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  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (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.)
    (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: Happy spring, everybody. It’s official: spring is here. It doesn’t look that springy outside but it’s certainly …
    LESLIE: It will.
    TOM: … spring in my head (Leslie chuckles) and I’m thinking about all the projects I’ve got to get done around my house. One of those that you might be tackling, unfortunately, is fixing a wet basement. If that’s the case, we’ve got some tips this hour to help you out. It’s not as hard, it’s not as terrible and it’s certainly not as expensive as most folks make it out to be. We’ll have the solution, coming up.
    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we want to talk about your yard. We’re going to help you get a few ideas for those outside improvements this spring season that will spruce up your curb appeal.
    TOM: Speaking of which, you know, studies show that an updated front door can add a huge value to your home. We’re going to talk to an expert from Therma-Tru today about just that. That’s the company that’s actually responsible for creating the fiberglass door and we’ll have some ideas for some inexpensive transformations that you could do this spring.
    LESLIE: And speaking of experts, we just happen to be giving away a book this hour from two experts that you guys might be very familiar with. We are giving away a signed copy of The Money Pit’s new book. It’s called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure and it really is a good, timely prize because all you need to do is flip through those pages and you will find all about spring maintenance, home maintenance. You will get your money pit in tip-top shape and, best of all, it could be yours for free.
    TOM: That autographed copy going out to one caller we talk to this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Isabelle in New York needs some help with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
    ISABELLE: How can I effectively remove the soot in – that is inside the grain of a wooden floor?
    TOM: OK. Have – your building had a fire, Isabelle?
    ISABELLE: Yes, yes. I live in an apartment building and was a fire in the apartment below and the smoke went through the floors and the walls.
    TOM: OK.
    ISABELLE: And the restoration company already went and did some cleaning. They cleaned it with a dirty mop with warm water and a few drops of Murphy’s Oil.
    TOM: That doesn’t sound like it’s going to work at all.
    ISABELLE: I know, I know. I (inaudible at 0:02:47.7).
    TOM: Isabelle, does the restoration company – are they working for your insurance company or is it the landlord’s or what?
    ISABELLE: Well, my insurance company.
    TOM: OK. You know what I would do? Do you have a private insurance adjuster working for you?
    ISABELLE: Yes. The one that is working – well, for me or the insurance company?
    TOM: No, no, listen to me. The insurance company themselves will send in their own adjuster but that …
    TOM: … adjuster has the insurance company’s needs in mind. If you hire a private adjuster, they’re there …
    TOM: … for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to make sure that you are taken care of. They work on a percentage of the claim, so they’re going to try to get you as much money and as much services as possible.
    TOM: Isabelle, the key when you’re cleaning a wood surface is you have to be very gentle because you can’t overwhelm it with too much water …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: … because you’ll cause water damage; you’ll cause the wood to swell and so on. So usually, it’s done through repeated, gentle cleanings. Now, there are probably also some applications that can take out some of the smoke smell but it’s a matter of physically removing the carbon first and then sealing in what’s left.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And because soot is so greasy, you need some sort of detergent that’s a degreaser.
    TOM: I would recommend that you go back to the insurance company. If they want to try a different restoration company, go ahead and do that. You know, I know that Service Magic does a lot of smoke restoration. They have a pretty good reputation in the business. You may want to see if there’s a Service Magic franchise in your area.
    But again, to go back to my earlier point, I think that if you get a private adjuster that’s in charge of this project for you, you’re going to be a lot happier because you should not be the general contractor on this job, which is essentially what you’re having to do because the job is not being done for you. So I would get a private adjuster to supervise it and make sure the job is done once, done right and you can get back to enjoying your apartment.
    OK, Isabelle?
    ISABELLE: OK. 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re going to help you get your spring home chores all tackled this weekend, immediately; no carry over to next weekend. Alright, you can stretch out those projects all spring. We will be here with you to get those jobs done, so give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, wet weather makes for wet basements. There are some sure-fire ways to keep your under-grade space dry. We’ll tell you what they are and what you can do to get your space dried up, next.

