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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.)


    (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: Call us right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to help you get the job done. Leslie, have you been working on prepping your house for winter?

    LESLIE: Kind of.

    TOM: Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about this hour because …

    LESLIE: Yeah. I can’t even think about it.

    TOM: … it is definitely the time to get your house ready for cold weather and it definitely will be cold. In fact, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting colder-than-usual temperatures.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and they’re usually about 80 percent accurate, which is pretty good.

    TOM: Yeah, true. And the only thing more reliable than the Farmer’s Almanac is that oil and gas companies will definitely be raising their prices, too, going into the winter. The prices never go down; they always go up and a colder winter means more energy use.

    Did you know that the single most cost-effective measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency is simply to add insulation?

    LESLIE: And it sounds so simple.

    TOM: It is simple and we’re going to teach you how to do that. We’re going to teach you this hour how to make sure you have enough insulation and the right type to get the job done.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know another good way is to seal up all of those drafts to reduce your energy costs all around your house. You’ve got to start doing that right now. But there is one place that you do want a draft in your house this winter. In fact, you must keep it a drafty space if you want to keep the rest of your house warm. We’re going to tell you where that is in a little bit.

    TOM: We’re also going to talk to an expert later in the show on how to get your lawn ready for the winter freeze. There are a few things that you can do right now that will assure that you’ll have a healthy, green lawn come spring.

    LESLIE: And finally, to seal up the rest of the drafts in your home, we’re giving away a $200 prize pack from the folks at DAP. This is something that you absolutely need this time of year. You’re going to get enough caulk and weatherstripping to winterize your house and perhaps every neighbor on your block’s home too.

    TOM: So pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Bill in Maryland now, who is in the market for a new home. How can we help you?

    BILL: I’m thinking about buying a modular home and I was just trying to weigh the differences between a module and a stick-built home.

    TOM: OK.

    BILL: And that would be in three different categories: one would be cost, the next would be structural integrity and then the third being resale. And I just wondered …

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    BILL: … if you guys could help me out on that.

    TOM: Well, I think, first of all, that modular homes can be as well-built if not better built than conventional stick-built homes. The reason for that, Bill, is because they’re constructed in a factory where …

    LESLIE: In a controlled environment.

    TOM: Yeah, the quality is totally controlled. You know, they’re going to manufacture the wall exactly to what it needs to be without having to worry about weather and material fluctuations and things of this nature. Those modular companies also have, you know, very good buying power because they’re just buying a lot of lumber all at the same time; not just one house at a time but tens and hundreds of homes at a time. So I think the quality is really quite good.

    BILL: Great.

    LESLIE: And as far as resale value, I think modern homebuyers are really open to a good-quality home – good construction, energy efficiency – and if the home offers all of that, I don’t think it matters to them if it’s modular or stick-built as long as it meets the criteria for energy efficiency, carbon output; are we being environmentally conscious? I think it really does make, you know, good effort if the home is just well put-together, regardless of how it’s built.

    TOM: And Bill, I can tell you after being a home inspector for 20 years that very many times, I would inspect homes and I’d be the first one to tell the prospective homebuyer that it was a modular home. They’d have no idea because it’s just not that obvious.

    BILL: OK. Well, great. That helps a lot. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: I just like the idea of knowing that my sub-floor wasn’t like sitting out in a rainstorm for a month.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely.

    LESLIE: Time to go to the roof with Paulette in Tennessee. How can we help you?

    PAULETTE: Hi there. I just needed some information about buying a quality shingle or how to roof my home without blowing my top. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)

    TOM: OK.

    PAULETTE: I’d like to have something that has a guarantee …

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    PAULETTE: … that’s really good but I don’t want to over-pay.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, let’s start with how many layers of roofing shingles do you have on the home now, Paulette? How old is it?

    PAULETTE: The roof on there now is probably 30-years-old and there’s only one …

    TOM: It’s the original? Is that the original roof, then?

    PAULETTE: It has been replaced once but they took everything off the first time.

    TOM: OK. Now, how long do you think you’re going to be in this house, Paulette? Do you think it’s going to be more than 10 more years?

    PAULETTE: Yes, I do.

