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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: We make good homes better. Let us help you do that for your house. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. What are you doing? What are you working on? You know, the winter is a good time to tackle painting projects.

    LESLIE: Well, because it’s nice and dry; it’s not so humid. Plus you’re inside, so believe me, you’re looking at things and you want to change them. I have design schizophrenia on a daily basis (Tom laughs) but coop me up in the winter and forget about it. I’m like, ‘Oh, I want to change this.’

    TOM: I’m just a serial renovator so I can’t help but want to pick up a paint brush in the winter. (Leslie chuckles) But if you’re doing some painting projects or you’re doing some plumbing projects or flooring projects or maybe wallpapering – whatever you’re working on – call us right now. We’d love to help you get the job done. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up this hour, do you know if your windows and doors were properly sealed when they were installed? Chances are you don’t and there’s no easy way to find out. But you can learn how to detect leaks around doors and windows before they cause major damage. We’ll tell you exactly how to do that in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Alright. And folks, did you know that prefab can be fab? Alright. And don’t be a modular home snob. If your new home is factory built, it’s probably just as good – if not better – than one built onsite. We’re going to tell you why.

    TOM: And is your fireplace screen a soot covered mess? We’re going to give you a recipe on how you can make that screen look like new again.

    LESLIE: Alright, folks. And if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you know today we’re giving away a great prize. It’s a 4-in-1 utility bar from Stanley. It’s going to act like a crowbar; a nail puller; you can pretty much break anything apart with this demo device. So call in.

    TOM: It’s worth 40 bucks. Call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Squeakin’ and creakin’, that’s what’s going on at David’s house. How can we help you?

    DAVID: Yeah, I’ve got a few creaky pieces of floor right in front of the bathroom, so every time someone gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom you hear this ‘Ee, er, ee.’ You know like a squeak. And if you step on it, that’s what it does. It goes ‘Ee, er, ee, er.’ And I wondered if I had – if there was a certain type of nail and is it safe; can I go through; would that work. I mean what’s the answer there?

    LESLIE: So is it a hardwood floor? A laminate? What do you have?

    DAVID: Yeah, a hardwood floor.

    TOM: Generally what happens with hardwood floors – and this could be in the hardwood floor itself or it could be in the subfloor under the hardwood floor, David – that those nails are rosin coated. They’re glue coated nails. So what happens is you step on that. That nail moves in, moves out of the wood below it and it makes – you know, because of the friction it could make a pretty nasty squeaky sound. It’s also possible that the boards are just rubbing together.

    The solution for both of those problems is the same and that is you have to secure that floor area. Because it’s basically loose and has to be tightened up. Now because it’s a hardwood floor, there’s two ways to do this. You could drill out an area and put a screw in, which would be the most permanent solution but then you’d have to counter bore it and put a wood plug in and touch up the finish. Or kind of a shorter term but easier thing for you to do is to take a #10 or #12 penny finish nail and I would put that in the chuck of a drill with the head up into the chuck, because you’re basically going to make a drill out of a nail. And then you use the drill to sort of drill the nail hole into the wood. This is – because it’s hardwood, you have to sort of pilot it. And I’ve found over the years that you can do this with a nail probably even more effectively …

    LESLIE: Well the nail is going to open the fibers of the wood whereas a drill bit is just going to bore a hole in and take all that wood away.

    TOM: Right, so it stays tighter. And then once you have that split open you can go ahead and stick the same numbered nail in there and drive it in on a slight angle. And by the way, when you do this you want to try and do it right over where the floor joists are and if you don’t know where that is you can use a stud finder to find them.

    LESLIE: Also David, it could be possible that because you’re dealing with a bathroom, where there’s a lot of moisture, you could just be seeing a lot of expansion in the wood because of all the moisture from the bathroom. So if you’ve got a bathroom vent fan in there as well, turn it on and let it run for a good 20 minutes after you take a shower just to help get that moisture out. But still, affix that flooring.

    DAVID: Great, that’s a lot of help. I appreciate it.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Carol in Florida about some appliances. How can we help you, Carol?

