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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 we want to talk to you about your home improvement projects. What are your plans for improvements to your money pit? Do you love your house? We love our homes and we consider the money pit a term of endearment that shows that love. So, if maybe you’re just falling a little out of love with your house because it needs, maybe, a little bit of TLC, call us because we’re on your team. We’re here to help, 888-666-3974.

    You tired of paying high cooling bills? Let’s talk about ways to cut energy costs. Got some plumbing situations? Water coming out where it shouldn’t? Are the lights coming on when they should be going off? 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s program, as we head into the heart of the summer season, we’re going to be spending more and more time outdoors. So, we thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how to avoid one of the downsides of being outside just so much and that is ticks.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, they carry diseases and they’re just plain gross, so we’ve got some tips on how you can avoid them altogether.

    TOM: And also ahead, electrical projects are not always DIY-friendly and that’s mostly, perhaps, due to the possibility of the death factor? And that’s wise. But there, actually, some simple electrical projects that you can do safely yourself. We’ve got a list of those, coming up, that we will share with you.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, as you head outdoors to take care of the yard, you want to make sure that you’re suited up for safety. We’re going to have tips on what to include.

    TOM: And this hour, we’ve got a very clean prize. We’re giving away a supply of S2O Laundry Sheets.

    Now, this is a pretty cool product that – I’ve been reading about this and here’s how it works: it’s detergent, softener and stain remover in just one toss sheet. You throw the sheet in the wash load and that’s all you’ve got to do. And all the stuff is in the sheet. How about it? Isn’t that cool?

    The winner gets $100 worth of these laundry detergent sheets, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Gary in Pennsylvania unfortunately had a flood and needs some help picking up the pieces. What can we do for you?

    GARY: We had a flood here, a flash food. Rain came down in 8 hours, about 7 to 10 inches. It flooded our basement with about a foot of water. And I’m interested in finding out from you folks how we can get back to normal as far as the basement is concerned. It smells. We did manage to get the sump pump going and get the water out of the basement. But it was – like I said, it was a foot around the furniture and everything. And how can I manage to get things back to where they were before the flood?

    TOM: Alright. So, when you have a flood situation like that, of course it’s human nature that you want everything back just the way it was, as soon as possible. But from a practical standpoint, it doesn’t always work that way. Here at the Jersey Shore, we faced one of the worst hurricanes in history, last October, with Hurricane Sandy. And that was the natural reaction; everyone wanted to get back. And we always say, “No, you can’t get back that quickly because you’re going to make some mistakes along the way.”

    So what you want to do first is you want – as you’ve already done, you got rid of the water. Secondly, you want to prevent further damage by removing all of the wet materials. So, wet carpet has to be tossed out. If the basement is finished, does it have drywall down there? Those drywall sections have to be cut out to above the flood line. If there’s insulation in the walls, that has to be pulled out. If you have furniture that’s water-damaged, you may have an option of saving some of that if you can get it upstairs and start to dry it out and kind of make a decision as you go. But frankly, a lot of that should be covered by insurance so I wouldn’t maybe try too hard to save it. But get all of that material out of there.

    Now, you said it was a flash flood and it flooded the basement quickly. Any time you have water infiltration that’s consistent with rainfall, it can always be reduced, if not eliminated, by making sure that your drainage conditions outside are proper and that you have gutters, they’re clean, they’re extended from the house 4 to 6 feet – not just a few inches like normal gutters are – and that the soil slopes away. So those sorts of things can prevent further water infiltration.

    And then after it’s all torn out, then you’re going to want to spray those – that basement floor and the walls down with a solution of bleach and water, about 10 to 20 percent bleach with water. That will kill any mold spores that are left behind. Then get some fans down there; dry that all out. And then once it’s dry, then you can think about putting it back together.

    And next time, I would not put carpet on a basement floor because that’s a breeding factory for mold and mildew and dust mites, as well. OK?

    GARY: Sounds like a winner to me. I certainly appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Eva in North Carolina on the line with a water-heating question. How can we help you today?

