Right. But whoever glued it did a really good job. (laughing)

    TOM: Okay.

    JUNE: Everywhere.

    TOM: And, unfortunately, it’s going to be a lot of work for you to take that up. We can’t recommend, in particular, any glue softeners because it’s simply difficult to get that glue up. You’re going to have to do most of this work by hand. But what we could suggest is get off as much as you can and you could use an underlayment on top of that. Many of the new flooring products have like a thin foam underlayment that will help you even out that surface. And if you want to put a wood floor down, what I would recommend you look into is engineered hardwood.

    Engineered hardwood floor is built in layers, like plywood is built, and it’s dimensionally stable and it works well on top of concrete floors because if moisture gets in there, the floor doesn’t twist and buckle and turn. And you can get lots …

    LESLIE: Which is why it was probably glued down; to keep it from doing so.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. And I think that would be a nice way for you to go because …

    LESLIE: But the engineered hardwood is definitely the way to go, especially if you’re having a moisture situation there.

    JUNE: Okay, great. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks for calling The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Eric in Alabama is looking to insulate a 200-year-old home. Eric, does the home have any insulation at all or are we looking at starting from scratch?

    ERIC: It has no insulation. It’s just brick and plaster.

    LESLIE: Woo, boy.

    TOM: Whoa. Chilly.

    LESLIE: Wow. Did you just buy it?

    TOM: I got goose bumps when you said that. (laughing)

    ERIC: It’s a wonderful old home. The plaster’s in perfect shape but it’s got … it’s a one-foot thick brick and two inches of plaster and if you put a paper barrier or do it like you ‘standardly’ would, it would just start rotting the plaster out.

    TOM: So there’s no wall framing at all? It’s just brick and brick all the way through?

    ERIC: It’s got 12 inches of brick and two inches of plaster.

    TOM: Well …

    ERIC: Eric has everything else.

    TOM: Then the concept of wall insulation is beyond you, (chuckles) my friend. What you do … what you can concentrate on is all of the areas that air gets in – windows and doors and things of this nature. Plus the ceiling insulation. Can you get to the attic space? Is that accessible?

    ERIC: To some parts. A lot of it’s like a cathedral ceiling, so it will have to be torn down and you can get into the rafter area.

    TOM: Yeah, if you get in the rafter area and, even if it’s tight to get in there, I mean a blown-in would be a good option for that. If you can get 12 to 15 inches, in your part of the country, into that attic space, that would be good. What about the floor space? Can you get under it or is it a wood basement floor, is it a crawl space? What do you have?

    ERIC: Basement with first and second stories so there’s no real crawl space, either.

    TOM: Okay. And the basement is finishable, or not?

    ERIC: Well, it’s going to be. We’re going to put insulation on the outside … ‘the stone.’ The bottom walls are stone. Roughly three-foot thick.

    TOM: You might want to think about insulating the floor – the first floor – like from the basement ceiling, so to speak.

    LESLIE: Well, and even if the basement becomes a finished space that’s heated, that will do a great deal to help as well.

    TOM: (overlapping) Yeah, it’s not going to hurt having that there. Exactly.

    ERIC: Now that space we’re going to heat. I might put subfloor heating in so it should be comfortable. But just trying to pay for what we’re losing out the walls.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I would concentrate on windows and doors. What do you have now for windows and doors? Are they modern, are they old? What do you have?

    ERIC: We’re going to put brand new double-hung windows in.

    TOM: Okay. So double-hung replacement windows? Make sure you get low-e glass because that’s going to make them more efficient. And double-pane is probably just as good as triple-pane in your particular case.

    LESLIE: And …

    TOM: And of course, vinyl clad, which is a much warmer window.

    LESLIE: And if you have some rooms that you’re thinking about, perhaps, wallpapering. If that was an option or if that was a design choice you were going to make, take it one step further and think about upholstering those walls; where you can use a fabric – and a lot of wallpapers are available in matching fabric. So if there’s something that you’re in love with already, you can find a fabric that goes with it. And you can use batting behind the fabric, which would act as an extra sort of layer of insulation. And then you’re not actually adhering anything to the plaster so you’re not damaging that beautiful plaster that’s in great shape. But it is giving you that little extra barrier.

