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Screens to Keep Mosquitoes Out Without Ruining the Look of Your Windows, How to Grow a Vertical Garden, Learn Which Skylight Is Right for You, and more

  • Transcript

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by to help you tackle your home improvement projects. We’re going to give you some independence, as we roll through the end of the Independence holiday, from those problems that have been plaguing your house, those projects that are just nagging you to get done. Let us give you some independence from those. Pick up the phone and call us.

    We’ll talk through them, we’ll get the project done, we’ll get you started off on the right foot to help you figure out what materials you need, what tools you need. Whether they’re do-it-yourself projects or not, we will help you if you pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you. First up, if you’d love to have a garden but you don’t feel like you have the space, we’ll help you find that space if you simply are willing to look up. Gardening expert Melinda Myers is going to be here this hour to talk about vertical gardening, a cool, new trend that enables you to grow gardens with far less space than you may think is really needed.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, if it’s bright and sunny outside but dark and dreary inside, have you thought about adding a skylight? It’s actually a potential do-it-yourself project, with lots of styles and options to choose from. We’re going to tell you how to choose the best skylight for your situation, in just a bit.

    TOM: And do you know the easiest way to get your house clean? Well, it’s just sitting back and letting someone or something do it for you. And one caller this hour is going to win a very cool product that can do just that.

    LESLIE: Are you going to make me clean somebody’s house again? No, no, no, no.

    TOM: Leslie for a day.

    LESLIE: We’re actually giving away a robotic vacuum from Neato. It’s the brand-new, XV-21 model. And it uses laser vision – I mean it’s like a superhero vacuum – to scan your room, so it’s not going to smash into things or fall down stairs. And it actually finds the dirt.

    TOM: It’s a prize worth $399. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: We’ve got Sue from New York who’s dealing with some moldy caulking. Tell us what’s going on.

    SUE: I have a bathroom that has mold all over the caulking.

    TOM: OK.

    SUE: I’ve tried bleach and water but I was wondering if there’s something else I can do to get rid of the mold on the caulking.

    TOM: Well, sometimes the mold really takes hold, literally, in the caulk and it grows into it and it discolors the caulk. So if you’ve cleaned it in those traditional ways, probably not going to come out. So I would recommend that you recaulk the bathroom tub. And let me tell you how to do that successfully.

    First of all, you can purchase a product that’s called a “caulk softener.” It’s kind of like a paint softener or a paint stripper but it softens the caulk and makes it easy to get all of the old stuff out of the tub and the joint between the tub and the tile wall and so on. Then once you’ve got it all out of there and all cleaned up and dried out – and I like to wipe the wall with a bleach-and-water solution in between, just to make sure we’re killing any mold spores that are left behind.

    The next thing that you’re going to do, Sue, is fill the tub with water. And you’re doing that because you’re going to kind of weight it down. And then once it’s filled, you can go ahead and recaulk that seam.

    Now, the caulk that you use, make sure you use one that has a mildicide in it. So if you use a kitchen-and-bath caulk, it probably is going to have a mildicide. I know that the DAP products have an additive called Microban; I’m sure there’s others, as well. And then once that caulk dries, then you let the water out of the tub, because then it comes back up and compresses the caulk. And when you step in to take a shower, it doesn’t cause as much stress to that caulk seam between the tub and the wall and it stays in place.

    So, again, if you’ve already cleaned it, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that you’re not going to be able to get that mold out of the old caulk. I would just replace it. It’s not a hard job and it’ll look really nice when you’re done, OK?

    SUE: Very good. Thank you very much. I really appreciate all your help.

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

    LESLIE: Catherine in Rhode Island is on the line with a leaky roof. Tell us about the problem, Catherine.

    CATHERINE: I have a small hole in the ceiling, in the corner of the back end of the house. And I was just wondering if when I go to have it replaced, how much of the plaster they’re going to have to take down.

    TOM: So you say it’s a small hole. So this is a hole that was caused by water damage?

    CATHERINE: Yes. It’s coming from the roof. I’m going to have to have a new roof, also.

