00:00/ 00:00
  • 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: What are you working on this fine winter weekend? Is it a project around your house? Well, give us a call; we can help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Hey, are you thinking about a project you’d like to tackle this spring? Well, no time like the present to start planning. We can help with that, 888-666-3974.

    And if you’re thinking about a roof project for 2015, now is a great time to check out the newest roof color trends. We’re going to have a report on that, coming up in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, a kitchen makeover can cost a bundle. Appliances, counters, flooring, it all adds up. But the biggest single expense is likely going to be your cabinets, especially if you prefer custom creations. And who doesn’t? Well, we’ve got tips to help you save a huge chunk of change by refacing or refinishing the cabinets you’ve got instead.

    TOM: You know what the biggest part of – the biggest expense of kitchen remodeling is?

    LESLIE: What?

    TOM: Takeout food.

    LESLIE: Seriously.

    TOM: Takeout food while it’s all torn apart. It really adds up.

    LESLIE: My neighbor across the street has been working on her kitchen for like a year, although I just found out that it’s been started off as the kitchen and then it became the powder room and then it became the garage.

    TOM: And also ahead, we’re going to talk to Matt Ehrlichman. Now, he is the CEO of Porch.com and the guy that USA Today named Entrepreneur of the Year. We’re going to find out why his company is a game-changer when it comes to finding local pros to help with your home improvement projects.

    LESLIE: And this hour we’re giving away a 25-foot magnetic tape measure from Milwaukee worth $25. It’s a great addition to your tool box.

    TOM: So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Debbie in Illinois is on the line with a cleaning question. How can we help you?

    DEBBIE: My question is about ceramic tile. What is the very best way to clean the grout? We have a house that’s been – it’s about nine years old and I just need to clean my grout.

    LESLIE: So what color has the grout turned? Do you think it’s like a mold or mildew situation or do you think that it’s just dirty?

    DEBBIE: I think it’s dirty, just dirty, yeah.

    LESLIE: And was it white to begin with?

    DEBBIE: No, it was tan. And it’s just a little darker tan. The ceramic tile is tan and so it’s just – it was a coordinating tan that went with the tile.

    TOM: So there are a couple of options. You can get grout cleaner or grout stripper, which are commercially available products. And the stripper is a little more aggressive. And you can put it on, let it sit and then you work it with a brush until you get the grout to the color that you want it. But the key, final step is to make sure that once you get it clean and it’s really dry – is to seal it at that point, because that will keep it cleaner longer.

    The sealers are silicone-based and they sort of soak into the grout and they stop it from being quite as absorbent. And they help you shed some of the dirt and grime that will follow.

    DEBBIE: OK. So, I’ve also seen it advertised that a steamer is a good way to do that. Would you not recommend a steamer on it?

    TOM: I don’t think a steamer is going to help you by itself. Warm/hot water and steam is not going to make the difference. What you need is the right product to lift the dirt and the debris out of the grout that’s there.

    DEBBIE: OK. And would you recommend a certain type of grout stripper?

    TOM: You might want to take a look at the products by TileLab – Tile-L-a-b. Those are sold at The Home Depot.

    DEBBIE: Alright. Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Debbie. 

    LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is up next with an electrical question. How can we help you?

    DOUG: I did some remodeling work in upgrading the island. And it used to be a floating island. And now that it’s fixed to the floor, I’m considering putting electrical outlets. And I’m just curious as to what might be the best location, as well as what the code – the electrical code – might require.

    TOM: Well, are you over a basement or a crawlspace?

    DOUG: I’m over a basement.

    TOM: OK. Because what you’re going to want to do is run the wire up from the basement below, into the side of the island. Is it a standard kitchen cabinet that you’ve used to create this island with?

    DOUG: Yes.

    TOM: Because you can mount the electrical outlet, basically cut it into the side of the cabinet. You’re going to want it off the countertop, down below on the side of the cabinet. And the key safety aspect here is you want to make sure that it’s a ground-fault outlet. Those are the outlets that have the test and reset buttons in them for wet locations.

    DOUG: I did see something online concerning that.

    TOM: Yeah. So as long as you use a ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet and you just bring the wire up from the basement, that’ll be the most practical way to do it. It’ll probably end up not being on the same circuit as the kitchen because, generally, what you do in a situation like that is you grab the closest power source that you can, that’s convenient and safe, and just kind of go up from there.

