Spring Cleaning Things that Never Get Cleaned, Using Kitchen Items as Organizing Tools and more

  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And what are you working on this beautiful spring weekend? We’d love to hear about just that. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974, especially if you’ve got a question about how to get a project done. Is it a décor project? Is it a structural project? Is it a repair project? Is it a new kitchen? Is it a new bath? All great topics to talk about on today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, coming up on our to-do-list, even if a big spring cleanout is in store, some things can easily get overlooked. So we’re going to have tips to help you learn how to clean some of the stuff in your house that really never gets cleaned.

    LESLIE: Yeah, like the vent hood over your range, right? Do you ever take a look under there? I mean it gets pretty grimy.

    TOM: Not pretty.

    LESLIE: No. It’s actually kind of gross. So we’re going to give you some advice on how to get it looking great and working better, too.

    TOM: Plus, this hour, we have a fantastic prize. We’ve got a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators, a great source for hundreds of varieties of flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and even wood-look tile. That’s going out to one caller drawn at random. So if you’ve got a floor project in store, this is your opportunity. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Donna in Washington, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    DONNA: I live in an old – it’s two-story, cedar-shingle house. And anyway, years ago I used to be able to put Olympic stain on it and I kept up the stain. But then they changed the law where I couldn’t stain anymore. So it was painted in the late – oh, probably ’99. Well, now the paint started peeling, so I had – one of my sons came and pressure-washed it.

    This was about two years now but he couldn’t get all the paint off. And it’s flaky and because of the shingles in these little grooves, you can’t get it all out. And I live in a two-tone house: a brown stain where the paint’s peeling and the green where the paint’s not peeling.

    And it looks terrible. And I’ve called – I’ve phoned two different contractors and gave them the address and they must have just come by and looked at it. And they never even called back, let alone stopped by.

    TOM: Chased them off, huh? Yeah.

    DONNA: Yes. Plus, they have to have a special license because the house is so old it has to be – in this state anyway, it costs them thousands and thousands of dollars because – or in case there’s lead outside in the paint. Well, it was stained, not painted.

    TOM: So, you know, aside from all the drama associating with this, it’s really quite a basic problem. When you have all of these layers of paint that are on the material over all of these years, at some point you’re going to lose adhesion to the original substrate, which is the cedar. The only solution, in that case, is to remove the paint to get down to the originally natural wood.

    So, pressure-washing it is fine for the loose stuff. But beyond that, you’ve got to scrape and sand. Because you’ve got to get some of that natural wood to kind of show itself through the remaining stained areas that are painted. Because once it’s ready – truly ready – where you’ve got all the loose stuff off and your surface has been abraded properly, then you can apply an oil-based primer. And the purpose of the primer is kind of layer – it has different qualities than paint.

    Primer is the glue that makes the paint stick. And so, if you use an oil-based primer on there, you’ll get very good adhesion to the cedar. Once that thoroughly dries, then you can paint on top of that. And the top coat of paint does not have to be oil-based but the primer does. That’s what’s going to give the adhesion. But you can’t just keep putting good paint over bad paint, otherwise the problem of peeling will just continue to repeat itself. Does that make sense, Donna?

    DONNA: OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rich in Massachusetts on the line who needs some help cleaning the bathroom. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    RICH: I live in a three-family house and I find that the bathroom is collecting over the walls – the ceramic-tile walls – the floors, which are those self-adhesive tiles, as well as the faucets – the metal faucets – as well as the door leading into the bathroom – it’s collecting a white film, like a residue, all over that area that I just described.

    The room is vented. I’m not – I can’t swear that that vent does work. It’s a vent/fan combo.

    TOM: And does the fan activate when you – can you turn it on and hear it?

    RICH: Yeah, you can hear it, so I’m assuming that it’s doing its job.

    TOM: And do you know where that vent fan is exhausting?

    RICH: Outside, to the other side of the wall, to the exterior of the …

    TOM: And if you go outside and the vent fan is on, can you see the flapper sort of propped open on it?

    RICH: Well, you know what? It’s on the third floor, so it would be tough to get a vantage point, unfortunately, for me.

    TOM: Perhaps you can do it with a pair of binoculars.

    Here’s the thing: if you don’t have a good, strong ventilation in that unit – in that bathroom – you’re going to have a lot of moisture hanging in the air and that’s going to settle on all those surfaces and dry. And if there’s mineral deposits inside that water, as there often is, you’ll get that white, kind of crusty, powdery sort of look sitting on everything. It cleans up nice with a vinegar-and-water solution because it breaks down the mineral salts. But I think better bathroom ventilation is going to be the key.