    TOM: How old is the roof that you have now?

    CATHERINE: The roof is about 20 years old.

    TOM: OK. Well, it might be at the end of a normal life cycle.

    In terms of that ceiling space, you don’t have to take a lot down. How big is the hole that you have right now?

    CATHERINE: I would say it’s about 8 inches across.

    TOM: Eight by what?

    CATHERINE: It’s just like a slit.

    LESLIE: So there’s nothing open; it’s just like a crack.

    CATHERINE: Yes, it’s like a crack. And water drips but just from one area; it’s just like a little drip.

    TOM: If it’s not swollen or deformed in any way, then what you can do is you can add drywall tape across that crack, which would be perforated. You use – it looks kind of like a mesh; it’s a little sticky and it’s like a mesh. And then you spackle over the tape. And so you can basically spackle this crack closed and then prime it and paint it without having to replace any of the drywall.

    CATHERINE: Oh, really? Oh. Well, thank you very much. I thought I’d have to replace the whole ceiling.

    TOM: Nah, don’t let the contractors tell you it’s any more than that. It’s a real simple repair. If it’s just a crack, it can be spackled, primed, painted and you’re good to go.

    CATHERINE: Well, thank you very much. And I just want to add I love listening to your show. I learn so much. I listen to it every Saturday night.

    TOM: Well, thank you very much, Catherine. We really appreciate it. Thanks again 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, design, décor. Whatever it is you are working on, inside or out, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, we enjoy the warm weather but with that warm weather comes mosquitoes. Up next, we’re going to have a stylish solution that can help you keep them away.

    ANNOUNCER: Finish wood-staining projects in just one day with new Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish. Better yet, let us do it for you. If you win the Take It Easy Sweepstakes, we will. No purchase necessary. See Flood.com for official rules and to enter.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One lucky caller will never have to vacuum again. If that’s you, you could win the XV-21 Robotic Vacuum from Neato. It’s a high-tech, powerful little sucker that you can program to clean while you are away so you can come home, perhaps from work, to a very clean floor. It’s worth $399. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got David in Tennessee on the line who’s looking at changing out a water heater. How can we help you with that project?

    DAVID: I’m changing out a tank – electric water heater. But the idea is to change out electric for electric but get one of these energy-saving, wall-mounted ones. And if I do that, what anticipated payback theory do I want to be looking at?

    TOM: Well, I think you’re talking about a tankless water heater. And the problem is that electric water heaters are not necessarily very efficient as tankless water heaters. Only gas – either propane or natural gas can – only by using those fuels can you get a very efficient, tankless water heater.

    What you can do, however, is you could switch from a standard, electric water heater to what’s called a heat-pump water heater. That’s the newest line of efficiencies in electric water heaters. And heat-pump water heaters use a refrigeration system to basically deliver hot water when it can and then has an electric backup.

    In terms of the payback on that, compared to a standard water heater, I think that you will get a decent payback on that. But keep in mind that they’re going to be more expensive in terms of the payment – the initial purchase.

    DAVID: OK. So what I had looked at was going to be somewhere between $900 and $1,200, depending on the volume, you know? And so I’m thinking, “Well, yeah, it makes it a $1,200 investment.” So, if I were to do that, how many years would I be looking at, do you guess?

    TOM: Well, first of all, I don’t know if you were looking at a heat-pump water heater. It sounds to me like you were looking at an electric, tankless water heater, which is not very efficient, so …

    DAVID: OK. That is correct. Yes, sir.

    TOM: Yeah. That said, a water heater – a heat-pump water heater – is going to last you probably a good 15 or 20 years. They’ll last a little bit longer, I think, than a standard, tank water heater would.

    DAVID: OK. Well, I just know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right direction in which to head, for the sake of the planet, but I also have to work within my own budget.

    TOM: Absolutely. Well, glad to help you out, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, if you enjoy the great outdoors and love to bring that fresh air into your home as much as possible, you need to be careful not to pull mosquitoes into your home at the same time. Because mosquitoes, they’re really more than just pesky. They can actually carry diseases, such as West Nile virus and encephalitis. And one terrific solution is a product called Phantom Screens.

