Outdoor Rooms, Decks and Driveways
TRANSCRIPT FOR MAY 25, 2009, HOUR 1
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:
TOM: Hi, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you are tuned to the Money Pit podcast. We are so glad that you are.
Now all this month on the podcast we’re going to be talking about staycation tips throughout our show and these are some ideas to make your home a little more comfortable, a little more pleasant, a little more fun if you’re not going to take a vacation this year; you’re just going to sort of stay at home and enjoy the place you have.
Now if you head on over to MoneyPit.com, we’re also making available a free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. It’s the outdoor living chapter available for free download at MoneyPit.com; chock full with lots of staycation tips to make your summer a lot of fun if you’re staying at home.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? All of this great information and all these great ideas are brought to you by our friends over at Fiberon Decking and also the WORX GT Trimmer/Edger.
Alright, folks. Let’s get started.
TOM: Now, on with the show.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your cleaning question, your project question; whatever you want to work on this summer. Give us a call right now. We’re here to help you get the job done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So you want some more square footage because you’re going to have a lot of friends and family over this summer but you can’t afford that big renovation? There is an easy way to increase living space without adding on to your home’s existing structure. We’re going to tell you how to make the most of your outdoor room, in just a few minutes.
And if you don’t have an outdoor room, not to worry; we’re going to tell you how to create one the easy way.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what? One of the ways to enjoy your outdoor room is with some low-maintenance, composite decking. But all composites are not created equal, friends. We’re going to tell you how to sort out the best, the most durable choices for your home a little later on the program.
TOM: And here’s a project that I’m about to tackle at my money pit: driveway and patio cleaning.
LESLIE: Ick. (chuckles)
TOM: It’s been a long, dirty winter around here at my money pit and I’ve got some work in front of me. I’m going to be tackling that this weekend to get ready for the summer and going to give you some of the easy solutions that I’m going to use to get that patio sparkling once again.
LESLIE: And on today’s show we are giving away a great prize pack. We’ve got a six-pack of Krylon wood stain. You know Krylon is the first and only company to put wood stain in a spray can. It makes all of your staining projects ridiculously easy. I guarantee you are going to enjoy your staining chores this summer. It’s worth 30 bucks.
TOM: So give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Look at those phones. Let’s get right to it!
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Roland in New York needs some help with a painting project. How can we help you?
ROLAND: Hi, I have a two-story stucco house; exterior stucco.
ROLAND: And 35 years ago I did some research and I painted it with this stuff that’s a powder and you mix it with water and you put it on with a whitewash brush.
ROLAND: But I don’t know – 35 years; I don’t know the name of the outfit or anything else and I would like to use this again because it lasted so long and now it’s just peeling and I’m wondering if you can help me.
TOM: Roland, you’re talking about something called lime paint and lime paint is a traditional paint for stucco. It comes as a powder …
ROLAND: Yes. Yes.
TOM: … it’s mixed with water and it lasts for a heck of a long time, which is the reason that you can’t remember what you did. (Leslie chuckles)
ROLAND: Yes, it was 35 years ago.
TOM: Yeah. But if you go to a masonry supply house or, better yet, just search online for the words “lime paint,” you will find dozens and dozens of places that you can buy it and you can have that finish all over again.
ROLAND: OK. Gee, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Laura in Texas has a window question. What can we do for you?
LAURA: Yes, we have a 30-year-old home and we’re contemplating replacing and putting in double-pane windows.
LAURA: But we have three big, leaded glass windows across the front that we hate to lose because they really match the Tudor style of our house.
TOM: Hmm, OK.
LAURA: Do you have any ideas on making them more energy efficient?
TOM: Well, what you could put in is an interior storm window …
TOM: … and that’s something that you can only have up in the colder months. It’d have to be custom-made for that space but that will make them a little bit more energy efficient. I don’t know that you’d be able to qualify for the federal energy tax credits for that but for the other windows …
LESLIE: Because would a storm window be an energy – be considered an energy-efficient addition?
