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  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.) 


    (promo/theme song) 


    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler. 

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. 

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma; because we are here to help you get the job done. The weather is warm, it’s beautiful, it’s a great time to get outside to take care of those projects around your house that you know you need to do. 

    Hey, are you thinking about maybe enjoying some outdoor living this year? Perhaps you want to create a space in your backyard that you can really soup up and enjoy. You know, those outdoor rooms, that’s the cheapest way to extend your living space this time of year. I mean it really is. I mean come on. Let’s get out there. 

    LESLIE: And it’s just lovely to enjoy them. 

    TOM: It absolutely is. I mean even your front porch – you know, a rocking chair, a glass of lemonade and a porch swing could be a vision for a beautiful summer afternoon. If you’ve thought that way but maybe you don’t have a great porch, well, this hour we’re going to give you some tips on how you can do your own porch inspection; figure out what’s going on with that space in your house and fix it up so it’s safe and sound for an entire season of summer relaxation. 

    LESLIE: And you know what? If you’ve already got a porch at your money pit, a great option, if you’ve got wood trim but don’t really like the upkeep, are ones that are made out of PVC. Now they look great and they stand up to the elements, so we’re going to tell you more about wood alternatives like plastics and composites in just a few minutes. 

    TOM: And also ahead, if your spring or summer plans include a getaway, we’ve got some home security tips coming up – burglar-proof lighting, for example – that can eliminate any security issues whatsoever. There are these really cool lights out right now, Leslie, that actually have a motor and, once they see you, they follow you with a motion detector. Yeah, so if somebody is … 

    LESLIE: Crazy. It’s like a spotlight. 

    TOM: Yeah, if somebody is running across your yard, they can actually follow you and scare the bejeebers out of those guys. 

    LESLIE: Man, if only I had one when those high school kids ran through my yard and broke my fence. Grrr! (Tom chuckles)  

    And this hour, we’ve got a great prize for you guys. We’re giving away the Dremel 8200 rotary toolkit. It’s worth 99 bucks. And I actually own a Dremel tool. I’ve had mine for like 20-something years and I find any and every excuse to use it, so call in for your chance to win one. 

    TOM: It is an essential power tool in your toolbox; going to go to one caller who reaches us on today’s program with their home improvement question. So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and call us. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it. 

    Leslie, who’s first? 

    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Pauline in upstate New York calling in with a decking question. What can we do for you today? 

    PAULINE: Hi, I’m calling regarding – I’m replacing three decks with synthetic … 

    TOM: OK. 

    PAULINE: … and the contractor won’t be doing it until June. But I asked him about the new material I heard on your show and no one seems to know about it. It’s called Fiberon, I believe? 

    TOM: Yes, Fiberon. It’s great material and if your decking contractor is not aware of it, he really needs to become aware of it. Their website is FiberonDecking.com. You can simply enter your zip code and find a dealer near you. 

    PAULINE: So there’s a Home Depot by me and there’s a Lowe’s by me. 

    TOM: You may not find this at a home center. 

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s usually at more specialized lumber yards. I mean the product is so gorgeous. At home centers, you’re going to find the lower-end options of composite decking – which is great but I mean they really don’t look like what Fiberon looks like. It can look like all kinds of exotic lumbers that are just truly gorgeous. The graining on it – I mean there’s a textural graining, there’s a visual graining in – I mean it’s almost like a photograph of the wood on these composite panels. I mean it’s gorgeous; it’s truly, truly beautiful. 

    TOM: And it also has the longest warranty in the business, a 20-year warranty, so head on over to their website, FiberonDecking.com. Take a look at the photo gallery, take a look at the products and then you can use the dealer locator and find a supplier in your neighborhood. 

    PAULINE: I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help. 

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Pauline. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 

    LESLIE: Mike in Georgia is up with an air conditioning question. What can we do? 

    MIKE: I’ve got an older down-flow air conditioner and the pan under the coil is rusted out and it’s leaking onto the ceiling downstairs. 

    TOM: OK. Right. OK. 

    MIKE: And everybody wants to sell me a whole new unit (Tom chuckles) and I’m trying to figure out a way to see if that pan can be fixed or replaced or somehow rigged; something so that I don’t have to buy a whole new HVAC unit. Now I have been told that that pan is welded – you know, the coil is welded to the pan. 

