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  • Transcript

    (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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We want to grant you independence from those home improvement chores with the right ideas, the tips, the tools that you need to get that project done around your house. You like the 4th of July reference, Leslie?
    LESLIE: I do. (chuckles)
    TOM: See that? I thought about that. I wrote that one myself.
    LESLIE: You were planning it.
    TOM: I was.
    LESLIE: You were really saving it for this time of year.
    TOM: All week long. (Leslie chuckles) Can only use it once a year. (Tom laughs)
    LESLIE: Well, make sure you don’t forget it for next year.
    TOM: Well, we will give you advice that will last you more than once a year if you pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because, coming up this hour, we’ve got tips to help you take your deck to the next level with outdoor décor that will make that space homey, comfortable and relaxing.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead, did you know that 500 fires a year are started by gas grills? And I don’t mean the ones that you start to actually cook your meal on; I mean accidental fires. So we are going to share with you some grill safety tips that will help you enjoy your outdoor space safely; that’s the key word.
    TOM: And if you pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, and if you have the courage to ask your home improvement question, we will toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat for a chance at winning an electric dethatcher from Agri-Fab worth 220 bucks that can help you get your yard back in tiptop shape; especially if you let that go just a bit too long this summer and maybe you got a lot of grass, a lot of weeds. You can thatch it out and start all over again just in time to plant a brand new lawn for the fall. So give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Let’s get to it.
    LESLIE: Bill in Michigan is calling in with some kitchen guidance. What can we do for you?
    BILL: Yes, I’m just getting ready to start a remodeling job and I was …
    TOM: OK.
    BILL: We’re looking at knocking out the existing wall in between the kitchen and the dining room, trying to make more room.
    TOM: OK.
    BILL: So is that something that we should do? And we’re looking at resale.
    TOM: So you want to – you have two separate rooms now. You have a kitchen and dining room and you want to consider creating one room that basically encompasses both spaces.
    BILL: Exactly. And both rooms are very small, so that’s the problem.
    TOM: Yeah.
    BILL: The dining room is almost too small. The kitchen is almost too small. Getting rid of that in-between wall and we’re hoping that’s going to make a more usable space.
    LESLIE: Is there anything on that in-between wall that would then hinder your kitchen operation? By taking away that wall, are you losing valuable countertop space …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Cabinet space.
    LESLIE: … cabinets, appliances?
    BILL: No, it’s a blank wall as far away from the sink as possible. And then there’s a little, small doorway that goes into the dining room.
    TOM: Right.
    BILL: The dining room is kind of – I don’t know. I want to say it’s maybe 10×10; something like that.
    LESLIE: OK. Now …
    TOM: Well, could you take that wall and cut it down in half and …?
    LESLIE: Yeah, make like a pass-through.
    TOM: Right, and kind of have it look all wide and open but you still sort of retain that sort of official dining room space?
    LESLIE: I feel like you’re going to be sad if you take that wall away and now you’re sitting down to a formal family dinner and you’re looking at the kitchen.
    BILL: (chuckles) Well, (inaudible at 0:04:10.7).
    TOM: Yeah, the other question that I would have too is it really depends – you’re really asking a house value question and, really, it’s going to depend as much on what else is available in the neighborhood. If you know any realtors, that might be a good question to ask them because they see a lot of houses. And I tend to think that a bigger, more functional kitchen is going to outweigh a dining room every day.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    BILL: Alright.
    TOM: But if you don’t have a functional kitchen or a functional dining room, in this case, I think that I would probably just go for the kitchen.
    BILL: OK. Yeah, the contractor has come and he sent us two different plans, with and without that wall, and we’ve got to make a hard decision here coming up; so I was hoping that you guys could give me some valuable insight and you have. So thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Patricia in Wisconsin needs some advice about water saving. What can we do for you?
    PATRICIA: Well, I have a toilet that is leaking water around the inside of the stool. I know it’s not coming out of the tank because I’ve put color dye in the tank and the water stays the same through …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. So the bowl is leaking itself.
    PATRICIA: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: OK. So the reason that would happen is because you have a bad seal underneath it.
