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    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: And Happy Independence Day, everyone. We hope you enjoy your Fourth of July, and you’re probably smack dab right in the middle of barbecues and fireworks and good times. And maybe you’re taking the weekend off from your home improvement projects. That’s OK. But next week, perhaps you’re ready to get back to work and tackle a chore, tackle a project, make an improvement. Whatever’s going on with your home, we’d like to help. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, has your home been on the market for a while, perhaps with no potential buyers biting? It’s a great market right now; it’s a good time to sell the house. But if yours is sitting there, it could be a good time to take a fresh look at how you’re presenting your home. We’re going to have some room-by-room advice on how to edit your stuff so your home is appealing to others.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, we’re talking to one of the most recognizable hosts on HGTV: Jonathan Scott, one half of the Property Brothers show. He’s got great advice on sprucing up your outdoor spaces without spending a lot.

    TOM: Plus, this hour, we’ve got tips on how to incorporate universal design into your next home improvement project. It’s a great way to make your home more functional for any age and stage of life.

    LESLIE: And one caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win the MyQ Garage from Chamberlain. It’s such a cool product. You can open and close your garage door from anywhere with a mobile phone app.

    TOM: It’s worth $130. Going out to one caller drawn at random, so let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie who’s first?

    LESLIE: Michelle is on the line from Los Angeles, California with a cleaning question.

    How on Earth did you spill some glue on your floor? Tell us about it.

    MICHELLE: Well, this is an interesting story. My fiancé and I just bought a condo and it needed some renovations. We weren’t planning on buying a fixer-upper; it’s just how it worked out. And one of the things was the floors.

    He decided that he would install them himself; he’d done it once before. And so, these floors required a glue, which a lot of folks like – we know a lot of people and people were like, “Glue? I never heard of glue.” But that’s what the lady that we bought the floors from said, so we got this really intense glue.

    And he kind of slammed through these floors pretty quickly and now I have this glue in fingerprint and bulges on top of the floors. It’s really terrible. And I’m just wondering – so we’ve tried – the turpentine works but it takes the finish off. That’s what you’re supposed to use to get it off your tools and off your hands and stuff? But it takes the finish off the floor. We’ve tried these 5505 wipes that are like $20; that didn’t work. Those are the recommended product: the anti-product to the glue. We’ve tried something called Goof Off or Goo Off or something like that. I don’t know if you have a trick but this glue is really intense.

    TOM: I think what you’re going to have to do is try to get it off as best as you can but you – just buy into the fact that you’re going to probably want to refinish these. And it’s not that big of a deal, by the way. What you could do is get everything off and then what I would do is I would sand the whole surface. And you could rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. It’s not like a caustic, rough belt sander.

    MICHELLE: Sure. But I don’t think with a sanding screen …

    TOM: No. You put a sanding screen on it and it abrades just sort of the upper surface of the floor.


    TOM: And then once you get that all abraded and even if you have to sand down deeper in the areas that are really bad, it’s OK. Because you get it all abraded and you get it all roughed up just a little bit with the floor buffer and the sanding screen. Clean it up really good so you have no dust and then you get some urethane – clear urethane. You want to use semi-gloss. And you apply that with a lambswool applicator.

    Now, that kind of looks like a mop for a kitchen except there’s lambswool on the end of it. And you essentially pour a little urethane in a paint tray and you mop it on very carefully and very smoothly, working out of the room. And then give it a day or two and it’ll dry and you should be good to go.

    Now, the one other thing I would do is check with the manufacturer of the hardwood floor to see if there’s a specific floor finish that they recommend for refinishing, because I’m not quite sure what they did initially.

    MICHELLE: Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Michelle. Good luck with that project and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

    Hey, if you survive the home improvement, you’ll survive the marriage, OK?

    MICHELLE: We’ve been living together five years, so this kind of thing is not new, honestly.

    TOM: It’s nothing, huh? Alright, Michelle.