    TOM: Right. Right. Well, here’s what you can do. First of all, you could have another drip pan put under the existing unit. Is that possible? Has that been discussed? 

    MIKE: Well, that’s what I’ve been thinking I could do but most of the people who come – or all of the people who come out here are just saying that’s not going to work. But I’m … 

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t see why it won’t work, Mike. I think that they want to – that those guys want to sell you a whole new system and if you’re not ready to buy one, I don’t think you should be forced to. I mean, frankly, most of the time, you have an overflow pan under an air conditioner, so I don’t see why you can’t put a bit of a beefier condensate pan underneath that and simply go with that. Have that drain properly into a condensate pump and take the water out that way. 

    Now if there are just small areas that are rusted out, you can also repair the metal with an epoxy patching compound. You can use auto body filler on metal to seal areas that are rusted out. That’s how you would do it on a car; there’s no reason you can’t do it on the metal jacket of an air conditioner as well. 

    MIKE: Do you know if they make something for that? Because I just – I thought I might be able to just go to Home Depot or something like that. 

    TOM: No, I mean typically those pans are made up at a sheet metal shop or HVAC contractors make them themselves back in their own shops. Anyone that makes ductwork can make an overflow pan for you. 

    MIKE: So just got to find the right person, huh? 

    TOM: That’s right. That’s right; somebody who wants to sell you a repair and not a replacement because I don’t think you need it yet. 

    MIKE: OK, well I’ll keep looking. 

    TOM: Good luck, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.  

    Hey, Fathers Day is just a few short days away, so give us a call if you need some ideas for a great gift for Dad. And if you’ve got any questions about home improvement, home décor, repair, you name it; we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.  

    TOM: 888-666-3974.  

    Up next, as the lazy days of summer roll in, a nice place to spend a few hours is on your front porch. If yours is looking a little worse for wear, however, we’ve got tips to get it back in shape, after this. 


    (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. Therma-Tru Doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit Therma-Tru.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. 

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Because if you have the courage to ask that question to us on the air right now, we’re going to toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat because this hour we’re giving away the Dremel 8200 cordless rotary tool. This is a very versatile, compact tool that’s great for outdoor projects like removing rust from patio furniture. The Dremel 8200 is also great for carving, engraving, routing, grinding, sanding, cutting, cleaning and polishing. 

    LESLIE: You name it. 

    TOM: It does a lot of stuff. You get it? (chuckles)  

    LESLIE: It really does. 

    TOM: It’s a prize worth 99 bucks; going to go out to one caller chosen at random who reaches us on today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must have a home improvement question in order to qualify for this opportunity, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now because we want to help you. 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, once you pick up the Dremel for the first time, I swear you will immediately try to find any and every excuse to be like … 

    TOM: To use it. 

    LESLIE: … “Oh, I think I can use it for that, so I’m going to.” It is highly addictive; I promise you that. 

    Well, if you’ve got a front porch and you are thoroughly relaxing on yours, I bet you that your neighbors are green with envy that you actually have one. And we all have seen that front porch relaxing is certainly back in style. So if you’ve got one, you really need to make sure that you take special care of that porch and you have to occasionally give it a very thorough checkup.  

    Now, the first thing that you want to look at are the wood beams because these are what hold up that porch and they’re usually the first to go when age and moisture and insects attack your porch. And generally, all of those factors do come in to play at some point in that porch’s life. 

    TOM: Absolutely. 

    LESLIE: So you really do want to check it out. Now, to check yours, you want to crawl underneath the porch; probably put on some sort of coveralls because it’s going to be gross and dark under there. 

    TOM: That would be wise. 

    LESLIE: (chuckles) Tom has spent much time underneath. (Tom chuckles) Then you want to probe that porch, all of the framing, with a screwdriver; just poke right at it. And then you want to use a flashlight to check over each of the beams looking for cracks. And if you find any damaged beams at all, they should be replaced immediately just for safety reasons. 