    So I would make sure the bath fan is working and working well. And I would also put it on a timer, Rich, so that when you step out of the shower in the bathroom, that it runs for another 5 or 10 minutes to pull out all that moisture.

    RICH: That’s a good idea. So what am I looking at, technically, then? That white residue. Is that some aspect of the mineral deposit drying or something?

    TOM: That’s exactly what it is. Mineral salts, actually.

    RICH: OK. So, a vinegar/water combo, you’re telling me, cleans it up.

    TOM: Yeah. Most of the commercial products will work, too, but just a – if you just mixed up some white vinegar with water and wiped it down, you’ll see it’ll pull right off.

    RICH: OK. And then does it point towards the ceiling fan not doing its job?

    TOM: Yes.

    RICH: I really appreciate it putting it in real simple terms for me to understand. And you know it’s an important room. And because it’s an important room, if it keeps looking crusty like that, it just affects your whole disposition. So I’m really glad I called and I appreciate the input and the help you gave me. And I’m going to look right at that ceiling fan and check it out and make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

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

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

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, we’ve got cleaning tips and tricks for those overlooked spaces in your home.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Here to help you tackle your home improvement project questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and perhaps to give you this hour’s prize: a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. You’ll be able to choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile, all at unheard-of prices. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose some finishing touches for your flooring project and you can use your gift certificate on a variety of moldings and grills to cover those necessary expansion gaps and transitions.

    You can redeem that gift card at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Call 1-800-HARDWOOD to find the nearest location to you or pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Susan in Texas is on the line with a water question. What’s going on?

    SUSAN: My daughter has a country home she just purchased and there’s a 900 foot-deep water well on it. And she wanted to know, does she need to use a water softener or a carbon filter for the drinking water? And also, how much electricity would that use, that water well?

    TOM: Well, the first thing she needs to do is to have a comprehensive water test done. Was that done?

    SUSAN: I believe so because they had inspectors come out. But I don’t remember what she said.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I wouldn’t believe anything unless I had a result back from a water-testing laboratory. That’s going to tell you what kind of treatment you need to do locally. So, the first thing she needs to do is to get a water test done – a thorough water test done – that’s going to check for all sorts of contaminates and pesticides and that sort of thing. And then based on that, you can determine what you want to do to treat the water. But you just don’t start treating it first. You start with the test and the test is what determines what needs to be treated. Make sense?

    SUSAN: Yes. Lots of sense, yes.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bob from Rhode Island on the line. What can we help you with today at your money pit?

    BOB: Well, my money pit is a house, actually. And usually is everybody’s money pit, I guess. I’ve got a – the family’s homestead – it’s been in the family since 1948. And I’m in the process – I gutted it all out. I’m down to the studs, so I took all the studs and the – I mean I’m sorry. I took all the plaster and the laths off the walls and the ceilings. And I’m looking at these two chimneys in the house. It’s a two-and-a-half decker house. And I’m trying to decide if I want to eliminate the chimneys.

    You know, the new boilers today, they’re all direct-vented and I’ve got to do the roof anyway. So I’m saying, is this the time to remove the chimneys? What do you think?

    TOM: Well, I think it might be. If you want to get rid of the chimneys, it could be the time to do it. Do you feel like the chimneys contribute to the aesthetics of the house?

    BOB: Well, that’s a thought, too. That’s part of the reason why I’m calling is because I’m – they kind of do, in some way. And so I’m looking at – when I tear the – when I tore the walls out, I exposed the chimney. I do like the brick but then again, I can change the layout of the kitchen without one of the chimneys. The one in the kitchen is quite large, so …

    TOM: Do these come up through the middle of the house or they come up the outside wall?

    BOB: No, they’re in the middle. Not in the middle but they’re inside. They’re all in …

    TOM: OK. So that’s not so bad, yeah.

    BOB: Yeah, they’re not like a newer house where they were outside – on the outside of the house, no.

    TOM: And your furnace, your water heater, they’re all direct-vent today, so they’re completely disconnected from the chimneys themselves?

    BOB: Well, they’re not now. I’m going to replace them. I’m going to put a Navien system in and …

    TOM: OK. Alright. So you’re going to use a PVC, probably, vent pipe to take that up and out.

    BOB: Correct. Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Well, listen, if you – it does make sense to remove the chimneys. They are, obviously, a maintenance headache and a source of many leaks. Since you’re doing the roof, now is the right time to do that.