    EVA: Our home is about 11 years old. We have a hot-water heater on our third floor of our home. And I’m a little nervous about it being up on the third floor. And with it aging out, I’m concerned about it potentially bursting or leaking. So what we’d like to do is replace the hot-water heater in this house.

    However, we’re not sure. We kind of have a disagreement. We’re broke right now, financially, but we would – for peace of mind’s sake, I would like to possibly look into a tankless. My husband thinks we should just replace the current one that we have upstairs on the third floor with the same darn thing because he’s like, “If it’s new, it won’t leak and it won’t burst.” So what do you guys suggest?

    TOM: How old is the water heater?

    EVA: As old as the house, I presume. The house is about 11 or 12 years old.

    TOM: Well, if it’s an 11-year-old house, it’s going to have an 11-year-old water heater. And while, yeah, that’s closer to the end of a normal life than not, believe it or not, it’s not horribly old. I’ve seen water heaters go 15, 20 years.

    EVA: But because it’s on the third floor of the house, I’m nervous because water is going to – it’s not like it’s in the basement or the garage. So if there is a leak or something like that, I’m concerned about there being a lot of water damage to our home.

    TOM: I understand. And you could – that would happen if a pipe broke, as well. So, if you want to replace it with a tankless, that is going to be more expensive than a tanked water heater. But it’s definitely worthwhile because they last a lot longer and they also give you on-demand hot water, so you never really ever run out of warm water.

    If you’re concerned about your plumbing system’s reliability in general, just make it a practice that whenever you guys go away for a weekend or longer, you turn the main water valve off. You don’t need to leave water on when you’re not home for an extended period of time. So that might also be something you might want to start doing on a regular basis.

    EVA: So whenever you’re going to be gone for the weekend or more than a couple of days, turn the main water valve off.

    TOM: That’s right. Because you don’t need it on. And this way, if the water heater ever were to break, it would lose the 40 or 50 gallons that’s in it but it would not constantly run, run, run.

    EVA: Gotcha. So going back to my original question, what do you guys suggest we do? Because my husband thinks, well, let’s just get a new one, the same thing. And then he thinks it’s going to give me some peace of mind.

    TOM: OK. Here’s what I would do. You said that money is tight. I don’t want you to throw good money at bad ideas and I think replacing it with the same thing is kind of a bad idea, especially since it’s 11 years old. What I would prefer to see you do is live with that for another year or two, save up some money and then put in a tankless.

    EVA: OK. And do you recommend tanklesses (ph) go in the crawlspace or in the garage or outside?

    TOM: Well, they can pretty much go wherever you want. If you put them outside, they get a little less efficient because, of course, the outside temperature is cold and that means they have to work a little bit harder.

    EVA: OK.

    TOM: And sometimes, they’re put in rooms that are insulated or outside closets and that sort of thing. But you have the flexibility because a tankless water heater is going to be about a quarter of the size of your tanked water heater.

    EVA: OK. So it sounds like that’s what you recommend is a tankless but maybe just live with this one for another year or two.

    TOM: I think that makes the most sense. OK, Eva?

    EVA: OK. Thank you.

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

    I don’t feel like 11 years old is a terribly old water heater.

    LESLIE: No, I mean given that a lifespan is 10, 12 years. And you’re right. Before we moved in, the one in our house was like 20 years old.

    TOM: I used to see that all the time as a home inspector and yeah, it’s old but not worth emergency replacing.

    LESLIE: You can live with it. No. Just for peace of mind, there are other things that you can do.

