Home Improvement Tips & Advice
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.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
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: Well, Leslie, it is that time of the year. It’s like a real life B movie – The Swarm Season.
LESLIE: Aaahhh! (laughing) Yeah. Except in …
TOM: The bugs are everywhere.
LESLIE: Yeah. Except in Hollywood’s version, if it was true to life, it wouldn’t actually be very scary nor would it make much of a movie. Because when you hear swarm, you think like thousands – buzzzzz- everywhere. But you don’t actually see thousands of termites flying around. You might not even spot the wings that they shed when they go underground. In fact, termites are the sneakiest pests and they can eat you out of house and home before you’ve even realized that they’ve dropped in for dinner.
TOM: Yeah, listen to these numbers. This year, termites will do one-and-a-half billion dollars in damage to homes across the U.S. That’s billion with a ‘b.’ More damage than we typically suffer from fire, storms and earthquakes combined. But at least you can get some insurance coverage for those. When you ask for termite insurance (laughing)), the agent goes, ‘Ha ha ha ha! Surely, you jest.’
LESLIE: Aw. And you can add my home to the list of those people suffering billions of dollars. In fact, I’ve been doing some research this week about what sort of method of treatment I should go with. I’ve been sort of interviewing every treatment company out there to find the best thing.
So, later this hour, we’re going to tell you how to keep your home sweet home off the menu for the termites’ dinner. Okay, folks? So stay with us.
TOM: Also coming up this hour, one caller we choose will win a great prize. It’s a set of three bionic wrenches from Loggerhead Tools. They blend the best of a wrench and a pair of pliers and they’re worth about 100 bucks. So call us now to get in on the prize.
Leslie, who’s got the first question?
LESLIE: Roger’s calling from West Virginia and he wants to talk windows. How can we help?
ROGER: Hello. I had a question about getting into replacement windows that has to do with triple-pane versus double-pane. Some of the technology is a little overwhelming and I … I’d like to be able to understand that more clearly, as to which way to go. Or is it necessary?
TOM: That’s a good question, Roger, and the answer is no. Because double-panes and triple-panes are fairly similar. Now, if you get up to a real brutal climate – like you’re up in the high hills of the north part of the country, where you’re dealing with just brutal winters – you might get a better return on investment. But in your part of the country, in West Virginia, and in most of the center of the country, I would say no. It’s not going to be a big difference between double-pane and triple-pane. What is more important is that the window is Energy Star-rated. And It’s never been a better time to replace your windows with those that are Energy Star rated because there is a federal tax credit that you may be eligible for which goes from now until January of 2008, where you can actually get an income tax credit for …
LESLIE: Of up to $500.
TOM: Yeah, for putting in new windows that are Energy Star-rated windows.
ROGER: Oh, that’s good to know.
TOM: Yeah. So it’s a good time to do it.
ROGER: Now I was also on the internet, trying to understand some of this technology that’s new that’s come out. I guess, some of the gases that they put in between the panes.
ROGER: And I guess there were two main kinds. One is a fairly new.
TOM: Argon and krypton.
ROGER: Yes, yes. And out of those two, I didn’t know … you know, you get salesman hype and you don’t know what to believe. But also, it was saying that it’s not so much how many panes you’ve got but the distance between the panes.
TOM: Listen, Roger, you know there’s a lot of science between designing a window that’s energy efficient. And I commend you for trying to understand the science. But the government’s done the job for you. If the window is Energy Star-rated, you know it’s meeting the model energy code. And that … and if you go that route, you don’t have to worry about what the difference is between argon and krypton and the space between the glass and whether it’s got swiggle or whether it’s got …
LESLIE: I love that word. You know I love that word. (laughing) Swiggle. It’s my favorite. I’ve been waiting for you to say it. My swiggle.
TOM: She just loves to hear me say it. Swiggle, swiggle, swiggle. (laughing) But really, Roger, you don’t have to do that work. If you get an Energy Star-rated window, it’s going to meet all those standards for the model energy code. And don’t try to … you know, this way, you get out from under what one salesman says versus the other. Just say, ‘Hey, is it Energy Star-rated? What Energy Star rating does it have?’ and go from there.
