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  • 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.)
    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.
    (promo/theme song)

    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 with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. If you have a solution that you are in need of, we’re here to help you out. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Coming up this hour, if you’re thinking about picking up a paintbrush soon, we’re going to have a great trick of the trade for sharp, crisp lines when painting stripes – and this is something that I think Leslie draws from her years as a decorator on While You Were Out and Trading Spaces.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s true.
    TOM: And unlike Leslie, it’s cheap and easy (Leslie laughs) and will help give your bedroom or living room a great, new look.
    LESLIE: (laughing) You are terrible. (Tom laughs) But also ahead this hour – as I get my composure back – how do you go ahead and protect your satellite dish and other electrical appliance from a power surge? You know we’re in the summer storm season and some of those storms that can happen are pretty bad, so what do you do about all your electrical equipment? We’re going to help you with that. Tom, you threw me for a loop there? (chuckles)
    TOM: And also ahead this hour, we’re going to learn about the best lawn-care techniques from the experts at John Deere; including a tip on how to cut back on the number of times you need to cut your lawn. Won’t that save you some weekend’s worth of work?
    LESLIE: (chuckling) So many people right now are like, “Excellent, I don’t have to do that chore this weekend.” Plus we have got a great prize for you. You’ve got a chance to win a prize that will bring you one step closer to the entry door of your dreams. We’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card that you can use towards a Benchmark door from Therma-Tru.
    TOM: So pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Kenneth in Texas is dealing with a mold situation. What’s going on?
    KENNETH: Well, I’ve got an ex-wife – we bought a house, OK? And she’s got a mold problem on there where it’s got it growing almost like a foot high from the baseboard area in two of the bedrooms and in the other end of the house in the dining room area.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, no. Wow.
    KENNETH: And the problem is this isn’t – I’ve never seen a foundation like this. It’s not concrete slab foundation. It’s like concrete walls. Now it’s up off of the ground three foot …
    TOM: Right.
    KENNETH: … so I can go all the way underneath the house, all the way through, and everything is dry. So I don’t understand why she’s getting this moisture problem.
    TOM: Listen, if you have mold growth that goes up a foot on the walls inside the house, you’ve got a very serious problem.
    KENNETH: Yeah. (chuckles)
    TOM: That could be making anyone in that house extremely sick.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: It could make it almost impossible to sell the house. If it’s that severe of a problem, Ken, you really need to get a mold specialist in there.
    Now, I would advise you to be careful about who you choose; to make sure you have someone that’s very reputable, that’s not going to scare you and really knows what they’re doing. To find one, I might suggest that you start with finding a home inspector that’s a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Call around to those guys. You can go to their website at ASHI.org and put in your zip code; get a list of inspectors in the area. Call around. If they do mold inspections, fine; if they don’t, ask if they would refer you to someone that does and if you get two or three guys that refer you to the same guy, then you know you’ve found your man.
    TOM: But you need an expert in here because we’ve got to do this right. If it’s done wrong, you could contaminate the house, make the mold problem worse and make it even expensive to fix.
    In terms of why the mold is happening, where the humidity source is, where the leak is; I mean concrete is very porous and so, if you have a moisture source, it can draw up and get into the walls. Not sure why but I know that if you’ve got mold 12 inches up an inside wall, that’s a serious problem. We’re not talking about small spots here. It can really be quite infectious. So you need to get to the bottom of it and you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. OK, Ken?
    KENNETH: Do you think this kind of foundation could be part of the problem?
    TOM: It’s possible, you know? But once mold gets going, it needs – you know it needs three things to live: it needs moisture; it needs food; and it needs air.
    KENNETH: Right.
    TOM: So if you can cut back on the moisture, you can cut back on the mold. But in this situation, it sounds like it’s gotten quite severe. So I’m not going to speculate now on what’s causing it but I will tell you if it’s that bad, you need to get an expert.
    KENNETH: I’ll get one. I’ll try what you were talking about on the website there.
    TOM: Alright, Ken.
    KENNETH: Because I’m not finding any moisture anywhere. That’s what’s throwing me about it.
    TOM: Well, get the expert in there; let’s see what’s going on. But you’ve got mold 12 inches up a wall, that’s a pretty big deal.