    TOM: And that’s called a wax seal. It kind of looks like a big, wax donut. And …
    PATRICIA: Right.
    LESLIE: And it does break down over time and get compressed and not function as well as it used to.
    TOM: So basically, what you need to do – or have a plumber do – is disconnect the water lines and unbolt the toilet from the floor and basically lift it up; clean off the old wax seal and put in a new one; and then press it back down. And the wax seal is pretty thick and as you press the toilet in place, it sort of squishes out and creates a new seal. So get the old one off and do a good job of cleaning it off. It looks pretty disgusting, I will tell you, but it’s just wax. It’s dark, black, gooey wax but it’s just wax. (Leslie chuckles) So you need to clean that off.
    And sometimes it’s a good idea also to replace the bolts that hold it down to the floor at the same time. But there’s one thing very important to remember and that is, when you do replace the toilet, don’t over-tighten the bolts because people tend to do that and toilets crack very, very easily. You only have to make it snug. Essentially, a toilet stays in place based on its own weight. It doesn’t really get bolted to the floor, so to speak; so just make them snug and then just fight the urge to make that one additional turn. Because otherwise you may crack the base.
    PATRICIA: OK, well that sounds great.
    TOM: Alright, Patricia. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question. Whatever you are working on, we are happy and thrilled to actually lend a hand and help you tackle that job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, we’ve got tips and tricks for decorating your outdoor room. We’ll help you make that space something that you can enjoy all season long.
    (theme song)
    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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller we talk to on the air during today’s show is going to win a dethatcher from Agri-Fab. This is a no-gas, no-oil dethatching solution perfect for small and mid-size lawns because it’s basically a plug-and-play. You simply plug it into an extension cord and away you go because there are 40 stainless steel tines that will beat down those matted layers of thatch to the surface and give you a great space to start a new lawn all over again. It’s worth $220, so give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    LESLIE: Alright, well once you get that yard looking really fantastic – because a lawn truly is a wonderful setting for creating what we are seeing to just be the hugest-growing trend every summer season and 2010 has showed us that it really is a trend that’s here to stay and I’m talking about the creation of an outdoor room.
    Now outdoor living and entertaining, it really has opened up a whole, new range of possibilities for outdoor décor. And when it does come time to decorate or design your outdoor room, I should say, anything goes really. And you know what? It’s not hard to find furniture, accessories, even plantings that will make the space a true extension of your home styles.
    Now when it comes to selecting the planters, you want to look for planters that are in interesting shapes; colors; beautiful, deep glazes. Sort of pick one tone or one accent color and kind of stick through that throughout the entire space. Now this can also work on your accessories or even with plantings for a beautiful container garden. And we have these wonderful, ceramic, sort of huge planters in our backyard and they’re in this gorgeous turquoise and I sort of have picked that up in a cushion that’s in my outdoor seating area. So kind of balance it this way.
    And you also want to make sure that when it comes to planting your outdoor room, you want to make sure that you include lighting. Now, hardwired lighting, it can actually illuminate your garden, your trees, your house. It really sheds a ton of light on your nighttime activities. It can add a layer of security. You can add some motion sensor lighting. But if you create this wonderful lighting in your outdoor space, you can highlight a tree or an arbor or do a light up in a tree that’s cast down as if it’s almost moonlighting. There’s a lot of ways to make this outdoor space really look wonderful.
    Now when it comes to furnishings, you want to think about weather-resistant fabrics. You also want to look at weather-resistant materials for that furniture to actually be made out of. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money. I did a partnership with Sears/Kmart at the beginning of the summer season and I was just thrilled and amazed to see these outdoor furnishings at a really affordable price point that looked fantastic, was on par with design with the manufacturers that charge way more, and they were made from weather-resistant materials. You don’t want to put something outside that you’re going to worry about if a storm cloud rolls by. Look for synthetic resin that looks like wicker; look for metal; look for sling fabric. All of those are fast-drying and can withstand the elements.
    TOM: Absolutely. And if you want a weather-resistant deck, you might want to consider composite decking. In fact, Fiberon’s Horizon composite decking line includes lots of cool looks like Ipe and rosewood and there are definitely advantages to using composites over natural woods; including, of course, extremely low-maintenance.