ROGER: Do you have a brand that you would lean toward?
TOM: Well, sure, I mean we like Pella Windows. We like Andersen Windows. We like those good … you know, good quality name brand windows.
LESLIE: And it’s not just the window manufacturer. You have to make sure that they’re set nicely in a good frame. Stay away from aluminum framed windows because they’re just going to cause condensation and it’s not going to be really good because they’re going to hold a lot of the temperature, whether it’s cool or hot. Make sure you go for a nice vinyl or wood framed window. Triple-pane glass not necessary; go for the double-pane. And Energy Star-rated. That’s all you need to know and you’ll be really happy.
ROGER: That’s great.
LESLIE: And let them measure for you.
ROGER: (laughing) That’s great. That folds it down into … put the jelly on the bottom shelf where I can get it.
TOM: There you go.
LESLIE: (laughing) (inaudible)
TOM: Roger, thanks so much for calling 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alicia in Tennessee has got a shower question. What can we do for you?
ALICIA: Hi. We have a shower and actually there are two problems. The first problem …
LESLIE: Wait. Can you say shower again?
LESLIE: Can you just say shower again? It was really fun.
LESLIE: Yay, yay! (laughing) You just have to …
ALICIA: Are you making fun of my accent?
LESLIE: I’m not making fun; I love it.
ALICIA: (laughing) Now I’m self-conscious.
LESLIE: (laughing) No, don’t be. We love you.
ALICIA: Okay, okay. Well the flow of the shower is interrupted whenever water elsewhere in the house is turned on.
ALICIA: And there’s just a small stream of water that comes out of the shower even on a good day.
ALICIA: But, one thing that we have done, we have soaked the shower head and removed it before and we can’t find any kind of clog or anything that (inaudible) problem.
TOM: How old is the shower head, the valves? Have they been replaced any time in recent past?
ALICIA: You mean the actual head of the shower?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, the actual shower itself. Yeah. Did …
ALICIA: No. And any … this problem started … we had our house replumbed and …
TOM: Okay, see, this is what I’m getting at.
TOM: What I think has happened here is I think you have a water saving shower head. And built into the shower head there’s a water reducer. And that’s probably why you’re not getting … you’re not getting the delivery that you need to get. Here’s a … here’s a test. When you take that shower head off and throw on the shower, so just the pipe is kind of sticking out of the wall …
TOM: … does the water come out full blast when you do that?
TOM: It doesn’t?
TOM: Alright. Well then the problem is not with the shower head. Alright, rewind. (laughing) Let’s come up … let’s come up with another thing. I think then, probably, the next step might be the diverter valve.
ALICIA: Okay, okay.
TOM: How old is your house?
ALICIA: Thirty years old.
TOM: So it was built in the 70s?
ALICIA: ’76. Uh-huh.
TOM: ’76? Okay. So you probably have copper plumbing. And you’re on city water or you’re on well?
ALICIA: Well, no, we had it replumbed. We don’t have copper plumbing anymore.
TOM: What do you have?
ALICIA: (audio gap) Well, just regular plumbing. But we do have a well.
ALICIA: We do live in the country, so we have a well.
TOM: Mm-hmm. And is the pressure problem only with the shower or is it really with the whole house?
ALICIA: It’s only with the shower.
TOM: Hmm. Well, there’s got to be a restriction somewhere and it’s probably – if it’s just the showerhead, it’s probably in the diverter. So you might need just to replace the faucets in the … in the tub shower area and that might solve it.
TOM: If it’s only limited to that one area …
TOM: … it’s got to be in the valves that are controlling that area.
TOM: Alright, Alicia? That doesn’t have to be an expensive job. It should be just a … you know, one trip for a plumber should be able to knock that out.
ALICIA: Okay. Well, that’s great news.
TOM: Alright, Alicia? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Okay, Money Pit listeners. Who is really doing the lion’s share of home improvement projects? The lion or the lioness?