    DOUG: OK. Sounds good. Thanks for your help.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lu from North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a water-pressure issue. How can we help you today?

    LU: I don’t have any water pressure in my house and I wonder how to make the water pressure a bit higher.

    TOM: Now, has this always been a problem or is it a recent problem?

    LU: I think it’s always been a problem.

    TOM: Yeah. How old is your house, Lu?

    LU: Forty-three years old.

    TOM: Is it a well-water system or is it a city-water system?

    LU: I don’t know.

    TOM: Do you pay a water bill?

    LU: Yeah.

    TOM: Alright. So it’s city water, then, if you’re paying a water bill.

    So, then, what I would do is this: I would start by having the water pressures checked at the street and find out what the water pressure is coming into your house. It needs to be between about 50 and 80 pounds or so to give you decent water pressure.

    If there’s good water pressure at the street, then we have to go inside and start to figure out where it’s being restricted. It could be by the pipe, it could be by the water valve or it could be by fixtures. But if it’s evenly poor across the entire house, it’s more likely to be somewhere near the main water valve. It could be partially closed, it could be obstructed with mineral deposits.

    But I would start by contacting the water company and tell them that the water pressure in your house is not acceptable and then have them test the water pressure at the main for – where it comes into your house and see what’s going on. It could be that there’s a problem at the main that they could fix right there without even having to come in your house. OK, Lu?

    LU: OK, OK. I’ll contact them.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Coming up, get that color up top. We’re going to talk about the great color choices that are now becoming popular for roofing materials and get tips on bringing them to your money pit, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win a Milwaukee 25-Foot Magnetic Tape Measure that we’re giving away to one lucky caller.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it’s going to hold up as much as 10 times longer against job-site dirt and debris with a nylon blade protection. Its reinforced frame provides drop protection, because who doesn’t drop a tape measure while on a job site? And dual magnets will hold onto steel studs so you can really get an accurate and easy measurement.

    TOM: It’s available at The Home Depot. You can visit HomeDepot.com and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: John in Wisconsin is on the line with a washer/dryer question. Tell us what you’re thinking about there.

    JOHN: We were thinking of putting a washer and dryer in our spare bedroom. And where we want to is next to an inner wall. And I was wondering, if we vented it up through into the attic, through the insulation so it’d come out on top, would that be damaging to the – it’d be too much moisture in there or not?

    LESLIE: Now, would this still remain a guest room or would this become a new, snazzy laundry room?

    JOHN: Yeah, it’d be a laundry room, yeah.

    LESLIE: Generally, when you talk about resale value, the amount that you could possible resell your house for directly correlates to the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms that you have. So, you may want to start by talking with a local realtor who’s familiar with home values in your neighborhood, as to what the effect might be to removing a bedroom.

    Now, if you have no intention to sell and you’ve got this dream to have just a kick-butt, gigantic laundry room, with perhaps a sewing area and enough ironing space, then this could be awesome for you guys.

    TOM: Now, in terms of your technical questions, obviously, you’re going to have to get hot and cold water there and you’re going to have to get electricity there for your washer and your dryer and 240-volt if it’s electric dryer. Venting was the one question you had and can you go up through the wall into the attic? Yes. But you can’t stop there. You have to continue with that vent, John, until it gets outside. You cannot dump the warm, moist, lint-ladened dryer exhaust up into the attic; you’ve got to take it outside.

    So, what you should do is only use solid-metal piping, not flex ducting. Get it up in the attic and turn it 90 degrees and then run it across the floor, so to speak, above the joists and then out the side wall of the house, with a proper dryer-vent termination on the outside of it. And the test is when you turn the dryer on, you look outside, you should see the flap open up. You really don’t want to have any restriction. It’s very important you get that lint out, because there’s a lot of dryer fires that happen because people collect too much lint inside those pipes.

    JOHN: Oh, I see. Mm-hmm. 

    TOM: Alright?

    JOHN: Yeah. Very good.

    TOM: John, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Shirley in Nebraska on the line who has a foundation question. What’s going on at your money pit?

    SHIRLEY: I have a townhome and the dirt around my foundation, due to the drought, pulled away. I had somebody come in and grade it, fill it with dirt and some river rock on top of that. However, my basement is a poured-concrete basement, where they have the metal rods in different – in the sections? And I have some fine lines of cracks going down and maybe going out about 6 inches from those rods. Do I have to be concerned about that? Do I have to fill those in with something or do something? Paint over it or …?

