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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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 with your home improvement question; your do-it-yourself dilemma. What are you doing? What are you working on? What job do you want to get done around your house? We can help you out? But you need to help yourself out first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, the summer storm season is in high gear. And yeah, I’ve been woken up a whole bunch of times through these bad summer storms we’ve been having this year.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s really been a lot of rumbly thunder out there.

    TOM: Well this hour we’re going to teach you how to check for wind and rain damage to your siding and roof that could be caused by those thunder bumpers we’re hearing this summer.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and if it’s not stormy where you live your problem is probably lack of rain. And we’re going to give you some tips to keep your lawn and your garden healthy while conserving that water.

    TOM: Also ahead, we’re going to tell you how to make sure that you’re keeping the water out of the walls around your house. We’re going to talk about window and door flashing; how to make sure it’s working correctly so you don’t have any leaks hiding out inside the walls and causing rot and mold and mildew to occur.

    LESLIE: And just when you thought we were at the end, we are giving away a fantastic prize. It’s a Ryobi compound laser mitre saw this hour. It’s worth $145 and it’s going to take all of the guesswork out of any and all mitre cuts.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Finding The Money Pit on KFRM in Kansas we’ve got Pam. How can we help you?

    PAM: I’ve got a very old house that has lath and plaster walls in it.

    TOM and LESLIE: OK.

    PAM: And I was taking wallpaper off those – one of the areas. It’s underneath a stairwell where there’s a landing and then it’s like, you know, a little hole underneath there. And a bunch of the plaster came out. What can I – right at the junction. What can I replace that with?

    TOM: Well, with plaster. You’re going to need to mix up some plaster – plaster Paris – and patch that. Now, is the existing plaster that’s there fairly solid or is it deteriorated?

    PAM: Most of it is fairly solid. This is like – there’s like a little cubby hole underneath the landing.

    TOM: OK.

    PAM: And where the plaster came out is right where it comes down and then meets the boards for the door.

    TOM: Alright, so right at the junction. Yeah, what you’re going to want to do is pick up some Plaster of Paris from the hardware store or the home center, mix it up and then trowel it in. I would tell you to do it in a couple of applications so you’re not – especially if it’s a thick – fairly thick.

    PAM: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: So you don’t put it all on at once. And then you.

    LESLIE: So it doesn’t all fall out.

    TOM: Yeah, then you’re going to sand it. And now, you took the wallpaper off. Are you going to paint, Pam?

    PAM: Yes, I’m planning on painting it.

    TOM: Alright, well make sure that you use a primer first. We’d recommend an oil-based primer …

    PAM: Oh, OK.

    TOM: … because that’s going to do a good job of neutralizing the wall and giving you a good, smooth solid surface for the new paint to adhere to.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and if you notice that the surface at all has any sort of dings or dents or wavers, seems uneven, go with a flat paint because that’s going to hide all of those imperfections really well.

    PAM: Oh, I think I still have about four layers of wallpaper to take off before I know what the wall itself is going to look like.

    LESLIE: Oh.

    TOM: OK. (chuckling) What are you using to take that wallpaper off, Pam?

    PAM: Most of it just peeled off. Right now I haven’t gotten to the rest of it.

    TOM: Alright, well what you might want to do – let us save you a lot of aggravation – go out and rent a wallpaper steamer.

    PAM: I already have one.

    LESLIE: Good.

    TOM: Oh, good. Because that’ll be – that’s the easiest way to take off wallpaper.

    LESLIE: And then you know what? If you find you’ve got some leftover residue, vinegar and water, if you spray it on there, it does a decent job of getting rid of that last little bit of gunk.

    PAM: I can do that then.

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

    PAM: Jumping into the tub with Jim in Rhode Island. How can we help?

    JIM: I’m up against the eight ball here, trying to figure out whether to put a tub surround. I’ve got an old-fashioned, built-in, cast iron tub …

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: … that’s pretty deteriorated. My water’s not the greatest. I’ve got a lot of iron in the water.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: All the scrubbing has taken off all the finish. I’ve had it refinished once so now I’m trying to decide to bust it up.

    TOM: Well, the tub inserts – I think you’re talking about the tub inserts –

    JIM: Right.