LESLIE: Hmm. Coming up, what women are doing in DIY.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Interior Sateen Kitchen and Bath Enamel with advanced NanoGuard technology to help consumers protect these areas, keeping them looking new longer. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: So, you’ve heard of the dreaded honey-do list.
TOM: Yeah, like ‘honey do this, honey do that.’
LESLIE: (laughing) Yeah.
TOM: Not honeydew melon, that’s for sure.
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly. But that’s only a stereotype. According to DIY research folks, one in three women takes on improvement projects around the house on her own. Okay? On her own. And these aren’t just the redecorating or gardening projects that you might expect.
TOM: That’s right. Girls do guy things more and more. In fact, women are actually asking us about wiring ceiling fans or repairing concrete patios or stopping basement leaks.
LESLIE: And you can find out how to do-it-herself advice for almost any project at www.MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And do-it-himself, too.
LESLIE: Just people. Do-it-people self.
TOM: Do-it-people advice. (laughing)
LESLIE: Exactly. All people doing all types of projects.
TOM: Okay. Well, no matter who wears the tool belt at your money pit, he or she will want to win a great prize we’re giving away this hour to one caller. It’s a set of three bionic wrenches from Loggerhead tools.
LESLIE: These bionic wrenches are really cool because they combine the way a wrench works and the way a pliers work. They grip bolts and screws all the way around and squeeze tight so you’ve got really good leverage when you’re working on your projects. And the set of three is worth about 100 bucks and will fit 38 different fastener sizes so it’s sure to do just about every job around the house.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Russ in Rhode Island listens to The Money Pit on WPRO. What can we do for you?
RUSS: Yes. The thing is I’ve got a medicine cabinet that I’d like to change. And the house was built in ’64. The medicine cabinet is recessed in the wall. It’s about 40 inches by 36 inches high. And there’s tile all the way around. What’s my best bet to do with this?
TOM: A chainsaw. (laughing)
RUSS: Sounds great.
TOM: Well, you want to get this medicine cabinet out? That’s the whole idea?
RUSS: I’d like to change it, yeah. It’s getting …
TOM: Like to change it?
RUSS: It’s chrome plated …
RUSS: … and the chrome plating is rusted a little bit.
TOM: I know what you mean. You know, it may not be that hard to take it out. Usually, they’re set inside the stud cavities.
RUSS: Right. Yes.
TOM: And if you take all the shelves out, you usually see maybe two or four screws going through the metal …
LESLIE: On the side.
TOM: Yeah, on the metal body. Once you pull those out, you could probably wiggle it back and forth and pull it right out.
LESLIE: You could probably have the whole thing replated; have it dipped. The only thing is, they would have to remove the glass. And if it’s in good condition, they would absolutely be able to do it. And I’m not sure how much the cost of dipping … of course, it depends on what type of finish it is you’re looking for. But there are a lot of people who do it all over the United States and do a wonderful job with it.
RUSS: Okay. Alright. Now the next question is tub cast iron.
RUSS: And it’s got a porcelain finish. It’s yellow. I’d like to have it recoated.
RUSS: What’s the best bet? I mean the thing is, there are specialists that do this?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely there are specialists that do it. It’s actually average cost between around $350 and $600, which is just about half … you know, more than half of what a new cast iron tub would cost; anywhere between $1,200 and $5,000 for a new tub. So it makes a lot of sense. Do some research. You’ll probably find somebody who’s able to refinish your tub and actually, you might even be able to find the same person who does plating as well. Because it seems to be a related industry.
RUSS: Alright, thank you very much. You’ve answered my questions.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cathy from Ohio has an interesting question for us. It’s about Lustron homes. Cathy, tell us about your house.
CATHY: It’s very unique. It’s a porcelain enamel steel structure. They were manufactured in Columbus, Ohio from 1948 to 1950.
TOM: Oh, these were the metal homes that were made for the returning GIs.
CATHY: Yes. That’s right.