    MICHELLE: Thank you very much.

    TOM: Take care.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Ed in Tennessee on the line who has a question about a crawlspace. How can we help you today?

    ED: I’m thinking about putting my dogs in my crawlspace. I’ve got a large crawlspace and I was wanting to – they’re big dogs and I was going to take and build beds out of treated lumber and put shavings in them – cedar shavings. And just wondering if there’s something I haven’t thought about doing that, if there’s a downside to it.

    TOM: Well, are they housetrained? Are they going to treat the crawlspace like the backyard, so to speak?

    ED: They’re housetrained.

    TOM: As long as they’re going to keep it clean down there, my friend, I don’t see any reason why you might not want to do that. It certainly will be cool and comfortable for them in that space in the summer.

    ED: That’s what I was thinking, so …

    TOM: You know, it’s pretty much like leaving them outside except they’ve got a little shade.

    ED: Right.

    TOM: But as long as they’re not going to cause any problems in there and use it as a bathroom, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

    ED: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: Ed, 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. Now, you can call in your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, do you know the number-one reason that homes for sale don’t show well? It’s clutter. We’re going to have tips on how to focus your home’s features, from the experts at the National Association of Realtors, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a MyQ Garage from Chamberlain. This is a very, very cool product.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You can set up your existing garage door opener with the MyQ system. No wiring is needed. Then you download the MyQ app and you’re ready to go. It will alert you if your garage door is open, has been opened, if you left it open. I mean it really is fantastic. And the best part is you can monitor your door from anywhere.

    TOM: It’s worth $130. It’s available at Amazon, Home Depot and select Best Buy stores. Learn more at Chamberlain.com/MyQGarage. Or call us, right now, for your chance to win. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Shirley in Nebraska is on the line and has some issues with heating water. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve had 4 in 28 years? That is an amazing turnover rate and not in a good way.

    SHIRLEY: No, it’s not a good one. It’s not. And when I talked to someone from our gas company – we have a maintenance thing with the gas company. And they said, “Well, the one thing is maybe” – I said, “I thought with a water softener, you were supposed to be able to prolong the life of your appliances.” And he said, “Well, maybe your salt level is too high.”

    Our plumber does not think so, so I just kind of wondered what your take was on it.

    TOM: OK. First of all, if you have city water, then you shouldn’t need a water softener; you should just be able to work with that water right out of the tap. I think you’ve had extraordinarily bad luck having to replace the 4 water heaters in 28 years. If you feel that the water, even the city water, is a little bit hard then, of course, you can use a water softener. And you might want to consider using one that is a no salt-water softener, if corrosion is a concern.

    There’s a product called EasyWater that uses electricity to polarize the hard-water minerals inside and force them to not stick to the sides of pipes and faucets and fixtures. So, that’s another option, as well.

    But the next time you buy a water heater, I would look for one that’s got the best warranty, because you haven’t had very good luck with this and at least it’ll be covered.

    SHIRLEY: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jeff in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JEFF: Hi. I’m calling because I have a house that’s about 16 years old.

    TOM: OK.

    JEFF: And where the brick front matches up to the vinyl siding, the sealant is starting to crack. And I’m not sure if it’s caulk that’s drying out or mortar that’s just cracked. So, I guess the question is: what’s the right kind of sealant to put between that brick front and the vinyl siding?

    TOM: Yeah, I’m sure it’s caulk, because the caulk’s not going to last 16 years.

    JEFF: Right.

    TOM: So, what you need to do is to scrape out the old stuff and then recaulk it. And to do that, you’re just going to use a good-quality exterior caulk. I might suggest that you consider using silicone for this because that’s going to give you the best, probably, long-term durability. A little bit harder to use, Jeff, but it will last the longest.

    JEFF: Now, I notice that the gap, in some places, is somewhere between half and a full inch. Do I need to put something behind it once I clean that?