    TOM: – they’re pretty and they’re certainly – you know, they’re certainly a good option. But I will tell you they’re very – the two things I don’t like about them: they’re real expensive; and secondly, they take up space. So it makes the tub physically smaller. But the other advantage though is that you can pretty much do a makeover of your bathroom in a day.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) In a day.

    TOM: Yeah. So those are sort of the advantages and disadvantages of the tub inserts.

    JIM: Now, taking out the old tub. Say I was going to put just another cast iron tub in.

    TOM: Uh-huh.

    JIM: People tell me, ‘You’ll have to take the walls down’ and other people tell me, ‘You’ll have to take two, three layers of tiles off from the tub – existing tub.’

    TOM: The chances are you are going to have to take some tile up. And the way to deal with that is, Jim, to actually choose a complimentary tile color. So now, when you put the walls back together you might end up with two tones because you may not be able to save the tile that you had. So just choose one that matches. You know, a forest green and a mint green or, you know, a gold and a …

    LESLIE: Yeah, make it have its purpose.

    TOM: Right. Exactly.

    LESLIE: Like you chose it as a design element.

    TOM: Right. Make it look like it was always supposed to be that way. That’s a way around that.

    JIM: Oh, it’s pink. (inaudible) the old-fashioned 1950s pinks. Yeah.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s pink? So put a maroon lip around it, you know? Or a rose color.

    LESLIE: Or even you can go with – so many of those mesh-backed like tumbled stones or a marble or even like river rock are so easy to install it would make a great transition. It sort of modernizes that vintage-y pink feel and it’s really an easy do-it-yourself project.

    JIM: Plus I think putting a regular tub will keep – you know, the house is a cute, old-fashioned house. To put one of those (inaudible) …

    TOM: Yeah, it’ll be very consistent with its design. I agree with you.

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

    LESLIE: We’ve got water pressure issues over at Bert’s house in Alabama. What can we do for you?

    BERT: Hey, love you all’s show, by the way.

    TOM: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Thank you so much, Bert. So tell us what’s happening at the house?

    BERT: The problem is that – and I tried to fix it. That’s why I’m calling you all because it didn’t work.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.

    TOM: OK.

    BERT: We have excessive water pressure and we know that. And I guess what I mean by that is between your water meter there’s supposed to be a regulator. It’s a diaphragm-type control valve you can screw down; control the pressure. Not one there. But not a problem because I’ve had – I mean even though the pressure is probably around 70 pounds per square inch, we don’t have any problems except this: my dishwasher, when it changes cycles, every time it shuts down a cycle it will shake the whole house.

    TOM: Huh.

    BERT: So I’m afraid something’s going to pop. So when we went to a large chain kind of place to get some plumbing supplies, they said to put what they call a water hammer in between your hot and your cold water lines for your washer and it would take care of that.

    LESLIE: Well, a water hammer arrestor.

    BERT: Yeah, that’s what it’s called; a water hammer arrestor. Thank you.


    TOM: Right, mm-hmm.

    BERT: And we did that and it did not fix the problem. Now, my house, I was told, was plumbed for two water heaters. So maybe is there a possibility that it’s just on a different kind of line and it’s maybe getting backflow?

    TOM: Well this chatter that you’re hearing you’re saying is shaking the whole house. I’m thinking that you may have a bad valve on the dishwasher that’s doing this because very often if you have a bad valve it’ll make that chattering, shaking sound when the valve closes or opens. Is that what you’re hearing?

    BERT: I don’t hear a chatter. I just hear the actual – I mean I was in – when I was in the military I did a lot of plumbing, stationary engineer work and it’s a back pressure. When the actual pressure cuts off, the back pressure goes through the existing valve structure. It does it to some degree or it did it to some degree on the washer but to none of the degree that should (inaudible).

    TOM: Well, that is water hammer then and it might just be that you don’t have the water hammer arrestor in the right place.

    BERT: Well, and when I asked this guy who was supposed to be a plumber that works at this large chain, he said put one on the inlet of both the – because I asked him. I said, ‘Well, how’s that going to fix my dishwasher?’ and he said it’s all on one line. And that makes sense, you know, that it would just kind of (inaudible). Now, what I was told – and maybe you can help me with this – is that you can actually buy like a bladder and have a plumber install it somewhere in a main line that acts like an air cushion.