    TOM: And that really does two things. Not only does it insulate the walls a bit; it also interrupts that convective loop where you have warm moist air that strikes the cold wall, condenses, gets cold and falls. And so if you’re sitting in a chair near the wall, you feel this draft and really it’s just the convective loop of warm to cold air circulating around the room. And every time that warm air strikes the wall, it chills and falls and you feel a draft. So having a very heavy wall covering like that on some of those critical walls is going to make you a lot more comfortable and that’s the bottom line.

    ERIC: Right. Very good.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, enjoy that wonderful old house.

    ERIC: Thank you very much for the advice.

    TOM: It comes with a lot of chores but it’s worth it.

    ERIC: Never ending. (laughing)

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. How many times do you have to keep tripping up the steps before you finally install those railings you’ve been putting off? Remember, proper stair railings are an important first step to safety. So stay tuned for some step-by-step instructions to keep your family safe.

    (theme song, commercials)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being 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 prices. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website, moneypit.com, is the home of The Money Pit’s free e-newsletter; yet another way for you to get great home improvement advice and chances to win more prizes every single week.

    LESLIE: Okay, folks. Remember, stairs with more than two steps should have a handrail securely mounted to the wall. For open staircases, spindles should be installed, no more than six inches apart, to prevent your small child from squeezing his head through. You don’t want that; it’s hard to get their heads out. And lastly, be especially careful when steps are of an uneven height. While you may get used to them, living in your home, your guests might not and could seriously be hurt. So think about safety, not just for yourself but for your visitors.

    TOM: And here’s a prize that won’t let you trip up on your home improvement projects. It’s the Measure-Tech Plus from Ryobi. Worth 39 bucks. It is two tools in one. Check this out: it’s a professional-grade stud finder than can detect both wood or metal studs; and it’s a 50-foot sonic measuring device. You know what a sonic device is? It means it uses sound waves to measure space. So you put it on one wall; it shoots that wave all the way across to the other wall and tells you what the distance is. What a quick way …

    LESLIE: But you can’t hear it.

    TOM: You can’t hear it.

    LESLIE: It’s not like (descriptive sound).

    TOM: I wonder if your dog can hear it. You know if it makes the dog …

    LESLIE: Yeah, if your dog starts spazzing out, then we’ll know.

    TOM: (laughing) Have to find that out. (laughing) Anyway, it’s worth 39 bucks. Call us right now. We’re going to draw one name out of the Money Pit hardhat and award that prize at the end of today’s program. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Marshall, in New Jersey, who has some sort of flooding in the insulation in the crawl space. What’s going on?

    TOM: Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.

    MARSHALL: I have a crawl space under my house and it does have some minor flooding. It’s only on half of my house; there was an addition that was apparently done …

    TOM: Okay.

    MARSHALL: … before I had this house. Half of the house has a … I think it’s called a dry track system. It’s basically a channel that runs around …

    TOM: Oh, okay. Like …

    MARSHALL: … that routes all the water …

    TOM: Okay. Yeah.

    MARSHALL: … into a sump pump.

    TOM: It has a drain but they, typically, don’t work.

    MARSHALL: Well, the part that has the drain is working okay; it’s the other part that does not.

    TOM: Okay.

    MARSHALL: And so I was putting insulation up in that part – it’s under our bedrooms – to help with heating. Now I notice that the water is coming in along the boards right above the …

    LESLIE: Above the crawl space.

    MARSHALL: … of the brick.

    TOM: So there are two things that don’t mix. Oil and water and insulation and water, okay? (chuckles)

    MARSHALL: Right.

    TOM: Because if you let the insulation get wet, it doesn’t insulate. Secondly, it can grow mold inside of it. Even though insulation is an inorganic product, sometimes it gets dust inside of it from being in the dusty crawl space and then the dust grows mold. So … and, of course, the floor joist and so on can get moldy as well. So we need to get this space dried out. Now do you notice whether or not the moisture is worse after a heavy rainfall?

    MARSHALL: The water does show up only after rain.

    TOM: Okay, well that’s good news. Because that means it’s easy to fix. What you need to do is tackle improvements to the grading and the drainage at the outside of the house.

