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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: What are you doing? What are you working on? Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Your home improvement projects just got easier because it’s always easier when you can do the job together, when you can get a little help. (Leslie chuckles) Well, we are just a phone call away to get the job done at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You know, I tell you, it’s been such a winter. I’m so glad that spring is finally here because we had so many wind storms some shutters blew right off the front of my house. And I just had to wait until it was officially spring, by date, to put them back up. I know I’ve been disappointing my neighbors but …

    TOM: And I’m only glad that the rain has finally tapered off in my part of the country so that the grass will actually start to come back in now and not be a big, muddy mess.

    LESLIE: Yay. And then it’ll really feel like spring.

    TOM: But it’s the time when you get inspired to improve your house, to improve the place that you spend so many hours of the day. So give us a call. We would love to help you.

    And coming up this hour, we’re going to talk about your roof. You know, it’s constantly battling enemies; not just during the bad weather but even bright sun can take its toll on your roof. Find out how to spot the signs. We’re going to give you a safe way to inspect your roof and spot those trouble signs before you start losing the battle to the elements.

    LESLIE: And into the kitchen, if you’re thinking about replacing your dishwasher with a brand new model, we’ve got some practical advice to help you find the right one that’s going to work for you and your family.

    TOM: Including, do you have to rinse the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Let’s slay …

    LESLIE: No. It’s a mean lie that parents tell when you’re a kid (Tom laughs) so you do more work; which, of course, when I have children I’m sure I will tell them the same.

    TOM: And did you know that your front door is a weak spot when it comes to strong wind, heavy rain and flying debris? That’s right. With all the storms we’ve had over the last couple of years, it’s become much more important …

    LESLIE: Flying debris like my shutters. (giggles)

    TOM: Yeah, like Leslie’s shutters. (Leslie laughs) Or in a storm, flying 2x4s, flying street posts; things like that. I mean your door really has to be super strong; stronger than ever before. We’re going to give you some tips on how to protect your home’s entryway in just a few minutes.

    LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re going to be giving away a Ryobi One+ random orbital sander. It’s worth 100 bucks and it is a great tool.

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

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: In New York, New York you can find The Money Pit on WABC like Joe does. How can we help?

    DAVID: I have two problems. They’re both cracks. One where the ceiling meets the wall and one where the doorway meets the wall.

    LESLIE: Both are very similar situations and very simply solvable problems, David. NO worries.

    DAVID: They’re big in the winter and small in the summer.

    TOM: It’s because your home is always expanding and contracting and that’s what’s going to happen. Now, what you could try to do is to tape these cracks up using a fiberglass tape. A fiberglass tape is a fairly strong spackle tape that gets saturated with the spackle, really makes a really strong bond.

    LESLIE: And it’s perforated. It looks like netting. So it really does stick well and it accepts the joint compound very well.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s easy to put on, too.

    DAVID: Is there a certain size of that?

    TOM: It’s standard – it’s a standard size. It’s two inches wide.

    DAVID: So just put that in there …

    TOM: Right across the crack and then spackle over that and use numerous coats. You might want to lightly sand the wall to start with just to make sure that there’s nothing that’s going to stop the spackling from sticking.

    DAVID: And that’ll eliminate my winter/summer cracks.

    TOM: That’s right.

    LESLIE: Absolutely.

    TOM: And this – and you’ll never know what season it is anymore.

    LESLIE: And also, David …

    DAVID: (laughing) I know what season it is now every winter. (Tom laughs) It gets bigger and bigger and longer.

    TOM: Must be winter.

    LESLIE: David, you know, in the area where the wall meets the ceiling, if that crack sort of, you know, irritates you and you don’t feel like patching it up that way, you can think about installing a crown moulding regardless of the profile. Because the crown moulding, in addition to being pretty and enhancing the design of a space, it covers up that movement that naturally occurs within the house. So, you know, you kind of lose that element there as well while gaining something really beautiful.