    CAROL: Oh gee, thank you. I’m so pleased to be able to give you my question here. Every time I play my radio I get nothing but static on it. And if I – I have a, what I call a dimmer switch …

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    CAROL: … that is on my porch. It operates the fan and the light. And when that is on my radio goes crazy here in the kitchen. Now my porch is right off the kitchen. It’s a closed in room. It’s like a Florida room. But I can’t figure out why if I put that on, everything goes nuts. Just like if you run the microwave.

    TOM: Well, around any wire, when the circuit is hot, there’s a magnetic field. And obviously what’s happening is that’s competing in some way with the radio signal just based on what’s in your house. And that’s why, when you activate that circuit, you get static.

    CAROL: Is there any way that I can overcome that? It’s just very, very annoying.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, the antenna position for the radio would probably be the right thing to do but, you know, short of finding a way to extend that or moving it into a different area – you know, some radios are going to be more sensitive to that than others. But it doesn’t sound like that much of an unusual occurrence; even though it really bugs you, Carol.

    CAROL: Oh, OK. Well, would it help if I took and had the light that switches on from the kitchen out to the porch – if I had that just on a regular switch rather than a diffuser?

    TOM: You know, it might. You mean it’s a variable speed?

    CAROL: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, it might. It’s very possible that that could help. But you know, it also might be cheaper to buy another radio. (Leslie and Carol laugh) Alright, Carol? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: It’s so funny. The same thing happens if I put my cell phone near the clock radio in a hotel while I’m on the road. I can tell if the cell phone’s about to ring because the radio goes like (humming sound); starts to vibrate or make a humming noise because of the magnetic competition. (Tom chuckles) Interesting.

    Jim in Colorado, what’s happening at your house?

    JIM: I basically live in a house that was built in the 1970s. And the concrete around the house on the patios, the sidewalks and the staircases coming into the house has basically pitted; has little pock marks all over it. And I’m trying to figure out exactly what I can do to (sighs) I guess bring life back to it. So, fill those holes and basically resurface it in some way without taking a jackhammer outside. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: We can help you fix that. There’s a product called AboCrete that’s specifically designed for this exact situation. It’s an epoxy patching and resurfacing cement and grout. And basically you mix it up and it flows on. You trowel it out and you can use a thick roller with it to kind of get it looking just right. And once it dries, you get great adhesion to the original surface and it looks totally new. And that’s the product that I would recommend.

    JIM: Oh, that sounds great. Does it come in any type of colors?

    TOM: It can be colored. And you can add that in the mix.

    JIM: Oh, wonderful. That’s awesome. I really appreciate it, you guys.

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

    LESLIE: I like it. The company sounds all space age. Abatron. (chuckling)

    TOM: Abatron with AboCrete.

    LESLIE: Christine in Florida finds The Money Pit o WCOA. How can we help you today?

    CHRISTINE: Well, we’ve lived in our house now just a short while. And the woman that we bought the home from had remodeled her bathrooms to accommodate a wheelchair. So the bathtub came out and she totally tiled in the area. (inaudible) the floors are tiled with a drain in the center and the tile running about six feet up the wall. What the problem is all of the grouting running from the top to the floor is now cracked open. And I want to know what’s the best thing to use there? Is there anything other than this soft caulking? Because I really – I live in Florida and if I could I’d like to be able to use the hand steamers that really attacks the mold and mildew.

    TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, when you say the grout is cracked, are you talking about the seams?

    CHRISTINE: At the seams. Correct.

    TOM: OK. That’s a normal joint. What we would recommend there is a product called DAP with Microban. It’s a special type of caulk that has an antimicrobial additive.

    CHRISTINE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And once you use this Microban based caulk, it’s not going to grow mold. Very easy to find and it has this Microban in it. So once you put it on it’s not going to be able to grow mold and therefore it won’t look nasty. It’ll just stay bright white the whole time.

    CHRISTINE: Can I use steam cleaner for that? You know, these handheld steamers that …?

    TOM: Yeah, you could use that. Sure. I mean it is soft but it has like a durable finish.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the benefit of it being a little bit soft is that it’s flexible so that if there’s any movement …

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: … again in the wall joint or where the floor is, it’s not going to crack apart. It’s going to stay there.