    LESLIE: Because if you can keep that water away from getting into that ground under the house, then you can really sort of solve this problem. And the few things you want to look at is you want to make sure that all of your gutters are clean, as often as you can, because if they’re full of dirt and debris, when the water goes in it it’s just going to spill right out; it’s not going to have a clear path to go. So make sure your gutters are clean.

    And then make sure that your downspouts aren’t depositing the water directly into the foundation area. Make sure that it’s going away from the house; like three feet or more. And check your grading. You want to go down about four feet over a – four inches, sorry – six inches over four feet. I can’t talk today; I’m getting my numbers all confused. (laughing)

    TOM: Yeah, we want you to dig down four feet and, when you hit China (laughing) …

    LESLIE: No, but six inches over four feet. And that’ll really do enough to slope all that water away from the house, which gets that moisture out of that dirt.

    TOM: And this way, you’ll be reducing the volume of water around the house, Marshall. And if you do that, there’ll be less moisture to get into the crawl space. Now, once the grading and the drainage is set up just perfect, the other things that you could do would be to add some vents to the crawl space if you don’t have enough there now. You really need to have about two on every side of the crawl – every side of the house.

    And then, lastly, if you really need to move some air through that space, you could consider adding a fan to the … to one of the crawl space vents; they make fans that fit inside that vent space. But wire it to a humidistat so it only comes on when there’s a lot of moisture.

    Oh, and one more thing I didn’t mention before. Put a vapor barrier down across the dirt floor if there’s a … if there’s a dirt floor or even a concrete floor, put plastic sheeting across it because that stops some of the soil moisture from wicking up into that space as well.

    So those are all the things that you need to do. You’re basically managing the moisture; and if you manage the moisture, the crawl space and the insulation will stay dry.

    LESLIE: Well, Mississippi is home to Robert who has a question about … regarding overall home repair. That sounds pretty general, Robert. How can we help you?

    TOM: I think we could handle that.

    ROBERT: Yes, I’m going to be putting Pergo in my house.

    TOM: Okay. Now, that’s a laminate flooring product.

    ROBERT: And the directions say to do a moisture test. Now, when I had my house built, I had a moisture barrier put under the foundation before we poured the foundation. Do I still need to do the moisture test?

    TOM: Not likely. This is laminate flooring, correct?

    ROBERT: Yes, it is.

    TOM: Well, all the laminate flooring products that I’m familiar with stand up incredibly well to moisture. So I can’t imagine why you would want to do that. It’s … I’ve never heard of that and I’m kind of surprised it’s in their instructions. If it’s a wood floor, I’ve seen it in situations like that; but not if it’s a laminate floor. Laminate floors are incredibly durable floors and they do stand up to not only surface moisture but I’ve seen them immersed in water and they don’t rot, they don’t twist, they don’t warp. So I think that that’s a good choice. And if you’re confident that the floor was properly constructed and has a minimum amount of moisture, I wouldn’t worry about it; I’d go ahead and put that down without a second thought.

    ROBERT: And I’m still going to put the underlayment …

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Right. It looks like it’s like a thin, greenish-blue foam. It’s something that generally comes with the flooring or you purchase in conjunction with the flooring.

    ROBERT: That’s on the flooring. That’s installed on the flooring already. I’m talking about another moisture barrier; like a viscuine.

    TOM: Oh. Are they telling you to put that in, or not?

    ROBERT: Yes, they’re telling me to do that, too.

    TOM: Then follow those instructions. Put that down and then you put the laminate floor on top of that. The laminate floor probably has an interlocking joint …

    ROBERT: Yes, it does.

    TOM: … and it floats on top of that.

    ROBERT: Yes, it’s a floating floor.

    TOM: Then you’ll be fine.

    ROBERT: I was just curious if I needed to do the moisture test, too. I don’t think I do because …

    TOM: I don’t … I don’t think that you do. I think if you follow those instructions, you’ll be good to go. Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Our next caller is Harriet, from New Jersey, who listens to The Money Pit on WCTC. Harriet, you want to talk windows. How can we help.