    TOM: OK. Then what I would recommend is that you, again, remove the old roofing shingles because – and the reason I ask you this is because if you put a second layer on, it tends to not last as long as the first layer did because of the added heat build-up that’s contained within that original layer. It tends to wear out the new shingle quicker because shingles are made from asphalt. There are oils involved and as the oil evaporates – the quicker it evaporates, the quicker the shingle dries out and starts to crack and not perform well. So I would recommend that you strip the original roof.

    In terms of the new shingle, it’s really going to depend on two things. Number one, it’s going to depend on what look you’re trying to achieve. If you want to, you know, get something that looks like, for example, a wood shingle or a clay tile, that’s called dimensional shingle. It’s made up of different layers. It’s very attractive but it’s more expensive. But if you want just a basic roof, you can have just a plain three-tab black shingle; they’re both going to last just as long.

    And the second thing is – and this is especially important on an older house – is to make sure you improve the ventilation. Typically, older homes don’t have enough roof ventilation and there’s a direct relationship between how long your roof lasts and how well your attic is ventilated. If you keep the attic as cool as possible, especially in a warm environment …

    LESLIE: The roof is going to last longer.

    TOM: Yeah, especially in a warm environment like Tennessee, the roof will last as long as possible.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and here is a home improvement question to ponder: what percent of our nation’s total energy production is spent heating and cooling our homes? Well, the answer is an astonishing 40 percent. That is greater than the amount of energy we spend in either transportation or industry.

    TOM: Yes. And do you also know what the single most cost-effective way is to reduce all of that greenhouse gas emission and increase energy efficiency that can save you lots of money in your home? We’re going to tell you, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And yes, it might be hard to believe but more energy is actually used to heat and cool our homes and buildings than is used to power our cars, our boats, our planes and our industry. Homes are really, really costly to run. And if you’d like to use less energy around your house, we’ve got some tips.

    You know, according to the experts at the McKinsey Global Institute, the single most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emission and hence, the energy it takes to run your house, is by adding insulation. The folks at Owens Corning make it easy and affordable for you to insulate your home and save some of those resources.

    You know, by properly insulating your home, you can raise your energy efficiency, enabling you to do more with less. It decreases your energy costs and your carbon footprint, all in one step.

    LESLIE: Now, how do you know exactly if you need more insulation in your house? Go up into your attic and this is the one place you’re going to see if it’s costing you money. All you need to do is take a quick peek up there. If your attic floor is insulated but the wood beams, you know, the joists are still visible, you probably don’t have enough insulation. But even if you can’t see your beams, that’s still no guarantee that you’ve got enough insulation up there.

    The best thing you can do is measure. To meet the Department of Energy’s recommendations for an R-value of up to 60 for attics, the experts at Owens Corning – they advised that attics have about 19 inches of fiberglass bat insulation or 22 inches of blown-in insulation.

    TOM: Learn more about energy efficiency and insulation at OwensCorning.com.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Sharon in Texas needs some help finding the right tool to get the job done. What can we do for you today?

    SHARON: Hi. Well, I was wondering what brand that you would recommend – a small, light battery or electric screwdriver for someone who’s not very strong. I like to do a lot of things around the house but I can’t hold, you know, one of the heavy screwdrivers because I’m disabled. So I was curious if there is a small one that would still be, you know, strong enough to do the job.

    LESLIE: You know, Sharon, this is the perfect time to find tools that are exceptionally lightweight but very, very powerful, with this whole lithium ion battery technology that has really flooded the market recently. We’re finding tools that just weigh a fraction of what they would weigh had they had a nickel cadmium batter prior to this lithium ion technology. And Ryobi has one; it’s a four-volt lithium ion screwdriver and it only weighs a pound but it packs a lot of power in that pound.

    SHARON: A four-volt and it’s one pound?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    SHARON: Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: You’re so welcome.

    TOM: And the lithium ion battery technology is great because it runs and runs and runs all the way the way through to the end; it doesn’t lose any charge if you just set it down for a while.

    SHARON: Oh, that’s great. Where would you recommend that I look for that?

    TOM: Any Home Depot has that product.

    SHARON: Home Depot? OK.

    TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.

    SHARON: Well, thank you so very much.

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

    LESLIE: Heading over to Illinois to chat with Larry about some doors. What can we do for you?

    LARRY: Hi there. She-whom-must-be-obeyed would like to redecorate the house. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)

    LESLIE: Let me guess – the Mrs.?

    LARRY: Yes. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Well, I think she’s got you pretty well-trained, Larry. (Leslie chuckles) How can we help ease the pain?

