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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: Standing by for your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement questions. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. What are you working on? You planning for the relatives? Are they coming to visit? You’re coming to visit …

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah, you want to know how to short-sheet their beds? We can tell you how to do that, too.

    TOM: (laughing) Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you’re planning a decorating task to get your house made over in time for the holidays and all those folks who are going to stop by. We’d love to talk with you about that. Let’s do it. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Anything worth starting (chuckling) is worth starting over with us. If you started on a project and it didn’t go so well, call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    You know, a house, Leslie, is like a child: it’s expensive; it’s time-consuming; but it can be a real joy. (chuckling) So call us if you need some child care advice for your house. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The website, MoneyPit.com.

    Well, are you ready for those holidays? Is your …

    LESLIE: I cannot even believe that they’re right around the corner.

    TOM: They are. Well, is your oven ready for those holidays …

    LESLIE: Oh God, I hope so.

    TOM: Because you have all that holiday baking, we’re going to have a tip on how to make sure it comes out perfectly every single time.

    LESLIE: And with all that holiday company on its way, there’s one guest you don’t want to invite into your home and that’s mold. You don’t see it but it’s there. Those tiny spores only need a little moisture and some organic food like wood, paper or fabric. You’ve got a lot of that in your house. All it needs is a little bit of those to spread like a wildfire through your home. One way to stave mold: paperless drywall. That’s right. It’s an amazing new product and we’re going to tell you all about it.

    TOM: Also this hour, are you and your house in the same phase of life? Well, thankfully, we’re not here because my house is much, much older. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I’m like, ‘Wow. Then I would be super old because my house is really old.’

    TOM: Well, later on, we’re going to offer tips for making your home fit you better for the long term.

    LESLIE: And one caller we choose this hour is going to win a pack of locks from Master Lock so call in your home improvement or your home repair question right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Susan in Alabama listens on WRJM. What can we do for you today?

    SUSAN: Hi. We have a kitchen floor that we’ve – it’s linoleum and we’ve had it in our house about 12 years. And we’re thinking about replacing it. We’re kind of leaning away – we know some people put hardwood floors down now in the kitchen, but I know wood and water don’t seem to mix too well. And we’re a little hesitant about that and we’re leaning more toward either the floor – I think it’s laminate floors …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    SUSAN: … like either Pergo, Wilsonart – that kind – or the ceramic tile. Which – what do you kind of recommend as good for a kitchen that might, you know, once in a while have water problems and things?

    LESLIE: All of the above.

    SUSAN: Oh. So even hardwood.

    LESLIE: Well, not the traditional hardwood; that solid hardwood that’s solid throughout. There’s a new …

    TOM: Engineered. Engineered hardwood.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s a new type of hardwood flooring. It’s called engineered hardwood and it’s made in the same way that plywood is made so it becomes structurally stable. And then the topmost layer is actually the wood veneer. So it’s not solid throughout. It’s more of this manufactured hardwood. So you can have a traditional hardwood floor – as long as it’s engineered – in the kitchen.

    Laminate is an amazing choice for the kitchen because it’s made from a plastic material and it can stand up to any amount of moisture and it can look like just about anything.

    And then, of course, ceramic tile is a good choice also; but you have to make sure that your foundation is well and that’s it’s standing well and you don’t get a lot of movement because your tiles could crack.

    It depends on budget and look.

    TOM: Yeah and plus you have the duties to maintain the grout and that gets very dirty, very fast in the kitchen. So ceramic tile may be somewhat indestructible but it does get dirty pretty quickly.

    I think that your best choice, Susan, is laminate or engineered hardwood. If you really like the look of hardwood, then use engineered hardwood. But if not, laminate is absolutely beautiful.

    LESLIE: Yeah but even laminate comes in amazing choices that look like hardwood; just about any kind. And depending on how much you spend on your laminate, you know if you go on the low end of laminate, you’re looking at a piece that’s – that represents many planks of wood.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: If you go on the higher end of laminate, you’re looking at a plank that represents one plank of wood; you’ve got beveled edges so it actually, then, looks more like a real wood.

    SUSAN: Oh, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Claire in Delaware, what’s going on at your house?

    CLAIRE: What I wanted to know was what could I use in the basement to keep the lime from coming back?

    TOM: The lime in your basement is efflorescence. It’s mineral salt deposits that are left behind when moisture gets through the foundation walls. So if you …

    LESLIE: So you’re talking about that white film you’re seeing on perhaps your concrete walls or something like that.

    CLAIRE: Well, it’s not on the walls. It’s on the floor.


    TOM: It’s the crusty stuff, right?

    CLAIRE: Yes.

    TOM: You need to address outside drainage.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there are a couple of things. Does your house have gutters on it, Claire?

    CLAIRE: Yes.

    LESLIE: You want to make sure – and if you can’t do it yourself, get a pro to come over and make sure that those gutters are clean and that the downspouts are clean. You want to also make sure that the downspouts aren’t depositing water right into your foundation because otherwise that water’s just going to get right into the ground around the house and then wick up through the concrete floor; which is what you’re seeing there. And you also want to make sure that they can deposit the water about three to six feet away.

