00:00/ 00:00

Reduce Allergens and Toxins in the Air You Breathe at Home, How to Build a Retaining Wall, Install a Low-Flow Toilet to Save Water and Money and more

  • Transcript

    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: Call us right now with your home improvement project. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Don’t have a dilemma; a dilemma is a bad thing. (Leslie chuckles) We can empower you to figure it out, if you pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, because the answer is sitting there right in the back of your home improvement brain. We’re going to bring it forward and put you to work and make that project happen. But you’ve got to make it happen first if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a good hour planned for you. Coming up first, there is nothing worse than a musty, moldy, smelly house; typically in the basement. It means that you could be breathing in mold spores, which could make you really sick.


    LESLIE: Ah, but it’s what you can’t smell that you kind of really need to be worrying about: dust, allergens and viruses. They can all permeate the air in your home. So this hour, we have advice on how to cut down on the humidity that feeds these toxins and increase the air quality in your home.


    TOM: And also ahead, is a sloping yard putting you a bit off-kilter? We’ve got some tips to help you gain a level playing field in your yard by building a retaining wall. It’s not that hard. We’re going to talk about the new tools, the new techniques that make this a very doable DIY project. We’ll have that coming up, in just a bit


    LESLIE: Plus, did you know that every flush in your household adds up to a third of your water bills?


    TOM: That’s amazing.


    LESLIE: Hey, seriously. That’s why I tell you, if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down. But if you want to cut those bills, why not install a water-saving toilet? We’re going to teach you how to find the right one and why water saving doesn’t mean a less-powerful flush.


    TOM: Plus, this hour you can win a very cool hand tool. It’s called the PowerLock Multi-Tool from SOG. It’s a very versatile multi-tool; it features several heavy-duty components, including a hard-wire cutter and a double-tooth, wood saw blade. It’s got a screwdriver; it all folds up very convenient to carry around. It’s worth 110 bucks but it’s going to go to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.


    Leslie, who’s first?


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


    PENNY: Yeah, I have a question. We live in the woods and we have moss growing on our roof.


    TOM: OK.


    PENNY: And I think it looks pretty nice but my husband thinks we need to get it off. What’s your verdict?


    TOM: Why does your husband think you need to get it off?


    PENNY: He thinks it’s damaging the shingles.


    TOM: Well, if it gets really, really thick, it can lift the shingles up and possibly cause leaks but it’s mostly a cosmetic thing.


    PENNY: Really?


    TOM: Yes.


    PENNY: I’m so glad to hear this. So we can just leave it and let it look nice and pretty.


    TOM: You can, as long as it doesn’t get too terribly thick and start to grow under the shingles because then, again, it could – it’s going to hold water against them and that’s going to sort of work its way into the roof sheathing and that could cause rot. So a little bit is OK but if it gets to be really thick, then I would treat it with a mildicide. And you could do that simply with a bleach …


    PENNY: Mildicide?


    TOM: Yeah, a bleach-and-water solution works fine.


    PENNY: Bleach water. OK.


    TOM: Yep, exactly.


    PENNY: OK. Well, thank you so much for your help. I appreciate it.


    TOM: You’re welcome, Penny.


    PENNY: You’ve settled an argument.


    TOM: Alright. Well, we’re happy to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.


    LESLIE: Raymond in Hawaii is dealing with the issue of too much heat coming through the windows, because he lives in Hawaii and it’s awesome there. How can we help you, Raymond?


    RAYMOND: I have two rooms on the west side of my house that, in the afternoon, catch all the heat and it makes two rooms unbearable to stay in. So I’m trying to find a way of looking to reduce the heat. I’ve already put in a solar attic fan but the rooms are still roasting hot and I can’t use them. So I wonder if there’s some suggestions you might have that might help me. I was thinking of an awning but I’m open to anything you have.


    TOM: Well, would you consider replacing your windows?