    TOM: Well, absolutely. But that’s what a water hammer arrestor is. It’s like a pressure tank. And there are different types and some look sort of more like a pipe and others look like a tank; like a small tank that’s attached to it. What type of water hammer arrestor did you put on?

    BERT: It was – I mean it’s brass. It fit on …

    TOM: Was it about the size of a – did it look like a softball?

    BERT: I’m in the medical profession. It kind of looks like an inhaler.

    TOM: OK. I think that the kind of water hammer arrestor that you put on is not working for you. You need one that has sort of a diaphragm and an air tank and an air cushion. It sounds to me like you may have put it on but it’s not working for you. I don’t think you have the right type of water hammer arrestor. You may need a larger one and that’s probably going to stop this problem because this clearly sounds like water hammer. As the water runs through the pipes and the valve shuts off you have a lot of centrifugal force that shakes that pipe. Water’s very heavy. It weights eight pounds per gallon. And when you shut the pipes off very quickly with a valve, the pipes shake.

    The other thing that you could do is make sure those pipes are securely attached if there’s an area where you can access them. Because if they are securely attached then there’s nothing to really shake.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If they’re fastened well to their surface.

    TOM: That’s really the two things that you need to do, Bert. OK?

    BERT: OK. Now let me ask you this. So this diaphragm; is that something I can install myself?

    TOM: Sure, if you can do a basic plumbing project. It’s really not that difficult to do. It’s just a matter of cutting it into the pipe in the area close to the inlet valve.

    BERT: Alright. Well that’s what I’ll try. I just – I was at my wit’s end and you guys have helped with other things that I’ve listened to.

    TOM: No problem, Bert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Are you already thinking about what you’re going to do with that compound mitre saw that you’re going to win? Well, if you win the prize and even if you don’t, you can call in your home improvement or your home repair question any time you like, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, summer storms can be wicked and your home’s outer shell – that would be the siding and the roof – can really be damaged even without you realizing. Up next, we’re going to teach you how to spot the signs of damage and leaks before it causes major mold and rot and mildew problems in your house.

    (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, where work and fun meet. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we make good homes better. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT to ask your home improvement question on the air. If you do, we may choose your name out of the Money Pit hard hat to award a great prize. It’s the Ryobi 10-inch laser compound mitre saw. It’s worth $145. The saw’s got an electric brake to stop the blade in seconds. It’s great for crown moulding, for baseboards and all kinds of mitering jobs. The number again, 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question.

    Now, if you don’t happen to win this hour, you can still get in on a great deal right now at your nearest Home Depot. Because if you buy any Ryobi mitre saw and a Ryobi QuickSTAND you can get 50 bucks off your purchase. So call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, whoever wins this mitre saw …

    TOM: Uh-huh.

    LESLIE: … is going to crown mould, dress things up with trimmings all over their house.

    TOM: (inaudible)

    LESLIE: So beware. It’s really a fun tool to have around.

    Alright. Summer storm season. Hurricanes, tornadoes, even a bad thunder storm; they can really rip into the skin of your house and cause damage in many, many areas. So you want to look out for any potential damaged areas. First start off by checking all the sides of your house from the ground, looking for loose siding, metal trimmings and even loose soffits. If any of these parts are loose or missing, leaks can develop and they can develop quickly. You want to look for cracked, loose or broken window panes and fix any of these problems that you find.

    TOM: You know, even the best roofs can leak under extreme conditions because driving rain can actually push up sort of against gravity and get under the roof shingles and really cause pretty major leaks. Now, the repairs may not be necessary unless the shingles have been damaged. These leaks are not likely to reoccur with normal rainfall. So look for the loose flashing around the chimney and the plumbing vents. Those are clearly weak links in the roof. You know, wind can loosen the flashing and it can cause leaks if it’s not tight.

    Now, if you want more tips on how to avoid storm damage at your house you can visit the website for the Grace Construction Products company. It’s GraceAtHome.com. Very, very well done website that will teach you how to have a roof and siding and windows and doors that won’t leak even in the harshest of conditions.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Listening in on News Talk 77, WABC, we’ve got Michelle calling from New York. What can we do for you today?