    (theme song)
    LESLIE: Hi. This is Leslie Segrete from The Money Pit. Hey, are you always jealous about all those great deals the designers are getting on home improvement materials and building supplies? Well, don’t be jealous any more. Have you heard about the famous DirectBuy members-only pricing?
    Listen, I am so excited to be able to tell you about DirectBuy. The buying power is unprecedented. Do yourself a favor and call or click for one of their insider’s guides so you can see what DirectBuy members already know. You’re going to be amazed by what you’ll find. They’ve got furniture, bedding, lighting, cookware, cabinets, tools, toys, flooring, carpeting, jewelry, luggage and tons more and all of it is up to half off.
    You’ve got to get the Insider’s Guide. It’s totally free; it’s easy and there’s no obligation. I mean, in this economy, how can anybody afford not to be a DirectBuy member? You have to call 800-828-2019 right now while memberships are available. A free DirectBuy Insider’s Guide and a free visitor’s pass are going to be sent right to your home, but you’ve got to call to get that. The number, 800-828-2019, or go to their website, ExploreDirectBuy.com. The number again is 800-828-2019 or ExploreDirectBuy.com. You are going to be so thankful you did.
    (theme song)
    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 you should pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We have got all the answers to all of your home improvement questions. Believe me, someone else has done it also and we know exactly how to help you get the job done.
    And one caller that we talk to this hour is going to win a very useful copy of our book. It’s the My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. We will even sign it for you and I guarantee this will be your home ownership bible. So be in it to win it. Give us a call. We’ll help you out with your project and give you a chance to win that great prize at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Now, in our book you’ll find an entire section devoted to wet basements and if you’ve got a wet basement the problem is especially bad right now in the wet spring months. But there probably is a simple fix in your future because the number one cause of wet basements is poor drainage. We’re talking about the angle of the soil around the outside of your house.
    You need to make sure that the soil slopes away from the wall. It can’t be too much top-soily; it can’t be too mulchy. It can’t be stoned except on the upper surface. You want to add some soil that’s clean fill dirt; get it running away from the house. Then, you can add a little topsoil, a little mulch, a little stone to prevent erosion.
    The second most important thing is the gutters. They’ve got to be clean, they’ve got to be free-flowing and they’ve got to extend well away from the foundation. You need one downspout, also, for every six to eight hundred square feet of gutter space.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now that you’ve got your downspouts all sorted out, you need to look at where they actually take that water to, so look at the bottom and make sure that it’s not depositing all of that water directly at the foundation. You want that water to run out of that downspout at least four to six feet away from your foundation.
    If you take care of the ground – the grading, the sloping, the gutters, the drainage, everything – it will really tackle the water in your basement, so don’t get taken by those panic peddlers who knock on your door and tell you about this expensive waterproofing system and it’s the only way to dry out your wet basement. Try these things first. You might need something like that but try this first; I guarantee you it will work.
    TOM: It works 90 percent of the time. You almost never need to do any type of sump pump system where you dig up foundations, you put in drain pipes and all that sort of thing. And those panic peddlers can be pretty persuasive; don’t be fooled by them. Take care of the grading and the drainage; it will fix your wet basement. And if it doesn’t, call us because you probably did something wrong and we’ll get you straightened out. 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Jimmy in Texas has a patio project. What can we do for you?

    JIMMY: Yes, I was wondering – I want to enclose my patio and make it a family room but I want to know if the concrete slab is thick enough. It’s only about six inches thick.

    TOM: It’s not.

    JIMMY: (overlapping voices) I want to know if – no?

    TOM: It’s not thick enough, no. And it’s good that you’re calling now, Jimmy, because too many times, in the years I spent as a home inspector and in the many years I spent on the radio, I’ve heard about the results of enclosing a patio or creating an enclosed space – like it’s an addition to your house – on top of what was never intended to be the slab foundation for the room. And so right now it seems pretty easy to just add a door, add a window, add some walls. But what happens is you’re going to see a lot of movement in that soil and you’re going to get a lot of gaps. And so it’s definitely not OK to just wall over a patio and put a door on and call that an extension to your room. If you want to do it you have to tear out the patio that’s there and pour a proper foundation for one, then a new slab.