    TOM: Because the new glass that is available today is much, much more sophisticated than anything that was in windows in the past. And if you buy the high-performance windows – and by the way, if you do this before the end of the year, you can get a tax credit towards next year’s tax expenses. And if you buy glass that’s rated 30/30 – and that’s the solar heat gain coefficient and the UV rating; all you have to remember is it’ll say .30/.30 on the glass; there’ll be a label on it – and make sure it meets the qualifications for the tax credit. If it meets the qualifications for the tax credit, it’ll be fine. And that’s going to reflect so much of that heat outside that that room will never overheat again.


    RAYMOND: The windows are louvers so do you think it …?


    TOM: Oh, well, wow. If you change from louvers to another design that’s not a louver and use a high-performance glass like that, it’s going to make a huge difference.


    RAYMOND: OK. Because we don’t use air conditioning in Hawaii.


    TOM: Yeah, well, I mean you can …


    LESLIE: Right, because you’ve got such a great breeze.


    TOM: Yeah, of course. And you could choose, you know, casement windows or some other design that can be fully opened and let plenty of air in. But you – there’s just no way to make a louvered window energy-efficient; it’s just not possible.




    TOM: And you need glass that’s insulated, that can reflect the heat back outside. You’ll be much more comfortable, OK?


    RAYMOND: OK. Thank you.


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


    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, it is officially autumn. My goodness, this year is just whizzing by. If you need some help getting your house in tip-top shape for the cooler weather that is pretty much upon us, give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.


    TOM: 888-666-3974.


    Up next, an uneven yard can really cut down on usable living space. We’ve got tips on how you can fix the problem with a retaining wall, after this.


    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. 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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only will we do our best to answer your home improvement or your home repair question right here, you’ll also be entered to win a PowerLock Multi-Tool from SOG. Very cool product; it’s a versatile, multi-tool that features several heavy-duty components. It’s got a hard-wire cutter, a double-toothed wood saw and a quarter-inch foldable screwdriver among the many tools in this particular product.


    LESLIE: Alright. You can see it at SOGKnives.com. That’s S-O-G – Knives.com. It’s worth $110 but if you get on the air with us this hour, it could be yours for free. That’s a great prize. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.


    TOM: 888-666-3974.


    Well, if you’ve got a property that’s sloping, the best way to increase level space is to build a retaining wall; so say the experts at QUIKRETE and we agree. You know, leveling the yard really helps you reclaim some of that land around your property and make it useful for projects like landscaping, building a deck, installing a paved patio or even a walkway. If it’s sloping, it’s kind of hard to use; not to mention difficult to cut.


    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? A retaining wall – it’s actually a great do-it-yourself project. Now, QUIKRETE has a product called QUIKWALL, which is a surface-bonding cement that can make the job a little easier.


    It’s a reinforced, Portland cement-based material used for construction of dry-stack, cement-block walls. Now, dry-stack means just that: you don’t need any mortar between the cement blocks to make it all stay together.


    TOM: And I like that a lot because you can use this method for retaining walls as long as they aren’t higher than three feet. You don’t need any railroad ties to build a retaining wall this way; you can do it with blocks. They are just a lot easier to work with.


    You can even add some color, because QUIKRETE has a product called the Stucco and Mortar Color. There are actually step-by-step instructions on how to do just that – how to build the retaining wall and also many other weekend projects – on the QUIKRETE website. Just look under the Products tab at QUIKRETE.com. That’s Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com.


    LESLIE: Russell in Texas needs some help with something going on on the limestone around their money pit. What’s going on?


    RUSSELL: I have a limestone border wall for landscaping and I have algae that’s growing all over it.


    TOM: OK.


    RUSSELL: I was wondering is there anything I can do to get that algae gone and keep it off.


    TOM: Well, yeah, there’s a couple of things. First of all, you can use a siding wash product like JOMAX or – OxiClean? Yeah, OxiClean.


    LESLIE: Yeah, OxiClean has a house wash.


    TOM: Has a house wash, yep. And you put it on there, let it sit and then you can scrub it off. Now, in terms of keeping it from coming back …


    LESLIE: Is it really shady over there?


    RUSSELL: Yeah, there’s quite a bit of shade.