    TOM: There’s enough life left in that to risk not doing it now and saving up your money for a year or two and then going tankless. Because tankless is definitely the technology that is state-of-the-art today and worth every penny of its cost.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We are standing by to help you with your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    If you’re heading outside to tackle some landscaping this weekend, don’t forget the safety gear. We’ve got a quick list of what you’ll need, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by PORTER-CABLE professional-grade nailers and staplers. With over 100 years of experience producing quality, performance-driven tools, PORTER-CABLE continues to be a leading manufacturer and marketer of professional-grade, pneumatic fastening tools and compressors. Available at The Home Depot and independent retailers. To learn more, visit PORTERCABLE.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 are taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one lucky caller who asks us their question on the air is going to get a break when it comes to the task of doing laundry. We’re giving away 100 bucks worth of S2O Laundry Detergent Sheets.

    Now, these are completely fascinating to me because I do so much laundry – with a five-year-old and a seven-month-old – I’m sorry, an eight-month-old at this point – that I can’t even imagine that laundry could get easier. But check this out: they’re detergent, stain remover, oxygen booster and fabric softener all in one sheet. That means it’s really easy to use and it’s going to save more than a dollar a load. And I kind of really like this idea.

    TOM: Check them out at MyS2OLaundrySheets.com and give us a call right now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Phyllis from the Jersey Shore calling in. What can we do for you today?

    PHYLLIS: I am looking to purchase a home. And the problem is I’m looking at a very specific area because I don’t want to leave the current school district the children are in. And all the homes around here were built in the 60s. So my first question is: what should I look for in that era of home construction that might be a red flag? And also, the way the homes are all built, the bottom floor has radiant-floor heat and upstairs is hot-water baseboard. And I just – I can’t imagine that 50-year-old pipes are not going to go at some point. And I’m wondering, how do I make sure they’re OK or look for signs that they’re getting weak?

    TOM: So you’re basically looking for the good, the bad and the ugly of 1960s construction.

    PHYLLIS: Correct.

    TOM: And the story is that it’s actually a pretty good time for home construction. You had copper plumbing, you had decent wiring. Sometimes the services were a little small but if the homes were mostly natural gas, you really don’t need more than about 100 amps to power pretty much everything, including central air conditioning. And you’ve got hardwood floors. Very frequently, you had hardwood floors in 1960 houses. And it’s interesting because they put the hardwood floors in and they very promptly covered them with wall-to-wall carpet.

    LESLIE: With shag carpeting.

    TOM: Or shag, yeah. That’s right. Which actually protects them very nicely and didn’t allow them to wear. So, it’s a pretty good year for home construction.

    Now, because it’s a 50-year-old house, you’re obviously going to have – how old is the furnace? How old is the water heater? Stuff like that to consider. What’s the general maintenance been? But in terms of an era of home construction, I think it’s a really strong era.

    Now, if you’d asked me about the 80s, I would tell you, eh, not so much. Those houses were put together pretty fast and not always in the best possible way. But the 60s is a pretty good year for construction.

    PHYLLIS: Oh, good. Because I’m moving up. I live in an 80s house now.

    TOM: Oh, there you go. So you’re going to get better.

    In terms of that radiant heat, that’s probably one – the one weak link that that home has. But the thing is, you can’t really determine how far along it is and whether or not it’s going to break. It probably will eventually fail and when that happens, you’re going to be faced with a pretty costly repair. You’ll have to put in some alternative heat system because it’s virtually impossible to repair those pipes in the slab.

    So the first floor of your house will either be running new baseboard pipes or you’ll be running electric radiant or you’ll be adding an air-to-water heat exchanger so that you can take hot water from the boiler, run it through a heat exchanger and blow air over it through your HVAC system, the same one you use to cool the house.

    But I wouldn’t obsess about that. I mean it’s probably going to happen eventually but it may not even happen in the time that you own this next house. So if you like the neighborhood, 1960s is a pretty good era for home construction.

    PHYLLIS: Great. That’s great news. Thank you so much.

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

    Well, working in your yard really provides a great opportunity to combine exercise and the pursuit of outdoor beauty. But it can also lead to injury if you’re not dressed for the job. So you want to start with good gloves. If you have sturdy work gloves, you’re going to get a better grip and shield your hands from painful blisters.