    TOM: Ooh, that’s huge. That’s really big. That’s not caulkable. You can only caulk with maybe a ¼- to 3/8-inch. Is that entire space filled up with some material now?

    JEFF: Yes. And that’s – and it’s hard as a rock. That’s why I wondered if it was mortar behind the brick going into that.

    TOM: Oh, it might not be caulk. There are different types of urethane sealants and I can’t really be sure. Here’s what I suggest you do, Jeff. Would you take a photograph of this and post it in the Community section at MoneyPit.com? We’ll take a look at it and then get back to you with a recommendation. Does that make sense?

    JEFF: OK. That’s great. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, it’s time now for today’s Real Estate Tip Of The Week, presented by the National Association of Realtors. And if you want to sell your home fast, the best first step is decluttering.

    LESLIE: Now, we’re not saying that you’ve got to live like a minimalist. You just really need to edit down your current décor so that potential buyers can actually walk in and then visualize their own lives in that home. They can’t do it if you’ve got stuff spilling out from every nook and cranny. I mean it’s just overflowing with your things. Now, you may love it, but a buyer may not.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. So you want to go room to room, and you want to decide what you’re going to save, what you’ll donate and what you’ll throw away. Keep your furniture to a minimum in living areas. That’s going to make those rooms appear bigger.

    You want to take off some of those books around the bookshelves, get rid of some of those knickknacks and make everything that’s left look very, very orderly. Maybe just a few books, a few featured books and a few decorative items. And then organize the cords that are probably everywhere for electronics like TVs, computers and printers so everything is nice and neat.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Or at least just shove them in a corner. And hide them well.

    Now, when it comes to your kitchen, you want to remove everything except the essentials from your countertops. You need to clear off the front of the fridge and arrange the contents of your cabinets so that all labels face forward.

    In your bathroom, store your toiletries out of view and freshen your space with soaps, towels or a small vase of flowers. Gee whiz, that would such a disaster in my tiny, tiny kitchen or my tiny, tiny bathroom closet.

    TOM: And that’s your Real Estate Tip Of The Week, presented by the National Association of Realtors. Considering selling your home? Today’s market conditions may mean it’s a good time. Every market’s different, so call a realtor today and visit Realtor.com.

    LESLIE: Sharon in Illinois is on the line who’s dealing with a lot of leaky copper pipes. Tell us what’s going on.

    SHARON: We have a concrete slab for our home, with copper pipe in it. And we’ve been having some leaks – some bad leaks – and I have paid a plumber a lot of money. And he mentioned that there was a year that there were some defective copper pipes. And I’m trying to find out what year.

    TOM: Are you suffering from pinhole leaks? Is that what he said?

    SHARON: I believe so, yes.

    TOM: Pinhole leaks is a condition in copper plumbing that’s caused by the acidity in the water. And the problem is that there’s not a lot that you can do about it, short of replacing your pipes.


    TOM: It’s something that develops slowly and the strategies for dealing with this are to either repair the leaks as they develop or to simply plan and budget for a major upgrade of all of the parts of the plumbing that you can actually get to. Because over time, they’re only going to get worse.

    SHARON: Yeah. Well, we fixed the leak on the south end of our house and now, today, we finished the leak on the north end of the house. But I just wondered if there was some – we’ve had two other structures that were built on a concrete slab that have never had one problem.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not the slab; it’s the acidity of the water. If you head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com and you search “pinhole leaks in copper pipes,” you will find a detailed article that I put together on this a couple of years back, that will give you all of the different types of pitting that are associated with copper pipes.

    SHARON: Yeah. Oh.

    TOM: But it really has to do with the pH of the water.

    SHARON: In the water.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep.

    SHARON: Well, I just thought maybe – as the plumber said, he said there was a year that there was defective copper – rolled copper – and we thought, “Well, maybe that was the year this house was built,” you know.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s necessarily a specific year of defective copper; I think it’s just the pH of the water that’s going through those pipes that’s causing it.

