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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 are here to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to solve the do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you don’t know where to get started, what the first step is you should take to tackle a home improvement, a home décor, a home maintenance project around your house, give us a call and we will help. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you. Coming up this hour, we’ve all seen the stories about sinkholes, on the news. You know, we’ve seen recently these things swallowing up entire houses. Just this week, in New Jersey, there was a sinkhole that opened up inside of a warehouse and swallowed a forklift with the operator fortunately on the top side of it, so everybody was OK. But I tell you what, it’s a really terrifying situation. And if you’ve wondered if your home is at risk, we’re going to tell you how to find out, coming up.

    LESLIE: And now that we’re in the cooling season, this is actually the perfect time of year for you to start thinking about your heating. Yes, that’s right. I know, you’re warm, you don’t want to think about heat. But this could actually be the perfect time for you to switch your oil heating system over to a natural-gas heating system. It can be a big investment but it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. We’ve got all the details on the steps involved.

    TOM: And also ahead, if your shower is coming out in more of a trickle than a blast, low water pressure is probably not the problem. The showerhead may be clogged and we’re going to tell you how to clear it.

    LESLIE: And one caller this hour will get a great Father’s Day gift for themselves or the father figure in their life. It’s a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from our friends at DeWALT. And it’s part of DeWALT’s Father’s Day Gift Guide, which you can check out on MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: And it makes a great gift for Dad or for yourself. It’s worth 240 bucks and it qualifies as a regiftable item. So if we gift it to you, you can regift it to Dad.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. We’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and perhaps be sending that product out to you at the end of today’s show. Let’s get to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

    SCOTT: I put in a wood deck about a year ago. It’s treated lumber; cedar, I think. And the lumber yard or the mill, they stamped it with their stamp that tells the grade or the manufacturer or whatever it is. And I want to stain it with a transparent stain, so I want to figure out how to get that off of there. I’ve tried power-washing it but that doesn’t do any good.

    TOM: No, you have to sand it. It’s in the grain of the wood, so you’d have to sand it out. And you can do that without affecting it because the pressure treatment goes throughout the entire wood.

    But it’ll be a slightly lighter color. But why are you going to go with clear? Why not use a semi-transparent or a solid-color stain?

    SCOTT: So it looks more weathered.

    TOM: Yeah. I mean you can do that. I will tell you, the difference between semi-transparent and solid color is probably about five years of longevity. Because the solid color just lasts a lot longer because it’s got more pigment in it.

    SCOTT: Is that right? OK. So, a solid color will last 10 years compared to 5 or something?

    TOM: Long, long – yeah, yeah, I think so. I think that’s fair. And by the way, you won’t have to worry about that stain because it’ll just go right on top of it.

    SCOTT: Yep, OK. Too easy.

    TOM: That’s what we try to do, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Occasionally, there actually is an easy solution.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bella in South Carolina on the line who needs help in cleaning a bathroom project. Tell us what’s going on.

    BELLA: I’m having a problem now of cleaning the shower tub. It’s plastic; it’s not tiles. And it sort of has peaks and valleys; it’s not smooth. So, I tried with bleach and it didn’t do that – it didn’t do very well. And now – I have tried your Wet & Forget when you recommended it but – outside on my patio and it did a wonderful job. But I was afraid to use it for the tub because it’s plastic.

    TOM: There’s a Wet & Forget version for the bathroom, specifically made for a bathroom. It’s designed to clean it up. It’s for the shower. And you’ll find it on their website at WetAndForget.com. It’s actually a brand-new product.

    Sometimes, with the plastic – and especially if it’s the bottom of the tub, where you have the anti-slip treatment to the bottom of the tub – sometimes that gets a bit gunked up and the dirt really gets pressed in with that. It becomes harder to clean that. But I think the Wet & Forget Shower is good for mold and mildew.

    But another thing that you could try, that has just a slight amount of abrasion, is a product called Bon Ami – B-o-n A-m-i. And it works pretty well because it has just a little bit of abrasiveness to it and it can really help to clean an area like that. In fact, I use that in my sink. I have a solid-surfacing material sink that we use that in. And we clean it with it and then we’ll do it again and let the Bon Ami sit on there a bit of time because it has a bleaching effect and really brightens it up. So, I would give that a try.

    BELLA: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’ll try it.