    TOM: Generally, those are shrinkage cracks. Whenever you pour that much concrete, you get a fair amount of shrinkage cracking. And so if they’re fine lines like you’re describing, I wouldn’t worry too much about them, Shirley.


    TOM: That’s considered fairly normal with a poured-concrete foundation which, by the way, is one of the most – is one of the stronger foundations that you could have.

    SHIRLEY: Mm-hmm. I just didn’t have all those before the dirt problem, so that’s why I was wondering about it.

    TOM: Yeah. And I would make sure that you maintain proper drainage around the house so that you’re restoring the dirt that shrunk away and that it’s always sloping away from the wall. Because that’s going to keep – that’s going to make sure you don’t make excessive moisture, because the other thing could happen: when it’s not dry out and you get very wet weather, the excessive moisture, that can have an adverse effect on a foundation. So just make sure you always maintain the proper slope on the outside and fill in those gaps as they occur.

    SHIRLEY: OK. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Well, when you think of your roof and if you’re thinking about a new roof, you don’t necessarily think of designer colors right away. But color is where it’s at when it comes to roofs and the newest color trends for 2015 are here now.

    LESLIE: Yeah. This is my favorite: gray. Super-popular color for interiors. It’s also expected to dominate exteriors this year which means, once again, I am ahead of the trends by putting gray siding on my house almost two years ago. Ta-da.

    So seriously, gray is great indoors and out. It’s a very neutral color that can be used to anchor a lot more playful colors on the outside, say, maybe for your siding or your shutters or a mixture of things, even trim.

    TOM: Now, here’s one that you probably would not have considered for your roof but it’s expected to be a trend this year: dark blue. It’s a confident color choice. It blends well with some of the neutral trends, like gray that we just talked about, as well as cream and beige tones, which are very popular for siding.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know, earth tones have always been a popular choice for the roof and that’s going to continue with green as another color we’re going to see on the roof, as well. And really, any of these color choices are going to help set off another trend, which is the return of the solid-white exterior.

    And you know what returns with that trend, as well, Tom? Lots of power washing.

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. And finally, a trend that will always be current: roofing materials that can help make your home more energy-efficient. We’ve got the lowdown on the 2015 roof color trends report at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Rich in Illinois needs some help with a painting project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    RICH: I’m working on a house that I’ve been living in since 1988. And the bottom four sections of my steel siding keep peeling. It’s like a 30-foot-long piece. Each piece is 8 inches wide. And it has a wood-grain pattern on it; looks like it’s been stamped. And every two years, I approach this project. First time, I took a wire brush to it and knocked all the loose off and primed it. And two years later, I was doing it again.

    And every year, I try a different method. I tried a wire wheel on a drill. Last year, I took an air compressor and a hose and a drill and a wire wheel and went down to the bare metal.

    TOM: Wow.

    RICH: And went to the paint store and they gave me some primer and some paint. And seemed like everything I try – I wash it with paint thinner sometimes before I do it. Sometimes I just use soap and water. I always make sure it’s a nice, dry day – about 80 degrees – when I paint it. And it seems to always come back about every two to three years.

    I know it should be replaced but I kind of like the siding. But it’s steel and it’s – the company is no longer in business now and so the warranty is up on it.

    TOM: And there’s different qualities of steel. So even if it had a rust-resistant finish on it, it could have just worn off. And I wonder if whatever process they used is what’s causing the paint to not stick.

    When you prime it, are you using an oil-based primer or are you using an alkyd primer?

    RICH: Both. I’ve used both. I don’t know if it’s the primer that I use or if it’s – I’ve even went down to no paint at all and just the galvanized showing and – I don’t know. I don’t know what it – I don’t know if it’s the primer or what I’m using to wash the siding with that’s causing it or it’s the paint. I tried four or five different kinds of paint on this and primer.

    TOM: What I would do – I mean if I was priming it – and you may have done this already. But what I would do is I would use same manufacturer’s primer and paint. So, for example, I don’t think you can go wrong with Rust-Oleum. That’s pretty much one of the best metal paints of all.