    And then check the grading. You want to make sure you slope down about six inches or four inches over six feet. So it’s not a huge slope but gradual enough just to get that moisture away.

    And if you maintain those things, you’ll keep that water out of the basement.

    CLAIRE: But I don’t have any water in the basement.

    LESLIE: But what you’re seeing is the water is wicking through from the water in the ground that your house is built on; is wicking up through that concrete. So you’re not seeing moisture, but what you’re seeing is evidence that water is coming up into that concrete.

    CLAIRE: (overlapping voices) Is underneath there.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Right. And if you correct that problem, it’s going to stop wicking up and it won’t evaporate away and leave the salts behind. So the lime is not the problem. The water is the problem. Get rid of the water, you’ll get rid of the lime.

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

    LESLIE: Is there anything you can do – like a vinegar solution – to get rid of those white stains?

    TOM: You can use a vinegar and water solution to get rid of the visible evidence of the lime. But unless she addresses the moisture issue, it’s going to keep coming back.

    LESLIE: Carla in Florida, you’re next. What can we do for you?

    CARLA: I called because I am a new homeowner. I’ve been in our home for about a year.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Excellent. Congratulations.

    CARLA: (overlapping voices) And our – well, thank you. Our back door has – was sinking on its hinges. And my father came and helped me re-put the screws in and get it back up straight and get it where it needed to be. And when we did that, he noticed that all of the wood inside the door is very soft …

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    CARLA: … and rotting. And he was saying, and from what we’ve heard in town, that our particular builder, there’s no gutter over the back of the house …

    LESLIE: Oh.

    CARLA: … and so the rainwater is washing right down the back of the house.

    TOM: That would do it.

    CARLA: And so, I’m wondering if you can think of a quick fix.

    LESLIE: Cost wise, putting up a gutter is probably going to be the least expensive. Don’t you think, Tom? I mean, per linear foot – that’s usually how they charge –

    TOM: Yeah, having a gutter would be a really good idea. Couple of things. First of all, if your wood is starting to rot, you’ve got to get it dried out before it completely rots away. So you’ve got to get the water off of dripping down that area.

    CARLA: Right.

    TOM: Bringing the gutter would be the best way to do that. Another option would be to put in what’s called a rain diverter and that’s simply like a piece of aluminum flashing. Sort of – think of an L-shape piece of metal that gets attached to the roof right above the door in sort of a V shape, so that as water runs down the roof, it sort of hits this piece of metal and runs around the door area. What that’s going to do is stop a lot of the water that’s coming straight off the roof and down to the door, sort of by diverting it to areas around the door. But that’s not as good as putting a gutter in by itself.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And if you leave it to the pros, they’ll be the ones dealing with the height issues so you don’t have to worry about getting up there.

    CARLA: Yeah, I don’t want to deal with that. (chuckling)

    TOM: No, not a good idea.

    LESLIE: No, no. Let somebody else do it because they’ve got to lift up those bottommost shingles and put these – put the gutter itself in there.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Clips in and everything. Yeah.

    LESLIE: So you don’t want to mess with that.

    CARLA: Good. Well, thanks so much. I appreciate that.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Carla, and good luck with the house. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: It’s just amazing to me how many homes do not have gutters; in key locations, too. It’s crazy.

    TOM: Well, you know, down in Florida they figure why put gutters on because the soil’s so sandy. But it really does affect the house and that’s a good reason to have it.

    LESLIE: Yeah, but sandy soil just moves it through it more quickly.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly, and it’s very moist; it’s very damp. So you know, maintaining that water around the house is very, very critical no matter where you live.

    LESLIE: Vashti in Virginia, what can we do for you today?

    VASHTI: I’m calling about replacing my traditional shingles on a slanted back roof with the aluminum or metal shingles. And can that be put on top of existing shingles?

    TOM: Yes, it can be.

    VASHTI: It can be? OK.

    TOM: Yeah.

    VASHTI: Do you have to put any wood strips or anything?

    TOM: No, generally not. However, I will tell you that it’s always a better job to strip off old shingles. And it’s not that terrible in additional cost. So if you’re going to go for the investment of a metal roof, which can really last a lifetime, I would rather see you start from scratch even though it can go on top of it.

    LESLIE: Yeah but part of the benefit of the metal roof – other than it lasts forever and looks fantastic – is that because they’re so lightweight, they can go on top of a dimensional asphalt shingle without any worry for heat damage or weight issues to the house.

    TOM: True.

    LESLIE: And then it also helps keep all that waste out of landfills. So, you know, it’s not a terrible idea.

    What is it? Is it metal roofing – MetalRoofing.org? Is that the site, Tom?

    TOM: Yeah, it’s MetalRoofing.com.

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

    LESLIE: Hey there, Money Pit listeners in pre-holiday land. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week; even on Thanksgiving. All you need to do is dial 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    OK, are you ready for holiday baking? Is your oven ready? Well, when we come back, we’re going to give you a recipe for a natural oven cleaner using products that won’t hurt your hands or the environment.

    (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. 888-666-3974. You know, just like a crusty old paint brush left in the sun (chuckling), fixing something sooner is better than fixing it later. So call us right now with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, folks. So you’ve got a lot of people coming over. You’re going to be doing a lot of baking, cooking, saut

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