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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.)
    (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: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement questions, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’ve got your how-to and, most importantly, your how-not-to home improvement suggestions to get those projects done around the house.
    Coming up this hour, we’re going to talk a little bit about paint. You know, it’s the cheapest and easiest way to make a huge transformation in any room, but if you’re trying to decide on color and it kind of gives you the heebie-jeebies because you just can’t make the decision, well, you’re not alone and we’ve got some solutions for that panicky moment that’s going to make it really easy to lay out your entire color scheme.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) That is, if you can narrow it down to just a few.
    TOM: We can do it.
    LESLIE: Plus, this hour we’re going to have Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor from This Old House stopping by with a couple of ideas for fixing those pesky doors that just won’t stay open or closed, you know, when they’re supposed to.
    TOM: Well, that’s why doorstops were invented, Leslie.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Exactly.
    TOM: And also ahead this hour, we’re giving away a project to bring you and your kids closer together. It’s a birdhouse combo kit from Red Toolbox worth 65 bucks; especially designed for parents and kids to build together. So give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Let’s get right to those phones. Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: John in New Jersey, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    JOHN: Yes, thank you for taking my question. I have a stone patio that I constantly have weed problems with and I’ve used a spray. Somebody said that you can use [brushed cement] (ph) or something. What would you suggest to get rid of those weeds?
    TOM: I would use Roundup.
    JOHN: Yeah, I’ve done that but they keep on coming back. Is there any permanent solution?
    LESLIE: Are they growing in between the stones themselves; sort of in like the grout line?
    JOHN: Between the stones themselves, yes.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: There’s a product called JOINT-LOCK locking sand. Is it from QUIKRETE, Tom?
    TOM: It’s QUIKRETE that makes it, yes.
    LESLIE: And it’s sort of like a polymer sand product.
    TOM: It’s a polymer-based sand. It’s sort of like sand with a glue in it.
    LESLIE: Yeah, that you would sweep over the stone patio surface so now you’re filling in the essential grout lines with this sand. And then once it’s filled in, you would spray it with a hose and that sort of glues all of that sand together, making it impossible for bugs and weeds to grow up in between. But it’s not a permanent bond. Say you should ever need to replace one of those stones for whatever reason, you can sort of jiggle it loose and then pop a new one in.
    JOHN: I see. That’s perfect. Thank you very much.
    TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Gail in Georgia is dealing with a sink that just won’t stay unclogged or backed up. What’s going on? This sounds like a disaster.
    GAIL: It is. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) It’s been going on for quite a while …
    TOM: OK.
    GAIL: … and I had Roto-Rooter come out and it would clear up for a little – just a short while. Then I asked the extension agent, “What would you do and what does it sound like?” and he said, “Well, maybe you need new drain fields.” So we had new drain fields put in, we emptied the septic and it still backs up.
    TOM: Huh. Does it only back up into the one sink?
    GAIL: That’s right.
    TOM: Well, have you ever considered having a camera inspection done to the drains?
    GAIL: No, but I’m a nurse and I understand what that means.
    TOM: Yeah, well it’s kind of similar to what you might do in surgery. But basically, yes, they run a line through the pipe. It has a camera on the end of it and they can do a drain inspection. It might be that, say, for example, one of your underground waste pipes is cracked; there might be roots that are forming in there and filling it up. I think, at this point, you need to figure out what’s wrong with the drain system because, obviously, wherever it is, it’s not been addressed and I think I would stick a camera down those drains and take a look and see what’s going on.
    I know Roto-Rooter has those systems. Other drain-cleaning companies have them as well. It’s called a drain camera inspection and they actually can run a tape while this thing is going through and then back it up and you can all take a look at it together. But I’ve seen pipes that were cracked that would have been undetectable any other way and, you know, they would run the snake through it; they’d clean out some roots and two months later the roots would grow right back because, of course, with all that sewage there, it’s a great, very rich environment for the roots to grow.
    GAIL: Alrighty. I appreciate the information and thanks for taking my call.
    TOM: You’re welcome. You’re very welcome, Gail. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Well, summer is certainly dwindling by which means fall fix-ups are on your to-do list. So pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are here even as the temperature starts to plummet, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, are you planning on picking up a paintbrush soon? Well, we can help you get that job done with fewer steps. We’ve got a new product that can do just that. We’ll tell you all about it, after this.
