00:00/ 00:00

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, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement projects. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you started a project and perhaps it didn’t go so well, call us because we won’t judge (Leslie chuckles) and we’ll get you out of jam and we’ll have you back on the road to success in no time. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Coming up on this hour of The Money Pit, are you in the market for a new roof? Well, make sure the contractor you hire knows what he’s doing. We’re going to have step-by-step instructions and the questions to ask when you’re conducting a roofer background check.

    TOM: And if you’re settling into the home you’ve always dreamed of chances are that you might be like most Americans; planning to stay there as long as you possibly can. We’ve got some tips to help you grow up and grow old in your house.

    LESLIE: Coming up this hour on The Money Pit, are you in the market for a new roof? Well, we want to make sure that the contractor you hire knows exactly what he’s doing. We’re going to have step-by-step instructions and the questions that you need to ask when you’re conducting a roofer background check, which you need to do.

    TOM: And if you’re thinking about settling into the home you’ve always dreamed of, perhaps you’re planning to use this spring real estate market to buy a new house, chances are you’re going to want to stay there as long as you possibly can. We’re going to give you some tips on improvements that you can make to your house to make sure that it ages just like you do and you stay safe that entire time.

    LESLIE: And in just a few minutes, you know how much you love when you tackle a home improvement project, and pretty much just about any project, the support of good friends and people who are knowledgeable about what you’re working on. Well, we’re going to talk to the founder of a cyberspace place for women to support each other when tackling home improvement projects.

    TOM: Plus, one caller we talk to this hour is going to (audio gap) shot at winning a filtering faucet from Moen. It’s worth $120. So if you want to qualify, call us now with your home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Peter in Centerport, New York listens on WABC. Tell us about the concrete at your house.

    PETER: OK. It’s at my mom’s house. She has a concrete patio that’s over a built-in garage. And it’s got a few minor cracks and those were grouted out, routed out and filled with hydraulic cement. But it still leaks. It’s like the cement is porous. I was wondering if there’s any sealer that can be put down on that.

    TOM: So the patio is on top of the garage.

    PETER: Right. And so it’s leaking down onto a car.

    LESLIE: Peter, there’s a product available called Sani-Tred. If you go to their website, SaniTred.com, they have an outdoor deck coating. And it’s predominantly used in hotel and motel walkways where you have something similar to your garage patio situation. And it is a do-it-yourself project. It’s two different coatings. It’s a base and a topcoat. It even has something textural in it so you’re not going to slip. And it’s reasonably priced and it’s something that you can do on your own to stop that water.

    PETER: I’ve looked at a bunch of things on the internet. I didn’t see that one yet.

    TOM: Yeah, the product is basically a polymer and it’s designed to provide both a waterproof bond and the key here is it’s something that’s going to be durable enough to walk on because you do want to be able to use that patio. So if you fix the obvious cracks – that water is finding itself through somewhere – a good coating product like Sani-Tred might be just what you need to stop it once and for all.

    PETER: OK. And that’s a little bit flexible?

    LESLIE: Yeah, it has permanent flexibility because it never fully hardens so it doesn’t become brittle and it gets stronger as it ages. So it’s like a liquid rubber primer and then the topcoat.

    PETER: OK, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Linda in Tennessee’s got a situation with the paint in her home. What happened?

    LINDA: Yes, I’m trying to cover up some smoke and water damage that the previous owners have had. I’m in the process of totally remodeling everything. I’ve used the latex KILZ; put about five coats on the ceiling and the walls. I’m still having a lot of bleedback.

    LESLIE: I think that’s your first problem because you used the latex of the KILZ primer, which is a great product but you’re dealing with something as serious and heavy and as damaging as smoke and water damage. So there’s a lot of adhesion problems and coverage problems that you’re not going to fix with the latex.

    TOM: What happens is you get a chemical reaction between the actual stains and the paint and that’s what pulls through. So latex KILZ was the wrong thing to do.

    LINDA: What should I get? (chuckling)

    LESLIE: Oil based.

    TOM: Yep.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s going to be real stinky and take a while to dry but it’s going to do the best of covering up those stains and that smell.

    TOM: The latex KILZ is perfect for dirty walls and things like that but when you have real serious stains you’re always better off using the oil-based KILZ.

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

    LESLIE: Joining us from Ridgewood, New Jersey on WABC we’ve got Anna. What’s going on at your house?