    MICHELLE: Hi, I have this terrible problem in my driveway with grease stains from the car, I believe. And I’m just wondering if you could give me some tips on how to have it removed.

    TOM: The first tip …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Is the car still leaking?

    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, exactly. The first tip is fix the car.

    MICHELLE: Right, that’s for sure.

    TOM: TSP; trisodium phosphate. If it’s an older leak you can make a paste out of that with water. You can apply it to the driveway, let it sit there for a bit. And it has the effect of sort of drawing the grease out of the …

    LESLIE: It’s like a salve.

    TOM: … of the concrete. Exactly. Yep.

    MICHELLE: And is there a special store that I need to purchase this?

    TOM: No, it’s available at a hardware store or paint store. It’s called TSP. And if you go into the paint aisle and you ask the store personnel for it, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. Very, very common and pretty effective when it comes to removing grease from concrete driveways.

    MICHELLE: OK, great. Sounds easy. Thank you very much.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Mike in Florida’s got a siding situation. What’s happening at the house?

    MIKE: Well, I’ve got a construction issue with the way the house was constructed. The house is a two-story colonial house and the exterior has – well, it has a crawlspace and the exterior foundation are cinderblock. And then the framing of the house is a 2×4 framing so obviously there’s a ledge there on top of the cinderblock. The facing of the cinderblock has got regular brick there and then the builder basically used a piece of trim coil that was molded in a Z kind of fashion to bridge the gap where the exterior walls end and comes over the brick ledge and then comes down a little bit.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.

    MIKE: And it’s a vinyl sided house. So the corners – I’m getting water infiltration in the corners in between the brick and the block and it’s starting to deteriorate the wood backing behind the vinyl. And so my question is – I was planning on pulling, of course, the vinyl off and pulling the trim coil off. And as I started looking at this I thought about just using a piece of flashing around all the corners. But it’s going to stop any air from flowing in between the brick and the block. And so I’m wondering is this just shoddy construction? I see a lot of houses that are being built like this; you know, cinderblock foundation with a 2×4 construction on it. And living in Florida, it’s a natural, you know, water and mold …

    LESLIE: Lots of moisture.

    TOM: Yep.

    MIKE: … moisture trap.

    TOM: Well it sounds to me like there’s been a breakdown in the assembling of the siding-to-brick connection. And you are correct in that the fact that you have to open this up to try to figure out where it’s gone wrong. Now this flashing that you’re going to put in, are you considering to put metal flashing there or do you want to use one of the high-tech flashing materials?

    MIKE: Well, what’s available in the high-tech? I think there’s some permeable – not permeable but a rubber type or …

    LESLIE: Yeah, like rubber membrane.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, yeah. I mean there’s products like Tri-Flex, which is made by Grace, which is very flexible and stretchy and designed to go in odd-shaped places.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it sort of moves and settles with the house as well.

    TOM: Yeah. You may have [to find better luck] (ph). It’s much more forgiving than using a metal flashing.

    MIKE: Yeah, and so all I do is trim the corners and then caulk or something to try to keep …

    TOM: And you adhere it. Correct.

    MIKE: … water from going in. Obviously, you know, the way the outside corners are on vinyl houses; there’s a big corner piece there.

    TOM: Right.

    MIKE: And what’s happening is that the water looks like it’s running down in the corners there and …

    TOM: Yeah, it’s got to be water tight before you put the vinyl on almost.

    MIKE: Yeah, yeah. And so, as far as breathing, now, in between the block and the brick, should I drill some extra weep holes around the top?

    TOM: I probably wouldn’t be too concerned about it. If you wanted to you could put some weep holes in the mortar joints between the layers of the brick. But I think that the air is going to find it’s way in there anyway.

    MIKE: Alright. I was just really surprised to see this after, you know, just four years or so.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s disappointing but it really comes down to the labor. If it wasn’t correctly assembled this is the kind of thing that happens.

    MIKE: Yeah, should have gone with a 2×6 exterior framing rather than just …

    TOM: Well Mike, at least you’re well-suited to deal with it.

    MIKE: Thank you very much. I’ll look it up.