    (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 and you should get in on the home improvement action by giving us a call. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a great prize. We’ve got a birdhouse combo kit from Red Toolbox. Now this is a great company that makes project kits for kids and adults to do together. Imagine that? Spending quality time with your family and actually making something fun. All of the materials that you need come with the kit and the tools are designed to fit into your kids’ smaller hands. It’s worth about 60 bucks but give us a call right now for your chance to win one for absolutely free at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, our décor du jour this hour – our decorating tip of the day – is all about paint. You know, paint can transform a space from drab to fab. It can do it inexpensively. It can do it very easily. But color is one of those things that is just too easy to get really neurotic about.
    LESLIE: It is.
    TOM: When it comes to decorating, you know, the number one question we get asked about is what is the right color. (Leslie chuckles) And there really is no right color but here is a quick trick that might help you pin one down. Find one object that you really like in the room or in the house and build around it. It could be a piece of furniture; it could be a pillow; it could be a painting or it could even be something outside of the house, something in nature. It could be a rock; it could be a leaf; it could be, really, anything that has colors that inspire you. And then, based on that, you can sort of pull off the background colors, pull off the accent colors and start to paint your room to sort of give it the same look and feel as that one piece that you like. It’s a technique that decorators use all the time. It’s very, very successful and you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with the results.
    LESLIE: And also, do a search online and find one of those artist wheels that show you the complementary colors: you know, red complements green. Sort of gives you an idea for an accent color that you can bring into the space and if you search online you can find, you know, the entire wheel with all the colors and shades thereof in between so you’ll know what kind of works with itself.
    Now, when it comes time for actually applying the paint, you want to make sure that you choose the best quality paint that you can afford and you don’t want to forget the most important step, which everybody just wants to skip but don’t; you absolutely have to prime. Now, if you don’t want to do two steps, there’s actually a paint on the market that takes some of the work out of painting: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Paint. Now, this revolutionary formula doubles as both the paint and the primer to form a liquid safeguard that covers existing or even uncoated surfaces without the need for that extra step – that separate primer. And it’s tough enough to even look great for years to come so you won’t have to paint as often. You’ve got to love that. You’ll probably tire of the color before it breaks down on you. (Tom chuckles)
    If you want some more information, visit their website. It’s Behr.com – B-e-h-r – or head on over to your local Home Depot.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your decorating question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Fred who needs some help with my favorite kind of house – a Tudor. What can we do for you?
    FRED: Hi. Tudor is about 23 years old and I have, on the siding, masonite stucco boards which, over the last year or two, have started to bow out and need to be replaced. But I can’t seem to find these boards any longer since they’re not manufactured and I’m wondering what I could – since I don’t want to replace all of the panels, the stucco, I just want to replace those that are bowed out, I’m looking for some alternative for that particular product.
    TOM: Yeah, it’s an interesting problem because you’re talking about the composite siding boards that sort of have the fake stucco look …
    FRED: Right.
    TOM: … and I’m surprised they lasted you 23 years, especially with that Tudor design, because there’s a lot of places that water sort of gets caught and causes the panels to swell and decay and deteriorate. And so, right now, you have to get those off of there because if you leave them, that can actually start to impact the structure as well. You don’t want to have that moisture getting into the framing because then you have the framing that can rot.
    Now, in terms of what you can do about this, can we attack this one side of the house at a time? Is that possible?
    FRED: Well, the only problem I had is that – I’ve looked at hardy planks, which make, I guess, a cement fiber board but the …
    TOM: Yeah, and it’s extremely durable.
    FRED: Yeah, the texture on it is so significantly different from the texture on the masonite boards that I think it would show up.
    TOM: Because the masonite board has more of a – there’s more of a rough stucco finish to it?
    FRED: Yeah, the one I have seems to be very rough and a lot of swirls in it.
    TOM: Alright, so let me give you a suggestion. Let me give you a suggestion. One of the things that you could do is you could try using the hardy plank board and then on top of that you could use an epoxy patching compound and trowel it on and try to mimic the appearance of the masonite board. And then, if you paint it all the same color, it might actually blend in pretty nicely.
    FRED: Very good.
    LESLIE: Alright, good luck with your Tudor.
    FRED: Thanks, I’m going to need it. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Alright, Fred.
    FRED: Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, Deanna in Texas has a question about an older home with a gaslight out front. How charming.