    LESLIE: What would be the recommended thickness?

    TOM: Well, you’d have to have a foundation with a footing. You’d have to have a footing that goes down about three feet …

    JIMMY: Oh, I see.

    TOM: … and then you could pour a slab on top of that. You can’t just use that patio slab – like you say, it’s six inches thick …

    JIMMY: Right, so …

    TOM: … and make that the base of the walls.

    JIMMY: OK. I wouldn’t be able to pour another slab over that then?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, you would have to put a foundation around it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No.
    JIMMY: (overlapping voices) No, OK. Oh, OK.
    TOM: I’m sorry, Jimmy, it’s not that easy and I’m glad you’re calling though because a lot of times we see – we hear about this, you know, many, many years later when, you know, one guy puts up some walls and another owner comes in and puts in some windows and somebody else puts in some doors and then somebody finally adds heat and then the whole thing starts to fall apart and you wonder why.

    JIMMY: Right. OK. Well, I wish it was that easy but I guess not. OK.

    TOM: Alright, Jimmy? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And just enjoy that patio outside. It’s lovely weather there (Leslie chuckles) in Dallas, Texas.

    LESLIE: But you know, it could be a good do-it-yourself project if you get somebody to do the foundation and the footing and you go ahead and finish the space. I mean you’d keep costs down that way.

    TOM: I agree. A lot of times it’s good to have a pro just tackle those elements of the project you don’t want to do yourself and then you can do the rest.