TOM: Yeah, but those other windows probably would qualify. And so now is a good time to do this. For 2009-2010 you can qualify for that 30-percent tax credit, so I would definitely look into that. In fact, we just wrote a bonus chapter for our book, My Home, My Money Pit, that’s available for free online. There’s a download there for the replacement window guides called “Your Complete Replacement Window Guide.” It’s available for free right now at MoneyPit.com; it’s available for free right now at MoneyPit.com. So you might want to take a look at that because it does have a lot of detail in there on how to size the windows and the options and that sort of thing.
LAURA: Oh, that would be a great help.
TOM: Yeah, it’s online right now. Just go to MoneyPit.com and click on the free window replacement guide.
LAURA: Oh, I’ll do that. Thank you so much.
TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Well, summer has officially begun. We have kicked off a summer staycation adventure, folks, and we want to help you get your money pit in tiptop shape to enjoy your backyard oasis. So pick up the phone and give us a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, increase your square footage by optimizing what you’ve got. Learn how to make your outdoor room work for you, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and if you’ve got a wood staining or wood finishing project on your slate at your money pit this weekend, we have got some great advice for you because Krylon is helping you take back your weekend by coming up with the first and only exterior wood stain in a spray can. I mean it is super-convenient; it goes on fantastically smooth and easy. Now Krylon exterior semi-transparent wood stain, it provides the same durable protection you get from wood stain in a bucket but with a spray can convenience.
Now one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a six-pack of this fabulous stain. It’s worth 30 bucks, so pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question and your chance to win.
TOM: And you can use that stain to finish some new furniture; that is, if you can find a place to fit the new furniture. But there actually is an easy way to increase that livable square footage. You can take it all outside.
First up, you could build a deck. It’s a great way to add more living space without the cost of a new addition. You know decks start at only about 15 bucks a square foot. They’re a great way to entertain or just to sit back and relax and enjoy the great outdoors; perhaps a place that you can create your own staycation.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now if you’ve already got a deck at your money pit, you can turn it into a real living space with comfortable furniture, accessories and all of the conveniences that you enjoy indoors but outdoors; you know, like a small fridge or even a TV. This way, you can enjoy your outdoor room without having to keep running inside to, say, find out the score on the Yankees-Red Sox game or something like that. (Tom chuckles) I know that’s what we’re always doing; or at least my husband.
You know you might even want to consider enclosing your outdoor space to keep it bug-free and then you can use your beautiful outdoor space in rainy weather or even in slightly cooler weather. You know these sort of screened-in porches are fantastic. We’ve got one and we just enjoy it all the time. So think about going outdoors and enjoy your money pit.
TOM: For more staycation solutions like that, head over to MoneyPit.com/Staycation or pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Nancy in Connecticut has a question about radiant heat. What can we do for you today?
NANCY: Yes, hi. I have a sunroom that was once, I think, an outside porch and it’s enclosed now. But we have two walls that are – it’s on a corner of the house and they’re like half-walls and the rest are windows.
NANCY: And we’re on the water and it gets really, really cold in there because I think underneath the floor is just a dirt – you know, about two feet – I think it’s raised about two feet off the ground and …
TOM: So this room – this whole room is not heated?
NANCY: Oh, it is heated right now. There are three walls of baseboard heat.
TOM: OK, is it electric baseboard?
NANCY: No, it’s tied into the oil system.
TOM: Do those baseboards get really warm? I mean do they do a good job?
NANCY: They do get warm but they’re not warm enough to …
TOM: Just not enough. Yeah, with all the windows and everything it’s just not doing the job. OK.
NANCY: (overlapping voices) Exactly. And then the one wall is – there’s only one wall that’s really against a heated room.
NANCY: The other wall is against an unheated garage.
TOM: Right. Well, I mean you have two choices: you can either put in more heat to make up for the very inefficient room …
TOM: … or you could put the money into the room by making it more efficient.
TOM: I would vote for the latter. Rather than see you overheat the room – your radiators are probably fine – you might want to think about the windows or the walls at this point in time. You know it’s a good time to do replacement windows because the government will actually give you a 30-percent energy tax credit if you buy qualifying windows, so you can actually get a good chunk of the expense covered by the tax credit. So I might suggest that you consider what you can do to make this room more efficient, Nancy, rather than improve the number of BTUs you’re dumping into it to make up for the inefficiency.