    Ken, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair, your décor, your home improvement, your maintenance question. Whatever is going on – or should I say going wrong – at your money pit, we can help you with 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, do you want to pick up a paintbrush and create some décor in a room of your dreams? Well, painting stripes might help you do that and Leslie has got a not-so-secret method for getting clean, crisp lines every, single time. That’s coming up, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the WORX GT, the revolutionary trimmer/edger that’s fully adjustable, runs on rechargeable battery power and weighs less than a gallon of milk. See the WORX GT in action at FreeLineforLife.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And you’ve heard us tell you that a great entryway can increase your home’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. Well, this hour we’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one caller to help you buy a great, new door that’s available at Lowe’s right now. That’s the Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark by Therma-Tru is not only a practical investment that delivers energy efficiency, security and storm resistance; it also looks good, very stylish. Benchmark specializes in prehung entry doors for the easy, do-it-yourself installation and they’re available exclusively at Lowe’s. To help get you started, we’re going to give away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one caller this hour that reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, pick up the phone and give us a call, especially if your weekend project has got you doing a painting chore at your money pit. And maybe you’re thinking about doing something a little bit more decorative – you know, maybe stripes or patterns – and what you’re working with has you using tape to create that image or pattern on your walls. Now here’s a great tip that I’ve used many, many times. It is always a successful project when you do so.
    First of all, get your colors; get everything together; get all your supplies. Paint on your base color on your walls, entirely. Let that dry. Then what you want to do is you want to take your painter’s tape and outline your desired effect: stripes, diamond pattern, whatever it is. And once you’ve got everything taped out, go ahead and take your base color and paint over that tape again. This way, whatever paint you sort of put over the tape bleeds under. That’s why once you’ve sort of done the project with just your basecoat and your topcoat and you’ve pulled the tape away you see that sort of hairy edge.
    So once you’ve taped, paint your base color over the tape, let it dry and then go ahead and apply your accent color or sheen, whatever you’re working with, into those masked areas. Let that dry and even right before it’s a little bit fully dry, just where it’s still a little tacky, peel that tape off; do so at a 45-degree angle – you know, away from itself as you’re going down with the tape – and you will see crisp, clean lines that you will not have to touch up, I guarantee.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. If you need a trick of the trade just like that to help you out with your next home improvement project, pick up the phone and give us a call.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Sheila in North Carolina is calling in with a deck issue. There’s some graying going on. Tell us about the problem.
    SHEILA: Hey.
    LESLIE: Hi.
    SHEILA: Yeah, we moved in about a year ago and the vines had overgrown the railing. So we cut them way back and we found that the wood underneath was a gray color. We thought it was just dirt but it’s not going away, so we don’t know if it’s rotted or has to be replaced or if it just needs to be restained or …
    LESLIE: Did you use a pressure washer to give it, you know, a good, thorough cleaning?
    SHEILA: No, we didn’t, we didn’t. We just cut them back and thought maybe all the rain in North Carolina would take care of it. (chuckles) It hasn’t.
    TOM: Is this a first-floor deck? Is it one level; ground level?
    SHEILA: Yeah, it is.
    TOM: OK. So what I would do is first of all I would check the deck’s structure and make sure that you don’t have cracked, checked or otherwise rotted or split boards. Make sure it’s attached well to the house and it’s very secure.
    In terms of the graying, that’s pretty normal, Sheila. I don’t know if you have pressure-treated lumber or not but both types of lumber will gray from exposure to UV radiation, to the sun and to the weather. And what you might want to think about doing here is to stain the deck. We would recommend that you use a solid color stain that has a lot of pigment in it and, if you want to do something to that stain that’s going to make it stick a little bit longer, you can add one pint – actually, one half a pint – of polyurethane to it.
    LESLIE: To a gallon, right?
    TOM: To a gallon. Yep.
    SHEILA: To a gallon? OK. And the graying is raised on it in that area. So do we need to sand that down or …?
    TOM: No, no reason you can’t. If you want to sand any of those areas, go ahead and do that first and if you have any badly cracked or checked deck boards, you can actually pull those out; flip them upside down and put them back down again because the underside should be in good shape.
    SHEILA: Oh, OK. So it doesn’t – the graying doesn’t mean that the structure – I mean that the wood (inaudible at 0:10:49.9) has been compromised (inaudible.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, it’s pretty normal.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No, it’s just wear and tire.
    TOM: Yep, pretty normal.
    SHEILA: Oh, OK. OK. Alright, great.
    TOM: Alright, Sheila.
    SHEILA: So I think we can tackle that. That’s a lot easier than replacing the deck. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It sure is. Sheila, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You know, Tom, I have to tell you; my sister and her husband had been out at the summer house one of the weekends before my husband and I were out and they pressure-washed the – would you call it the – it’s like railroad ties that are holding back, you know, a hill that we’ve sort of created a sunken deck in.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Yeah. Retaining wall.
    LESLIE: Exactly. And it was always gray and horrible and gross and that was the one thing I never touched; I always worked on the deck boards themselves.
    TOM: Yep, and they look good.
    LESLIE: And they pressure-washed and I literally had to call up my sister and was like, “Did you replace the lumber?” And she was like, “No dumb-dumb. I pressure-washed.” (Tom chuckles) It’s amazing, amazing the difference it can make.
    TOM: Looks good but you have to be careful because if you use too much pressure, you erode those boards.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, you will wear everything away; so you’ve got to be gentle but I mean it does make a huge difference.
    Bill in Wisconsin needs some help repairing stucco. How can we help you today?
    BILL: Hi. Yes, I have a stucco problem in my house. Matter of fact it’s breaking off in certain places; at least the topcoat is.