    TOM: Now, Phantom Screens is a brand-new sponsor of The Money Pit and they make retractable screens. And this is very cool because unlike traditional screens, Phantom Screens are mounted on your home’s exterior and they’re stored out of sight. They simply retract into a very discreet housing when they’re not in use. And that means you will have your view when you want it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, if you’re really looking for the best mosquito protection, Phantom recommends a small mesh, which is going to protect against even the tiniest of insects. In fact, there are actually about 30 different mesh types available, from mesh size to the color and even the type of screen. And Phantom can recommend the exact type of mesh that will best suit your needs, so they really remove all the guesswork.

    TOM: Take a look at them online. The website is PhantomScreens.com. It’s Phantom – P-h-a-n-t-o-m – Screens.com. They are beautiful.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Michigan where Roger has got a door problem. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    ROGER: Yeah, I have a mid-70s, ranch-style house. It has all maple doors on the interior. And we’re just putting paint on here for the first time. It’s been white all along and I’m putting color into it and these doors just don’t look right. And I wondered what kind of alternative I have to making them look different, besides swapping them out for six panels or whatever and exchanging it all out. But I don’t want to go to that expense.

    TOM: OK. So the doors are wood doors. And have they ever been painted before or are they finished clear?

    ROGER: No, they’re finished, though, with maple – they’re maple-pressed doors or whatever or – I don’t know what they called them back then but …

    TOM: And so you say they don’t look right against the painted walls? Is that your concern?

    ROGER: They might to somebody but I just – I’m doing the trim in bright white and it just doesn’t look right with the colors on the walls and everything.

    TOM: Typically, you would not do the trim; the trim would be natural, as well.

    ROGER: Well, it would have been, yeah, but that’s not how the house was originated. Yeah, that would be a way to do it is just change out the trim but that’s not …

    TOM: Well, that’s a lot less work than changing out the doors. And you would have a lot of options if you were to change out the trim.

    So, it may not look right to you because you have painted trim and you have a clear-finish door. But if the trim is really the missing perimeter to this that’s going to frame it all in there nicely, why don’t – you could do this. Why don’t you go pick up a couple of pieces of trim and lightly tack them around the door, without even taking off the old stuff. Just kind of stick it up there, step back, take a look at it and see if it starts to make more sense to you visually.

    ROGER: That’s a good idea.

    TOM: Alright? Take small steps that way.

    And the other thing to keep in mind when you’re doing a project like this, Gene, is just remember once you paint, it’s going to look different. So that’s going to take a certain amount of getting used to.

    ROGER: You’re right about that, also.

    TOM: Alright? So I would go out and pick up some trim, tack it up there, see how it looks. Maybe try a complimentary color? You could do a two-tone, something like that. And see if that does the trick for you, OK?

    ROGER: That’s a good idea.

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

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

    MARTHA: I had throw rugs on my kitchen and bathroom floor. And the backing had turned yellow from being washed so many times. And the yellow from the backing went onto the linoleum and I cannot get it off.

    TOM: It did. Yeah. And you know why, Martha?

    MARTHA: Why?

    TOM: Because the yellow didn’t go from the throw rug to the linoleum. When you put a rubber-backed throw rug on linoleum, you get a chemical reaction called “oxidation” that physically changes the color of both products.

    MARTHA: Oh.

    TOM: And so what you have is a stained – a permanently-stained floor. You’re not going to be able to clean it; you have to replace it. And when you buy new linoleum, some of the manufacturers even warn you about this, because so many of us like those rubber-backed throw rugs as a place to stand on near the sink and whatnot.

    LESLIE: And you’re not going to go slipping and sliding.

    MARTHA: Yeah.

    TOM: Exactly. But it’s really bad for that kind of floor.

    MARTHA: I see. OK. I guess I’m stuck.

    LESLIE: Well, you can always get a bigger rug.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. To cover the stain.