    HARRIET: About eight years ago, I had new windows put in. And the company that I used is apparently out of business.

    TOM: Yeah, that happens a lot in the window business.

    HARRIET: Yes, well, these are very heavy windows and they have like spring balances on the side.

    TOM: Right. And now you … now you need new spring balances and you can’t find them anywhere, right?

    HARRIET: Absolutely. I’ve tried. My son has used the internet and everything. He hasn’t come up with anything. Said they were a division of Four Seasons and the window was called Vista Heavy Frames.

    TOM: Well, Harriet, we feel your pain (chuckles). It’s a real problem to try to find parts for windows when the manufacturers are no longer in business. Fortunately, you are not alone and, as a result, there’s quite a busy industry of suppliers of those parts. One that I would recommend you check out is called W.R. Hardware; their website is simply wrhardware.com. And they specialize in obsolete window parts. So you may just find what you need there.

    HARRIET; These are such heavy windows for an old lady to operate. (laughing) You know, you have to take the whole window out and I can’t even lift them.

    TOM: Yeah, well, don’t get injured. Now, that’s a great site to get obsolete hardware …

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: … including replacement balances.

    LESLIE: And there’s another company called Blaine Window Hardware and their website is blainewindow.com – and Blaine is B-l-a-i-n-e – window.com and they also specialize in hard-to-get window parts. So, between the two, you should be able to find exactly what it is you’re looking for.

    HARRIET: You know, my sons keep telling me, ‘Get rid of them.’

    TOM: Well, that’s another option. (laughing)

    HARRIET: Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Harriet. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Okay, folks. You’re busy with your latest DIY project and you’re starving. Well, what do you do? Well, you whip up a renovation recipe, of course. We’re going to announce the winner of our contest and tell you where you can find those recipes, coming up next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Kenmore, makers of the Kenmore Elite Induction Cooktop which cooks food faster and more efficiently than gas or electric ranges. To learn more, visit your local Sears store or call 1-888-KENMORE. Now, here’s Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie.

    LESLIE: Yes, sir?

    TOM: (sniffing) Ah, doesn’t it smell good in here?

    LESLIE: Mmm. Are you talking about the prize-winning recipe that we’ve whipped up a sample of to try and taste?

    TOM: Yes, it’s so good. Yes, we have chosen a winner for Renovation Recipes.

    LESLIE: Oh, can we tell everybody now?

    TOM: Yes, let’s tell everybody. The winner is Angie and she has sent in, from Little Rock, Arkansas, this fabulous recipe called The Builder’s Beefy Barbecue Sandwiches. So we’ve got Angie standing by right now on the line; she doesn’t hear us. We’re going to say hello and tell her that she’s the winner.


    ANGIE: Yeah. Hi.

    TOM: Hi, it’s Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete from The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Hi.

    ANGIE: I just can’t believe I’m talking to you guys.

    TOM: (laughing) Well, we called you because you entered a contest …

    ANGIE: Right.

    TOM: … that we put together called Renovation Recipes. And so, we took a look at your recipe and we want to talk to you about that. But first, tell us about your home improvement project. Did this contest really feel good to you because you know what it’s like to have a house torn apart? Did you understand where we were coming from?

    ANGIE: Absolutely. We have done so many different things to this house. And we’re getting ready to add a dining room. Our original house plans, we kind of cut off part of it so we could afford it and now we’re getting ready to tear a wall down and add a dining room in. So we’re really excited about that.

    LESLIE: So where have you been eating since then?

    ANGIE: Where have we been eating? Well, I mean we cook a lot in the crock pot. (laughing) Just all the time. We use the crock pot and a little electric griddle. We’ve actually cooked some back in our bathroom so …

    LESLIE: But you don’t share that with your friends when they come over to dine.

    ANGIE: No, we don’t. No.

    LESLIE: We prepared this while showering. (laughing)

    ANGIE: Oh, yeah, right.

    TOM: Well, you submitted a recipe for our Renovation Recipe contest …

    ANGIE: Right.

    TOM: … which is called Builder’s Beefy Barbecue Sandwiches.

    LESLIE: Mmm, that sounds so good.

