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  • Transcript


    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)
    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. We’ve got the solutions; we’ve got the answers to make those improvements easy to accomplish in your house.
    Well, we’re celebrating Earth Day this month, so we want to go green. But instead of just going green for the day, we figured why not give you eco-friendly ideas all month long. We’ve got some great green tips for you this hour, including ways to keep your lawn healthy and garden-friendly without harming the environment.
    LESLIE: For example, are you worried about pests plaguing your plants or your beautiful flowering garden? Well, there is a way to keep those bugs away without the use of harsh pesticides.
    TOM: And also ahead, did you realize there was never a better time to replace those old, leaky windows? It is a great way to save money and energy and you can earn tax credits as well. We’re going to have all the details for you, including how you can get a free bonus chapter from our brand new book that delivers the step-by-step guidance if you’re considering installing replacement windows. We’ve got all the info you’re going to need to get that job done right.
    LESLIE: Plus we’re going to tell you how you can keep your family safe from scalding accidents at your home. We’ve got some safety info from the folks at the Home Safety Council.
    TOM: And even our prize is green this hour. You’ve heard us talk about energy vampires; you know, all those electronics in your home that use energy all the time. We’ve got a new product to tell you about that will protect your most important electronic equipment. We’re giving away the new Back-UPS ES SurgeArrest. It helps you use power very wisely. It’s got a feature that automatically powers down idle devices to conserve energy. It’s worth about 100 bucks but it could be yours if you pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: And you can learn all about that product in all of the green info that we’re giving to you on the show today in a very special section on our website – MoneyPit.com/Green.
    TOM: So call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
    LESLIE: Wayne in New Hampshire is having an issue with mold. Tell us about it.
    WAYNE: The problem I have – I guess when the contractors put the insulation up in the attic, they put it too tight over the soffit and I wasn’t getting enough ventilation.
    TOM: OK.
    WAYNE: So now I’ve got some black mold growing up there and I want to know how I can get rid of it.
    TOM: Well, what you can do is you can mix up a solution of about 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water, or maybe even 25 percent, and just spray it. Make sure you wear safety glasses and a respirator and spray it. That will kill the mold. There’s really no reason to strip it or, you know, wipe it away. We just want to kill it. And as long as we’ve got this ventilation issue addressed, it won’t grow any further.
    And by the way, it’s probably more of a mildew problem than a toxic mold issue. For all the years I spent as a home inspector, I very, very frequently found mildew on the underside of the plywood. And eventually it’ll cause decay and it can delaminate the plywood but it’s generally not stachybotrys, which is the toxic type of mold that we’re most concerned about.
    WAYNE: OK, because it was black mold and I was worried about that being …
    TOM: Yep, I understand.
    WAYNE: … some kind of a problem.
    TOM: Yeah, no.
    WAYNE: Alright, we’ll give it a shot.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Laverne in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    LAVERNE: Well, I have a brick fireplace and I’m going to be replacing the mantle thing. And of course, where the mantle is now is going to be clean and the rest of it has smoke signs on it and I need to know how to clean that smoke off.
    TOM: Well, the best product to probably use for that is something called TSP.
    TOM: Stands for trisodium phosphate. It’s a powder that’s available usually in the paint aisle of a hardware store or a home center. And you mix it up and it gets pretty soapy and you want to brush that on with like a floor brush – sort of work it in; and then rinse it very well and that ought to take the smoke stain out of that.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and if you’re finding that it’s being a little bit stubborn, you can mix it up so it’s a little bit more thick in consistency and then sort of put it on. Because the smoke tends to be really greasy, so the TSP works very well as a degreaser.
    LAVERNE: Alright.
    TOM: Yeah, just let it sit. Let it sit there for a while if you’re having a hard time getting it off. It’s also very good for pulling like oil stains out of driveways and we usually say to make a paste of it and let it sit on the driveway for a while. So the same approach applies if you have a really difficult smoke stain. OK, Laverne?