TOM: From World War II.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s actually interesting. The architect and the engineer, the designer of it all, was this guy Carl Strandlund. And he actually started off wanting to manufacture metals for a different purpose; for construction. And the government wouldn’t allow him to do it. They said, ‘You know, there’s a housing shortage and that’s what we’re focusing on.’ So he figured out a way to manufacture homes out of metal and he had such a great idea that he was really almost ahead of his time.
TOM: And it’s interesting that here we are, like 50, 60 years later and these homes are still standing up. Cathy, what kind of shape is your Lustron home in?
CATHY: It’s actually in excellent condition. There is a user group on Yahoo for people that own Lustron homes or are interested in them. And there’s a lot of people that have posted pictures of theirs and some people talk about poor manufacturing with the union that were putting the houses together. So some people have problems with their foundation shrinking or cracking and the house …
TOM: Yeah, but I’ve got news for you. There’s a lot of problems with foundations in stick built homes that were built in the 40s, too.
TOM: So, that might not be so unusual. Now what project are you tackling, right now, with the house, Cathy, that we can help you with?
CATHY: Actually, there’s quite a few but …
TOM: (laughing) Okay, well pick one because it’s only an hour program.
CATHY: (laughing) My big thing is with the house … it’s all porcelain enameled steel; inside, outside, the roof, the studs, everything. And my whole inside of my house is gray.
LESLIE: Oh, well, you’re … you know, you’re lucky because your choices for interiors when you purchased a Lustron home were beige or gray. Now your exterior choices were pink, tan, yellow, aqua, blue, green or gray. What color is your outside?
TOM: That sounds like the washing machine that I had growing up. (laughing)
LESLIE: My house is avocado green.
CATHY: Actually, the outside of my house is currently tan with dark brown trim. But I was told by Alex James – the person who wrote a book on the Lustron homes – that the original color of my house was gray.
LESLIE: Hmm. You could’ve ended up with one of those canary yellow ones.
TOM: So what can we help you with, today, Cathy? You trying to change the color of the interior?
CATHY: Yeah, I’d like to but I don’t know how to do that.
LESLIE: Well, I don’t think it’s terribly difficult. I know a lot of people compare it with an automotive paint and you really sort of have to bake on the enamel. But I think if you do the proper prep work, you should be able to get a really nice paint job.
And what you want to do is make sure you clean all of the surfaces that you’re going to paint very, very well. Use a 50/50 solution of water and ammonia; especially in the kitchen and the bathroom. In the kitchen, where you might have a grease buildup; in the bathroom, where you might have a soapy residue buildup. Use the ammonia and water and that should bring everything down to a really nice surface. Let everything dry very, very thoroughly. And then, you want to make sure that you prime everything very, very well. And I think a Zinsser primer – it’s called 1-2-3 Bulls Eye Primer. And that should do the trick because that will adhere to just about anything.
And if you get the primer on, then you can go ahead, once that dries thoroughly, and use a really good sort of oil-based high quality paint. Make sure you get a high quality paint because it really does matter if you spend the money on the paint; especially if you’re dealing with something like this.
And remember that even if you were to paint any sort of surface, you need to be delicate with it. Don’t go and use an abrasive cleaner on it. Make sure you use Soft Scrub; that tends to work best since especially everything in your house has this coating on it. So make sure you do a lot of good cleaning prep work, prime and then use a good quality oil-base paint as a top coat.
CATHY: Does it have to be oil base?
LESLIE: Well …
TOM: Well, it works much better if it does. I know it’s more work but it’s going to …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Plus, it’ll be much more durable.
LESLIE: It’ll just be more hearty; especially since it’s all of your surfaces.
TOM: Okay, Cathy?
CATHY: Alrighty. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Good luck and enjoy that house.
LESLIE: You know, when I was doing research, I found out that the houses had something called The Thor …
TOM: The Thor.
LESLIE: … which was the washing machine. And it was built into the kitchen and the interesting thing is by flipping a couple of things and changing a basket, it became a dishwasher.
TOM: Oh, interesting.