    I would use the red Rust-Oleum primer – the oil-based primer – and I would let it thoroughly dry after you knock off all the loose paint and sand it and make sure the surface is ready to accept it. But I would use the oil-based Rust-Oleum primer which, by the way, takes forever to dry. Depends on the weather but three or four or five hours is not unusual. And then, I would use the Rust-Oleum top coat. Again, oil-based. And I rarely recommend oil-based but in this situation, I think that’s what’s going to give you the best adhesion.

    Now, Rich, there’s one other piece of advice that we could offer you on this and it comes from a process that’s very – that’s done very often when people work on cars. There’s a product called Prep-Sol – P-r-e-p-S-o-l. And it’s a solvent that’s designed to be applied to bare metal before the primer. You might want to look that up as – I don’t know what – you said you were using a solvent. I don’t know if you were using mineral salt – mineral spirits or something like that – but this is specifically made for it. Just Google it. It’s called Prep-Sol – P-r-e-p – S-o-l. And it’s a cleaning solvent.

    RICH: OK. Do I apply it with a brush or a rag or …?

    TOM: You apply it with a rag. Use a clean cloth and you apply it – you soak it in with the cloth.

    RICH: Yeah, I’ll try that. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Joyce in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    JOYCE: Have an in-law apartment and someone who was living there for a while was smoking. And we wanted to do whatever we could to get the smell of the smoke out of the apartment.

    TOM: Do you have wall-to-wall carpet in there?

    JOYCE: There is.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s going to be a bit of a problem because I’m sure the odor is into that carpet.

    So, a couple things you could do. First of all, if you’re going to paint the apartment, you’re going to want to prime all the walls first. Well, first of all, wash them down, then prime them with a good-quality primer, then paint them. That will help seal in what’s gotten into the walls.

    As far as the carpet, a good, thorough, deep steam-cleaning of that. You may have to go over it a number of times to try to get as much dirt and debris and odor out of that carpet as possible. The best thing – if we have situations where this is a real problem, the carpet’s kind of worn, we’ll tell people to take it up and prime the subfloor underneath, believe it or not, to make sure we really seal out any of those odors that have soaked into the wood. But if you prime and paint the walls and if you steam-clean the carpet, that’s probably the best you can do.

    What about furniture? Is this place furnished? Do you still have the old furniture in there that the smoker lived with?

    JOYCE: The only furniture that’s really in there is a leather living-room set.

    TOM: Leslie, what do you think about that? Will the smoke odor get into the – go through the leather and get into the cushions?

    LESLIE: You know, leather is such a natural surface that it is porous in its own right and it depends on what the cushioning is on the inside. You really have to be careful and of course, you can’t really thoroughly clean leather because of its inherent natural qualities. You don’t want it to stain. You might want to see what those cushions are like on the inside. Take out the inserts. If you can replace those, that could be a huge help.

    JOYCE: OK, great. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    Still to come, we are talking to the CEO of a company that’s taking the DIY world by storm. It’s a great, new way to get local recommendations on pro help for whatever project you are working on when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: When you step into the grocery store, have you ever noticed that you can smell the cleaning products four aisles away? That’s indoor-air pollution and it’s exactly what happens when you take those cleaning products inside your home. Shaklee’s green, chemical-free cleaning innovations are a better option. Shop Shaklee Get Clean products today at GreenMyMoneyPit.com. That’s GreenMyMoneyPit.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.

    Well, one of the most difficult tasks for a homeowner is finding a pro to hire for a project who is trustworthy, reliable and affordable. And now there’s a way to find local pros in your area that’s quick, easy and is getting a lot of national attention.

    TOM: That’s right. Here to talk about his new online service that’s earned him the title of Entrepreneur of the Year by USA Today, is Porch.com CEO Matt Ehrlichman.

    Matt, welcome to the program.

    MATT: Very happy to be here.

    TOM: So, as I understand it, your desire to come up with an easy way to identify great local pros to consider when working on your project kind of came out of the pain that you and your wife experienced when you were trying to build a home, correct?

    MATT: That’s exactly right. A couple years back, we started the process of building a home up here in Seattle. And as we went through that process, it really is remarkable to me how challenging it was to have any idea of what it’s going to cost or who to hire. And Porch really was born out of that pain.

    TOM: So, did you just sort of look at the relationship-type services or the relationship-type websites – like LinkedIn, for example – that connects all facets of a person’s life in the concept for Porch?