    Removing the chimney is not as difficult as you might expect, because it’s basically like taking apart the building blocks. You start at the top and knock those bricks loose and take them down one at a time until you get below the top of the chimney. Probably go right down to the attic floor, I would imagine, so that it’s not in the middle of the attic. And then go ahead and resheathe that roof, fill the hole in. And once they roof over, it’ll be a distant memory.

    BOB: And the funny thing is, as you said, that’s the proper way. But years ago, I had a friend of mine helping me doing another house and my – and it was a three-decker. And I told him, “I want to remove the chimney.” And all of a sudden, I hear this ridiculously loud noise. Sounded like a locomotive. He went down to the basement and knocked out the chimney and it’s a wonder he didn’t get killed. The entire chimney came all the way down to the basement.

    TOM: The whole thing came down?

    BOB: Yeah. He was entirely covered in soot. It’s a wonder he didn’t get killed. The entire basement was full of brick.

    TOM: Yeah, well, let’s hope he learned his lesson.

    BOB: Yeah. Well, good. Well, thanks for the advice. And I love your show. I listen to it every weekend on WPRO-AM in Rhode Island.

    TOM: Well, you are very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, spring is the traditional start of new things and that’s why we take on cleaning in a big way around this time of year. It’s a time that many of us look forward to but often, the hardest part is deciding what to clean and how.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time now for this week’s Spring Cleaning Tip, presented by The Home Depot.

    Now, one thing that I like to do is take on a deep cleaning that I probably have neglected during the winter months. So, I like to move the furniture around, pick up all the area rugs, empty and clean the refrigerator. In fact, now is a really good time to move all your appliances to get grease and grime out of all the crevices that are behind them.

    TOM: It’s also important to stay organized when you do this or you’ll be bouncing from one room to another. Focus on each room and carry everything you need in a bucket or a caddy. And remember: you might not get to it all in a weekend, so pace yourself.

    LESLIE: And that’s your Spring Cleaning Tip, presented by The Home Depot. For your cleaning needs and more, check out the HDX brand at The Home Depot. HDX offers microfiber towels that are super soft and lint-free, which makes them great and safe for all surfaces. They come in many sizes. The extra-large size is perfect for those extra-tough jobs.

    TOM: And we’re here to help you with your tough home improvement jobs. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: We’re going to talk with Dot in Wisconsin who’s got a decking question. How can we help you with your project?

    DOT: Yes. My deck is located on the south side of my house and every year, we’ve been putting a paint on it. And it’s where we get a lot of sun. And I’m wondering if there’s a special kind of paint I should use, because it peels a lot.

    TOM: So, there are special paints for decks. And if you’re continuing to put more coats of paint on the old deck, my concern is that you’re never going to get good adhesion. You may have too many coats of paint on that now.

    Are you using paint or stain, Dot?

    DOT: I believe it’s a paint.

    TOM: I’m afraid, at this point, what you really need to do is to remove that paint so you can get down to the original wood. Because you can’t put good paint over bad paint; it’s going to continue to peel. And once you get down to that wood, then you should prime it and then paint it.

    But if you’re able to get most of the paint off – and perhaps you can because, apparently, it’s not sticking well, where you really don’t have too much left – then I would recommend not using paint on it. I would use solid-color stain. It’s still going to give you a continuous color but it’s going to absorb better into the wood and it’ll kind of fade rather than peel. And I think that’s what you’re shooting for.

    DOT: OK. Is there a certain type of product to remove the stuff that’s on there now?

    TOM: Yeah, there’s a wide variety of paint strippers out there. I would look for one of the citrus-based products and try that. You’re going to – you may have to try a couple of them until you find the one that works best with your particular deck.

    DOT: OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Don in Pennsylvania is on the line with a roofing-and-ventilation question. Tell us what’s going on.

    DON: We live in a house. It’s about 60 years old now. It has gable vents in the attic, regular style roof. And anyway, the roofer suggested that when the house was reroofed, that we put a full-length ridge vent in the house. The house is an L-shape with (inaudible at 0:15:30) that actually makes the back a T.

    So, anyway, the first year after the roof was changed, went through winter, wound up – we noticed discoloration in the ceiling – in the Armstrong ceiling in our office. And so I went upstairs and found out there was 2 inches of snow in the attic.

    TOM: Uh-oh.

    DON: So I wondered, did we go to the point of having too much ventilation? Because we never had trouble before.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s really not possible to have too much venting done.

