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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: It’s a great hour. It’s a great idea. Call us right now with your home improvement question. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Hey, on this show we are always trying to give you ways to save money, so coming up this hour we’re going to have information on a $10 investment that can bring hundreds of dollars off of your energy bills. That’s coming up in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And if you want to be green while saving your money, our resident environmental expert is going to be stopping by with some winterization tips that are going to keep your wallet and your conscience very happy.

    TOM: Always a good thing.

    Also ahead, October is fire safety month. Leslie, did you know that a fire doubles in size every minute it burns?

    LESLIE: No, I had no idea.

    TOM: Yeah, think about it. So the time it takes to get your family out is critical if you want to survive a fire. So we’re going to help you plan for the worst-case scenario coming up.

    LESLIE: And speaking of fire safety, we’ve got a great prize this hour. It’s actually a very cool prize. It’s going to keep you super safe in your kitchen, which is the place where most fires start. It’s the Home Hero fire extinguisher. It’s worth 30 bucks. It’s only available at The Home Depot. It’s really cool looking. You wouldn’t even recognize it as a fire extinguisher. So you’ve got to check it out.

    TOM: If you want to win it you have to come on the air and ask your home improvement question. We will choose one name out of the Money Pit hardhat at the end of the program and send you along that new fire extinguisher. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got John in New Jersey. Welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JOHN: How do I get rid of rust on my pavers in my driveway and also how do I get rid of oil on my pavers in my driveway?

    LESLIE: Ah, same solution.

    TOM: Yeah John, do you have a sprinkler system that’s sort of misdirected and shooting water off onto the pavers?

    JOHN: I do but that’s not where I’m having the problem. It’s actually – it was actually from my vehicle; I think from the air conditioning.

    TOM: Oh, so you think the air conditioning condensate is draining some rusty water onto the pavers?

    JOHN: Exactly.

    TOM: Hmm. OK, well the same solution would work for both situations and that is to pick up some TSP, which is available at paint stores or hardwood stores or home centers.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Stands for trisodium phosphate.

    LESLIE: It’s in the paint aisle.

    TOM: Mix it up into a paste-like finish. Trowel it on there. Let it soak for a bit and that should draw as much of the rust and/or the oil out of it.

    Now, your pavers, are they red pavers?

    JOHN: No, they’re not. They’re actually gray …

    TOM: OK, good. Sometimes if you have, you know, real strong, red pavers you could lighten them up a bit with this technique so you might want to try it just on a brick off to the side first. But it’s pretty much the strongest thing we know to pull the stains out.

    JOHN: TSP? Somebody had told me that Cascade worked also but I haven’t tried it yet. But I want to try the TSP first.

    TOM: Lots of things work if you do it right away.

    JOHN: Right.

    TOM: But when it sits there for …

    LESLIE: But if it’s been sitting there awhile.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    JOHN: Been sitting awhile. (chuckling) Of course.

    TOM: Did you fix the car, John?

    JOHN: (chuckling) No, actually it’s parked on the street. (Tom chuckles) Getting ready to trade it in.

    TOM: That’ll work. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    JOHN: Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Taking a call from Cathy in Idaho. What can we help you with?

    CATHY: Yes, I have a wooden deck on the back of my house. It’s 12 years old and until three years ago I always treated it with a transparent stain.


    CATHY: But about three years ago I put a semi-transparent stain on it and I hate the color and I would like to go lighter than it is; at least a different color. Can I do anything or am I just stuck with this color forever?

    LESLIE: And you want to keep in the semi-transparent family or are you ready to go to the opaque stage?

    CATHY: I’d rather go back to transparent. Is it too late?

    LESLIE: Well, it depends. If you want to go lighter or you want to go to the transparent you’re going to have to strip off the existing stain. And that’s not hard. You just need a chemical product that’s made to specifically remove any of the stain that’s on there. Flood makes one called Stain Strip. There are a lot of different manufacturers who make chemical strippers. You want to apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions. The autumn is a perfect time to do it because it’s very dry outside, so it’s really a good time of year to tackle this project.