    TOM: That’s why. You know, if you can find a way to trim some trees back and let a bit more natural sunlight in there, that’ll sort of burn it off.


    RUSSELL: Well, I’d have to move the house. (Leslie chuckles)


    TOM: Well, you don’t have to cut the trees down; you just have to let a little light through. (all chuckle)


    RUSSELL: I don’t think I want to move the house.


    TOM: Yeah, that would be bad. So, this is what you get for living in paradise.


    RUSSELL: Yeah.


    TOM: Alright? You’re just going to have to stay on top of it. But if you use a siding wash like that, make sure you let it sit for a while, because then it really gets into the roots of that and kills it and it won’t come back quite as fast. A lot of people just try to blast it off with a pressure washer and that doesn’t always work.


    RUSSELL: OK. Thank you much.


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


    LESLIE: Toba in Georgia needs some help with a decking project. Tell us what you want to work on.


    TOBA: I have bought a house and the deck on the house probably has not been stained or pressure-washed in seven, eight years.


    TOM: OK.


    TOBA: What product could I use on – the wood is good; it’s just discoloration and you know …


    TOM: Well, that’s actually a good problem because a lot of folks call us when they’ve got, you know, unknown layers of stain on their deck. Yours just has never been done so you’re pretty much starting from scratch.


    Right, Leslie?


    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean – which is a really good situation to be in because, you know, you’re able to sort of put on whatever it is that you want.


    What is the condition of the deck? Is it splitting? Is it cracked or do the planks look like they’re in pretty good condition?


    TOBA: In pretty good condition.


    LESLIE: So, are you looking for something that gives it more of a color; almost as if it looked like it was painted or just want to keep it kind of natural and just sort of bring it back to life?


    TOBA: Kind of natural; bring it back to life.


    LESLIE: Well, at this point, I mean because of the age, you’re kind of past the point where you could do a clear coat, which would be like the most neutral thing you can put on there. But you can pick something that’s called a semi-transparent stain, which is sort of a light coating of color. You’ll still see some color and you can go in a natural-wood tone. There’s lots of things from sort of like a yellowish pine to more of a reddish cedar.


    So you can pick something that would be in a wood-tone family but it’s almost sheer enough where you really can see the graining. And if the decking is in good condition, this is great for you. For somebody whose deck is in far-worse shape, we always recommend a solid stain, which is like super-saturation of the color. But if you go with a semi-transparent, that’ll really do a great job of protecting it from sun damage, protecting it from cracking and checking, from mold growth. I mean it really will do a lot of good for the deck and sort of extend its life even more.


    TOBA: Should I pressure wash it first?


    LESLIE: You might want to just to give it a nice, fresh, clean surface. Don’t be too aggressive; a lot of people get really excited with a pressure washer and go super-heavy really close down to the surface and that ends up splintering and damaging the wood planks themselves. So just sort of be gentle with it. Step back about a foot-and-a-half with the wand itself and give it a nice cleaning; then let it dry very, very well.


    And the autumn is the perfect time because the humidity is low. You’ll have that moisture dry out very, very quickly and once it’s really dry and you know it’s not going to rain for three to five days, put the stain on.


    TOM: And you’re down there in Atlanta so you can use this well into the fall. You should take a look at Home Depot. They have the Behr products there – B-e-h-r – and they have premium weatherproofing wood stains and finishes that are really, really excellent. And they also have deck cleaners that you can use to prep the surface of the deck. So it’s a good line of products. Take a look at your local Home Depot. It’s Behr – B-e-h-r – products.


    TOBA: Thank you. Thanks so much. Enjoy your program.


    TOM: You’re welcome, Toba.


    LESLIE: Thank you.


    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.


    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Joe on the line who’s dealing with a door installation issue. Tell us what’s going on.


    JOE: I’m replacing my walk-out basement door and it’s an old one that was in there when I remodeled.


    TOM: OK.


    JOE: It’s 44 inches. The largest door that I could order now is 42 inches, so I’ve got to fill in two inches on – combination on one side or the other.


    TOM: OK.