    LAVERNE: Alright, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. This month we are celebrating Earth Month, so let us help you go green at your money pit and pick up your phone, give us a call. We can help you with all of your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, going green while growing green. We’ve got some eco-friendly lawn and garden tips, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re giving away a great prize that will protect your computer and save you money at the same time. If you’ve got family photos, music, personal files all stored in that computer, if you don’t have it protected it’s vulnerable for power surges and that can zap your data. The solution is the new Back-UPS ES and SurgeArrest. It helps you use power very, very wisely and it has features that automatically power down idle devices to conserve energy. It’s worth about 100 bucks but it could be yours just by asking us your question on the air this hour. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    And for even another chance to win a Back-UPS ES 750G you can enter the APC contest which is online right now at MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green.
    LESLIE: Alright, well pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you’re looking for ways to go green in your garden. Because we all know that a nice, lush lawn – it not only looks great but it is very healthy for your family. Now listen to this: every 2,500 square feet of lawn produces enough oxygen each day for a family of four. And lawns also cut down on noise pollution by absorbing sounds. And your lawn also helps trap dust, soot and pollen in the air that we all know can cause those horrible allergic reactions.
    TOM: Yes, but when caring for your lawn, you want to try not to use all-purpose-type garden fertilizers for lawns. Garden fertilizers are generally formulated for a higher content of phosphorous and that’s designed for flowering plants and vegetables, not grass. Fertilizers designated as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 are examples of garden fertilizers. Typically, lawns don’t need as much phosphorous as these might provide.
    LESLIE: Well, we can help you with more ideas to go green whole growing green. We have got all the info you need in our very next e-newsletter. You need to sign up right now at MoneyPit.com. It is absolutely free. Best of all, we are going to keep your e-mail address confidential – so no spam – and you get lots of fantastic and useful information to put to use in your money pit every Friday when it arrives in your inbox.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now if you’d like to make your home a little more green. We’ve got some great tips standing by.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Larry in New York is having a problem at his brick house. Tell us about it.
    LARRY: Yeah, I just bought a 1950s brick house. It’s the natural brick. Not a lot but a couple of the bricks are cracking and crumbling. I just wanted to know if there’s regular maintenance you should do on the brick house; if there’s any kind of sealer or something that you should put. We really don’t want to paint it. We like the natural color of the brick.
    TOM: Probably not. I wouldn’t recommend a sealer unless you were having any kind of a leak issue. Only occasionally do we recommend that. The one thing that you can do is if you get cracks in the brick you do want to seal up those cracks to prevent water intrusion because the water gets in there and then it freezes and it causes the brick to crack or spall. And so, to caulk them you simply want to use a clear silicone caulk or you could use one that’s tinted to match the brick color.
    LARRY: Oh, excellent. Now, does that apply with like indoor fireplaces as well?
    TOM: No, because you don’t have to worry about water getting in them.
    LARRY: Ah, very good. OK. Excellent. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Larry. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Jean in Connecticut is working on a painting project. How can we help you?
    JEAN: I have a recreational vehicle and it’s like a large trailer that I use for a summer cottage.
    TOM: OK.
    JEAN: And I have two issues with it; one is that the wall – the walls within the unit – the wallboard has what appears to be like a plasticized coating on it. And I wanted to paint that. So I was wondering, first of all, what I would need to do to prepare that in order to receive the paint.
    TOM: Now what kind of walls are in this RV cottage that you have, Jean? Are they metal? Are they drywall? What is the surface?
    JEAN: They’re like a sheetrock.
    TOM: OK. Alright. Then what you want to do to paint these is you want to prime them first; and because we’re not quite sure what the surface is, we would recommend an oil-based primer and this is going to seal the entire surface and it’s going to make the topcoat flow nicely and look great and, most importantly, it’ll make sure it sticks. And then I would use a good-quality paint after that. You want to use a better-quality paint. Don’t buy cheap paint because it doesn’t have as much titanium dioxide in it and, as a result, it’s not going to stick. You want a good-quality paint.
    LESLIE: Louise in Tennessee is calling in with a deck issue. What’s going on? How can we help?