    TOM: Alright, Bella. 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. Well, it’s Father’s Day Weekend, so Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there.

    And Happy Birthday to my little Henry. Can’t believe you’re five.

    Listen, guys, we are here to give you a hand with any home improvement projects. Maybe you want to do a project for Dad. Whatever it is you’re working on, we’re here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, sinkholes can literally cause the Earth to open up and swallow an entire house. Want to know if your house is at risk? Find out, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by DeWALT. DeWALT’s new rugged and innovative line of mechanics tools are so tough, DeWALT is proud to back them with a full lifetime warranty. When there’s a tough job to get done, rely on a trusted name. Rely on DeWALT. Available at Sears. For more information, visit DeWALT.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.

    TOM: Taking your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT. Hey, one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to get a great Father’s Day gift. It’s a 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set from DeWALT worth $240. Check it out at DeWALT.com.

    LESLIE: Yeah. These tools all have this terrific, non-slip-grip surface. And they’re really just one of our many great gift ideas that are featured on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. It’s just one click away from a perfect gift idea for Dad. And you’re running out of time, so get on there now and take a look.

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win the DeWALT Mechanics Tool Set, just in time – and I mean just in time – for Father’s Day.

    LESLIE: Anita in Montana is on the line and needs some help with a fencing question. How can we help you?

    ANITA: Hi. I have, in the last year, sold a 2,400-square-foot home in Idaho and moved to Kalispell, Montana. And I bought a 30-foot, fifth-wheel travel trailer.

    TOM: OK.

    ANITA: And so, now, I need to skirt the trailer, only I want something that’s not extremely difficult to take down. It would come down quickly but I would still have the insulation so I’m not freezing pipes. Now, the travel trailer, it’s called – it is a four-season, so it does have the Arctic pack and the belly of it is heated. But still, you still can freeze your pipes up.

    TOM: Right.

    ANITA: So, I want something that looks nice but isn’t going to take three days and two men to take down if I need to up, jump and boogie.

    TOM: Right, right. Heavy into jump and boogie?

    ANITA: Uh-huh. Well …

    TOM: So, you want a skirting for underneath the edge of this mobile home but you want it to be insulated. So it’s not just cosmetic; you want it to be insulated. Is that correct?

    ANITA: Exactly, exactly.

    TOM: OK.

    ANITA: Because it is in Kalispell, you know.

    TOM: Yeah.

    ANITA: I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon but things happen and sometimes, you just have to.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.

    ANITA: And so – and I drive trucks for a living, so I’m not home very often. So I need to know – I won’t be there to, say, turn a faucet on if it gets really, really cold.

    TOM: Yeah, well, first of all, if you’re concerned about freezing pipes, one thing that you should always get in the habit of doing is turning off your main when you go on the road for days on end.

    ANITA: Sure. Most definite.

    TOM: There’s no reason to leave the main water valve on if you’re not going to be there. And you could avoid a very expensive problem.

    In terms of making the skirting, I would use a low-maintenance material like an AZEK board, for example. AZEK is made out of PVC. They sell sheet products where it looks like almost like wainscoting. And I would couple to the back of that 2-inch-thick polystyrene, so something like a THERMAX insulation or a blue Dow board or something like that. I would basically make a two-piece skirting so the exterior looks nice and is maintenance-free and then the back of that – what you’re attaching to – is about 2 inches of foam insulation.

    Now, you’re going to have to figure out how to attach that to the skirting, how to attach it to the home all the way around. And that’s going to really depend a lot on how the place is built. But I’m thinking that if you had sort of a strip that was attached to the underside of the trailer, all the way around, and that was attached to the bottom of the trailer, then you could attach this to that strip, almost like a furring strip.

    ANITA: OK. What was the product called? The exterior?

    TOM: AZEK. The exterior board would be made of AZEK. You buy it in sheets and you cut it to fit. A-Z-E-K.

    ANITA: A-Z-E-K.

    TOM: E-K. Yep.

    ANITA: OK. And it can be purchased at?

    TOM: Home centers, Home Depot, Lowe’s, lumber yards, places like that.

    ANITA: OK.

    TOM: Take a look at their website at AZEK.com – A-Z-E-K.com.

    ANITA: Oh, cool. Alright. Now, can that be incorporated into a deck?

    TOM: Yeah. If you want to build a deck against one side of that house – is that what you’re saying?