    TOM: You have to have caulk there because you are going to have expansion and contraction in those areas. Now, when you put it on initially, make sure you clean the tile thoroughly; get it real bright and sparkly; then caulk it as the last step and that’ll stay nice for a long, long time.

    CHRISTINE: OK. And I can put my steamer to it, too. (chuckling)

    TOM: You can steam to your heart’s content. Christine, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Have you started a project and don’t know exactly what to do next? That’s right. I’m talking to you. You know who you are. Well, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don’t judge; we just advise. Call 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, even if your home is brand spanking new, if you’re like most people you have absolutely no idea what the quality of building materials that were used to waterproof the frames of your windows and doors are. Up next, we’re going to learn some telltale signs that could signal a leak before it happens to you.

    (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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. If you like to fix stuff that’s not broken (Leslie chuckles), you are in exactly the right place. We are here to help you get the job done. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I like that. (Tom chuckles) I’m always trying to fix things and then you end up breaking stuff. It’s hysterical. And then there’s more reasons to call us.

    TOM: It’s like when you – it’s like when you do some home improvement job and you know that you should stop. (Leslie chuckles) It’s like when you install a toilet and you’re tightening down that bolt …

    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh.

    TOM: … and you know you shouldn’t turn it one more time …

    LESLIE: One turn too many. ‘Crack.’

    TOM: … and then you crack the base. (laughing)

    LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well, speaking of home improvements, if you’re like most people, you probably have no idea if any at all waterproofing materials were used when your windows or your doors were installed. And worse yet, because you can’t see behind the window or the door, you probably aren’t going to find out until it’s too darn late. But you can inspect the frames of the windows and the doors for signs of leakage; besides the obvious water on the floor.

    Alright, folks. If you see unusual stains that appear around the frames, around the window trim or even on the sills, even discolored plasterboard or peeling wallpaper, that’s a good sign that you probably have a leak.

    TOM: Some other things you might want to be checking out for are deterioration or separation from a deck if it pulls away from the main part of the house. Also look for chipped or cracked finishes on your stucco or your siding. Take a look for mold, mildew or rot in the walls. Also check your insulation and check your electrical systems. If you see any moisture stains there that could be a big problem. And if you have missing or cracked or blistered paint on the inside of your house, that is a sure sign of moisture. Because it’s not bad paint, it’s usually a bad surface and that’s because there’s moisture there.

    Now if you see any of these warning signs, you probably have a leak. If this includes repairing the window or door frame, be sure you use a self-adhering flashing. That’s very important. That’s something you should ask your contractor about. We like the Vycor Plus product from Grace. It’s a type of flashing material that adheres to the frame and it creates a totally watertight bond that’s going to keep water from leaking into your home and causing future structural damage.

    If you want more information on how to get that job done and how to diagnose those leaks around your house and stop them before they become a big mess, log on to GraceAtHome.com.

    LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. Well, if you give us a call right now – or any time, for that matter – at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, as long as you ask us your home improvement or your repair question on the air, you are eligible for a fantastic prize. It’s a $40 utility bar from Stanley. It’s part of the FatMax series. It’s the Xtreme tool.

    TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s our next caller?

    LESLIE: Marlene in Minnesota is looking for some extra warmth. How can we help you?

    MARLENE: I’m calling because we have a lake shore lot that had a garage on there. Last summer we decided that we were going to turn it into a cabin. We removed the shingles, moved the siding, put on new siding, had new windows installed. And we have completely remodeled the outside. Now, next summer or this spring we’re planning on doing the inside. It is stripped down to the walls down to the – I want to say –

    LESLIE: To the studs?

    MARLENE: Yes. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are welcome.

    MARLENE: And I am wondering now – this cabin will be used primarily in the spring, in the summer and fall. Do we need to insulate?

    LESLIE: Well, insulation’s going to help you regardless of the temperature. It’s going to help you stay warm. It’s going to help you keep cool as well. Because it really sort of balances between the exterior temperatures and the interior temperatures. And it also helps to reduce condensation. So you’re going to want to insulate regardless of the season.