    LESLIE: Kim in North Carolina has a countertop that is just not standing up to the test of time. Tell us about the problem.
    KIM: About five or six years ago, we put in another countertop and it’s – the countertop is in two pieces. Where the two pieces of countertop butt together, some water seeped down in.
    LESLIE: Kim, this is one of those laminated sort of countertops that you buy – the ready-made pieces at the home center, right?
    KIM: Yes.
    KIM: Some water got down in on the one side and it’s formed a little bubble.
    TOM: Here’s what you’re going to want to use. Laminate is adhered with a contact cement …
    KIM: Uh-huh.
    TOM: … and there is a contact cement release agent that’s sort of like a contact cement remover.
    KIM: OK.
    TOM: What you’re going to want to do is peel up gently the edge of that laminate and, probably with something that’s like a syringe or a turkey baster or something like that, where you can work some of this into that space, very slowly but surely saturate that to be able to peel back the laminate until you get to the place where the air bubble is.
    Once you get to that spot, then what I want you to do is to let it dry. Then, you’re going to apply new contact cement, a couple of coats to the bottom and the top of that piece and then, after that gets tacky – and you may have to stick like a little wood block in there or something to hold it apart – after it gets tacky, you can re-adhere it and then press that down. You’re going to essentially roll that down. You can use a rolling pin; you can use a towel. You want to press it in place really, really well and that will fix it.
    So, in order to repair the gap and the bubble, you have to take it apart first and then press it back together again.
    LESLIE: Cindy in Ohio needs some help with a bathroom vent fan. What can we do for you?
    CINDY: Hi. We have a pretty good-sized bathroom; I think it’s about nine by ten …
    TOM: OK.
    CINDY: … and we have an exhaust fan in the ceiling and we just got a little ceramic heater. And when we run the exhaust fan alone, it doesn’t defog the window or the mirror.
    TOM: Right.
    CINDY: But when we run the heater it defogs everything and I wanted to know if we should run both of them, because it’s wallpapered, or if we should just run the heater or just the exhaust fan. I don’t know which one to use.
    TOM: Well, basic physics going on here, Cindy. When you warm air, it absorbs more moisture. So the warmer that room is with that ceramic heater, the less moisture there is in the air and the less condensation – otherwise known as fog – on your mirrors, so that’s why it’s doing what it’s doing.
    Generally, you want to have a good-quality ventilation system that pulls out enough air so that doesn’t happen. I see no reason why you can’t run both together, if you want a little bit of extra heat. So long as you’re not blowing breakers, you could certainly go ahead and do that.
    CINDY: OK. And then my wallpaper will be safe?
    TOM: I think your wallpaper will be safe either way.
    CINDY: Alright. Thank you very much.
    TOM: Alright, Cindy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Greg in West Virginia wants to give us a call about log cabins. What can we do for you?
    GREG: Yes. I was wanting to find out how to get a water stain off of my logs. It’s raw pine …
    TOM: OK.
    GREG: … and it came in on the inside, on a big storm. (chuckles)
    TOM: Hmm. OK.
    GREG: I was just wondering – I haven’t – they’re not finished so I just – I was thinking I’d heard something about mayonnaise …
    TOM: Mayonnaise?!
    GREG: … for the stain. I don’t know if it …
    TOM: You want your whole house to smell like a tuna sandwich? (chuckles)
    GREG: Depends on what time of the day it is. (Leslie and Greg chuckle)
    TOM: Well, you know, I don’t think that’s probably the best solution. If you have a water stain on the logs, you’re probably going to …
    GREG: Right.