    ANNA: Well, we have a Tudor home and we have an unfinished attic. And we have noticed that when we’re in between seasons – like if the weather is very damp or really when we get those damp spells (ph) – we seem to get a smell in the attic. We have had some insulation blown into the attic and I don’t know if that’s what’s causing it.

    LESLIE: What about ventilation?

    ANNA: We have windows at either end of the attic but I, in the past, have kept them open. But I was afraid that maybe little mice were coming in through there so I closed …

    TOM: Well, do you have screens on the windows?

    ANNA: I have screens on the windows. I have that three track storm and screen window.

    TOM: Because let me explain. In a perfectly ventilated attic, you’re going to have the air attic temperature should be the same as the outside. So the insulation stops the heat from the house from getting up into the attic. But the attic should be the same as the outside. So if you have any kind of an odor issue, it could be sourced with the moisture because you’re going to have a lot of humidity up there. And if you’re not letting …

    LESLIE: Especially if those windows are closed.

    TOM: Yeah, if you don’t let the humidity out, not only could you get odors but the other thing that’s happening is that insulation is getting damp. And what many folks don’t understand about fiberglass insulation is that if you add two percent moisture to the insulation it loses one-third of it’s r value or its ability to insulate. So it’s very, very important that you have plenty of ventilation as well as insulation in an attic space.

    Now if you want something that doesn’t really require owner participation, like opening or closing a window, you simply could have additional roof vents installed – ridge vents are probably the best – that go down the peak of the roof. And I like ridge vents because as the wind blows over your roof, it constantly depressurizes the ridge.

    ANNA: Thank you so much for your help.

    TOM: Anna, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Marilyn in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?

    MARILYN: I have a house that I rent out that was built in 1987 …

    TOM: OK.

    MARILYN: … and has plumbing that is polybutylene.

    TOM: OK.

    MARILYN: And in the last four months I’ve had two leaks that have cost me, together, over $1,500. And I was wondering if you would recommend having it replaced or take the leaks as they come.

    TOM: Well, as you seem to know, there is a long history of defects associated with polybutylene or PB pipe. And what’s going to happen over time is it’s going to continue to deteriorate and continue to develop leaks. And in some cases, I’ve even heard of homeowners insurance companies raising the rates or refusing to insure homes that had polybutylene pipe in it. So I think if you can afford it, it’s probably a good idea to replace as much of that pipe as you can. And generally you can do it in stages. For example, you could replace all of the accessible pipe as a first step and then maybe work on a room-by-room basis with the rest of it. But it is a good idea to think about replacing it because, as you’re starting to learn, it’s going to continue to develop leaks. And sometimes it might seem like you just get done fixing one before another one springs right up.

    MARILYN: OK, well I thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Tom, and this PB piping, wasn’t there a major lawsuit; something going on about it?

    TOM: Oh, yeah. Actually there were a couple of major lawsuits. And there is a website that is a resource center for some of the claims and it’s PBPipe.com. Might be worth taking a look. As I read through …

    LESLIE: Are these ongoing legal actions?

    TOM: Yeah, they are. And there was a whole class action lawsuit – actually a couple of them – over this. And this PBPipe.com is the website for the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center. There’s information online on how you can file a claim but, unfortunately, at this point in time, the deadlines have pretty much run out for all but just a few of the possible claims. So it’s worth taking a look but, really, so many homeowners in the country are going to be faced with repairing or replacing this stuff. So I say if you have the option to do the replacement, you can afford it, just get done and move on.

    LESLIE: You are tuned into The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    Alright, have the home improvement dreams been causing confusion and not to mention sleepless nights? Well now you can call in your home repair, home improvement or home design question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That number, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, your roof is your home’s biggest protector. If you’re looking for someone to fix it or replace it, you want to make sure you hire a pro who’s experienced and qualified. So how do you find one? We’re going to give you some advice, after this.

    (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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement project.

    Now, if one of your projects involves replacing your roof, you might not be able to tackle that on your own. You might need to hire someone. But how do you find a good roofer? Well, the first thing you need to do is you need to verify the roofer’s permanent place of business. A telephone number, a tax identification number and a business license are all indications that the roofer is there for the long haul.