    MARLENE: Oh, OK. And now, would you recommend – which type of insulation?

    TOM: Well, for new construction, fiberglass insulation is probably the best to do. For the walls you would use about three-and-a-half inches and for the ceilings you probably want – in your area of the country, I would say at least 14 to 15 inches of insulation. And if you do that, it’s really going to balance the comfort level inside the house and make it not only energy efficient but comfortable by maintaining that temperature, like Leslie said, all year long.

    MARLENE: OK. And I have another question. What about the walls? What would you recommend?

    TOM: Oh, for refinishing? You said this is lake – this is a lakefront?

    MARLENE: Yes.

    TOM: What we would recommend is a product called Dens Armor Plus. It’s a drywall product that does not have a paper face. It has a fiberglass face. Because you’re near the lake …

    LESLIE: You get a high moisture content.

    TOM: A very high moisture. And if you use a paper-faced drywall you have a higher risk of mold.

    LESLIE: Especially if you’re not inhabiting the house all winter and regulating the temperature, you really want to make sure you reduce the accessibility for mold to grow.

    MARLENE: Because in the winter time – over the winter months, there probably will be no heat in there at all.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s why it would be important that you use mold-free construction whenever possible and that’s why this product called Dens Armor Plus works.

    To learn more, you can go to their website at StopFeedingMold.com. Go to StopFeedingMold.com and you can see a demo of this product. And it’s available at both Home Depot and Lowe’s and probably other building supply places.

    MARLENE: OK. You answered my question.

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

    LESLIE: Going way out to Alaska to talk metal roofs with Richard. What can we do for you?

    RICHARD: Yeah, on an earlier show you had mentioned that the new metal roofs are really good. And I was planning on using one and you said something about some coating; new coating they were putting on them. And I was wondering if you could be specific about that.

    TOM: Yeah, the paint finish on the new prefabricated metal roof products is designed to – it’s sort of like a low-e finish. It reflects the radiant heat of the sun back off of the roof so it won’t overheat your house. And most of the new roofing products have that. A good website to research metal roofing and to find contractors in your areas that can apply metal roof is MetalRoofing.com. That’s the website for the Metal Roofing Association. And they’ve got some beautiful photographs there of these roofs.

    LESLIE: And the different options that are available for you.

    TOM: Yeah, get some good ideas.

    RICHARD: What’s the – what is the coating, though? The actual name of the coating?

    TOM: Well, there’s basically three types of finished for a metal roof. The first is a granular finish. Then you could have natural metal. Then you can also have a painted finish. Now if you’re going to use the natural metal finish, it’s not going to have this additional coating on it. But if you use a granular finish or a painted finish it is. So that’s what you need to look for. And again, for more information you can log onto MetalRoofing.com.

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

    LESLIE: Kevin in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What can we help you with today?

    KEVIN: I bought a house in North Providence and I took up some bushes and everything. And now I have a problem with leakage in my cellar. I’d like to know what I can do on the three sides of my house; some French drains or some rocks for irrigation or …

    LESLIE: Was – before you started dealing with the landscaping were you noticing any water in the basement at all?

    KEVIN: No, I wasn’t.

    LESLIE: And the landscaping that you removed, was that perhaps right next to the foundation?

    KEVIN: Yes, it was.

    TOM: It sounds to me like you created yourself a drainage problem there, Kevin. To keep your basement and crawl space area dry, there’s really only two things that play into this. The first one – and by the way, none of these involve digging up your foundation and putting in pumps and all kinds of expensive stuff. The first thing is your gutter system; making sure that you have a gutter system, that it’s properly sized for your house so you don’t get a gutter that becomes overwhelmed. You want one downspout for every four to six hundred square feet of roof surface. And then you want to make sure that those downspouts are extended four to six feet away from the foundation. So remember, one spout for 400 to 600 square feet of roof and then the extension of the spout four to six feet away from the foundation.

    LESLIE: But you know what I think is that removing all of that foliage and the trees has sort of just stirred up all of that dirt against the foundation. And now you’re probably dealing with a lower grade. So now the water …

    KEVIN: But when it rains the sump pump comes on more.