    TOM: Is it concrete stucco, Bill, or is it a drivet product?

    BILL: No, it’s concrete.

    TOM: OK.

    BILL: This is an old house. This house was probably built in the early 1900s …

    TOM: Wow.

    BILL: … and it’s been on there since then …

    TOM: OK.

    BILL: … and it’s sort of the last project that I’m – I’ve remodeled the house completely and this is kind of the last project and it’s a rather difficult one because I’m not sure exactly how to fix this. I know there are some new products out there but I’m not familiar with them and I can’t really find a lot of information.

    TOM: Alright, what’s exactly happening to the stucco? Are you seeing the metal screening below? What does it look like now?

    BILL: No, actually I’m only seeing the – I know that stucco goes on in like three coats -a scratch coat and a main body and then a topcoat – and this topcoat is what is breaking off in several places.

    TOM: OK. Bill, I would use an epoxy patching compound. If it’s only coming off in several places like that I would use an epoxy compound that’s designed for stucco and then I would repaint the surface and you’ll get good adhesion in those spaces.

    BILL: OK, so do I have to put anything special on there to make it stick to that?

    TOM: No, that’s the advantage of using the epoxies. It’s not concrete. It’s a much stickier application.

    LESLIE: And there’s no prep; no pulling away anything that’s loose or any sort of sanding or scuffing up of a region to make it more prone to adhesion?

    TOM: In the old days you’d have to do all that but in this case, as long as it’s clean and dry it should adhere right to it just fine. You know, QUIKRETE makes great products that will do just that. Check out their website at QUIKRETE.com.

    BILL: OK, I’ll do that. And one other question concerning that same project. Once I get that repair is there a special paint that I can use to spray on it?

    TOM: Well, you could have it sprayed or you could, you know, brush paint it or roll paint it. That’s really just an application question. But any exterior grade paint is going to work for that that’s rated for stucco.