    TOM: So is … this isn’t one of the ones you prepare in the bathroom, now, is it? (laughing)

    ANGIE: No. No, it’s not. It’s just in the crock pot in a little corner.

    LESLIE: Which might be in the bathroom but she’s not telling us.

    ANGIE: Right. (laughing) It could be, yes. (laughing)

    TOM: Well, it’s a pretty … it sounded so tasty to us.

    LESLIE: Oh, it’s delicious.

    ANGIE: Oh, it is absolutely delicious.

    TOM: So you add three pounds of beef brisket, a cup of water, four teaspoons of vinegar, three teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, some chili powder and a bottle of your …

    LESLIE: Those are tablespoons, Tom. Capital ‘T’ equals tablespoons.

    TOM: Oh, well, see now, you’re the cook.

    ANGIE: Yeah. (laughing) Yes, definitely tablespoons.

    TOM: Tablespoons. And a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. And you put it in your crock pot for 12 hours?

    ANGIE: Right. If you want to slow cook it, 12 hours. You can cook it on high and it takes about four to five hours but I like …

    LESLIE: Well, it depends on the size of the project you’re working on. If you’ve got a big project and you’re going to be working all day, you need that smell to entice you to get through it. But if it’s a short one, crank it up to high.

    TOM: Yes, so you could start this early in the morning and by the time you’re ready to have dinner, it’s ready to rock and roll.

    ANGIE: And it is. And it’s so easy. And it’s so good. And it …

    TOM: It sounds tasty. Well, we thought it was tasty. We put this recipe to our panel of experts and guess what, Angie?

    ANGIE: What?

    TOM: You’re the winner.

    ANGIE: Uh-uh!!! (screaming) You … I won!!!

    TOM: Congratulations, you are …

    ANGIE: Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe it!

    TOM: You’re going to receive a brand new Kenmore …

    ANGIE: No.

    TOM: … Induction Cooktop.

    LESLIE: Yes.

    TOM: Yes.

    ANGIE: No!!!

    LESLIE: Yes.

    TOM: Yes.

    ANGIE: Oh, my gosh! I cannot believe that.

    TOM: So …

    LESLIE: Are you so excited?

    ANGIE: I am beside myself. (laughing) Oh, my word! Oh, my gosh. I can’t … I can’t believe it.

    TOM: Well, it sounded so tasty, we had put …

    ANGIE: Thank you.

    TOM: … all the recipes out and yours just jumped off the page. So congratulations.

    ANGIE: (overlapping) Thank you so much! Oh, my goodness!

    LESLIE: You are so welcome. What is the first thing you’re going to make on it?

    ANGIE: Oh, my gosh. Well, I have this homemade soup recipe that my husband loves and it’s this big potato soup with … Potatoes Florentine. It’s got spinach and potatoes and ham; it’s wonderful. So that’ll be the first thing.

    LESLIE: Excellent.

    TOM: Alright. You’ll be able to make that on your brand new Kenmore Induction Cooktop.

    ANGIE: Oh, my gosh. I cannot believe it!

    TOM: Available at Sears. And we want to thank the folks at Kenmore for giving us this great prize to give away. And if you want to …

    LESLIE: And, of course, everyone, thank you so much for your wonderful entries.

    TOM: Yes. Everybody was really hungry when we were looking at these recipes, too. (laughing)

    ANGIE: Oh, I bet.

    LESLIE: Some of them were pretty crazy. Some of them had very interesting ingredients like Frito-Lay potato chips; very strange.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But yours just sounded practical and delicious and something that you would really look forward to after a long, hard day of physical work. And it’s why we loved it.

    TOM: Congratulations, Annie.

    ANGIE: Thank you.

    TOM: Alright.

    LESLIE: Okay, and don’t forget, Tom. We want to thank everyone who sent in their Renovation Recipe. Everything sounded so great. Thank you so much for participating.

    TOM: We’ll be reading them for the next few months. (laughing)

    LESLIE: Yeah, it gave me a whole idea of what I’m going to serve my family for the next few months. So thank you.

    TOM: And we’ve put all of those recipes on our website so go there today – moneypit.com – and check out the contest sections for Angie’s winning recipe for the Builder’s Beefy Barbecue Sandwich. And we’ll be feeding the masses with great home-cooked home improvement food.