    LOUISE: Hey. We have a nine-year-old wooden deck and through the years we’ve pressure-washed it and stained it. But last year when we did it, the stain didn’t take and it looks like it’s peeling off.
    TOM: Did you use a different type of stain last year than you’d used in past years?
    LOUISE: (sighs) I really don’t know that. I don’t remember that. I think it’s Thompson – is it Thompson’s or Behr or something like that?
    TOM: Well, there’s a lot of different manufacturers out there. It could be that there’s so much product on there from doing this every year that you’ve reached sort of saturation; now you’re having adhesion issues.
    Leslie, it sounds to me like she’s got to kind of go back to the beginning here.
    LESLIE: Yeah, unfortunately you really want to get rid of as much as you can by scraping, if that’s a good manner. If you see that things are already peeling off, you can scrape and sort of pressure-wash the remainder away. If it’s really being stubborn, you’re going to have to use sort of a chemical stripping agent. Every manufacturer makes one. Pick one that you feel comfortable working with, apply it, let it do its job and then strip it away with the power washer and get off as much as you can.
    And once you get down to as much raw wood as possible, then you want to go ahead and let it dry very, very well and then you will want to apply the new stain on top of that. And if you find you’ve got a lot of uneven areas, a solid stain is going to be a better choice because it kind of acts like a paint, as far as its thickness and opacity; it’s not see-through but it sort of saturates the wood rather than sitting on top as a paint wood. So it’s really going to give you the longest life span as far as it’ll last.
    JEAN: Alright.
    TOM: Good luck with that project, Louise. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Jim in Indiana is working on a bathroom remodeling project. How can we help you?
    JIM: Hi. Well, I’ve got a couple things but the one that really is the most pressing for me that you guys might be able to help me out with is I want to tile the bathroom myself and I’d like to do it myself just because I kind of like to tinker a little bit.
    TOM: OK.
    JIM: I have seen, you know, different books and things like that and I never was real studious or anything but if there is like a how-to or a website or a good way (inaudible) …
    TOM: Well, you know, we can give you sort of the 101 here. We’re not going to make a tile man out of you in one phone call. (Leslie chuckles)
    JIM: Right.
    TOM: But Leslie, you’ve done a lot of tiling. Why don’t you give this guy some tips?
    LESLIE: Well, I guess it really depends on what type of tile you’re working with. I find that when I work with a smaller tile that has a mesh background it kind of goes on far easily and sort of spaces itself out, if you will; it sort of allots to where it wants to line up. If you’re working with individual tiles, those little spacers make fantastic sense. You know, buy the little cross-shaped spacer that’s the width of the grout lines you’re going to create.
    JIM: Yes, absolutely.
    LESLIE: Those make a ton of sense. Obviously, start – I usually start at the bottom. That’s correct, Tom?
    TOM: When you’re tiling up a wall?
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah, but you’ve just got to make sure that – you’ve got to keep an eye on it to make sure your line is parallel because, typically, if something is off a little bit – you want to put a level across the tub for example in the shower.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s going to get way off. (chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah, it’ll get worse the higher you go. So you want to make sure that no matter what you do that you at least start level. You may end up having to trim some of the tiles to get started so that you can start with a perfectly level line.
    LESLIE: Sylvia in California needs some help with a kitchen counter project. What’s going on?
    SYLVIA: Hi, I’m calling because we’re interested in changing out our countertops and right now the counters that are there are ceramic tile. They’ve been there since the condo was built in 1983.
    TOM: OK.
    SYLVIA: And so the grout is kind of coming up and it just doesn’t look very good. And I heard you say, in a previous show, that you have to do the – refinish granite every year?
    TOM: Yeah, granite is beautiful but granite requires an awful lot of maintenance. Now, do you want to continue with a tile countertop or do you want to completely change?
    SYLVIA: Well, I do like the ceramic tile but I was wondering if there are any other options out there that are as durable or, you know – but we’d also like to do the installation ourselves.
    TOM: Well, certainly a ceramic tile countertop is one of the easiest ones to do as a do-it-yourself project.