LESLIE: It’s like, how cool. They really sort of wanted to conserve space and utilize every amount of space within the houses. And when you look at the pictures, I mean the colors are wild and the houses look sort of sterile but cool and modern. Definitely a forward thinker. Poor guy, Carl, when bankrupt in 1950 and they only ended up making about 2,800 houses in 18 months. But they’re all still standing.
TOM: Yeah, and they’ve got a whole user group on Yahoo associated with it. Well, that was a very interesting question. Cathy calling in from Ohio.
LESLIE: So, it’s spring cleaning time and many of your perennial projects are indoor tasks, like clearing out cluttered attics or basements and closets.
TOM: Yeah, but possibly the most important item on your to-do list is outdoors, where you can help keep destructive pests from getting indoors. Listen for home saving tips from a pest expert, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Pella Windows and Doors. The Pella Windows Your Way Sale is going on now. Visit us at www.pella.com. Or call 1-800-TBD-PELLA today for a free consultation. Pella. Viewed to be the best.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us now with your home improvement question.
Now here’s an unplanned home improvement that, perhaps, you have to deal with or have dealt with in the past. You know, it’s termite swarm season. And while that makes it sound like you’ll see thousands of these destructive little pests flying around, that is simply not the case. Because termites are incredibly sneaky. They live underground and they can literally eat you out of house and home before you know it and before you even have a chance to deal with the problem.
LESLIE: Well, as long as you’re spring cleaning – because I know most of you are doing that anyway – make sure you include the outside of your house and you’ll help keep these termites and other pests from invading your home.
So, joining us to talk about that is Greg Baumann, Director of Technical Services for the National Pest Management Association. Welcome, Greg. How are you doing?
GREG: Fantastic, thank you.
LESLIE: So Greg, just short of falling through your wall or down your staircase, how do you know you have termites?
GREG: Well, you know, homeowners can play such an important role by just being vigilant. Just keeping an eye out looking for anything that’s out of the ordinary. And I think if you research termites, you’ll find that most people talk about termite tubes. That certainly is a possibility. They’re straw (ph) shaped tubes of mud coming up the side of a house. But many times, the first time they’re going to find termites will be when there’s a swarm. And a swarm is when a healthy colony is ready to send out reproductives to spread the species through to other structures.
TOM: Now, the reproductives are the insects that are basically going out and looking for places to take root in other areas of your neighborhood, so to speak. And when those bugs are out flying around, are they actually eating? Are those the type of insects that eat or is it what comes after that that causes the damage?
GREG: No, the termite swarmers do not eat. What they’re going to do is mate, they’re going to find a new site, start laying eggs and eventually these newborns will turn into workers and they will do the feeding.
TOM: So what you’re saying, Greg, is spring is in the air and that means it’s romance season for termites. (laughing)
GREG: That’s exactly right. (laughing)
LESLIE: It makes all sorts of people fall in love. (laughing) Even termites.
TOM: Well, termites can fall in love with your house. Now you say that homeowners need to be ever-vigilant in keeping their eyes open for signs of swarms. I always think it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your home once a year because I know from my experience of being a home inspector for 20 years, that the signs that a termite colony has infested your home are not always that very obvious. And if you’re not a pro, you may not know exactly what you’re looking for.
GREG: Oh, you’re absolutely right. We always recommend a professional to come out. And that’s one of the great things … the homeowner is there all the time and the homeowner can see things that just might not look right. At that point, it’s a good time to contact a professional. Or if you just … if the … if the homeowner would just like piece of mind, it’s always good to get a termite inspection once a year, for sure.
LESLIE: So what type of treatments are available should you notice something or you actually have someone come in and find out that you do have termites?
GREG: Well, I think the most important thing is that if you do suspect termites or if you … if it is confirmed by a professional that you do have termites, then you can just take a deep breath and make a rational decision. It’s not something that has to be done before sunset, say. And so, that is good news.
LESLIE: So the house is not going to fall down around you?