    TOM: Now if you’ve got some cracked floorboards, they can be easily pried up and flipped over. A little trick of the trade: just because it’s cracked on the top side doesn’t mean it’s going to be cracked on the bottom side. You can reattach it, save yourself the aggravation of having to replace it, and you’ll be good to go. And when you do reattach it, make sure you use screws and not nails because screws don’t pull out and nails will usually work their way to be loose again.  

    Now, another area of high maintenance on a porch is the railing area, the spindles, the balusters and the columns. If yours are worn, of course you can scrape, prime and paint. But if you’re thinking about replacing them, a good way to go is to use the PVC or urethane systems because it’s got like zero maintenance. This stuff looks like wood, cuts like wood but it doesn’t rot or peel or crack or check like wood; really good way to go if you want to update that porch space. 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? As long as we’re on the topic of low maintenance, when it comes to furnishing your outdoor space – even if it’s a covered porch or a screened-in porch – you want to make sure that you choose furniture that’s made for the out-of-doors and you want to get something that’s super-durable. Look to something that’s made out of that synthetic resin that looks exactly like wicker. 

    TOM: Yep. 

    LESLIE: If you want some good choices, head on over to your local Sears or your local K-Mart and you’ll find some really beautiful items with proper outdoor cushions, beautiful wicker resin; I mean really gorgeous at a super-affordable price. 

    TOM: Absolutely. For more tips on porch repair, maintenance, inspection and outdoor living, head on over to MoneyPit.com. 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.  

    Leslie, who’s next. 

    LESLIE: Donna in South Carolina needs help with a cleaning situation. What’s going on? 

    DONNA: I have shower doors that have years of soap scum buildup. 

    TOM: OK. 

    DONNA: And I’ve tried several preparations that I’ve bought in the supermarkets and nothing has happened. 

    LESLIE: And was one of those C-L-R? 

    DONNA: Yes, I have tried that. Yes. 

    LESLIE: And that didn’t work for you. 

    DONNA: No. 

    LESLIE: Did you try something as simple as white vinegar? 

    DONNA: No, I never tried that.  

    LESLIE: It could work. I mean, generally, that’s really excellent at breaking down mineral deposits: salt buildup from evaporation of water on concrete or even around your faucets, etc, like on your kitchen counters. That might do a little bit of getting into it. 

    There’s also something – I’ve never tried it for soap scum but it’s a green product from a company called [NuTech Formulations] (ph) and they have these wipes called Grime-Away. 

    DONNA: OK. 

    LESLIE: And I mean they really work very well at getting away all sorts of odd buildup. I had this little flowerpot that I kept on my windowsill that, over the years, it had two pieces of tape that I peeled off and then dirt stuck to it and then all sorts of other yuck stuck to it. And I just, for years, ignored it and picked up one of these wipes and it all disappeared. So that could be something and you can find that pretty much at any home center. I mean that’s worth a shot. I would definitely start with the vinegar; see where that gets you. 

    DONNA: Alright, just put it on straight? Any type of scouring? 

    LESLIE: Normally, I would mix it with water but if it’s a lot I would just go straight with the white vinegar. 

    DONNA: OK. Alright, well thank you very much for your help. 

    TOM: You’re welcome, Donna. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 

    LESLIE: Michael in Georgia is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you? 

    MICHAEL: Yeah, I’ve got an issue in my house where I have laminate flooring and the whole downstairs flooded, so I’ve got puckering and just – you know, it’s a mess. 

    TOM: OK. 

    MICHAEL: And I kind of wanted to know what to expect when I rip this stuff up. I’ve laid laminate flooring over subflooring before but not on a slab. This is sitting on a slab, so … 

    TOM: Yeah, actually, I think that you shouldn’t have very many surprises at all. I mean if it was over subflooring, you’d find rotted, warped flooring; but because it’s over a slab, you should find the same slab that was there when it was originally put down. 

    Now, getting that flooring up could be a bit tricky because the floor probably locks together. What I might suggest is that you use a circular saw and set the depth to the thickness of the laminate floor – like 1/4-inch or whatever it is – and then go ahead and just cut right across the floor and try to take it up in pieces that way. 

    MICHAEL: OK. So it’s not going to be glued down or anything like that? 

    TOM: It shouldn’t be. Laminate floor is not designed to be glued down. 

    LESLIE: No, it’s usually a floating floor system. 

