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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

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    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:

    (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: Don’t look now, but your home improvement projects just got easier. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We will help you through those projects. We will give you product recommendations. We will give you solutions to home improvement problems. If you have something that’s not working right, something that needs a repair, just a little tender loving care, we can help you with that. This is where work and fun meet. So call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up this hour, if you’re planning a remodeling project this fall, you might be stuck trying to figure out where to begin. We’re going to explain why a pair of scissors – a regular, normal, everyday pair of scissors – might be the first tool you’ll need when planning a remodel.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and a pair of scissors should be a tool that everybody’s got somewhere in their house; so that’s good to think about.

    Also, have you ever reached up to get food in and out of your microwave? Well, that could be dangerous. This hour, we’re going to tell you why and give you some safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

    TOM: And it’s a very popular fall home improvement project – painting. Well, are you ready for the getting ready part? That’s the hardest part of it. I always dread that, Leslie, because, you know, there’s no fun in the getting ready part.

    LESLIE: There are so many steps: sanding, scraping. Aww.

    TOM: Well, we’re going to help cut that to the bare minimum by interviewing Kevin Ireton, the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine. They just did a great story about painting and concentrating especially on all that prep work that has to be done to make sure the paint sticks for a very, very long time.

    LESLIE: And believe us and believe Kevin, those prepping steps really do make a huge difference. Plus, did you know that October is indoor air quality month? Why? Because it’s the time we seal the hatches of our home up for the winter. And because while you’re doing that, keeping yourself inside, you can also trap the bad air inside with you. Well, we’re going to give away a tool to help keep your air clean all winter long. Log onto MoneyPit.com to sign up for the Clear the Air sweepstakes and win an Aprilaire Model 5000 Electronic Air Cleaner with installation – free!

    TOM: That’s right, they’ll come to your house, if you’re the winner, and install the Aprilaire Model 5000 …

    LESLIE: That’s a great prize.

    TOM: … which, by the way, was rated number one by Consumer Reports for three years.

    LESLIE: Three years in a row.

    TOM: We give away the good stuff on this show, folks. We don’t keep it for ourselves. Well, actually, I should admit that I already have one of those; so that’s why you’re getting this one. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: Uh, you’re a punk.

    TOM: And one caller this hour is going to win a new faucet for their bathroom as well. So to qualify, call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re giving away a Peerless faucet worth 65 bucks.

    Now, let’s get to the phones. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ann in Virginia, you’re on the line. What can we do for you?

    ANN: Hi, I have a patio table that used to have a glass top on it. It’s a six-sided table. And a stone from the lawn mower broke the top.

    TOM: Oh, no.

    ANN: And I wanted to know if you had any suggestions about what I might be able to fashion a new top for it from.

    TOM: Well, do you want it to be clear?

    ANN: It doesn’t necessarily have to be. The only thing I had been able to come up with was to try to take two pieces of plexiglass and, you know, it has a hole in the middle for an umbrella.

    LESLIE: What is the widest part of the table? Is it over four feet?

    ANN: Yes. More like four-and-a-half feet.

    TOM: Because, you know, you could use Lexan for this or plexiglass.

    ANN: Lexan.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You could cut it to fit. But the sheets that are standardly available are only four feet wide. You’d have to special order something that was bigger than that. And it’s not hard to cut this stuff. I’ve generally used a plywood blade to do that. If you buy a blade for your circular saw or your table saw – depending on what tool you’re using – at, you know, The Home Depot or a place like that, you would want to buy the kind of blade that’s – it’s recommended for plywood. It has a lot of very tiny teeth.

    ANN: OK.

    TOM: If you use the regular woodcutting circular saw blades, they tend to chip the plastic a lot.

    LESLIE: And also, as you’re cutting the plexiglass or the Lexan – they’re both pretty much the same product, just different brands – there’s a lot of almost like spray off of the plexi as you’re cutting it. And it can be kind of hot and it can kind of hurt a little bit. So go slowly. You know, don’t rush through it.