    And if you’ll be taking a stroll behind the lawn mower, you want to be sure to also wear boots, long pants and gloves, as well as eye and ear protection. And that sounds like a lot of stuff. It doesn’t have to be because the boots can be lightweight, the pants can be lightweight, the gloves can be lightweight and the eye protection, well, you can get safety sunglasses that will cover you. And some of them even have ear protection built in.

    And even if you’re doing sort of a quick pass with a string trimmer or an edger, make sure you do protect your eyes and your ears because the noise can hurt them, as well as the flying debris.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, if you’ve got a chore that involves pesticides or other chemicals, you want to make sure that you’re wearing long pants, long sleeves and rubber gloves. And really, this is to protect your skin. You also need to add a breathing apparatus and safety glasses. You don’t want anything splashing up into your eyes.

    Now, after you’ve suited up and before you get started, you want to take one more prep step. Why not do a little stretching? You don’t realize how much you’re actually moving your body around. And if you do some stretching, it’ll minimize the amount of muscle soreness that can result from hours of outdoor activity. Let’s think of it: home improvement is a sport, so you’ve got to train for it.

    TOM: Absolutely. And it’s especially true if it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a shovel, a saw or a trimmer. And you’ll thank us for that.

    LESLIE: Bill in Missouri has a new driveway and needs some help with finishing it. What can we do for you?

    BILL: I had a new driveway – concrete driveway – put in.

    TOM: Yep.

    BILL: And I’m wondering if I need to put some kind of a sealer on that or just leave it like it is. The finish they put on it looks like they used a real stiff broom or something on it and it’s got the lines cut all the way down it on both – all over it, you know.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s designed to give you some traction in the winter so that you don’t slip on it as easily.

    I don’t think it’s necessary for you to seal it. If you were to seal it, you would need to make sure you’re using a vapor-permeable sealer. Because what happens with some sealers is the moisture gets trapped underneath of them and then it can’t evaporate out. And it will cause the concrete to spall or crack.

    But concrete driveways are not – it’s not necessary to seal them on a regular basis.

    BILL: OK.

    TOM: Just be cautious with the type of salt that you use to deice. Don’t use anything that has rock salt in it.

    BILL: I’ve got a real quick question for you. I had a new deck built in the back and they used pressure-treated yellowwood on it. And I had no idea that the yellow they were talking about was going to be the sap coming out of it.

    TOM: OK.

    BILL: And I was wondering, is there some kind of a sealer or something that I can do about that?

    TOM: Well, when you have a new pressure-treated deck, we generally suggest that you wait about a year before doing this. And then you could apply a solid-color stain to it. If you put a solid-color stain to it, it will cover some of the sap, as well. And frankly, by then, some of it will have already evaporated. You could sand those areas to try to get rid of any big deposits but I would wait about a year and then I would treat it with a good, solid-color, exterior deck stain.

    BILL: Oh, OK. Well, I sure appreciate your help.

    TOM: New driveway, new deck. You know what to do next. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Gwen in Virginia on the line who needs some help protecting her kitchen wall. How can we help you?

    GWEN: I actually saw this product at a show: an invention – female inventors’ show that was being aired – was being taped in Chicago. And this lady, she had a product that you take it and it just sort of sticks to the wall. She had it in different colors, that it would blend in with your kitchen wall or if you wanted to have a stainless-steel look – but it was just a piece of material that went behind the trash can, that when you hit – when you would step on the flip tops, it would hit up against that area and would not damage the wall.

    And then when you decided that you want to either move your trash can to another area in the house or you were tired of that particular pattern, you could just peel it off. It didn’t mess up the paint but it protected the wall.

    LESLIE: So it was like a sticker.

    TOM: That’s interesting. I’ve got a couple of ideas for you on that.

    First of all, you don’t need an invention; you could simply put a small piece of clear Plexiglas on the wall using double-sided tape. Or the second thing you could do, which is even easier, is you could add a bumper to the top of the garbage can so that when it comes up, it doesn’t scuff the wall. You could use a felt-tip bumper on it.