    MICHAEL: So it’s going to be sitting on a pad just like what I’ve done upstairs then. 

    TOM: Absolutely, it should be. 

    LESLIE: Should be. Or the pad might be on the back of each plank; like attached to it.  

    MICHAEL: Right, right. I understand. 

    TOM: But that’s the way it’s normally installed. 

    MICHAEL: I just wanted to get an idea of what to expect before I started ripping it up, so that helps me a lot. 

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean if everything goes the way we’d expect it, that’s what you should be finding; laminate floor that’s on top of some sort of an underlayment pad sitting on top of the concrete floor. So it shouldn’t be that crazy a project for you to have to replace.  

    By the way, do you have – did you call your insurance company, Michael? Because you may have – do you have flood insurance on this? 

    MICHAEL: I did not. 

    TOM: Yeah, well are you in a flood zone or was this sort of the result of a broken pipe or something? 

    MICHAEL: It was the result of a broken pipe, yeah. 

    TOM: Well, that should be covered by homeowners insurance. 

    MICHAEL: Well, see I wasn’t quite accurate there. It was the result of a broken washing machine and the washing machine was – the pipe that comes out of the bottom of the washing machine was destroyed by a rodent that got into my house. 

    TOM: OK. 

    MICHAEL: And my insurance doesn’t cover any damage caused by any animal. 

    LESLIE: Oh, wow. 

    TOM: Oh, that’s kind of tricky. Hmm. 

    MICHAEL: Yeah, I asked and that was the answer I got. 

    TOM: You know what? I bet you can fight that. That’s kind of debatable as to what came first; the animal or the broken pipe? (Leslie chuckles) 

    MICHAEL: (chuckling) Right. 

    TOM: Yeah, you might want to call an insurance adjuster and let them negotiate because it sounds to me like there ought to be some coverage there. 

    MICHAEL: That would be great if there was because it’s a lot of flooring. 

    TOM: Absolutely. 

    MICHAEL: So one last question. So there’s no waterproofing or anything that I need to do or prep work that I need to do to the slab before I start laying stuff back down on it then? 

    TOM: No, just make sure it’s nice and dry. 


    TOM: I mean it wouldn’t hurt for you to put a layer of epoxy paint down there that will stop some of the natural humidity from coming up through it, but I don’t consider it critical. 

    MICHAEL: Oh, OK. Well that sounds great. Thank you for your help. 

    TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Good luck with that project. Sorry that happened to you. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 

    Give an insurance any way – speaking of animals – to weasel out of paying a claim (Leslie chuckles) and they most certainly will. 

    LESLIE: That was a good choice of an animal there, Tom. 

    TOM: (chuckles) Seemed very natural. 

    LESLIE: Bea has a question about insulation. What can we do for you today? 

    BEA: Yes, I have just put in new insulation in my attic. 

    TOM: OK. 

    BEA: And I had heard you talking one time to a man about what to put on the papers; to be sure and include certain things when you go to get your credit on your – for your energy improvements. 

    TOM: Yep. 

    LESLIE: Bea, when did you put the insulation into your home? 
    BEA: Well, about two weeks ago. 
    TOM: Ah, well alright. Then I think that you’ll probably qualify. The requirement is it has to meet the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. How much insulation do you have in your house; how many inches? 
    BEA: Ten inches. 
    TOM: Ten inches? Hmm, that doesn’t sound like it might be enough. You’re going to have to find out what the required insulation level is for your area in the country. 
    BEA: Oh. 
    TOM: You could probably do that through the local building department. But if you meet the International Energy Conservation Code, then you can qualify for a 30% tax rebate on the cost of that insulation up to 1,500 bucks. So it’s pretty … 
    BEA: Now what’s the name of the code you’re talking about? 
    TOM: International Energy Conservation Code. 
    BEA: OK. 
    TOM: That’s the requirement. It’s got to meet that code. OK? 
    BEA: (overlapping voices) OK. I’ll call them and find out. Thanks. 
    TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. 
    LESLIE: Good luck with that. 
    BEA: Thanks. Bye. 
    TOM: You’ve got to pay your taxes anyway; you might as well get the government to … 
    LESLIE: Get something back. 
    TOM: Get something back out of it, exactly. (chuckles) Alright. 