    MARTHA: Yeah, OK.

    TOM: Martha, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Robert in Illinois is on the line and looking to paint a brick home. Tell us what’s going on and why you want to do that.

    ROBERT: Just curious about it. I didn’t know if I was going to pull the trigger on something like that or not, because I’m very ignorant about it.

    TOM: Well, it’s a big decision, Robert, because you know what comes after paint?

    LESLIE: And it’s one you can never go back to.

    ROBERT: Yeah, it is.

    TOM: Repaint.

    ROBERT: Repaint, yes. Yes.

    TOM: So …

    ROBERT: And again, I was looking for some more advice. There’s a coating outfit here where I’m at; I’m in East Central Illinois. The company is called Rhino Coat or something. I think it’s a ceramic-based paint.

    TOM: Yeah, don’t do it.

    ROBERT: OK.

    TOM: Don’t do it.

    LESLIE: But why do you want to paint the brick? Was it previously painted and it has a shadowing effect or you just don’t like …?

    ROBERT: No, no. No. No. No, it’s just – we bought the home. It’s very well-built and we’re – tastes are changing and we’re considering moving or we’re going to stay. And I think we were just considering the idea of painting. And I’ve seen other places that were painted and they turned out very nice, you know?

    TOM: Right.

    ROBERT: I guess I’m not much – I don’t mind working.

    TOM: Well but – yeah. But it’s a big commitment and you will have to repaint it every, you know, seven years. So I would tell you that there’s really no good reason to paint brick.

    ROBERT: Yeah. OK.

    TOM: If you don’t like the look, you can paint all the trim. You can use beautiful shutters, you can use planters.

    LESLIE: Add shutters, planter boxes.

    TOM: Right.

    ROBERT: Right.

    TOM: Look for other ways to decorate around it.

    LESLIE: I personally would not paint brick, especially if you’re considering selling at some point, because a brick home is a standout feature to a buyer. People are looking for mason homes, masonry products that are going to stand up and really look fantastic. And a brick home is a big selling point.

    ROBERT: Right.

    LESLIE: And once you put paint on a brick home, it never comes off; you’re going to have to sandblast it and even then, it’s going to get a shadowing.

    TOM: And then you damage the brick.

    LESLIE: And it’s damage. And say you were to paint it yourself, you’re going to take a gallon of paint, put it on that brick and it’s going to get sucked into the brick.

    ROBERT: Sure.

    LESLIE: And then you’re going to put another gallon and another and another.

    ROBERT: Right. Right.

    LESLIE: I wouldn’t do it.

    ROBERT: Nope. I appreciate it. I didn’t know – I was going to pull the trigger on it like tomorrow. I was just kicking around the idea and I wanted – I just stumbled on your show, I think it was last week or so, and this is an idea that just floated in the back of my mind but it was never going to be in the forefront. But I was just – I figured as much. Yours is the same advice I’m getting – I’ve gotten from others, so …

    TOM: Alright. Well, we’re happy to keep it in the back of your mind. Far back.

    ROBERT: Yeah, you – no, no, no, no. It’ll stay there.

    TOM: Alright, Robert. Well, good luck with that project and remember, there’s a lot of other ways to change the look of the outside of the house besides painting that brick.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Michael on the line, giving us a call from Michigan with a washing-machine drain issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    MICHAEL: What happens is when the washing machine drains out, it plugs up the sink in the other room. It runs through, it seems like the – all the two lines are connected somehow. But it backs all the way up into the kitchen sink.

    TOM: Right. So, what’s happening is there’s a clog somewhere down the line and whenever you run the washing machine, the water drains down, hits that clog, can’t get through it and then backs up. Now, have you ever had the line snaked out?

    MICHAEL: What we did, we had a guy go down there, down underneath the house, and look at it. And he says where that line enters into – go into the sewage pipe – it tees off.

    TOM: Right. Right.

    MICHAEL: And he could only – and he can’t get the snake any farther in there.

    TOM: Than the T?