    ANITA: Right.

    TOM: Yeah. You can build a deck out of any kind of material. You’re really talking about two separate projects here. One is the skirting and the insulation, Anita, and the other is the deck. When it comes to the deck, yeah, you can build the deck. AZEK has deck boards. They basically – it’s cellular PVC, so it comes in different shapes. So, the sheet good looks sort of like a wainscoting board but it also is available in decking material, as well.

    Alright? Thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, there’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about sinkholes and frankly, really, some very tragic ones. So we thought it might be a good idea to take a minute and set some information straight about how these dangerous occurrences happen.

    First of all, sinkholes form in what’s known as the karst terrain – that’s k-a-r-s-t – which basically means it’s land with a lot of sediment that’s formed in underground voids or cavities. Now, the land over these cavities collapses and then everything on the surface just sinks into it. They’re very common in Florida, as we’ve all learned through the news. But frankly, they can happen just about everywhere.

    We have seen them in the Northeast, we’ve seen them other parts of the world. I even saw one not too long ago in New Jersey, where a hole formed in the floor of a warehouse. So you think of this being somewhere exterior. No, it actually happened inside a warehouse and a forklift dropped into that hole, with the forklift operator on it. And he was able to climb out. So, you really never know where these can happen but they do happen no matter where we live.

    LESLIE: Well, even earlier in the year, the house in Florida that had the sinkhole happen and that young guy was killed, you would look at the images on the news, of the exterior of the house, and you would think everything was fine. But inside, the entire interior was gone, just like sucked away into the Earth.

    So I guess, really, the big question here is: can you find out if your house is at risk for a sinkhole? And the answer is, well, sort of.

    Now, it starts with a good inspection by a qualified home inspector or engineer. And sinkholes often give subtle signs that they’re starting to form, like slumping or sagging fence posts, trees starting to lean. Inside your house, signs like doors and windows that suddenly don’t close properly and rainfall pooling in areas where it never did before can also signal some sort of impending problem.

    TOM: Now, despite those that make the news, most sinkholes aren’t massive but all sinkholes should be taken seriously. If you suspect you have one on your property, stay away and don’t hesitate to call 911 if it’s big or it’s forming fast.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question and we will help you out.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Tim in Iowa has a wood-finishing question. How can we help you?

    TIM: I’ve got an old house. It’s got fir floors. I have acquired some reclaimed fir flooring to put in an addition, to try and match up the rest of the house. The question I have is this is going to be the first floor that I redo in the house, so I kind of wanted to – whatever I do, I want to do it in the rest of the house.

    But the question I have is on the clear finish. I know a lot of different companies are making a water-based clear. And my second question is whether – or as far as durability, whether if something of that product would be durable.

    And then also, I have a couple of dogs that I’m worried about nail scratches, as far as sheen goes. I know the shinier it is, the easier – the more scratches you can see. So, I’m curious if there’s anything out there that shines good and will resist scratches.

    TOM: Yeah. I mean I have always felt that oil-based floor finishes are key. Any time I’ve tried to use a water-based floor finish, it doesn’t seem to have the durability. So I would definitely recommend an oil-based floor finish, like a polyurethane.

    And in terms of sheen, I think that semi-gloss is what you want, not high gloss because that does show. Not only does it show scratches, it shows a lot of dirt easier. But semi-gloss or satin is a nice color to have.

    So I think the answer is oil-based, satin polyurethane is the solution.

    TIM: Is there any kind of a two-part epoxy one that’s even more durable than the polyurethane or …?

    TOM: There are. There are two-part finishes like that. Professional floor installers do use those, like when they do sort of gym floors and that kind of stuff. But it’s not sort of an over-the-counter purchase. You’d have to go to a flooring-finish supply company.

    LESLIE: Oh, yeah. And that’s going to have to be applied in a manner where you’re really thinking about ventilation and protection of yourself, because that’s a fairly caustic material.

    TIM: Alright. Thank you very much, guys.

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

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

    NELLS: I’ve got a problem with flies. We have three heat pumps in the house and it takes in the air at the base of the windows. And every year, we get flies that come up out of those return ducts. There’s electronic filters down there and I can’t imagine where they’re coming from or …

    TOM: Well, they may be nesting in the house and they’re birthing themselves right into existence. And the reason they’re probably hanging out around the return ducts is because that’s where air gets drawn into the furnace and they just might be part of that airflow.