    LESLIE: Man, I just love to give things away and that’s like a major prize; that’s really exciting. Alright, folks, back to business.

    Well, if we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times. Taking on a paint job requires careful and thorough prep work. It’s no different when the job is interior woodwork. A brush-up on what you need to do to get this project done right, after the break.

    (theme song, commercials)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Kidde, the leader in home fire safety. Kidde. Technology that saves lives.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, I am still stuffed from our barbecue sandwiches.

    LESLIE: You know, I just … I liked this recipe because it was something that seemed really easy to do. You could just do your work and be enticed by the smells all day. And then, at the end of the day, you just scoop it onto a bun and enjoy it. And it is tasty.

    TOM: So to see all of those recipes that were sent into the Renovation Recipe contest, you can go to our website and click on the Contest section and check out the Renovation Recipes from all of our listeners all over the country.

    LESLIE: And enjoy them. Alright, folks, painting tips. The first step in any good paint job is preparation and sanding woodwork can be tricky. So to save time, use a sanding sponge; they’re available at any home center. Or even use a detail sander to prepare the unique contours of your woodwork. Or use one of the new environmentally-friendly paint strippers to provide the optimum surface for repainting. So prep work; it’s important.

    TOM: And we’ve got a great prize, today, that could help you with some of that prep work. It’s the Measure-Tech Plus from Ryobi. Two tools in one. It’s a professional-grade stud finder that can detect wood or metal studs and it has a 50-foot sonic measuring device. Available at The Home Depot for 39 bucks but also available to one caller to 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If it is your name that we draw out of the Money Pit hardhat, you’ll be getting the Ryobi Measure-Tech Plus.

    LESLIE: Ooh. Now, we’re going to talk to Tom’s favorite name – Miss Ella May …

    TOM: I love that name.

    LESLIE: … in New Jersey.

    ELLA MAY: Well, thank you.

    TOM: And Ella May, you live in New Jersey. It sounds like with a name like that you should be a sweet southern belle.

    ELLA MAY: No, they spell Mae with an ‘e’; I spell mine with a ‘y.’

    TOM: Oh, alright.

    LESLIE: Ah.

    TOM: How can we help you?

    ELLA MAY: I have a gas – a very old gas – cooking stove and I’ve bought a new one. But I understand that the hookup has to be converted to meet the state code and also, obviously, it’s in the wrong place. And how do … how do we go about that?

    TOM: Well, if it’s in the wrong place, you can kill two birds with one stone. I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about with the particular code but, typically, you want to have a gas valve mounted behind that or within ready access of that so that it can be turned off. That might be what you’re talking about. But you simply have to have the right size fitting to attach that gas line to.

    The other requirement, by the way, when you install a stove, is to make sure you have an anti-tip clip installed. And what that does is that stops the stove from being able to fall over when the oven door is open if you … if you’re a family with children like mine, you know that when you open that oven door, even when it’s cold, any horizontal surface is fair game for a kid to climb upon. And unless the stove has this clip in it, it can tip over. So that’s why the latest stoves in the markets now have these metal clips that basically bolt it to the floor – secure it to the floor – so that it can’t tip over.

    So those are the two things that you’re going to need. When you move the gas line, it’s going to have to have it’s own valve. And then you have to make sure that, when you put the new stove in, it has the anti-tip bracket installed.

    ELLA MAY: Okay. And who would … who would do the converting of the gas line?

    TOM: A plumber’s going to have to do that. It’s just a simple plumbing job; it’s really not that big of a deal to do.

    ELLA MAY: Okay. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Ella May. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, next up is Regina, from Delaware, who listens to The Money Pit on WDEL, with an insulation question. How can we help?

    REGINA: Thanks for taking my call.

    LESLIE: You’re so welcome.

    REGINA: My home is an older home. It’s a stone home. And I notice that the outside walls, particularly in the bedrooms, are very, very cold. And I’m wondering, since it’s an old home, if there’s some way that I can stop the cold air from coming in through the wall.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s possible after … how old is the home?