    You know, Leslie, when I was on the licensing board of the home inspectors for the State of New Jersey …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … one of the requirements we had was that the licensee – the inspector – had to have a physical address. And you know why they do that when they issue licenses? To make sure they know where to find you. Because there’s so many contractors out there that perhaps …

    LESLIE: Who just disappear when things go wrong.

    TOM: Yeah, they have a P.O. box or, you know, one of these temporary mailboxes and it’s just – they’re kind of virtual. But if they have a physical address it’s always a good sign.

    Other things you want to do. You want to ask for proof of insurance and you want to insist upon seeing copies of the insurance policies because it’s also possible that a roofer – or any contractor, for that matter – could purchase a policy, make copies and then cancel the policy. So it’s important that you make sure that it’s accurate.

    LESLIE: Ooh, should you call up and follow up with the insurance company?

    TOM: Well, if you really want to be smart what you want to do is ask for a certificate of insurance with your home listed as an additional insured. Because what that does is that puts the insurance company on notice that if the roofer’s policy gets cancelled, that they’re supposed to notify you. So that’s another way to protect yourself.

    LESLIE: That’s good to know. You also want to ask for a list of references and take the time to verify them. Don’t just look at them. You don’t know who these people are. Call them up. And when you call them, ask about the differences in cost from the estimate to the job’s end. That’s good to know. You also want to find out did they show up when they said that they would. And is the person that you’re making the plans with on site supervising. Also, keep in mind that many roofing systems are going to require special expertise to get a good quality installation. So you want to get a list of the products that the roofer has been approved to and licensed to install. And finally, remember that the best roofing contractor is only as good as the workers who actually do the install of the roof system itself. So be sure to ask what type of safety training and educational programs have been provided for their workers.

    If you want some more tips on weatherproofing, roofing advice, installing a new roof, a great website is GraceAtHome.com. Lots of information there.

    TOM: That’s GraceAtHome.com.

    Hey, one caller to the show this hour is going to win Moen filtering faucet. It’s worth 120 bucks. If you want to win you’ve got to call in your home improvement question right now to 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Next up, Dean in North Dakota. What can we do for you?

    DEAN: My house has cold floors. We built a brand new rambler three years ago. We have no basement but we have a crawlspace and there is heat in it. But nevertheless, the floors are just always cold. They’re laminate and no carpet. And I was wondering if it would be beneficial to insulate the floor joists?

    LESLIE: Is it possible to insulate with the heated space below, Tom?

    TOM: You know, it is possible.

    LESLIE: What about moisture?

    TOM: I wouldn’t be too concerned about moisture. But you have a laminate floor right now?

    DEAN: Yes and I – from what I understand, there is a vapor barrier under the laminate.

    TOM: The way to handle this, Dean, is to basically put unfaced fiberglass insulation in the beams in the crawlspace. So you’re going to go in the crawlspace and, working upside, you’re going to place unfaced bats in between the floor joists of the floor structure.

    LESLIE: If they’re unfaced, Tom, do we need those insulation straps that sort of staple in to the joists?

    TOM: Yeah, you know – right. There’s a couple of different ways to strap it but what you could do is you could use those wire insulation hangers that basically are just a little bit longer than the space between two floor joists. And that basically springs in (ph) and supports it in place.

    The bats itself are usually about eight feet long and you would buy them either for floor joists that are 16 inches on center or 24 inches on center. And that’s going to really do a good job of warming up that floor.

    DEAN: How thick of an insulation would you recommend?

    TOM: I would use as much insulation as you have floor space. So for example, if the floors are eight inches or ten inches, I would use eight inch thick or 10 inch thick bats.

    LESLIE: So go to the bottom of that joist.

    TOM: Absolutely. You can’t really put too much in there and the additional cost is minimal compared to the value, again, of really making that floor warm. And I’ve got to tell you, your tootsies will really appreciate it, Dean.

    LESLIE: And you know, Dean? If you’re ever thinking about redoing that floor, radiant heat is also an excellent option and becoming more affordable.

    DEAN: That’s good to know.

    TOM: Dean, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jane in Alabama’s got some cracks in the ceiling. Tell us where you see them, what they look like.

    JANE: The biggest crack is in my living room. My living room measures about 30 feet long by 12 feet wide. And it’s across the width of the room. One side of the ceiling where it’s cracked hangs down, I’m going to say, about a half inch lower than the other side.

    LESLIE: Is it a straight line? Does it seem like it’s two pieces of drywall that have become separated or is it all zig-zaggy and crazy?