    DEANNA: Well, I have this older home; it was built in ’72 and I just purchased it. And I noticed that it has a gaslight out front but it doesn’t work.
    TOM: OK.
    DEANNA: And we determined that the gas line to it has been cut.
    TOM: OK.
    DEANNA: So I was just wondering if there’s any alternative. Is there a solar light fixture that would work there or if you had any suggestions.
    TOM: Well, do you want to restore it to its original gaslight status?
    DEANNA: Well, what would that take?
    TOM: Well, it would take – it would take, first of all, reinstalling the gas line at both ends. We should – it’d be nice if we knew why it was cut. It might be that they just decided they wanted nothing to do with a gaslight because while gaslights are really, really pretty; they’re also pretty expensive to run. The other option might be to use the existing fixture – and again, assuming that the gas is completely disconnected, you could run electrical line up there and replace it with an electric light fixture. And then the third option would be to replace it with a solar fixture but I will say that the solar fixtures are not going to be nearly as bright; they’re more decorative than a light that can really give you some good coverage in terms of adding some safety to the outside of the house.
    DEANNA: Actually, I want it for decorative. It’s not in a location, actually, in my yard that would be providing any light.
    TOM: Any light, right.
    DEANNA: It’s across the driveway and we determined that if we were to connect the gas lines back up they would have to be run into the neighbor’s yard because of the driveway and some shrubs and all that that have been placed there since. So there are solar lights that can be put in there?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I mean there are so …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes, absolutely.
    LESLIE: There are so many different solar options. There’s a company called Malibu.
    DEANNA: Malibu?
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and they have just a ton of solar options in a variety of light levels from path lighting to even flood lights for security reasons. So I would start with their website just to see and they install, you know, lickety-split. Some of them have the photovoltaic cell, which is what would power the light fixture, right on the fixture itself; and some would have one main sort of photovoltaic cell that a whole bunch of lights feed off of. Depends on how you want to install but it’s very simple to do and it’s a great project.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) There’s another website called Solar …
    DEANNA: (overlapping voices) Well, that sounds great.
    TOM: There’s another website called SolarIlluminations.com and they actually have a solar lamppost that is either six or seven-feet high and that’s the type of solar light that could, basically, replace exactly what you have right there.
    DEANNA: Excellent. Well, y’all have been very helpful. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Deanna. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Bob who needs some help with a central air question. How can we help you today?
    BOB: Yeah, hi guys. Listen, I have a ranch-style home. I have one-zone air conditioning and it’s a three-bedroom house. And everyone else has moved out and I’m just wondering is there any way to split that so it would be able to just cool my bedroom at night and save me a little money and be more efficient.
    TOM: So you want to cool just your bedroom at night but everything else during the day?
    BOB: Yeah, yeah. (inaudible at 0:15:11.8)
    TOM: Well, you’d have to put – you could put motorized dampers on it and control those with a zone control so that it would basically be timed to only cool one area of the house then close those ducts off, cool another area of the house. But frankly, by the time you get through the expense of putting all those in, you could also have the ducts split by an HVAC contractor and add a second air conditioning compressor for the same kind of money.
    What I would suggest you do is if you have bedrooms that you’re not using right now, there are probably some manual dampers in the duct system that should be turned off to those rooms because you definitely don’t need to cool those rooms.
    BOB: Right. OK. So the effective way would probably – or cost effective is to get a guy in and just get a small unit to do the one bedroom for the nighttime.
    TOM: Yeah, you know what you might want to do is to get a split ductless system. It’s basically like having a whole-house air conditioning system except it’s designed for one small area. You have a compressor outside and you have an air handler unit that hangs on the wall inside. It’s much quieter, too, than a traditional window unit and less expensive than a full-fledged second zone.
    LESLIE: And so many people make that type of system: Fujitsu, Whirlpool. I mean they are out there.
    TOM: Yeah, it’s so quiet. We have a Fujitsu split ductless in our radio studio and nobody can hear it when we have all the microphones on.
    BOB: Alright, that’s great. That sounds like an answer to my problem then and save me a few dollars on the long run and save a little bit …
    TOM: Yeah, that’s probably a better solution than trying to get into installing zone controls.
    BOB: OK, that sounds good.
    TOM: Alright.
    BOB: I appreciate the advice.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rita on the line who needs some help with paint removal and stone. Welcome, Rita. How can we help you?