    LESLIE: Or even if you go to childproofing – in the childproofing section of any baby store, you’ll find that rubber edging that you can put on coffee tables and things. And you could put a piece like that right on the edge of the garbage can.

    GWEN: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’re going to teach you some easy, do-it-yourself electrical projects that just about everybody can do safely. And that’s all coming up, after this.

    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.

    Well, we always recommend certain projects are better left to the pros, including those that do involve electrical work. But there are, actually, a few electrical projects that the average homeowner can take on, especially with a few tips. So here to give us some advice on do-it-yourself electrical work is Randy Light – it sounds like you were just made for working in the electrical industry – and he is the senior merchant of tools and wire with The Home Depot.

    Welcome, Randy.

    RANDY: Thank you for having me, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Seriously, did you know, just when you were a child because your last name was Light, that you were destined to work in the electrical field? Or was that just purely coincidence?

    RANDY: No, absolutely. They actually thought I should be the light-bulb merchant but that didn’t fall on my shoulders. But I do get the calls at Home Depot when somebody is looking for lighting; it automatically comes to my name.

    LESLIE: That’s excellent. Well, I have to say, I’ve been working in home improvement and construction for years and years and years and I have no problem constructing a light from a vase or something interesting and turning it into a functional lamp or a sconce. But when it comes to actually wiring something, hardwiring, I really get nervous about electrical projects. So, are there truly electrical projects that you would say, “Alright. Go ahead. If you know the proper steps, this is definitely a do-it-yourself project.”

    RANDY: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you really phrased it correctly. Electrical projects typically are best left to professionals but there really are several homeowners’ projects or projects that homeowners can perform themselves around the house.

    LESLIE: Now, I think it’s really important because we all know that GFCI outlets – you know, ground-fault circuit interrupters – they’re pretty much a necessity in homes, especially in wet places: kitchens, bathrooms, exteriors. And that, essentially, will cut that circuit should there be a short, correct?

    RANDY: Yeah. I would say that GFCIs are the most important safety feature in your house. They detect even the slightest change in current flow and they shut off the circuit automatically. And that’s why the building codes require GFCI outlets, like you said, in places near water, in basements, in garages, places like that.

    LESLIE: Now, if you don’t happen to have one in your home, in those places, definitely something you can tackle on your own?

    RANDY: Absolutely. You can install a GFCI any place that you already have a regular outlet.

    LESLIE: Now, what would be the steps? Because I think the first and most important thing would be turning off the power to that circuit, if not the whole room. But how do you know, just short of having a radio or cell phones with each other, to make sure – “Is it off? Did I get it?”

    RANDY: So you’re right. You need to turn off the circuit at the breaker box and you need to confirm the power is out by using a receptacle tester.

    LESLIE: OK. And that’s a pretty easy do-it-yourself tool to pick up? I mean is that one that you sort of just plug in and it tells you I’ve got power or I don’t have power? Or is this something that you bring to the fuse box?

    RANDY: Absolutely. That’s exactly what it does. You plug it into the outlet. It’ll tell you if you have power or if you don’t have power.

    LESLIE: OK. And then is there something that you need to be checking at the box, as well, to just double-check? Or if you’re reading “no power” at the outlet, you’ve definitely got no power?

    RANDY: No power. But then probably the next thing you’d want to do when you’re doing that project is you want to remove the cover plate and then the screw that’s holding the receptacle into the electrical box. And then you pull the old receptacle out and you disconnect the wire.

    And you’d want to determine which wires are coming from the breaker panel. You turn the panel back on and then you’d use your non-contact voltage detector. And this identifies which wires are hot.

    LESLIE: And that’s it?

    RANDY: Yeah, well, you turn the power back on, you’d mark the wires. And if there are only three wires coming into the box, it’s at the end of the series. In this case, the wire should connect at the line terminals only. If there are six wires coming in, you connect the wires coming from the breaker panel to the line terminals of the GFCI outlet. Obviously, the black wire goes into the hot terminal, the white into the traveler terminal and then you tighten the terminal clamps to both and secure them in place.