    TOM: … want to use a good cleaner. Now, the thing is though, when you use these cleaners, you may find that they lighten parts of the logs so I would try this cautiously. But there’s a product out called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X – which is really a mildicide and it will definitely take off water stains. It will lighten everything up; it’ll probably bring it into the same color but I would suggest that you approach this cautiously because we don’t want to have, you know, one super-clean log and everything else is …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: … sort of naturally aged. What you’ll find though, with the wood, is even if it does brighten up, some of that yellowing from the sun will come back but it’s going to take, you know, a couple of months to a year or so.
    GREG: OK.
    LESLIE: Now, I know along the lines of mayonnaise, something that I’ve always done when I get a water stain on a piece of furniture is toothpaste. I take a little bit of gel toothpaste and I sort of rub it on with a nice clean, soft rag and that does an amazing job of getting like a water ring out of a tabletop. Maybe that could be the water ring to the extreme on your log.
    GREG: (chuckling) Yeah. (Leslie chuckles) I’d take (inaudible at 0:16:30.9) but that’ll be alright. (Leslie laughs)
    LESLIE: Minty is better than sandwich-scented, I think.
    TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading down south to sunny Florida with Eva who’s got a hot water question. What can we do for you?
    EVA: Well, I’m just wondering – I live in a cul-de-sac and I’ve lived in this home since it was new – 35 years – and everybody has tossed out their water tanks but I haven’t. And I’ve – what I do is once a year I empty it out and, to save and conserve on electricity, I switch it – my hot water – not only my hot water but the electricity in the house – I switch it off to save electricity and when I need my water, I’ll turn it on.
    TOM: Eva?
    EVA: Yeah.
    TOM: Do you buy lottery tickets? (Leslie and Eva chuckle)
    EVA: Yes.
    TOM: Well, you should because you’re one lucky woman.
    EVA: Well, that’s what …
    TOM: If your water heater is 35-years-old and it hasn’t leaked, I wouldn’t push it.
    EVA: Well, that’s what I’m wondering. I hear different stories …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Eight to ten years.
    EVA: … and people tell me that I should have a more efficient one.
    TOM: Well, certainly you could have a more efficient one and I would recommend a tankless water heater for maximum efficiency. Does it …
    LESLIE: But I mean, really, a water heater is going to last eight to ten years, correct?
    TOM: A standard tank water heater is about a 10-year appliance. Yours is 35.
    EVA: Yeah. (chuckles)
    TOM: You’ve done very, very well. I wouldn’t push it because, believe me, when it does go, it’s going to be ugly. It’ll flood your whole house. So …
    EVA: Well, that’s what I’m worried about.
    TOM: Yeah. I would replace it at 35 years; I wouldn’t wait. It doesn’t make sense. I’ll tell you, a good website to look up what’s available on the market is SmarterHotWater.com. That’s the website for the Rheem company.
    EVA: Oh, yeah. That’s what it is, is a Rheem.
    TOM: Well, you see? Then the Rheem has lasted you …
    LESLIE: So you know they make good ones.
    TOM: That’s done very well for you so I would replace it and I would get another Rheem.
    EVA: OK. Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Eva. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    How about that? A Rheem water heater …
    LESLIE: That’s pretty funny.
    TOM: … lasting 35 years. That is impressive.
    LESLIE: See? And here’s a clear example of keeping up with the Joneses. Why do they keep doing something that I’m not? Hmm. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
    Well, now that spring is officially here and you are perusing the grounds of your money pit a lot more, did you know that a new fiberglass front door can actually improve the look of your home? We’ve got that. But it can also increase energy efficiency and add safety and security to your house. When we come back, we’re going to talk about the great new styles and looks that are out there for your front door, so stick around.