    MICHAEL: Because it runs into a T.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And then it can’t get down there.

    TOM: Well, I mean if I was a drain cleaner, I would probably be opening up the pipes somewhere near that T and then going down from there. It may not be the easiest thing to do but I suspect that there’s got to be a blockage there somewhere, because that’s what you’re describing. You’re describing a line blockage that’s causing the water to back up. And if you get to the bottom of that line blockage, then that’s going to solve the problem.

    Michael, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, growing your own food can provide great nutrition and family fun. But if you think you don’t have the space for a garden, think again. We’re going to tell you how vertical gardening is helping millions of folks create their very own veggie walls, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And growing your own food does deliver great nutrition, because it’s always fresh and of course, it’s fun for the entire family. Well, maybe except for the weeding. But if you’ve been resisting creating a garden because you feel like you don’t have the space, there is another way to do that and it’s called “vertical gardens.” It allows you to go up instead of out.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we’re talking about vertical gardens – or even they’ve been known as “green walls” in the past. And gardening expert and author Melinda Myers is joining us now with more on this practical, and I’ve got to say beautiful, trend.

    Welcome.

    MELINDA: Thank you so much. And it’s always great to chat with you and help spread the enthusiasm and joy of gardening. And even weeding can be fun if you’re having a bad day. Rip those weeds out; you’ll feel much better.

    TOM: Yeah, I’m sure it’s good exercise.

    Well, let’s talk about vertical gardens and vegetables – using them for vegetables. First of all, let’s define – what is a vertical garden, Melinda?

    MELINDA: You know, a lot of people use that term and some may be thinking of training cucumbers and squash up on a trellis. But really, the trend right now is to have a garden on the wall of a fence, on the wall of your house or your shed so you’re truly saving space. It’s a great way to elevate the garden. So if you have a bad back or bad knees, you bring the garden right up to hand-level and eye-level for visibility. And it definitely saves space, as you mentioned before.

    And you may see it in a lot of places around the country. And some people are even using it as an energy-saver. Because if you shade the wall, you need less air conditioner to keep your house cool in the summer and in some areas can even insulate it a bit in the winter, so you use less heat.

    LESLIE: And is this strictly an exterior application or could you do a smaller, maybe brighter, annual sort of collection and do it on an interior wall, as well?

    MELINDA: There are a lot of people that – interior-scaping was popular in the late 70s; I think it’s making a bit of a comeback now. And I think green walls are part of the reason, because there’s new devices like Woolly Pockets. And these are felt-like, fabric pockets with a rubber lining that you can grow plants.

    There are some systems that have built-in, water-catching devices. So you water your green wall from the top, the water percolates through to water the plants but there’s a pan underneath it, catches the water. In some cases, could even recirculate or at least protect your furniture and floors from damage.

    So when you move inside, you want to make sure that you’re not damaging anything below with that water coming through.

    TOM: Now, what can you actually grow in a vertical garden? Is there no limit here to what types of plants? I mean obviously, some plants have bigger root systems than others and if you constrict those roots, I imagine you don’t get the vegetables to grow very well. But what are good vegetable choices to use vertical gardens for?

    MELINDA: A couple things. And you’re right, you want to think about things that really are going to fit the space, because that means less work for you. And I know gardeners cram a lot of big plants into small containers but you have to water and fertilize more often.

    Things that work really well are things like lettuce. It looks pretty, too. Greens. You want to look for heat-tolerant greens when you’re doing summer gardening. Great in spring and fall when the temperatures are cool. You can even do radishes or beets, because they’re pretty small. Be fun harvesting those out: the magic of what’s growing underneath. So anything with a smaller scale: hot peppers, especially the ornamental peppers. They’re edible but they’re very, very hot. So you want to use those carefully.

    LESLIE: Now, is there any special care or do we sort of treat this as a hanging potted plant? Would it need an extra amount of water because it’s not sitting in as much soil as it normally would be?