    LESLIE: Art in Virginia’s listening in on WJFK. What’s going on at your house?

    ART: Well, I’ve got a 20-year-old house and the insulating strip on the bottom of the front door has gone away and I can’t make the people at the local home stores understand what I’m looking for if they do have it. (Leslie chuckles) Any idea where I can look for something to fill in that about half-inch gap?

    TOM: Yeah. Now, this is the actual strip on the bottom of the door itself? That’s called a sweep. And Frost King, I think, would be the manufacturer that you might want to look into. It’s usually available at the big box home centers as well as hardware stores. And you’re simply looking for a door sweep.

    Now, you may not be able to find the exact door sweep that was on there originally. If that’s the case, you could find one that attaches to the back of the door and sort of hangs down a bit. One way or the other you’ll be able to find a sweep that’s going to work for you and seal out air and water from getting under that door.

    ART: OK, I’ll check it out. Thanks a million.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And earlier in the show we were talking about storm damage. You know, one major weak point in your home can be your windows. So up next, we’re going to teach you how to make sure water is not sneaking in around the things that you like to look out of.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This segment of The Money Pit is sponsored by Angie’s List. Need work done around your house and don’t know who to call? You don’t have to guess who’s good and who’s not. Angie’s List has thousands of unbiased reports on local service companies with details from real member experience. Call 888-944-5478. Or visit AngiesList.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If it’s a squeak or a leak we have the tools, the techniques and the tips to help you get those home improvement projects done.

    Hey, speaking of leaks, you know, your windows are probably the most vulnerable spot in your home for water infiltration. You know, moisture coming in around windows can lead to a whole host of major problems from mold to major structural damage.

    LESLIE: Ah, but sealing minor gaps can actually help but you really need to seal out the elements with the right kind of flashing to do the proper moisture infiltration job here. And here to tell us about how to do that is Larry Shapiro, the business director of Grace Residential Building Materials.

    Welcome, Larry.

    LARRY: Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.

    TOM: Larry, it seems to me that with the wet spring that we’ve had that buildings have really been put through an awful lot of stress. And I think that sometimes when homes are constructed the contractors and, by default, the homeowners, rely too much on gravity to make sure the flashings are working correctly. (Leslie chuckles) And too many times …

    LESLIE: Well, and also nobody really knows to look into those areas to make sure that there are options or that the right material is even being used.

    TOM: Exactly. And too many times, when you get wind-driven rain that comes from a particular direction, for example, is when you really – you know, you really know that there’s an issue. And so, talk to us about how flashings have changed from the simple metal flashings that we used to use in the past to some of these high-tech materials like the ones that you guys make.

    LARRY: You’re absolutely right, Tom. Especially this year with winter storms and water coming sideways at the building, you know, water definitely gets up under the siding and naturally finds any leak point that’s available; especially around doors and windows. Whereas used to be, in the old days, you relied on gravity – just as you said – where metal flashings basically allowed the water to shed away. But that really wasn’t all that effective. And today’s materials, they’re not metal. They’re polymeric-based. They’re fully adhered; meaning they adhere to the …

    TOM: Now, stop right there. You say polymeric. What does that mean?

    LARRY: They’re made out of polyethylene or polypropylene. They’re basically high-tech plastics; engineered plastics.

    LESLIE: So they’re stretchy. They’re rubbery. They sort of move and give.

    LARRY: Absolutely. So if the building moves it’s no problem. If you shoot fasteners through it if you’re going to put the siding on, these materials tend to seal around the fasteners to really give you a water tight seal. So no matter which direction the water comes from, even if it’s going uphill, the water really can’t get into your walls and cause all sorts of damage (inaudible).

    LESLIE: And this sort of come, Larry, as an answer to, you know, just traditional, rectangular windows or did this sort of come as a necessity to more high-end designed windows that are featuring unusual shapes and sizes?

    LARRY: It’s really both. It really more has to do with the fact that people are building homes much tighter today than they used to. So, you know, any moisture that gets into the walls has nowhere to go. Previous, you know, in – you know, 50, 100 years ago if water got into the walls that’s OK. The drafts were so big, you know, so big coming through the walls that it dried out anyway. But that doesn’t happen today. So …

    TOM: So now the water gets in the walls it sits in the walls and then when you have moisture you have oxygen and you have plenty of wood and other building materials. Then you have all the components that you need for mold growth as well as structural decay.

