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  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Take out the list; you know, the honey-do list? The to-do list? Look at it. Thinking about which one of those things you’d like to tick off this weekend? Well, then pick up the phone and call us and – well, won’t do it for you but we will help you (Leslie chuckles) get the job done with the tips and the advice that you need to shorten that list dramatically, quickly, help you spend some quality time relaxing in your house instead of taking care of it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Always working on it.
    TOM: Exactly. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a shot and we will see if we can help you get that job done, because that is what we are here to do. We’re here to help you take care of your money pit; to turn it from house to home to castle.
    Now, coming up this hour in the program, you may have noticed that there are more folks in the checkout line at the local home center. This is a good thing; the market is rebounding. But what has changed is the type of projects people are doing. There are now smaller and they are smarter renovations that are driving the 2010 remodeling market. We’re going to tell you what DIYers are spending money on and why you might want to do the same.
    LESLIE: And also ahead, asphalt shingle roofs – they are the most popular type out there, so chances are you’ve got one on your house. But when was the last time you actually took a good look at it? You know, your roof needs an occasional checkup, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. We’re going to tell you exactly what you should be looking for, in just a few minutes.
    TOM: And while you’re outside, it’s a good opportunity to check out your deck. A great deck is the number one way to increase living space affordably. We’re going to hear from the experts at Fiberon this hour, about new technology in composite decking that’s making decking a better investment than ever before with a warranty that lasts longer than ever before.
    We’re going to talk about the new capping technology that they’ve developed for their Fiberon Horizon product, that delivers the industry’s first 20-year warranty on composite decking. Now, if you haven’t looked at composite decking in a while, you need to take a new look, because the way it’s being manufactured has totally changed and it is absolutely indistinguishable with real wood.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean it is gorgeous. You’re going to be really surprised.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Except for the weekends. It’s real distinguishable on the weekends when you’re not out there cleaning it.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Exactly. And this hour, we’re giving away a Granitex concrete finishing kit. It’s worth 150 bucks and it can create a beautiful finish on any concrete surface. And I mean it really transforms it.
    TOM: And if you’d like to win, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma, because we get our calls the old-fashioned way: we bribe you. That’s right, (Leslie chuckles) it’s not beyond us.
    If you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we pick your name out of The Money Pit hardhat, we may be sending you that $150 finishing kit from Granitex, purely for the activity of picking up the phone and calling us and trusting us with your home improvement question. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Bobby in North Carolina is dealing with a water pressure issue. Tell us what’s going on.
    BOBBY: Yes. I live out in a rural area and have a well and I’m having low pressure coming into the kitchen faucet only.
    TOM: It’s only the kitchen faucet? OK, well, that’s important to know and that’s actually good news because that means it’s a problem with the plumbing associated with the kitchen faucet and not the well.

    Have you tried to remove – let’s start with the easiest things first. Have you tried to remove the aerator?
    LESLIE: The tip of the faucet.
    BOBBY: Yes. I’ve removed that off and cleaned that screen out.
    TOM: Well, if you remove it and turn the water on, do you have good flow or not?
    BOBBY: Yeah, but it’s not as strong as the other areas.
    TOM: Alright. Well, then we have to look beyond that; we have to look at the plumbing valves. I would check and make sure that the water lines, the valves are fully opened, because sometimes they get stuck partially-closed.
    BOBBY: Is that within the faucet itself?
    TOM: Well, it’s probably in the – it’s not in the faucet itself but it’s probably in the supply lines right under the faucet, like in the kitchen sink cabinet. And sort of trace the plumbing back. It’s getting restricted somewhere but if the water pressure is good everywhere else, it’s a problem associated with the valves or with the water lines feeding that particular faucet. And if you can solve that, you’re going to solve your pressure problem.
    BOBBY: Very good.
    TOM: Bobby, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Molly in Wisconsin needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
    MOLLY: Yes, hi. This is the third year I have to repaint my back porch steps.
    TOM: Oh, it’s an annual event, huh?
    MOLLY: Yes, it’s getting that way. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) It’s really causing a problem.