    LARRY: We celebrate our 41st anniversary tomorrow.

    TOM: Oh, congratulations.

    LARRY: Oh, yeah. She has got me trained.

    LESLIE: Congratulations.

    LARRY: Thank you. We live in Central Illinois. It’s humid in the summer and dry in the winter. We’re debating on fiberglass interior doors or wooden doors.

    TOM: OK.

    LARRY: What do you think?

    TOM: Well, the fiberglass doors today can look just look wooden doors and have a lot of structural advantages. Most importantly, they’re not going to swell, they’re not going to shift, they’re not going to twist and they stand up.

    LESLIE: You’re never going to have to sand it.

    TOM: Yeah. They’re not organic so they don’t really – the finishes don’t really wear off.

    LARRY: OK.

    TOM: So we really like fiberglass doors; not only for interior but especially for exterior because they’re much more energy-efficient.

    LARRY: Yeah. Well, I was – we got steel on both front and back there so – and she’s thinking about replacing the front door also, so …

    TOM: Yeah, I would take a look at the doors that are made by Therma-Tru, T-H-E-R-M-A-T-R-U.

    LARRY: OK.

    TOM: They’re actually one of our sponsors and they invented the fiberglass door many, many, many years ago; like 40 years ago, if I remember correctly.

    LARRY: Oh, OK.

    LESLIE: And they make really beautiful doors.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    LARRY: OK. Alrighty. We’ll take a look at them then.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    And that’s how he made it through 41 years, because he knows that he must obey his wife. (Leslie chuckles)

    LESLIE: I was like, ‘Good man. That’s a good man right there.’ (Tom chuckles)

    Steve in Texas needs some help with a decorative situation. What’s going on?

    STEVE: Well, we’ve been in this house for about 10 years. I’m sorry, the house was built 10 years ago; we’ve been in it four and my wife never liked the wallpaper in the bathroom. And the question is whether – and it’s in good shape; I mean it looks like it’s on there pretty good – whether or not to tear it off and paint or whether it’s easier to texture and paint. What’s your opinion on that?

    TOM: Well, you know, once you texture over it, you’re pretty much committed. I’d prefer to see you remove the wallpaper, if you possibly can. The best way to do that, especially if you have a lot of wallpaper is …

    LESLIE: It’s not as hard as you think.

    TOM: Yeah – is to rent a wallpaper steamer. Just go to a local tool rental house and rent a steamer and you can slowly but surely work that paper loose.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And then once you get it off, make sure you reprime all of those walls before you paint.

    LESLIE: And Steve, you might need to score the paper but especially if it’s a vinyl paper. You want to score it – you know, long, even strips. Don’t press too hard so you’re not cutting into the drywall behind but score the top of that paper so when you steam, that moisture can get behind it and help loosen the adhesive.

    LARRY: I got you.

    LESLIE: And then you can pull it away, section by section.

    LARRY: Great. Well, thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Kathy in Florida needs some help with a window problem. Tell us about the situation.

    KATHY: I have a house, a home in Florida, and I think maybe the windows lost their seal between the two panes of glass.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Do they look really foggy?

    KATHY: Yes. And what I’m wondering is – do you think it’d be more cost-effective to just replace the panes of glass or do you think I should replace the entire window?

    TOM: How old are the windows now, Kathy?

    KATHY: 14 years.

    TOM: Yep. Pretty old. I will tell you this, that the failed seal probably is not affecting your energy efficiency that’s much. It’s mostly to make it …

    LESLIE: It’s just a cosmetic issue, right?

    TOM: Yeah. It’s making it look pretty nasty but it’s probably not impacting efficiency. If you can’t stand the look of it, I would probably vote to replace the entire window and not just to try to replace the glass panes themselves because windows have become so much more energy-efficient today.

    You want to look for Energy Star-rated windows and I think that’s going to give you the best long-term solution here, because they’re going to be super-energy efficient and they’re not going to break down and you can enjoy them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Kathy, you’ll probably see a big savings in your cooling costs.

    KATHY: OK. What do you think would have created the break in the seal?

    TOM: What happens is that’s a wear-and-tear issue. There is an insulator between the panes of glass. It’s called different things; one of the most common types, if it looks sort of like a black, rubbery strip, it’s called swiggle.

    LESLIE: I love it.