    LESLIE: But there are also granite tiles. Now you can get remnants of granite at your local stone guy that could be 12×12. You can even find them at the local home centers and lay that as you would tile. You could either use a grout line or, I prefer – if you’re dealing with such a large granite tile – not to do a grout line and sort of butt everything together. And as you mentioned with granite, the only thing that you need to do annually is sort of reseal them. And you can kind of let it go to every two years but if you do let it go to every two years you’ll notice that in areas – when they cut the granite to make it for the countertop; when they sort of slice it into the thicknesses that’ll work for them, what happens is they get these little pocks and spaces that just the stone sort of pops out of and then they put – is it like a resin over it, Tom?
    TOM: To seal it?
    LESLIE: Yeah, they put some sort of like – it’s almost like a resin and it fills in those spaces.
    TOM: Mm-hmm.
    LESLIE: And over time, from your cleaning and your usage of the countertop, those spaces that were missing stone that filled in with resin kind of pop out. You’ll notice it on the edge that you cut into the granite. So you want to, if you’re doing granite, just every year or so make sure it’s resealed just so that it maintains it’s durability. I mean it can be a pain but it doesn’t have to be. So if you want to do something yourself, you’re not going to be able to do a solid granite but you can do these granite tiles and they’re beautiful.
    SYLVIA: Yeah. OK. Well, great. Thank you very much for the information.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Sylvia. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    And working on those kitchens in a tight economy; very, very good investment. You’ll get about a 75-percent return when it comes time to sell the house.
    LESLIE: Kinea in California is dealing with some mold issues. Tell us about the problem.
    KINEA: Well, in my closet – in my master bedroom closet in the middle of the wall I noticed a small spot maybe about two inches wide and long. And I’m just wondering what could I do to get rid of it.
    TOM: Well, that’s a very common condition because in master bedroom closets you don’t have a lot of airflow in there and sometimes you’ll get mold that’ll start there. And what you should do, Kinea, is you should pull out all your clothes that are in that closet and you should spray that with a bleach and water solution.
    KINEA: OK.
    TOM: And then after it dries for a few minutes, then you can go ahead and wipe it off.
    Now, if you want to stop it from coming back you might want to think about getting a little more air into that closet space. That could happen if you were to undercut the closet door just so there was a little bit bigger gap underneath it so it would move some air through.
    KINEA: Oh, OK.
    LESLIE: Or you can put in a louvered door or some sort of fabric door for your closet, but you have to get air in there.
    KINEA: Mm-hmm. OK, well thank you very much.
    LESLIE: Alright, now here is some really important information. You know, is the water coming out of your taps too hot? Because it only takes a few seconds to get a burn that is so bad it is going to need medical treatment at a hospital. When we come back, we’re going to share tips with you to keep you and your family safe; so stick around.
    (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. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, your home for home solutions. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Give us a call, let us know what you’re working on. We’d love to give you a hand with your home improvement project. And you know, here’s some information we want to share with you and, in fact, we’re sharing a startling fact that you might not even be aware of; that nearly half of all burn injuries that we see treated in hospitals across the United States are actually the result of scalding and it can happen in an instant and it can change your life forever. And the most vulnerable folks here are the young kids and the older folks, so really pay attention to who’s visiting your home.
    TOM: Well, there are ways that you can prevent scald injuries and protect your family. Here to tell us about them is Meri-K Appy. She’s the President of the Home Safety Council.
    Hi, Meri-K.
    MERI-K: Hi, Tom and Leslie. It’s so nice to be back with you.
    TOM: This is one of those topics that I think folks don’t realize the grave danger that they can be in, in their own houses. Very easy for this to get away from you.
    MERI-K: Yeah, totally true and the Home Safety Council actually did a study recently to kind of figure out who knows what when it comes to scald burns and preventing them. And we were quite alarmed that most people don’t know how many of these burns there are each year. According to the CDC, there are some 112,000 burn injuries reported to hospitals that are attributable to scald-hot tap water alone.
    TOM: Now what are the major causes of this? Is it simply that folks have their water heaters set way too high? I know that we often get calls from folks that are running out of hot water and want to know if the solution is just to turn up the temperature on the water heater and of course that could be quite dangerous.
