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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.)


    (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 now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. This is where work and fun meet. Because we think home improvements should be enjoyable. They shouldn’t be stressful and even on the occasion when something goes wrong in your house, hey, we can make it fun to fix it. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. People are going, ‘Yeah, right Tom.’

    LESLIE: Those fun little missteps when suddenly you step into the paint tray and then walk across the thing and then the broom handle slaps you in the face. That’s kind of an enjoyable little sense of humor for a minute. (chuckling)

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We have a busy show planned for you. If you’re thinking of building a deck or a playground this spring or summer you’re going to need some good lumber. But how do you know if the wood you’re going to use is actually safe for your family and the environment? We’re going to tell you how to do just that this hour on the show.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, why is that collection of plates or photos sitting in your closet hiding from your eyes and everyone you want to show it off to? We’ve got some great ideas to let your favorite items see the light of day, in just a few minutes.

    TOM: Plus, spring cleaning around the house? Make sure any hazardous waste that you get rid of is disposed of properly. What’s hazardous waste? Well, we’re not talking about things that glow in the dark (Leslie chuckles), but there are some other things around your house that are pretty hazardous; certainly dangerous to kids, to pets, to the yard, to the environment.

    LESLIE: And you can’t just throw them out.

    TOM: We’ll talk about the safe way to dispose of those products in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And we’re also giving away a Flow Wise shower head from American Standard. It’s worth 90 bucks.

    TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Well, pavers certainly make a gorgeous driveway or patio or even a front entrance walkway and Nancy in Florida needs some help with her project. How can we help?

    NANCY: Hi, there. I’ve got cement pavers around our pool here in Florida and we have a problem with mold and weeds growing up between the pavers. Do you have a suggestion of something that can permanently help us with the mold and maybe something to seal them so that the weeds don’t come up as much?

    LESLIE: Yes, Tom and I found a great new product at the builders show this year.

    TOM: Absolutely. There is a product that’s brand new out from QUIKRETE. It’s called PowerLoc and it’s actually known as a jointing sand. It’s a brand new product that has never been out there before to solve this very, very problem; when you have weeds and moss that grows up between the bricks. And the way you work is basically you clean that area out and then you sweep this jointing sand in and then you run some water over it and it basically solidifies.


    TOM: That’s right. QUIKRETE PowerLoc.

    NANCY: OK.

    TOM: It’s a jointing sand designed to solve exactly this problem. In fact, Leslie and I just found it at this year’s International Builders Show.

    NANCY: Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Ron in Pennsylvania’s dealing with some roof moss. What can we do for you?

    RON: Oh, how you doing, guys? Appreciate taking the call. I have a 10 year old home and we’re – the front of the home is a northern exposure and we have this strip of moss on the roof shingles and I’m trying to get, you know, some direction on how I can get that moss off.

    TOM: Sure. Since it’s the north face it’s typically more shady. Do you have any trees that overhang the home there that are causing that shade?

    RON: Well, no. In the back we have southern exposure but in the back is wetland area and a creek.

    TOM: Right.

    RON: So there tends to be a fair amount of moisture.

    TOM: OK.

    RON: So in the wintertime, because of the southern exposure, the front part of the house doesn’t get, you know, as much sun. So …

    TOM: OK. There’s a couple of things that you can do. There are various products on the market that are designed to help wash away the moss. One of them is called Roof Reviver and I think their website is RoofReviver.com. Another one you can buy in home centers; it’s called Jomax. And essentially, you spray these products on; let them sit and then sort of scrub the moss away after it sits for a little while.

    RON: OK.

    TOM: A little trick of the trade to stop this from happening in the future is to go up to the ridge of this roof. Is it a ranch that you have or a two-story Colonial?

    RON: No, it’s a two-story Colonial.

    TOM: OK. Well, at the ridge that goes down the peak …

    RON: OK.

    TOM: … if you could take a piece of copper flashing or nickel flashing and lay it on top of the ridge, what’ll happen is at it rains some of that copper or nickel will release into the water as it runs down the roof and it’ll cleanse the roof because that’s a good mildicide. Copper or nickel are good –

    RON: Copper.

    TOM: Yeah, good mildicides and it’ll release the metal into the water. That tends to keep it clean. That’s why sometimes when you see chimneys that have sort of white streaks under them …

    RON: Right, right.

    TOM: … that’s because of the copper flashing that the water is releasing off of.

    RON: OK. That sounds great.

    TOM: Alright?

    RON: I panicked because I thought I had to, you know, do a major roof repair but this sounds great.

    TOM: No, you know the moss on the roof doesn’t really cause any damage. It’s really just a cosmetic issue.

    RON: OK. Really appreciate.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, not all lumber is created equal when it comes to home playgrounds and decks. Find out which wood is good for your family and the environment, after this.

    (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 and we make good homes better with your help. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT this hour or right now even because you could win a fantastic prize. One caller that we talk to on the air this hour who asks their home improvement question not only gets the answer but they thrown into – well, not you personally but your name gets thrown into the Money Pit hardhat for your chance to win a FloWise showerhead from American Standard. It’s a really great and environmentally friendly showerhead that uses a special mechanism to create a powerful spray of shower without using excess water. So it is a green addition to your home. It’s worth 90 bucks. Call us now with your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    With that American Standard showerhead you could clean up after those home improvement projects.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) You’re going to need it.

    TOM: Here’s one project that’s pretty dirty because you always do it in the summer when you’re really sweaty. It’s building a deck. You know, I love cutting wood and working outside but, you know, when you do that in the summer it’s kind of nasty. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: When sawdust gets stuck to you and you have that inevitable film of dirt?