    TOM: Well, and that’s the second thing you need to do. You need to address that grading. Now that you’ve got it cleaned out, you’re probably going to need to add additional dirt to get the correct slope. You want the slope to drop away six inches, Kevin, over four feet. So you add soil around that area and the type of soil that you add is also very important. You do not want to add topsoil. What you do want to add is clean fill dirt. Topsoil is very organic and will hold water. Fill dirt will be tampable and packable and you can get that slope and the water will run over it. Then after you have that proper grade established, then you can a little topsoil over the fill dirt to plant some grass seed or put some mulch or stone or whatever you want. But if you fix those two things, this should be very easy to get under control.

    KEVIN: Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, anyone who’s been through a new home construction knows it’s a lot of work. Cost overruns, schedule snafus and other problems are very, very common. But a new type of new home construction can save you lots of gray hair from all that worrying. More on that topic after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/UniversalHome to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.

    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: Let’s talk about modular homes. Now, when I mention a modular home, you might think of half a house on a trailer rolling down the highway somewhere; you know, something that looks more like a mobile home than home sweet home. But …

    LESLIE: Anything on a truck with a sign that says ‘Wide load’ is not my idea of a house.

    TOM: (chuckling) Well, you might be surprised, Leslie, because I have found that factory built houses are not only cost effective but they’re quality is excellent.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and you can forget about Mother Nature putting a damper on your moving in schedule because of weather. You know, by building a home in a closed factory setting, weather can have little effect on the construction process and quality can be meticulously maintained. And with hundreds of designs to choose from, you are sure to find one that’s going to meet all of your design needs, styles and – most importantly – your budget.

    TOM: You know, one of the very first home improvement jobs or home construction jobs, I should say, I had growing up, so to speak, was actually building modular homes. Now, our homes were not built in sections; they were built in panels. And the truck used to come out with all of the walls preassembled and we would drop them on the foundation like one wall at a time. And you could frame the entire house inside of a day no problem.

    LESLIE: It’s so funny. I always imagine these paneled homes as one side being the exterior and the other side having beautiful wall coverings and a window treatment like all ready to go; like a dollhouse.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Just popping it together.

    TOM: And that’s exactly the way it works and it goes up very, very quickly; helps you get under roof and you’re good to go on your next project.

    1-888-MONEY-PIT. Speaking of your next project, Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Well, everything is illuminated in Alabama where Barbara has a lighting question. What can we do for you?

    BARBARA: In my kitchen I have a freestanding stove and it is approximately two inches from the wall. And I have a lamp that is wonderful and it looks absolutely wonderful in the kitchen but it has a gray, long – extremely long – cord.

    LESLIE: And it’s a table lamp?

    BARBARA: It’s a light house lamp. Where I want to place this on my counter I can plug it in right there. But since the cord is just terrible long, I was wondering if it was dangerous if I put the cord behind the stove where I could plug it way over into the other socket.

    TOM: What kind of stove do you have again?

    BARBARA: It’s a freestanding.

    TOM: It’s a modern gas stove.

    BARBARA: Yes, and it’s new.

    TOM: Shouldn’t be any problem at all to run an extension cord behind that.

    BARBARA: Well, thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: You know, another option is if she wanted – if you can see where the socket is in this lighthouse lamp, if you can get to that wire – you know, unplug the light; get to where that socket is; undo the two screws that hold in that wire and just clip away the cord so it’s the proper length that you need it at. Then strip away the covering and reattach those two wires and you’ll have just a shorter cord.

    TOM: And that makes a lot more sense because why have extra cord that you just have to run somewhere and it’s a bigger chance that you could have a problem.

    Barbara, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Will in Michigan listens to The Money Pit on WKZO. How can we help?

    WILL: Hi there. Just had a question about a marble shower.

    TOM: OK.

    WILL: We wanted to see – I’m a pharmacist by day and a do-it-yourselfer-Money-Pit-man by night.


    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    WILL: Yeah. And I’m looking for – we’re putting in a new shower and I’d like to put in a marble shower. Now I’m worried about – some people have told me that some marble tiles will actually leak water.