    SHARON: Thank you, sir.

    LESLIE: Keith in Illinois is on the line. How can we help you today?

    KEITH: I have a one-and-a-half-story house that has a – on the second floor is the – well, the rooms are basically half heights. They’ve got the – in the middle, they’re full height but on the edges, they’re not. That’s where the closets are at.

    During certain times of the year, the trusses tend to expand and it lifts the drywall in the edges and causes it to curl along the seams. And the builder wanted to put crown molding up there to prevent that. And what I had wanted to do, obviously, was prevent the action completely. It had been recommended before to add ventilation above the attic to get good airflow through there. The builder has said that by adding additional venting, which would be – I would consider the side vents. He said that would actually ruin the venting system that’s already in place, which is in the eaves.

    Do you have any additional recommendations for that?

    TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, truss lifts happen when the trusses shrink and they pull up in the middle of the room and that’s why you get the ceiling cracks, correct?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: And the ventilation you have right now, do you have continuous soffit venting?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: And do you have ridge venting down the peak of the roof?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: Well, you’ve already got the best ventilation system out there. So as long as it’s working properly, it’s not blocked, there’s no point in putting additional ventilation in there.

    KEITH: OK.

    TOM: Now, is it possible for you to get above the trusses, down like right above the ceiling?

    KEITH: Well, I can’t get above that area. I mean it’s boxed off and of course, they have it insulated but they do have the Styrofoam blocks that prevent the insulation from blocking the truss vent. No, unless I cut through the top of the roof, I cannot get above the ceiling there.

    TOM: Well, if the trusses were installed correctly – which, of course, isn’t going to help you – there are some L-shaped truss clips that they would have installed that could have prevented this problem, that help as the roof expands and contracts. The reason I asked you if you could get to them is because they may be able – you may be able to install them after the fact.

    But if you can’t get to them, then I’m afraid there’s really not an easy solution to this. If you were to add a second layer of drywall over what you have and you were very careful to make sure that the seams didn’t line up with the seams you have now, you may create a roof that’s strong enough – or a ceiling that’s strong enough – to not show cracks like it is. I would also glue the new layer to the old layer. But again, I would overlap those seams, so to speak. Does that make sense to you?

    KEITH: Yes. So they don’t line up.

    TOM: And that might make it strong enough. Because right now, there’s no strength in the seams. It’s just the paper.

    KEITH: Yeah.

    TOM: So that’s going to be the weakest part of the ceiling structure. If you were to put a second layer of drywall and glue across that, then I think you would have a really, really sturdy ceiling and it would be unlikely that it would continue to crack.

    KEITH: If I could sand on the – because I can get in the attic and get up to where the 2x4s come together in the truss. Would I be able to screw in a bracket there? That’s what you’re suggesting to basically strengthen that joint?

    TOM: Keith, if you can get on top of the drywall, so to speak, those trusses are going to be attached to interior walls in some places, correct?

    KEITH: Yes.

    TOM: So what you would do is you would have to detach them from the interior walls and you would put an L-clip in place of the nails. The clip is attached to one side; there’s a slot on the other. And that allows the truss to move up and down and it will relieve some of that uplift and cracking.

    Now, when you do that, you might see – over the next year, if the truss starts to try to move again, you may see some nail pops that occur. And if that’s the case, you want to punch them up and through to kind of relieve the pressure and then patch the drywall.

    But I do think by the time you go through all that work, that it might be an easier solution just to put a second layer of drywall on. Because your problem is primarily with the seams and that’s going to be the easiest way to fix that.

    KEITH: Yeah, it does sound like it. Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Keith. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Up next, Jonathan Scott from HGTV’s Property Brothers is joining us to talk about easy and inexpensive ways to spruce up your outdoor spaces. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement project so call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Jonathan Scott is one of the most recognizable faces on HGTV. He can be seen working on his design magic on several different shows, like Property Brothers and Brother Vs. Brother. And he joins me now with a few tips on how to prep your home for summer and keep it in great shape without breaking the bank.