    You want to apply the stripping agent; allow it to really penetrate into the surface. Then you can pressure wash it away and if you have to you might have to go back to a couple of areas that maybe the stain didn’t come off. But once you get to a raw surface and it dries, you can go back to either a transparent, if you find that it’s really picked up from a lot of the spaces. If you find that there are a lot of areas where you have some remaining semi-transparent stain then you might want to go with a semi-transparent in a different color. But if you’re going lighter or you want to go back to transparent then you have to strip it.

    CATHY: Alright.

    LESLIE: It’s not hard. Let the product do it for you.

    CATHY: OK.

    TOM: Cathy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Scott in Montana, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    SCOTT: Well, I was wondering – I’ve got a situation where I cut down an elm tree in my backyard and several times in the last several years I’ve had to root out the sewer line going from the house. Now I was out in California and listening to the radio – I’m a long-haul truck driver, so I get all over. And they were talking about a system where you could put it down through your existing sewer line and it would seal the inside of your sewer line against roots.

    TOM: That’s exactly right. It’s a pipe relining technology. And the way this sort of works is you thread a – think of it as a sock that gets inserted into the existing waste pipe and then once it’s inserted it is expanded and then filled with fiberglass and then the fiberglass hardens. And that basically creates a pipe inside of a pipe. It’s a way to line the pipe. And it works very well if you have like the old terracotta waste pipes that are clay and the roots can easily get into them. It can also help if there’s any type of a broken pipe. A lot of the sewer cleaning companies are doing it and the plumbers. I know Roto-Rooter; it’s big for them. I’m sure it’s big for other plumbers. But it’s basically pipe relining as opposed to pipe replacement.

    SCOTT: OK, so it’s not something that a do-it-yourself can do then?

    TOM: No, it’s absolutely not a do-it-yourself project. You have to have the right tools. There’s a lot of equipment involved. It’s pretty cool, though. I’ve seen it done.

    SCOTT: OK, is it – now does that take care of the root problem permanently or …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you know why it’ll take …

    SCOTT: … do you still have to dig the roots out?

    TOM: No, no. It will take care of it. Probably the first thing they do is run a camera down there just to see where the trouble spots are.

    SCOTT: Uh-huh.

    TOM: There’s a drain camera that can go through there. But when once this new liner is in place the roots can’t get through it. See the problem with the clay pipes is there’s big open joints and the roots can easily feed through that …

    LESLIE: And force that seam open.

    TOM: Yeah, and there’s plenty of fertilizer in those pipes. They just grow like crazy once they get in there.

    SCOTT: Although (ph) that tree was flourishing (Leslie chuckles) but we had to cut it down because it was just getting too bit …

    TOM: Yep.

    SCOTT: … or too old.

    TOM: Yeah. Now that’ll work for you.

    SCOTT: OK. Well, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Lots of great home improvement advice here but you are the key ingredient to that so call in 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, want to know a $10 home improvement tip that will take hundreds off your energy bills?

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: We’ll give you the answer after this.

    (promo/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 and you should call in today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win an amazing prize to keep you safer in your kitchen. It’s the Home Hero kitchen fire extinguisher. It’s fast and easy to access in an emergency. It’s got a grip and trigger system for simple, one-handed use regardless of your strength or your abilities. The instructions are even printed on it so that you can read them while you’re using it. And it looks good so you can sit it right on your kitchen counter or shelf so you know where it is. It’s worth 30 bucks. It’s available only at The Home Depot. It’s brand, spanking new and you could win one for just asking your question on air. So call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    OK, here is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to save money on your energy bills starting right now. You might know that water heater’s lose plenty of heat through their outside shells but for about 10 bucks you can buy an insulating jacket that keeps the heat from escaping. These are easy to install and they can actually save hundreds of dollars on your energy bills over the life of the heater. Easy to put together. Simply wrap it around the water heater; cut in some slits to access the control panels; don’t block the vent pipes; tape it up – the tape comes in the package; and you will be saving energy from that moment forward.