    REGINA: It’s probably over 50 years old.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s possible that, after some time, insulation does lose it’s R-value – meaning it compresses and it doesn’t work as well as it should. And you might just need some more insulation in the area. And since you probably don’t want to pull off things to reinsulate, you might want to think about blown-in insulation.

    REGINA: And how would I do that? Is that something I can do myself?

    TOM: No. Blown-in insulation is not something you can do yourself. Typically, for a wall, what happens is you drill or the installer will drill a small hole into the wall cavity and that cavity will be filled, then, with the blown-in insulation. And then, up in the attic, again, they will sort of blow it out of a hose into different parts of the attic. But the trick is to get it in the right thickness and the right density, in those areas, to do the job that needs to be done. So it is one that it’s best to hire a professional installer to tackle. But it is a very convenient way of getting insulation into spaces that are just simply difficult to access in an older house.

    REGINA: And is that an expensive project?

    TOM: Well, I think insulation is probably one of the most cost-effective projects that you can do because it does lead to so much more in energy savings. So what the cost is itself is going to depend on how difficult the job is and how much work is involved but, generally speaking, it’s going to be a very cost-effective improvement when you make it, Regina. Okay?

    REGINA: Okay. Well, thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks for calling.

    LESLIE: (overlapping) Alright, stay warm.

    TOM: Stay warm. Absolutely.

    REGINA: Thank you.

    TOM: Bye-bye.

    LESLIE: Well, now, we’re going to talk to Mary, in Nevada, who’s looking to do some remodeling; particularly, knocking down a wall. Mary, what’s going on?

    MARY: Well, I would like to … we just purchased a home and I want to renovate and I want to knock out part of the wall to make it open – more open – and lighter and brighter.

    TOM: That sounds nice.

    MARY: What do I have to worry about?

    LESLIE: Is it a load-bearing wall?

    MARY: Load-bearing wall. Okay.

    TOM: Yeah, you need to understand how much weight is on that wall before you set your chainsaw saw into it, Mary. (laughing) Now, this particular wall, is it going … is it parallel or perpendicular to the front and rear wall of the house? Because that’s the first place to start.

    MARY: It’s parallel.

    TOM: Okay. Then it may, in fact, be – and this is like, without seeing your house – load-bearing. That does not mean that you can’t take it out. It just means that you have to be very careful about the way you do that and the way the wall is reinforced. There are two ways to reinforce a wall. One would be with a header, which is the kind that you have over a door or over any kind of archway to a room where there’s a large beam supported by ….

    LESLIE: Which is usually like a 2×6.

    TOM: Or a 2×10 or even a 2×12, depending on how much weight is on it, supported by smaller cripple studs on the side. Or you could do something that would be more like a flush girder, where you actually have a flush ceiling, you have no archway or opening. But that’s much more complicated. You have to actually sort of surgically cut in to the floor structure above – or the ceiling joist above – and put a beam that’s flush in the ceiling.

    Both of those are not your basic do-it-yourself projects, however. It can be done by a carpenter that knows what he’s doing. You, typically, have to build a false wall on either side of the wall that you’re going to take apart to temporarily support the bearing wall that you’re disassembling. You build like a stud wall right near it – like a foot or so away on both sides – then you can take apart the bearing wall, put it back together with the proper reinforcement and then remove the temporary walls.

    So it could be done in a couple of days or maybe even less. But it has to be done in the right order and it really should be done by somebody that has some experience.

    MARY: Oh, okay. So that is something that I should not tackle. Okay. Alright. Well, that was something I wanted to ask you, too. Because I have no experience in this but I thought, ‘Well, if I read up on it, I might be able to tackle something like this.’

    TOM: Well, good for you for having the courage to try something like that. But it’s really beyond the scope of a sort of startup do-it-yourselfer. I would definitely have a pro do that. But you know what, Mary? You could just hire the contractor to do that and you could do all the rest of the work in the kitchen.

    MARY: Okay.

    TOM: Do the trim, do the paint. You know? Do all of that but have them open the wall up for you.