    DAVID: I never thought of that.

    TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Michael in Florida, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?

    MICHAEL: I have a question about mold and air conditioning.

    TOM and LESLIE: OK.

    MICHAEL: I was told that there is mold in the air conditioning or mildew or both; I’m not sure. And I’ve gotten other people to come out and I’ve got all these high-tech solutions from a UV light to ozone treatments and also including some kind of a mildew and mold spray. I don’t know who to believe and what to do.

    TOM: Well first of all, your air conditioning ducts are not made of an organic material so you can’t have mold that grows inside of them unless it happens to be growing on the dust. So really, this is a cleanliness issue. You need to make sure that the ducts are clean.

    And the second thing that you can do is to make sure that you dehumidify as much as possible. If you want high-tech solutions, couple of things we could recommend. Number one – having a UV light is not a bad idea. That’s part of the overall solution. Number two – having a good electronic air cleaner system is a good idea. And number three – having a whole house dehumidifier installed that works in cooperation with your air conditioning unit and keeping the humidity levels down and not …

    LESLIE: Yeah, and that could even bring your air conditioning costs way down because you can keep the thermostat set, I guess, higher in the situation with air conditioning. Because it’s the humidity that causes the discomfort and makes it feel hotter than it actually is.

    MICHAEL: How do I treat the current problem with the mildew or whatever that’s in the coils and the system now?

    TOM: Well, that can simply be cleaned.


    TOM: A professional duct cleaning company can clean the coils, clean the duct system, get you sort of back to square one. And then, with better filtration and humidity control, you won’t have this problem form again.

    MICHAEL: Great. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Talking to Lawrenceville, New Jersey with Barbara. Hey Barbara, did you go to college with Tom? Because he went to college in Lawrenceville.

    TOM: I used to live there.

    BARBARA: No. No, I didn’t. (she and Tom chuckle)

    LESLIE: What can we do for you today, Barbara?

    BARBARA: Well, I have a problem. I live in a condo and I have hardwood floors that I use a Swiffer on every single day. And there is an extremely large amount of dust that comes on the Swiffer. I mean it’s really a lot. I don’t get any dust on my furniture barely.

    TOM: What kind of heating system do you have?

    BARBARA: Just …

    TOM: Forced air?

    BARBARA: Forced air, yes.

    TOM: Alright. And what kind of filtration system do you have in that?

    BARBARA: I don’t know.

    LESLIE: Well that could be the big problem right there. Because by adjusting the type of filters that you actually use through your forced air heating system, you can control the amount of dust that gets the opportunity to get into the air circulation in your home.

    BARBARA: Well, I use just like a three-month filter.

    TOM: Yeah, you probably need something better than that. We would recommend the Aprilaire Model 5000. That’s an electronic air cleaner that was ranked tops by Consumer Reports for the last three years. And …

    BARBARA: So it’s called an Aprilaire?

    TOM: Aprilaire. Aprilaire. That’s right. April-a-i-r-e. Their website is Aprilaire.com. And it’s the Model 5000. It’s an electronic air cleaner and it takes out even virus-sized particles. You just don’t have a good filtration system in there.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And the filter with the Aprilaire 5000 Model is – you change it once a year. It’s something like 72 linear feet of fabric within this media. So it’s a ton of fabric that really makes up the filtration system. And as particles go through it, they become charged and sort of stick within that filter system so they don’t get reintroduced to the air. And you get rid of virus, you get rid of smoke, pet dander, food odor. And as a by-product, it collects so many particulates, you see far less dust. So it might not happen …

    BARBARA: Are these very, very expensive systems?

    LESLIE: They tend to be anywhere between, I would say, 600 and 1,000 depending on where you live in the installation process. But once it’s in, the maintenance is very minimal. You change that filter once a year and I think it’s $70. So it’s worth the investment. Plus for your health and indoor quality it’s great.