    LESLIE: And is it an expensive tool or really you can pick it up affordably and it’s good to have anyway?

    RANDY: It’s a very inexpensive tool. And at The Home Depot, we offer several different price points. The one that we recommend for most folks, DIYs or professionals, is the Klein Dual Range Non-Contact Voltage Detector. Because it not only detects normal AC power, it also detects low-voltage wires, so your coax and your HDMI. So it can detect in very, very low-voltage wires. It’s a great tool to have in your tool box.

    LESLIE: Now, I think changing a lighting fixture is generally a standard, do-it-yourself project, as well. Sometimes, if I’m confident I’ve got no power, I’ll tackle those myself. But I can remember when I first moved into our home almost 10 years ago, we installed a ceiling fan. And my dad was all like, “I’ve got it. I’ve got it. It’s off. The power’s off.” And sure enough, he shocks himself when he’s doing it.

    So, with a ceiling fan and even any sort of hardwired, electrical light fixture, is there a tool – even if you’ve got it off in the panel, why does there sometimes seem to be power to that source?

    RANDY: So, what I think about when I think about changing out a ceiling fan or installing a ceiling fan is it’s not mechanically difficult. And nowadays, at The Home Depot, we make installing a ceiling fan very easy for just about everybody. But normally, there’s some weight to the fan. So it’s a good idea – it’s kind of not always a one-person job.

    LESLIE: Right. And does the box itself that the electrical power comes from, in the ceiling, does that need to be changed out to be more capable of supporting the weight? Or if there was just a basic sconce there before or a ceiling fixture, will that support it?

    RANDY: So, oftentimes, you will need another brace. But most times, the ceiling fans, they’re not that – not tremendously heavy now. So you just need to make sure – are you placing something about the same weight and the same size? Are you going from, like you said, a sconce to a very large ceiling fan? And you’d want to make sure you have some kind of brace and U-bolt assembly to make sure you brace the fan into place.

    LESLIE: Well, it definitely seems like if you’ve got the right tools and a little bit of know-how, there are certain electrical projects that you can tackle. And of course, Klein will help you get the job done with the right tool for the job. And it seems like if we have questions, we can just pop into our local Home Depot and ask?

    RANDY: Yeah, Home Depot is a great source of knowledge for professionals and DIY customers. We’re very excited because we have a full selection of Klein tools and they’re great for the professional. But they’re also the tools that help the DIY get the job done when it comes to these small electrical projects. And again, when you think about the small electrical projects – it could be installing a ground-fault circuit interrupter. You’d have to – may have to fish electrical wire through walls, you may have to install a dimmer switch.

    And at Home Depot, we pride ourselves on product knowledge, on helping customers. And we’re really in the solution business.

    LESLIE: Well, Randy Light, Senior Merchant of Tools and Wire with The Home Depot, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you guys want some more information, you can head on over to HomeDepot.com/HowTo.

    And thanks again, Randy. Have a great day.

    RANDY: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, we are heading into prime tick season and rumor has it it’s going to be a really bad and heavy-populated tick season. That’s what they’ve been telling us out east. And ticks aren’t just gross; they can actually be dangerous. So we’re going to tell you how to avoid them, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT and you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and perhaps a much easier way to do your laundry. We’re giving away 100 bucks worth of the cool, new laundry product called S2O Laundry Detergent Sheets. It’s kind of an all-in-one laundry detergent, fabric softener, stain-fighter sheet that you just toss in the washer. And that’s all you’ve got to do because you won’t have to, you know, add detergent, you won’t have to grab the second bleach bottle and you won’t have to grab the fabric-softener bottle and all that. No, no, no. Just one sheet does it all. They’re going to save you a ton of money because you won’t have to buy all those products separately.