    TOM: The next time you get ready to do your painting project, I would sand the steps down; get down as much to raw wood as you possibly can. I would use a really good-quality, oil-based primer and then after that dries solidly – and by the way, paint as much of that step area as you can. If you can get underneath that’s great. Try to seal as many surfaces as you can. Then I would use an oil-based topcoat and leave plenty of dry time and I think you’re going to find that the durability and the abrasion resistance is far superior if you do it that way.
    MOLLY: OK. Well, thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question. Whatever you are working on, we are happy to lend a hand and help you get that job done, you know, the first time so you’re not going back to it a million times and being like, “Urgh! Why didn’t I do it this way the first time?”
    So pick up the phone and give us a call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, we’ve got tips on how to deliver a roof checkup for your own home. And guess what? It doesn’t even require a ladder. We’re going to teach you how to make sure your roof is good to go for quite a while, after this.

    (theme song)
    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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a concrete facelift kit from Granitex. Now, Granitex is an acrylic, stone-like coating that can be applied to indoor or outdoor concrete surfaces. It’s ideal for everything from patios, porches, balconies, pool decks, garage floors, walkways; even driveways. It’s gorgeous stuff and after it’s applied, the surface is extremely durable and easy to clean.
    Granitex comes in four colors that can be combined to make patterns. It’s a prize worth 150 bucks, so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question, for your chance to win.
    LESLIE: Alright. Well, asphalt shingle roofs – you know, they’re the most common type of roof in America today. I’ve got one.
    Tom, you’ve probably got one on your house.
    TOM: I do.
    LESLIE: And if yours is more than 10 years old, which mine is, experts at Owens Corning, they are the manufacturer of America’s number one brand of shingles out there and they recommend a simple, visual inspection to help you look for signs of wear and tear on your roof.
    First of all, you don’t even need a ladder. You want to start by looking at your roof from the ground. Now, you might notice some areas of discoloration, maybe some black spots or even large spaces of missing colored granules; that’s that texture that’s actually on the shingle itself.
    Now, it’s normal to have some of those granules come off and collect in your gutters, especially when the roof is new. But if you’ve got widespread exposure of that mat underneath the granules, it can actually decrease the life of your roof.
    TOM: Absolutely. And here’s a little trick of the trade for that inspection. Again, you don’t need a ladder but what is very helpful is a pair of binoculars, because you can get very, very close. You might notice buckling or curling or rotting or blistering. All of these could be signs of an aging roof.

    And also look for leaky spots in your ceiling, under the roof. If you’re not sure of whether or not you need a new roof, you might want to have it inspected by a home inspector; not necessarily a roofing contractor whose job is there to just sell you a roof. (chuckles) Have it inspected by somebody who doesn’t have some profit to be made from the advice.

    And if you want some more tips on roofing products and the new roofing shingles that are available, you should visit OwensCorning.com and search on the phrase “do you need a new roof?” You’ll be presented with a wealth of information from the experts at Owens Corning. And by the way, they’ve got some beautiful roofing products there on that site.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I’m telling you, every time I see those dimensional asphalt shingles, it makes me want to find some sort of flaw in my roof (Tom chuckles) because they’re so gorgeous. I’m so envious every time I see a new one going up in our neighborhood, because it feels like everybody is putting on a new roof in my town.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) We’ve come a long way from the basic black when it comes to roofing shingles.
    LESLIE: Ah, it’s so nice.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Basic black is great for a lot of things but not for a roof.
    LESLIE: Brian in Indiana is working on a basement project. How can we help you with it?
    BRIAN: Ah, yes. I’ve got a Michigan basement that actually has a crater about four-foot wide, about three-foot tall. I was wondering, basically, of the easiest fix; fixing that myself without having to spend a lot of money and go through contractors.
    TOM: When you say a crater, you mean a part is caved in?
    BRIAN: Actually, the mortar or the plaster part of the Michigan basement is actually fallen out where the dirt is on my basement floor of that.
    TOM: Oh, boy. Alright. So you have to kind of rebuild that portion of the foundation wall?