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.  

    Up next, wood alternatives like PVC and composites, they can really cut down on your home maintenance. We’re going to lay out all of those options for you, after this. 


    (theme song) 

    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: Hey, is your front door looking a little worse for wear? In fact, do you ever feel like you’ve got the ugliest door in America? If you do, you might want to visit MyUglyDoor.com for a chance to win a makeover worth up to $5,000, courtesy of our friends at Therma-Tru. The My Ugly Door contest runs now through July 22nd. Visit MyUglyDoor.com for contest details and entry info. And you’ve got to see the before and after pictures of the winners in the last couple of years. Outrageous; just really cool. 

    LESLIE: I mean it really is a disaster and even if you don’t think you’ve got an ugly door, head on over because the photos are just great. 

    TOM: You might qualify. (chuckles) 

    LESLIE: Yeah. Maybe you should ask your neighbors if you have an ugly door and then decide if you should enter. 

    TOM: You may not be the best judge.  

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Exactly. 

    TOM: The website, again, is MyUglyDoor.com. 

    LESLIE: Delise (sp) is calling in from Hot Springs, Arkansas. What can we do for you today? 

    DELISE (sp): Hi, Tom and Leslie. I’m calling about – we just bought a large amount of ChrisWood furniture and I was reading about the offgassing of formaldehyde from that and I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to how we can minimize the health risks to that. 

    TOM: Well, generally, I think you want to vent it. Right, Leslie? 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And first of all, welcome from New Zealand. I don’t know how long you’ve been in the states but welcome aboard. 

    With new furnishings, you’re right; a lot of the finishes do have formaldehyde. It will offgas and it will offgas for a bit of time. You’re also going to find formaldehyde in new cushions for certain types of upholstered furnishings. You’re also going to find it in carpeting. So you have to be really careful about when you bring this into your home. Generally, with a new piece of furniture, if you’ve got a garage or some area that is covered from the elements that can give it some time to circulate and offgas, I would leave it there for a week. Let it … 

    DELISE (sp): A week? 

    LESLIE: Yeah, I would let it completely offgas before bringing it into my home. 

    Now, if I was putting in wall-to-wall carpeting – and we did this when I was pregnant with my son, we put it in the baby’s room, and we spoke to the showroom that was installing the carpet for us and I asked them specifically to unroll that piece of carpet that was going to be installed in my house in some sort of warehouse area for three days to a week, whatever they would accommodate, to allow it to offgas outside of our home. Because new carpets have that smell and that’s exactly what it is. 

    Now, they could have been blowing smoke up my you-know-what but they told me they did it and I noticed that there was not an odor. So you really do have to be careful because it is in a lot of things. 

    DELISE (sp): OK, well that sounds great. We can do that.  

    TOM: Good luck with that project, Delise (sp). Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 

    LESLIE: Well, you don’t have to use real wood to get a wood look for your home’s exterior. In fact, using wood alternatives will cut way down on your honey-do list; I promise you this. For much easier maintenance without losing the charm that we all really love about wood trim, molding and decking – you know, we all love that look – there are a lot of manmade options that you should be considering. 

    TOM: And here to tell us about just that is Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House, and Tommy Silva, the show’s general contractor. Welcome, guys. 

    And Kevin, we put a lot of wood in houses, but there are definitely places where composites are clearly a better choice. 

    KEVIN: Most houses are built using a lot of wood. It makes up the framing of the house itself; it’s part of the trim around the doors and the windows; it’s the siding, the flooring and the decks. But if it’s not maintained properly, untreated wood that is exposed to the elements will eventually rot. 

    So Tommy, what are some of the alternatives? 

    TOMMY: Well, that’s right, Kevin; it will rot. There are a lot of different plastic woods out there now and I use it a lot for exterior trim and decking. For exterior trim around doors, windows, fascia, soffit, I often use PVC boards. Solid PVC boards are great but you want to make sure that you use the manufactured, recommended adhesive. 

    KEVIN: OK. 

    TOMMY: For decking, sometimes I use a composite wood made of recycled plastic and sawdust. 

    KEVIN: So let’s talk about the composite decking. Any special insulation tips? 