    Need some more tips? Check out our website, MoneyPit.com. They’re all right there. Or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Charlie in Virginia wants to remove some wallpaper. Well, how can we help?

    CHARLIE: Bought a new house and of course my wife’s having me repaint basically everything.

    LESLIE: Of course. You have to make it yours.

    CHARLIE: It looks like in the dining room that there used to be some wallpaper but the original owners decided that they were going to paint over that wallpaper and I can see little places where they tried to tear it away.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a new style of wallpaper, Charlie. Painted paper. (Charlie chuckles) Yeah, you know, it makes it a little harder to pull the old stuff off but you’re right in considering doing just that. At this point though, especially with paint on top of it, I can see no other option but to rent a steamer. And having – and even renting a steamer is going to be probably more of a challenge …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … than if it wasn’t painted to begin with because all that paint fills in the pores of the paper; makes it harder for the steam to get through.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You’re going to have to, I think, score that paper; you know, not with one of those tools that crazily scratches it all up only because when you go to peel it off at that point you’re going to be peeling it off in many different pieces. So if you take a matte knife and just do long seams – you know, not cutting in too deep because you don’t want to damage the wallboard behind it – but you do want to open up some areas, especially through the paint to allow that steam to saturate through to the glue through the paper. Because that’s what that paint is doing. It’s blocking you from getting that moisture to loosen up that paper.

    CHARLIE: Now how am I going to be able to do this without – I mean you say without cutting the wallboard beneath? That seems like a pretty hard challenge.

    LESLIE: Well, you know, don’t be too aggressive with it. Don’t just dig into it and cut down, you know. Be as gentle as you can. Because once you do get off all of that paper, you’re still going to be left with some damage to the wall behind it; some paste you’re going to need to work off with either a little bit extra steam or even some vinegar or some soapy water. I’ve even heard that like a fabric softener and water helps to get rid of some wallcovering paste residue. So a lot of those things in combination. And once you get through to it there’s going to be some areas where you are going to have to, you know, respackle and sand. So if you do get some cut marks occasionally that’s OK but you don’t want to find yourself in a situation with now you’ve got the paper off and you’re dealing with all these stripes that you’ve got to repair.

    TOM: Now Charlie, after you get the paper off and you get the walls cleaned up and repaired as best as you possibly can, the next step is really critical and that is that you have to apply a primer to the entire surface and we would recommend, in this situation, oil-based primer. It’s going to give you great adhesion and will create an even surface so that when you put the next coat of paint on it, it flows nicely, it covers nicely and it looks great. But don’t skip that primer step after you get all this done. That’s really important.

    CHARLIE: OK, just so I understand. I’m taking a box cutter and I’m scoring long, vertical scores in it as opposed to taking one of those tools.

    LESLIE: Once you start steaming, if you do long cuts you can start pulling away in that section and you end up with longer pieces and a better, manageable section rather than all these little pieces that you’re trying to pull off and deal with.

    TOM: It’s a little bit learn as you go, Charlie.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You’re going to have to get a sense as to how much steam …

    LESLIE: See what’s working for you.

    TOM: … or what’s working; what’s not working. Try to get into a rhythm. It’s not an easy job but, you know, it is the right thing to do. So good luck with that project.

    CHARLIE: Thanks a lot.

    LESLIE: Norma from Rhode Island, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    NORMA: My hardwood floor has a space that developed after a period of time – after it had been installed a period of time. The space is probably a quarter of an inch.

    TOM: Now where’s this space, Norma? Is it between the slats of the hardwood floor or is it between the floor and the wall or the floor and the baseboard? Where is it?

    NORMA: The hardwoods go one direction and where it joins the hardwoods go in the other direction. It’s a design in the floor.

    TOM: OK. This is very, very typical and it’s caused by the normal expansion and contraction of the floor. It’s not something that you can really fill, so to speak, because it’s really designed to have that gap there. It may be a bit unsightly but there’s absolutely nothing you can put in there that’s going to close it unless you start replacing hardwood floorboards with wider ones and that’s probably not the best idea.

