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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)


    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Don’t be a do-it-to-yourselfer. We can help you get the jobs done right the first time around if you pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974; because we help you make good homes better.

    Hey, it is the Super Bowl season …

    LESLIE: Whoo!

    TOM: … and if that’s got you thinking about perhaps picking up a new home theatre; perhaps a big, flat-screen TV …

    LESLIE: I swear, it’s just an excuse for you guys to buy new electronic equipment. Swear it.

    TOM: I bet you they sell a lot of TVs around the Super Bowl time because, you’re right, it is a good excuse (Leslie chuckles) and, not that we need one, but there’s nothing like a guy to know how to take advantage of a good opportunity. Right? (Leslie chuckles) But listen, if you are thinking about doing that, you might want to think about how it’s going to fit into your place. We’ve got some tips to make sure the rooms and the lighting are good to go before you pick up that flat-screen TV and this comes from the Tom’s collection of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do stories (Leslie chuckles) because the last time we bought a TV it started a serial renovating string that ended up …

    LESLIE: Upgrading event?

    TOM: Yeah, it ended up costing me a lot more than a TV; I’ll tell you that. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, and also ahead this hour, if that new home theatre is going to be your one splurge of the season, do not worry. We’re going to teach you how you can upgrade everywhere else in your house on the cheap. Coming up, we’re going to share a secret that’s going to help you update your kitchen appliances without costing you a cent.

    TOM: Also ahead, has the recession derailed plans to finish your basement? It doesn’t have to. It’s a great way to add more living space to your home, but if your budget is limited we’ve got a solution that will make your basement look fantastic, look finished without going through the expense of a major renovation.

    LESLIE: And along the lines of something without expense, we’re giving away a great prize this hour. We’ve got an appliance that no kitchen should be without. We’re giving away the Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus four-cup food processor. I’ve got one of these. I’ve been using it to make homemade baby food for my little guy. I’m sure you can think of a ton of things to use your Cuisinart for but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

    TOM: It’s worth 50 bucks; going to go to one caller that reaches us this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You’ve got to have a home improvement question to call the show. We will toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat and send out that food processor to one caller.

    Let’s get right to those phones. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Who’s first?

    LESLIE: John in New York is working on a decking project. How can we help you?

    JOHN: I am currently – I have my deck framed out and I’m ready to put the finished product on top.


    JOHN: I live on Long Island and, weather being a factor, I’d like to know what is the best decking that I should go with. I’m pondering a composite deck, TimberTech; either a treated wood or like a mahogany-type wood. My wife and I like the natural wood look but we don’t want to go too crazy with the maintenance on it.

    TOM: Well, certainly, if you choose a natural product you are going to have to maintain it; perhaps not every season but definitely …

    LESLIE: But every other season.

    TOM: Definitely every other season. But coincidentally, Leslie also lives on Long Island and …

    LESLIE: I do.

    TOM: … and you actually put in a new composite deck. You put in the Fiberon product. How’s it working out for you?

    LESLIE: We did, John. My family has a house out on the east end of the island, on the north fork; so it gets a lot of snow and rain and moisture and saltwater in the air and we’re dealing with, you know, a climate that sort of changes seasonally – you know, one extreme to the other. And we had had a pressure-treated lumber decking surface there for 20 years. Every other year it was my job to strip it, sand it down, restain it; you know, do all of that maintenance.

    Well, when time came to spruce it up we went with a composite and we chose Fiberon and the reason I went with Fiberon is because we also love the look of mahogany and they had a composite that looks beautifully like mahogany. There’s a wonderful grain built into it so it has that richness and the texture that the natural mahogany would have and it doesn’t need any maintenance except the occasional just light cleaning to get any sort of moisture buildup or dirt that might be on there from a season’s worth of falling leaves and just walking across it.

    It looks fantastic. We’ve had it one season. It looks exactly the same as it went down. There is never going to be any warping or twisting, so it really is a beautiful product that’s worth the expense because it will save you the chore of taking care of it and all of that work that you would need to do annually or every other year to make sure that that wood deck stays in excellent condition. And it really will last and last; you know, given the climate that we face on the island.

    TOM: Yeah, the website is FiberonDecking.com. That’s FiberonDecking.com. Check it out.

    JOHN: … Decking.com. OK. I appreciate your help very much. You’ve been very informative. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call. Let us know what you are working on because we are here to lend you a hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just pick up the phone to start the help at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, can’t splurge on a vacation this year? How about a getaway in your own home? We’re going to have some tips on how to create your own home theatre, next.

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call to be part of The Money Pit. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We love to hear what you are working on. We want to help you with all of your home improvement dilemmas that are plaguing you on your honey-do list. We can help you tackle all of those projects and get them done right the first time and when you call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, if you get on the air we’re going to take your name and put it in the Money Pit hardhat for your chance to win a great prize.

    We are giving away something for your kitchen. We’ve got a Mini-Prep Plus four-cup food processor from our friends over at Cuisinart and it comes in a stylish brushed-metal finish and it is the perfect size for a family kitchen. It’s worth 50 bucks but it could be yours for free, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Now, if you’re thinking about picking up a brand spanking new flat-screen TV just in time for the Super Bowl, you want to make sure you think about the space that you have to put that TV in. A lot of people buy TVs and then figure out they don’t fit. (Leslie chuckles) You know, I thought that I was smarter than the average home improver …


    TOM: … so I figured I would go buy the furniture first.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) And then fit the TV into the equation later?

    TOM: And it seemed like a good plan. Yeah, it seemed like a good plan. Because I wanted to get the furniture that would fit the space; except I happened to go into Ethan Allen and found something I really liked …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and then I decided that rather than just buy a piece for the TV set I’d buy a whole set for the living room and – you know, if you’re going to …

    LESLIE: (laughing) And the dollar signs kept adding up.

    TOM: If you’re going to put new furniture in your living room, I mean you can’t put it on the old, scratchy hardwood floor; you’ve got to refinish those. And if you’re going to do that, well, you’ve got to paint the walls at the same time. (Leslie laughs) So by the time I was done, I think I doubled the cost of the TV.

    LESLIE: It’s the most expensive television you’ve ever purchased.

    TOM: I’m telling you. It really is. But you know, do as I say, not as I do. Here are a few things that you might want to think about. You really can create a nice home theatre in your home without spending a whole lot of money, but here’s what you need to plan for.

    First of all, want to plan for power. Some of those TVs need a little more power than what the standard TV does and especially if you add in the stereo, the DVD player and all that. Consider also that the lighting has to be both targeted and adjustable so that you get just the right light. Consider using dimmers; an inexpensive way to control that light in that space so you have less glare on the TV. Also, think about soundproofing the room with, perhaps, some additional insulation in the form of carpeting and drapes.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and have fun with the d

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