    MATT: Yeah. LinkedIn is a good corollary to use. People describe us as all kinds of different sites, really. But really what we are is this home network: a company that’s aggregated a tremendous amount of data around the home. And just like LinkedIn, who really understood data is their core asset, it’s the same for Porch.

    We use – at this point have more than 3.2 million professionals in the Porch platform and insights into more than 130 million of these professional’s projects, the work that they’ve done. And understanding that connection and that data lets us do some really amazing things, actually, for homeowners as they’re going through these home projects.

    LESLIE: Well, I think what’s interesting, Matt, is that because you have analyzed so much of this data, you’re really able to hone in on what, say, a bathroom remodel would be, not just in my region but essentially even pinpointed down to the community I live in.

    MATT: That’s right. When homeowners are going through projects and when you’re letting people inside of your home, the bar that you have to have in terms of the trust that you need when you’re making that decision is so much higher than where you’re going to go out to eat or anything else it might be. And what we found from homeowners and renters is they really love to know who their neighbors have used and who they’ve loved, which professionals work on homes just like theirs.

    And all this project information that I mentioned, that 130 million projects, tells us exactly that, for any type of work around your home, whether it’s hiring a handyman or a cleaner or a roofer or a remodeler. We know who works and really specializes on homes just like yours and who your neighbors have used time and time again.

    TOM: We’re talking to Matt Ehrlichman. He is the CEO of Seattle-based Porch.com. He also won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from USA Today, the first ever Entrepreneur of the Year. So congratulations for that, Matt.

    And Matt, could you take us through the consumer perspective on this when they log onto Porch.com? Let’s say they have an interest in maybe building a new kitchen or having their kitchen remodeled. What’s the consumer experience like? What can they expect?

    MATT: It really depends on where that consumer is in their journey. Sometimes, people have really done their planning and they really want to find a professional and do the research around finding the right professional for that particular project in their home. So they can come in and they can search for a remodeler in that example and see, for their particular address, who works – again, who specializes in homes like theirs.

    If they care about who’s verified licensed by the state or verified insured, if that’s important to them, they can filter on that. If they just want to browse their neighborhood and see who their neighbors have used and see the photos of those projects, they can do that, as well. At the end of the day, helping them get in touch with the right professionals.

    Sometimes, homeowners don’t know exactly what they’re going to do. And these people really are trying to get ideas and starting to try to get informed as to how much a kitchen remodel may actually even cost them, in the first place, to see if they can afford it. And so these people will spend more time browsing through photos of nearby projects, browsing through kitchen remodels and looking at the before-and-after photos and the price points, the exact price point of this work, as they just start to get informed.

    So it really depends on where people are in their journey.

    LESLIE: Now this was a really big step for you guys. You just partnered with Lowe’s. Can you tell us a little bit about that relationship?

    MATT: Yeah, we’re very excited about that partnership. Lowe’s participated in our Series A financing quite a while back and has become a really fantastic, strategic partner. We rolled out across all 1,700 of Lowe’s stores, where there’s not just signage throughout the store that helps people know they can use Porch but equips all the Lowe’s associates to help their customers.

    Often when customers are in a Lowe’s store, sometimes they’ll want to do a project themselves but sometimes they ask these associates for help with the professional they’d recommend. And now, through this partnership, Lowe’s is a place that people can go where they know they can get their projects done. And if they do it themselves, fantastic; if they need to hire a professional, Lowe’s can help them there, as well.

    TOM: The website is Porch.com. Matt Ehrlichman is the CEO.

    Matt, thank you so much for creating Porch.com. It’s going to be a tremendous resource for so many homeowners. I can’t tell you how many calls we get on our radio program about how to find a contractor, how to hire a contractor, how to evaluate bids, all the sorts of things that Porch.com will now be just a tremendous resource for. Thank you so much for being a part of the program and for all the great work you’re doing with Porch.com.

    MATT: Truly my pleasure. I’m happy to be here. Encourage your audience to download the Porch app. They can go today and they can talk to one of our local concierge reps right here in the office. They can help them with anything they need for their home. I appreciate you having me on.

    TOM: And that website is Porch.com – P-o-r-c-h.com.

    Thanks, Matt.