    Now this Fiberon product has a surface called Perma-Tech on it which is very resistant to stains, fading, mold and scratches as well as termites and rot. In fact, it’s so durable that it’s got the industry’s longest warranty, which is 20 years. It’s a 20-year stain-and-fade-resistant warranty.
    If you want more information on that particular product – both Leslie and I have used the product and really think it’s terrific – you want to go to …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, and it’s gorgeous.
    TOM: You want to go to FiberonDecking.com. That’s FiberonDecking.com.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now if an outdoor room is on your to-do list. We’re here to help. The number, again, 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got David on the line who’s dealing with a driveway versus a tree scenario. Tell us what’s going on?
    DAVID: Thanks for taking my call, you guys. Yeah, the house was built in 1974 and I’m sure the driveway was probably poured the same time. So it’s a concrete driveway and the problem I’m having is I’ve got beautiful oak trees all along that line the driveway but the driveway is starting to get some buckles, starting to get some cracks. The worst places I’ve fixed and there’s no possible way I can match the concrete, so I’m getting this checkerboard – checkerboard is probably a kind word (Tom chuckles); just real nasty-looking pattern. I don’t know where I should go from here; if I need to replace the driveway, which I don’t have the money to do, or is there some other alternative that I could be looking at.
    TOM: Do you like your trees?
    DAVID: I do. (Tom chuckles) Yeah, that’s really not part of the scenario and that was part of the (inaudible at 0:12:12.4).
    TOM: Yeah, this is the price you pay. This is the price you pay. I mean look, you can keep trying to seal it and fill it and repair it and patch it but it’s just going to look worse and worse and worse and eventually you’re going to want to just replace it.
    You know, if you do replace it, you might want to think about – you love the trees; it’s going to continue to keep happening. You might want to think about just replacing it with paver bricks because you can take apart your driveway every few years when the roots get crazy and cut them down a bit and then basically put it all back together again the same way you took it apart.
    DAVID: Alright, well thank you guys so much. I greatly, greatly appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Estelle from New Jersey on the line who’s got a brick question. What can we do for you?
    ESTELLE: Yes, I have a 1937 Victorian-style duplex and I’ve had it about four-and-a-half years and it has a red, clay, brick basement.
    TOM: Oh, that’s pretty.
    ESTELLE: Every time I go down there, there’s powder on my shoes that tracks the carpet and it’s sort of powdering off and there are piles of red clay dust in corners.
    TOM: Yeah, that’s probably mostly efflorescence. You may be getting some moisture that’s getting into those walls and it could be freezing and spawling a little bit at the same time.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: And so that’s kind of what you’re seeing. And I would address the moisture issues on the outside of your house first.
    LESLIE: Yeah, Estelle, that’s really easy to tackle. You want to make sure that the house has gutters and that they’re clean and that the downspouts are free-flowing. And you want to look at where those downspouts deposit the water. You want to make sure that it’s not just hitting right next to the foundation wall. You want to go out three feet or more, if you can. You want to look at the grading around the perimeter of your house; make sure it slopes away from the house. Just by maintaining those things, you’ll see a much drier basement.
    Now Tom, can she use a vapor permeable sort of coating or painting; you know, a clear coat on top of that brick on the interior?
    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. You could use a Thompson’s WaterSeal or a product like that. And what that does is that will help seal in any looseness on the surface but also help prevent some of the normal evaporation of moisture through those walls and out.
    ESTELLE: Oh, OK. That sounds great.
    TOM: But you can’t do one without the other. You really need to start with the drainage issues first, OK?
    ESTELLE: OK. That’s great.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project, Estelle. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Dan in Texas is calling to rub it in that he’s got a pool. (Tom laughs) What can we do for you?
    DAN: Yeah. I’ve got a pool that’s like 20 years old and back when it was built I guess it was fashionable to put AstroTurf around it.
    TOM: I see. (laughs)
    DAN: And now there are patches of AstroTurf which look like it was laid in concrete that I just can’t get up.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, man. Wow. So the AstroTurf is what, like embedded into the concrete?