    TOM: And it breaks down and it lets some moisture in from the outside and that moisture condenses inside the glass and that’s why it looks kind of foggy and cloudy and nasty-like.

    KATHY: Alright. Well, thank you. I had somebody tell me that it could be because we power-washed our windows. I didn’t want to make that same mistake again.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, no, no. No, no. You didn’t do it.

    KATHY: OK. (chuckles)

    TOM: No, you didn’t do it. Just normal wear and tear.

    KATHY: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

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

    Sure Kathy feels better now knowing that she didn’t cause her windows to fail. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: And it happens without rhyme or reason. We have a window that we put in five years ago, when we bought the house and it’s one of the windows – it’s like a full panel of casement windows …

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: … and one of them has failed.

    TOM: And all the others are fine.

    LESLIE: All the others are fine.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Brad in Alaska has got a bathroom project. How can we help?

    BRAD: Hi. Yeah, I’ve got a bath tub that if I tried to take it out, I’d have to destroy the wall taking it out. And I was wondering if there were any type of finishes that I could possibly put onto it; an epoxy or something like that, that I could just change the color with.

    TOM: Well, you can refinish a porcelain bathtub. The problem is that the finishes that are available – and they are epoxy-based finishes – are not as durable as the original porcelain because, of course, the technology is completely different. It’s not baked on. It’s air cure or it’s cured with a heat lamp, depending on the formulation. So you can change the color. It will look good for a while but it’s kind of like – I’d say a five to seven-year finish and even amongst that time you may get some chipping.

    Another possibility is what’s called a bath insert, where they make sort of like a skin that fits inside the bathtub and surrounds it and that’s fairly expensive but probably just a little bit less expensive than tearing the whole thing out and I’m certain that that price structure is designed to bring it in there just short of the demolition but that’s another way to do it. Basically, it fits inside the tub and it’s custom made and the only complaint I have about that is that the inserts are pretty thick; usually about a half-inch thick, so your tub ends up being that much more narrow when you’re done.

    BRAD: OK.

    LESLIE: There’s actually a good website that’s – it’s called TubbyUSA.com and they sell a product that’s really a series of many products and many processes and many steps but it does give you a somewhat really durable and good-looking finished product for the bath. But keep in mind, like Tom says, it’s not going to last as long as you want it to.

    BRAD: OK, then. Well, then maybe I should reconsider and I’ll look up Tubby.com and see what’s on there but I thank you for your time.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Brad. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit and now that we are into fall – that’s right, it is official – wouldn’t it be a great if you had a place where you could easily store away all your lawn chairs and summer toys – everything that you’ve got from the summer season? Well, now you can, especially if you win an 8×10 shed from Lifetime Products, which are worth almost 1,200 bucks. We’ve got your chance to win that plus hundreds of other prizes, including a $5,000 cash grand prize.

    All you’ve got to do is enter My Home, My Money Pit’s Adventure Game and Sweepstakes today at MoneyPit.com

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, getting your lawn ready to survive winter so it comes back lush and green in the spring? We’ll tell you what to do, after this.

    (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: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And about now, you’ve weeded, you’ve watered and you’ve worked that lawn. Well, don’t stop now; there are actually a few crucial steps that you can take this fall that will make a big difference in how your lawn lasts all winter long.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And what it’ll look like when it comes back in the spring.

    TOM: Most importantly. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: Exactly. So here to tell us exactly what we should be doing right now to keep our lawn looking lush come springtime, we’ve got Rob Rogan from Sta-Green products.

    Welcome, Rob.

    ROB: Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

    LESLIE: So it’s not just cross your fingers and hope it grows back and looks lovely come springtime?

    ROB: Oh, no. There’s absolutely some things you can do to prepare your yard for winter that will actually help your yard look better in the spring.

    LESLIE: And is this something that’s universal, regardless of where you are in the country? Is it sort of similar steps?

    ROB: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean pretty much throughout the country you can follow these steps and get some great results; not only in the wintertime but also in the spring.

    TOM: Well, let’s start with fertilization. Is that something that you need to do in the fall and why is fall the right time to do that?

    ROB: Fall is a great time to actually fertilize your yard because when it gets cold, your grass will stop growing. However, your roots will continue to develop so it’s very important to give your grass the nutrients it needs to continue that root development. And Sta-Green Winterizer is a great product to use; it will give your grass the nutrients it needs over the wintertime, which will also help your grass green up bigger and stronger in the spring.