    TOM: You’ll see a huge difference in the cleanliness of your home as well, Barbara. Give that a shot. The three-month filter that you have is just not going to be as effective as an electronic air cleaner.

    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 with 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 your 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: It’s 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 tuned in to The Money Pit. So, do you have a lot of projects but you just can’t quite figure out where to start? Well, we can help because now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week whenever the mood strikes you. Just dial 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, most new shingle roofs are designed to last about 20 years. And while some types of slate, tile and metal roofs can last even longer, you might want to think about how old your roof is and how do you know when it needs to be replaced. Up next, we’re going to have the warning signs that tell you exactly that.

    (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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you do, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning a fabulous new tool from Ryobi. It’s the Ryobi One+ random orbit sander. It’s part of the tool system that Ryobi created where 25 different power tools can be interchanged to work off a single battery cell. No more clutter in the workroom. It’s worth 100 bucks. So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And that orbital sander totally kicks butt and really does an amazing job at really smoothly and uniformly sanding surfaces. So, add it to your toolbox arsenal. You’ll be so happy.

    Well, your roof. You probably don’t give it too much thought unless it starts to fail; there’s something wrong with it. But you should think about it because your roof’s got to battle a lot of enemies: ultraviolet rays, rain, wind, snow, ice, don’t forget crazy weather. Well, while today’s roofs can last about 20 years or even more, the actual lifespan of your roof might be shorter. It’s going to depend on a bunch of things like the climate where you live, the quality of the materials that you used, installation – probably most importantly installation – and maintenance. And you’ll want to prevent to your roof from springing a leak or even caving in to your living room. So you want to take a good look at it and here is where to start.

    First, check your ceiling for any discoloration or spotting. That’s going to be a big sign that there’s a leak somewhere. The same thing goes for your walls’ plasterboard. Cracked paint and peeling wallpaper, they can also be huge indicators of a leaky roof as can any spots of mold, mildew, rot that you might see on your walls or your ceilings or even in your insulation and electrical systems. So look everywhere.

    TOM: Outside, here’s what you need to do. First of all, grab a pair of binoculars. You do not have to go on your roof to do this inspection. You want to look for obvious holes and gaps as well as missing shingles or shingles that are warped, blistered or torn. You’ll also want to look at those flashings that’s around the chimney, the skylight, the pipes or other things that sort of stick out of your roof. Look for flashing that is loose and separated. And even if you suspect that your roof might be leaking, you’re probably right.

    Now, when doing repairs or replacing your roof, you want to make sure your roofer uses premium waterproofing materials. One leading brand that we work with a lot here at The Money Pit is Grace. They make a product called Grace Tri-Flex 30 and also Grace Ice & Water Shield. These go under a roof’s covering and definitely keep the water from getting in.

    So, inspect it. If you find a problem use good quality roofing materials so it doesn’t happen again. If you want more information on these materials, you can go to Grace’s website at GraceAtHome.com.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Sheryl in New York listens to The Money Pit on WABC. How can we help you?

    SHERYL: (chuckling) Well, I’m trying to save some money on our heat. I got a quartz – a small heater. It has the quartz heating element and then it has a fan that takes the heated air across a copper heat exchanger so the heater itself doesn’t get too hot. It’s very safe. But one of the things they said was that it didn’t cost very much to run. But my first electric bill after I got it was pretty high.

    TOM: Yeah, electric heaters are just expensive. Period.

    LESLIE: Always.

    TOM: They’re very expensive. It’s – electric resistance heat is the most expensive type of heat.

    SHERYL: That’s what I always thought. But they said because of the quartz element and then the – you know, it’s like a – it’s supposed to be like a small furnace …

    TOM: No, it still does cost a lot of money to run an electric heater. Period.

    LESLIE: It just draws so much power to generate that heat.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, why did you get – why did you get an electric heater? Let’s talk about your room. What’s going on in your room that’s causing this discomfort?