    DAN: Yeah, it looks like they just – they put down a thin layer of some kind of crete or plaster or something and then laid the AstroTurf on it.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Wow, hmm.
    LESLIE: How 1970s.
    TOM: Yeah, I’m thinking a jackhammer is in your future, dude. (Tom and Dan chuckle)
    DAN: Well, it may be and I thought about just replacing the whole pool deck but I didn’t know if there was something out there that could get this stuff up. It’s not a conventional adhesive. I’ve tried adhesive dissolvers on it and it doesn’t do any good.
    TOM: Well, let me ask you a question. Is it just like more of the glue that’s there or is there actual sort of like fabric from the old …?
    DAN: There’s still some AstroTurf there; I mean the remnants of AstroTurf, anyway.
    TOM: Hmm. Because if it was smooth and it was just a glue, I was thinking that you may be able to coat the whole thing with an epoxy patching compound like an epoxy trowel surface.
    LESLIE: Like to level it?
    TOM: Yeah, to level it out and cover it over.
    LESLIE: Is there any way to build a – not a deck where you’re thinking of something high around it but wood up around it to create sort of like a wood or a composite decking.
    DAN: It’s an inground pool and the coping stone is level with the concrete decking around it so …
    LESLIE: Hmm.
    TOM: I know what you’re thinking, Leslie. If you use like Fiberon or something like that on the flat?
    LESLIE: Yeah, you can use that on the flat and – I mean I’m assuming it’s an inground pool, which is – I’m glad for you; I’m jealous. (Tom chuckles)
    DAN: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Not that I have pool envy. OK, I do. But yeah, I’ve seen where you can put wood right up onto maybe a brick edger that’s coved so it sort of creates a new stepper into the pool, so it goes brick up to this wood decking; which actually looks really pretty and you can put it on the diamond, you can do an interesting herringbone pattern with this and it creates a new surface and that could be something that could go right on top of that mish-mosh.
    TOM: Except that …
    LESLIE: And of course you don’t have to worry about weeds growing up through it.
    TOM: Except that I wouldn’t use wood; I would use composite.
    LESLIE: Yeah, composite, definitely.
    DAN: Yeah. That spot …
    TOM: Yeah, it’ll stand up really nicely.
    DAN: Alright.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, that’s an option. A jackhammer is the option and if you can get rid of the AstroTurf itself, you could coat the whole thing with an epoxy coating.
    DAN: Yeah, and that’s just what I really wanted to do if I could get rid of the AstroTurf.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: You know what? If you want some inspiration for the decking idea, go to FiberonDecking.com. I think there are a couple of photos of an instance where they’ve done just that.
    DAN: OK. FiberonDecking.com. OK, I’ll check it out.
    TOM: Dan, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Harrietta who needs some help sprucing up some siding. What can we do for you?
    HARRIETTA: My home is 53 years old. It’s cedar siding and we’ve used res stain on it throughout the years. Recently, the house has been molding and he puts Clorox on it and then puts a stain on it. Now he wants to put a flat paint on it and I wondered if that’s advisable; if that’s the way to go or do you have some suggestions.
    TOM: Well, typically, here’s how you would finish cedar siding. You would use an oil-based primer and you would prime it first. And then you would use a solid-color exterior stain on top of that. And done correctly, you could probably get five to seven years easy out of a properly-applied staining process like that. In terms of the ongoing maintenance, pressure-washing the house once a year or once every couple of years should be enough to take off the surface dirt and any mold or mildew that is left behind. But you shouldn’t have to do it any more frequently than that.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and with the pressure washer, you can use a house-cleaning product like Jomax mixed right into the pressure washer to help sort of scrub away that mold that might be giving you a hard time.
    HARRIETTA: Oh, great. Thank you. Thank you so much.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Well, one home improvement – and this, unfortunately, happens to be a regular home improvement, if you can consider cleaning your bathroom a home improvement.
    TOM: I certainly hope it’s a regular home improvement.