    LESLIE: Well, if it really bothers you, Norma, there are things that you can do. I would never use wood filler on it because it’s just going to chip out and it’s going to fly out and it’s going to look horrible. I have seen done – you can take a natural fiber rope like a jute or something along that same – like a hemp texture – and you would dip it in – you would make sure, number one, that it’s the same thickness of that space or that gap that you’ve got in the floor and if the rope’s a little too bit you can unravel one of the larger pieces of threading. Then you would dip that into a stain that’s similar in color to your floor and then you would shove that into that gap.

    Now, you might not notice it directly if you’re walking by it or, you know, quickly glancing at it. But if you look at it you’re going to see it.

    NORMA: Ah, that’s interesting. The one thing that bothers me is that one board is higher than the other. That’s what bothers me and every now and then people will stump their toe on it.

    TOM: Well, is it swollen? Is it sort of twisted and warped? Is that why it’s higher or is it just physically thicker?

    NORMA: It’s because it was in – one room was an addition and I think that room settled a little bit.

    TOM: Alright, well here’s something else you could do. You could put a piece of moulding in the transitions from the high floorboard to the low floorboard and that could serve two purposes. First of all, it can cover the gap that’s in between the boards …

    LESLIE: What, like a threshold?

    TOM: Yeah, like a small threshold or a piece of like shoe moulding or something like that.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Maybe even be something that you have to sort of custom cut. But that could cover the gap and also create an even slope between the two different heights of floors.

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

    LESLIE: Eric in Utah, what’s going on at your money pit?

    ERIC: We have some walls in our home that are thin and every once in a while we’ll bump into them and put another hole in it …

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    ERIC: … and I’m wondering what the best way is to patch that up and maybe, as an alternative, just considering replacing the whole set of walls that that’s happening to. But what’s a good way to patch a hole in the wall?

    TOM: What are your walls made out of? Are they made out of drywall?

    ERIC: I don’t think they are drywall. We – other parts of our house the walls are drywall but this is thinner than that.

    TOM: Well, that’s kind of unusual. The repair advice we could give you would have to assume that you’re starting at least with drywall and if it’s a straight hole that you’re kind of fixing – is it a hole like the size of a hand or is it a crack? What does the breakdown look like?

    ERIC: It’s about the size of a hand and …

    TOM: OK, and you didn’t put your hand through the wall now, did you?

    ERIC: (chuckling) No. The worst part is where our stairs go from the ground level down to the basement and you have to make that turn and you’re carrying things and …

    TOM: Well, if it’s the size of a say, you know, two or three-inch hole there’s a metal patch kit that you can get where the patch looks like a piece of screening material and you essentially spackle the screen over the hole. And through successive coats of spackle, probably three coats, you end up covering the entire screening piece. It’s sticky. It sticks to the wall, lays flat and it’s very strong when it’s done. So that’s the easiest way to patch that hole.

    ERIC: Is that going to look pretty smooth or are you going to be able to notice the bump there?

    TOM: No, it’ll look pretty smooth when you’re done because the secret here is to start with a coat of spackle really close to the hole; the next one’s a little wider; the next one’s a little wider and then once you paint it, sure, if you held a strong light across it you’ll see a slight sort of swelling of that area but not anything more than you would have in any other drywall seam.

    ERIC: I see. OK. That should work.

    TOM: Eric, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    ERIC: Thank you.

    LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up but first, get ready for winter’s chill now. Make sure you plug those leaks and prepare for your heating bill’s worst enemy: cold air infiltration. We’ve got some tips to keep that cold air out, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. 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 and winter is right around the corner. I’m so excited. It’s my favorite time of year. So do not put it off another day; all of the things you have to do to get your house ready for it. You just have to be smart and you’ve got to take those steps now to save energy and money before those huge heating bills are starting to come on in.

    TOM: That’s right. If you’re still reeling from the cooling bills imagine what’s going to happen when the snow starts falling.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) You can’t win.