    SHERYL: Well, it’s a basement room.

    TOM: Alright. So it doesn’t have any type of built-in heating system.

    SHERYL: Not a lot. I mean there are some vents to our regular furnace that I could open.

    TOM: Well, that would be a better choice. And not only supply vents but return vents. I would consult your HVAC …

    SHERYL: But they’re near the ceiling so the …

    TOM: I understand that. And that’s not as convenient place to have those ducts be. However, if you were to add some warm air through those ducts and then pull some damp, moist air via a return duct that was properly installed – and you need to make sure you work with an HVAC company to do this because if you put the return duct in the wrong place it could cause venting issues which could actually reverse the draft of a gas furnace and pull carbon monoxide into the room –

    SHERYL: We don’t want that.

    TOM: You need to do it correctly. But if you do it correctly, you will add a substantial amount of heat to that space because you’ll be recirculating warm, dry air; taking out cool, damp air and you’ll find that your comfort will go up. And it also might be possible to add additional vents, add additional supply registers …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To even bring more heat down there.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) … to where I’ve seen them put enough heat in there where you wouldn’t need that quartz heater. The quartz heaters are just a really expensive way to go and there ought to be a better option; especially if you already have a forced air system.

    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 crawl space in the exterior foundation or cinder block. And then the framing of the house is a 2×4 framing so obviously there’s a ledge there on top of the cinder block. The facing of the cinder block has got regular brick there and then whether 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 wall then (ph) comes over the brick ledge and then comes down a little bit.

    TOM: 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, cinder block 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.

    MIKE: … moisture trap.

    TOM: Yeah. 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 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 there, 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 that – a rubber type or …?

    LESLIE: Yeah, like rubber membrane.

    TOM: 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] (ph) better luck. It’s much more forgiving than using a metal flashing.

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

    TOM: And adhere (ph) it. Correct.

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

    TOM: Right.

    MIKE: And what’s happening is 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 its 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 2×6 exterior framing rather than …

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

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

    LESLIE: Thanks for listening to The Money Pit.

    Up next, keep that wind from howling at your door or at least from blowing down your door. We’re going to tell you about entry systems that protect your home from the elements so stick around.

    (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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. And you know why you want to use that number. If you call 888-MONEY-PIT not only do you get an answer to your home improvement dilemma but you also get a chance to win a Ryobi One+ random orbit sander. It’s part of their 18-volt tool system that comes with a battery and a charger that can be used with any of Ryobi’s more than 25 One+ tools. So it really cuts down on that clutter on your work space. So, interesting prize. Really nice, excellent addition to your workroom. If you want to start your power tool arsenal off right, call right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Let’s talk now about a new appliance for your kitchen; specifically, a dishwasher. If you’re thinking about buying one, here are some ideas to keep in mind when you’re shopping.

    First, look for button controls as opposed to a large knob. The knobs are hard to handle for people with small hands. They can also be impossible for those that have arthritis or any of the type of carpal tunnel issue. They’re just hard to use. Also, make sure you can slide the racks in and out without any trouble. You need to be able to pull each rack all the way out even when it’s full.

    LESLIE: And you also want to consider have your kids all grown up ad moved out of the house? You know, maybe think about buying a smaller dishwasher. They may …

    TOM: Hey, what about those dishwashers that are sort of split in half, where you have like two drawers?

    LESLIE: Those are great.

    TOM: I love those.

    LESLIE: Where you get two options to sort of really load it up or just sort of only use one. It really does make a lot of sense. And not only does a smaller dishwasher just save space, it uses less water and less power. And you can also put them practically wherever you want to. Some of these dishwashers even fit into what looks like a regular kitchen drawer and then you can load these dish drawers by sliding them out of the cabinet. So it’s really effective. You’re not bending over a lot of stuff. You’re not reaching down for heavy things. If you want some more great tips like these about dishwashers and just about anything else around the house, you can visit AARP.org/HomeDesign. That website, again, is AARP.org/HomeDesign.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us now with your home improvement question. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Listening on WABC, we’ve got Joseph in New York. What’s happening at your house?