    LESLIE: Ugh! (Tom chuckles) It’s the worst. I absolutely hate that chore when it comes to my weekly cleaning. Well, up next, if you’re like me and hate cleaning the bathroom, I’m going to share some information with you on a new spot-resistant faucet that will take some of the work out of this dreaded chore. I can’t promise you it’s going to make everything better but it’ll make it at least a little bit more tolerable, so stick around.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Well, as homeowners, we all find lots of things to complain about when it comes to our money pits. And I feel that the biggest complaint, no doubt, by far, has got to be with your kitchen and bathroom faucets and that has to be keeping them clean. No sooner have you wiped up all of those fingerprints and those toothpaste spots – come on, admit it; we all get them on there – you clean them and then they’re right back there.
    Well, there’s actually a new faucet in town and it resists spots and fingerprints and it’s very easy to wipe clean.
    TOM: Here to tell us more about the new technology is Kevin Campbell from Moen.
    Kevin, Moen has always been on the cutting edge of new products. What prompted this one?
    KEVIN: Well, what it is with finishes in this industry – and we’ve seen a rapid growth with alternative finishes and that’s exciting and we’re all over it – one of the concerns that we’ve seen from the consumers in the marketplace is that with the stainless steel finish that’s become so popular over the last few years, is that it’s difficult to clean and it’s difficult to keep clean. So if you think about fingerprints and water spots, as great as that stainless steel appliance looks and as great as those stainless steel faucets look, they’re difficult to keep clean.
    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. And stainless steel is such a beautiful look, but no sooner do you get it in your house than it kind of gets gunked up and it becomes a constant chore to take care of.
    KEVIN: And that’s one of the things that we hear most often from our consumers is, “As much as we love that finish, there is more maintenance that comes with it.” So what we developed is a new finish that we’re calling the Spot Resist finish and this is available on stainless steel and brushed nickel faucets.
    LESLIE: Oh, very nice.
    KEVIN: And it resists fingerprints and it resists water spots. So as you touch the product and you use the product or water drips on the faucet, this will resist and provide a very, very clean-looking appearance for a long time.
    LESLIE: Now Kevin, when it comes to sort of keeping up the look, do I have to use any special products to clean it; do I need to be extra careful or can I just go ahead and do my normal cleaning routine?
    KEVIN: Do your normal cleaning. I mean literally use a soft cloth, mild soap; rinse it with some warm water; dry it with a clean cloth. The last thing you want to use is any kind of harsh chemicals or any of those – Soft Scrub; those types of things are not necessary with this finish. Literally wipe it clean and anything that’s on there is easy to come off.
    TOM: We’re talking to Kevin Campbell – he is with Moen; he’s the director of retail marketing – about a new product that they have; actually, a new finish called the Spot Resist finish that helps you spend a little bit more time enjoying your house, a little less time cleaning those two potentially dirtiest rooms of the house – the kitchen and the bathroom.
    Kevin, is this sort of built into the faucet? Is there a wear factor here? Does it have to be updated at any point in time? What’s the technology behind this?
    KEVIN: Not at all. The way this works is that traditional stainless that is in the marketplace today has very small, almost grooves that come with the brushing. And these spaces actually attract oil and water and they rest inside those very tiny grooves. And that makes them show up much more apparent on the finish. It also makes them more difficult to clean because as you wipe off the finish, you’re not getting in the very tiny grooves. This is a technology that provides a coating right over the top of the finish that resists and then ultimately makes it cleaner to wipe clean.
    LESLIE: Hmm, that sounds amazing. If only it were available in a bottle and I could put it on my already-dingy brushed nickel faucet. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
    KEVIN: I agree, I agree.
    TOM: So what products is this going to be available on, Kevin? Is it going to be available across the entire Moen line?
    KEVIN: It is. This is going to start launching in July of this year and we’re going to see this not only on the higher-end faucets and not only in a certain category, but we’re going to see it on all products. We’re going to see it in the kitchen; we’re going to see in the bathroom; we’re going to see it in tub/showers. So it’s going to be available really for any application.
    TOM: Interesting. Now, do you think this is an application that we might start to see in other products like …
    LESLIE: Like on appliances?
    TOM: Yeah.