    RITA: Hi. I have a farmhouse. It’s about 100 years old and in the living room we have a fireplace that’s surrounded by it looks like – it’s been painted. It looks like it was stone but it’s all painted white now and I want to try to take the paint off. But my question is I don’t know if – what if it is not real stone? What if it’s just a façade? Is that going to – will I ruin what’s underneath it by trying to take the paint off with a paint remover?
    TOM: Probably not. I would try to see how a paint remover works for you. If it’s not going well, remember, you can …
    LESLIE: In the smallest, least obvious area.
    TOM: Yeah, if it doesn’t go well you can always repaint.
    RITA: Alright, so any kind of paint remover I can use and just see how it works.
    TOM: Yeah, see if it comes off. You know, it’s probably a veneer; so it’s probably a thin stone. But you know, the paint remover should work fine with that and it shouldn’t have any effect on it.
    RITA: Oh, OK, OK. Good.
    LESLIE: And you want to look at a paint remover that sort of allows you to see the process. There’s one that I’ve worked with called Rock Miracle – R-o-c-k Miracle – and it goes on sort of like a paste and you can see that it’s working and see as it removes the paint. And it’s fairly easy to follow and I’ve had great success with that. But there are so many on the market, so it’s just up to you and what you can find in your area.
    RITA: Very good. Rock Miracle, I’ll look for that; otherwise, I’ll take my chances on a regular. (Leslie chuckles) Alrighty.
    TOM: OK, Rita.
    RITA: Thank you, guys.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, doors that swing open when you want them shut or fall shut when you’re trying to keep them open can just get downright annoying. But there are a couple of easy things that you can do to make your door work the way it’s supposed to. Imagine that. We’re going to learn all about it, next.
    (theme song)
    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: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pick up the phone right now and give us a call with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: David in North Carolina needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
    DAVID: Hi, yeah. I purchased a home about 11 – purchased it a couple of years ago but it’s about 11, 12 years old. And we’re looking at possibly painting the outside of it and I notice that the material that – it looked like wood; I thought it was wood. The material is kind of like pressboard but it has the look of wood.
    TOM: OK.
    DAVID: And so I was beginning to wonder what it was and whether or not I would be doing the right thing by actually trying to paint it as opposed to maybe removing it or something.
    TOM: Well, is it a composite?
    DAVID: Yes.
    TOM: Which is sort of like a prefinished sort of a pressboard?
    DAVID: Yeah, yeah. I mean it – from the outside of it, it has the grain and everything of wood. You know, that type of thing?
    TOM: Yeah. I think that’s composite. I think it’s composite. And you know, in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector, I used to tell my clients that that siding was fine as long as they painted it every day before they went to work. (Leslie chuckles)
    DAVID: I see.
    TOM: It doesn’t stand up too well. But painting it will preserve it. You need to be careful to clean it well and prime it properly but then you can paint it and that’s going to buy you some time. It’s not the best quality product but it’s adequate and you do need to keep it well protected.
    DAVID: OK, is it something that I should consider removing and or maybe putting siding on?
    TOM: If you’re ready to do the siding job, I wouldn’t put it in the emergency category. You certainly could paint it and get away with it for a few more years, David. But you know, it’s not a product that’s very, very durable so eventually you’re going to want to remove and replace it or side over it with another product.
    DAVID: OK. Excellent. Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, squeaky floors, creaky doors and all those little things that give your house what we like to call charm can sometimes be more than annoying.
    TOM: Exactly. Like if you have a problem with doors that won’t stay open or closed when they’re supposed to. Well, for some simple solutions, we turn now to our friends Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor from This Old House.
    And Kevin, just because this is a small problem doesn’t mean it can’t be really, really annoying.
    KEVIN: You know, sometimes it’s the little problems around your house that are the most frustrating. In my house, I’ve got a few doors that won’t stay open or shut when they’re supposed to.
    TOM SILVA: Did you hang them?
    (all laugh)
    KEVIN: Of course I did.
    TOM SILVA: Yeah, well sometimes a door swings open or closed because the house has settled or maybe just wasn’t hung right. But there are ways around fixing it. If you have to rehang the door, it could be a lot of work but there are a few simple ways to do it.
    If the door won’t stay closed, make sure that the striker lines up with the plate. So when you close the door, you want to hear that clicking sound. You may need to reposition it and chisel a slightly larger hole to receive the striker. You can also remove the hinge and shim them with cardboard at the top or the bottom, bringing the door back to plumb.