    BILL: Alright, thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading out to California to talk to Carol. What’s going on at your money pit?
    CAROL: I have a brick hearth fireplace and it has – just on the hearth itself it has a fine layer of what looks like dust, but it isn’t dust. When I tried to wash it off; as it dried, the white reappeared. I’m not sure what product to use and I thought I’d talk to somebody like yourself who might guide me in that way.

    LESLIE: Well, have you tried white vinegar and water?

    CAROL: No, I haven’t.

    LESLIE: Because that …

    CAROL: You think that would do it?

    LESLIE: It works amazingly well on any sort of mineral deposit that you would see on a concrete wall, around a faucet. And it makes it go away lickety-split.

    CAROL: And it won’t damage the brick?

    LESLIE: No.

    CAROL: OK. Alright. I definitely will give that a try. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Steve in Louisiana has a question about a patio situation gone wrong. What happened?
    STEVE: Hey, Tom, Leslie. I broke my patio.

    LESLIE: How?!

    TOM: Yeah, and the note here says you broke the patio while cutting down a tree. That must have been some event there, Steve.

    STEVE: I had a large pine tree just to the south of the patio …

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: … and we hired a contractor to come in and drop the tree, which he did; and he dropped it over the corner of the patio.

    TOM: Oh, I see.

    STEVE: And we didn’t notice it at the time and it cracked it. And the patio is 24×20 and it was on the outside corner and it runs about, oh, four-and-a-half feet up one side, about four feet up the other side; so a triangle piece.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: And at the time it was a little more than a hairline crack.

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: We didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. He put a planter on it. We didn’t notice it. (Leslie chuckles) Well, we put half of a whiskey barrel on there …

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: … full of dirt and stuff and I guess over time …

    TOM: Kind of weighted it.

    LESLIE: And that got really heavy.

    TOM: Yeah.

    STEVE: The weight had pushed it down. Now keep in mind too, off of the patio the backyard slopes away at, I don’t know, a 20, 25-degree angle, I guess.

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: And over time it has sunken down to where I’ve probably got an inch gap in it and the pitch on it now probably drops two or three inches.

    TOM: Wow.

    STEVE: Yeah.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: Now the surface of the patio is a rock surface; you know, where they put the heavy aggregate in there and then spray it down after you lay it. So it’s got the rock surface.

    TOM: Right.

    STEVE: We thought about – way after the fact – thought about like a QUIKRETE kind of [a feel; the little cement] (ph) but that wouldn’t work other than just to fill with cement.

    TOM: Well, what you need here is an epoxy patching compound.

    LESLIE: Can you go that deep with it?

    TOM: Yeah, and it will solidify and – you know, the patching compounds actually have a little bit of substance to – a little density to them, so you can very carefully trowel it in there. Coloring could be an issue. It may look like a seam repair. The way you can get around that is to use a dye; perhaps a grout dye or a concrete dye to try to bring it in close to the color that it is right now, Steve.