    BRIAN: Yes.
    TOM: Well, the only way to do that – and I’ve got to tell you, Brian, it’s not a do-it-yourself project, generally speaking, because what you have to do is you have to support the floor joists above that area. You essentially have to support the house while you rebuild what used to hold it up.
    BRIAN: OK. Well, it is almost like a two-part question on that. The sill blocks and everything else, they’re behind that Michigan wall.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Right.
    BRIAN: It’s all concrete; it’s a concrete barrier that goes all the way down to the adjoining basement floor. Would I be able to just take that Michigan wall completely out then?
    TOM: I don’t think so. And when you say, “Michigan wall,” are you talking about like a dirt basement where the basement was basically made in two stages?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like a dirt basement, right?
    TOM: It was originally, perhaps, a crawlspace and then dug deeper to create the basement, which resulted in a very thick, dirt wall?
    BRIAN: Yeah. On one side of the basement, that’s what it is. It’s got a crawlspace. On the other side, it’s actually a basement where it’s got a three-foot-wide wall.
    TOM: Yeah, that’s what we call – Leslie, that’s what we call a Yankee basement.
    LESLIE: A Yankee basement, yeah.
    TOM: Yeah. In Michigan, they call it a Michigan basement. (chuckles) And in Iowa, apparently, they call it a Michigan basement, as well.
    So, can you get rid of that? No, because that’s essentially what’s holding up the part of the foundation, so you can’t get rid of it. What you have to do is restore it.
    BRIAN: OK. So in other words, you’re saying I would have to have contractors.
    TOM: I think so.
    LESLIE: Yeah. (Brian chuckles)
    TOM: Wouldn’t want you to mess with that.
    BRIAN: OK. Alright. That’s what I was needing to know then.
    TOM: Alright, Brian. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Mary in Pennsylvania is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
    MARY: Yes. I’m calling because we have spruce hardwood floors in cherry. The house is like eight years old and I do have tinted windows in my morning room but, over time, the floor has begun to fade. And I want to know if there’s anything I can do to bring it back to its natural color. It still has the shine, it still has the luster, but you can tell that it’s beginning to fade.
    TOM: Is it a stained floor? Is it a darker floor? A lighter floor? What color is it now?
    MARY: It’s cherry and it’s like the pre-fab hardwood; so yes, it is stained and it’s cherry.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Hmm. Well, nothing short of restaining it is probably going to bring it back up to the luster that you would like. Was this a prefinished product when it was first put down?
    MARY: Yes.
    TOM: And do you know how thick it is?
    MARY: It’s three-quarters or more.
    TOM: Well, then, I don’t see why you couldn’t sand it. You’re just going to have refinish the entire floor.
    MARY: OK.
    TOM: So there’s no easy way to add more color when you have all this UV degradation. But if it’s a full three-quarter-inch thick, then you could have it sanded. If it wasn’t a color issue, there is an easy way to refinish a hardwood floor if it’s just the sheen. But since it’s a coloring issue, then you have to go down to raw wood and restain it.
    MARY: Alright. And I was hoping to avoid that because my entire first floor is the hardwood. So I’m afraid that if you do one section, you’re going to have to end up doing the entire floor.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Yeah. You know, some prefinished floors are very, very difficult to refinish, especially if they have a joint where it’s a groove, because there’s a lot of handwork associated with that.
    If it turns out that that’s the situation and you want to put a new floor down, take a look at Lumber Liquidators. They have engineered floors that could actually go down on top of that and would only add about three-eighths of an inch to the floor height. And the durability of the new, prefinished floors is far superior to what was available when that original floor was put down.
    MARY: OK. And it doesn’t look like a pre-fab kind of floor?
    TOM: Absolutely not. It’s gorgeous stuff. Take a look at it online at LumberLiquidators.com.
    MARY: OK. Great. Alright. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Doug in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
    DOUG: Yes. I was wondering if there’s a paint or is there a product out there that can cover up the water membrane on the outside of your house?
    TOM: Is there a paint that can cover up the water membrane? What water membrane are you talking about?