    I can’t really diagnose exactly what you need to do to get rid of those but I do know somebody that can. And if you go to the Orkin website, our show expert is a guy named Greg Baumann, who I’ve known for many years. He used to be the expert for the National Pest Management Association; now he’s the director of training for Orkin. They have an expert section on their website and if you post that question there and maybe even put a photo of the flies, I’m sure that you’ll be able to get to the bottom of it very quickly.

    NELLS: Great. Okie-dokie.

    TOM: Alright? 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.

    Well, if you’ve been sticking to your oil heating system because the switch to natural gas would cost too much, we have an expert standing by who might just change your mind. Richard Trethewey from This Old House is joining us with the low-down on an oil-heat conversion, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Starting an outdoor staining project? Make it faster and easier with Flood Wood Care products. Start today at Flood.com/Simplify and use the interactive selection guide to find the right Flood Wood Care products for your project. Flood, simple across the board.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    Hey, now that it is summer here and the A/C is cranking, it’s a good time to think about the single easiest way to keep cooling bills down. And that is to add insulation.

    Now, insulation will keep that expensive, air-conditioned air inside, just like it keeps heated air inside in the winter. If you want to find out how much you need, head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a guide online that will give you the details on how much insulation you ought to have in your attic and elsewhere.

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

    LINDA: Yes. This is an old house and in the basement – on the wall, which was fieldstone – in the past, they had painted it with whitewash or – that’s what it was called back then. And no matter what kind of paint I’ve applied, if flakes off.

    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, because it’s damp and wet, that’s why. Yeah. You can’t just – if you put any kind of regular paint on that, it’s going to do that. You have to use a basement wall paint. It’s a lot stickier and it can handle the dampness of that wall.

    Now, you could also take steps to reduce the dampness by improving your drainage outside. But if you put typical wall paint on the stone, it is going to flake off because water and paint don’t go well together. And those stones are like little sponges and the paint’s just going to peel right off of it.

    So, what you want to use is a basement wall paint. And it’s really smelly but it’s really sticky.

    LINDA: Right.

    TOM: And it’s …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s going to stick to where you need it.

    TOM: It will last a lot longer. Does that make sense?

    LINDA: Oh, it certainly does.

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

    LESLIE: Well, chances are you’re living with the heating system that was in your home when you bought it. But new construction isn’t the only time that you can choose the way you want to heat your house.

    TOM: That’s right. Many homeowners with electric heat have wondered whether a conversion to gas or oil might be worth it. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating expert for TV’s This Old House is here to help us decide.

    Welcome, Richard.

    RICHARD: Hey, guys.

    TOM: The fuel that we use to heat our home is something that, for the most part, many of us feel stuck with. But does it ever make sense to change from one to the next?

    RICHARD: Well, there are many people that are switching fuels nowadays. The hot fuel lately – no pun intended – is gas. People are switching to gas. It’s not available everywhere.

    But the important point to know is that each of these fuels has an advantage and a disadvantage. There’s no magic fuel that we’re all going to race and go to. Natural gas, you have to be sure it can get to your house. A lot of times, they don’t have the pipelines in rural areas and they can’t get it to it. So that’s an advantage. A disadvantage is people are always nervous with gas or the chance of any explosion because it’s a volatile gas that can blow up. So many people are nervous.

    TOM: And to that point, I always get a kick out of the fact that in the fall, when the oil-heat dealers start to advertise for oil, they always mention that, in some very subtle way. “And you know, it could be unsafe.”

    RICHARD: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    TOM: And you can see the mushroom cloud in the background, in your mind.

    RICHARD: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I had a friend of mine who used to be the spokesperson for the local gas company. His job was to stand in front of the building that was completely decimated behind him and say, “There’s no evidence, at this time, that gas had anything to do with it.”

    TOM: Right. But the point is it’s not a dangerous fuel if it’s properly maintained.

    RICHARD: Absolutely. Yeah, right.

    TOM: And the same could be said for oil.

    RICHARD: Right.

    TOM: Oil could be just as dangerous if the equipment is not maintained properly, correct?

    RICHARD: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, another advantage of gas is once gas is brought into your house, you can – people like it for cooking and for dryers and laundry appliances. And that’s the advantage and disadvantage.