    KEVIN: Yeah. If you look out there, it is something that you’re starting to see. If you look for appliances in another area, another category where this finish is growing tremendously but has the same issue – where it’s kind of a hands-on product – you’re starting to see this spot-resistant technology appear in the marketplace and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.
    TOM: Fantastic.
    Kevin Campbell from Moen, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on the Spot Resist brushed nickel and classic stainless finishes now available.
    If you’d like more information on the Spot Resist finishes from Moen, you can visit their website at Moen.com or give them a call at 1-800-BUY-MOEN. That’s 1-800-BUY-MOEN.
    LESLIE: Alright, well now that we’ve got you not so much hating cleaning your bathroom, when we come back we’re going to share with you some safety tips about your gas grill. It’s not as easy as you think to just fire it up and go. We are going to share tips with you to make sure that your propane tank is up to snuff, so stick around.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.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 and you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller that we talk to on air during today’s show is going to win a great prize, especially for you lazy home improvers out there who haven’t done anything to your lawn (Tom chuckles) now that we are in the middle of the summer season. We are giving away a dethatcher from Agri-Fab. I don’t know why I have the hardest time saying that.
    Now, it’s a no-gas, no-oil, dethatching solution great for small or even medium-sized yards. All you need to do is plug it in and go and it’s a got a gajillion – well, 40 – stainless steel tines. (Tom chuckles) You know, I’m enthusiastic about this because I have a neighbor on my block who I’m hoping is calling in because their lawn is …
    TOM: Are you going to volunteer to thatch his lawn for him?
    LESLIE: Are you kidding? Give me the prize; I’ll go do it and then we’ll send it out. (Tom chuckles) I’ll give it a test run. But it has these 40 stainless steel tines that’ll bring up all of those matted layers of thatch to the surface. You can actually do something to create a lawn again. It’s worth $220 but priceless to your neighbors. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, there are 500 fires a year from gas grills. That is really an amazing number to me; 500 fires.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s a lot.
    TOM: And we’re not just talking about burning a steak. We’re talking about serious fires. But you can stay safe by always keeping your propane gas container upright. That’s an important tip. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors and never lay it down on its side.
    Now when you run to the gas station for refills, don’t keep that full container inside a hot car; I mean even for a little while. It’s a really bad idea because heat can cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow the gas to escape.
    And don’t use the grill in a garage, a breezeway, a carport, a porch or under a surface or too near to your house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by homes where I’ve seen that sort of arched burn pattern in the vinyl siding.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) That telltale haze.
    TOM: Because somebody got a little too enthusiastic with the grill and it was just a little bit too close to the house. So use your head about where you use your grill.
    LESLIE: And you know, another thing to think about is think about the age of your propane tank. Because all of us are guilty of this: we take our propane tank; we go to the garden center near us; they fill it up and we come home and use it again. So if your tank is more than 20 years old, it is definitely time to replace it. Because today’s tanks, they include an overfill protection valve which actually prevents excessive pressure from building up. And the newer tanks also come with a built-in check valve which will help prevent leaks.
    So, use your heads. Be safe. Grill safely. This way you don’t have to be concerned when you’re enjoying that steak. You just know that everyone is safe.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here to help.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Mike in North Carolina is dealing with a sidewalk issue. What’s going on?
    MIKE: Well, the house is 22 years old but I have brick pavers for a sidewalk.
    TOM: Very nice.
    MIKE: And one of them has come loose.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: And I want to know how to secure it back down and where it won’t be like – you know, put down a half-inch of plaster or something so it’s not sticking up above all the rest of them.
    TOM: OK, so it’s brick pavers. So there’s no mortar, right? They’re just setting right in there like puzzle pieces?
    MIKE: Right. They were sitting, I guess, on top of some kind of mortar-type adhesive but there’s nothing in between them.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. OK, so is there – can you pull it out? I mean is there something underneath that’s making it loose? Is it on the edge? Why is it loose?
    MIKE: It’s on the edge and I have no idea why it came loose. It was sitting firmly in the setting.