    DOUG: Well, when they put the product on the outside of the house to keep the water away from sort of leaking into the basement?
    TOM: Oh, the barrier. OK.
    DOUG: Yes.
    TOM: Right.
    DOUG: It’s exposed in our house here. It’s about two foot above my grade level and so all we see is this black …
    TOM: Oh, it’s like the black, tar-like stuff is what you’re talking about.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s over the foundation wall.
    DOUG: (overlapping voices) Yes.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh. Can you cover that? Yeah. I think you could probably paint it. I would use an epoxy paint.
    DOUG: An epoxy paint.
    TOM: Yeah. You’re going to get the best adhesion.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because that’ll stick to anything.
    DOUG: OK.
    TOM: Yeah, that’ll do it. That’ll do it. Yep. But make sure – you know, it sounds to me like the grade has settled a lot so if you’re going to paint, I would make sure I paint first and then I might add more grade to it and make sure it slopes away from the wall.
    DOUG: (overlapping voices) Yes.
    TOM: Because otherwise, you are, at some point perhaps going to develop a leak in that basement that you didn’t expect.
    DOUG: OK. Alright. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Mrs. Chaplin calling in from Illinois with an insulation question. How can we help you?
    MRS. CHAPLIN: Yes. I need to know, do I buy faced or unfaced?
    TOM: Faced or unfaced; there is the question.
    LESLIE: OK. Well, are you putting it in your attic? Where are you putting it?
    MRS. CHAPLIN: Yeah, I’m putting it in the attic.
    TOM: OK. You have insulation there now?
    MRS. CHAPLIN: Yeah.
    TOM: And so you’re going to add to it?
    MRS. CHAPLIN: Yeah.
    TOM: Unfaced. And you need a total of about 19 inches of unfaced insulation, including what you have there now. You can bring it up to the edge of the eaves but don’t block your vents.
    TOM: Alright? Since you want air to get in and circulate around that.
    MRS. CHAPLIN: And unfaced.
    TOM: Unfaced fiberglass batt insulation. Good source for that is Owens Corning. Their website has lots of information on how to add additional insulation. It’s OwensCorning.com.
    MRS. CHAPLIN: Okie-doke. OwensCorning.com.
    TOM: You’ve got it.
    MRS. CHAPLIN: OK. I gotcha. Thank you, guys.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Marshall in North Carolina is looking to clean the exterior of his money pit. How can we help?
    MARSHALL: Yes. I have pressure-washed my house but it seems like every time I turn around, I’ve got to redo it. As the years go by, it gets green quicker and quicker.
    TOM: OK.
    MARSHALL: And I have been told by someone that they had sprayed some Armor All mixed in with water or something. I can’t imagine mixing water with it but mixing it and spraying the house with Armor All to help it stay cleaner longer and look better.
    TOM: Interesting. Never heard that one. But when you are spraying it, are you using a mildicide?
    LESLIE: Like bleach or JOMAX or anything like that?
    MARSHALL: I’m using a combination of JOMAX and Clorox.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Hmm. OK.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) (overlapping voices) Well, we hit the nail on the head with that one.
    TOM: Yeah. Now, the area where you have your house, is it very, very shady, Marshall?
    MARSHALL: No. Believe it or not, it’s not.
    TOM: Not. Do you have a lot of mulch around the outside of the house?
    MARSHALL: Well, I’ve got pine straw around the outside. I don’t have actual hardwood mulch or anything but bark.
    TOM: Well, sometimes you can actually get a fungus in the mulch that contributes to this problem, which is the reason I asked the question. But I’ve never heard of using Armor All for this, although I guess it makes your house really shiny.
    LESLIE: And slippery. (Tom chuckles)
    MARSHALL: Well, that’s what they were saying and I had never heard of it either but I can’t figure out who told me about it.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No.
    MARSHALL: But someone told me that they had used it and I didn’t know if maybe you all had heard anybody say how they used it or what.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No. We can neither confirm nor deny that rumor, Marshall. (Tom and Marshall chuckle)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright?