LESLIE: Time for some concrete repair with Jim in Utah. What’s going on at your money pit?
JIM: My house was built in ’79 and I never had any problems with my sidewalk out front; my steps. And this is the first year I put ice melt on and it was made in Salt Lake and so it said on it that this would not hurt your concrete, but it had breakfast, lunch and dinner on my concrete. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: Sure did.
TOM: It was a big lie, huh? (chuckles)
JIM: It ate it really bad and it’s down to the rocks.
TOM: Oh, no.
JIM: And I patched up, you know, small patches before but this one, it’s down to the rocks and I know enough that you have to clear everything, all the loose concrete off, but I figured I’d just call the experts to find out what else to do.
TOM: Yeah, you know when it gets that bad you really can’t patch it; certainly not with any type of concrete. What we would recommend is a product called AboCrete. It’s an epoxy patching compound.
LESLIE: Their website is Abatron.com and they list all of the products that are available as well as where to find it because at this point you’re not going to get concrete to adhere to this at all.
JIM: Would I use a bonding agent?
TOM: Well, some of these have bonding agents and some of them don’t. You have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on it. Wait for the right weather – you know a nice clear, dry day – and then you can go to it and I think you’ll be very happy with the result.
JIM: OK, well thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Joe in Connecticut about some walls that are just not quite up to his design standards. What can we do for you?
JOE: Yeah, I want to know – I have an old colonial that has plaster walls and I want to do a fix. They’re cracked in several places. I want to minimize the labor and maximize the look.
TOM: Alright, well that’s easy to fix. What we would recommend you use is a fiberglass tape. If you just tried to spackle over those cracks what you’re going to find is that the crack will easily open up again. So the first thing to do is to sand the surface and then you want to apply a fiberglass tape. This tape is adhesive, it’s perforated, it’s easy to apply; then, on top of that, you’re going to put two to three layers of spackle. You’re going to start with a narrow spackle blade – say about three inches – and you’re going to work out to be about a six or seven-inch blade and by doing that step by step your lines will disappear and they will not come back.
JOE: Great, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know what I used, Tom? Recently I had a coat rack hanging in my home and we have plaster as well. In trying to put anchors into the system – as you know, anything trying to get some load-bearing issues on plaster …
LESLIE: … is like a nightmare and so I ended up with a couple of unintentional holes in the wall and I found a putty; I think it was like a painter’s putty.
LESLIE: And it was something that I shaped with my hands and then shoved into the hole and …
TOM: Oh, because it was a very deep hole.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it did a great job of sort of sticking and expanding into the space. I mean it did need a little bit of sanding when it was done and then painting over you would never even notice. But that was a hole.
TOM: Yeah, that makes sense. That’s one thing that spackle’s not really good at because you have to put successive coats. So if you have a putty situation like that, that’s definitely the way to go. So well done.
Now we’re going to jump in the hot tub with Valerie in Utah. What can we do for you today?
VALERIE: Hi, I have – well, it’s about four years old, our home is, and …
VALERIE: … when we moved into it we – well, when we built it we installed a jetted tub and I’ve never had one before and I’ve always wondered, whenever I use it – I don’t use it that frequently – if there’s bacteria that sits in there because of the infrequent use and, if so, what should I clean that out with? I’m just wondering if I’m bathing in bacteria.
LESLIE: Is it an air-jetted tub or a water-jet?
VALERIE: I think it’s an air-jetted tub.
TOM: If it’s circulating water even if it has water with air mixed into it then it’s a water-circulating. The air jets are a little more sanitary because then you don’t have to worry about bacteria that builds up inside.
TOM: But if it’s a hot water-circulated then you have to use a sanitizer and that’s a product that you could certainly pick up at any plumbing supply store.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, one of them is called, I think, Jet Line Cleaner and there are several different kinds and it’s basically right as you’re about to drain out all the water you add this chemical sanitizer …
LESLIE: … to the water and then it sort of cleans out all of the lines. But you do need to be very careful.
VALERIE: OK. Alright. Perfect. Well, thank you.
LESLIE: Especially with that little one. (Tom chuckles)
VALERIE: Yes. (chuckles) Yeah, that’s exactly what I was concerned about. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Valerie. You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Ed in Alabama and I’m laughing because I get a preview of the questions and I see that Ed’s done a home repair that kind of got messy. (Leslie and Ed chuckle) What happened, Ed?