    KEVIN: OK. There’s got to be some other simple solutions, too.
    TOM SILVA: Well, you can take the hinge pin out and just lay the hinge pin on a solid block or take it out on the sidewalk and hit it so you can bend the pin slightly and it’ll go into the opening, causing some friction.
    KEVIN: I’ve actually done that a couple times. And if you’ve still got questions, you can check out our videos about fixing doors on ThisOldHouse.com.
    TOM: And that slams a door on another edition of today’s This Old House segment. (Kevin chuckles) Tom Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips.
    KEVIN: Thanks, Tom. Nice to be here.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) You know, and all this time I thought the best you could do is buy a doorstop and live with the problem and, of course, pick up that really adorable black-and-white dog doorstop. I mean there are so many great choices out there. (Tom chuckles)
    Well, doorstops aside, you can learn all about stopping those swinging doors at ThisOldHouse.com.
    TOM: And for more simple solutions, be sure to tune in to Ask This Old House which is proudly sponsored by ERA. ERA – always there for you.
    Still ahead this hour, we’re going to have an easy way to improve your décor with molding; including a way to put it up without using tons of nails or screws. We’ll show you how to do that, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Two-Part Epoxy Garage Floor Coating. Transform drab, gray, concrete garage floors into attractive and functional spaces with a showroom-quality finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    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: You want a great way to bond with your children while forging their confidence to take on a construction project? There is a company called Red Toolbox that has project kits designed to help do just that. It’s for parents and kids to work on a project together and you can win one of these if we pick your name from among those callers we talk to on the air this hour that reach us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re giving away the birdhouse combo kit which is worth about 65 bucks and comes with all the materials, tools and directions needed to build a great birdhouse that you can display in your yard. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT; so give us a call.
    LESLIE: And you would be surprised, birds, once they find your house in your backyard, they will come back year after year. We’ve had the same family coming to our birdhouse for about five years. Of course, it’s probably a different bird and I just imagine that it’s the same bird every summer (chuckles), but they really do make a great project and a lovely addition to your backyard.
    Alright, now crown and baseboard molding – maybe you’re calling in with a decorating question and we all know that crown and baseboard really does add a finishing touch to any room and it can give your house a very sophisticated and put-together look and it’s not that hard to do yourself. And we actually got a great tip this week from a listener on how to make this easy project even easier.
    Carlos Samplio (sp) – I hope I’m saying that right – wrote it in with his Liquid Nails story and says: “I use Liquid Nails for just about any project I have. When installing crown molding with Liquid Nails, you can use a few fasteners and give the crown a clean, finished look. I’ve installed baseboard molding without any fasteners using only Liquid Nails with no problems whatsoever and in my latest project, I was repairing a wall and installing the corner bead. I was having a problem with that. Every nail or screw I would use would just crumble the plaster. But using my Liquid Nails was the perfect solution.”
    TOM: Those are great tips, Carlos, and for sending us that Liquid Nails story, we’re going to be sending you a Liquid Nails gift pack including 11 different samples of Liquid Nails adhesives in a tool bag.
    If you’ve got a Liquid Nails story, you can send it to us to MyStory@MoneyPit.com and if we use your story on the air, we’ll send you a Liquid Nails gift pack as well.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to those phones. Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Chris in Texas who’s dealing with some wood paneling. What can we do for you today?
    CHRIS: It’s a house of 1985 …
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    CHRIS: … and it was more of a man’s home, so it’s got all this wood paneling all around the house and it’s in my family room. And with the oak paneling, they also have molding that makes it kind of look like a picture frame in certain spots; you know, all around the room. And I would like to take off some molding so it’s a flat panel and I’d like to do some textured walls with mud kind of thing. Do I need to have to take off all the wood paneling or can I put some kind of a primer and then put mud on there and do the textured walls or what?
    LESLIE: I’m just wondering about the adhesion level with the paneling.
    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to be able to do any kind of textured paint on top of the paneling.
    CHRIS: (overlapping voices) That’s what I figured.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) I do, however, think that you could prime it and you could paint it but you’re not going to be able to do anything that has a thickness to it because the paneling is going to be too flexible and it will crack and then fall off.
    CHRIS: Right. So I probably need to take off the paneling first and then start all over?