    MARSHALL: (overlapping voices) Alright. Well, it was worth a shot.
    TOM: Alright. Well, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Sherry in Indiana is joining us at The Money Pit with an issue with bees. I hope you are not getting stung. What’s going on?
    SHERRY: I have a problem with big bumblebees.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: Are they big with like large, black rear ends?
    SHERRY: Yes.
    TOM: And do they have toolbelts strapped to their sides? (Leslie chuckles)
    SHERRY: Right. (chuckles)
    TOM: Because you may be talking about carpenter bees, seriously. Do they leave big holes in your wood?
    SHERRY: Yes, they do.
    TOM: Yeah. Those are …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, those are carpenter bees.
    TOM: Yep, that’s carpenter bee. And they can be kind of annoying. What you need to know about them …
    LESLIE: And frightening, actually.
    TOM: Yeah, they are frightening. Well, they’re designed to scare you because they can’t bite you and that’s not something that you would expect looking at a big bee like that.
    LESLIE: Yeah. And they can’t bite you but they can actually eat every piece of wood and like bore these perfect three-eighth-inch holes into your fascia board or garage doors or trimming around the exterior of your house and just, you know, live in there. They love it.
    TOM: Yep. So your options, Sherry, are to have them professionally treated and make sure you fill the holes. And if you don’t want to do that, what we did at – because we had a real bad carpenter bee problem. I actually replaced all of the fascia on my garage with AZEK, which is a cellular PVC, so it’s not wood. And it was really funny because after I did that, the bees kept swarming around the AZEK and they were like, “Well, it looks like wood but it doesn’t taste right.” You know?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Trying to figure it out?
    TOM: And it worked and they never came back after that. So you either have to have it treated regularly or you have to replace it with something that they’re not going to eat.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, if you haven’t looked in a while, composite decking has come a long, long way and those early concerns about mold and mildew, they’re absolutely no longer an issue. And it now looks more like real wood than ever. So we’re going to learn all about the new generation of composite decking, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.com.
    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.
    Well, one of the smartest and most affordable home improvements that you can make is adding a deck. Now, to make it an even smarter and more cost-effective project, you might want to consider using composite decking. I mean it’s beautiful.
    TOM: Absolutely. It lasts, it looks great and it requires very little maintenance. Here to tell us more about the benefits of composite decking and how far it has come, is Chris Beyer, the Vice President of Marketing for Fiberon.
    Hi, Chris.
    CHRIS: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. And it really is amazing how far the industry has come. The original composites were produced of wood fiber and plastics and the industry really started up in the late 1990s in response to pressure-treated lumber and the issues with warping and buckling and the fact that you have to stain and paint those products.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Maintenance.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    CHRIS: And people want a low-maintenance lifestyle but they also want something that’s beautiful.
    TOM: And that’s what composite delivers. It does deliver virtually no maintenance in terms of an ongoing requirement. And I will say that, originally, the composite – it needed a little bit more maintenance when it first started out but now it requires almost no maintenance and I really mean that. And I especially mean it when we talk about your new product, Horizon, which Leslie and I were fortunate to see when it very first came out. And now, you can’t get your hands on the stuff because it’s just in such demand. It’s a gorgeous product and I want you to talk a little bit about the capped technology that you developed here to create this.
    CHRIS: Well, the whole concept, Tom and Leslie, was really to produce a decking material that offered ultimate stain and fade resistance. While traditional composites, again, are a major upgrade over pressure-treated lumber, the fact that there is wood on the surface and actually in the product itself – but on the surface, in particular – means that you can have some degradation of color.
    It also is not totally stain resistant, so we developed a technology to actually cap composite decking. It’s the same core as the standard composite decking product, which provides tremendous strength and long-term rigidity, which is a good thing. But we capped it and encapsulated it in a material that is incredibly durable.
    And this material really offers the ultimate in stain and fade resistance to the point that we offer a 20-year stain and fade resistant warranty. I don’t have to tell you that decking is becoming a lifestyle: outdoor kitchens, beautiful furniture. It’s almost an extension of the inside of the home.