    TOM: Well the marble is not the water resistant portion of this. You want to put a marble floor down, too?

    WILL: Yes.

    TOM: You have to have a pan under that and the pan – you know, they used to make the pans out of lead but now they’re done out of fiberglass or a rubber liner. And so that goes down first. That’s the waterproof membrane. And then the tile part – the marble tile or the ceramic tile – goes on top of the membrane.

    WILL: Right. Now my question is, is there a certain type of marble that I need to stay away from when I buy marble for the shower or it doesn’t really matter?

    TOM: Well, you certainly have to pay attention to the slip rating on the finish of the marble. You don’t want anything that’s too slippery on the floor because it could be dangerous. But other than that you could simply purchase marble tiles at any ceramic tile that sells those products and use them.

    WILL: OK, great. Well, that answers my question.

    TOM: Alright, Will. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Coming up, we’re going to have an easy way to make cleaning a fireplace screen part of your regular cleaning routine. I know you’re thrilled about it, so stay with us.

    (promo/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: Measure twice, cut once and always keep a fire extinguisher handy. (Leslie chuckles) This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And I like to keep Band-Aids nearby. (laughing)

    TOM: That always helps, too. But speaking of fires, let’s talk about how to clean your fireplace screen. Here is a little trick of the trade to make a cleaning solution that will have it all sparkly once again.

    What you want to do is use one-eighth of a cup of liquid dishwashing detergent per quart of water and that will remove the caked on dirt.

    LESLIE: Yeah, do you want to do this outside?

    TOM: Yeah, definitely. (Leslie chuckles) Gently scrub the screen with a soft bristle brush and follow up by wiping it with a lint free cloth to avoid any rusting. And polish those brass sections of the screen with a brass cleaner and, again, a lint free cloth. It will glow just like your fire once again.

    LESLIE: Yay! Another thing to clean. (chuckling)

    TOM: Just when you thought you had everything clean in your house.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright. Well, you don’t have to do it all the time.

    So if you want to know where to find more great advice from cleaning tips to building ideas, well then visit the new and improved MoneyPit.com. There’s a new tip on our website every single day. And just about all of those tips are going to tell you how to save money and everybody loves to keep their wallets fat. You can even sign up to have that tip of the day show up on your home page for free.

    TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement project. We are standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT and one caller to today’s show is going to win a $40 prize from the folks at Stanley – the FatMax Xtreme. It’s a 4-in-1 tool for prying, splitting, board bending and striking jobs. All kinds of home improvement projects can be covered by this one tool. You could win it if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to have your question asked on the air. When you do, we’ll throw your name in the Money Pit hardhat.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Gwen in Florida’s got mold on her mind. How can we help you?

    GWEN: Oh, I just need some help with my – I don’t know if it’s a mold problem or what it is exactly. We had water leakage in a common wall between two rooms.

    TOM: OK.

    GWEN: One of the rooms is a bathroom and it’s right where the shower is. The other room is an office and the office smells kind of musty and icky. And we did get the roof repaired where we knew the leak was coming from but do I have to tear out the whole wall to find out (inaudible)?

    TOM: How long did it stay wet, Gwen?

    GWEN: It was during the hurricane; the last yucky hurricane that came through here.

    TOM: Well I mean was it like a few days or something like that?

    GWEN: When I realized it was wet I cleaned everything up on the inside and then the guy didn’t come through for about six months.

    TOM: Oh. Well geez, it might – you may have a mold problem. If that stayed wet for six months, Lord knows what you’re going to find inside that wall.

    LESLIE: And kept getting wetter and wetter due to continuing rain.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So I think, in this case, it probably might be a pretty good idea to remove and replace that drywall in that area and see what you got.

    GWEN: Boy.

    TOM: Yeah.

    GWEN: The one side is a custom shower that’s about (inaudible).

    TOM: Well, can’t you do it from the other side?

    GWEN: If we do it from the other side it – I guess we can try that. That would – it might be easier.

    TOM: Well, if you had the option of opening up a shower wall and opening up a regular drywall wall, you would simply open up the drywall wall.