    JOE: What’s the best way to do that?


    TOM: You need to use a door expander.


    LESLIE: It’s a board stretcher.


    TOM: Get a board stretcher; widen that door out. Well, you’re putting in a – is it like a regular exterior door or it’s like a Bilco door? What’s the issue?


    JOE: No, it’s a regular – it’s a walk-out basement.


    TOM: Alright. So what I would do – listen, what I would do is this. And it’s going inside a concrete block wall?


    JOE: That’s correct.


    TOM: I would get 1×6 pressure treated …


    JOE: OK.


    TOM: … and I would – or five-quarter like you’d use for a deck. And I would line the sides of the opening with the pressure-treated lumber. That can go right against the concrete. You’re going to attach that to the concrete and then you’re going to attach the deck to that. I mean – sorry, then you’re going to attach the door to that and you can shim in between. And then the trim may have to be a little wider than normal to make sure you cover that gap and that’s all there is to it.


    JOE: Do I use like Tapcons to fasten it or do I want to glue and use Tapcons?


    TOM: Tapcons would be perfect. You know, it just basically has to hold the door vertically and that’ll be fine.


    JOE: OK.


    TOM: That’s one of your favorite screws to use, right, Leslie? (Joe chuckles)


    LESLIE: Well, I just like the attachment pieces that come with it.


    JOE: (overlapping voices) They seem to work awful good. (chuckles)


    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And they really do.


    TOM: (overlapping voices) And they work great.


    LESLIE: And you know what I found? When using a Tapcon in like a brick or in the proper application of stone, sometimes – and I’ve seen people take some wire and they sort of fold the wire in half and put that into the hole and then you drill in and the wire sort of becomes like an additional anchor. I’ve seen all sorts of weird stuff with Tapcons; I find them fascinating.


    TOM: Leslie’s a hardware fan.


    LESLIE: I am.


    JOE: Sounds good.


    TOM: Alright, Joe. Well, I hope that helps you out. Good luck with that project.


    JOE: Yep, thank you.


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


    LESLIE: Time to head into the bath with Mary in Massachusetts. What’s going on at your money pit?


    MARY: Hi there. Yeah. I’ve got an old tub – the clawfoot tub – and it came with the house; the house built in early 1900s. And I don’t know if the finish is going on it or what but now when I let the water out, it’s like all yellow wherever the water was; not just a water line. And also, if I – even when it’s perfectly dry, if I put, let’s say, a plastic bottle of bleach or detergent in the tub just to get it out of the way and then …


    TOM: Does that work?


    MARY: It doesn’t leak or anything but when I pick up the bottle the next day out of the tub, it leaves a big, round, brown spot that doesn’t go away.


    TOM: OK. You know, I wonder if you’ve got hard water. Have you thought about using a product called CLR?


    MARY: CLR. No.


    TOM: Yeah, it stands for …


    LESLIE: Calcium, lime and rust.


    TOM: Yeah. It’s a good cleaning product for mineral salt deposits. It’s called CLR. As Leslie said, it stands for calcium, lime, rust remover. Very common product; been around for many years. Very effective. I’d try cleaning the tub with that and see what happens. You know, sometimes the old porcelain actually gets reasonably porous and it tends to build up some stains easier than it did when it was newer.


    MARY: Oh.


    TOM: And that’s a good way to clean it. OK, Mary?


    MARY: OK.


    LESLIE: Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Hey, are you getting soaked with high water bills? You know, your toilet might be the biggest culprit in your home. In fact, the average household uses dozens of gallons of water a day on flushing alone.


    TOM: And that is a lot of water. Up next, though, we’re going to teach you how to save water when we welcome This Old House plumbing expert, Richard Trethewey and Richard’s segment is presented by Trewax All-Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner. Since 1935, Trewax products have set the standard for quality floor care with a line of waxes, sealers and cleaning products.


    That’s all coming up, next.


    TOM: 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: And in a time of super-eco-awareness, low-flow showerheads and other water-saving measures kind of seem like a no-brainer. So why is it that more Americans don’t just use them?