    TOM: Yeah, that would be the safest way to do it. Now it may not be that big of a deal. What I would do is try to see if the paneling can come off easily and hopefully it’s not glued. If it’s not glued then it comes off pretty easily. You may find that underneath, the drywall was never taped and, in that case, you’ll have to tape the seams. Because that was very common in the 70s; to just put it right on top of drywall without taping it first.
    LESLIE: And you know what, Chris? The molding frames that you’re describing on these walls, that’s actually a really fun way to add some sort of architectural style to a space. So if you find that it’s going to be just a huge undertaking to get rid of the paneling and too much work to start from scratch, you might want to think about painting the base of the paneling one color – like, say, the room color – then doing the molding in the frames like in bright white and then, inside that frame molding, doing a really fun vintage wall covering or some sort of textured paper or a rice paper and then putting in, you know, a collection of plates or artwork or something in there to really focus on that.
    CHRIS: I kind of thought about that, too. So if I do have to paint it, I have to do like a – what do you call it – a primer and then be able to paint over it?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You would have to prime.
    TOM: Yes, you absolutely want to prime first because primer is the glue that makes the paint stick.
    CHRIS: OK. Alright. Well, that’s great. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, next up we’ve got George who’s dealing with an issue with some toilet tanks. What’s going on?
    GEORGE: Yes, again, we have two Kohler toilets purchased at the same time, installed at the same time – about 10 years ago – and they’re the Pressure Clean type models. One of the tanks doesn’t have any water after flushing and remains that way. The other tank, it can go two-thirds or three-quarters up and my wife has to siphon out some water. Just need to know which should it be. They both are operational.
    TOM: Well, and are they both identical in terms of the flushing mechanism; it’s just that one seems to have water in it and one doesn’t?
    GEORGE: They’re the same models.
    TOM: Hmm. Do you know what the model is? Because Kohler has a whole bunch of pressure-assisted, high-efficiency flushing systems. The old one was called Pressure Lite. Does it have like sort of a black box inside of it?
    GEORGE: It seems to be. There’s like a cylinder.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, I think that that’s what’s called the pressure-assisted Pressure Lite model and I do not believe that you should be seeing water with that.
    GEORGE: Right.
    TOM: But I have to tell you that it’s probably an antiquated system, at this point in time.
    GEORGE: Yes.
    TOM: So it might be time for you to think about a new toilet.
    GEORGE: Really?
    TOM: Yeah. You probably still can get parts for it. I’ll tell you what, if you go to the Kohler website at Kohler.com and simply search on high-efficiency flushing systems, you will find a page that lays out all of the different types of high-efficiency flushing systems that they offer, including the older ones.
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rosemary who needs some help refinishing floors. What can we do for you?
    ROSEMARY: Do you know anything about this Enhance or Mr. Sandless floor refinishing?
    TOM: No. Mr. Sandless. It sounds pretty cool. (chuckles) It might …
    ROSEMARY: Supposedly, they come in and they put a chemical on your floor.
    TOM: Oh, it might be like a liquid sandpaper situation.
    ROSEMARY: And it eliminates all of the sealing off of the room and the dust and all of that. And I’m wondering – it sounds too good to be true and I’m wondering if you know of anything about it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It probably is.
    TOM: Yeah, haven’t heard of it. There are different types of sanding processes that really keep the dust down. There’s a machine out there called a U-Sand that I like a lot.
    LESLIE: Which like vacuums it all away.
    TOM: Yeah, it kind of abrades it and vacuums …
    ROSEMARY: What is it called?
    TOM: U-Sand. I think that’s their website, too; U-Sand.com.
    TOM: And you can rent these things and it’s a great tool because it does a good job of sanding the floor but it also sucks up most of the dust and you can’t screw it up; like if you stand in one place …
    LESLIE: And Tom, that’s the one with like the five different sanders sort of put together.
    TOM: Yeah, it’s got four heads underneath sort of one housing.
    ROSEMARY: OK. Well, these are floors that are probably 40 years old that I covered with carpet when I moved in just because it was less expensive to do that.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Well, how deteriorated are they, Rosemary?
    ROSEMARY: Not terribly. They’re just old.
    TOM: Well, let me give you another option. You can also rent a floor buffer like they use at the mall and that kind of place.
    ROSEMARY: Yep.