    LARRY: Absolutely. And the first step in controlling mold is controlling moisture. It’s as simple as that.

    LESLIE: And is it true that regardless of how efficient and how high-end the window you purchase, if it’s not installed properly or flashed properly you still have potential for major breakdown?

    LARRY: Yeah, of course. Most window units themselves will not leak. They’re manufactured in a factory, presumably to good quality standards. The weak point in any system is where it meets another system. So where the wall system meets the window system there’s a seam; there’s a built-in flaw. And that will – that will take water.

    TOM: Now, besides water, it would seem to me that leaks around flashing or around windows is also a source of energy leaks. Because you know, besides the water getting in there you have cold air or warm air that’s going to leak in and leak out of the building envelope. I mean the idea with an HVAC system is to keep the hot side hot and the cold side cold. But if you have voids in this area that’s not going to happen.

    LARRY: That’s right. You mean most people think if they can put additional insulation in the walls they up the r value; it’s all well and good. And that’s all true, but a little air leak will totally make extra r value of insulation more or less meaningless. You lose much more heat by air movement than you ever do through normal conduction within the insulation.

    TOM: We’re talking to Larry Shapiro. He’s the business director for Grace Residential Building Materials and really an expert on what it takes to keep your home warm and dry.

    Larry, before we let you go I wanted to ask you about Ice and Water Shield, another product that you guys make. Ice and Water Shield is a product that really serves a year-round purpose; although I think many people don’t really understand it. It certainly works to keep ice dams from forming and leaking in. But this time of year it also seems that in some areas of the country it can really stop some of that wind-driven rain; especially when you get into the hurricane belt. Is that correct?

    LARRY: Absolutely. We’ve – we had – we’ve been selling Ice and Water Shield down in Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And when the hurricane season of 2004 came through we saw a lot of roofs completely blown off. But the ones that had Ice and Water Shield on them, the coverings blew off; Ice and Water Shield was there, stayed there, kept the houses more or less dry.

    TOM: Well, let me ask you a question about installation of that that I’m confused on sometimes. When you’re using Ice and Water Shield to prevent ice damming you only put it on like one layer of it so you have like one piece like three feet up from the roof edge. But down in, say, Florida or Georgia – area that you’re concerned about wind-driven rains and hurricanes – you put it on the entire roof? Is that correct?

    LARRY: Yeah, that’s right. I mean wind-driven rain affects the whole roof. So you get roof coverings that can blow off anywhere on the roof or the entire roof, of course. So that’s, you know, that’s where you need the protection. And it’s not always on the front side of the roof that the – that the most damage occurs. Sometimes you can actually get more damage up by the peak on the leeward side of the roof away from where the wind is.

    LESLIE: Interesting.

    LARRY: So the top of that roof almost acts like an air foil; like an airplane wing.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    LARRY: And the wind goes up over the peak and actually sucks some of the shingles right off the roof …

    TOM: Oh, that’s interesting.

    Larry Shapiro, Residential Building Director from Grace Construction, thanks so much for joining us.

    For more information, you can log onto Grace’s website at GraceAtHome.com.

    LESLIE: Alright, well we talked about keeping the water out of your house. Now, how do you keep the water on your lawn and help that grass grow? And really, is that water making the grass grow or is it just causing your water bill to grow? Find out how to get the most out of your outdoor water usage, right after this.

    TOM: Sort of a wet show today.

    (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. You know, we’re talking a lot about water today.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And you know, it occurs to me that The Money Pit is like having a plunger in every room. (Leslie chuckles) We’re helpful and nearby. So call us to flush out the answers to your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Because if you do, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a great prize.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. And we have really got a super terrific prize this hour. It is a Ryobi 10-inch laser compound mitre saw. It’s worth 145 bucks. The saw features exact line laser alignment system and that really takes all of the guesswork out of cutting expensive hardwood, mouldings and baseboards where every millimeter, centimeter counts because it’s costly. But you’ve got to call in.

    TOM: I love the laser alignment system because it lets you see exactly where the blade is going to touch the wood. So it’s really easy to use.