    So, we felt that we wanted to give people that opportunity for that rich experience beyond the interior of the home, stepping out into the deck. And recently, we’ve taken it to an even new level above that.
    LESLIE: Well, Chris, you’re right. I mean it’s definitely an extension of your interior style and I think that’s just a trend that’s grown and grown over the past couple of summer seasons is creating an exterior room, if you will, that truly mirrors how you design the interior. And I think with previous composites, you know, you were sort of stuck with is it gray or is it that muddy brown?
    TOM: Right.
    LESLIE: Which side do you use? Does it look like wood grain or is it that weird texture? And then in the end, it needed a lot of work.

    Now, what Fiberon has done is given this, I mean beautiful graining; these exotic hardwood looks that have a richness and a texture to them that actually looks like lumber. And I tell you – this is what, our third summer with the decking at the summer house and, again, I went out there, opened up the house, swept off the deck and it was done. I mean it’s gorgeous.
    CHRIS: Well, exactly. And what we did with Horizon, after coming out with four solid colors, is we developed the technology with this cap board to actually make it look like tropical hardwoods and I mean in stunning fashion to the point, again, that you step out from a tropical hardwood living room onto a deck that offers the same amount of elegance. I mean you could almost picture somebody with a grand piano playing outside on a deck. It’s that stunning; it kind of creates that kind of lifestyle.
    TOM: It’s almost indistinguishable, Chris, between the composite Horizon capped board and the real thing. It really is almost indistinguishable.
    Hey, I want to ask you about the elements that go along with the decking. You’ve got a railing system that also works very well?
    CHRIS: We have two railing systems and primary systems and one that offers a variety of colors and that’s our Horizon Plus Railing System. And now our white Inspirations Railing System, which offers tremendous advantages in installation in terms of speed and, of course, the same durability as Horizon Plus but it also offers the opportunity to use metal balusters and so on.
    So, between the two railing systems that we offer, there are an endless array of colors and options and, again, end-filled baluster options so that you can have a truly stunning deck. You know, people now are selecting black railing, particularly with some of these very rich tropical hardwoods or they’ll use black rails, they’ll use a different color baluster and so on. So …
    TOM: It’s a lot of options.
    CHRIS: A lot of options and that’s what we’re trying to provide along with a railing system that has the installer in mind. And certainly Inspirations is really a breakthrough technology, in terms of needing so many fewer screws and so many fewer steps to install; and yet, the durability factor is just tremendous.
    TOM: And that’s one more thing I’d like to end with and that is that the fasteners – you mentioned fewer screws. The fasteners are all invisible with these systems today.
    LESLIE: It’s beautiful.
    TOM: All you see is the beautiful composite surfaces and, again, almost zero maintenance. If you haven’t seen composite in a while, you really need to take a look at these products.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. I was going to say, you know, we can talk about it all we want but the website truly comes to life and jumps off the page. If you head on over to FiberonDecking.com, the texture in the Horizon decking is so stunning that it really – you’ve got to see it. So, it just really makes it worthwhile and composite has just come leaps and bounds.
    TOM: Chris, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us all in on the latest in Horizon products from Fiberon Decking.
    Again, that is the website: FiberonDecking.com. The number is 1-800-573-8841, 800-573-8841.

    Thank you, Chris.
    CHRIS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
    LESLIE: Well, springtime – it’s like Christmas when it comes to your local home center; a very, very busy season.
    Well, if you’re wondering what everybody is running out and working on in their house, we’re going to share with you what those smart projects are, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.com.
    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. Well, that old, dirty or boring concrete patio that you’ve got around your money pit, is it looking worse for the wear? Well, if it is, have we got a prize for you this hour. It can really, truly help you brighten up that concrete patio. We’ve got Granitex, which is an acrylic, stone-like coating that can be applied to indoor or even outdoor concrete surfaces and it’s ideal for everything from your patio, porch, balcony, pool deck, garage floor, walkway, driveway; even your steps.