    LESLIE: And still ahead, new cabinets can eat up a huge chunk of your kitchen-makeover budget if not the entire budget. So we’ve got advice on how you can save thousands by reusing your cabinets. Get your options when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: When you’re ready to search for a home, start at Realtor.com. Realtor.com is the most accurate home search site. And be sure to work with a realtor to help you through the process. Realtor.com and realtors. Together, we make home happen.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Milwaukee 25-Foot Magnetic Tape Measure. It’s got nylon blade protection, which means it holds up as much as 10 times longer against job-site dirt and debris.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s got a reinforced frame, which will provide drop protection, and dual magnets, which means it’s going to hold onto steel studs so you get some really easy, accurate measuring.

    The Milwaukee 25-Foot Magnetic Tape Measure, it’s available at The Home Depot. So visit HomeDepot.com or give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ralph in Missouri who’s working on a ceiling project. Tell us what’s going on.

    RALPH: There’s two rooms upstairs. And the one side, I’ve changed into a bedroom, put a bathroom up there. The other one, I’d like to take the existing ceiling out and put a cathedral ceiling in. I just want to open the room up. The ceilings are kind of low now. Somebody has put suspended ceilings in there, which …

    TOM: Made it even lower.

    RALPH: Well, yeah. And it’s got the old tongue-and – or lath-and-plaster walls and ceilings and all that. So I guess they didn’t want to go with the mess, so what do you do? You just stick up a suspended ceiling.

    But anyway, I’d like to take the existing ceiling joists out and maybe not use the rafters for the cathedral ceiling but add some new rafters to kind of follow the outline of the roof line. But I just want to make sure that if I pull these joists or ceiling joists out of here, that the house isn’t going to fall down, you know what I mean? The walls aren’t going to bow out and fall out on me.

    TOM: Well, the house may not fall down but the roof might collapse. That’s not any better.

    You see, look, if you’ve got a very high-pitched roof like that and that roof is resting on the top plate of the exterior wall and you take the ceiling joists away, those serve the purpose of tying those exterior walls into the rest of the house. Now, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it but you just can’t do it without somehow replacing that structural element.

    I would recommend that you not do this yourself, that you get help from an architect to design this. Because it’s a little more complicated than what you might think. It’s easy to cut stuff away; it’s not so easy to put it back together in the right way. And when it comes to this kind of modification, it’s got to be done just right.

    There’s other issues, too. Now, you’re going to have to make sure that this cathedral ceiling is properly ventilated and properly insulated. And that’s going to take some work. Otherwise, you’re going to add an energy-leaking hassle to your home that won’t bode well. And you might want to think about adding some additional lighting, like a skylight or something of that nature.

    So, it’s a project that can be done but it’s a little more complicated than meets the eye. I would get some professional design help on this and not just get out the old Sawzall and cut – start cutting things out of the way.

    RALPH: OK, OK. Well, that’s good advice.

    LESLIE: Well, if new cabinets are eating up a big chunk of your kitchen-makeover budget, you may want to consider options for reusing your current cabinets. Now, if you like the style and the configuration of the cabinets you have and they happen to be made of wood or laminate, refinishing them is the clearest route to a remodeling-cost control factor. I mean it.

    TOM: Now, most older cabinetry is well-built but examine the construction carefully before pulling out the sander. Because if you’ve veneer, you might find that it’s paper-thin everywhere except for the solid fronts, so you really need to rethink your refinishing plans. The veneers can’t be sanded or stained, so painting really is the only option. And it’s not a bad thing. It can look really good if it’s done well.

    LESLIE: Now, refacing is going to involve replacing the doors and veneers on the existing laminate or wood boxes. And it’s not a job for the novice but also understand that if you do hire a pro to do the job for you, your satisfaction with the results will be directly proportional to their skill and their level of craftsmanship. So you really want to make sure that you vet them well, you do your research, you look at projects that they’ve done and really look at them. You know, the quality of the existing cabinetry and the new materials also will impact the end product.

    TOM: I’ve seen refacing done well and I’ve seen it done poorly and it really does come down to the skill of the guy that’s actually doing the work. So, good advice. Take a look at those references and call them, call them, call them.

    And lastly, what you want to do is to add new hardware to your kitchen, because the hardware is kind of the bling on top and it really makes an impact. So, replace all of the hinges, replace the knobs, replace the pulls and you’ll be really, really happy with the result.

    If you want to learn more, just search “cabinet replacement tips” at MoneyPit.com.