    TOM: And that’s why I love fall. Because it’s the Goldilocks season for home improvement. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. You can get lots of stuff done that’s going to make the house more comfortable and much more energy efficient. And here to talk about that is our green scene reporter Aimee Oscamou. She’s got a checklist so get out your piece of paper and pencil and get ready to take some notes.

    Hi, Aimee.

    AIMEE: Hey, guys, how are you?

    TOM: Great. Let’s start by talking about insulation. Big question folks have: ‘How much do I need?’

    AIMEE: Well, it depends on where you live in the country and even the structure of your house. So a good place to go for some hints is to head over to the EnergyStar.gov website and they have some great information and you can look up specifics for your area of the country and know how much insulation you need to add.

    TOM: Aimee, as you’re doing your surfing around the energy efficient sites, are you seeing any new types of insulation that – perhaps different than fiberglass that’s making any green inroads?

    AIMEE: There are a lot of different kinds coming out that are made of green, natural materials that’ll still give you that weather resistance and keep the warmth in and the cool in during the summertime as well.

    LESLIE: You know, Aimee, I’ve even seen a company – and I don’t know their name offhand – but they were manufacturing insulation out of recycled denim and sort of as an incentive you could send your jeans to them and they would process it and, you know, if you were to ever purchase it for yourself they offered a discount. And it offers the same r value and it’s a totally green material.

    AIMEE: Right, right. Well, and there are a lot of – there’s a lot of interest out there from consumers as they do upgrades or even new builds and builders and manufacturers are going along with that and offering these products. So as you search, if green is your thing, look for that kind of offering.

    TOM: Let’s talk about the heating and cooling ducts themselves. It seems that duct leakage is responsible for a whole lot of comfort problems and a whole lot of energy loss. How do we seal ducts up?

    AIMEE: Well, you want to start by giving your first attention to those running through the attic, the crawl space, the garage and unheated basement.

    TOM: Basically, the places that the ducts are accessible.

    AIMEE: Yes, and use duct sealant, which is also known as mastic, or a metal-backed tape rated UL-181. And I should specify here, never use what we traditionally think of as duct tape; that fabric-based stuff.

    LESLIE: Does it tend to dry out? Is that what’s going on as it sits over there and it doesn’t really form an efficient seal?

    AIMEE: Right. It doesn’t have the staying power to hang onto those ducts like you need it to.

    TOM: So UL-181; specially formulated tape that really does seal the duct. So, of course, if we do this, all our ducts will certainly be in a row. (Leslie chuckling)

    AIMEE: Absolutely. That’s what you want.

    TOM: I had to say that.

    Alright, let’s talk about some other heating tips. What about the thermostat?

    AIMEE: Installing a programmable thermostat is a great idea and it can save you around $100 annually in energy costs. So you program that to match your away-from-home schedule so you’re not heating the home when you’re not there and so that it’s getting warm again just before you get home.

    LESLIE: Now those are all things that you can do to your existing home. What if you’re undertaking a major remodel or you’re building from scratch? Are there any sort of new high-tech materials that just help to keep those energy dollars down?

    AIMEE: Yes, there are. There are several and one of them that’s really great to keep the warmth in is an attic membrane that’s made by DuPont. It’s called Tyvek AtticWrap. And it’s actually installed between the attic rafters and the roofing underlayment when you’re either doing a new build or putting on a new roof and it helps create a sealed attic system that reduces air leakage and energy loss through the roof.

    TOM: Interesting. So this is like a metallic barrier that reflects. Does it reflect low-e back out?

    AIMEE: Yes it does. It’s got a metallized surface and that’s also breathable so that it doesn’t allow moisture to build up because that can cause damage too, as you know.

    TOM: Now will this make your attic cooler so that it reduces your heating load as well?

    AIMEE: Absolutely, yes. It keeps it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and some tests they’ve done on homes that have had this installed show that it has about a 20-degree difference from temperatures outside so that’s (INAUDIBLE).