    JOSEPH: Well, I have a question about the eaves of a house where the ceiling rafters extend beyond the house to form the eaves.

    TOM: The soffits, yes.

    JOSEPH: The soffits, yeah. The part that covers that underneath is ventilated, you know, to let…

    TOM: Good.

    JOSEPH: … to let air up into the roof. Now, problem I have – I was up in my attic. They had blown in insulation and it seems as though between the rafters there’s no stop or spreader.

    TOM: That’s a problem.

    JOSEPH: That’s a problem, isn’t it?

    TOM: Yes. Yeah, because you can’t get air in the soffits. It’s going to come up into the rafter space and take the moisture out that’s going to collect against the roof sheathing or the heat.

    JOSEPH: Uh-huh.

    TOM: You need something called an insulation baffle. And that basically is designed to keep blown-in insulation – and sometimes even bat insulation – from pressing up too hard to the underside of the roof sheathing.

    JOSEPH: Well, they do have that styrofoam …

    TOM: OK, that’s the baffle.

    JOSEPH: But the blown-in insulation can extend out over the eaves inside, I believe.

    TOM: Well, that’s not right. Insulation should not be going over the eaves and that baffle has got to create the airway from the soffit up to the underside of the roof sheathing.

    JOSEPH: Yeah, that I understand. OK.

    TOM: If that’s not the case, you’re going to have to redistribute that insulation. You know, if a little bit spilled over …

    JOSEPH: (overlapping voices) Yeah and see about getting spreaders installed.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. And get it cleaned up. OK?

    JOSEPH: Alright. I was afraid of that.

    TOM: (chuckling) I know. But sometimes it – sometimes it helps when we tell you you have to do it, right? (laughing)


    LESLIE: It’s that extra motivation.

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

    LESLIE: James in Indiana, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?

    JAMES: My son is building a new house next spring and I was just wondering if there wasn’t some kind of a price that you could give me on what this house should cost? It’s about 1,900-square-feet with a full basement …

    TOM: Well, I mean it depends a whole lot on what you’re putting in there. If you’re trying to estimate cost in a particular area, the way to go about this, James, is to, first of all, have an architect that works with your son to spec out what this home is going to consist of. And that would be the very first step. The architect could give you some direction on what area you’re in; whether you’re talking about $100 a foot, $200 a foot or $300 a foot; give you some direction through the plan to construct a home that’s going to be able to be built to a certain budget. Once the architect is done with the plans and they have a good – it would include a good set of specifications, then …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And within those specifications you’re going to see the listings of what type of paint, what type of lumber, which cabinets, which flooring; which then sort of gives you a menu of pricing. And the benefit of working with an architect …

    JAMES: Yeah, it’s going to be stick built. It’s not a prefab or anything like this.

    LESLIE: Well, even though it’s stick built, when you’re working with an architect, they itemize and specify everything. So now you have an understanding of what’s being used to build and finish and decorate the home, you know, aesthetically.

    TOM: That’s very critical; very, very critical. And that would be the way to do it.

    LESLIE: And then what happens is you have this set of plans and specifications that you then approach contractors – whether they work with that architect or they’re independent of that architect and you should seek out as many as you can and get them to provide an estimate on those exact specifications. This way everybody’s bidding on the same exact project so you know what the price range is. You know? And then based on what those finishing touches and the materials are, that architect should really be able to give you, you know, a generality per square.

    JAMES: Alright, sounds good.

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

    Up next, can wet insulation spell trouble for you? You know, the kind that’s spelled m-o-l-d; mold? We’ll tell you all about it, 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: Making good homes better. 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. The website, MoneyPit.com, home of the free Money Pit podcast. You can download it right there or subscribe with iTunes.

    Leslie, let’s get right to the e-mail bag.