    Welcome, Jonathan.

    JONATHAN: Thanks for having me. See, I figured, why settle for just one or two shows? I figured four shows. I don’t want to sleep ever. That’s why …

    TOM: Just keep going.

    Listen, a lot of us are getting outside right now and we’re creating outdoor rooms. Of course, that trend’s been here for a long time and it’s continuing to gain in popularity. If you’re trying to set up an outdoor room without breaking the bank, what are some tips you have for our listeners?

    JONATHAN: That’s exactly it. You know, a lot of people don’t have the budget to tear down walls and do additions. So we say gain that extra square footage by taking the comfort from inside out.

    And one of the best things that you can do is bring a little bit of warmth to that outdoor space by using stuff that you would normally find inside, like area rugs. You can get outdoor area rugs that look fantastic, add a little color. Also color with pillows, throws, pops of color in there.

    And then you don’t necessarily have to go and buy all new patio furniture. You can actually spruce up your existing furniture and make it look like new just by cleaning it up. Because I know over the winter, it takes a beating and – the parties you have, the barbecues, that one annoying cousin dumps his drinks and barbecue on the cushions and stuff. All that stuff can be cleaned up.

    So, that’s what we say. Don’t necessarily feel like you have to go out there and just clear-cut get rid of everything. Use what you can, reuse what you can and then bring in those fresh pops of color.

    TOM: Now, what about flea markets? Do you think that’s a good source for finding some lightly used furniture for a space like that?

    JONATHAN: I call it “upcycling,” because it is my favorite thing to scour through flea markets and even online. You’d be amazed at what people are giving away online just if you’ll come and pick it up. It’s for free. I even roam the streets and stuff like that and look for things that people have discarded.

    But that’s why I partnered with Tide OXI Multi-Purpose Stain Remover, because it’s my secret weapon. You can literally take these objects that look like junk – they’ve been tossed aside – spruce them back up, breathe in new life. And on Property Brothers, I usually will end up reusing about 50 percent of the homeowner’s existing furniture but they don’t even recognize it. Either I’ve reupholstered, I repainted or most of the time, I just clean it up and they don’t recognize it. It looks like a million bucks.

    So, it’s the same thing with these items that you find discarded at flea markets and stuff like that, too. You can add a little bit of character to your home by reintroducing these pieces.

    TOM: Well, we’ve had so much moisture in the spring. Of course, we had a horrible winter. We’ve got a real outbreak of algae and moss and mildew and mold on all those outdoor pieces. Is Tide a good product to use to clean that up?

    JONATHAN: I’ve literally used Tide on 225 different – or put it to use on 225 different things around the house, inside and out. Most people think of Tide as only for the laundry room but now, this is their first product where they’re breaking out of the laundry room. And it can be used anywhere.

    And so, yeah, I’ve used it on upholstery, I’ve used it on patio furniture, I’ve used it inside in the bathrooms, as well. Anything I’ve thrown at it to date, it has tackled, no problem.

    TOM: We’re talking to HGTV’s Jonathan Scott. He can be seen working on shows like Property Brothers and Brother Vs. Brother.

    So, Jonathan, you work with a lot of do-it-yourselfers. We speak to do-it-yourselfers every single week. We always say it’s important to be a do-it-yourselfer but to not be a do-it-to-yourselfer. What kind of advice do you have for folks to keep them from getting in over their heads?

    JONATHAN: I’ve never heard that phrase but I like that. I like that because it’s so true. You’ve got to value your own time; that’s what I’m saying to clients all the time. Value your own time and value the quality of the finished product.