    MELINDA: You’re absolutely right. So what we want to do is a well-drained potting mix so that not only does it hold moisture but it drains well. And because it is a smaller volume of soil, you want to look for drought-tolerant plants. We’ll talk about – like sedums do well, too.

    And then incorporating a slow-release fertilizer: something like Milorganite that releases a little bit of nutrients every time you water. I’m a low-input gardener, so I love to garden. But if I can make one job easier, I have more time to do the ones I like. So mixing a slow-release fertilizer into your potting mix before planting really reduces your maintenance. Then if you need to do a mid-season boost, you can either sprinkle that on the top or some people will use a soluble fertilizer, something you can water in.

    So a little more fertilizer because it’s less potting mix to hold the nutrients. So you want to keep an eye on it and let your plants be your guide, because you want to make sure that you’re not overdoing it, because you can burn the plants. And if your plants look a little stunted, look like they need a little bit of a boost, it might be time to give it another bit of fertilizer.

    And check your watering daily, twice a day, in really hot, dry weather.

    TOM: Great advice. Gardening expert Melinda Myers, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Melinda’s website is simply MelindaMyers.com. And her latest book, check it out. Can’t Miss Small Space Gardeningis available at gardening centers and at Amazon.com.

    Thanks, Melinda.

    MELINDA: Thank you. Have a great growing season.

    LESLIE: Well, do you have a room that feels dark or claustrophobic? You know, you can actually increase the natural light in that space, which will cure all of those problems with the room, by installing a skylight. Now, there’s a lot of different types, so we are going to help you figure out which one is right for you, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Finish wood-staining projects in just one day with new Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish. Better yet, let us do it for you. If you win the Take It Easy Sweepstakes, we will. No purchase necessary. See Flood.com for official rules and to enter.

    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.

    Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We are giving away a little glimpse into the future of housecleaning this hour. That’s right, we’ve got Rosey from The Jetsons up for grabs. No.

    We’ve got a Neato Robotic Vacuum and it’s actually a fully-automatic way to clean flooring, because it’s going to know when it’s on a wood floor, whether it’s on carpet or tile and it will adjust its sucking needs automatically. And when the floors are clean, it actually returns to its hub to charge, so it goes home when it’s done; you don’t even have to kick it out or give it any money. It’s awesome. How cool is that?

    It’s worth 399 bucks, so give us a call for your chance to win. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Robert in Indiana is on the line. How can we help you today?

    ROBERT: Got a home built in the mid-70s. It has a one-piece, fiberglass tub/shower unit in one of the bathrooms. It’s developed a crack in the – right in the stress point in the middle.

    TOM: Right.

    ROBERT: Any way of repairing this? It appears that the gentleman that built this house must have put the tub in and then built the bathroom around it because there’s no – without tearing this up into small pieces, there’s no way I can get it out of the bathroom.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah. You can head on over to the local auto-repair/auto-parts store and you can pick up some Bondo.

    ROBERT: Yeah. Right.

    TOM: And you could repair it with that or with a fiberglass patch kit. I mean basically, you can do a fiberglass repair to this with resin and then fiberglass material and more resin on top of that.

    Now, the thing is, it’s not going to look totally like the old one did; it’ll be very obvious that there’s a patch. But I’ve actually repaired fiberglass shower pans using more fiberglass material and it does a good job; it’s kind of like repairing a boat.

    ROBERT: I appreciate that a lot. I’ll try that before I tear the wall out in the bathroom, anyhow.

    TOM: There you go. You’ve got nothing to lose, right?

    ROBERT: No, nothing to lose.

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

    Yeah, you can repair fiberglass shower pans and fiberglass tubs with Bondo and/or fiberglass repair material. It does a really good job.

    Well, it seems that just about everyone has a room in their home that lacks any sense of spectacular. And one way to remedy that is to install a skylight.

    Now, skylights can make rooms seem larger, they can vent excessive heat and they can let you stargaze from, perhaps, your favorite indoor spot or even your easy chair. But before you install one, you need to know which kind of skylight to get.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, if you’re after ventilation, you want to make sure that you get one that opens easily. And if it’s going to be in a very high ceiling, remote-controlled options are available and they can even be programmed to just open up automatically at certain temperatures.