    TOM: Or is it a very old house where you have plaster cracks?

    JANE: It’s an older house. It’s probably about 40 years old. I don’t know what the ceiling is made out of.

    TOM: OK, because if the plaster is cracked and it’s hanging down like that …

    LESLIE: It’s going to fall off.

    TOM: … it could fall and it’s pretty heavy, dense stuff. So if it’s loose in any way, you’re going to want to pull that down before it comes down on its own. And then you’re going to have to replaster that space.

    Well, is this the only place you’re seeing a crack in the ceiling?

    JANE: Two summers ago, when it was very, very dry and we didn’t get any rain, I got two other cracks; one – both of them in the living room on two different walls. The cracks are kind of zig-zaggy.

    TOM: Well, those are very common places for cracks. I would suggest this. Repair the cracks the best you can. And that means if the – if it’s plaster, pulling it down and replastering it. If it’s a simple drywall crack you’re going to want to use a perforated drywall tape, cover the crack and then respackle over it.

    LESLIE: Yeah but if it’s a sheet of drywall that’s hanging down, you’re going to want to put some new screws in it and suck it back up to those ceiling joists.

    TOM: Yeah, the repair advice really depends on what kind of material it is. But if it’s a 40-plus-year old house it’s more likely to be plaster or plaster lath than it would be drywall. Alright, Jane?

    Now in terms of the cracks and whether or not it’s an ongoing issue, the best thing to do there is to consider having the home inspected by a professional home inspector who could take into account a lot of the factors that might be impacting that and make some suggestions to you as to how to stabilize it. It could have to do with your foundation, your grading; things of this nature that can make that space unstable. The kind of cracks, however, that you’re describing to us, don’t signify to me that you have a major problem. It sounds like pretty much normal wear and tear on an older house. They’re always going to open up – those cracks are always going to open up, especially around windows and doors. That’s the weakest part of the wall and that’s generally where it moves.

    I would go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors – it’s ASHI.org; A-S-H-I.org – put in your zip code, find a home inspector in your area and those guys are the best in the business.

    JANE: OK, great.

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

    LESLIE: Elmer in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help?

    ELMER: Yes, I want to install a tub surround in a bathroom that has no shower. There’s a regular two-sash up and down window that needs to be removed. What’s the procedure?

    TOM: Well, why do you want to remove the window? Have you considered putting the tub surround around the window, trimming it out and then adding a waterproof shower curtain over the window?

    ELMER: No, I’d rather not do it that way. No.

    TOM: You want to eliminate the window.

    ELMER: Except I’d like a row of glass brick across the top.

    TOM: And the house is wood framed?

    ELMER: No, it’s brick.

    TOM: The whole house is brick. Well, it’s easier to remove a window and fill in the space than it is to cut a hole and stick one in there. I’ll tell you that.

    ELMER: Yeah.

    TOM: The trick is going to be to have it look good on the outside. Because you’re always going to see that seamed area. But essentially, what you do is disassemble the window, you remove the sashes then you remove the side jambs. A handy tool to use for this is called a saws awl (ph). This allows you to dig in there and cut the jambs into pieces and pull it out. And then, basically, what you’re going to do as the first priority is to figure out what size glass block is going to be able to fit in there and mortar in the glass blocks, which is a particularly tricky job. I will say that some masons have a lot of difficulty with glass blocks but if you can find someone to do that for you that’s experienced, that would be helpful. And then you can rebrick up on the outside, you can frame it on the inside and then you can cover that with a piece of drywall or a piece of Dens Armor, which is a paperless drywall, and then you can put your surround over that. It’ll be invisible from the inside but you’re still going to see the brick repair on the outside.

    ELMER: (inaudible) in the backyard.

    TOM: Well, then who cares? Right? (Leslie chuckles)

    ELMER: Yep.

    TOM: The heck with the neighbors. (chuckling)

    ELMER: Yep.

    TOM: Elmer, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, have you ever noticed that home improvement is contagious? Well, it’s especially true in the online communities that are devoted to do-it-yourself. Up next, we’re going to talk to one of the founders of an online cyberspace home improvement community that’s devoted exclusively to women.

    (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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us now with your home improvement question. Let us help solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, a lot of our callers are women. Many of them are experienced DIY-ers looking to take on their next project. But some of you are new to home improvement and may need just that little nudge to help you get started.