    Now, the type of vent – ridge vent – that the roofer put in, what he should have put in is something called a “filter vent.” And a filter vent basically has a filtering material, right inside the ridge vent, that’s designed to be a weather filter. So it stops the snow from blowing in. If that filter part is missing, that might be the reason you’re getting a lot of snow. But as I said, if a little bit of snow is blowing in, I wouldn’t worry about it. If a lot of snow is blowing in and it’s happening a lot, then you might want to consider replacing that ridge vent with the right type.

    DON: I see. Thank you.

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

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

    SANDY: Yes, I was calling to ask about building a garage. My husband and I just bought a home. It’s a two-story Colonial but there’s no garage and we’re trying to decide detached, attached, with or without a breezeway. We know we want it to be oversized but we’re trying to decide which would be the most efficient and convenient choice to go with.

    TOM: So, it’s as much an architectural question as it is a structural question, because you’re trying to figure out what’s going to fit best with the property. So that amount – that involves looking at the house itself in terms of its design and also looking at the neighborhood to determine what’s going to fit in well. Because it’s OK to have the nicest house on the block but it’s not OK if it’s that much nicer that the rest of the neighborhood pulls it down in value. Does that make sense?

    SANDY: Yes. And I think the rest of the homes are very, very similar except they have garages.

    TOM: OK. Well, then that’s a good model for you to follow.

    SANDY: OK.

    TOM: Now, if you have the breezeway, then obviously you’re going to have more functional space. So I’m not quite sure what we can do to help you with this question, because it’s really a design that you have to kind of agree on with your husband and then set apart building it. When it does get built, it obviously has to be built by a pro, in accordance with all of the local regulations, which are going to probably require that you havea set of architectural plans.

    SANDY: OK.

    TOM: So, you might just want to start with that because an architect – architects can help you look at the options very easily with the computer programming they use today and give you a chance to look at it from several different angles, both outside and inside, in terms of available storage space and in different configurations.

    SANDY: OK. Also, we need to replace the roof on the home, so I was thinking making it an attached or with a breezeway. Kind of makes it a little bit more efficient. As we replace the roof on the home, we’d be putting the roof on the garage, as well.

    TOM: OK. Well, it would make sense for you to do the entire roof and have that folded into the same project. And then you could, in fact, fold it into the same financing, too, if you’re financing the project. So, yeah, I’m all for planning those projects to be done together. Because when the roofing team is on site, that’ll be the most cost-effective way to get it all done.

    SANDY: OK.

    TOM: And have it match.

    SANDY: OK.

    TOM: You know, we did our roof in the last year and we did everything but the garage. And the garage really didn’t need it but seeing that brand-new, beautiful roof on the house, I just decided that I would ignore the fact that I had a few years of life left on my garage roof. And we did that, as well, which is why we always say that the three most expensive words in home improvement are “might as well.”

    SANDY: Right. Right.

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

    LESLIE: Up next, would you like to take that same kind of comfort that you enjoy inside your house – you know, during the chilly weather months – outside for the spring and summer? Well, you can by building an outdoor living room. We’ll tell you how, next.

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    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: Well, spring is the season we get to step outside and start to celebrate that season of warmer weather as we head into summer. And there’s no better place to do that celebrating than in your own outdoor living room.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we’re not just talking back deck or patio but really talking all of the same kind of elements that make you cozy indoors but bringing them outside to create that comfort you’ll enjoy all season long. So with us to help get started is our friend, Sarah Fishburne, the director of Trend and Design for The Home Depot.

    Welcome, Sarah.

    SARAH: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, Sarah, we just used to call this “outdoor living” but now we’re really going full bore with outdoor living rooms, right? Because there’s pretty much nothing that you can’t bring outside these days with the right materials.

    SARAH: Yeah, that is exactly right. People are definitely wanting to expand from that indoor. They spend so much time inside working long hours or inside 8-plus hours at work. More and more people work. So when they get home, they want to spend time outside with friends and family and just extend that season longer. So they’re definitely bringing those elements from the indoor outside.

    TOM: So let’s assume that we’ve already got the space we’re going to sort of plot out for our outdoor living room. We’ve selected our patio or we have a deck. But now we want to really make it feel comfy. So to do that, what kinds of furnishings and other elements can we add to that to really help us enjoy this space more than just, say, a lawn chair?

    SARAH: Right. So it’s absolutely being done exactly how you would decorate inside. So you’re creating spaces within your outdoor space. So, if you have a bigger patio, you can actually do multiple zones where you can have a dining area, as well as a seating area. But if you only have space for one, then you kind of decide. Are you going to eat out there more? Are you going to relax? And then that kind of just dictates the kind of furniture that you want to put in.