    Now, the most important consideration may be the glass. If you’ve got a skylight that’s going to be under a tree limb or anything that could possibly fall on it, you need to make sure that you get tempered glass. In fact, your building code may even just simply require it. Plus, you want to be sure to order low-E glass, which will prevent the summer sun from simply overheating the room below it.

    TOM: And don’t feel the need to go big, by the way. Even the smallest skylight can add light and let you really count the stars while you’re, perhaps, lying in bed. And by the way, there are some very small options and even some that are very do-it-yourself-friendly: for example, the sun tunnels, which are light tubes that connect a solar collector at the roof, right through down the attic space and into a room below, so it lets in natural light. So another way to have more natural light in your room and again, a very DIY-friendly project.

    Learn more about all of these options at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Alyssa in North Carolina who’s dealing with a painted garage. Tell us what you’re working on.

    ALYSSA: Well, I have a garage door and it’s wood but then it’s kind of like a panel door, so there’s insert pieces.

    TOM: Right.

    ALYSSA: And the insert pieces are some kind of pressed wood or particle board or something like that.

    LESLIE: OK.

    TOM: OK.

    ALYSSA: And the door – the garage door was starting to peel and the paint was starting to come off, so I went ahead and started stripping it with a scraper, not with any chemicals. And I found the wood underneath there and now the wood is – fuzzy is the best way I can describe it.

    TOM: Fuzzy?

    ALYSSA: And yeah, it’s like it’s kind of coming off in pieces.

    TOM: OK.

    ALYSSA: But it’s not rotted. It’s not something where it’s rotted wood where I can put my finger through it or put a pen into it or anything like that.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s wood; I think it sounds like a hard board or a pressed board.

    ALYSSA: OK.

    TOM: And that’s a hard one to refinish. So why not just paint it?

    ALYSSA: That’s fine. I can do that. I just didn’t know if that was the best way to do it. Do I just go ahead and do a really good coat of primer?

    TOM: I think so but what I would do first is – yeah, I would definitely prime it. I would lightly sand it and I would use a primer. And if you want to be absolutely certain that you get good adhesion, use an oil-based primer. It’s a little more work and a little more expense but it definitely will give you the best adhesion to this uncertain wood surface. And then the top coat will lay real nice on top of that.

    ALYSSA: OK. Yeah, because I’m just trying to – I don’t know why anyone in the world would put a wood garage door in North Carolina.

    LESLIE: Or anywhere, really.

    ALYSSA: They just – it didn’t make sense to me but I’m trying to get it to last at least another five years, four years maybe.

    TOM: Right.

    ALYSSA: So, at least if I can get it decent looking for that long, I’d be happy.

    TOM: Well, that sounds like a plan.

    ALYSSA: OK. So an oil-based primer – lightly sand, oil-based primer and then a good top coat.

    TOM: Correct.

    ALYSSA: Awesome. OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Randy in Wisconsin has got a roof-mold question. What can we do for you today?

    RANDY: Well, I was just wondering, I heard on a previous show that if you put a copper strip up at the top of your asphalt shingles, it will help eliminate moss, mold and mildew.

    TOM: That’s correct.

    RANDY: I was wondering if a bare copper wire would do the same thing.

    TOM: Now, probably not enough copper there. What you want is a piece of copper flashing; that’s the easiest thing to find. You can probably find it at a roofing supply house.

    But here’s the thing: there are other things you can do to avoid the buildup of the algae on your roof. First of all, if your roof is very shaded, you can cut back some trees, let a little more natural sunlight get in, yeah, just to kind of thin out those trees so the sun gets through. That will help.

    Secondly, you can put a product on called Wet & Forget, which is really easy to do. You mix the solution up and you spray it on the roof and you let it sit there. And it activates with the sunshine and then it will kill the moss and stuff that’s stuck up there.