    TOM: Exactly. You know, when you choose that lumber for that deck or that playground you obviously want to use something that’s really sturdy and resistant to decay and to pests. But you have to be careful. The chemicals in the treated wood can actually leach out and pollute the surrounding ground and actually even endanger your family’s health.

    So, for decks and playground equipment you want to use reclaimed cedar or redwood. That is the best wood to use for decks or playgrounds because it’s naturally resistant to fungus and insects or you could opt for recycled plastic lumber; products like Trex, which are really, really great and really never wear out. So remember, don’t just go use any old type of lumber. You want to pick one that’s going to last a long time and that’s going to be safe for you and for the environment.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Talking to Terry in New Jersey about the order of projects involved in his kitchen remodel. What’s going on?

    TERRY: I’m interested in having a new kitchen floor put down and a floor in the foyer. So how do I go about it? Do I pick up the old floor or can they put it right over the old floor?

    TOM: What kind of flooring do you have down right now, Terry?

    TERRY: Linoleum flooring.

    TOM: Linoleum? You can probably go right on top of that. The only caution we have for you is, when it comes to the kitchen, make sure you remove your dishwasher first and that you floor all the way under that space because you don’t want to block the dishwasher in.

    TERRY: Right. Anything else that – is there anybody that you could recommend?

    TOM: What kind of flooring do you want to put down?

    TERRY: I don’t know. I just want some suggestions on what to put down.

    TOM: Well, I’ll tell you, probably one of the most durable floors right now is laminate floor for a kitchen because …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and there’s a lot of options with laminate. You can really get it to look like anything.

    TERRY: Is that a wood flooring type thing?

    TOM: Well, it can look like wood or it can look stone or could look like tile. It’s actually made of plastic but it looks darn good. I’ve got a laminate floor in my kitchen that looks like stone; it’s textured and everything and we’ve had it down for ten years and the kids have not been able to do any damage to it despite many, many attempts.

    TERRY: Sounds good. (chuckling)

    TOM: So a laminate floor is a good choice for a kitchen.

    LESLIE: Woody in Ohio is dealing with a bouncy floor. What’s going on?

    WOODY: Well, when I walk in the dining room my China cabinet begins to rattle somewhat and I’m kind of curious how could I stabilize my floor joists without having to go and replace the joists or my wiring going through and what have you.

    TOM: Not really. Woody, how old is your house?

    WOODY: God, about 86 years old.

    TOM: Aw, it’s a pretty old house, yeah. Well, in an older home, typically the spans on the floor joists are a lot longer and the joists themselves are narrower than what you would have today. And so, what I would do in this case is I would suggest you put in a midspan girder and this does not have to be really complicated because we’re not really holding up the house here. We’re really just sort of taking the flex out of that floor.

    So what you would do is you would go downstairs. Is this on a basement?

    WOODY: Yes.

    TOM: OK, so you would go downstairs to the basement and you would install a beam that would be comprised of maybe three 2x8s, ought to do it. Mid span between the two ends of the joists that cover the dining room area; right down the middle, make sure you have good contact to all the floor joists – and because it’s an old house you may do a little shimming here and there to make sure you have good contact – and I would support that beam with probably two or three lolly columns. Now, you could probably put it right on the concrete floor because, again, we don’t necessarily want to do anything more than take the flex out of this. If you want to do a real super good job you could dig out the floor and pour a little footing there; maybe something that’s about 18 inches deep by about 18 inches square. But at least to start with I would just put a beam in the middle of the span of these dining room floor joists and that will take the flex out of it and you won’t hear the China rattle the next time you walk across the room.

    LESLIE: Now when you’re assembling this, Tom, would you do sort of a staggered situation with a 2×4 so that it can become like one, long, continuous piece? You know, so like maybe the two end ones are even with each other and the middle one staggers out half of the distance so that you have areas to constantly attach things to; almost like a LEGO.

    TOM: Not 2x4s. You mean 2x8s.

    LESLIE: Oh, 2x8s. I’m sorry.

    TOM: I would use as few seams as possible and the rule of thumb whenever you construct a load-bearing beam like that is if you have a joint in the beam – like if you had a triple beam with three, say, 2x8s and there was a seam somewhere – that seam would always be over a post.

    WOODY: Right.

    TOM: You don’t have to be quite as strict about this because, again, we’re not really holding up much of the house; we’re just taking the flex out of the floor. But putting a midspan girder in there will solve this problem.

    WOODY: OK, so it should be just the length of the dining room area in itself? Would that be it?

    TOM: Yep. And across – perpendicular to the floor joists that are there right now.

    WOODY: OK, 2x8s and three of them.

    TOM: Yep.

    WOODY: What method would you use to fasten the 2x8s together? Would it be glue and screws or what?

    TOM: No, I would just nail them together.

    WOODY: Alright, then. Thank you so much.

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

    You know what you call it when the glassware moves.

    LESLIE: What?

    TOM: China syndrome.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Now you really can just do this to your own home without getting any approval from an engineer …?

    TOM: It’s not an engineering job. It’s not – I mean this is a little trick of the trade for just taking the flex out of floor joists. If I was concerned about Woody supporting some load-bearing portion of his house then of course we would recommend the appropriate professionals be involved, but in this case …

    LESLIE: Should you get it approved by an inspector if you intend on selling the house at some point?

    TOM: If you can – I don’t think it’s that complicated a project. Again, we’re just taking the flex out of these beams.

    LESLIE: Alright.

    It’s swarm season and Irene in South Carolina is seeing the termites. What’s going on?

    IRENE: Hello. Yes, several weeks ago I listened to one of your programs and you were talking about termites. You mentioned that the bait trap systems now are pass

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