    MERI-K: Actually, our study showed us that about 80 percent of folks we surveyed don’t know how hot their water is at all. They really haven’t thought about where their water heater setting is. The safe temperature for your water heater, in terms of prevention of scald burns, is 120 degrees or just below the medium setting. The problem is that, as Leslie was pointing out, most at risk are the very young and older people.
    LESLIE: And why is that?
    MERI-K: It’s pretty simple. The skin of young kids and older people is thinner, so it takes a lot less exposure to create a very serious burn for those age groups.
    TOM: So important to be aware of the temperature of your water in your house and I guess you could test that with a simple thermometer available just about everywhere. You can certainly pick one up in the supermarket if you don’t have one handy.
    Now aren’t there also scald-preventing faucets and spouts and showerheads that can lend some extra safety, say, in the bathroom where maybe the kids like to bathe?
    MERI-K: That’s the great news; that there are some engineering solutions to this really devastating problem. And you’re right, Tom, there’s a new product called HotStop that is a replacement tub spout showerhead or combination and it has temperature-sensing devices embedded into the spout. So HotStop will know if the water is slowly rising to an unsafe temperature or, if you have a big blast of hot water it will sense that, too, and shut the flow of water off to just a trickle and then it resets itself and begins to flow again when the water cools down to a safe temperature.
    TOM: Now besides water issues, Meri-K, how are we doing with cooking? We don’t hear too much about cooking injuries anymore but they’re on the rise as well, aren’t they?
    MERI-K: Very much so and, in fact, when you think about scalding and preventing these very painful injuries at home, think about three different areas: one would be – and we just mentioned it – the tub; another area is just – you’re absolutely right on – it’s cooking and, here, those common scenarios in the kitchen might be a baby or toddler who’s curious about what mom’s doing at the stove, the pot handle is turned out towards the center of the room and the little one reaches up and pulls the hot matter – whether it’s liquid or something food that can adhere to the skin – and a very serious burn can result that way. So the solution there, a couple of them would be from the very earliest moments, teach your children to stay clear of hot surfaces.
    The problem is kids are very literal. They don’t quite get it. They could look at a stove and not know from looking at it whether it’s hot or not. So one idea that we share is to take masking tape and mark off about three feet around your stove area and just label that the child-free zone. Teach your children that they must never go inside that area, ever.
    TOM: Good point.
    LESLIE: You know, I like that idea because, you know, those exersaucers; I had my son in one in the kitchen just because I was preparing dinner and I didn’t even realize that when I opened the oven door it became within reach of the exersaucer and I turned for one second and the little guy’s hand was reaching right for the door.
    MERI-K: (overlapping voices) OK. It’s so fast. Right, it happens so fast. And getting into the habit of using your back burners whenever you can is another thing.
    Another tip here has to do with microwave safety because we find a lot of scald burns happening when people try to open up the microwave door. Very often, microwaves are mounted above eye level.
    TOM: Sure. And you lift out the hot food and you bring it down and you can get scalded.
    MERI-K: Exactly.
    TOM: So it’s always good to leave that microwave down at waist height. And they also have the drawer-style microwaves now, which are pretty cool. Leslie and I have worked with those before on some projects.
    MERI-K: (overlapping voices) That’s a great idea.
    TOM: Meri-K Appy, President of the Home Safety Council, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit and thanks, as always, for keeping us all safe in our homes.
    MERI-K: Great to be with you. Thank you.
    TOM: For more tips, you can go to the Home Safety Council website at MySafeHome.org.
    LESLIE: Well, now that we’ve got you thinking about ways to keep your family safe and sound at home, up next we are going to tell you the most natural way to keep your garden growing and still be pest free; so stay with us.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by APC. Protect your computer with APC’s newest energy-efficient backup 750G, guaranteed power protection that can save up to $40 a year on your electric bill. For more information and a chance to win, visit www.MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s MoneyPit.com/Green. That’s www.MoneyPit.com/Green. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    You should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we are giving away a very fantastic prize that will protect your computer and save you energy at the same time. We’ve got the new Back-UPS ES and SurgeArrest. Now they use power very, very wisely and they’ve got a feature that automatically powers down idle devices to conserve energy. It’s worth about 100 bucks but it could be yours just by asking us your home improvement question on the air. The number, to get in on this prize and get your home improvement information, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Now, if you don’t win today you can enter online at MoneyPit.com for another chance to win this absolute must-have power strip for your home. We’ve got all the details at MoneyPit.com/Green.