    And if you don’t win, don’t be too disappointed because there’s a great deal going on right now at your local Home Depot where Ryobi tools are sold. If you buy any Ryobi mitre saw and a mitre saw QuickSTAND, you can save 50 bucks off your purchase. How about that?

    LESLIE: So everyone’s a winner.

    TOM: Everybody’s a winner.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and not only is everybody going to be a winner but we are going to make sure that your lawn, your wallet, your water situation is also a winner because the when, the where and the how of how much you water, you put on your lawn, can really mean the difference between a full lawn or an empty wallet. You want to make sure that you water early in the day. That helps to prevent evaporation. You want to adjust your sprinklers so you’re not watering the driveway and the sidewalks because they’re not really drinking any of the water. And remember to use timers on your sprinklers to limit water usage to only what is needed. If you do all those little steps to conserve water your lawn’s going to look great and your wallet is also going to be green.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, let’s get back to the phones.

    LESLIE: We’ve got Robert in Massachusetts on the line who listens in on WPRO. And what can we help you with today?

    ROBERT: Yes, thank you. I have two questions, the first of which is I had a main drain leak in my basement and I – the main drainpipe itself I patched up with epoxy which, you know, stopped the leak; well, from leaking any further. My question is – first question is – should I replace that section of the main drain that was leaking or will the epoxy hold long enough to do the job?

    TOM: The epoxy will probably hold a good, long time. And if it’s doing the job now, I would not be in any rush to replace it. I actually used epoxy to fix a hot water radiator that was leaking a bit and that I just didn’t have the time to take the whole thing out and do it right. And I hate to admit it but that was about five years ago. (chuckling)

    ROBERT: Oh, wow.

    TOM: It’s still standing up just fine. So, I think epoxy is a good repair product for a plumbing drain with that.

    ROBERT: I mean, now I noticed the epoxy, when I read the fine print, it said this epoxy, I think, was produced in California and then California state standards says it sometimes can contribute to cancer or something (inaudible).

    TOM: You know, California’s got some pretty rigid …

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: … labeling instructions. I wouldn’t be making my home improvement …

    LESLIE: I bought a souvenir at an amusement park one time and on the receipt it said, ‘This product contains something known to the state of California’ and I was like, ‘Good lord, what do I do with this?’ (Tom chuckles)

    ROBERT: Hmm.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: So they’re very tough on regulations but overly so.

    TOM: Yeah, I probably wouldn’t be basing my home improvement decisions based on some of those warnings; although I’m sure they’re there for a good reason. And certainly if people have certain chemical sensitivities the labeling is very, very important. But you know, epoxy is just a good, bold, standard product that works really well for this kind of a plumbing problem and I think it’s going to – it’s going to fix you up just fine.

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

    LESLIE: We’re going to talk grout with Linda in Alabama. What’s going on? How can we help?

    LINDA: Hi. I’m a chemical sensitive patient …

    TOM: OK.

    LINDA: … and I need to know what is the best product to clean my kitchen grout that has a couple of grease stains without a strong odor.

    TOM: Hmm. So bleach is out, huh?

    LINDA: Correct.

    TOM: You know, Linda, what a good option might be is a product called Simple Green. Have you worked with that?

    LINDA: Yes, I have. In fact, I have used that before.

    TOM: And what’s your result been?

    LINDA: It worked OK but it didn’t actually remove the actual grease stain.

    TOM: Well, the problem with grout is that it’s very absorbent.

    LESLIE: So porous.

    TOM: And it might be that that grease stain is so deep that you’re going to have difficulty getting it out. Now, if you can’t get it all out what you might want to do is think about replacing the grout and the way you do that is with a little tool called a grout saw. It actually sort of scrapes out the grout that’s there.

    LINDA: OK.

    TOM: And once you get it out, then you can put new grout in and you can seal it so if you ever get grease on it again it won’t pull through again.

    LINDA: Sure. OK.

    TOM: That’s the solution.

    LINDA: OK. Hey, I love your show.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Linda.

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

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit and while this show has been full of water, we’ve got one other room for you that is full of water: bathrooms. You know, they’re naturally humid places. But you do need to protect your walls and your ceiling from all of that condensation. We’re going to have some tips on how to do that when we get back.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer. And add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, 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.