    TOMMY: Well, I’ve had some great luck with a hidden fastener system where you fasten the decking to the joist on each side of the deck board and it leaves no holes on the surface.  

    KEVIN: Right. 

    TOMMY: But if you decide to screw the deck board down through the surface, be sure to use a composite deck screw. It helps prevent that ugly mushrooming around the screw head. 

    KEVIN: Alright. Well, if you want more information, there are several videos on our website about composite decking and solid PVC. That’s at ThisOldHouse.com. 

    TOM: So always remember: mushrooms on the steak, good; mushrooms on the deck, not so much. 

    TOMMY: (chuckles) That’s right, Tom. 

    KEVIN: Not so much. 

    TOM: Tom Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. 

    TOMMY: Thanks, Tom. It’s my pleasure. 

    KEVIN: Thank you, Tom. 

    LESLIE: Man, you’re making me hungry. You know, speaking of cooking great steaks, we’ve got a Fiberon composite deck – I know you guys have heard me talk about it a million times – but cleaning it is an absolute breeze and I tell you, it is the best decision we ever made as far as any sort of home maintenance project and I will never, ever go back to a wood deck again. Even though they’re gorgeous, I don’t ever want to deal with that maintenance. With composites, maintenance is just super-simple and it looks great. 

    TOM: And for more tips on how you can have a beautiful deck or many of the other projects that are done every week by the guys at This Old House, head on over to ThisOldHouse.com, check out the local listing in your area and watch them on TV. This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better. 

    Up next, we’ve got a bright idea to help make sure your house is not the target of burglars. Learn how to use lighting for safety and security, after this. 

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.  

    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.  

    Hey, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because have we got a deal for you. (Leslie chuckles) If you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we will try to give you the answer to your home improvement question and … 

    LESLIE: Yeah, we’ll give it to you. 

    TOM: And the opportunity to win a great prize, which is the Dremel 8200 cordless rotary tool. It’s going to go out to one caller we talk to this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s a versatile, compact tool that’s ideal for outdoor projects like removing rust from patio furniture. It’s also great for carving, engraving, routing, grinding, sanding, cutting, cleaning and polishing. It’s worth 99 bucks; going to go out to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And if you don’t call, it’s going to stay in the Money Pit tool shop where Leslie and I can use it. 

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Or Leslie’s closet. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) 

    TOM: No, give us a call right now. We want to give this away. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.  

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, with the summer season upon us, a lot of us are skipping town for the weekends and going and enjoying vacation homes or beach destinations. We’re all just trying to get away and relax this summer. So, as you’re sort of thinking of getting away from your own home, have you thought about the outside of your yard? You know, do you have way too many shadowy areas around your house?  

    Well, if you do, I mean I don’t want to scare you but those dark areas are perfect for lurking in. So we want to help you shed some light on this dark situation. Now, dark homes, they invite burglars because they’re like, “Hey, nobody is at home.” But keeping all your lights on all the time gets super-expensive, so what are you to do? 

    Well, the best solution is motion detectors. Now, these special lights, they’re going to surprise unwanted visitors by coming on super quick when anyone gets within 50 feet of your house. Now it’s great for your personal safety as well, since you’ll be able to see the front door way before you even get to it and then you won’t be fumbling in the dark for your keys which, I have to admit, I always am doing. 

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to the phones. 

    Leslie, who’s next? 

    LESLIE: Kirk in Missouri needs some help with a porch project. What can we do for you? 

    KIRK: Hello, I’ve built a porch and I’m using CCE wood and I’m planning on leaving it cure for a year. And then I was wanting to water-stain it and then stain it. Is that a good way to go? 

    TOM: You said you wanted to water-stain it and then stain it. (chuckling) What exactly do you mean, Kirk? 

    KIRK: Well, I guess with Thompson’s water sealer, I believe.  

    TOM: Oh, you mean seal it and then stain it.  

    KIRK: Yeah. 

    TOM: Well, I would skip all that. I would go right to a solid-color stain. Use an exterior-grade, solid-color stain. It’s going to seal the wood, it’s going to preserve it from UV degradation and it’s going to add some color all in one step.  

    KIRK: OK. So forego the Thompson water sealer, correct? 