    TOM: Wow. And I’ve got to tell you, from the perspective of a home inspector who did lots and lots of attic inspections in summers – hot, hot attics – I’d love to have an attic that was 20 percent cooler.

    LESLIE: Now, I guess this sort of helps if you’re wanting to turn your attic space into a livable space – maybe an extra room or, you know, a workout center or something – for your home because then you’re not fighting with all of those natural heat and situations that you’re getting from the exterior.

    AIMEE: Exactly. This kind of product is going to prevent extreme temperature shifts throughout the year. So it’ll make it a lot more usable if you do want to convert that space.

    TOM: Some great ideas to improve the energy efficiency of your home this fall.

    Aimee Oscamou, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    AIMEE: Thank you guys.

    LESLIE: Alright, well October brings to mind the thoughts of falling leaves, hayrides, pumpkins, kids in costume and, of course, lots of candy. But it’s also a very dangerous time of year; not because of the ghosts and ghouls but because it’s fire season. We’re going to tell you how to prevent the most common types, next.

    (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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and did you know that a fire doubles in size every minute that it burns. I didn’t know this. This is a really major thing to consider. That’s why every second counts when you’re trying to get yourself and your family to safety in the event of a fire no matter how small.

    You want to draw a floor plan of your home and meet with everybody who lives in your house and talk about how you might get out if the fire happens to be in different places. You want to move that fire around and plan alternate escape routes and practice them often. Remind everybody to get out, even before attempting to call 911. And don’t forget to have working smoke and CO detectors in your home. It could save your life, folks.

    TOM: And of course you want to have a fire extinguisher in your house. You want to have one that’s rated A-B-C and as luck would have it we’re giving one away today on the program. It’s the Home Hero fire extinguisher. It’s designed for the kitchen. And I did say designed because it actually has a very attractive design. Unlike the big, red, ugly fire extinguishers that we typically see this one looks like it fits right into your kitchen furnishings and so you can permanently install it; always have it there handy. It’s worth 30 bucks. If you’d like to win it pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Sam in Utah, what can we help you with here at The Money Pit today?

    SAM: Yeah, I have a flat roof and it’s leaking. We’re needing to get it replaced.

    TOM: OK.

    SAM: So I was wondering – we have a couple options of either to replace the tar or else get what they call a TPO membrane roof.

    TOM: OK.

    SAM: I don’t know if you know which is better; which will last longer.

    TOM: Well, you know, a good old-fashioned, built-up tar and slag roof is just terrific if it’s property installed.

    SAM: Uh-huh.

    TOM: I mean it can last you 25, 35 years. Now, a built-up roof is called that because that’s how it’s made. It starts with the raw roof deck and then they put hot tar on …

    SAM: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and then they put a tar paper and then more tar and more tar paper and so on; ending up with a layer of either stone or shells, depending on the part of the country you’re in, to help reflect sunlight off of it.

    SAM: Right.

    TOM: That’s a traditional roof. Been done that way forever on commercial buildings. You know, it works until it leaks.

    Now, these membrane roofs are also excellent. Have great UV resistance. Again, they have to be properly put down. They have to have the right kind of base. Are you planning on stripping the first roof or putting the second roof over it?

    SAM: All of the estimates we have is they’re going to take off all the tar.

    TOM: Great, because that’s absolutely the best way to do it.

    So the second one sounds like an elastameric membrane roof. Is it ballasted? Is there going to be anything on top of it when it’s done?

    SAM: No, it’ll just be the membrane.

    TOM: Membrane itself?

    SAM: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You know, I think that they’re both good options. One is sort of, you know, traditional and one is more of a modern technology. I think that either option is fine. I would probably base my decision on the experience of the roofing contractor.

    SAM: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Are both these recommendations coming from the same roofing contractor or is it two different roofing contractors recommending two different things?

    SAM: Well, the contractors that do tar recommend tar and the ones that only do membrane recommend membrane.

    TOM: That’s what I thought. Yeah, you know, because these guys recommend whatever they’re used to working with and listen, as long as you’re comfortable that the contractor you choose is experienced, has a good reputation and will stand behind his work, from a longevity perspective I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one.