    LESLIE: Well, everybody gets the flashback to the Seinfeld episode, I think. You know, it does help if we tell you that low-flow doesn’t necessarily mean low water pressure. So here to sort everything out and explain this mystery, we’ve got This Old House plumbing expert, Richard Trethewey.




    RICHARD: Nice to be back in The Money Pit, guys.


    TOM: Thanks for stopping by, Richard. Talk to us about this technology. Now this – and last time we had you on, we talked about the low-flow toilets. This is kind of the same thing. I mean there was an interest in supplying low-flow devices to the masses but man, when they first came out, it was …


    RICHARD: Do you remember them?


    TOM: Oh, God, you could just stick a cork in it.


    RICHARD: They were hilarious. They were like this fine spray that you could barely get a suds off your head and they were terrible.


    TOM: In fact, I used to …


    RICHARD: And just as – the mandate from the government to go to low-consumption appliances preceded the technology to deliver it; and so, very similar to the low-flush toilets.


    TOM: You know, when those first came out, Richard, I was a home inspector back then and one of the most important pieces of information that my clients would frequently ask me is, “How do you pull that water restrictor out?”


    RICHARD: That’s right. Right.


    LESLIE: Well, and they obviously didn’t make it that difficult to remove. You’d look at the back side of the showerhead and there was this like pristine, white, plastic piece with a crosshead slot right in there and you’d go, “Whoop, whoop, whoop. Oh, now my shower works.”


    RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right. Right. Well, I don’t think people realize nowadays that every single kitchen faucet has a 1.5 restrictor in the aerator; and still, it’s a fabulous stream of water that comes out now. I don’t think they realize that every showerhead is 2.5. And so I think they’ve really figured it out.


    And the key to it is to have sort of the screens – they’re in the aerator to – or in the showerhead to sort of allow it to feel like a fuller flow than that fine mist that used to come out from those awful, old ones.


    LESLIE: So it like boosts the water with air, essentially.


    RICHARD: Yeah, well, that’s in the kitchen and in the aerator; that thing that’s on a kitchen faucet. That’s the key to it. If you just had a restrictor and then it shot right through it, it’d just come out like sort of an ugly stream. But by aerating it a little bit to sort of get it to force its way through these screens, it looks much fuller and so you feel like you’re getting plenty of water.


    But I will tell you that there is a potential maintenance issue and we just did this on one of our Ask This Old House programs where somebody would turn on their faucet, [it would make a sing] (ph), and then no matter whether they turned it on the hot or the cold, all of a sudden it would just shut off. And any time that happens, if you have a drop-off in water pressure that’s both on the hot and the cold, look for that aerator to be partially clogged. And when we opened it up, we found a little piece of Teflon tape from the installer that had just clogged the back side of the aerator.


    TOM: Yeah, it’s interesting because it really takes almost nothing in terms of debris in the pipe.


    RICHARD: That’s right.


    TOM: It can take a little piece of solder or, like you say, a little piece of tape and it can practically shut the whole thing down.


    RICHARD: Yep. That’s right. That’s the trade-off of trying to save water. It’s a smaller opening, so even a little bit can clog it right down.


    But it’s important to do. You know, we just leave water running in this country. We just use so much more than anybody on the planet and although many parts of the country don’t feel the sort of – the water scarcity like we do in the American Southwest, it’s everybody’s issue now.


    TOM: We’re talking to Richard Trethewey. He is the plumbing expert on This Old House.


    Richard, do you think the WaterSense program that the EPA rolled out a few years back is going to have a very positive impact much in the way Energy Star does in terms of the manufacturers sort of getting together on the standards for these things?


    RICHARD: Yeah, I think we have to. We have to force conservation; we have to introduce standards so you know you’ve got some metric to know what you’re buying. So I don’t hate seeing that. It’s not often that I say, “Let’s have the government get involved and help us all,” but in this case I think it’s a pretty good thing.


    LESLIE: I think that’s great.