GREG: Not overnight. (laughing) We certainly hope not, any how. But it is something that you want to act on as soon as possible. But you can take some time and just … and look at the choices. And there are three main types for subterranean termites, which are the most common types of termites; termites that live underground. There’ll be liquid; and that’s a traditional liquid treatment around the outside but the products have changed so much that the technology is absolutely excellent today and it’s extremely effective. And then, the second type would be a baiting system, where stations are placed exterior around the house and the termites feed on these baits and then they’re also going to feed on the toxicant that is going to control the colony. And then the third type is a … is a localized treatment and if there’s a small area, say, that would have termites – and you can even use it on the entire house as a preventative – and that would be a liquid treatment that goes right on the wood itself. And that would be required to have exposed beams in the basement, say, and that type of construction access.
But all three methods work extremely well. And, many times, the homeowner will be able to make that decision.
TOM: Now, Greg, you say the homeowners don’t have to panic. If you were to advise a homeowner on what the key questions are to ask a pest control professional that is being invited into their home upon the discovery of a termite problem, what are the most important questions to ask?
GREG: Well, if you’re trying to decide on a treatment regimen, find out which type of treatment the company uses and get them to explain why they prefer that type. They might even offer all three types. They can talk to you about the advantages and disadvantages of each. And while you’re checking the company, you certainly want to make sure that they’re licensed by the state, that they have proper insurance. And they can provide that proof; all good companies are going to be able to do that. And you also might want to check the membership with a state or national association, which means that they’ve decided to invest a certain amount of their resources in additional training.
TOM: We’re talking to Greg Baumann. He’s the Director of Technical Services for the National Pest Management Association.
LESLIE: Greg, one more thing before we let you go. Once you’ve sort of tackled this termite problem and you’ve treated, what can you do to prevent reoccurrences or what can you do around your house to just stop them from coming? Make it less appealing?
GREG: That’s a really excellent point because there’s some great advice that we can give the homeowners to reduce the chances of reinfestation. First of all, any wood contact in the soil should be removed. If you … if you can’t remove it, cut it off. The second thing is you want to make sure that a professional comes out and does take a look at the house once a year after that treatment because you know that there are termites nearby, for sure. And third and probably very important, as well, would be remove any standing water right near the structure itself; the siding and … siding might be under mulch and it’s going to hold water that way. You want to free everything up, get the wood as dry as possible and away from the soil.
TOM: Greg Baumann, the Director of Technical Services for the National Pest Management Association. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Well, if you have a home project that requires heavy-duty stripping and abrasion, sandblasting might be the best option.
LESLIE: Yeah, but is that a do-it-yourself project? Well, we’ll strip away the answer, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So, sandblasting is an effective way to remove years of paint buildup from surfaces. But this job can be dangerous and you really need the skills of a pro with the proper equipment and expertise to get the job done. If you use a pro for your sandblasting job, it will ensure a very smooth outcome and make sure your house is ready for the perfect new paint job. Because you know, people, it’s all in the prep.
TOM: If you prep properly, you’ll have a great paint job that’ll last you for many, many years.
LESLIE: And then you can throw a couple of pairs of jeans at the pro and say, ‘Hey, make my cool blue jeans; all sandblasted and fun.’ So you really …
TOM: At no additional charge.
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly. Just throw those in there. (laughing) Alright, folks. Well, coming up in our next e-newsletter, the biggest mistake homeowners make when painting the exterior of their home. And we’ll tell you how to get out of that rut of blah and boring colors, folks. Pick some fun colors. Also, three tips to make sure your spring paint job is picture perfect. That’s in our next e-newsletter. Subscribe now at MoneyPit.com. And best of all, folks, it’s free.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. We’re giving away a set of three bionic wrenches from Loggerhead tools.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Jim in Nevada listens to The Money Pit on KBZZ. And you’ve got squeaky floors. Tell us about it.
JIM: Well, our house was built in 1939 and we … mostly in the high traffic areas, we have a lot of squeaking. But I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I’m not sure if it’s coming from the subfloor, which is – I think they’re like 1×6 planks, like – and between that and the joist. Or if it’s coming from between the subfloor and the hardwood floor itself.
LESLIE: Well, have you been walking around sort of trying to zone in on where the squeaks are coming from, stepping carefully?