    STEVE: OK. We appreciate the help. You guys have a great day.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Sandra in North Dakota is having issues with the driveway. What can we do for you today?
    SANDRA: Yes, I was wondering if you can recommend something to put on our asphalt driveway to bring it back to life? It’s about 15 years old.
    TOM: Is the driveway in good structural condition? Does it have a lot of cracks in it? Is it heaved? Is it broken apart? Is it just worn? What’s it look like?
    SANDRA: It’s very dry-looking. Now, all these years we have used different sealers on it and used crack pour on the cracks. But the past two years it just looks very dried out; like no moisture left.
    TOM: Right. Look, you know, 15 years is a pretty long time for an asphalt driveway because they’re not designed to last forever. And you can only put so many …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) What’s the usual lifespan, Tom?
    TOM: Well, I would say ten, really.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    SANDRA: Oh.
    TOM: You can only put so many coats of sealer and crack filler on that before it just really starts to look nasty no matter what you do. So you might want to think – at some point here, Sandra – about removing that and replacing it or at least having it resurfaced. Now when you resurface it, you only have to put about another inch of material over it; so it may not be as expensive. As long as you have the height to do that – and by the height I mean, you know, you have to be careful where it abuts the garage or where it ends so that you don’t end up with some sort of a lip there. So I think adding an additional layer of asphalt might be appropriate at this time because, as you’ve seen, when you keep sealing it for 10, 15 years, sometimes it doesn’t work anymore.
    SANDRA: Right. And I think that’s the point we’re at right now. The last two times …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep. Well, it’s the same thing with paint. You know, you can only put so many layers of paint on the wall before it starts to …
    LESLIE: Before it all comes crumbling down.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s not going to stand an infinite number. So that’s really where you’re at. In North Dakota, I’m sure you’re taking a lot of abuse from salt and all of that on the driveway as well, so I think it’s probably served you very well at 15 years, Sandra.
    SANDRA: Well, thank you for your time and I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Hey, if you think that good lawn care means cutting your grass once a week – you know, your basic honey-do list every weekend – then you are a little off the mark, my friend. Up next, we’re going to tell you about some great lawn care techniques, including which type of mower is best for your property; so stick around.