    TOM: Now, what about the phosphorus, though, that’s in the fertilizers. We hear a lot about phosphorus runoff and that kind of being a problem with water quality.

    ROB: Oh, well, actually the Sta-Green products actually do not have phosphorus in them anymore. We removed the phosphorus content out about a year ago now and our fertilizers are phos-free so you don’t have to worry about the runoff from the phosphorus from the Sta-Green fertilizers.

    TOM: That’s fantastic.

    LESLIE: Yeah, because a lot of people are so concerned and everybody wants to be green. You know, in addition to having a green lawn, they want to be environmentally friendly. Now, what about weeds? I mean, do we generally – I see dandelions coming up; I see lots of grassy, weedy things growing up on the lawn in the fall.

    ROB: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: Does it make sense to weed now or just let them die off in the winter?

    ROB: Oh, absolutely the fall is – actually, the fall is a better time to treat your weeds than actually what the spring is. Most of your selective herbicides work while the weeds are actively growing and there’s many weeds that don’t come out of dormancy until later on in the spring. And if you apply your herbicide a little early in the spring, you can possibly miss those weeds.

    Pretty much all your weeds are going to be actively growing in the fall time. So treating your weeds with Spectracide Weed Stop is a great idea for the fall. It will eliminate the weeds you have now in the fall and also those weeds you have now will germinate and create new seeds after that.

    LESLIE: Oh, so you’ll have more come springtime.

    ROB: That’s right. So they’ll produce more seeds that will germinate in the spring so in the spring, you’ll actually have more weeds than you did in the fall if you don’t treat them now.

    TOM: We’re talking to Rob Rogan – he’s the Business Director of Sta-Green Products and an expert in lawn care – about how to make sure your lawn is properly taken care of this fall so it comes back good and green in the spring.

    Let’s talk about the bugs and the insects that are in the lawn. One of the things I’ve been noticing lately in my lawn, Rob – and it only has been sort of in the back half of the season – that we’re getting a lot more moles that are making their way through that ground. And I’m sure they’re looking for the bugs since that’s what they feed on. How do we control those insects?

    ROB: During the fall, a lot of people overlook insects because – what generally happens is once temperatures start to cool down, the bug population will diminish somewhat. So a lot of people will overlook this and what will happen a lot of times, as you mentioned, you’ll get a few bugs in your yard and the moles will come in and be looking for food. Also, bugs have a tendency in the fall or the wintertime to want to move into sheltered areas …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ROB: … such as your home.

    LESLIE: Hurray.

    ROB: So I highly recommend – I highly recommend treating your home with a perimeter-type treatment such as Spectracide Triazicide to keep those bugs out and to also eliminate any food sources for the moles.

    TOM: And finally, now I guess is the right time to reseed – and I learned this when we actually did a total restoration of our lawn – because the roots have a chance to really, really grow and grab hold and then the lawn will really be that much further along when it comes in in the spring, correct?

    ROB: That is absolutely correct. And not only that but if you go ahead and fill in those bare spots that you may have now, it’ll give the weeds less opportunity to grow in the spring because they’ll have less space to germinate any new weeds. And with the temperature cooling down – and historically, in most areas of the country, you’re going to get more moisture in the fall – it creates the perfect opportunity to put down some seed to really get that yard very strong and healthy before the winter and then also a very strong and healthy yard in the spring.

    TOM: Rob Rogan with Sta-Green. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. If you’d like more information on Sta-Green, you can go to their website. It’s Sta, S-T-A-Green.com.

    Thanks, Rob.

    ROB: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright, Rob. Thanks for sharing that. Now at least I know my lawn will come back nice and green come springtime. Well, now that we are in fall and you are getting for a chilly winter, did you know that a drafty attic can actually mean a warmer home for you? We’re going to tell you all about that, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $200 prize package from DAP that includes all the caulk and weatherstripping you need to seal up your home for the winter. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. We’ll toss your name into The Money Pit hard hat and you may get that prize to seal up your house for the season.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, sealing up your home is a good idea, whether you win the prize pack or not because reducing all the drafts around your house – it’s a good idea. But a buttoned-up attic is a bad idea. You know, your attic – it’s the one place in your home that must remain drafty if you want to keep the rest of your house warm this winter season.