    TOM: Except instead of a buffing screen, you use a sanding screen. It kind of looks like window screen material. And using that, you abrade the surface of the floor; just taking off sort of the upper surface, cleaning off some of the dirt and abrading it. Then you would vacuum and damp mop the whole surface and then you can put another layer of urethane right over that. That’s a way to just clean up the floor enough to get it ready for another coat of urethane without taking it all the way down and sanding it down to raw wood. A lot of times you don’t have to sand it down to raw wood.
    ROSEMARY: Oh, I see. Alright, thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, dryer fires are a dangerous reality for thousands of homeowners every year. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to keep your family safe, after this.
    (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: And you can visit MoneyPit.com now for the free bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It’s called “Bringing the Inside Outside with Decks, Patios and Porches” and it’s got all your staycation solutions and it is sponsored by WORX lawn and garden tools and by Fiberon, the makers of composite decking. Check out MoneyPit.com/Staycation today to learn how to get your free bonus chapter.
    LESLIE: And while you’re there at MoneyPit.com, you can click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and you can e-mail us your question and we’ve got one here from Sid in Portland, Oregon who writes: “How do you properly run a dryer vent when your dryer is not located on an exterior wall in your house? What are the rules for dryer vent runs when they are 10, 20, even 30 feet from an exterior wall and what if you have obstacles to a straight vent run like plumbing?”
    TOM: Well, the fact of the matter is, Sid, that the longer the exhaust has to run, the less efficient the dryer will be. It’ll take a lot longer for your clothes to get dry because it has to push all of that hot, wet air up and out and over obstacles like you’re suggesting. So, it’s a real bad idea to have the dryer in the middle of the house if you can possibly help it. If you have to have it, make sure you only use hard ducting dryer vent material – regular steel dryer vent material; not the flexible stuff, not even the thin aluminum vents. You want this to be hard and smooth and as straight as possible so it has as little resistance as possible. You want to have as few turns as possible. If you follow all that, you might be OK but it’s still not going to be as efficient as if it was close to the exterior wall.
    The other thing you have to remember is it’s going to be really critical that you clean the dryer vent often. If you don’t, you’re going to get a dryer fire. Happens all the time in this country. Leslie and I have discovered a tool that’s called a LintEater that we both have right now that we use on our dryers. And it’s basically like a 20-foot-long sort of bottle brush that you put on a drill and you rotate it through. You pull it out; pulls out all of the lint. Get something like that; keep it clean. You’re going to have to clean it at least about every three months with a long run like that.
    LESLIE: Well, because I imagine with all of these turns that he’s talking about, you’ll probably even get like globs of lint that are just going to clog that pathway completely.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    LESLIE: Alright, well good luck with that, Sid.
    Now we’ve got one from Cindy in Virginia who writes: “If you were going to install hardwood floors in your home and have a 100-pound black lab running around (Tom chuckles), what would you recommend? The floor is going to be put in the living room and the hallway.”
    TOM: Well, you’re pretty brave. (Leslie chuckles) I would say that if I had that kind of abuse that I anticipated on the floor, I might consider buying a prefinished, commercial-grade hardwood floor. Now, there are residential-grade prefinished floors and there are commercial grade and there’s a big difference. There’s a test called the taber abrasion test where they basically spin like an abrasive disc into the finish and count how many revolutions it has to go before it cuts through that finish. And commercial grade takes a lot more wear and tear than a residential grade. So I would use something really strong like that.
    Now, the other option to consider is laminate floors and laminate floors today, the technology is such that they are almost indistinguishable from hardwood floors. So you might want to think about using a high-end laminate floor as well because it can definitely look just like a hardwood floor and I doubt anyone could tell the difference.
    LESLIE: And I mean you’re going to not notice any wear and tear and they’re super-easy to clean.
    Alright, next up, we’ve got one from Lou in Wilmington, North Carolina who writes: “We have water dripping from under the lowest row of siding on our house about 15 feet to the left of the main air conditioning drain pipe. Water is also dripping from the main pipe and the emergency drip pipe is not dripping. Would this be a leak in a pipe somewhere?
    TOM: It is definitely possible. You want to see if it’s consistent with the air conditioner. What often happens is those condensate drains get obstructed, the pans overflow and the water just goes everywhere.
    LESLIE: Alright, that’s a good tip. You know what, Lou? Do some investigative work. You’ll see what’s going on and you’ll be able to fix it.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.
    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 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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