    TOM: Alright, two things. You need to – there are different types of retention systems that are used to hold pavers in at the edge but you could use something as simple as mix up some QUIKRETE and put a little bit of mortar against the outer edge. And then the second thing is there’s a sand, a locking sand, that QUIKRETE makes.
    LESLIE: It’s called JOINT-LOCK.
    TOM: JOINT-LOCK, that’s right. And basically, use the JOINT-LOCK. You put it across the entire patio or walkway surface …
    LESLIE: And you kind of sweep it in and it falls in between all of the little cracks and where the mortar would go if you had any.
    TOM: Right. And then you wet it down with a hose. It solidifies and then it locks everything in place.
    LESLIE: Exactly. It keeps the weeds out; it keeps the bugs out. And then, if you ever need to replace a paver, you just kind of jiggle it loose and it goes (suction sound) and it pops out.
    MIKE: That sounds great. That’s what I’ll do.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alan in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    ALAN: Well, I’ve got a problem with the trees on my property. It was about seven acres. It was planted pine. The pine was taken down and there are some hardwoods that are about 30-some – some even 35 feet high but only maybe 10 feet wide. I’m wondering if these things are worth saving.
    TOM: Alright, do you know what kind of hardwood it is?
    ALAN: Not exactly. I know some of them are oaks and I’ve got a few maples.
    TOM: Yeah, now that you’ve cleaned out the pine they’re going to grow nicely, too. They’ll have a lot more light getting to them, I imagine.
    ALAN: OK, they seem to have filled out, like more small branches, but they haven’t gotten much wider.
    TOM: Well, they’re slow-growing trees, my friend. (Leslie chuckles)
    ALAN: OK.
    TOM: You may be in for the long haul but I’ll tell you what: now that you’ve cleaned out the overgrowth, you’re going to find that they’re going to grow a lot quicker. Just make sure you take care of them.
    ALAN: Okey-doke, I’ll do that.
    LESLIE: Reed, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    REED: We had some water damage in our basement and got it repaired by getting drainage put around the perimeter of our house, both inside the basement and outside the basement.
    TOM: OK.
    REED: And …
    TOM: We probably would not have told you to do that, Reed, but I don’t think that’s why you’re calling. (all chuckle)
    REED: They jack-hammered the linoleum. It was linoleum over concrete.
    TOM: Right.
    REED: And they jack-hammered the linoleum up, so we’ve got about an 18-inch perimeter of just concrete now where they poured more cement. And I’m trying to figure out, in an inexpensive way, to cover it without just throwing a piece of carpet over it but not having to pull up the linoleum.
    TOM: Right. Yeah, that’s too bad. So they basically tore out the linoleum along the edges?
    REED: Yes, yes.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean you’re kind of looking at a new floor here, don’t you think, Reed?
    REED: Well, I’m trying to – I wondered about painting it or I wondered about putting concrete down over it or something like that.
    TOM: Yeah. I was personally thinking of the idea of a laminate floor, which is not terribly expensive and would be – you wouldn’t have to do anything with the section of linoleum that remains.
    LESLIE: You can go right over it.
    TOM: You can basically go right on top of it. A laminate floor is a floating floor, so it’ll float right across the entire floor up against the exterior foundation wall.
    LESLIE: And then all you would need to do is a quarter round or a shoe molding to just sort of cover that gap between where the laminate ends and the wall starts.
    TOM: Exactly.
    REED: OK, so what about where the – so it wouldn’t be uneven where the linoleum ends.
    TOM: No, it has a little bit of give to it.
    REED: OK.
    TOM: And there’s usually an underlayment that gives it a little bit of a spongy kind of feel to it. It’s actually quite comfortable.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and it’s like a roll-out foam underlayment, so it’s very easy. And you can even buy some laminates that have the underlayment directly attached to the backside but you really – the roll-out one is fine.
    REED: OK. And you just get that at Home Depot or some place like that?
    TOM: Yeah, any floor company, flooring center or a hardware store or a home center is going to have those kinds of products.