    (theme song)
    [AUDIO GAP 19:10 through 19:21]
    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: And this is where home solutions live. Speaking of solutions, it’s time for more staycation solutions like how to make your lawn look like a putting green. OK, so summertime brings the added chore of mowing and, if you’re lucky, you’ve got free labor in the form of your kids, like me.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Tom.
    TOM: If not, don’t dread this chore. Think of it as an investment in your house. It’s cheaper than a gym membership and give you a great chance to be outside. But a lush-looking lawn will also add some curb appeal that will increase the value of your home.
    LESLIE: That’s right. And with a few tips from our friends over at John Deere, we can actually help take the guesswork out of all of that lawn care. You know, it’s not just how often you trim your grass but how you do so. And here to help us with all of that information – to make sure that we get a beautiful, green lawn – we’ve got Mike Ballou and he is the riding lawn equipment product manager from John Deere.
    Welcome, Mike.
    MIKE: Hey, thank you, Leslie. Thanks for letting me be on the show.
    TOM: Hey, it’s our pleasure.
    So Mike, what is the proper lawn-cutting technique that I’ve been missing all this year that’s going to give me that putting green surface?
    MIKE: Tom, I tell you; it’s a goal many of us want to achieve our entire lives out there. When we get into this time of the year where it’s summertime and getting warm, some of the main things you can do to really help your lawn out is let it grown a little taller; set your mower up to a higher level than what you normally mow at. And what you’re doing is you’re letting the grass grow taller: your roots will grow deeper to help with moisture; you’re also shading the roots from the heat of the sun. And the other great thing it does, it’ll also shade the weeds needs (ph); so, hopefully, you will have less weeds in your yard.
    TOM: Mike, that’s a beautiful thing. You have no idea how many of our listeners we just talked out of cutting the lawn this weekend. (Leslie chuckles) “Honey, I can’t because Mike said I need to let it grow longer.” (chuckles)
    MIKE: Yes. Well, what I always do is I always save one spot. I’ll go all the way up to the top part of my mower but I won’t actually go to the very last level.
    TOM: Got it.
    MIKE: And I save that for when I’m on vacation.
    TOM: I see.
    MIKE: So I’m gone for a little longer time; I get back and my grass is super-high. I have that one last level that I can go up to on my mower that just saves the grass some of the stress that it takes when you do mow it. I mean one of the main things you can do to truly help yourself is keep a sharp blade. What I always try to talk to people is have two blades: keep one sharp and when you’re getting ready to change your blades out, take your spare set into the dealership and let them sharpen them. You already have another set, so you can just go ahead and mow. It’s just so much better for your lawn and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to mow and also how much better it looks.
    LESLIE: Is there any way to know – other than the obvious; suddenly it’s cutting horribly – that your blade is on its way to being in need of being sharpened?
    TOM: Besides whack at a couple of rocks with it?
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    MIKE: Yeah, I always just use a rule of time. To me, if you can change your blade twice during the season; and it really depends on where you live. You know, when you’re down in Florida, you mow pretty much nine, ten months out of the year.
    TOM: Right.
    MIKE: Where if you’re up in the northeast, you might only get six months out of it. So what I try to do is divide my season into where I can take a set of blades and take them off and put a new set on about twice during the season. And you know, that just makes such a huge difference because, I tell you the truth, the average person; they’ll never change their blades or they’ll never sharpen them for a year or two, which – it’s not very good for the grass. A lot of disease has the ability to gain entry into the grass if you let that happen.
    TOM: Yeah, good point. We’re talking to Mike Ballou. He’s the riding lawn equipment manager for John Deere.
    So Mike, if we’re thinking about buying a new lawn tractor this year, what are some of the things to ask our dealers to make sure we pick the right one for our particular needs?
    MIKE: Well, number one – only go to the John Deere dealer. (Leslie chuckles) No, I’m teasing. I can’t really say that. Actually, what we want to do is you go to your local dealer; talk to him about your lawn; talk to him about your terrain of what you have and – which is very important because, depending upon your terrain, it kind of helps you – helps the dealer figure out what’s the best machine for you. If you have a lot of hills, one of our zero-turn machines – kind of the machines that you see the pros using quite often now – may not be the best choice because they’re much better on a flatter type lawn. And then also, do you have any other needs? Are you going to look for something to perhaps blow snow with or put a tiller on the back?
    TOM: Right, right.
    MIKE: So besides just using your mower to mow, try to make it more of an all-around, year-round vehicle; something that you can use year-round – whether you put a cart on the rear, a blower on the rear or just a bagger; just anything to make it a little more – just useful.
    TOM: Yeah, well that’s a good point. You know, if you’re going to invest in a piece of lawn equipment like that, you certainly can use it year-round.
    Mike Ballou, riding lawn equipment manager for John Deere, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice.
    MIKE: Hey, Tom and Leslie, thanks so much for having me. Y’all have a great day.
    LESLIE: You, too.
    MIKE: And if you want more information on John Deere products, you can head on over to their website at JohnDeere.com.
    LESLIE: Alright, Mike. You just gave a lot of people a get-out-of-jail-free card for skipping that chore this weekend.
    Alright, folks. Well, maintaining the best reception is as easy as taking good care of your satellite dish. So we’re going to give you some satellite space tips for you, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. 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.
    Now, here at The Money Pit we’re always talking about how to make your home really look the best that it can from the exterior; especially if you’re selling your home and especially if you want to sort of portray a very wealthy look in your house, if you will.
    You know, a new front door can actually increase your home’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. I mean studies have been done by companies where people look at a house and they see it with one door and they see it with a fantastically new, shiny door and they’re like, “Well, that one is worth like $24,000 more.” So it really does make a big difference and it’s a wonderful time right now to take advantage of tax incentives and get energy-efficient doors. So we are helping you by giving away a great prize this hour.
    We’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card, to one lucky caller, that’s going to help you buy a really great door that’s available at Lowe’s exclusively right now and it’s the Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Now, it’s not only a practical investment to put in a Benchmark door because they deliver energy efficiency, security and storm resistance; but they’re really, really beautiful and can make a big difference to the curb appeal of your house. So we want to help you get this project rolling, so we’re going to give away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one lucky caller to The Money Pit this hour. You’ve got to be in it to win it, though; so pick up the phone with your home improvement question and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Now, one of the maintenance jobs that ought to be on one of your weekend project lists is to take a look at your satellite dish, if you have one. It’s a great addition to a home theatre system or even just the family tube watching. But there are a few channels of maintenance you want to really watch out for because strong winds can move a dish out of alignment over time; lines can become damaged or waterlogged. So you want to pay attention to that issue, especially with the summer storms about, because sometimes we hear about these dishes actually being blown off the roof or certainly being blown loose. So get the binoculars out; take a look. If it looks like the thing has wobbled around, get a pro in there and get it fixed so you will not only keep your TV; you will keep it on the roof where it belongs.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) And you know what? My husband and I were in the Cayman Islands for Hurricane Charlie and they told us, you know, “Stay in your hotel room. Be all holed up. It’s going to be great. We’re all going to be safe,” and we heard quite a ruckus that night. And when we woke up the next morning, the satellite dish from the hotel had landed on our balcony and like broke its way into the concrete wall of our hotel room.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Oh, no. Well, it’s like a big Frisbee.
    LESLIE: (laughs) So, seriously, make sure everything is secure because, you know, a lot of you live in hurricane-prone areas and you get some high winds.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Time to talk paint with Melissa in Connecticut. What can we do for you?
    MELISSA: Well, I have a new old house – my house was built in about 1915 – and it’s got aluminum siding on it and I’m wondering if I can paint this siding because I really can’t afford to do an overall makeover right now.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Yeah, you absolutely can paint it and the key is going to be that the aluminum siding right now has paint on it that’s deteriorated. It usually chalks. If you rubbed your hand over, for example, it comes off in your hand.