    TOM: Plus at MoneyPit.com/Green we’ve got lots of green tips and advice to help you keep your home green all year long.
    Speaking of which, do you want to help your garden grow and help the environment, too? Well, before you resort to the toxic chemicals and insecticides and pesticides to get rid of those unwanted pests, you might want to try your first and best defense: water. Believe it or not, a good, strong spray of water often takes care of bugs and other outdoor plant problems; plus a healthy lawn and garden deters pests and it’s much safer for you, your family and the environment.
    You want more tips, head on over to MoneyPit.com/Green or pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Dave in New Jersey needs some help with tar removal. Tell us about where it is, what happened. This sounds like a disaster.
    DAVE: Well, it’s not that big of a disaster but the last homeowner apparently did a do-it-yourself job on the driveway …
    TOM: OK.
    DAVE: … and they got tar on the stucco of the house and all along the sides of – the driveway is a Belgian block; it’s a very nice like edging on the side. But the entire inside now has tar on it and about four or five inches up from the driveway on the house has tar on it as well.
    TOM: Man, a lot of tar.
    DAVE: (chuckles) Yeah.
    TOM: I’ve got to tell you, Dave, it’s going to be really hard to get that tar off. I mean you can remove tar with mineral spirits but because you’re dealing with a concrete surface, it’s going to end up staining the area around it with sort of a dark, tar-like stain to it. The other thing that you can do is abrade it. You could try to scrape it off or grind it off and get down to some of the raw surface but it’s very difficult to do.
    As far as where it hits the house, is it a concrete stucco – like between the siding and the ground – that’s being affected? What exactly is the surface there?
    DAVE: It is a concrete stucco.
    TOM: Well, you might want to think about painting it; painting all of that concrete, using a good-quality concrete paint and then painting over the tar to boot to make it all look consistent.
    DAVE: Oh, OK. That’s a good idea.
    TOM: Yeah. Use a good-quality concrete paint. You know it’ll last quite a long time.
    DAVE: Any possibility of heating up the …
    LESLIE: Burning it off?
    DAVE: Yeah.
    TOM: No, no. Because it’s just going to carbonize on the concrete itself and you’re not going to get it down to where you want it to be. You can try a solvent. I mean try mineral spirits and see what happens; but I’m telling you, I have a feeling that it’s going to look worse when you do that.
    DAVE: I think I’m going to go with the painting. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Wise choice, my friend.
    DAVE: Thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    I love how we talk people out of their big ideas. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: He’s like, “Uh, I guess.”
    TOM: “Can I use a torch?” No. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: “Can I set my driveway on fire?” No.
    TOM: Not a good idea.
    LESLIE: “But I want to.” Don’t do it.
    TOM: (chuckles) That’s where we take a do-it-yourselfer and prevent them from becoming a do-it-to-yourselfer.
    LESLIE: Mike in Hawaii, living my dream; welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    MIKE: I’m a real estate broker and I have a property on the market and it was built in 1954.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: And it has a shingle siding that, from what the owner tells me, Tom, is that it’s about 18 percent asbestos.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: What other materials could there be in the siding?
    TOM: Well, it’s nothing to worry about here, Mike. What you have is something called cement asbestos siding; very common in the 50s; incredibly durable stuff because it’s not organic; holds paint very, very well and not an environmental risk unless you break it into a million pieces and release it into the air. Because it’s in a cement binder, it’s not a problem.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, because it’s encased.
    TOM: Most people end up replacing it because they don’t like the look of it, but there’s no asbestos exposure risk issue associated with cement asbestos shingle siding.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    You know, there has never been a better time to replace your windows because there are federal tax credits that are available right now to absolutely make it worth your while.