    If something is outside of your scope of knowledge or if you’re just not sure how to do it, then bring in a professional. Any time you’re dealing with electrical, plumbing, structure, stuff like that, you want to make sure that you bring in a professional. People ask me through social media – they’ll tweet me and they’ll say, “How do I know if this is a loadbearing wall? Because I want to remove it.” Just by asking that question, you should not be removing the wall.

    So, make sure you’re doing stuff that maybe is a little bit easier. Like you can freshen up with a coat of paint, do flooring, change – you can swap a faucet out or something like that or even do baseboards. There’s tutorials online that you can see to get the tips and tricks.

    But just make sure, as well, that you’re putting something in that is going to add value to the home. Sometimes, people will spend all this money doing a feature and it’s over-renovating to the point where if you go to sell, somebody’s not going to pay you extra money for that. So, you really need to understand your community and what’s adding value.

    TOM: Let’s talk about projects that do improve the value. It’s the spring season, folks are getting out there, houses are on the market. We’ve got a decent market, thankfully, after many years of a recession. What are some tips you have for getting homes ready for sale?

    JONATHAN: I would say one of the most important things, if you’re listing to sell is – well, actually, there’s three important things. One is to declutter. One is to depersonalize. And then the biggest one is to clean.

    You look at these houses on Property Brothers: the ones that are sort of rundown and people are running away from them. Fans, they message us and they think there’s no way, that that has to be staged; they don’t look that bad. We don’t do any – these are how the houses are on the market and we’re just showing them to the clients.

    It is such a missed opportunity to just go in there and clean it up. If these sellers went through and just made these places sparkle, instantly they’d get more money for the property. It would sell faster.

    But even taking it one step further, if you did a light makeover with some paint and outside, sprucing it up by cleaning up the gardens and trimming hedges and adding some pops of color with some planters, you would stage that – and if you staged that home properly, you would get, easily, 20 grand more for your house. So, making your house stand out to the one down the block that’s a little dingy, that’s the most important thing.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s great advice. You know, I always remind our listeners that the folks that are buying homes are leaving homes that are crowded and cluttered and they don’t want to see your clutter in the house they’re thinking about buying.

    JONATHAN: Exactly. They also don’t want to see that tasteful nude that you did on the wall, back in college. Drew has one of those up in his place.

    TOM: Seemed like a good idea at the time.

    JONATHAN: It did but it just isn’t. Yeah.

    TOM: Jonathan Scott with Property Brothers and HGTV. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JONATHAN: No problem, man. Hit me up online, too, with social media so I can – I answer questions all the time and you’re right up my alley. So, I’d love to talk with your fans. And if they do want more information on the stuff I get at the flea market and spruce up, they can hit Tide.com and get information on that campaign.

    TOM: And that website, again, is Tide.com.

    Thanks, Jonathan.

    JONATHAN: Thanks a lot. Have a good one.

    LESLIE: OK. Still to come, is your tool collection contained in a big heap somewhere that you can never find exactly what you’re looking for? Well, we’ve got easy, inexpensive and homemade tool-organization ideas when The Money Pit continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    One caller who asks us their home improvement or repair question on the air with us today is going to win the MyQ Garage from Chamberlain. You can set it up with your existing garage-door opener with the MyQ system. You don’t have to wire it, you don’t need to hire a pro; you can actually do it yourself. Then you download the MyQ app for your smartphone and you’re ready to go.

    TOM: It alerts you if your door is open. It can also monitor your door from anywhere. It’s worth $130. Available at Amazon, Home Depot and select Best Buy stores.

    Learn more at Chamberlain.com/MyQGarage. Or give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eric in Colorado on the line who needs some help with a crabgrass situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    ERIC: My wife and I purchased a home last year and it’s our – it’s my first time actually trying to maintain a lawn. So far, I’m pretty happy with what we have except I noticed that there’s a patch of grass that’s on one part of the lawn. It looks like it’s a different breed or a different kind of grass or possibly a crabgrass or whatever. I’m not sure if it’s a weed or what it is but I just want to get rid of it.