ED: (chuckles) Well, I built a house in Alabama; Tuscumbia, Alabama. I put prefinished oak flooring on a concrete slab and the sheetrock in it – it’s sheetrock – had to redo the all joints because they used defective drywall. And when he did that he had to sand them and when he sanded them the filament – the dust – went onto the floor and I have two cleaning people coming in here trying to clean the floor but when they’re all done you still have the dust on the floor.
ED: And that’s the question I’ve got is do you have any ideas of how I could get rid of that dust and bring back the finish on the floor.
TOM: It sounds to me like it’s the sanding dust from the spackle and, you know, if you mix that with some cleaning solutions who knows what kind of a concoction they came up with. You’ve got to get that out and probably the best thing to use would be like a Murphy’s oil soap, I would think, and really scrub that floor.
LESLIE: We’ve got an insulation question with John in Alabama. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: Well, what I’ve been doing is the Styrofoam that I get as packing material – like the TV set or appliances and things like that – I’ve been putting it up amongst the rafters; kind of supplement the insulation.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
JOHN: Then somebody said, “Hey John, that stuff causes bugs to get in there as it deteriorates.” So I just think, you know, am I – does that help; does it hurt? What should I do?
TOM: I don’t think you’re hurting yourself. It doesn’t cause bugs to get in there. If you leave Styrofoam insulation on the ground around your house, ants especially will infest it and sort of carve out a space for a nest. But to put some extra sheets of it up in the attic, you’re not hurting anything. You’re probably not adding a whole lot of insulating ability. If you want to improve your insulation the best thing to do is to add another layer of unfaced fiberglass, but if you’ve got sheets of Styrofoam and you’ve got it up there you’re probably not hurting anything. You certainly are not causing any bug problems.
JOHN: OK. Well, that was my question.
TOM: Alright, good luck.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from my favorite place in the United States – Hawaii. Welcome, Jim. Aloha.
JIM: We have a frame house that’s about four years old now and we live in an area on Maui that gets a fair amount of rain so we’re getting some gray mildew up underneath the eaves of the house.
JIM: We’ve done some cleaning on it already but the plywood surface under the eaves is rough and just spraying with water mixed with a mildicide that we bought just really does not do the job.
TOM: There’s a problem called Jomax that I like; J-o-m-a-x. Have you tried it?
JIM: Yes, we have.
TOM: That seems to work pretty well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and I like bleach and water with a good, stiff brush.
LESLIE: Jim, you can always have me out to your house and I’ll do it for you. (Tom chuckles)
JIM: (chuckling) OK, great. It’s a deal.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live.
Still ahead, options in decking materials, including composites. Now, what are composites anyway? We talk about them a lot. Do you really know what’s in the composite? We’re going to tell you what makes them such a good choice, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We’re giving away staycation solutions all summer long at MoneyPit.com/Staycation. Don’t want to burn through a bunch of cash on an expensive vacation? Well, why not take a getaway in your own backyard? It’s easy with a few inexpensive ideas. You know a beautiful lawn, a lush landscape and a killer deck or patio are all you really need. For more information, you can head on over to MoneyPit.com/Staycation, brought to you in part by Fiberon, the makers of superior composite decking products.
LESLIE: Alright, now when you’re talking about deck options, a lot of people start thinking, “I want to build a deck. What do I build it out of?” Then they hear this word – it’s like “composite” – and you’re thinking, “That sounds great but what exactly is a composite decking material?”
Well, composite decking is plastic combined with wood or another organic material. Now they look and feel like wood but composites are way more durable, so you’re going to spend more time actually enjoying your deck and less time maintaining it. There’s also no cracking, splitting or warping but, because they contain some organic material, they can still get a little mildew and they can fade a bit and they sometimes do absorb stains.