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

    BILL: I’m trying to clean some pressure-treated deck. This is on the second floor of my house and also on the ground is stone. What we have here in Tennessee is Crab Orchard stone; it’s a soft stone. And it’s turned black. The stone has turned black over time and it’s about 15 years old. And the pressure-treated wood has turned black, also. And I wanted to see what the best thing to clean both of them – I’ve tried cleaner on the end of a garden hose and it don’t – and I followed the instructions but it didn’t do much at all.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean it sounds like a combination of the wood aging and also mold or algae.

    Now, a pressure washer set to an aggressive but gentle setting, if that makes any sense, will probably do the best to kind of attack this growth on it. If you could use some bleach and water or Wet & Forget, a product like that that will do a good job of – I’m not going to say “attacking” but you know what I mean: really aggressively going at this growth. That will probably do a good job of getting to the base of it and removing it from it.

    If you can get more sunlight on the area to sort of beat this shady mold growth that’s happening, that will help tremendously. There’s some things that you can do there.

    BILL: OK. That’s good. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Still to come, do you want a new way to tell the world about what’s going on behind your front door? Well, choose a paint color that tells your home’s story. We’ve got advice on choosing the right color for you and your story, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the brand most preferred by builders for wiring devices and lighting controls. With a focus on safety and convenience, Leviton products are the smart solution for all your electrical needs.

    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 do you ever feel like you’re in a constant battle with your house and perhaps your house is winning? Well, more Money Pit can help. Just head on over to MoneyPit.com for tips and answers to home improvement dilemmas both big and small. And while you’re there, sign up for our free e-Newsletter and stay ahead of home maintenance year-round. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. And you can post a question, just like Chuck from Louisiana did. And Chuck writes: “Moved into my current house five years ago and been taking on projects ever since. Now I want to tackle the master bathroom’s window that has a crank. The window is in good shape and the frame is, too. My situation is that the crank doesn’t operate the window to open or close. Also, the surrounding area, where the window is set, is cold like the insulation is weak. What should I do?”

    TOM: This is a fairly common problem that doesn’t have a great solution. Because unless you know the brand of the window and you can go to the manufacturer for replacement hardware, you really need to replace it. And you might find, though, that the replacement window is not that much more expensive.

    If you have a brand like, say, a Pella or an Andersen that happens, you can find that hardware. But if it’s another brand that’s sort of a no-name brand, I would just replace the window. Order up a new replacement window. It will be made to fit the exact same size as the one that you take out. And if it’s a bathroom window, it’s probably going to be less than a couple hundred bucks. Definitely going to be warmer in the long run.

    LESLIE: And Chuck, to complete your ventilation bathroom makeover, you can add a bath vent fan. Make sure it’s vented outside. Put it on a timer so you can actually use it when you need it, which is after the shower, and you can control the moisture in that space.

    TOM: Well, the beginning of the year is always a good time to launch a new look for your home. And freshening up that main entry is typically a very cost-effective way to impact curb appeal and value. That’s why Leslie has tips on how to do just that with color, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, I think we all know that color has a psychological component that really communicates our feelings and our mood. And since the front door is an exterior focal point of your home, its finish color broadcasts core home values to your guests, passersby and the neighborhood at large. So here are some of the top color choices and what they say about you.

    Now, blue. It’s really a great, popular color and it signals a place of refuge: a calm, serene, relaxing retreat from our hectic and often demanding world. And sometimes those are factors inside, as well. But the blue color really does give a sense of calm.

    Now, green is also a popular front-door color. And green communicates health, tranquility, safety and harmony of the living space inside.

    A black front door is going to tell of a serious home inhabited by a person of substance. Now, it expresses sophistication of power, strength and authority.

    Red is a powerful, passionate punch and it’s going to signal a vibrant home filled with life, energy and excitement.

    Now, brown is a natural, organic look and it’s a door that can be painted or stained. And it can send a few different kinds of messages. Now, brown is generally going to convey warmth, stability and reliability but certain darker shades can express a desire for privacy or in the extreme cases, isolation.

    So, whether you’re hoping to say something new with your front door or simply define what you’ve been feeling all along, changing the finish is a simple project. You want to take the time, though, to properly prep the surface of your door. And choose a top-quality acrylic/latex paint in a shade that you love and your new color statement will last for years.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, there are two appliances that have the potential to be the most destructive to your home if they fail and they are your washer and your dryer. We’ll have tips on how you can make these appliances as safe as they can be, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2014 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

Leave a Reply


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