    LESLIE: You know, and just giving you a little inspiration is going to help you get over that hurdle. And time and time again I’ve seen women really embrace the DIY process even if they’ve never picked up a hammer before in their life.

    TOM: You know, it’s what our next guest found when she started renovating her own home. Her friends, her mom, her sisters and her aunts started asking her home improvement advice. That community of women soon grew to an online community turned into BeJane.com. Joining us is one of the founders, Heidi Baker.

    Hi, Heidi. Welcome to the program.

    HEIDI: Hi, thank you for having me.

    TOM: So before we start talking about your new book, which is Be Jane’s Guide to Home Empowerment, tell us about your site. How did you guys get started?

    HEIDI: Actually, as you said, it started out of my buying a home, being house rich and cash poor (Leslie chuckles) and I dropped myself to literally $150 for two weeks for all (inaudible).

    LESLIE: Oh, it’s so scary how quickly that happens, too.

    HEIDI: I know. And I had no idea where I was going to end up. And so, I wanted to keep my home and I wanted to still be able to eat but I hated where I lived. So I knew I couldn’t afford to hire someone and I thought, ‘I know what I’ll do. I’ll ask my father.’ And I very quickly learned, in the course of one project, that his toolbox contains the yellow pages. (Tom laughs)

    LESLIE: (laughing) What was the first project you even thought about tackling in the house?

    HEIDI: Oh well, you know, like I said, I had $150 for every two weeks. And I hated my kitchen. So I knew unless I did something about my kitchen I wouldn’t be able to afford to live there because I had to want to cook in it. What I did was I sanded down all of my kitchen cabinets …

    TOM: Yeah, you can buy a lot of sandpaper for 150 bucks. (chuckling)

    HEIDI: Yes, you can. Well, that wasn’t all I ended up buying but (Leslie chuckles) I used a palm sander; sanded them all down. It was a quarter-inch wood veneer so I actually had solid wood and I ended up putting moulding on them to make them look like panels and putting crown moulding around it and actually some moulding in the base of the top cabinets (audio gap) with new paint, with new handles. And I did that for about $450.

    LESLIE: And it’s really amazing how those little touches, even though they do require a lot of work, can make a huge impact in a space like the kitchen. And it really takes it from looking simple to just amazingly ornate and beautiful.

    TOM: Yeah, it really doesn’t take a lot of money in the kitchen. We wrote a story called Cheap Tricks for Cool Kitchens. I mean we talk about adding some bling to your kitchen just by changing your hardware. That’s cheap. Painting your cabinets. That’s cheap. And if you have a few extra bucks, even something like changing a countertop or putting in some new flooring or painting the walls can make a big difference. So, while I think a lot of people that kitchen improvements have to cost big bucks, there’s a heck of a lot that you can do with just a few dollars, as you proved.

    HEIDI: Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. And we found that, you know, it was really tough for us to try and take those gorgeous magazines and translate that into a home that you live in and that’s really why we created the book to begin with.

    LESLIE: Well, I think people really – while the magazines offer a great source of inspiration, it also sort of stifles you because you feel like you have to live up to a certain imagery. I remember my first apartment I bought a slipcover. And it never sat on my couch the way it looked in, say, the catalog I ordered it from. And it made me crazy. So you really have to understand that there’s a reality limit to how you can make something look.

    HEIDI: Definitely. But there’s also – you know, the fact that you may not like a room that you live in doesn’t mean that you have to transform it to look like it looks in the picture. If you want a cookable kitchen, maybe you’ve got aesthetics but you don’t have functionality or organization. So we’ve got projects for functionality and organization. So it’s picking and making the most of what you have and making it your ideal regardless of the fact that it’s not what you find in a magazine.

    TOM: We’re talking to Heidi Baker. She’s one of the founders of BeJane.com, an online community of women devoted to home improvement.

    So Heidi, in your world of pink tool belts, where exactly do the men fit in? (chuckling)

    HEIDI: Anywhere they want. (Tom laughs) Anywhere they want. Even though it’s for women, it is not to the neglect of men. We want to make sure that we are open to everyone. We just created it because when Eden and I got started – and she’s one of the other Janes – we didn’t have a place to turn to. There wasn’t a safe place to ask – as we hear all the time from our members – the stupid questions. You know, every time I’d walk into a home improvement center, they would look at me and say, ‘Oh sweetheart, you can’t do that. You need to hire someone.’ (Leslie chuckles) I still get it today. (inaudible)

    LESLIE: I get it. (Tom laughs)

    HEIDI: I know. Don’t they know who you are?