    SAM: OK, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Talking ceiling repair with Doreen in the Bronx who finds The Money Pit on WABC. How can we help?

    DOREEN: Well, I had a leaky ceiling. What happened was I had a – my washing machine had overflowed. It’s upstairs; my washer.


    DOREEN: And it had overflowed and it came down through the floor and into the ceiling in the living room downstairs. I did fix it. I got some of that tape; that joint tape and I got it fixed. But what I forgot to do was sand it and now it’s like really uneven. It’s like …

    TOM: Yeah.

    DOREEN: Is there a clean, neat way to get that done without all the powder going everywhere?

    TOM: There is a machine that you could rent that basically sands drywall and has a vacuum attachment to it.

    DOREEN: Oh.

    TOM: But if you don’t have that you may be able to kind of do this as a two-hand – what I would do is I would take a block of wood and wrap sandpaper around it so you have a flat surface to work on and then with a vacuum hose in one hand and the sander in the other you can try to minimize the dust that way.

    LESLIE: Just make sure you wear a dust mask because you – and safety goggles and a hair net, for that matter …

    DOREEN: Right.

    LESLIE: … because you don’t want this dust getting everywhere.

    TOM: And by the way, while we’re talking about it, I think it’s USG just came out with the reduced dust spackle. And it was pretty cool because I saw a demo of it and it was not nearly as flaky as the traditional spackle mix. So I think the manufacturers are getting smart on that and if you’re doing a big project then that’s something you could look into.

    DOREEN: Well that’s a little late for me now but …

    TOM: (chuckling) Yes it is. But for those that are just tackling those jobs now …

    DOREEN: At the equipment rental place and see if they’ve got that sander with the vacuum attached.

    TOM: Yeah, that might be the way to go.

    DOREEN: Alright. Well, thank you guys very much. And I just started listening to your show and I’m really learning a lot of stuff. So thank you for that, too.

    TOM: Well thank you so much.

    LESLIE: Bill in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    BILL: I have a deck that’s about six years old. The wood has never been treated. And I wanted to know – it’s not (INAUDIBLE). It’s got a little checking. And I wanted to know if I could save a little money by flipping the boards over and then doing like a colored stain on top of it so I don’t have to buy all brand new wood.

    TOM: Deck flipping. We love deck flipping.

    LESLIE: I mean it really is an economic solution. Would you flipping all boards or just the checked boards?

    BILL: I think most of the boards but I think somewhat may have shrunk or may be a little bit short. So I’d have to put some new ones in there somewhere.


    TOM: I don’t think there’s any reason not to do it. If you – when you take them out – is this five-quarter by six?

    BILL: Yes.

    TOM: OK. What you might want to do is pick up a handy little tool called a cat’s paw. No cats are harmed, by the way, in the manufacture of these tools.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I’m like, ‘Is it a key chain?’ (laughing)

    TOM: No, it’s a cat’s paw. Have you ever seen one?

    LESLIE: No.

    BILL: It’s like a pry bar.

    TOM: It’s like a pry bar but it has a little curve sort of like a claw at the end of it and you can drive it right under the nail and bend it and it pulls the nail right out. And if I was going to pull a lot of those boards out I would use a cat’s paw because it’s easy to get started and then you can run the pry bar underneath it; flip it out. Because the thing is, you only want to damage the top of the board as you’re pulling it apart.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: This will leave the bottom of the board in perfect shape. You can flip it over; use the same nail holes; secure it right down again. And you know, you’re still going to have some checking but it’ll look a lot better than the original upside of it.

    LESLIE: And the only thing is, Bill, if you’re going to replace some boards with new boards, you have to let the new boards cure about six months with pressure-treated or at least a season before you apply a finish. So if you’re going to go ahead I would say flip the boards now; put the new boards in; wait the winter and then go ahead and refinish in the spring.

    BILL: OK, thanks for the advice.

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

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit.