    LESLIE: You know, we know you all have very, very busy lives. But did you know that you could take Tom and I with you on the go wherever you are? If you visit MoneyPit.com you can download our free podcast. And it was recently named the most popular home improvement podcast by iTunes. Whoo-hoo! You can even search a year’s worth of past shows by topic or project that you are most interested in. So no wasting your very valuable time.

    TOM: And while you’re on our website subscribing to our podcast, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and e-mail us a question just like Vanessa and Brian in Putnam Valley, New York did. They say: ‘We have a bathroom with cathedral ceilings. They do not have a fan for steam; however, my ceilings still drip and I get stains. Can I put cedar up there to absorb moisture?’ There’s a unique approach.

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    TOM: ‘Do I have to treat the ceilings first before applying cedar? This is a look we had wanted but I’m afraid …’

    LESLIE: So she really wanted to see those beams up there.

    TOM: Yeah. ‘I’m afraid that it will get moldy behind the cedar.’ Well, I think it will not only get moldy behind the cedar. It will get moldy in between the cedar and on the cedar because you’ve got to manage the moisture here, guys.

    LESLIE: But when you’re dealing with cathedral ceilings, I mean traditionally when you’ve got a bathroom vent fan you’re dealing with a flat ceiling; it works easily. If you’ve got that vaulted ceiling that you get with cathedrals, do you – where do you put them? Do you put more than one? How do you control it up there?

    TOM: You can still put it flush with the ceiling and it’s just going to have a very, very short place to travel between there and the outside. You can duct it. You could put it in a side wall as sort of like a through-the-wall vent. There’s always a way to do this. And also, if perhaps this cathedral is adjacent to a more traditional attic, you could put a vent there and use a remote exhaust fan and pull the air across. So there are a number of ways to do it. But you’ve got to vent the space.

    And while you’re figuring out how you’re going to vent the space, you also want to think about the control circuit. A good thing to do is to use an occupancy sensor so that whenever someone walks in to the bathroom the fan will come on and it will stay on for about 30 seconds after that person leaves the bathroom because bathrooms are moisture generators. And if you don’t control the …

    LESLIE: Yeah but generally if you’re showering you want to leave that on for a good 15 minutes after you’ve taken a shower.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly, because – right, because if you don’t manage that moisture it’s going to condense on the wood and it’s going to form mildew; form mold; it could lead to decay. Of course that wouldn’t probably happen with cedar, which is very moisture resistant. But nonetheless, you just don’t want to deal with a surface like that. So it’s real important to vent those bathrooms.

    Vanessa and Brian, thanks for writing us at Money Pit.

    How about if we go to Oxford, Connecticut?

    LESLIE: Alright. Anthony writes: ‘We have engineered cracks in our basement concrete floor. The cracks are about one-half inch in size. What can I do to seal up the cracks so that the change in weather won’t open them each year?’

    TOM: Well, he says ‘engineered cracks.’ I think he means expansion joints. And …

    LESLIE: So isn’t that what they’re doing?

    TOM: I guess. Probably what you want here, Anthony, is a flowable urethane. That is something that will seal that space between the different pieces of concrete and will expand and contract as the floor is moving.

    LESLIE: And it will adhere to that concrete that’s already existing; whereas if you put some fresh concrete in there it’s not going to stick.

    TOM: Yeah, the other thing that you might want to think about doing is an epoxy paint on the concrete surface. There are various manufacturers. QUIKRETE makes one. Rust-Oleum makes one called Epoxy Shield. Really super durable paints; two-part epoxy. You mix them together. You paint like a conventional paint and then they dry really, really hard and they’re super durable and will keep the floor nice. It’ll be easier to clean, too.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and they look really good, too.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.

    Hey, coming up next week on the show, bigger isn’t always better. I know it’s hard to believe. But yes, it’s true. Bigger isn’t always better; especially when it comes to houses. This trend that we’re seeing now towards huge homes might end as we build green to save resources and money.

    LESLIE: Ah, but how do you make a smaller home seem big? Well, we’re going to have the tips, the tools and the step-by-step techniques you need next week here on The Money Pit.

    TOM: 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.)

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