    MELISSA: (overlapping voices) Yes.

    TOM: So what you need to do is to get as much of that old paint off as possible. You could try to pressure wash it a bit and see if that takes off the loose stuff.

    LESLIE: But you need to be cautious with the pressure washer because you could ding the siding.

    MELISSA: Oh.

    TOM: Yeah, you want to use a wide sort of a fan spray.


    TOM: And then you could actually brush – like wire brush – or sand lightly the siding and I would practice kind of on like the least visible side of your house because the key here is to make sure any loose material is removed. Then you need to prime it – I would use an oil-based primer – and then you need to put a topcoat on it and the topcoat could be latex.

    LESLIE: What is that new Behr paint that just came out that adheres really well and almost makes a good sealant? Is it that pure – darn, we just talked about it, Tom, you and I.

    TOM: Yeah, the Behr folks have a paint out now that’s actually primer and paint in one coat.

    LESLIE: It’s the Premium Plus Ultra paint from Behr and they can mix it into any of their colors and it’s fantastic.

    TOM: And the best way, Melissa, to apply the paint, if you can, is by spraying it and you can rent a paint sprayer if you want to do it yourself.

    MELISSA: Yeah. (chuckles)

    TOM: You know why? Because it’s hard to brush into all those nooks and crannies.

    MELISSA: Right, right. There are a lot of nooks and crannies; that’s for sure.

    TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

    MELISSA: Now do I have to bring the paint all the way down to the metal?

    TOM: No, no, no. Just need to get rid of the loose stuff.