    LESLIE: I’m like I get it and I’m on TV swinging the hammer. I’m like, ‘Come on, I know what I’m doing. Talk to me.’

    HEIDI: Exactly. And it’s like you have to like, you know, show your home improvement muscle, you know. (Leslie chuckles) Well, I know (inaudible) mitre saw with a blade (inaudible). And it just, they look at you like, ‘Oh. OK.’ I mean I’ll never forget I was laying a tumble travertine floor – travertine floor – and I couldn’t remember if I needed thinset or mastic. And I walked into the tile center of a large home improvement center. I said, ‘Do I need thinset or mastic?’ And the gentleman looked at me and said, ‘What are you doing’ and I told him and he said, ‘Oh sweetie, you can’t do that. You need to hire someone.’ (Tom laughs) I said, ‘Really?’

    LESLIE: And he’s like, ‘And I’m available.’

    HEIDI: No, I said, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Hmm. I have a standing tile saw in my living room and it says that I can. (Tom laughs) Do I need thinset or a mastic?’

    TOM: We’re talking to Heidi Baker and Heidi is the author of Be Jane’s Guide to Home Empowerment along with her partner, Eden Jarrin.

    So Heidi, let’s talk about your book. How do you have it organized? How is it going to help us tackle those home improvement projects?

    HEIDI: Well, we wanted to do it a little bit differently. Like I was saying, it’s about the fact that you don’t look at a room and go, ‘God, you know, my living room is missing a window bench seat.’ You don’t think about the project first. You think about, ‘I want a feeling to this room.’ So we broke it up into the rooms of the house; the five – what we thought were the five most important rooms: the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, the family room and the dining room. And we added what we felt most people want. So I want a cookable kitchen; a kitchen I want to cook in. I want a romantic bedroom. I want a family room for the entire family.

    LESLIE: And it’s really all about how you’re going to use the room. And that’s really what you’re addressing there. That’s great.

    HEIDI: And also, because we’re so much about community, we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a how-to book; that there’s also profiles of women throughout the entire book that are from all over the country, all different ages with all different experiences that tell you what their favorite tool is, what their – what they were afraid of when they got started, why they got started doing home improvement. And you know, it’s a great way to get some inspiration about, ‘Hey, I’m just getting started. I don’t think I can do this.’ But look, there’s people from all over the country that didn’t know what they were doing and they’re successful.

    TOM: Once you tackle it and you see that you can do it yourself with a little help, with a little inspiration, with a little information, the whole home improvement world really opens up for you.

    Heidi Baker from BeJane.com, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Heidi’s book is The Be Jane Guide to Home Empowerment, available at your local bookstore.

    LESLIE: Hey, I love having a cheerleader there when I’m working on my home improvement projects. (Tom chuckles) ‘Good job, Leslie. That sink looks great.’

    TOM: Rah rah!

    LESLIE: I know. Who doesn’t love cheering?

    Alright, well are you planning to stay right where you are right through your retirement? Well, you are not alone. A survey by AARP found that most Americans are planning to do just that. We’re going to tell you how to make sure that your home is ready for that retirement as well, next.

    (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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: How’d you like to know how to stop ring around the bathtub?

    LESLIE: I would love it.

    TOM: Well, in the next edition of the Money Pit e-newsletter we’re going to tell you just how to do that. To learn how you’ve got to sign up for the free Money Pit e-newsletter, available right now, today, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And while you’re at MoneyPit.com, you can look all around; get pretty much of ton of information on anything you might want to do or think about doing to your home.

    Well, as baby boomers get close to retirement age it looks like most of them want to stay right where they are. They like their friends. They love their neighbors. They’re really into their community. So many of them are upgrading their homes to accommodate them through their years. In fact, more than 80 percent who were 45 or older say that they would like to stay where they are for as long as they possibly can. And those stats are according to a nationwide phone survey of about 2,000 people.

    TOM: And there are simple things that you can do right now to plan ahead. For example, like installing hand rails and grab bars in stairways and bathrooms. Also, you could move the laundry room upstairs. Now we did that and I’ve got to tell you, it makes so much sense for my family because I am sick and tired of schlepping the laundry up and down the stairs.