    REED: Thank you.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, many of the, say, non-human sounds emanating from your house (Leslie chuckles) could be related to a noisy plumbing system. But what do those noises mean and do they indicate some sort of problem? We’ll help you solve that mystery, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon Horizon decking and their new tropical hardwood colors. Ensure your deck stays as beautiful as the rest of your home. Insist on Horizon decking. To learn more, visit FiberonDecking.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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Or head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and send us an e-mail question just like Sandy did in New York who’s got a noisy plumbing system, it sounds like.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Sandy writes: “Throughout the day, one of my bathroom toilets releases a hiss. I can find no leaks. What could be causing this?”
    TOM: Very simple, Sandy. That is a bad fill valve. The fill valve is the device inside the toilet that comes on when the toilet is flushed and fills it back up with water. The hiss is basically a valve that’s stuck open.
    Now not a very complicated thing to fix but something that can be particularly noisy, especially if it’s coupled with a leaking flush valve. But a little water leaks out and then the hiss starts and basically the toilet refills and it’ll just do that over and over and over again. And it’s not exactly obvious until you really put two and two together and it can happen at the most inopportune times, especially in the middle of the night. You might think your house is haunted (Leslie chuckles) but it’s really just a fill-and-flush valve replacement. Total cost, around 20 bucks.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s super-easy. There are websites that’ll show you exactly how to do it yourself.
    I think another noise that a lot of people’s plumbing systems make is sort of that hammering, clanking noise when you start turning on your water to, say, jump in the shower. And that’s an easy fix, too, right?
    TOM: Yeah, that’s a water hammer and that’s because of the centrifugal force; the weight of water running through the pipes. When you turn valves on and off, it stops and the pipes shake. So what you want to do is resecure the pipes with pipe brackets and, also, you can install what’s called a water hammer arrestor; basically a shock absorber for your plumbing system. That’ll quiet that right down.
    LESLIE: And you know what? Now you’ll actually have something to blame for the noise and not your husband. (both chuckle)
    TOM: Well, a little bit of refrigerator maintenance will keep one of the most used appliances in your home running smoothly. Leslie has got details on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: I know it’s summer, so everybody is always thinking about cooking and grilling and eating out of doors and all these wonderful things that involve, actually, the cooking and the process of eating the food rather than “What do I do with all these leftovers?” But I always find, with grilling, I want so many different choices and different flavors that I do end up with a ton of leftovers. So if you’re like us, you want to make sure that your refrigerator is running correctly because I sure as heck want to make sure that that leftover burger or rib is going to be good and not spoiled when I want to eat it two days later.
    So what you want to do with your fridge to make sure that it is running right, you want to look at the coils on the back side of the fridge. Now, you’ve got the coils back there; they have to stay clean to make sure that that refrigerator is going to run efficiently. So every six months or so, go ahead, pull that fridge away from the wall and vacuum all those coils out.
    Now also, if you’ve got an older-style refrigerator that has a drain pan underneath, you want to make sure that you pull out that drain pan and clean it rather frequently to avoid mold growth. It can happen really fast. So make sure you clean it every couple of weeks, once a month. Put it on your calendar and do that chore.
    Now if you have a water-and-ice dispenser on your fridge, that drain pan should also be cleaned and wiped out to avoid mold and mildew. I remember my family’s summer home had a fridge that had one of those ice-and-water dispensers.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: And that was like the chore that always got ignored. And you’d go away for a couple of weeks and come back to the vacation house; it would be just disgusting in there.
    TOM: The ice would come out kind of moldy, huh?
    LESLIE: Aw, the ice would taste awful; the entire dispenser on the outside – that little dish on the bottom – that would be gross and all moldy. It’s a simple chore, so make sure you take care of it.
    And also, a lot of these fridges that have the ice-and-water dispenser, they also have a filter. So make sure that if it doesn’t have an indicator light saying, “Hey, change my filter,” that you get yourself on some sort of regular schedule so that you remember to change that filter out. All easy chores that’ll make your fridge run more efficiently and keep you nice and happy.
    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, have you taken a look at your walkways and sidewalks lately? Do they make you remember the childhood rhyme about stepping on a crack and breaking your back? Well, you don’t have to have dangerous sidewalks around your house. Those cracks are very easy to fix. We’re going to tell you how, 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 2010 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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