    Now, after it’s applied, the surface is extremely durable, super-easy to clean and the Granitex comes in four different colors and you can actually combine them to make really beautiful patterns. Pretty much your imagination is the limit. It’s a prize worth $150 and one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win that prize. So give us a call with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Well, the home improvement business is making a significant comeback this year. Hooray! And homeowners are taking time to make smart home improvements. You may have noticed a bigger crowd at the local home center. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, this year could mark the first annual increase in home improvement spending since 2006.
    But while home improvements during the housing boom were big and extravagant, today’s improvements tend to be smaller and much smarter.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s right. You know, we’re seeing things like modest updates to the kitchens and the bathrooms and even moderate attic bedroom conversions.
    Now, hidden improvements like insulation, that is really on the rise and contractors say that a great, cost-effective idea is removing a wall to create an open kitchen kind of dining area, which is hugely popular right now.
    So, if you’re looking for some more great ideas, head on over to MoneyPit.com and search “cheap home improvements” because you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. And we’re all staying put, so we can really do some nice projects in our home that are going to add value and enhance our enjoyment while we’re staying put.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question; perhaps your next home improvement project. We are here to help.
    LESLIE: Sandra in North Dakota is having issues with the driveway. What can we do for you today?
    SANDRA: Yes. I was wondering if you can recommend something to put on our asphalt driveway to bring it back to life? It’s about 15 years old.
    TOM: Is the driveway in good structural condition? Does it have a lot of cracks in it? Is it heaved? Is it broken apart? Is it just worn? What’s it look like?
    SANDRA: It’s very dry-looking. Now, all these years we have used different sealers on it and used crack pour on the cracks. But the past two years it just looks very dried out; like there’s no moisture left.
    TOM: Right. Look, you know, 15 years is a pretty long time for an asphalt driveway because they’re not designed to last forever. And you can only put so many …
    LESLIE: What’s the usual lifespan, Tom?
    TOM: Well, I would say 10, really.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    SANDRA: Oh.
    TOM: You can only put so many coats of sealer and crack filler on that before it just really starts to look nasty no matter what you do. So you might want to think at some point here, Sandra, about removing that and replacing it or at least having it resurfaced.
    Now, when you resurface it, you only have to put about another inch of material over it; so it may not be as expensive. As long as you have the height to do that – and by the height I mean you have to be careful where it abuts the garage or where it ends so that you don’t end up with some sort of a lip there. So, I think adding an additional layer of asphalt might be appropriate at this time because, as you’ve seen, when you keep sealing it for 10, 15 years, sometimes it doesn’t work anymore.
    SANDRA: Right. And I think that’s the point we’re at right now. The last two times …
    TOM: Yep. Yeah, well it’s the same thing with paint. You know, you can only put so many layers of paint on the wall before it starts to …
    LESLIE: Before it all comes crumbling down.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s not going to stand an infinite number. So that’s really where you’re at. In North Dakota, I’m sure you’re taking a lot of abuse from salt and all of that on the driveway, as well, so I think it’s probably served you very well at 15 years, Sandra.
    SANDRA: Well, thank you for your time and I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading out to California to talk to Carol. What’s going on at your money pit?
    CAROL: I have a brick hearth fireplace and, just on the hearth itself, it has a fine layer of what looks like dust but it isn’t dust. When I tried to wash it off, as it dried, the white reappeared. I’m not sure what product to use and I thought I’d talk to somebody like yourself who might guide me in that way.
    LESLIE: Well, have you tried white vinegar and water?
    CAROL: No, I haven’t.
    LESLIE: Because that …
    CAROL: You think that would do it?
    LESLIE: It works amazingly well on any sort of mineral deposit that you would see on a concrete wall, around a faucet. And it makes it go away lickety-split.
    CAROL: And it won’t damage the brick?
    LESLIE: No.
    CAROL: OK. Alright. I definitely will give that a try.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Up next, getting an energy audit is the first step to making energy-efficient home improvements. We’re going to tell you how to go about getting that done at your money pit, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon Horizon Decking and their new tropical hardwood colors. Ensure your deck stays as beautiful as the rest of your home. Insist on Horizon decking. To learn more, visit FiberonDecking.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: And you’ve got a very important date coming up: June 19, Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I do.