    MARY: Alright. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Alright, everybody. Mold. How to get rid of it. That’s the question that Brandon from Boston wants answered and we’ll tackle that when we come back, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Reiker Room Conditioners, available at all Menard’s, selected Lowe’s and Home Depots and as a special order in all Lowe’s and Home Depot stores. Or contact Reiker at www.heatingfans.com. Or call 1-866-4Reiker – that’s R-e-i-k-e-r – for additional information.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website – moneypit.com – home of The Money Pit email newsletter; comes out every Friday morning. Sign up at moneypit.com; you will get great email-delivered information every single week and a chance to ask an email question. We get a lot of questions, from subscribers to the e-newsletter. Why don’t we tackle one of those now, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Okey-dokes. Brandon from Boston writes: ‘How do I clean mold from my rubber refrigerator gasket inside my refrigerator door without affecting the quality of the gasket?’

    TOM: Hmm. Interesting. You know, Brandon probably knows that exposure to bleach – and a lot of bleach – can deteriorate rubber. Because, typically, we would recommend a bleach and water solution. I don’t think he has anything to be concerned about by using that on this rubber gasket because I think it can take successive washings with a bleach solution and that is, clearly, the quickest and fastest way, Brandon, to get rid of any mold that is attacking that.

    Now, if it turns out that this refrigerator gasket is just completely embedded with mold and it’s gone on for years and years and years, the other goods news is that you can get replacement gaskets. It’s called Appliance Weather Strip and you can get that and actually replace that door seal on the refrigerator. It’s not that expensive, either; probably cost you 20 or 30 bucks.

    LESLIE: And Brandon, we don’t recommend using a ton of bleach. It’s usually about 20 percent bleach to about 80 percent water. So don’t go too crazy because you don’t want to put too much on there but you do want to get it clean. But make sure you’re not working on something that’s just already too far gone to be cleaned in the first place.

    TOM: Alright, let’s tackle this question from Mike in Middletown, Delaware. He writes: ‘I am getting condensation on my windows and it’s causing a real mess. I have wood frame windows and storm windows. On some windows, it’s on the inside of the wood frame windows and others, it’s on the storm window. Any idea what is causing this?’

    LESLIE: Well, it’s a wood frame window so it’s freezing. It’s probably not insulated. You know, the vinyl windows are the best for keeping everything insulated. And what happens is you have warm air inside, cold air outside and when the two meet through the glass, there’s condensation.

    TOM: Exactly. And since those windows are both uninsulated and leaky, that’s where the water’s coming from. It’s time to get some better windows. Mike, thanks for writing us at moneypit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright, good advice. Thanks, Tom.

    TOM: Okay, here’s one more from Wesley in Seattle, Washington. He says, ‘Are tankless water heaters efficient? Is it true that you’ll get an endless supply of hot water?’

    LESLIE: Oh, you love these things. Tell … preach to the choir; let’s go.

    TOM: (laughing) Well, yeah, that’s why they’re called tankless. And sure, you’ll get an endless supply of hot water. I think the confusion is that people think you can over-tap their capacity. But, truly, you can’t. If you buy a tankless water heater that’s matched for the number of bathrooms you have in the house, you will in fact get an endless supply of hot water. Now, if you buy one then all of a sudden you add another bathroom or a full, say, hot tub or something like that, then you could tap them out. But they truly are the most efficient way to deliver hot water.

    LESLIE: Well done, Tom. Lots of good questions, lot of answers.

    TOM: Well, there’s nothing more pleasant, sometimes, than taking a warm bath after a hard day of home improvement projects. But Leslie, you’ve figured out a way to combine both warm baths and home improvement projects, say, earlier in the day. And that is the topic of today’s Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Okay, but I don’t recommend taking a bath and doing the home improvement project at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a very sticky situation. (laughing)

    Okay, folks. Well, your bathtub might be the first tool you’ll need when tackling a wallpaper project. Wetting pre-pasted wallpaper in a warm bath will actually help soften that glue. Another trick is to double the paper and rub the adhesive sides together before hanging the wallpaper and that maximizes the glue effectiveness. That’s also called bookmarking; it’s a good tip. And because this is one case where you really do want a sticky situation. That’s wallpaper for you, folks.

    TOM: Well, thanks for sticking around for this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

    (theme song)


    Copyright 2006 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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