    Then the last thing is you can add that copper strip to the top of the roof. And the reason you do that is because when it rains, the copper releases some of its minerals and that actually acts as a mildicide.

    RANDY: OK. Alrighty. Thank you.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, do you have a deck? It is certainly the season to get out and enjoy it . Well, whether you have one or you’re thinking about building one, we’re going to give you some tips on the care and maintenance of that deck, next.

    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 hey, we want to introduce you guys to our newest, expert community member, Jeff May. Now, Jeff is a good friend of ours and he’s an indoor-air expert who has literally written the book on mold.

    TOM: Many books on mold, actually, yeah.

    LESLIE: Yeah, seriously, including this one you may have heard of: My House is Killing Me! We’ve turned to him so many times for his advice on sick houses and now you can ask him your questions directly. Just visit MoneyPit.com and become a member of our community.

    TOM: And while you’re online, post your questions there: any question, whether it’s a mold question or a question like Marty had, who wants to ask a question about staining a new deck. Marty says, “Recently, I added on to an existing deck. The old deck is stained a dark brown. The new deck is made of pressure-treated lumber. I was told I’d have to wait a full year before staining the new deck to try and match the old. Is this true?”

    Well, OK. Well, first of all, it’s not necessarily true that you have to wait a full year to apply a finish to even newer, pressure-treated lumber. If it’s really wet, because sometimes pressure-treated is really wet, I would let it dry out for a couple weeks in the sunshine, Marty. But I don’t think you have to wait a full year.

    Now, in terms of staining, you’re going to have to stain both the old and the new deck to get them to kind of match. I don’t think you’re going to get away with just doing one and not the other unless the old one was done very, very recently. Because they’re going to have different absorption rates and I think if you do it all together, you’re going to get the best overall look.

    And speaking of absorption rates, let’s avoid the issue of one being dark, one being lighter by using solid-color stain. Now, solid-color stain is better than semi-transparent because it’s got more pigment, it lasts longer. In your case, it will definitely have both the old and the new deck looking like they belong together.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Jeffrey in Maine who wrote: “I’ve noticed what appears to be rot around the bottom of my wood siding. I noticed it after my wife put in plants right up next to the wall. Could the plants have caused it and what do I do about it?”

    TOM: Did she put in those rotted plants again?

    LESLIE: “Can I blame my wife and if so, how?”

    TOM: It’s not your wife’s fault, Jeffrey. Maybe you should have picked up a paintbrush a bit more frequently. If you put in big bushes that created a lot of shade and increased the humidity, that could accentuate any decay that’s going on down there. But this just might be a case that you’re looking at the beautiful plants that your wife thoughtfully put in there next to your rotted siding and remind yourself that you need to make that repair, get a fresh coat of paint on so it doesn’t decay any further.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And remember, if you’re watering those plants, just be careful not to put extra water against your house. Let’s keep it where we need it: on the plants.

    TOM: Well, if you’ve got the space for it, a play set or a deck is a great addition to your backyard. But if you’re going to build one yourself, you want to make sure you use the right type of wood. Leslie tells us why, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. If you’re thinking about building a deck or a backyard play set this summer, you want to make sure that you use a sturdy wood that’s resistant to decay and to pests, because both can wreak a lot of havoc on anything that you build out of lumber.

    Now, because you want to be cautious in the lumber that you choose, you want to think about it. Because remember, chemicals are used in treated wood. They can leach out and then pollute the surrounding ground and possibly endanger your family’s health. So for decks and playground equipment, you want to consider using reclaimed cedar or redwood, because both of those are naturally resistant to fungus and insects. You can even opt for recycled plastic lumber, which is great for the environment because you’re not cutting down any new trees but you still get a sturdy, durable product.

    So get out there, build some projects and enjoy your yard this season.

    TOM: Good advice.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up next week on the program, you can get one room in your house cool, without breaking the bank or wasting power, with mini-duct air conditioners. Interesting technology that works super-well. It will be a great solution for a warm house this summer. We’ll tell you how, 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.

    END HOUR 2 TEXT

    (Copyright 2012 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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