    Also, you’re probably best to make a template, out of paper, of your table. Because it’s a hexagon – it’s an odd shape – some of the, you know, angles might be a little off. So if you’ve got a template, it would be really easy to duplicate a new top. And if you’re going to go with plexi or Lexan, don’t go with anything thinner than 3/8 of an inch; otherwise, you’re going to get bowing. So you want to go with something thicker.

    In New York, we have a place called Industrial Plastics. I’m sure you can find a plastic supplier in your area who could actually cut the piece for you and offer you, you know, a variety of thicknesses, colors. But if not, you can find some at The Home Depot. Some stores cut it; some stores don’t. But because of the specialized shape, you might have to do it yourself; unless you find a specialized supplier.

    TOM: And Ann, one more thing. When you – when you buy the plexiglass, it’s going to be covered with a thin protective layer of plastic or paper on both sides. Do not remove that until the very, very last step; because you’ll scratch it up as you’re moving it through the machinery. Leave the protective paper on it until you’re all done and this way, the last thing you do is pull it out and it’ll be perfectly clean and perfectly clear and not scratched.

    LESLIE: Oh, and one more thing. (chuckling) Sorry. Make sure when you clean the plexi or the Lexan, that you don’t use regular glass cleaner. Using a regular glass cleaner on a plastic product like that, could cause fogging which you’ll never, ever be able to get rid of. So make sure you get a specialized plastic cleanser and you won’t have any of that problem.

    ANN: Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Shannon in Illinois listens on Discovery Radio Network. What can we do for you?

    Shannon: Hi. I was calling because I have a weird leak in our washing machine. We have had a repairman out (dog barks) quite a few times to look at it and they’ve never found anything wrong with it. But every time we run the wash cycle and the rinse cycle, it leaks out the bottom. I cannot figure out for the life of me what in the world is wrong. So we went out and bought a new one. Now the new one leaks (chuckling). And it’s brand new so we had the repairman come out and we’re having the exact same problem.

    So what should we do next?

    TOM: Maybe it’s not the washer. Maybe it’s the drain. Have you checked the house drain without the washing machine being hooked up?

    Shannon: No, I wouldn’t even begin to know what to do there.

    TOM: Well, there’s a drain hose that comes out of the washer. And that gets installed into the drain for the house, correct?

    Shannon: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So what I want you to do is to pull the washer out, unplug it and pull the drain hose out from wherever it sticks in the wall. Do you have like a cup area, a dug-in area of the wall where the drain is?

    Shannon: Yeah.

    TOM: So pull that out. Then what I want you to do is go get a garden hose and stick it down in the same pipe and then run it and see if any water comes out to the bottom of the wall across the floor. Because I bet you that the problem isn’t with the washing machine. The problem’s with your drain pipe. You had it – the same thing happened with two separate machines. It’s not likely to be the washer. It’s more likely to be your plumbing system.

    Shannon: I never though of that.

    TOM: And if you – and if it turns out that it is, then just cut open the wall right in that area and figure out where the pipe’s leaking.

    How old is this house?

    Shannon: About thirty-five years.

    TOM: Ah, you know, you could have a steel pipe in there that’s rusted away and that might be what’s causing it and that’s why it leaks every time you do the wash. Because that pipe’s only going to be active when the washing machine is draining.

    Shannon: Oh, OK. That makes a lot of sense. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright, Shannon. Good luck with it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: She’s like, ‘Why didn’t I call before I bought the second washer.’

    TOM: (chuckling) I know.

    LESLIE: ‘Aargh.’

    TOM: Yeah, but think of it this way. You got a new washing machine out of it.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and it’s like the bajillion dollar washer, thanks to all the visits from the repairman (chuckling).

    Irene in Ohio, what can we do for you?

    IRENE: Well, my husband decided to build the garage mahal in our yard last year. (chuckling)

    TOM: The garage mahal (chuckling). OK.

    IRENE: (chuckling) And – it has earned its name. It is 24×40 feet.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Oh, my God (laughing).