TOM: Now one of the latest advancements in composite decking is a product from Fiberon called Horizon, which has a new surface technology called PermaTech. Now Leslie and I saw this recently at a trade show. It’s fantastic. It’s truly a low-maintenance surface. Since there’s no wood or other organic material on the surface, mold basically has no place to grow; so the mold resistance is great. It’s really a next-generation composite decking material that this is. It totally resists scratches, stains and fading and, in fact, Fiberon is so confident in Horizon’s performance, it’s the only composite decking that’s backed with a 10-year stain-and-fade warranty.
LESLIE: And that’s huge. No one else will stand by their product like that.
TOM: You just don’t hear that anywhere. If you want more information on that product, take a look at it for yourself; make your own decision. Their website is FiberonDecking.com. That’s FiberonDecking.com.
888-666-3974. If you’re thinking about building a deck or building anything else in your money pit, pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d be glad to help you out.
LESLIE: Rob in Nebraska is looking to capitalize on some additional space at his money pit. How can we help?
ROB: I have an 80-year-old house and it’s a little bungalow – story-and-a-half – but the half upstairs was never finished. And so I’m wondering about the best ways to heat and cool that space, rather than just maybe baseboard heaters or a window air conditioner.
TOM: How is the rest of the house heated?
ROB: It’s got a central furnace and air conditioning.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I will tell it’s a challenge, especially to push air conditioning from a basement up to that attic space. And so you may want to consider a second zone here, Rob, where you would install an additional system in the attic that would handle heating and cooling for the newly finished attic. It has a lot more exposed areas to the weather than just about any other room in your house because, if you think about it, on all sides except for the floor you’re exposed directly to the elements. So it does have some significant heating and cooling needs in terms of the number of BTUs it will take to heat or cool that space. So installing a second zone is probably the best way to do that.
ROB: Alright, well that’s great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Rob. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Scott in Wisconsin, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SCOTT: Yes, I have a sump pump. When it shuts off it makes a banging sound four to eight times and I’ve insulated the pipes and isolated them from sound. The sound is coming from the check valve. Apparently the check valve closes and it must open and close about four to eight times.
TOM: Have you tried different sump pumps? Does it do the same thing?
SCOTT: Yes. I do have a long run. I’m about eight feet up in height and then about 40 feet across the basement. And my rough thought is that once that water gets moving it doesn’t want to stop. (chuckles)
TOM: Have you – do you get more water, Scott, after a heavy rain?
SCOTT: Oh, definitely. And I used to run two pumps on this water line but last summer we were flooded out so I separated the pumps.
SCOTT: So I’m running two ¾ horse pumps in the well now.
TOM: OK, so listen, Scott. Good news. If your basement is getting more wet; if the pumps are running more frequently after a heavy rain, then there is something that you can do to reduce the amount of water that’s getting down there and partially make this problem go away. I would concentrate on reducing and improving the grading and the drainage at the perimeter and that’s going to reduce the amount of time that the sump pump is going to need to work; it’s going to save you all that electrical cost of running it. And Scott, if you go to our website at MoneyPit.com, search “wet basement”; you’re going to find a ton of information on this problem and how to fix the drainage and I think you’ll get this under control in a fairly short period of time.
SCOTT: I’ll look at that.
TOM: Scott, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Well, if you’ve got concrete around your money pit, you know that it is one tough material. But cleaning it can be tricky, as Tom is about to find out with his weekend chores. (chuckles)
LESLIE: We’re going to tell you how to brighten your concrete surfaces, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon. Bring your vision to life with Fiberon; innovate, reliable decking that enhances your outdoor living space. For more information, go to FiberonDecking.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: If you’ve ever tried to stain a wood project, Leslie, you know that it can be a real big, messy job.
LESLIE: It always is a messy job, I find.
TOM: It also takes a long time. Krylon actually has a new process that makes it a lot easier. They’ve come up with the very first spray stain. It’s like stain in a spray stain can. It applies cleanly to both vertical and horizontal surfaces; there’s no runs, there’s no drips. If you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, we’ll throw your name in the Money Pit hardhat and you might just get a six-pack of the new Krylon exterior semi-transparent wood stain in the spray can. You’ll be able to spray all those projects around your house that you can use all summer long; you know, like planters, the lawn furniture, the wood chairs. You’re just going to be spraying from one end to the other.