    Propane is also available in many areas. Propane is bottled gas that comes to your house. Has to be delivered and refilled much like oil has to be. You have to have a storage tank in place.

    LESLIE: That makes me think more about explosions than natural gas does.

    RICHARD: Yeah. Yep, yep, yep.

    TOM: But in terms of the money that we could possibly save here, it seems to me that if there is a no-brainer, it’s getting off electric heat.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: Electric heat is incredibly expensive.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: The least expensive to put in and there are so many developments out there, across the country, where they’re all electric.

    RICHARD: Right.

    TOM: If you have an opportunity to go with a different type of system, with a fossil fuel it seems like that would be the one scenario where it almost always makes sense. Wouldn’t you agree or not?

    RICHARD: I do. If we stay with the way we deliver electricity right now, with power plants regionally located, and try to bring the electricity to every house. But the thing we’ve got to watch for on the horizon is this solar photovoltaic. This is one of the few markets that we’ve ever seen – in history, that I’ve seen – where the price per watt of the solar collector on the roof is dropping at such a rate that it’s making solar photovoltaic, the ability to make electricity, very viable, so …

    TOM: Yeah. More affordable than ever.

    RICHARD: Absolutely. So …

    TOM: Because it was very expensive for a long time.

    RICHARD: That’s right. Right. That aside, if you’re going to go off the regular grid and you have electric baseboard – I’m in New England. We pay, I think, 19 or 20 cents a kilowatt. So, it’s crazy what the cost of it is.

    TOM: And then there are more efficient electric systems, like geothermal, for example, right?

    RICHARD: Yeah. The last – I really didn’t talk about yet is oil and that’s still a viable solution. It’s got advantages and disadvantages. You have to store the oil. The nice thing about oil is you are commonly traded among competitors, so you can always get – you can – a fair price.

    LESLIE: A fair price.

    RICHARD: But you also have people that will be in – very aggressive to try and service the equipment because they want to keep the account to keep the fuel account, where you don’t always have that in the gas; you’re sort of on your own.

    Now, to your point, though, about solar, we don’t know what fuel will heat our houses ultimately. I’m not sure that it’ll be gas or oil; maybe that’ll be the backup. But there’s more energy below our feet, in the core of this Earth, to heat our buildings. And we could go down into the ground and use geothermal to pull that heat, not only up in the winter and deliver it into the building but in the summer, we could take the heat that’s in the building and dump it back to the ground.

    That means you wouldn’t have any outside condensers. The condensers for air conditioning last 10 years because they’re exposed to the elements. We could really have a magic box that would pull heat up out of the ground and dump it back into the ground. And that’s the inevitable way that we’ll have to be heating our houses.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think – my husband and I took a trip to Iceland this past winter and the entire country is heated by – heated, electrically powered by geothermal.

    RICHARD: But they sit – right.

    LESLIE: Granted, they sit on 3,000 volcanos or 300 volcanos.

    RICHARD: Right. Yeah. They …

    TOM: That helps.

    RICHARD: That’s unusual because they literally are sitting on a steam pocket of so much thermal energy below them that you could just sort of drill a hole.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That it’s such a viable source for them.

    RICHARD: Yeah, that’s right.

    LESLIE: But I think, following their example, you don’t have to be in a specific type of location here in the United States to try to access geothermal heating.

    RICHARD: That’s right. Yeah.

    LESLIE: I think there’s so many different formats to how you can put those pipes or those coils, what you might call them, into the ground.

    RICHARD: Right. Right. Right.

    LESLIE: That whether you’re in an urban environment or rural, you can really make it work for you.

    RICHARD: I’m really excited. This year on This Old House, on our second project, we’re going to be showing, finally, geothermal. We showed how to drill the boreholes and sort of – we’re going to run pipes down 380 feet – two different boreholes – fill it with antifreeze and then glycol. And then where that pipe is, we’re going to fill that with a grout that makes it transfer beautifully.

    So, this homeowner will be able to get their heating and cooling system, for the rest of their life, really, for the cost of running just a pump. It’s a compressor and a pump. But the cost to heat that building, we project right now will probably be a thousand bucks or less for the whole building.

    TOM: Wow.

    RICHARD: And that’s a whole paradigm shift about how you could heat a building, you know? And it also means you’re not going to be subject to the vagaries of supply and demand of gas or oil. That’s always going to be volatile.