    LESLIE: Because the drywall wall is probably where the mold is growing. If your shower wall has tile or any sort of waterproof material on top of it, you’re dealing with a waterproof backer board of some sort. So the problem’s definitely within the framework or that drywall.

    TOM: And you know, drywall, while it seems like a major job to open that wall up …

    LESLIE: It’s not.

    TOM: … it’s not. And it’s not that hard to fix it.

    LESLIE: You will feel so good about yourself if you do this project because it is very simple to replace drywall.

    GWEN: I’d love to try that but I’m not sure I know how. (chuckling)

    TOM: Well, it’s not difficult to do, Gwen. Maybe you can get somebody to help you. But basically what you’re going to want to do is very simply if you start at the corner, you’re going to cut that first with a utility knife and then you’re going to identify …

    LESLIE: Because there’s some tape in that corner.

    TOM: Yep. And you’re going to identify where the stud is in the wall. You can find that with a stud finder. And then right in the middle of the stud is where you’re going to cut that other piece of drywall out. And so make two vertical cuts and then once you have the vertical cuts you’ll also cut it across the ceiling. Then you can remove that whole thing in a clean way because, basically, remember, when you cut drywall out you want to have a clean edge so that you can patch it back in just as easily. You know, cutting drywall is pretty easy stuff.

    LESLIE: And the reason why you split it on the stud is so that when you put the new piece on you have something to attach to; so you’re not just floating in space.

    GWEN: I never would have thought of that.

    TOM: Then now you can do it.

    GWEN: OK.

    TOM: Alright, Gwen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Folks, this is not that hard. You can do it.

    LESLIE: Walter in Florida, you’re on the line. What’s going on at your house?

    WALTER: Well, I put – I put a wall up; drywall. And I’ve got cement floors. And I want to fill in the space there between the bottom of the drywall and the cement floor without a baseboard and find out the best material to do that with.

    LESLIE: So you don’t want a baseboard.

    WALTER: I don’t think so. I think – you know, I’ve seen a lot of houses without a baseboard.

    LESLIE: Does your drywall currently go down to the concrete or no?

    WALTER: No, there’s a space there.

    LESLIE: How much are we talking?

    WALTER: Oh, probably three-quarters of an inch.

    TOM: Walter, you know, the issue of not having baseboard moulding there is going to cause you a real big wear and tear problem. Because drywall’s pretty soft and, you know, if you get heels and furniture and toes and, you know, people can be kicking that wall in that area, it’s going to really look bad pretty quickly. So, moulding – baseboard moulding has sort of a – sort of a structural/cosmetic protective purpose.

    LESLIE: And also, if you go with a baseboard moulding that’s made out of something that’s manufactured almost like a plastic to look like wood, you don’t have to worry about any of the moisture problems from the concrete floor where it might get moisture wicking through.

    TOM: Now if you want to spackle it, basically, flush to the floor, that’s something that you can do. And the way to do that is by putting a piece of drywall tape over that gap and actually spackling right over the drywall tape so it’s not flush with the floor itself. And that’s the way to get a very, very clean seal there.

    LESLIE: Do you want to use a wider spackle knife at first and then sort of gradually get smaller? Or start smaller and get wider so you don’t get like a strict edge on the drywall?

    TOM: It’s not nearly as bad as when you’re, you know, going over an old joint. But basically you sort of tape it flat. I have, for example in my house, an area I have to fix that I was just looking at today where the drywall goes up to the underside of the stair stringer.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And it’s kind of torn and tattered and uneven there. So I have to tape that flush and clean against the stair stringer. And that’s the way to do it. And we like fiberglass tape because it’s perforated and it’s easy to use.

    LESLIE: And it sticks well.

    WALTER: I was wondering if the drywall all the way down to the floor would wick up any water?

    TOM: Possibly. That’s a good point.

    LESLIE: It could.

    TOM: It very well could. I really think you should think about a baseboard moulding. It’s there for a lot of good reasons.

    Walter, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Up next, you know those rubber bath mats? You know, the kind that we have in our kitchens and our bathrooms; places like that? Makes it a little easier on the tootsies, you know, especially when it’s cold out. Well, we have an e-mail from someone who’s experiencing a staining problem under that mat; wants to know how to get the stains out of the floor. It’s actually a very interesting question because there’s a chemical reaction going on there. We’ll tell you all about it and what you can do about it, after this.