LESLIE: (chuckling) I’m like I’m already at the barbecue, in my mind; I’m telling you. Every time we talk about summer outdoor projects, I just think outside the studio and get so envious of all you listeners out there to The Money Pit who are doing your home improvement projects on a nice, sunny weekend.
And you know, maybe you’re working on something around the exterior of your money pit and you’re thinking about a concrete project; you’ve got some, I don’t know, say grease from the grill that has dripped underneath – like myself or Tom has some sort of issues on his concrete drive. You know that concrete, it is a super-tough surface but it’s really a porous material. And because it’s so porous, it can easily hold dirt; whatever it is that you get onto it. So you really need to take care of it and be, you know, a little less messy with the grill – Leslie Segrete. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) But by applying a sealer to fresh concrete, you can actually keep that concrete surface looking brand, spanking new for years to come.
Now, if you’re not in the situation where you have new concrete and you’re like Tom and myself, with older concrete surfaces you can use a pressure washer along with an application of mildicide to do a great job of cleaning it. Now the mildicide is going to kill fungus that detracts from the concrete surface and the pressure washer is going to just blast away all of those years of grime and grease and yuck that you’ve got on all of your concrete surfaces. It’s an easy project to tackle and it really makes a world of difference.
TOM: And you get instant satisfaction because it’s cleaning right before your very eyes.
LESLIE: Oh, I know.
TOM: In fact, once I start with a pressure washer, I’m good for a whole loop around the property. Don’t want to put it down.
LESLIE: It’s really a great chore. You might even do a neighbor’s house because you get so into it. (laughs)
TOM: I’m not going to go that far, so you can forget it; you’re doing your own house.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Lots of home improvement questions coming at us this weekend.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Crystal in Florida about some mildew. What’s going on at your money pit?
CRYSTAL: I have a block home and I have aluminum double-pane windows and during the winters I wind up with so much moisture on my windows that it actually forms in puddles on my windowsills.
TOM: Oh, no.
CRYSTAL: It’s a nightmare. It would actually take a full-sized towel on each window to dry it off daily.
TOM: How old is your house?
CRYSTAL: We built it in ’94.
TOM: It sounds to me like the thermal pane windows are not doing their job because if they were the glass would be much warmer and you wouldn’t be getting condensation. So the solution here is twofold. The expensive solution is to replace your windows.
TOM: The least expensive way to try to reduce moisture is to try to stop some of the humidity from building up in the house.
TOM: First of all, outside the house look at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. Make sure that the soil slopes away from the wall and the gutters are extended away because that moisture that builds up outside the house will show up as excessive humidity inside. Check all the venting inside the house – and this is the bath vents and the kitchen vents. And thirdly, you know, you have a perfect home to use what’s called a whole-home dehumidifier in. A whole-home dehumidifier gets installed into the HVAC system and actually takes humidity out of the entire house and it’s more effective than an air conditioner at doing that; although it uses the same set of ducts. Aprilaire makes a really, really good one that takes out like I think – is it 90 pints of water a day?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and especially in Florida. You’re dealing with such a high-moisture situation.
CRYSTAL: OK, thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Crystal. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mitch in New Jersey is dealing with a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us about the problem.
MITCH: It’s actually one crack that is running across the driveway. It seems like there’s a fault underneath the driveway and it’s always appearing in the same spot and I’ve filled it pretty much every year. So my question to you is, is there anything that you could think of that I can fill that crack with; even cement?
TOM: No, that’s not going to do it because cement is not very elastic. The best product for this is an acrylic patching compound for – that’s specifically made for driveways; however, I will say that if the original driveway was put on fairly thin – in other words it’s not thick enough and the base was not built up enough; if it didn’t have enough of a gravel base under it – that could be why it’s cracking repeatedly and all the patching you do is not going to stop it because it’s basically expansion and contraction and shifting of that soil that’s causing it to move.
The other thing to take a look at is the water flow. Typically, if you get a lot of water in that area or under that area, that will accentuate the movement; but I suspect that the original driveway was a fairly thin application and that’s why this crack has been so difficult to control.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, we’re going to jump into the e-mail bag and, Leslie, we’ve got a fun one here from Matt in Virginia who is trying the craziest way I’ve ever heard to save money while taking a shower.
LESLIE: (chuckles) I can’t wait to hear all about it.