    (theme song)
    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 if you are a regular listener – and even if you’re not – let us be the first to tell you that we are big on curb appeal; it definitely keeps up the value of your home. And if you are in the process of selling, the only thing that’s going to draw in those potential buyers is how fantastic your home looks from the street or from the photo that appears in the online website that most people use to sell their homes these days.
    LESLIE: I know. It’s amazing; what they see online is really going to draw them to your house. Now, here is the good news: you do not have to spend a lot of money to make it look like you did. Joining us to tell us more about that, we’ve got Derek Fielding and he is the product manager for Therma-Tru.
    Welcome, Derek.
    DEREK: Thank you.
    LESLIE: So, Derek, now replacing the front door we all know is an excellent way to boost your curb appeal. But if you’re thinking about replacing your front door and you’re also thinking about your wallet – as many of us are – what’s affordable but also really attractive?
    DEREK: Yes. Actually, Therma-Tru has a great selection for people looking to enhance the style of their home but watch their budget of their wallet. Therma-Tru does have a – some recent home values which found that replacing your front door can add significant value to your home, up to $24,000 according to some recent studies. And recently, Therma-Tru has just launched a new high-style door in one of America’s most popular architectural styles, the Craftsman door style.
    TOM: OK. Now, what’s special about the Craftsman door?
    DEREK: It’s a very clean line, straightforward; really, the hallmarks of the Craftsman architecture.
    TOM: OK.
    DEREK: It also has an optional four-block dental shelf, which can enhance this Craftsman door style.
    TOM: Now, the dental shelf is sort of that little ledge that’s right below the glass, right?
    DEREK: That is correct. Yes, it’s that – it’s the decorative feature that, a lot of times, is added to these door styles.
    TOM: Now, do you have any glass options with these kinds of doors?
    DEREK: We do. We have a variety of glass options. We have a low-e, clear-glass option and then we also have three decorative glass styles they can choose from.
    TOM: Now, I like fiberglass doors because they do really stand up to the weather, they’re more energy-efficient, they’re more durable. But do they really look like wood?
    DEREK: Yes. Fiberglass is a great choice. It’s simple. All Therma-Tru door systems look just like wood but the great benefit is they will not rot, crack or split like wood; and actually, even the Smooth-Star line, they look just like steel doors but they won’t dent, rust or corrode.
    LESLIE: What about your doors as far as energy efficiency? Are they Energy Star-rated?
    DEREK: Yes. All of our doors are Energy Star-rated.
    TOM: Hey, speaking of Energy Star, this is probably a really good time to put in an energy-efficient front door because I’m pretty sure, Derek, that they qualify for the tax credits that are a part of the new bill.
    DEREK: Yes, that’s correct. There’s a 30-percent tax credit based upon the value of the product and it’s capped at $1,500.
    TOM: Fantastic. So, you get some money off on your taxes at the same time. What about storm-resistance because, you know, we’ve had some pretty bad storms in recent years and one concern, of course, is air and water infiltration. Air, of course, impacts the energy efficiency; water, of course, is never a good thing (chuckles) unless it’s coming out of your faucet when it gets into your house. (Leslie chuckles)
    DEREK: Right. Therma-Tru offers impact-rated door systems that withstand high winds, water infiltration and forcible entry and our fiberglass doors are also available with the Tru-Defense door system for added protection against air and water leaks.
    TOM: OK. So what does that mean? What’s the Tru-Defense system?
    DEREK: Tru-Defense system is a set of components that were engineered and designed to work together.
    TOM: OK.
    DEREK: And when assembled correctly in a complete system package, it gives you the best protection against any air or water leak.
    TOM: That’s probably a really good point because systems – I mean, we don’t think of a door as a system but, really, that door has to match everything that’s around it and every time we’ve ever gotten a question from a listener about a door that was leaky or drafty, it’s because of that alignment issue. So if it’s built as a system it’s a lot – going to be a lot more stable over the years, I would think.
    DEREK: That is correct.
    LESLIE: Now, Derek, everything sounds so high-tech and fantastic. Does it require a lot of maintenance or specialized materials to keep it looking good?
    DEREK: No. That’s a great benefit about fiberglass doors; they do require very minimal maintenance and upkeep over the years. All of our finish warranties – that same-day stain-finish warranty comes with a five-year warranty, which will also – the only requirement done for an upkeep is just re-applying the protective top coat three to five years after original application.
    TOM: So you can actually stain the door in a single day?
    DEREK: Correct. Yes.
    TOM: Fantastic.
    DEREK: That is a great benefit of the same-day stain.
    TOM: Derek Fielding, Product Manager for Therma-Tru, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    DEREK: Thank you very much.
    TOM: If you’d like more information on Therma-Tru doors, you can head on over to their website at ThermaTru.com. That’s T-H-E-R-M-A-T-R-U.com.
    LESLIE: Alright. Well, while we’re talking about curb appeal, we also want to talk to you about landscaping. So up next, we’re going to share a few ideas to spruce up your yard for spring.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Did you know that adding a Therma-Tru entryway can add as much as $24,000 to what others think your home is worth? To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement, your home repair, your home decorating question. If you get on the air with us this hour, you could win a copy of our brand new book. It’s called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It’s chock-a-block full with the tips, the advice, the ideas that you need to take care of your house.
    LESLIE: And you know what? We actually have a chapter in the book – what is it called? – 0 Fabulous Fix-Ups For Your Façade. There’s too many …
    TOM: Yeah, you like that?
    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s too many Fs for me to always keep track of it but it’s a great chapter.
    TOM: Yep. And there are 30 maintenance ideas for under – that you can do under 30 minutes and also 50 decorating fix-ups that you could do for 50 bucks. So we’re all into the alliterations in this book. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
    LESLIE: And you know what? That façade chapter is really going to be super-useful, especially this time of year. You know, everybody starts looking outside and thinking about curb appeal; especially if you’re thinking about selling your home because the curb appeal really does make or break that potential sale.
    And even if you’re not selling, you know, it means a lot to take pride in how your home’s exterior looks and you want it to really look good. And it doesn’t have to be expensive and you can really change the entire front façade of your home with the right look and a clean and classic look is always in style. And you know, this can be achieved with large planters filled up with a mix of plants and flowers. Go for seasonal, local things and really make it beautiful and overflowing with life. Spring truly is about rebirth and regrowth and you want your house to reflect that.
    And don’t forget to take care of your lawn. Springtime also means frequent fertilizing and mowing to get your lawn lush and nice and green come the summertime when you really want to be laying on it and enjoying your time out there with your kids. So, get to work on the outside and make your money pit sparkle.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement, your home fix-up, your home decorating tips. We are here to get to help you get the job done.
    LESLIE: Ann in North Carolina, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    ANN: I have an upstairs and a downstairs basement that’s about – almost the full length of the house but it’s about 60 feet. And throughout the house, when you make certain steps, it just squeaks like there might be settling. I’m not really sure what’s going on.