    TOM: True, but you need the right kind of windows. If you’re not sure where to start, we have a solution. Leslie and I have created a brand new chapter for our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is the ultimate replacement window guide. We’ve got it available online to help walk you through the step-by-step that you need to know to pick the perfect replacement windows for your house. We’ll tell you how to get it, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac’s Garden Series generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit GuardianGenerators.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we are going green for Earth Day all month long here at The Money Pit. You know, why save all of these great green ideas for just one day a year? For example, did you realize that there has never been a better time to update those old, drafty windows that you’ve got at your money pit? Energy-efficient windows are now eligible for a federal tax credit, but not all windows qualify. You know, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for when you go shopping.
    TOM: Well, the experts at Simonton Windows say you should do your research and choose energy-efficient windows like those with low-e coatings, argon and krypton fillings. That’s the gas that’s inside the glass panes. And if all that sounds way foreign to you, the Simonton team has also helped us put together everything you need to know in a bonus chapter of our brand new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is the ultimate window guide. It’s available right now online at MoneyPit.com. It’s free. It’s a downloadable guide and it’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about replacement windows for your home.
    LESLIE: And while you’re online you can click on that Ask Tom and Leslie icon at MoneyPit.com and you can e-mail us your home improvement question. And this is the time in the show where we jump into our e-mail bag and I’ve got one here from Jim in Waterford, Michigan who writes: “What can be done to keep cold air from coming in through the exhaust vent on a gas clothes dryer?”
    TOM: Ooh, interesting question. I’ll tell you what I think is going on here. I suspect, Jim, that the flapper on the dryer exhaust vent duct on the outside of your house is loose and you may just need to replace that. Now very often they will get clogged with lint and if you’ve not cleaned that dryer duct you really need to do that because they do build up an awful lot of lint. Leslie and I have both seen how much lint …
    LESLIE: It’s a fun chore.
    TOM: It is a fun job. What’s that tool called – the LintEater – that we used …?
    LESLIE: The Gardus LintEater.
    TOM: Yeah, the Gardus LintEater. It’s like a fiberglass rod with a brush on the end of it and it’s about ten feet long and you sort of snake it through the duct and it pulls out just tons and tons of lint which really has no business being in there because it could be a fire hazard. So I would clean the duct out really well and take a look at the vent on the end. If the door on it is not closing all the way you might just want to replace that and that should seal it up just fine.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Emil in Chicago who writes: “Our ceiling paint in two of the bedrooms is peeling and flaking near the edge of the wall. There is no visible moisture or dampness but we do use steam vaporizers. Before we scrape the old paint and repaint the ceilings, we would like to know if the steam is what’s causing this paint to peel. Also, is there any special paint that we should use; given that we will still want to use our steam vaporizers in the future?”
    TOM: You have to go to the steam vaporizer aisle (Leslie chuckles) in the paint store. Listen, the one enemy of paint is water and so if you’re going to put a lot of moisture in that room, obviously the paint is not going to stick as well as if it was dry. That being said, there is a right order of events here and the order is that you need to get rid of all that loose paint that is not sticking. You may have to abrade it; you may even have to strip it. You’ve got to get off as much of that as possible.
    And then we want you to use an oil primer and reprime all of those surfaces because that’s going to seal in anything that’s there and it’s going to make sure that that top layer of paint will stick. If you don’t put a good primer on, you’ll have zero chance of getting these new layers of paint to stick. And after that, use the best-quality latex paint you can afford and those steps, in that order, will probably make this last a very long time and perhaps even stand up to the steam vaporizer.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) And you know what, Emil? Make sure that you only have the humidity set between 30 and 40 percent, especially for a humidifier that you’re going to be using in your bedroom. And if you can, set it to cool mist; it does the same thing for your allergies and your scratchy throat. Alright? So feel well.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve made your home a bit greener this hour with all our green tips and advice. Remember, that info is online 24/7 at MoneyPit.com/Green where the show continues. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Helping you build big dreams.
    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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