TOM: And yeah, we’re going to actually help Matt out and save his marriage at the same time, when we come back. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, no. You know the misses does not like a cold shower.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. 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 we here at The Money Pit would be nothing without you guys out there, so pick up the phone and let us know what you are working on and if you guys are just too darn shy to talk with us on the phone, because I know Tom’s a little scary (scary laugh), then head on over to MoneyPit.com and click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon. And once you do that, you can shoot us over an e-mail question and every time, at the Money Pit, during this portion of the show we just into our e-mail bag and we’ll answer your question.
We’ve got a bunch here starting with Matt in Virginia who writes: “I love trying to conserve energy at my house.” Alright. “We have just added a tankless water heater and notice that we can now control the temperature. So we set it at 106 degrees and run our shower only with hot water. To save even more money, I – but not my wife or my daughters (Tom laughs) – will let it run to temperature, get wet, shut it off, then turn the hot water back on. (Tom and Leslie laugh) This way I don’t have to turn on and off the shower and adjust the hot and cold settings. What do you think about that? Am I actually saving any money?” (laughs)
TOM: I don’t think so and I think you’re putting your wife and daughter through a lot of stress even …
LESLIE: “Now turn it off. Now turn it back on. OK, now soap up. Now turn it back on.” (laughs)
TOM: (overlapping voices) “Turn it on.” Right, exactly. First, I don’t get why he thinks if he only runs the hot water side of this that he’s saving something.
LESLIE: Instead of mixing it? (chuckles)
TOM: I mean once you set your shower temperature you usually don’t change it and if you’re not saving water you’re just using twice as much from the hot water side. So I don’t think that anything you’re doing, Matt, short of installing the tankless water heater (Leslie laughs) – which don’t get us wrong, was a brilliant thing to do and definitely going to save you a lot of money in water heating costs – but the idea of off and on and only using hot, no; not so much. I would just use this normally and enjoy it and save the money that it’s intended to save.
LESLIE: Ah, but Matt, you might be stopping that comedy show that I’m sure your wife and daughters are enjoying laughing at on a daily basis. (laughs)
Alright, we’ve got one here from Maria in Illinois who writes: “My driveway is very long and very steep. After we moved in a couple of years ago, I had it sealed and then it became super slick. It needs to be resealed again but we’re avoiding doing so because we’re afraid of making it super slippery again. Any suggestions on how we could reseal it so that it’s not so slippery?”
TOM: I think that there’s an additive, a sand additive, for a driveway sealer that could make it less slippery. But if you have a really steep driveway, what you want to use is something …
LESLIE: Speed bumps? (chuckles)
TOM: Well, I mean it’s sort of like that. It’s actually called a tar-and-chip driveway. It’s a different type of driveway construction.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s like a – like if particleboard were a surface for flooring. Kind of like that with like a texture.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Sort of. It’s more like you can see the aggregate. It’s more like the aggregate is mixed in with the tar so it’s kind of a fairly rough surface so you’re not going to slide down it. That’s the best driveway solution for something that’s very steep. You see this very frequently in northern climates or in places where people go and do a lot of skiing or something of that nature and the lots are small and they’re steep. These tar-and-chip driveways – otherwise, they’d never be able to back up the driveway or down it if it was the least bit snowy. But in terms of just doing a regular driveway, there are additives. There are sort of sand additives; the same sort of textured additives that are available for even painted surfaces or walkway surfaces. They’re available for the sealers as well.
Now, I’m not sure you’re going to find a driveway sealer that knows this unless they work in these steep communities all the time. You’re going to have to ask for it. But don’t just put down straight sealer because it will be slippery all over again.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know what, Maria? When you’re in your home center, you’ll find, right by all of the paints and the stains and the sealers, you’ll see that additive. It’s usually in a bag or in a can itself and it says like anti-skid additive. So take a look when you’re next at your local home center and you’ll find exactly what you need.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some great tips, some great ideas on ways to make your money pit a better place to live, a more enjoyable place for you and your family and a place that you can stay in all summer long if you’re taking that staycation instead of the vacation. Remember, we’ve got tips online at MoneyPit.com/Staycation that can help you do just that.
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.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2009 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.)