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you need to do that if you’re going to stain it. But you want to use a solid-color, exterior stain. And that’s going to give you good durability, it’s going to seal the wood and it’s going to stop it from cracking and checking and protect it from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But you do still, Kirk, you want to let it sort of stay outside unfinished for a season. This way you’re letting all of those weatherproofing materials that they put into the lumber to sort of come out of it, it dries out a little bit and then it will better adhere the stain to the surface. 

    KIRK: Does that make a difference because it’s CCE?  

    TOM: Because it’s pressure-treated? 

    KIRK: Right. 

    TOM: Yeah. I mean that’s why we say that usually wait a couple of months. I mean I think you probably – you may want to wait the whole season or just wait a half a season. A couple of months of sun is enough to kind of evaporate out most of the chemicals that are leaching toward the surface of that. 

    LESLIE: Yeah, I would let it be out for the whole summer season because you’re dealing with … 

    TOM: You want to go the whole season? 

    LESLIE: Well, only because you’re dealing with a high-moisture situation. You’ve got humidity. You know, it’s just going to be icky for staining and it’s not going to stick and once autumn hits, when it dries out – you know, the air is dry, the weather is a bit better – then you’re able … 

    TOM: Yeah, but do it in the fall; don’t wait the winter, right? 

    LESLIE: Yeah. Oh gosh, no.  

    TOM: Yeah. 

    LESLIE: The fall; like the summer season. 

    TOM: Right. Alright, I can go with that. 

    KIRK: OK. Yeah, I built this thing last October before the first snow flew, so it’s been sitting there through the winter and now I guess, once the – so maybe end of the summer will do it? 

    TOM: Yeah, that sounds good, Kirk. 

    KIRK: OK, thank y’all very much. 

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 

    LESLIE: Hey Carol, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today? 

    CAROL: Yes, I bought a new house August of ’08. 
    TOM and LESLIE: OK. 
    CAROL: And shortly after we moved in, we found a big crack in the upstairs bedroom and it went down on both sides of the corner. So the builder just retaped and rebedded it. 
    TOM: And now it’s come back. 
    CAROL: No. 
    TOM: OK. 
    CAROL: Now, downstairs, in the vicinity, we have grout cracks, tile cracks … 
    TOM: Oh, boy. 
    CAROL: … and I’m concerned if it’s a foundation problem because now it’s gone across the butler’s pantry, across the closet and now I have two cracks in the den … 
    TOM: And do you have a ten-year warranty on that house? Was there a warranty from the builder? 
    CAROL: Yes. Yes. 
    TOM: And have you notified the warranty company of the problem? 
    CAROL: I’ve notified the builder and he has contacted his structural engineer. I’ve had another company come out and they say, “Oh, everything is OK.” But I think the builder may have these people in their pockets. 
    TOM: OK, listen. There’s two things that I want you to do. First of all, you need to notify the warranty company. Notifying the builder does not protect you in the event of a warranty claim. 
    CAROL: OK. 
    LESLIE: Yeah, you need to get to the warranty people first. 
    TOM: You absolutely – get your warranty booklet out and take a look at what the claims procedure is and you want to notify the warranty company that you’ve got a potentially serious structural issue with the house so that you’re covered. Because there’s a time – there’s a clock ticking here and if you don’t notify them in the proper timeframe, then you may not get the coverage. So you want to do that. 
    The second thing I want you to do is get your own independent structural engineer to look at this. You’re going to have to spend a little money but that’s the only way you’re going to get to the bottom of that. So you need to find a good structural engineer. You could – one thing I would do is I might call some home inspectors in the area and ask who they recommend for that kind of work and I would get a licensed structural engineer in there to check that out and have them give you a report as to what it is, what’s causing it and what has to be done to fix it. And with that in hand, you can go back to the builder and, possibly, to the warranty company. 
    Now, I will warn you that the warranty company coverage is usually very loose. It definitely favors the builder. 
    CAROL: (overlapping voices) Sure. 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Of course it does. 
    TOM: But you need to make sure that you read the warranty booklet and you need to get that engineer to write his report in such a way as it qualifies whether or not it’s covered by the warranty, if that’s possible. 
    CAROL: OK, very good. I will do that. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK? Alright, good luck. Thanks so much … 
    CAROL: Thank you. 
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 

    Up next, we’ve got tips on refacing and refinishing for your house; everything from new floors to a new look for a very old bathtub. That’s all coming up, after this. 