    TOM: Ann, what kind of floor covering do you have on that first floor?

    ANN: There is part linoleum and part carpet.

    TOM: OK. The carpet is a little bit easier to straighten out than the linoleum but here is the reason you have squeaks. How old is the house?

    ANN: Twenty years.

    TOM: OK, and that’s perfect timing for this. When your house was built – you probably have a plywood subfloor. The plywood subfloor would have been nailed in place with a type of nail that is known in the business as a cooler. It’s a seven-penny common nail. It’s called a cooler because it’s rosin-coated with like glue and as – the theory goes that as you drive the nails through the plywood into the floor joist, the glue melts because of the friction and then helps the nail stick in place. Unfortunately, what happens is it doesn’t stick in place but because it’s rosin-coated, whenever the boards get loose they make a terrible noise because of the friction.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: So you’ll get noises as the nails pull in and out of the wood. You’ll also get noises as the tongue and groove of the plywood subfloor rub together. No matter where the noise is though, it’s always fixed the same way and that’s by securing the subfloor to the floor joist better.

    Now, if you have carpet and it really, really bothers you, the best way to do this is to pull the carpet up and then screw the floor down with case-hardened screws. It’s a very easy thing to do once the carpet is pulled up because these screws can be put in with a power drill and a power driver and zip, zip, zip – you know, about every 24 inches …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s if you’re wanting to pull up the carpet.

    TOM: Yeah, that floor will never, ever move again.

    Now, if you don’t want to pull the carpet up, I’ll give you a little trick of the trade. You can take a #10 galvanized finish nail and you can find the floor joist below the carpet by using a stud finder.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) A stud finder.

    TOM: Electronic stud finder. And you can drive the nail through the carpet, through the subfloor into the floor joist and as you do that the carpet will sort of look like it’s nailed down. Then you grab the nap of the carpet and pull it back up through the tiny head of the finish nail and you don’t see it again. Now, that will work but not as well as screwing it down and I wouldn’t do it on the entire house; I would do it in a couple of spots. But that’s the way that you deal with this; you’ve got to secure the subfloor down.

    Now, in the places where you have linoleum, the easiest thing to do there might be to work this from the basement and see if there are gaps between the subfloor and the top of the floor joist. In those cases, I would take a block of 2×4 material and I would use construction adhesive and I would glue it to the bottom of the subfloor and the side of the floor joist and I would screw those blocks in place in the area where the noise is and that will tighten that up and hopefully take the sound away because you can’t work on that from the top, obviously.

    ANN: Oh, OK. So …

    TOM: And that’s all there is to it.

    ANN: (chuckling) Sounds like a big project there.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Not too bad.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, you’ve got loose floors. Listen, if you’re ever going to replace that carpet that’s the time to do this. If you’re ever going to pull the carpet up and get new carpet down, I would screw all the subfloor down in the whole house at that time and you’ll never have a squeak again.

    ANN: Well, we have been thinking about hardwood floors. This would be a good time.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it would be and …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It would be a perfect time.

    TOM: And believe me, the squeaks will happen right through the hardwood floor so make sure you pull that carpet up. You get all that subfloor screwed down nice and tight before you put the hardwood down, Ann.

    ANN: OK. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Hopefully, it’s a little quieter now in North Carolina at Ann’s house. (Leslie chuckles)
    LESLIE: Sherry in Arkansas has a question about cleaning air ducts. What can we do for you?

    SHERRY: Yes, ma’am. We have an older mobile home and I was wondering about how we would go about cleaning the air ducts because we’ve possibly gotten some leaks in them that possibly need to be repaired.

    TOM: When you say leaks, do you mean air leaks?

    SHERRY: Yes, and it’s an older mobile home that’s got – it’s got central heat and air and some of the ductwork in the floor is – I guess it’s got some leaks in it because we can feel the cool air underneath the mobile home.

    TOM: Alright. Well, that would be the weather-stripping between the ducts and where it attaches to the house. So, the first thing to do is you’ll need to have a duct-cleaning company – because there’s special gear involved here, Sherry. There are special vacuums and brushes that get inside the ducts and scrub them out. But the other thing that has to be done here is you may have to do some repair to that, so you might have to have an HVAC contractor go inside or underneath the mobile home and try to find the place where the gaps are.

    Now, I will warn you that most of the time contractors will seal ducts with duct tape but that’s not the right product to use.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It dries out.