    The important thing we’ve got to realize is there’s a fixed and finite amount of oil and gas available underneath our feet. And we have the entire planet now competing for it. So it means that the price of it is going to continue to go up even faster than we’ve seen it, I think, historically.

    I think we’re in a really exciting time to be in the energy business, in my opinion. It’s a scary time for homeowners, on top of the recession. You’re still watching the cost of fuel keep going up and up and you have no control of it, yeah.

    LESLIE: And you have no control over it.

    RICHARD: So, we’re going to keep on looking for alternatives and we’ll keep on trying to share them.

    TOM: Good advice. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating expert on TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    RICHARD: Great to see you guys.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    Up next, have you taken a shower lately only to find that the water flow is a bit less stimulating than you need to wake up in the morning? Well, the problem might be that it’s clogged. We’ll tell you how to fix it, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by DeWALT. DeWALT’s new rugged and innovative line of mechanics tools are so tough, DeWALT is proud to back them with a full lifetime warranty. When there’s a tough job to get done, rely on a trusted name. Rely on DeWALT. Available at Sears. For more information, visit DeWALT.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 here at Team Money Pit have the answer to your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    And we also have a fantastic, if not last-minute, Father’s Day gift for one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour. It’s a DeWALT 204-Piece Mechanics Tool Set. Now, pros really love these tools and you will, too. Each one has a deep, laser-etched marking so that you can easily identify the socket size. Glasses or not, you’re going to know exactly what size you’re looking at.

    And you can check out all of the DeWALT mechanics tool sets right now at DeWALT.com.

    TOM: The set’s worth $240. It’s just one of the many great gift ideas you’ll find on the Father’s Day Gift Guide, sponsored by DeWALT, on MoneyPit.com. Check it out if you’re still having a bit of trouble figuring out what to get the father figure in your life or if you want to get yourself a little something extra.

    And be sure to give us a call right now, to qualify for that home improvement giveaway, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.

    Well, if your shower is trickling rather than invigorating, it might be time for a good cleaning. Low water pressure usually isn’t the culprit when your showerhead runs at a trickle. More likely, it’s just gunked up with mineral deposits.

    LESLIE: You want to start by removing your showerhead and then running the shower without it, just to see what the water flow is actually like. Now, if you find that there’s plenty of water coming out of the pipe, you’ve got to clean that showerhead. And you can do so with a mixture of white vinegar and water. And you can even soak the showerhead in this mixture of white vinegar and water before removing any debris with a short-bristled brush.

    TOM: Now, if your showerhead could best be described as maybe vintage, it’s time to upgrade. Today’s water-saving showerheads, especially the WaterSense-rated showerheads, really give you high performance with a lot less water. They have new designs with aeration technology, so they basically use less water to deliver much more force.

    And replacing it is really a minor investment and it really delivers big utility savings. And it’s going to make sure that you wake up every morning when you step into that shower. And think about it: you won’t even be late for work. So, it’s worth the small investment.

    888-666-3974 is another small investment you can make. Call us right now if you’ve got a home improvement question, because we are here to help.

    LESLIE: Fonda (sp) in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    FONDA (sp): We are demolishing our old deck that leads to an old patio at the ground level. And the old patio has two substrates. You lead down to a plank patio and it’s like wood – 2x6s, I think – which is in awful shape. It’s probably 30 feet by 30 feet. And then it butts up to a pretty substantial cement pad that’s 20 feet by 20 feet.

    And we know we’re going to demo the wood pad but it’s – the question is: what do we put in? Do we have to chop up the old cement pad, which is in great shape, because it’s so substantial? Or can we put in another cement pad next to it for the new patio? Can you go over the old cement with something and stamp it or make it just – and then the other problem is is it’s square. And I would like the new patio at the ground level to be rounder and curvier.

    TOM: One idea that I have straight off is to go over the old patio with brick pavers. And if the patio is flat and strong and solid, there’s no reason you can’t put pavers on top of that. and so you could basically create a – do almost a patio makeover by preserving the concrete and putting brick pavers right over the concrete. They’re all going to assemble together. You won’t see them when they’re done.

    Now, you mentioned changing the shape. That, of course, is a little more complicated because you’re going to have to build up to the edges. Part of the patio would be over concrete and part of the patio would be over traditional, built-up stone, if that’s possible. But if you want to avoid changing the shape, then it becomes a very easy project to do it with brick pavers. And of course, you have lots and lots and lots of choices on shapes and colors and all of that that you could go with.