    (theme song)

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

    TOM: We’re like a pressure washer for your home improvement to-do list. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or e-mail us by going to MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom & Leslie. Let’s jump right into the e-mail bag.

    LESLIE: Alright, our first one is from Barbara in Bella Vista, Arizona who writes: ‘Would you know how to get rid of a bluish, sort of yellowy stain out of linoleum? Could it be caused from the rubber backing of my bathroom mat?’ Yeah.

    TOM: Well actually, that’s probably exactly what’s causing that problem. You know, rubber backed carpets can provide warmth and comfort in baths but they can also permanently damage a vinyl or a linoleum floor.

    LESLIE: Yet every single bathroom mat is rubber backed.

    TOM: Is rubber backed. Right. And the reason is simply this: antioxidants. These are materials that are added to the rubber during the manufacturing process and they prevent the rubber from drying out. But they react chemically with the sheet flooring. So the chemical reaction is what you are seeing in those blue, yellowish stains and they’re basically a permanent color change. So you can’t actually remove it. You can’t scrub it away. In fact, flooring manufacturers warn of this as much and as loudly as they can on their websites …

    LESLIE: Yeah, but you forget it when you’re going to the store to buy the bathmat.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. So rubber mats are always a bad idea on linoleum or on vinyl because it will always leave a stain. So all we can say for you to do, Barbara, is buy a bigger rubber mat. (laughing)

    LESLIE: Exactly. Or buy a bigger, you know, bathroom rug that doesn’t have a rubber backing but is going to cover up the original stain.

    TOM: Yeah, seriously. A wool rug would be fine. If you put a wool rug over it with one of anti-skid pads that would be fine. But those rubber backed carpets – bad idea.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) You’re rubber baby bugger (Tom laughs) buggy bumper. That’s what you’re doing.

    TOM: I got it out.

    LESLIE: Alright, here we go with another one from Jerome in Evergreen Park, Illinois who writes: ‘We have two bathrooms on the second level. When either water runs or the toilet is flushed it sounds as if water is running down the wall where the pipe is located. Is the only way to muffle the sound to tear open the wall from the second floor and put some type of sound deadener?’

    TOM: Well, that’s because the water is actually running down the wall. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: And if it’s a plexi or if it’s like one of those plastic pipes, they’re really noisy.

    TOM: They’re – and so are copper pipes, frankly. And it’s unfortunate that sometimes the plumbing design of the home does not run through a more polite room where it’s not going to bug anybody. Because I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the pipes run right through the dining room where they can definitely ruin a …

    LESLIE: You’re having like a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. It’s like ‘woosh.’

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. Ruin a good family meal. How do fix this? Well, unfortunately, short of opening the wall you can’t fix it. But if you do open the wall you can insulate the pipe. There is sound baffling insulation that can be wrapped around the pipe. If it happens to be a narrow wall and you only have a little bit of room around it, you can use something as simple as Great Stuff; an expandable foam sealant. And you can use that to foam around the pipe and that will actually sound deaden it as well.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’ll make those dinners a little bit more intimate again.

    TOM: Well, crown moulding can really put a very nice finishing touch on a room but it also has a more practical purpose. Leslie has those details on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Not only do mouldings add style to a room but they actually serve an important structural purpose as well. They offer an attractive disguise for the joints between the walls and the ceilings or the floors, windows and doors, et cetera. In fact, all homes – they’re going to move, they’re going to expand and contract and the mouldings are actually going to help to hide minor cracks in those areas of movement. You know, there’s a wide range of profiles and materials available when you go looking for your moulding so it’s pretty easy to mould a custom look for your home. So be creative and enjoy it.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT if you have a home improvement question because you can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our call screening team is always standing by and if we are not in the studio, we’ll call you back the next time we are.

    Coming up next week on the program, are you tired of dirty, dingy grout that’s bringing down the look of your entire kitchen or bathroom? We’re going to give you some tips on how to have it sparkling clean once again.

    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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