    TOM: It dries out and falls out and that’s why you get these gaps. You want something called UL-181 tape which is not going to dry out based on the heat. It’s a silver, foil-faced tape that’s much more permanent than the standard duct tape.

    SHERRY: Oh, OK. Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Is there a fungus among us? We’re talking about that fungus that grows on roofs that makes it looks really nasty and dirty. Do you have a roof in your neighborhood that looks like that? Is it your roof? We’re going to give you the sure-fire solution, next.

    (theme song)
    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: Ready to tackle your spring home improvement to-do list? Make sure you’ve got all the bases covered. We’ve got the info on exactly what you need to do, when and why. Just visit MoneyPit.com and search on spring projects.
    LESLIE: And while you’re there, click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and you can e-mail us your question so we will give you the exact answer that you were looking for, right off the bat. We’ve got one from Norman here in Tuxedo, New York who writes: “I have some fungus growing in three different areas of my roof. I also have some fungus on one out of fifty trees. The tree is not near my house. What is your opinion on getting rid of the fungus from my roof?”
    TOM: Well, Norman, I’ve got news for you. The one, single fungused tree is not infecting your roof. However, the other 50 that are surrounding your house just might be creating the perfect conditions for that fungus to grow.
    Generally, if you have a lot of shade over a roof, you will get a fair amount of roof fungus and this is the dark green, mossy-looking stuff. Some people call it mold; it’s really a fungus. It seldom actually harms the roof although it can cause the shingles to sort of tear …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: … and maybe form a leak. But what you need to do is a couple of things. First of all, you need to wash down that roof. There are a variety of products that will kill it. You need to get rid of what’s there and the second thing – and perhaps more important – cut back some of those trees. You need to create some more sunlight. Sunlight is the most natural fungicide …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: … out there and if you cut back the trees, allow a little light to get on that roof, you will find that it stays a lot cleaner for a lot longer.
    LESLIE: And you would be surprised. You know, if you find a good tree man who knows exactly how to thin out the type of tree that you have, it’s not going to make the tree look sparse. It’s going to make the tree look as nature intended it to and it’s also going to help extend the lifespan of the tree, because you don’t want them to get any sort of illnesses from an infected branch.
    So get those branches thinned out; your trees will look great, your roof will be less moldy and your trees will thank you.
    TOM: Well, while you’re getting around to tackling those spring cleaning projects, did you happen to notice that your favorite collection of plates or your photos are collecting a whole lot of dust? You can let those favorite items see the light of day. In today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word, she’s got some tips on a great idea for a unique way of displaying those tiny tchotchkes that do seem to be nothing but big, fat dust collectors in your house. (Leslie chuckles)
    LESLIE: Maybe to you, but I believe that a collection should be displayed. If it is something that is worthy enough of your love and attention to scour the internet, the flea markets – whatever it is, wherever it is that you find your beloved items – you should show them off. And even if collecting, for you, is family photos and picture frames, you really should find a beautiful way to display these items.

    So, whether you’ve got photos, plates, platters, give them a more dimensional look by surrounding them with an ornate frame. Head over to a vintage shop, yard sale and take a look at those beautiful frames that have no glass, that have no items in them. Even if they’re kind of like a weird stain or an odd, painted color, you can really make them uniform-looking, even if one frame is very broke and one frame is – I don’t know – straight. If you paint them all the same color and then sort of hang the empty frame on the wall and then put your decorative plate on the inside, you’ve suddenly given beautiful, visual interest to this collection that maybe you are the only one who saw love in and you’ve made it something that’s eye-catching and well-intended.

    So, get those items out, think about creative ways to put them up on the wall and enjoy them and then make everybody else fall in love with them, too.
    TOM: Now we know why your Elvis plate collection looks so darned good in your house.
    LESLIE: Well, thank you very much.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
    Coming up next week on the show, we’re going to talk about how to choose the right kind of lumber for your outdoor projects. Are you thinking about building a deck, building a play set or some other project in your backyard? You need to make sure that you use wood that is safe for your family and your pets. We’ll tell you which kind is best, on the next edition of the program.
    I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Helping you build big dreams.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 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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