    Drafty attics – this is how you flush all of that moisture out of the insulation in your home and even slightly damp insulation in your attic is going to lose as much as one-third of its ability to insulate your home. So a well-ventilated attic is going to reduce moisture, make your insulation more effective and then keep your entire home warmer this winter season.

    TOM: That’s right. Drafty house – bad; drafty attic – good.

    888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to help Bruce in Illinois close a door that’s giving him a hard time. Tell us about what’s going on at your money pit?

    BRUCE: My problem relates to the corner of the house, which has settled somewhat. The result is that the front door is hard to open and close and there’s a little crack in the wall.

    TOM: If the door has shifted that much – now, is this a wood door that you could – that you could trim or is it a metal door?

    BRUCE: It is a wood door.

    TOM: OK. Well, I mean, there are two things you can do. You can either rehang the door or you could cut the door.

    BRUCE: Yeah.

    TOM: If I find that there’s significant movement, sometimes the easiest way to solve this is to pull the outside trim off the door, take a recirculating saw or reciprocating saw, cut the hardware – usually nails that are going through the floor, through the side of the door jamb – into the stud itself and then rehang the door.

    It’s not an easy project; it’s not something I recommend for a do-it-yourselfer but it’s something a carpenter, you know, could do in an hour or two and have that door working perfectly, because it sounds like you’re fighting it and you adjust it a little bit but then it seems to swell up again or gets stuck again. If it’s that bad, you might just want to rehang it.

    BRUCE: Good. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Going over to Florida with Lenore who wants to talk floors. What can we do for you?

    LENORE: Well, I have two questions. One is I had heard something about putting car wax on ceramic tile to make it look better or prettier and keep it from staining. Have you heard – is there anything to that?

    TOM: No. And what that’s going to do is make it super-slippery and pretty dangerous.

    LESLIE: Yeah, make you slip and fall. (Lenore chuckles)

    TOM: The only use for car wax inside your house that we’ve recommended is sometimes on shower doors. You can use them on the inside of shower doors and other fiberglass surfaces like that.

    LENORE: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: Which helps the water bead up …

    LENORE: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: … so it doesn’t sort of sit there and cause water stains.

    TOM: But if you do that you have to be careful not to put it on the tub surface, of course, because of the same reason.

    LENORE: You’d slip.

    TOM: It’s super slippery.

    LENORE: OK. And then the other question, we had put this polyurethane over our hardwood floors and it scratches, so I was wondering is there anything – any kind of wax or something you could put over the polyurethane to kind of protect it?

    TOM: Yeah. Certainly you can use a floor wax on that, which gives it protection and is not slippery at the same time. The best way to do that is with a floor buffer. If you don’t have one, you can rent one; they’re pretty inexpensive. And that will buff the floor wax into the surface and shine it at the same time. It’ll protect the floor and leave it looking great; sort of buff those scratches right out.

    LENORE: OK. Well, thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Jumping into the shower with D.J. in Colorado. What can we do for you?

    D.J.: I have a plan to remodel our bathroom. We’ve had continual problems with leaking out of the shower and that could very well be because of the tolerance (ph) or lack of between the door and the stall. It has a concrete base. The sub-floor has been damaged, so we’re going to have to replace that. My interest is in getting the best type of shower stall and not one of those that creaks every time you step in it.

    TOM: First of all, I presume you’re going to tear this all out.

    D.J.: Yes.

    TOM: If you’re going to put in a fiberglass shower stall, that’s fine but the trick is to set it in concrete. You get a bag of like Quick Set, mix it up …

    D.J.: Right.

    TOM: … and while it’s wet, you press the pan in place. That takes up all of the flex that could be underneath this and stops all of the creak.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You’re creaking because you have an uneven floor surface below the shower pan itself.

    D.J.: Yeah. Well, I don’t have that now but I don’t want it either.

    TOM: Yeah, that will solve it.

    D.J.: Yeah. OK. Very good.

    TOM: Alright. Just one back of QUIKRETE.

    D.J.: Alright. Thank you much.

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

    Alright. It’s time for your water heater I.Q. test, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Okie-dokes.

    TOM: Well, not so much yours, but if you have a traditional tank water heater, did you know that that water heater is dumb? (Leslie chuckles)

    LESLIE: Don’t insult its intelligence.