    You can check them out at MyS2OLaundrySheets.com or pick up the phone and call us right now for your chance to win at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leroy on the line who’s got a painting question. How can we help you today?

    LEROY: Yes, I had some water damage on my ceiling. It has left a stain on the ceiling in the bedroom. I was wondering, what can I do to repair that? I paint over it and it still comes through.

    TOM: Yeah, if you don’t prime it first, Leroy, it will come through. So the key is that you have to prime the stain spots. Because the chemical reaction that occurs in the stained area absolutely has a way of pulling right through the top coat of paint. So if you prime it and then paint over it, you’ll be OK.

    Now, I will say this: if you spot-prime it and then flat-paint over it, you may see a slightly different sheen, even though it’s a flat sheen, because the absorption rate is going to be different on the primed versus the non-primed spot. If you really want to do it right, you would prime the entire ceiling and then repaint the entire ceiling and then it would be completely invisible. But if you don’t prime it, you will see the stains pull through.

    LEROY: Great. Hey, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Need to take steps to make sure that ticks aren’t tagging along for the ride. Now, ticks and the Lyme and other bacterial diseases that they can carry are major threats to your health. So you want to be smart about protecting yourself and your family whenever you are outdoors.

    TOM: That’s right. So first off, you always want to wear long sleeves, you want to tuck those pant cuffs into boots or socks and choose light colors that’ll make it easier to spot ticks. Then layer on the insect repellent. That’s very critical because you want to make sure that that’s going to protect you from those ticks. And put it on both your skin and your clothing.

    LESLIE: Now, while you’re outdoors, you want to make sure that you stay to the center of your hiking path. You also want to avoid grassy and marshy areas.

    Now, this is really how it works. Ticks don’t actually jump. Instead, what they do is they kind of hang onto the edges of leaves and shrubs and tall grasses and they just wait for you to brush by. And then they just kind of grab on.

    TOM: Absolutely. Now, once you get back home, make sure you inspect yourself and your kids for any potentially clinging ticks before those bites start to happen.

    888-666-3974 is the telephone number. Are you working on an outdoor project? Give us a call right now. We are here to help.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Derwin in Texas who’s dealing with a fascia-board situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    DERWIN: I have a fascia board that is rotten. The way it’s put on there is I have a 1×4 fascia board that’s nailed up on there and then a 1×2 is nailed on the top portion of the fascia board.

    TOM: Yep.

    DERWIN: Which kind of – and the gutter is nailed to the 1×2, so I guess the 1×2 keeps the gutter from resting up against the fascia board, to keep it from rotting.

    TOM: Got it. Mm-hmm.

    DERWIN: But the drip edge – there’s a drip edge that’s nailed to the top, so like a 2×2 drip edge. And the top part of the drip edge is nailed to the roof deck and then it lays – the other half is – lays into the gutter.

    TOM: So what you want to know is how can you get the rotted fascia board out without taking apart your gutter and your drip edge and your spacer and all that stuff, right?

    DERWIN: Right.

    TOM: There’s no way to surgically remove the fascia; it’s like one part of the assembly.

    DERWIN: Right.

    TOM: So you’d have to take the whole thing apart. Now, it’s not a – it sounds like a lot of work. It’s not a tremendous project to get a gutter off. It’s not something you can do yourself because you don’t want to bend it, so you have to do it with some help to take the gutter off in one piece.

    But there is an opportunity here and that is that when you replace the fascia, I would not put wood fascia back. What I would do is I would use a product called AZEK – A-Z-E-K. This looks like wood, so it could look like that old 1×4 that you had, except it’s made of cellular PVC. So, it cuts like wood and it looks like wood but it never rots. So I would definitely suggest that this is an opportunity to improve the material that you’re using there.


    TOM: Now, whether or not you put back the spacer and the gutter the way it was before is up to you. You really don’t need to have a spacer. You could put the gutter right up against the AZEK and then have the roof just lay into the top of the gutter. That would be the most normal assembly for that kind of thing.