    LESLIE: There are products out there and if you search online, you’ll find some. One is actually a product called Crabgrass Killer and it’s on a website called MegaGro.com. And it’s truly made from all-natural ingredients. It’s got, I think, cinnamon bark and wheat flour and corn flour and cumin and baking soda. So it is made from organic, if you will, materials that make it a more safe herbicide for the lawn.

    But you have to know what kind of grass that you’ve got, because it won’t harm certain lawns. But if you happen to have bluegrass or fescue, you don’t want to use it. And being that you’re a new homeowner, new to identifying what kind of grass you have, this might not be the best approach. And that’s also something you’ve got to be sort of careful about.

    That one’s called Crabgrass Killer. You can search it online, read about it and see if that’s something you want to do.

    ERIC: So how am I supposed to know if it is crabgrass or if it’s some other – somebody just threw some different grass seeds down there for whatever reason?

    TOM: Well, you get crabgrass, you get chickweed. These seeds are in the air, OK? And they blow around and they land and they start to sprout. And so that’s why we use weed killers and preemergent herbicides and things like that, because it controls those and helps make sure that the grass can really – is really the thing that comes through.

    And so, as a new homeowner, you’re going to have to buy into the fact that your lawn is going to need some care. I mean you wouldn’t go year after year without expecting to have to paint your house. You can’t go season after season without expecting to have to take care of your lawn.

    ERIC: OK. Well, great. Thanks a lot.

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

    Well, are you tired of rummaging through a drawer or a toolbox looking for the gear that you need to take on a project? You can get yourself organized on the cheap by repurposing things that you might already have in your home.

    For example, an old tie or belt rack that’s hung near your workbench makes a great place to give you easy access for a set of wrenches.

    LESLIE: And rigid-foam packing insulation will make a great pincushion for your pointy tools. You just need to cut it to fit inside a storage box for small drill or even rotary tool bits. Or mount a piece to plywood as wall storage for screwdrivers, pencils and more.

    TOM: Yeah. And it feels a lot better than when you poke yourself with that pointy tip.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I poke myself in my tool belt all the time.

    TOM: And magnetic strips are also handy and they make a great, stay-put storage place for small gear or tool sets. You can even recycle leftover PVC pipe or decommission garden hoses as guards for saws and other bladed tools. Just slit a length of hose or PVC and slip it on. And we’ve got more tool storage tips online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Barbara in Florida is on the line and has a pool-cleaning question. Well, really, the screen. How can we help you, Barbara?

    BARBARA: Yeah. I’m here in Northwest Florida and I have a very large screen enclosure that’s just covered with green mold on it. So I’m looking for something. I’ve tried just a pressure washer and it’s not taking it off, so I need something – some ideas of cleaning it that’s also environment-friendly, because I do have plants around the screen enclosure.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And probably because of the height, you want to do it once and not have to do it again for a long time, right?

    BARBARA: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: You know, Barbara, Tom and I have worked with a product called Wet & Forget. It’s actually perfect for your type of environment, because you have high mold growth because of the humidity in Florida.

    And what it is, it’s a product that you put on and I bet in your application – Tom, it’d probably – best for her to roll it on or can she spray it on?

    TOM: Well, she’d probably spray it on with a garden sprayer.

    But you apply it and basically, that’s it. Mother Nature, wind and rain do the rest.

    LESLIE: And it’s not going to make it go away that moment you put it on but give it a week’s time and that mold and mildew is gone.

    BARBARA: OK. And you think with spraying it on the screen it would still – the screen would catch some of the product?

    TOM: Yes, absolutely. It’s designed for any exterior surface so, certainly, screening is fine.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it won’t damage the pool or any surrounding plants.

    TOM: Or the plants.

    BARBARA: OK. Well, that sounds like a perfect solution then.

    TOM: Take a look at their website. It’s WetAndForget.com.

    LESLIE: And the results will last for a long time.