    Well, many good home improvement ideas originate in Europe and we’re going to tackle an e-mail question from one listener who spotted a super-cool remodeling project while visiting there and wants to find out if it can be found in the good old U.S. of A.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Get a $1,000 guarantee that the contractor you hire gets the job done right with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. 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 and you should visit MoneyPit.com right now and get our tip of the day. We’ve got hundreds of them, believe me, and they are designed to make your life easier and save you money.

    TOM: For example, did you know that recessed lighting is a prime spot for air leakage? You know, all those fancy high-hat flush lights that are up in the ceiling? It can cost you a bunch of energy dollars. Want to fix it? Learn the trick of the trade at MoneyPit.com. Just click on tip of the day and you can even get a Money Pit tip to pop up daily on your website for free. All the advice and the code is right there at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And while you’re there at MoneyPit.com you can click on ask Tom and Leslie like Michael did here in San Francisco and we’re going to answer your e-mail questions on air.

    Alright, like I said, Michael in San Francisco. ‘I was recently in Germany visiting my spouse’s family who recently remodeled several rooms in their house with styrofoam crown moulding. I was told the installation was very easy and it didn’t cost very much money. You could not tell the difference between the styrofoam and the wood moulding. I’ve been to several home improvement stores and they don’t carry styrofoam crown moulding and they’ve never even heard of it. I’m hoping that you can supply me with some names of companies and where I could purchase this styrofoam crown moulding.’

    TOM: I wonder if the Dow Company knows … (chuckling)

    LESLIE: Yeah. (chuckling)

    TOM: That their product is being used for moulding. You know, I think that, Michael, you got it wrong. I don’t think it’s styrofoam. It may be foam moulding but styrofoam is a Dow trademark. Usually it’s an insulating board. But I think what you’re talking about though is urethane moulding. There are a number of manufacturers that make urethane or cellular PVC mouldings. For example, on the outside of the house we see AZEK, which is a cellular PVC product that – it’s a bit foamy-looking I guess but it cuts like real wood. And for the inside it’s a urethane moulding. Probably the best known brand is Fypon and it’s gorgeous stuff. It looks just like beautiful crown moulding; all kinds of shapes that you can do with that. And I think that’s probably what you’re talking about. You’re right, it is less expensive than wood and it doesn’t warp; it doesn’t twist because it’s manufactured. So it’s a good choice.

    Michael, thanks so much for writing us at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: George writes: ‘I’ll be having my roof redone on my 81-year-old south Florida home later this year. After seeing hurricanes and even lesser storms cause drastic damage to the wooden structures in my area, I’m certainly aware that I need something for these leak-prone areas. Is there something better to use than felt as an underlayment?’

    TOM: Yeah. In Florida you’re going to want to use Ice and Water Shield; not that you have ice but you certainly have loads of water.

    LESLIE: Yeah, lots of it.

    TOM: The water – the Ice and Water Shield – for example, Grace and Ice Water Shield – it’s Info@GraceAtHome.com – could fit underneath the shingles and if the shingles are torn off by a high wind then you won’t have any problem with water getting through because the Ice and Water Shield will actually stop it. So that’s much more effective than the old-fashioned tar paper.

    LESLIE: Alright, don’t let the name fool you. It’ll help you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues 24/7/365 at MoneyPit.com.

    Coming up next week on the program, do you have lots of stuff in your house? In my household, with the five of us plus the kids, the dogs, the goldfish (Leslie chuckles) we’ve got a lot of stuff.

    LESLIE: Those goldfish don’t have a lot of stuff there, Tom.

    TOM: Well, now you know, it’s funny you say that but consider this. It’s not just the fish. It’s the bowl, the food, the cleaning stuff, the nets, the pumps. (Leslie chuckles) I mean it literally has to take up a whole shelf in the closet with all the goldfish gear. So yeah, they do take up quite a bit of stuff. But the bottom line is that we’re always at a loss for space in this house. I’m sure you know how I feel. You’re probably the same way, too. So next week we’re going to give you some tips on maximizing closet space so you can find your stuff once again.

    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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