    Richard, is there any special kind of maintenance? I know you said that the screens are such a delicate situation within the aerator. Do you recommend that we occasionally take them apart carefully and clean with vinegar?


    RICHARD: Yep. There’s actually – and in hard-water areas, you’re going to see – at the side of your showerhead, you know, you’re going to see some iron and some calcium; a little magnesium and stuff like that. And many of the fancier low-flow showerheads actually have a way that you can turn a dial on the showerhead and thereby clean out those small jet holes that are in some of the better showerheads and that’s a cool feature to have.


    TOM: Oh, that makes so much sense. Yeah, that makes so much sense.


    RICHARD: Yeah. That makes too much sense.


    TOM: Absolutely. Alright. Well, that’s great news. And Richard, we have nothing to fear from low-flow showerheads as well as other plumbing fixtures?


    RICHARD: Jump in the water; it’s fine.


    TOM: Yeah, go in the water. Richard Trethewey from This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.


    RICHARD: Alright, guys.


    TOM: And to catch more Richard and the entire This Old House team, head on over to ThisOldHouse.com. You can also watch them on your local PBS station. And This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.


    Up next, take a whiff. You smell anything? Well, maybe not but that doesn’t mean you don’t have dust allergens, even toxins permeating the air you breathe at home. We’re going to have tips on how you can clear that air and make it safe and easier to breathe, next.


    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.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. And we want you to be part of The Money Pit so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only are we going to do our best to answer your home improvement, your repair, your design question right here on the fly – no research – you are going to be entered to win a PowerLock Multi-Tool from SOG. It’s got a few heavy-duty components, including a hard-wire cutter and a double-tooth wood saw. My goodness, this is quite a handy tool.


    It’s worth $110 but if you get on the air with us this hour, it could be yours for free, which we all love. And the number, again, here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.


    TOM: 888-666-3974.


    Well, if you have a damp or musty smell at home, it’s a sure sign that you might have mold somewhere in the house. The good news is, though, that there is a new way to combat moisture and mold throughout your entire house. It’s called E-Z Breathe.


    This is a very cool product that we really like. E-Z Breathe is a maintenance-free way to dehumidify your house. One E-Z Breathe unit does the work of seven dehumidifiers; seven, count them. You don’t need seven dehumidifiers running 24/7 if you have just one of these E-Z Breathe units.


    It’s very easy to operate. It’s got no filters, no buckets of water to empty, no filters to change. And unlike a dehumidifier, it’s energy-efficient. It costs less than two to four bucks a month to operate plus it’s quiet and unobtrusive. You basically put it in your basement or your crawlspace and, most importantly, it keeps the moisture level in homes at an ideal level all the time; preventing the buildup of mold and mildew.


    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Mold is like the leading contributor to asthma, so you really have to be careful.


    Now, you also have to be concerned about the things in the air in your home that you really can’t smell: toxins, allergens, dust. This is the stuff that the EPA says will make the air in your home worse for you than the air outside. Believe it or not, I mean that’s true. That’s really crazy. You’re in your house now all winter and autumn long – you’ve got those windows closed; you’re breathing that air over and over again – and the E-Z Breathe unit is going to help with that, too. It’s going to bring in fresh air and then replace that stale indoor air so you can breathe easy knowing that you’re getting the fresh air from out of doors.


    TOM: You can learn more at EZBreathe.com or pick up the phone and call them at 1-866-822-7328. Call them now. 866-822-7328.


    LESLIE: Pat in South Carolina needs some help cleaning the driveway. What can we do for you today?


    PAT: We have a truck that sits in the driveway and there’s rust when it rains. The rust drips on some certain parts underneath, onto the driveway.


    TOM: OK.


    PAT: And we tried different things to get it off but nothing has helped so far and we were wondering if you had any ideas.


    TOM: Have you tried TSP – trisodium phosphate? It’s available in the paint aisle of home centers and hardware stores. Works really well. You mix it up into a bit like a paste and sort of trowel it on that stain, let it sit for a bit and it should pull that rust stain right out of it.


    PAT: OK.


    LESLIE: And you’ll find it in the paint aisle of the home centers.