    But if you want the spacer and it just works out better because that’s the way it was before, then what you could do is buy 1×6 AZEK, cut a 1½-inch strip off of it, use that as a spacer and use the rest as – you’ll have a 1×4 left and you use that for the fascia and you’ll have the strip just in one piece.

    DERWIN: So it cuts just like wood.

    TOM: Looks like wood, cuts like wood, doesn’t rot like wood. 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. Well, hopefully you already recycle but just ahead, we’re going to tell you how to upcycle for the next level of green living.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Chamberlain Garage Power Station, an air inflator, utility cord, and LED task light all together in a new, 3-in-1 tool. Exclusively at The Home Depot.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    And here is a really sort of crucial piece of information: did you guys know that regular gutter cleaning is the single most important key to avoiding major and expensive home repairs? Well, we’ve got some great gutter-cleaning tips on MoneyPit.com, so you won’t get caught spending needless money on repairs that you could have avoided in the first place.

    Now, if you’ve got a home improvement question, why not head on over to the Community section of The Money Pit? And you can post it there. And I’ve got one here from Jim in Maine who writes: “It’s time for me to get new windows. Everyone I’ve spoken to suggests vinyl. Is there a downside to vinyl that I should know about before I take the plunge?”

    TOM: I’d say that there’s no downside to vinyl. Vinyl really is state-of-the-art in terms of building materials for windows today. It works incredibly well, it’s super-durable. The vinyls that are mostly used today by the quality manufacturers don’t yellow. And so, I highly recommend them.

    I will say that, you know, you should stick with name brands, in my view. All windows – all replacement windows – are custom-made today; it’s kind of the standard. And if you stuck with one of the name brands as opposed to the no-name brands, you’ll always be able to find parts and get cracked windows replaced and things like that if the neighborhood kids through a baseball through it or something of that nature. So, you’ll get a good-quality window and you’ll get one that can be maintained over the time.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Trey in Texas writes: “We bought a home a few months ago and are doing the prep for painting. Our problem is that the paint is flaking off the plywood over the porch. Sanding this down seems like a good option but using a belt sander is awkward. Any ideas?”

    TOM: Well, first of all, I would address the source of the flaking. And usually, when you have flaking paint, it means you have leaks. So, you need to first make sure you don’t have any leaks over that porch area.

    And in terms of getting that loose paint off, you don’t have to sand it; you could just scrape it off. And once it’s scraped off, then you’re going to need to prime it because the paint, obviously, is not sticking to the plywood. So if you prime it first and then, after that, you paint it – this way, it should last for quite a long time.

    But first up, check for leaks because I am suspicious that a lot of flaking paint usually has a moisture source behind it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now keep in mind, I don’t know what the lead rules are in Texas but as you’re scraping and especially if you don’t know the age of the paint, make sure you dispose of those chips properly and protect yourself from breathing in any sort of lead particles, if that’s a possibility.

    TOM: Well, you might be a pro at household recycling but have you ever tried to tackle upcycling? If you’re not exactly sure what that is, Leslie has tips, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Upcycling. Now, upcycling actually takes recycling to the next level. Because what it does is it repurposes an unused item into something better.

    Now, it’s going to reduce waste, save money and also inspire some super-creative summer projects. So while you’re cleaning out your garage, your basement, your storage shed, whatever, keep your eyes peeled for items that can be transformed into some unique home accents. A forgotten piece of furniture can easily be upcycled into a posh bath accessory. You can take an attractive old window and convert that into a table, mirror or a central home message board. If you need some new storage for your tools or your other gear, you can scan online; there’s a ton of idea boards for inspiration. And you may already have everything that you need at home to create some really smart organizers and displays.

    Now, items that are large and small, they become better with a little bit of creativity. So try to work some upcycling into your summer projects and you’ll end up with some unique and personalized results.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, if you think your yard is too shady for beautiful landscaping, well, don’t. We’re going to tell you how to create some stunning yard designs that don’t require a lot of sun, 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 2013 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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