JIM: Yeah, we’ve been walking around and, like I say, mostly in the high traffic areas. And going … we have like a half basement. And I’ve been walking down there to see if there’s any gaps between the subfloor and the joist and I’m not seeing a lot there. Nothing.
TOM: Well, regardless of whether or not it’s between the subfloor and the joist …
LESLIE: It’s happening.
TOM: … or the subfloor and the hardwood floor, in either case it’s being caused by movement in the floor. And if you can arrest that movement, you should be quieting those joists. Now there’s two ways to do this. The easiest way is if you can locate the floor joist and you can do that with a stud finder so you’ll know exactly where … you know, you know which direction they’re going but you can figure out exactly where it is. Then what you want to do is pilot hole a very small hole in that wood – in that hardwood – so that you can drive a finish nail in there. The best kinds of finish nails are like #10 or #12 hot-dipped galvanized nails because they have sort of a very rough surface and they tend to hold really well. And you put them in at a slight angle and then you drive the head right through the surface of the hardwood floor so all you have, now, is this little dot that has to be filled in. And you can fill them in with one of those wax pencils that Minwax makes or something like that.
TOM: And you’ll have to do that in a couple of places. Now, the second way to do this is to drill and screw it down. But then, of course, you’re going to have to use a plug in that floor …
TOM: … and that’s going to require a little bit of refinishing. But the idea here is to secure the floor. So I would take the noisiest, loosest areas and work on that kind of one nail at a time. And if you do it right, you won’t see the nails once they’re installed and it will quiet down that floor quite nicely.
JIM: Will I have to put a lot of weight on that or will the nail suck it up itself?
TOM: You mean will it pull it down itself?
TOM: I think the nail will … the nail will pull it down pretty nicely.
JIM: Okay. Alright. So I’m not going to have to put a lot of weight on that?
TOM: No, I don’t think so.
JIM: Okay. Alright, well …
TOM: Alright, Jim.
JIM: I really appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
LESLIE: Heather’s up next and she’s got a tiling question. How can we help?
HEATHER: I put a pedestal sink where a vanity used to be. And on the … on the wall where the tile – the ceramic tile – is, there’s a few holes with – I think you call them mollies – in them. And I’m not sure how to …
LESLIE: Oh, like an anchor.
HEATHER: … how to get rid of those (chuckling) or what to do.
LESLIE: Well, I don’t know if you’re going to be able to repair that tile to it’s former glory. Do you have any of the tile that was used in the bathroom left over?
HEATHER: No. It’s … it’s old. But it’s in really good shape except for those holes where the vanity was.
LESLIE: Because, generally, what I would say is pop that tile out and replace it with one. If you can sort of systematically remove a couple of tiles here and there and introduce, say, a patterned tile … you know, something.
HEATHER: Well, yes, that’s a good idea.
LESLIE: Because there’s really no way to fill those holes properly.
HEATHER: Oh, okay. So I guess tiles are kind of standard sizes, though, right?
TOM: Generally. Is … what kind of tile is this? Is it for a bath?
HEATHER: Yeah, it’s ceramic tile in the bathroom on the walls.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Probably … probably … yeah, probably 4×4.
HEATHER: Yeah, yeah. And that’s … I can just get that anywhere, then?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. You can even, if you like something more of a like a 1×1 mosaic tile look, they come on 12×12 sheets on like a mesh backing.
LESLIE: You could even cut them up into 4×4. You can get four 4x4s (chuckling) … yeah.
HEATHER: Oh, yeah.
LESLIE: You could get a bunch out of it. I’m like my math is off tonight. (laughing) But you can get a bunch out of it – let’s just call it a bunch – and use those systematically as sort of a design element and that gives you some color and it gives you an opportunity to really experiment with your design.
HEATHER: Oh that’s … I like that idea. That’s a good idea. I think that’s what I’ll do.
TOM: Okay, Heather. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, how long is your roof supposed to last. That’s a question many of us ask ourselves. And when’s it time to replace it? Well, the answer is longer than you think if it’s installed properly using the right materials. Up next, we’re going to help an e-mailer who’s having a problem with a roof over his head, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where you can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or you can email us by logging onto MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. And James from Middletown, Rhode Island did just that.