    FONDA (sp): And on the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers?

    TOM: On the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers is this. First of all, you dig out, obviously, all the grass and that sort of thing. Then you put down about 4 to 6 inches of gray gravel. You tamp that down really, really, really well. Then on top of that, you lay some sand. Get that nice and flat. On top of that, you put the brick pavers and then you put additional sand in between.

    But tamping and properly preparing that ground and tamping that stone really well is critical. Because if you don’t, it gets all roly-poly over the years and weeds start to grow up through it.

    FONDA (sp): Alright. Well, thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’ve got tips on laminate and wood floor care, including how to get rid of those scratches.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.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.

    Hey, you guys, a new floor can really set the character of your entire house. We’ve got tips on the latest advances in laminate wood flooring products. And you can actually find out which type of floor would work best for you, on MoneyPit.com.

    And it just so happens that Nina from California has posted a question about her laminate floor. And she writes: “I have a big scratch in my laminate flooring. Do you know what I can use to get it out?”

    TOM: You know, when it comes to laminate flooring, it’s normal for people to ask, “How do I get the scratch out?” But once it’s in, it’s in. So, the way you repair it is with a laminate-floor repair kit. It’s kind of like a putty-like filler but it dries to sort of a hard, plastic consistency.

    And you can buy generic colors. And if you can’t find the color that matches your floor perfectly, especially if your floor has a pattern, buy one color that’s lighter and one color that’s darker and mix them together. Maybe not so that they totally blend into a third color but so that you maybe can see little pieces of the two lighter and darker colors …

    LESLIE: Oh, like a coarse mixing.

    TOM: Like a coarse mixing, exactly. See that little texture in there and it will blend in nicely.

    So, once you do have a dig in a laminate floor, the patching with the repair kit is the way to go. But other than that, laminate floors really are pretty easy to take care of because they really only need a wipe with a damp cloth and maybe a daily dusting with a Swiffer pad or something like that.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And they certainly are durable, regardless of dragging pieces of furniture, which I imagine is what you did, Nina, so just move things carefully.

    Alright. Nan in Texas writes: “My living room has cathedral ceilings. It gets insanely hot near the ceiling in the summer.” Well, stop hanging out by the ceiling. “I was thinking of installing some of those skylights that open by remote, to vent the heat, but I’m worried that the glass would let in too much hot sunlight. What makes most energy sense?”

    TOM: Well, I mean first of all, if you want to put skylights in because you want additional light, you can do that. The selection of the glass is really critical here.

    Now, if you buy a good-quality, ENERGY STAR-rated skylight that has low-E glass, you will have very little radiant heat from the sun that gets inside of that.

    In fact, I always remember, Leslie, years ago – and you may remember this call, too. When we got a call from a lady who was upset because she had no – new windows put in and felt that they were very inefficient. And the reason she was upset is because, as the story went, she told me that she always sat at this one chair at her kitchen table and read the paper and enjoyed the sunshine, the warmth from the sun coming through the window.

    And she was cold. She said the windows were bad. I said, “No, no. The windows are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, which is keeping the heat of the sun out so you don’t have to pay more for air conditioning.” But she liked that feeling and I don’t think she quite understood what low-E does. And that’s exactly what it does.

    LESLIE: Yeah, she felt like she was getting cheated out of something when, in fact, the window was doing its job.

    TOM: Now, that’s one thing that she could do. But I was also thinking that maybe ceiling fans could help here.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I was going to say that the skylight seems like a very expensive solution to something that might be more easily taken care of, yes?

    TOM: Yeah. And if you put a ceiling fan in, remember that you need to be able to access the reversing switch on it. Because in the summertime, you’re going to want to pull cold air up and in the wintertime, you’re going to want to push that warm air down. And that’s a step that so many people forget. Ceiling fans are reversible and you have to change them in the summer cooling season and the winter heating season to get maximum efficiency out of each.

    LESLIE: Right. And that’s actually a little tiny switch that’s manually operated on the motor itself, so it’s not going to be something that’s on your remote. So make sure that you’ve got a ladder tall enough before you install.

    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Want to send out a special Happy Father’s Day for all the dads out there and a special Happy Father’s Day to my dad, as well. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.

    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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