    But it really is about creating that space. And it can be done through, you know, putting that deep-seating patio set out there, kind of creating a zone. Buy an outdoor rug for a pop of color, just like you would do inside a house and then all those fun pieces. So, it’s not about having a patio set that is all matched together. But you can really creative and do things with poufs – outdoor poufs – or garden stools or benches in place of a typical cocktail table. That’s where we’re seeing people being really creative in how they’re decorating outside.

    LESLIE: You know, Sarah, I think throw pillows are probably a great way to bring color outside too, right?

    SARAH: It is a good way. So that’s where you can really add personality and kind of your flavor for the outside. You can have fun with it. Different patterns or colorways. But that’s a great way to add some pop of personality.

    TOM: We’re talking to Sarah Fishburne – she’s the director of Trend and Design for The Home Depot – about ways you can expand your outdoor living room.

    LESLIE: Now, Sarah, it’s important, though, when people are shopping for any sort of outdoor furnishings or outdoor décor items that they are buying pieces specifically made for the out-of-doors, correct?

    SARAH: That is correct because you don’t want anything – the sun’s really hard on products outside, as well as water, so you definitely want to use outdoor products for the outside.

    TOM: Sarah, what about the colors that are hot this season? They shift every year. What are consumers looking for in terms of the colors that they’re going to bring into that space that will complement the exterior?

    SARAH: Yeah. So it’s very similar to what we’re seeing inside. It’s all about blues and it’s just about any imaginable color from navy and denims to even mineral and misty blues. So a lot of blue is being shown outside. And then you’re seeing pops of color being coordinated with that, from reds to pops of yellows, even a blush/coral red. But a lot of blue is the big trend right now.

    LESLIE: I think people miss a lot of opportunities, as well, to add in these fun, little containers around their outdoor rooms. Because that gives you a chance to really bring in a lot of fresh color, as well. And it kind of keeps that color going all season.

    SARAH: It is a great way to add color to the garden and the outdoor patio space. And that’s where you can have some fun and you can do different heights, do different patterns and textures, as well as different colors and container gardens. And that’s where a lot of times – people just sometimes don’t think about what plants you’re actually planting. But you want them to also coordinate with that whole outdoor oasis. So that’s a really great way that you can add some color and some personality to a garden. And then you can change it, as the season goes, from long summers into the fall.

    TOM: So, Sarah, we’ve covered the furnishings and maybe some areas of color but what about all those fun accessory pieces? I mean the fire pits and the lanterns and that kind of stuff. What’s new in that area?

    SARAH: Yeah. So, people are definitely taking a page from the indoor and they’re not just leaving the outdoor space empty. They’re putting tabletop lanterns with LED candles, they’re putting string lights up, as well. They’re bringing out a fire pit when the nights get cool. So they’re definitely taking it one step further and kind of, again, taking it to the next level of those little, decorative details.

    TOM: Sarah, you have so many fantastic ideas and I’d like to let our audience know that you actually have a blog post. You’ve contributed to MoneyPit.com. That’s online, right now, on our home page at MoneyPit.com, where you cover all of those great trends in outdoor living.

    Sarah Fishburne, director of Trend and Design for The Home Depot, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    SARAH: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, my little organizing secrets using kitchen items to store your supplies. Would you believe that a muffin tin can work really well as a jewelry organizer? We’ll share that and some more organizing hacks, coming up.

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    LESLIE: And beautiful Bellawood up to $2 off a square foot, plus clearance prices on vinyl plank, wood-look tile and more. And special financing.

    TOM: Visit LumberLiquidators.com to find a store near you and get to the Famous April Sale today.

    ANNOUNCER: Introducing the latest innovation in construction adhesives: new LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface. Glass, metal, wood, whatever your job, LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It bonds almost everything to everything. LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It has an instant grab time, performs just as well in blistering heat as it does in biting cold and works on even the most water-drenched surfaces indoors and out. LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface Construction Adhesive. Don’t just glue it, Fuze*It. Available exclusively at The Home Depot.

    TOM: Building a warm and charming fire pit on your patio is a much easier project than you think.

    Hi. I’m Tom Kraeutler. With easy-to-stack RumbleStone blocks from Pavestone, you can create the perfect size fire pit for your space in less than an hour. The four different-size blocks are stacked without mortar, in almost any shape, to create a beautiful, old-world style fire pit. It’s that simple. RumbleStone is available at The Home Depot and you can find instructions for this project and many easy RumbleStone projects at Pavestone.com.