    MELISSA: Excellent. Excellent. Well thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Melissa. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, here at The Money Pit we are happy to help you with all of your home improvement projects and we don’t judge; including those of you who want to call and kind of admit to us – own up to your slips, your goof-ups, your screw-ups. No problem.
    LESLIE: Heck, we like those stories best. (chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah, we do, we do. So up next, we’re going to jump in the e-mail bag and we’re going to start with Sandra who forgot the age-old adage “measure twice and cut once.”
    LESLIE: (chuckles) But wait? Where’s my board stretcher? (chuckles)
    TOM: Well, she’s going to need a backsplash stretcher because she cut that too short. We’re going to help her get out of it, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Villa Deco crown molding; the easy-to-install, lightweight crown molding that costs only a fraction of wood and includes precut corners. Go to DIYCrown.com for a special Money Pit listener offer.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Too shy to call? Email us at HelpMe@MoneyPit.com or head on over to the MoneyPit.com website and click on Ask Tom and Leslie just like Sandra did.
    LESLIE: Alright, and we have got one here from Sandra, as Tom said, who writes: “I recently replaced the countertops in my kitchen. Unfortunately, the new backsplash is shorter in length than the old backsplash. Now there is about a two-inch gap on the end of the counter. What can I do to cover up that hole?”
    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, measure once, cut twice.
    LESLIE: Hmm.
    TOM: No, I think that’s measure twice, cut once. (Leslie chuckles) Yeah, that’s it! Measure twice, cut once. Well, Sandra, if you cut it short, you’ve got to get creative. Now, you know I used to be a general contractor and when I made a big goof-up like that, I’d try to figure out some way to fix it so people thought it always looked that way; like it meant to be that way.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It was meant to be that way.
    TOM: So we’ve got to figure that out for you. And probably what I would do is I would extend the backsplash that’s behind the counter. I would bring it around to the side and I would make it extra deep. I’d put a nice, routed edge on it so it looks like it’s really built up and nice and bulky near the end of that countertop and fill in that two-inch space that way; by extending the backsplash around, sort of pulling it around to that two-foot-deep part of the front of the countertop and make it look nice, make it look solid, make it look fancy. And paint it not the same color but a complementary color so, again, people think it always used to be there. And I bet you, if you do it well, you’ll get compliments on it.
    LESLIE: Yeah, “Ooh, what a wonderful design choice you made there, Sandy.”
    TOM: “Where can I get a short countertop so my house can look just as good as yours?”
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright. Next up, we’ve got one from Elio (sp) who writes: “I have a wooden walkway in front of my Jersey Shore summer home. Because of flooding, which is very common in the area, it keeps coming up and apart. I’ve tried securing it using wooden stakes and rebar. Do you have any other suggestions for better securing it? Someone suggested cemented footings.”
    TOM: And that’s exactly what would do that. Yeah. The next time it comes up, I would drop some Sonotubes in the ground; those are those big, cardboard tubes that are anywhere from six to twelve inches in diameter. I would fill it with concrete and then you could put a bracket on top of that and, essentially, connect the deck to that foundation, that footing. It’s a pier footing and it’ll hold it in place and as the tide rises and the tide falls, no matter what’s going to happen, it’ll stay level, nice, even and tight.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and that’s exactly what you want it to do, Elio. Especially where you live, you’re going to get this happening a lot; so anything that you can do to secure it. And if you’re ever in the market to replace the wood that’s on top of your little decking area that you’ve got on this walkway, think about a composite. Because wood, you’re constantly going to have to refinish it and take care of it and maintain it; especially where you are with all that moisture and the salty water and, you know, the moisture in the air. So you want to make sure that to keep sort of maintenance down, look at a composite. Fiberon makes a beautiful composite decking and that will take your summer maintenance, you know, completely off the list.
    TOM: Well, a little fridge maintenance will help keep one of the most used appliances in your home running smoothly and Leslie’s got the details on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, a lot of you might not even realize that on the backside of your refrigerator are coils and they actually have to be cleaned for your refrigerator to run efficiently. So get your muscles on, eat some spinach. Pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coils every six months or at least, you know, when you set the clocks back or do something; write it down with your battery changing of your smoke alarms because this is going to help you save some bucks.
    And also, if you’ve got an old-styled refrigerator with a drain pan underneath, make sure you pull that pan out and give it a really good cleaning, as frequently as you remember, to avoid mold growth. It’s not going to help you save any money there but it’s going to help your kitchen be lovely and your fridge feel fresh and fantastic.
    TOM: Yes, watch out for mold in your refrigerator as well as mold under your refrigerator.
    LESLIE: Um, that’s penicillin. What? (chuckles)
    TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, your outdoor kitchen checklist. We’re going to help you create a cooking space outside. It could be as simple or as elaborate as you like. We’ll have ideas and tips for any size budget on the next edition of The Money Pit radio show.
    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.

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    (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.)

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