LESLIE: Alright, James listens to The Money Pit on News Talk 630, WPRO, and he writes: ‘I have a five-year-old house and my roof shingles have been blown off with this New England weather. My builder told me that they were installed correctly and took a sample of the shingle to send back to the manufacturer to see if the product was defective. I told my builder that if the product was not defective, then the installation of the shingle was wrong because it’s not normal for a five-year-old house to be losing shingles if they were installed properly. In your opinion, is improper installation or defective material the major cause for a new house to lose its shingles?’
LESLIE: That’s a very thorough question.
TOM: It is a very thorough question. Interesting that the builder and the manufacturer are pointing the finger at each other. (laughing) But where does that leave …
LESLIE: Isn’t that always the case?
TOM: … poor James from Middletown, Rhode Island? James, it’s kind of hard to screw up putting roofing shingles down. My thought is if they were nailed properly, then the builder’s pretty much off the hook. And the nailing pattern is printed clearly on every package of shingles and it’s usually about four nails per shingle. The other thing that comes to mind, Leslie, is the builder may have chosen the wrong type of shingles. And if you’re in a high wind situation, there are such things as high wind shingles; shingles that actually have a stickier glue in between them that actually help them stay affixed to the roof.
LESLIE: Which is good because if you’re in a high wind area and the wind gets underneath it and tries to lift them up, they’ll do the best that they can to stay adhered more. And I think they’re really good for even hurricane areas. So they’re not just talking a gusty day.
TOM: That’s right. I think that the high wind resistant shingles can actually stand up to 100 mile an hour winds. So it might be that these shingles are not the right kind of shingles for your particular area. The other thing that I’ve seen is that the shingles are put on in the winter and the sun didn’t really have a chance to bake them and, therefore, seal them together. They can blow off more frequently.
I’m sorry that that’s not a definite answer for you, James, but those are clearly the possibilities.
LESLIE: Alright, James, good luck with that roofing situation. I’m sure it’ll all get worked out.
TOM: Well, 80 percent of the folks that call 888-MONEY-PIT every week want to know how to find a product, fix a problem or clean something. And that is the topic of today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word because you’re going to tackle a cleaning chore that I know we all hate and that is cleaning our showers.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And I guess it means that we’re a very messy group of people as Americans; which is quite funny that they’re always asking to clean something.
TOM: Well, you know, most of the dirt that ends up in showers is because of the (laughing) mineral salt that’s in the water. It’s not even the grime that comes off your dirty bodies.
LESLIE: I thought you were going to say it’s stuff we’re bringing in on ourselves.
TOM: (laughing) No, it’s not always that. Sometimes the water leaves that mineral salt deposit, which is that nasty white stuff that’s kind of …
LESLIE: That like white, filmy look.
TOM: … cloudy stuff. Exactly.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re seeing that milky filmy look on your showers, don’t start scratching at it, folks. Abrasive cleaners do the most damage to fiberglass showers. And once you get scratches in there, you’ll never get them out. So be very cautious about how you choose to clean your fiberglass shower. And remember that fiberglass showers are finished with a layer of gel coat and that’s what gets easily scratched. So make sure you choose your shower cleaner carefully. And to keep that shiny luster and prevent water spotting, why don’t you try waxing the shower stalls about once a month with a liquid automotive wax? That should do the trick.
TOM: Great advice. 888-666-3974 is the phone number. You can call that 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our live call screeners are always standing by to take your question to 888-MONEY-PIT.
That is about all the time we have for this hour of the program but before we go, you know the old saying; they say, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’? (laughing) Well, not if we can help it because next week, we broadcast live from the National Hardware Show. It’s like the biggest hardware store in the world. It’s like a million square feet. It’s full of all kinds of cool stuff.
LESLIE: I’m bringing an empty suitcase.
TOM: You should because we’re going to spill the beans about the latest and greatest tools and products for your home. 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.
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(Copyright 2006 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.)