    LESLIE: Okey-dokes. We’ve got one here from Tracy in Georgetown, Kentucky. ‘Our water pipes busted while we were away and then flooded our home.’ Ooh, what a mess to come home to. ‘The insulation in the walls is now water soaked. I’m concerned about possible mold/mildew issues. Do I need to replace the insulation or can I just let the insulation dry out? After it dries out, is it still going to work properly?’

    TOM: Hmm. Well, insulation can dry out but I would recommend that you remove it and replace it whenever possible. It really is not – it’s so inexpensive it’s simply not worth keeping it.

    LESLIE: Yeah but how much of a problem is it to get to it? You have to remove your wallboard. It could be a huge expense and not to mention a large amount of work.

    TOM: Well, you absolutely should be removing the wallboard. That goes without saying. If your house is flooded that much, you can have a lot of moisture behind that and that moisture is going to wick up into the wallboard. So what generally you do is you cut out the wallboard from just above the water line; you pull out the wallboard; you pull out the insulation; let everything dry out …

    LESLIE: And that’s good because you can kind of sneak those bats back up in there from the bottom.

    TOM: Well, you know, you could. If you’re putting new stuff in you could slip it up inside of it; if it’s not stapled off to the outside of the stud bay, that is.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: But you definitely should be cutting [it out] (ph) because the thing is that wallboard is mold food.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And if it gets damp, it’s going to grow mold.

    LESLIE: And it’s like a sponge. It just sucks everything right up.

    TOM: Yeah, it really sucks it up. It’s just not worth saving. So, hopefully that you have flood insurance and that’s something that is covered. But I definitely would recommend removing and replacing the damaged sections of wallboard and the insulation behind it.

    LESLIE: And next time, Tracy, turn off that water main before you leave. My goodness. You never know. What a mess to come home to.

    Alright. Another one. Got one from Jim in New Bern, North Carolina. ‘I have a Corian counter with the sink molded right into it. The sink’s got some scratches from knives while washing them. Is there a method to remove these scratches? I cannot replace the sink or the countertop. The scratches aren’t too deep but food stains get into them and they become noticeable.’

    TOM: Well, I think you can remove scratches from Corian. And what you need to do is sort of abrade those out. I would recommend starting with like a 400-grit sandpaper – very, very, very fine; maybe even 600-grit – and try to abrade those scratches out. Use circular motions. Go very slow, very easy and see how they pull out. Now, if they’re super deep you may not want to do this because you’re only going to thin the wall out. But if they’re not too deep you can probably abrade them with 400-grit sandpaper and then you want to make it a little bit higher and a little bit higher grit so it really becomes sort of polished when you’re done. And then finish up with a good quality abrasive cleanser like a Bon Ami or something of that nature. You should be able to pull most of those scratches up. That’s one of the benefits of solid surfacing.

    TOM: You have a lot of surface.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because the finish material is totally built through the entire piece itself.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Now, if it was a laminate, you’d kind of be out of luck because you really can’t – I mean there are polishes but it does definitely show through.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the color changes a lot as you sort of start to change and sand the laminate.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a good opportunity for you to be able to sand it out and have it look just as good as new.

    It’s a great hour. It’s a great idea. It’s The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, well you’ve just heard answers to your e-mail questions so don’t be left out. Send your questions in, too. We really do read them and we answer many of them – as many as we can – personally. Just hit MoneyPit.com and go to Ask Tom and Leslie. You’re also going to find a year’s worth of shows there for the taking. And you can even search by topic. Plus, expert advice in our Mold Resource Guide. It’s available totally free just like all of our advice. And we’re even going to tell you how to calculate the amount of paint you need for any room in your house. It’s all there for you to use at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to tell you why stormproofing your home is not just for those who live on the coast or in Tornado Alley. Find out why everyone can benefit from some really good weatherproofing. That’s next week on The Money Pit.

    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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