    (theme song) 

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior weatherproofing wood stains and finishes with an advanced, 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers longlasting beauty and excellent durability. 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: And we invite you to follow us on Facebook. You simply text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 from your cell phone and you’ll be instantly added as a fan; get a chance to ask your home improvement questions directly to us, including the occasional opportunity to call right in to our recording sessions and get in line early to ask your home improvement question. That’s all available only to Facebook fans and, again, you can become a fan by simply texting “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665. 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If the thought of asking your question is just terrifying, then e-mail us your question because we always answer them right here on the show. And I’ve got one from Pauline, who I swear is not my mom – although she’s listening and probably will be like, “Yeah, that’s me.”  

    Pauline writes: “I have a laundry room in the basement with a half bath. The vanity is about five feet away from the washing machine and in the last eight months or so, when the washer empties, the water backs up into the sink. What might be the problem and how could I fix it?” 

    TOM: Hmm. Well, obviously there is an obstruction in that waste pipe, Pauline, and what you need to do is clean that out. So in this case, what I would recommend is that you snake that out. Now, you can do it yourself … 

    LESLIE: Yeah, but in this situation, you’ve got two fixtures sharing one waste pipe. Correct? So it’s sort of a T? 

    TOM: Right. So what happens is if one is blocked, the water is going to try to back up through the nearest exit, so to speak.  

    LESLIE: Is it difficult to snake something that’s T-shaped because of the shared connection? 

    TOM: It depends on how the pipes are set up; but, no, generally you can do this without – because the water backs up but when you run a snake down it, it usually goes the path that it’s supposed to go because there’s sort of a Y there and it will follow that in. But obviously there’s some obstruction in that pipe and what’s happening is the water is not getting through. Some of it is probably getting through but not all. I mean it could be something as simple as a hairball and then what happens is the water hits that and it backs up and it’s not going to back up to the washing machine; it’s going to back up into that sink. So that’s why you’re seeing that. It’s got to be cleaned out. Shouldn’t be a big deal. Worse comes to worse, call a plumber or a Roto-Rooter or a guy like that and have them do it for you. 

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up we’ve got one from Martin in Pennsylvania who writes: “I want to install wood floor in a wood that had carpet. I removed the carpet and underneath is concrete. If I install plywood first then 3-1/2-wide hardwood nails …” – hmm, I guess he’s talking about the 3-1/2-inch planks. 

    TOM: I think so, yeah. 

    LESLIE: “… is this going to give me problems in the future or should I go composite?” 

    TOM: Well, Martin, it’s not actually composite you want to deal with. What you want to do is go with engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is sort of like plywood; there are multiple layers that go together. And when it’s all done, you cannot tell the difference between that and real hardwood but it’s dimensionally stable so it can go on top of a concrete floor with no hassles. I think that’s going to look great and it’s going to be far, far easier to do than what you’re suggesting. 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s really the right application for it.  

    Alright, now we’ve got one from L. Fitzgerald in Waterboro, Maine who writes: “Would it be a big homeowner project to refinish an ugly bathtub and surround and how do you do it? Do you paint it?” 

    TOM: Hmm. Well, refinishing a bathtub is a big project and there are home glazing kits. It’s called glaze, not paint, but there are glazing kits that you can use; although I found that you’re lucky if they last one to two years and, frankly, only a little bit more if you have somebody come in and do it for you, a professional. If you can get the tub out where it can go to a shop and be reglazed, then you can get more of a permanent change in color. In terms of the surround, though, you’ve got lots of options there.  

    LESLIE: Yeah, I mean there are so many companies out there that are sort of like a Bath Fitter that offer a really great, affordable option. Corian, Silestone; they all make surrounds that are truly beautiful and they’re quartz-like products. So there are a lot of different options out there for you. You can retile right over it. Whatever you choose, there’s something that you can pick that’s truly along your design style that can be affordable; might not be a do-it-yourself project but you can really make that bath sparkle. 

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some ideas, some inspiration … 


    (Copyright 2010 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.) 
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