    TOM: Well, I will, because you know why? The way a tanked water heater works, it essentially keeps your water hot whether you’re using it or not. And if that’s the kind of water heater that you have and you’re thinking that it might be time for a new one, you really ought to take a look at tankless hot water heaters. These are very energy-efficient appliances that heat water as you need it instead of 40 gallons at a time, like a traditional water heater, and it’s also much smarter because it saves energy, money and it’s much more convenient, because you’ll never, ever run out of hot water with a tankless water heater.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And if you find yourself in the middle of a bathroom renovation or you’re thinking about doing a bathroom remodel, tankless units, they’re a perfect option. I mean, they’re so much smaller than their traditional counterparts, which makes them perfect for installing right near your bathrooms where, when you want hot water, it’s just one turn of a faucet away. It gets there quickly and it will always be there when you want it. Visit a great website; it’s SmarterHotWater.com. Tons of information there.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, drafty doors; they are a big waste of energy. We’re going to tell you how to seal those up, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Hot Shot. Hot Shot Home Insect Control Clear Formula protects your home from insects indoors for up to nine months. This clear, no-odor, non-staining formula packs a powerful punch against roaches, ants and other insects. Hot Shot. It’s your home, not theirs. Available at Lowe’s. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and here is a trendy word of the season, which I found really surprising and I just actually saw it today on a circular: falloween. Have you heard of this, Tom?

    TOM: Falloween.

    LESLIE: It’s so crazy. Falloween – that’s the name that retailers are giving the shopping season which starts with back-to-school and ends right around Thanksgiving. It’s smack dab in the middle – we’ve got Halloween, which we all love.

    So in our next Money Pit e-newsletter, we are going to have some Halloween safety tips for your child’s custom. Before you go shopping for it, make sure you sign up for our e-newsletter at MoneyPit.com today so you can make sure that you’ve got everybody safely dressed for this Halloween season.

    TOM: And while you’re there, head on over to the Ask Tom and Leslie section and send us an e-mail, just like Liz did from Salt Lake City who says: ‘We’ve got an old, sliding-glass door leading out to the backyard. They are from 1952.’ Well, I bet they’re not in good shape, Liz.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I bet they’re not energy-efficient either.

    TOM: She says, ‘One is cracked. We need to replace the whole thing. What is the best insulated, sliding-glass doors on the market today and what do we need to be careful about when refitting these new sliding glass fixtures?’

    Well, first of all, you want to make sure you buy one that’s the same size as the old one because trying to modify that opening in the back wall is a big job. I would tell you to look into the new fiberglass-based sliding-glass doors. Therma-Tru makes a really, really good one because I’ve seen these things tested and they can actually bend before they break. They’re really, really energy-efficient and they hold back lots and lots of water. You’re going to find that the new systems really are systems, Liz, in that all of these pieces work together to really lock those glass panels so tightly together that nothing gets through – no bugs, no water, no air. And I think fiberglass is the way to do that because fiberglass is also about five times more energy-efficient than wood.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And they look gorgeous, so hopefully this helps you find a beautiful, new door for your lovely home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Good luck with that project, Liz.

    TOM: Well, when you think about decorating your house, you usually have to be prepared for large expenses, but that’s not always the case. Cheap and easy are always good when it comes to decorating and Leslie has got the lowdown on how to create a luxurious look with inexpensive tables, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create beautiful furnishings. In fact, simple and inexpensive tables can be converted to rich, fine furnishings by adding a new top. All you have to do is head to your favorite store, like Ikea, and buy a small Parsons table. Then, you add a fabulous stone top to the top of it and it really looks gorgeous.

    All you have to do is go to your local stone supplier, have a piece cut to fit the little table that you buy and if you want, let that stone edge overhang the original top of the table by, say, an inch or so on all the sides. It really gives it a nice, finished look plus it kind of hide the existing top on the table that you’ve bought, for a little bit of money.

    And if you go to a flower center or a home center and you find some really large, beautiful, tree-size flower pots, you can use those to make great table bases. You can use one with a circular top for maybe a dining table or two of those bases with a long top for a wall table, where you can display all of your collectibles or family photos.

    Be creative when you’re heading to the home center or any place where you see a big sale and you can end up with a beautiful, inexpensive table.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next week on the program, if you have 30 minutes, you’ve got enough time to tackle some simple home-maintenance projects that really have to be done to protect your biggest investment. We’re going to give you 30 ideas for things that you can do under 30 minutes, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2008 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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