    PAT: OK. Well, thank you very much for your help.


    TOM: That should lift the stain right out. You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.


    LESLIE: Don in Texas is calling in with a foundation issue. Tell us what’s going on.


    DON: Well, I’ve got a cracked foundation. It’s been cracked for several years; in fact, about 12 years. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but I’m wanting to know what’s going to be happening. Is it the wrong thing to do to not fix it or – it doesn’t seem to be going any worse.


    TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, if you’ve got a cracked foundation and it seems to be relatively stable, I’d leave it alone. If you have issues with moisture getting through it or anything of that nature, you can always caulk the crack.


    But if it’s stable and it’s not moving, then I think you’re OK, Don.


    DON: OK. I’ve got post-tension instead of rebar.


    TOM: OK.


    DON: And I figure maybe some cables let go and maybe some are holding it. (chuckles)


    TOM: Well, I mean possibly. If you want to be sure, you could have an engineer look at it. But how big is the crack?


    DON: Maybe three-eighths of an inch.


    TOM: Three-eighths. But it hasn’t moved at all.


    DON: No. But I forgot a drop in the – down the roof line. My house is just a rectangle.


    TOM: Right.


    DON: I’ve got about 80 foot that I can side down. I’ve got a three-inch drop on one end.


    TOM: Well, here’s what I think you should do, now that you’ve told me that. I would have either a professional engineer or a professional home inspector do a partial inspection of those areas. I suspect it’s going to be fine but because you have such a big drop in the roof, I’d like to know what’s causing that.


    DON: OK. Alright. I appreciate it.


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


    LESLIE: Donna’s calling in with some questions about lead paint. What can we do for you today?


    DONNA: Yes. My son purchased a home that was built in the 40s.


    TOM: OK.


    DONNA: The garage has probably about 1×4 planks of wood covering a frame with peeling paint that is lead-based. We tested it with one of those home test kits.


    TOM: OK.


    DONNA: And I’d like to know what’s the best way that we can remove it safely.


    TOM: Ah, how much lead paint is there?


    DONNA: It’s probably about 800 square feet.


    TOM: Ooh, that’s a lot.


    LESLIE: I don’t know if you want to do this, Donna.


    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you want to do it.


    LESLIE: I mean was it the EPA that just earlier this year mandated that …


    TOM: Well, contractors have to be certified now, yeah.


    LESLIE: Pretty much, yeah. Every contractor has to have an EPA certification for the proper removal of lead-based paints and the proper sort of cleanup and sectioning-off methods from one area of your home to the area of the house that’s actually being worked on with the lead paint. Now …


    TOM: Now this is outside and what can happen is if you get those chips in the soil …


    LESLIE: In the ground.


    TOM: … you can basically toxify the soil around the house. And then, you know, little kids that are playing there can get into the lead and that can get into their blood stream. So it’s really not a project for you to do yourself, when talking about that much paint.


    LESLIE: When you go on the website for the EPA, they don’t really mandate this for homeowners who are taking on the projects on their own, which I think is unfortunate. We had some work done in my house; last year, October, we put in central air conditioning.


    And at the time, my son was 18 months old and as clean as the folks were and as clean as I was in the house, my son touched something, put it in his mouth and had elevated lead levels and it was a huge concern for us. And thankfully, everything’s OK but I would not mess with it myself.


    TOM: You can go to EPA.gov/lead; EPA.gov/lead. There’s a link there for renovation, repair and painting and they walk you through the requirements. And they have tips on what to do for various levels of lead exposure. In other words, how many square feet do you have to get rid of? But it’s definitely I don’t think something you want to do yourself; not with that much.


    LESLIE: Yeah. And you want to look for a contractor who has this new certification.


    DONNA: OK. You’ve answered my question. Thank you so much.


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


    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: Up next, when a hammer and nails just won’t do, you can turn to adhesive. Adhesives actually can be used to bond just about anything, with long-lasting results, if you know what type to use for your project. We’ll help you sort that out, next.


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


    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.