    IRENE: Yeah. (chuckling) The concrete – we live in an area with a high water table and I know concrete is porous and they – the contractor poured the concrete. Did come back and seal it. But we are having water, actually, coming up through the concrete …

    TOM: Hmm.

    IRENE: … in the garage when we get times of heavy rain. And I need to know what to do about it.

    TOM: Usually, that’s a drainage problem, Irene. The water table’s not as high as grade. Because I presume that the garage concrete floor is on top of grade, right?

    IRENE: Yes, it is.

    TOM: It’s not buried – it’s not – it’s not subterranean in any way, is it?

    IRENE: No, no. It is above the grade.

    TOM: OK. So, generally what happens is you have a poor drainage problem somewhere in the foundation perimeter and water actually pushes under that concrete slab and it will go actually some number of feet in and then sort of push up. So it’s just the pressure of the water collecting on the outside, pushing down and up. So you need to look at the drainage conditions.

    Does your husband have gutters on the garage mahal? (laughter)

    IRENE: Not yet.

    TOM: Well, that’s part of your problem right there.

    IRENE: We’re still finishing the siding on it (chuckling).

    TOM: Yeah, you need to order garage mahal gutters (chuckling) and then you need to order garage mahal grading so that the soil slopes away from the wall. If you have no gutters and you have no grading on this, that slopes the water away, the water will do strange things like push under the wall and come on up into the middle of the garage.

    LESLIE: And make sure those downspouts on that new gutter system you’re going to put in go pretty far away from the house – from the garage mahal – excuse me – you know three feet or so.

    TOM: And that will – that will – that will shut down the garage mahal geyser (chuckling) that you have right now.

    Alright, Irene.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) That is a huge garage.

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

    LESLIE: Alright out there in Money Pit land, now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just dial that magic number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: Up next, are you ready to cook up a new look for your kitchen? Well, we’re going to show you why the best tool to start with is a pair of scissors. That’s 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.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. From coast to coast and wet basements to leaky roofs, we’re the experts; here to help you solve your home improvement questions; to give you the solution to your do-it-yourself dilemmas like, ‘How do I get started with a remodeling project?!’

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, it’s one of the smartest home improvements you can actually make. According to the annual cost versus value survey done by Remodeling Online, even a minor kitchen remodel can deliver 98.5 percent return on investment. And the best place to start might just be with a pair of scissors. I know; not the biggest tool in the drawer but definitely a handy one.

    A few folders filled with clippings and photos of your dream kitchen items – like appliances, lighting, cabinets, flooring, even color combinations, textures – anything that you like, you see in a magazine, tear it out, stick in that folder. It’s going to be a tremendous help when it comes to decision time for both you and your contractor. It’s a great start to a recipe for satisfaction.

    TOM: It’s all about communication, you know? And if you communicate with your contractor with the pictures that you have in your folder, the job is going to come out looking exactly like you expected.

    Well, would you like to listen to while you’re working on your next DIY project? That’s why I love doing home improvement on the radio. Because you can’t watch a home improvement television show; even though, Leslie …

    LESLIE: Not if you want to keep all your fingers. (chuckling)

    TOM: … you’re fabulous to watch on television, but you can’t do that and do home improvement at the same time. But we can be there, coaching you, giving you motivation, giving you ideas, inspiration while you work on your home improvement projects. And you can even have that – us portable. We shrink down to the size of the iPod. Now that I’ve lost weight, I can actually slip inside the iPod (chuckling) so you can sync and go every single week at MoneyPit.com. Lots of folks do.

    You know, I just checked the stats. Over 60,000 people a month download this show to their iPod and that is so exciting for us because that means that we’re there with you on the road as you tackle those home improvement projects.

    So, sync and go at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Or you can actually give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. One of those lucky callers is going to win a fantastic prize from Peerless. We’re going to be giving away a single-handle lavatory faucet in a brush nickel finish. It features classic styling that’s going to fit into just about any d

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