    LESLIE: Are you the laundry doer at home?

    TOM: No, I’m not. (Leslie chuckles) I do do it. You know, my wife would hit me if I took credit for that. But I do it occasionally, you know? (chuckles) Throw everything together, right? Whites, colors.

    LESLIE: (laughing) No.

    TOM: Push go and you’re done. Works for guys. But no, seriously, we moved it upstairs. When we were doing a remodeling project downstairs and had the ceiling open, we took the opportunity to move it upstairs. And it made so much sense.

    Other things that you could think about doing. There are more simple things. For example, you could install rocker switches which – instead of the small toggle switch at the light switches use the rocker switches, which are easier to handle. You could also replace your drawer pulls with either C or D-shaped drawer pulls which are easier to grab than the tiny little knobs that are hard to get a hold on. And these are little things that you can do right now; some little, some big. But they’re going to last you for the lifetime that you’re in that house. And they’re not expensive. They’re not hard to do.

    If you want more ideas, you can go to the website for the AARP at AARP.org/UniversalHome. That’s AARP.org/UniversalHome.

    LESLIE: And you know, next week Tom and I are going to be at the International Builders Show in Orlando. And I actually got a press release from the folks at Sharp about a new product which is a microwave drawer; which would make a lot of sense. Because a lot of times microwaves are up and above and you’re pulling hot things down. So it makes a lot of sense, if you’re remodeling or redoing your kitchen, to add something like this microwave drawer which sounds like it adds convenience. I can’t wait to check that out.

    TOM: Yeah, that sounds like a very, very cool idea. I’m looking forward to seeing that and all the cool things that we’re going to learn about next week at the builders show.

    LESLIE: Alright. And we’ve got a cool thing that we’re going to give away this hour. It is a Moen filtering kitchen faucet – speaking of kitchens – and it’s worth 120 bucks. The faucet’s going to give you filtered and tap water from a single spout. This is totally revolutionary. All you need is a twist of the wrist and you’re going to go back and forth between the two.

    TOM: Yeah and what’s cool about this, it’s mounted right under the sink so it saves room. It doesn’t take any room on top of the countertop. And once person we talk to this hour is going to get a chance at winning that; worth 120 bucks, as Leslie said. So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: James in New Jersey finds The Money Pit on WCTC. How can we help today?

    JAMES: I have a little problem with my outside storm door. It’s starting to form ice on it. Just had it newly installed. And I wonder what’s causing the ice to form on the inside of the door.

    LESLIE: Did you have a storm door there before this one?

    JAMES: Yes, I had a storm door before this one.

    LESLIE: And there was none of this condensation problem beforehand?

    JAMES: None beforehand. But I don’t think the storm door before this one fit as snug as this one did. This was a custom made storm door.

    TOM: You know, what you might be experiencing here is the fact that it is so snug any water vapor that was in there before got easily ventilated out. But because this one’s tight, you’re going to have some water vapor that gets in there and then it frosts on the inside of the glass because it’s going to be warmer in between the glass and the door than it would be on the outside.

    LESLIE: Which means that you’re interior door has a great seal.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. So it’s kind of a good problem to have. It’s probably annoying to you. But I don’t think that it’s the fault of either door. I think it’s just the fact that you’re getting humidity in that space that can’t get out. See when you had a poorly fitting storm door, there was plenty of ventilation in there. You know, it stopped the big breezes from blowing in but now that it’s nice and tight, it’s not a humidity proof seal so you’re going to get some higher moisture in there. And what happens is as it gets colder on the outside, you get condensation and that’s what’s forming the ice.

    James, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: The Money Pit, making good homes better.

    Hey, do you want to know how to keep humidity from causing mold problems on the walls in your bathroom? We’re going to tell you how to stop that mold, next.

    (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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we love to fix stuff that’s not broken. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Did you ever do that? Did you ever start a home improvement project because you thought something needed to be improved but it was perfectly fine …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, absolutely.

    TOM: … and by the end of the day you’ve made a big, stinking mess (Leslie chuckles) that you never counted on doing?

    LESLIE: That’s usually how it works. When things are done because you want to and not that they’re necessary something always go wrong.

    TOM: So call us right now if you find yourself in that predicament.

    LESLIE: Or e-mail us.