    BARBARA: Well, that’s great to know. Yeah, it’s something I don’t want to have to do. Well, I don’t mind doing it once a year but that would be the max on it.

    TOM: Right. Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, incorporating universal-design principles into your next project can actually make your home more functional for folks of all ages and stages of life. We’ll tell you how, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Cabinets To Go, where you get premium-quality cabinets for less. You dream it, they design it and always 40 percent less than the big-box stores. Visit them online at CabinetsToGo.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And hey, Money Pit fans, our very popular Dog Days of Summer Facebook sweepstakes has just kicked off. The grand prize is two Hunter fans with everything that you need to install them in a couple of rooms in your house. What a fantastic way to cool off during these dog days of summer.

    LESLIE: That’s right. To enter, simply visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and like us. Then you can enter and share the sweeps with your friends to earn bonus entries.

    TOM: And while you’re online, you can post your home improvement question, just like Victor did in California who says, “Can tile be laid over linoleum?”

    And I’m going to presume here, Leslie, he’s talking about ceramic tile, not vinyl tile. But if it is, in fact, ceramic tile, you can put tile over just about anything as long as what’s underneath that linoleum is solid enough.

    So, we would recommend that you, perhaps, put some underlayment down first. I’d put some – if the floor’s solid, you can put some ¼-inch luan down just to give you a good surface. You’re going to nail that down with ring nails. These are nails that have sort of grooves on the side so it really locks the underlayment down well. And then you can adhere the tile right to that.

    Now, if you want to do a better job and you want to do what’s called a “mud floor,” you can actually put the woven-wire mesh on top of that linoleum, add your mud mixture, which is simply sand, and pour in the cement, get it nice and smooth and flat and then glue the tile to that. That’s equally fine.

    In fact, you can actually lay new tile on top of old tile. How many times have we gotten calls about bathrooms, perhaps, from the 50s or 60s where they have mosaic tiles that are just impossible to clean? Well you can retile right on top of that old mosaic, again, as long as that floor is solid. You can adhere new tiles on top of old tiles.

    LESLIE: I think tile really does offer you so many design choices, because it actually can even get a little overwhelming because there are so many choices. But you kind of have to have a vision in your mind about what it is you want the space to look like.

    If you’re on a budget, you can go ahead with using the field, which is the majority of the tiles used in the area, with something more simple, less expensive, still beautiful, but it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money per piece or per square. And then you can add in more decorative features, maybe as a border on the perimeter of the floor, or pop in little accent pieces sort of in the center of four where four tiles come together. You just have to get a little creative. It doesn’t have to break the bank and it can be gorgeous.

    TOM: Well, universal design is the idea of building a home that’s easy to use no matter what your age. But you don’t have to build your home from scratch to get those benefits. There are simple changes that can make the home more functional right now. We’ll give you some examples, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Universal-design features, they really just make good sense. And once you bring them into your home, you’re going to wonder how you ever lived without them.

    For example, floors and bathtubs should have nonslip surfaces, which will help everybody stay on their feet. The same goes for handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms. Now, thresholds that are flush with the floor actually means less trip hazards, so you’ll have much more ease of transition from space to space.

    Good lighting helps people with poor vision and it kind of helps everybody else see better, too, guys, you know? It just makes sense to have proper lighting for the proper purpose where you need it.

    Now, lever door handles and rocker light switches, they’re so much easier to use than knobs and switches. If you’ve got kids, adults, it’s easy to just sort of knock that switch with your elbow if you’ve got your hands full. It really does just make sense.

    Think about making your life easier and that’s universal design. So, think about what you’re planning for your next home improvement and find out how you can incorporate some universal-design ideas into your plan.

    TOM: Makes sense. 888-666-3974. MoneyPit.com is the website.

    Coming up next time on The Money Pit, is your garage a jumble of charging stations, wires, power tools and other odds and ends? We’re going to have some advice on easy garage storage on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2014 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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