    TOM: The premiere of your new show, the $100 Makeover, on A&E. Tell us about it.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, we’re doing four rooms per house. Each room gets 100 bucks and that is strictly for supplies. We are sort of snooping around the house, working with what they’ve already got and creating a fantastic makeover and helping people to get organized and stay on a budget. And I think it’s really super-helpful for what we’re all dealing with right now.
    TOM: Absolutely. And speaking on staying on a budget, we’ve got an e-mail here from Wyatt, who wants to do a home energy audit. He says that: “My house is an energy hog. I’d like to do an energy audit on my home and I’ve heard Tom and Leslie say” – that’s us (chuckles) “I might be able …”
    LESLIE: And you left out that he says, “I love listening to Tom and Leslie,” by the way.
    TOM: Alright. See, I wasn’t going to read that because I didn’t want to brag (Leslie chuckles) but OK, since you did, that’s fine; he does say that.
    But apparently he talked to his energy company on several occasions. At first, they weren’t even aware of what an energy audit was.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s so crazy.
    TOM: That’s scary. And now that they know what an energy audit is, he says they won’t do them. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) “So, how can I get one done?”
    Well, Wyatt, listen. There are a couple of things you can do. You can do a do-it-yourself energy audit and a good website is EnergyStar.gov. In fact, search “home energy audits” at EnergyStar.gov. You will find the step-by-step instructions. They have a program called the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick that will walk you through or you could hire a professional home energy auditor. And there is a list; there is a link there where you can get one of the contractors that has been approved by Energy Star. They’re called Energy Star Home Partners. It’s a locator system.
    And I would hire either a professional auditor or simply do it yourself, because you’re going to learn a lot of ways that you can save money in your house and spend a lot less in energy all year round.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you go with a pro, they can sort of help prioritize what’s going to make the biggest bang for your buck, so you know exactly where to start.
    TOM: Well, Father’s Day is right around the corner. Why not give Dad something he can really use? A bit more time. We’re talking about organization projects. You can take on a garage project that Dad will be grateful for a long time to come. He’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it. Leslie has got some ideas on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: You know, dads – they do so much for their family, so why not take one weekend? All we’re telling you to do is one weekend for your dad and do something really special for the dad in your life.
    Now, here’s a great idea: you can create a workshop in your newly organized garage and stock it with his favorite tools. And when I say “your newly organized garage,” I mean your dad’s. Get over there and clean out his garage.
    You want to organize all of those small items: the nails, the screws, the washers. Your dad has got a ton of them; I know my dad had all these little baggies all sitting around in these little flower pots. So why not get one of those little compartment storage bins and then label the drawers and then put exactly what’s in there as the label? This way, they will always be able to find whatever he needs, at the exact moment when he needs it.
    Now, a pegboard – it’s super-traditional but it makes a great way to organize hand tools and keep them off of the work table. And you know what? You can take it a step further – and this is kind of silly but it makes a lot of sense. You can paint the shape of the tool onto the pegboard so that whomever is borrowing a tool – because we know that other people sort of glom into Dad’s workspace – knows exactly where that hammer goes back to and then they know when it’s not put back and they’ll be like, “Hey, where is my hammer?”
    Now, if you’re in the market to buy some new tools for Dad this Father’s Day, why not buy him tools in the same brand as the tools that he currently has? This way, they can operate off the same battery pack and then you can continue to keep down that clutter in his workspace.
    If you’re looking for some more great gift ideas, head on over to MoneyPit.com and check out our online article: “A Dozen Dandy Gifts for Handy Dads.” And we’ve got a ton of ideas right there, so you can really find something that’ll suit your dad.
    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    Coming up next week on the program, are you tired of painting trim or refinishing your deck? Learn about alternatives to wood like PVC and composite decking. They sure do take the work out of maintaining the exterior of your home.

    We’re going to tell you where to use them and why they are better than wood in most cases, next time on 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.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2010 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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