    TOM: Or e-mail us by logging on to MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. Let’s get right to that e-mail bag.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got one from Frank in Metuchen, New Jersey. I hope I said that right.

    TOM: Metuchen. Metuchen, New Jersey.

    LESLIE: Metuchen. ‘I chipped the paint on the ceiling above my shower.’ That doesn’t sound too terrible. ‘How can I replace that ceiling with something waterproof?’

    Interesting. I would think that tiling the ceiling would be difficult. (chuckling) I would imagine it would be.

    TOM: You know, speaking of taking small jobs, Frank, and making them into (Leslie laughs) massive projects, we’re going here from a paint chip to a totally replaced and tiled ceiling.

    LESLIE: And did he just chip the paint or did he chip out the drywall? I don’t understand.

    TOM: I don’t know but either way, you don’t have to replace the ceiling, man. I mean that’s the nice thing about drywall. It’s totally reparable. If you just chipped an area out, patch it. If you’ve got a big hole in it, there’s other ways to patch it. For example, let’s say a typical large hole in a drywall might be where, say, the doorknob from a door just slams a big old three-inch hole in it. (Leslie chuckles) Well, what you do then is you square it out so now it’s a 4×4. Then you cut a piece of drywall that’s an inch wider on all sides. And then you score part of it out; sort of carve part of the drywall out. So you have a 3×3 piece on the inside, a 5×5 on the outside. Slip it in the hole …

    LESLIE: Oh, so you’ve got like paper flaps.

    TOM: Paper flaps. That’s right. Spackle over it and you’re done. So, drywall is easy to repair. Now …

    LESLIE: It’s like the wings of drywall. Got it.

    TOM: … if you want to replace the drywall, that’s fine. If you’re going to take out the ceiling in the bathroom, don’t put drywall back in. Use this new product called Dens Armor because it’s a fiberglass-faced drywall.

    LESLIE: And that’s from Georgia-Pacific. You can pretty much get it at any home center.

    TOM: And it’s important because the fiberglass is not going to grow mold, which is something you don’t want to happen in your bathroom.

    LESLIE: And you finish it the same exact way as you do traditional drywall. You can paint it. You can do whatever you want to it.

    TOM: But if you are really interested in tiling, by all means, go ahead, knock yourself out. (Leslie chuckles) There’s no reason you can’t do it. Just use a good quality mastic.

    LESLIE: Do you need a super extra sticky mastic?

    TOM: No, I think you’d use a regular mastic with that. It should be fine.

    LESLIE: Alright, wear a hardhat, though. (Tom laughs)

    Next up, David in Bellflower, California. ‘I would like to know if you can remove fiberglass resin from a concrete driveway. And if you can, what with?’

    TOM: I don’t think so. I mean you’d pretty much have to break that stuff off.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I think it’s stuck there.

    TOM: You could try to pressure wash it off but you’re going to probably pressure wash some of that concrete, too. What you might want to think about doing is, if it’s in a large area, is epoxy coating. You could probably epoxy coat right on top of that. And then you would have sort of a completely overcoated surface and it would look even; the color would be the same and would all wear pretty much equally the same. But if you’ve dropped a resin on and it’s hardened on the driveway and it’s not sort of able to be lifted off, I think it’s pretty permanent.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s always a jackhammer.

    TOM: You know, in fact, I was talking to a contractor the other day that actually has had a lot of success with using fiberglass resin to fix poured concrete walls where they spring a leak. So it really does stick pretty well.

    LESLIE: That’s what it’s made to do.

    TOM: Well, next week we are going to hit the road. It’s a Money Pit field trip. We’re heading to the International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida. We’re going to be broadcasting from the floor of the show, from the booth of the Grace Construction Products Company; company that makes a lot of terrific roofing products and helps our listeners all year long with great home improvement advice. We’ll be right there on the floor of the show reporting on all of the nuances of the home improvement industry, all the new trends, all the new products. And you can’t be there because it’s not open to the public. But we will be carrying the show to you next weekend. Looking forward to that trip.

    LESLIE: And this time I’m bringing a pedometer because we walk like crazy when we go there. So I will tell you how many miles we covered to get all of that home improvement scoop just for you.

    TOM: I know. It’s like a couple million square feet. Some crazy, crazy, crazy sized place. But we will be there checking out the greatest, the latest to bring that story to you next week on this program.

    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 2007 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.)

Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!