    TOM: So if you’re in the market for a new power tool, wouldn’t it be cool if you could really try it out first? We’re actually going to hit the road next month to introduce a new store that can help you do just that, as The Money Pit broadcasts from the Craftsman Experience in Chicago.


    This is sort of the ultimate DIY playground. It’s a very cool store with lots of hands-on activities and home improvement clinics and even project stations where you can really test out those tools before you buy them.


    LESLIE: And you know what would be super-cool, is if we could see you guys live and in person at the Craftsman Experience. On Saturday, October 2nd, we’re going to be broadcasting from downtown Chicago. We’ll be leading special product demonstrations during the day.


    And if you don’t happen to live near Chicago, you can follow along online at Facebook.com/Craftsman so you can be with us virtually.


    TOM: We’re looking forward to it. Hope to see you there. For details, visit Craftsman.com.


    888-666-3974. You can call that number to ask your home improvement question or head on over to MoneyPit.com, just like Nancy did.


    LESLIE: Alright. Nancy writes: “What adhesive should we use to glue ceramic tiles to a rock? We want to attach four house-number tiles to a rock in front of our home. They are three inches by five inches each and they will be vertical. So I’m trying to find something that’s fast-drying and thick, to prevent the tiles from slipping down as we attach each one. We live in Southwest Florida where it’s hot, humid and rainy.”


    Those are all terrible conditions for adhesive.


    TOM: You know, a while ago, we had done a promotion where we had folks write us about their Liquid Nails projects and I was surprised how many people use Liquid Nails for projects just like this. I mean to build things out of brick and they’re afraid to use mortar; they use Liquid Nails and it actually stands up quite well and lasts quite a long time. In fact, I noticed that the construction guys at my son’s school are using this to construct some benches with bricks.


    LESLIE: Really?


    TOM: Yes, right outside the door to the school so the kids have a place to sit down. So I think that that would be a perfect application for tile.


    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Nancy? If you’re nervous about things slipping while you’re waiting for the adhesive to really grip, just go ahead and put some tape or some Bungees or something around the tiles after you’ve gotten them on; wrapped around the rock itself since I imagine it’s a ginormous rock and you’re not carrying this inside to lay it on its back. Something: a super-large rubber band; whatever you can get your hands on just to sort of help keep them in place while everything is sort of curing and setting up. And that should really do the trick.


    Alright, Carol writes: “Is there a way to treat paneling that has become dry? The paneling is about 30 years old and it’s still in excellent condition. It’s in a bedroom but it’s very dry. Can I treat it with something inexpensive and non-toxic to give it more life?”


    What about Murphy’s Oil Soap?


    TOM: Well, certainly you can use that for maintaining it but I mean it’s wood; it’s not like it needs a moisturizer. If you put a finish on it or something with a little sheen to it, it’ll look brighter and a bit more vibrant. I think this is just an appearance issue; it’s not so much a drying issue.


    If your home happens to be incredibly dry, of course you’re probably just more uncomfortable than the paneling is, trust me. So and that’s the case, you might want to look at …


    LESLIE: You’re a moisturizer addict.


    TOM: Yeah, look at some – look into some humidification issues.


    LESLIE: Yeah, you know, you might want to look into a whole-home humidifier, which will sort of monitor the humidification levels in your home – or the humidity levels, rather – and keep it at a comfortable level so that you, your furnishings, your wood paneling will actually be properly moisturized.


    And really, I would look into some sort of, clear coat, light stain – something in a neutral color; maybe something that’s just simply clear – just to coat and refinish that wood surface just to sort of help it look brand new again.


    TOM: And it depends on whether this is 1/4-inch paneling or one-by paneling, too. If it’s more like wainscoting, then you can actually sand very lightly and simply refinish it and bring it back to life. Even if it looks a little yellow, if you sand it, you’ll sand that oxidation right out of it and basically have a new surface to start with.


    LESLIE: And congratulations, Carol, for being the first Money Pit listener who wants to keep paneling.


    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope you learned a little bit to make your money pit a safer, more comfortable home. 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 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.)


Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!