    ANNOUNCER: Introducing LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface Construction Adhesive. Glass, metal, wood, whatever your job, LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It bonds almost everything. LIQUID NAILS Fuze*It All Surface Construction Adhesive. Don’t just glue it, Fuze*It. Available exclusively at The Home Depot.

    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.

    Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We will help you with whatever it is you are working on around your home. Plus, we’re giving away a really great prize this hour. We’ve got up for grabs a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.

    You know, Lumber Liquidators has over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile, all at really unheard-of low prices. And don’t forget: you’ve got all your finishing touches for your flooring projects right there. So use your gift card on a variety of moldings and grills to cover those necessary expansion gaps and transitions. And you can actually redeem the gift card for installation, too.

    Head on over to LumberLiquidators.com or one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Or you can even give them a call at 800-HARDWOOD.

    TOM: That’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Heading out west to Hawaii where Gary has an electrical question.

    Aloha, Gary. How can we help you?

    GARY: Aloha. Thank you, guys, very much. I have a situation in my bathroom where I actually want to take an existing wall light and I want to remove it and then create a situation where I have a light on either side of the mirror. So I’ve got this one electrical feed coming out of the wall. And what I want to do is I want to kind of splice it so that I could take one wire off to the left and one wire off to the right of the mirror. And I’m trying to find out if there’s an easy way to do that or if, basically, there’s a kit that might help me do that because I’m not an electrical genius here.

    TOM: So, because you’re not an electrical genius, I don’t want you to try this yourself, OK?

    GARY: OK.

    TOM: But I will tell you that it’s a fairly easy project that any electrician could do this for you. Since you have power going to the one fixture, it’s very easy to split that off into two separate fixtures and use the same switch that the other fixture was on. So it’s a really simple project but I don’t want you doing it yourself. Because if you want to tackle a plumbing project, you can get wet; if you want to tackle an electrical project, you could get dead. So, we don’t want you to try that yourself, alright? You’ve got to use common sense.

    GARY: OK. OK. Very good. I appreciate the advice, yeah. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Carol in Oregon is on the line with some rusty water at her house. What’s going on?

    CAROL: My house is about 25 years old. I’ve lived in it for about six. My problem is well water corroding both of my toilets.

    TOM: OK.

    CAROL: And I don’t know – I’ve tried using Clorox. That doesn’t seem to work. I’m wondering if there’s something – some kind of a chemical or something – that I can put inside the tank to keep it from turning black.

    TOM: So, have your tried CLR?

    CAROL: No. What is that?

    TOM: OK. So I would look – take a look at CLR. It’s a product that’s been around for many, many years. A great company. CLR stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust. It’s specifically designed to clean rust stains from bathroom fixtures.

    CAROL: OK. Could you spell that for me?

    TOM: Yeah. C-L-R.

    CAROL: OK. Got it.

    TOM: Stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust. See? I was never a good speller but I got that one, huh?

    CAROL: Yeah. You did.

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

    Well, kitchen recirculating exhaust fans are kind of in that better-than-nothing category as far as an air-cleaning appliance is concerned. But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be kept at their peak efficiency.

    LESLIE: And that efficiency depends on you not ignoring your kitchen fan but giving it a thorough spring cleaning, just like everything else around your home.

    TOM: So to do that, you want to remove both the metal and charcoal filters in the exhaust fan and soak those metal screens and replace the charcoal filters about every six months.

    LESLIE: You also want to wipe away any grease from the underside of the hood and replace your light bulb.

    TOM: Now, if you want a better option, consider an exhaust fan that draws air out of the kitchen and vents it to the outside of your home the same way a bath exhaust fan would.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It not only can help with air quality. It can help with odors, as well as grease buildup on your cabinets and soffits.

    TOM: And your kitchen will be so much more pleasant as a result.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Steven in Texas needs some help with a cabinet project. What can we do for you?

    STEVEN: Yes. So my wife has challenges with chemicals, like formaldehydes and glues and paints that they put in kitchen cabinets, the new ones. And I was wondering if you had any idea what a person could use that you could get away from those types of chemicals in cabinets.

    TOM: So you’re looking for a cabinet manufacturer that is sort of formaldehyde-free and VOC-free? Is that correct?

    STEVEN: Yeah, that’d be right. Yes.

    TOM: Steve, that’s an interesting question because when it comes to kitchen cabinets, so many of the products that go into kitchen cabinets have the potential to have VOCs or volatile organic compounds in them. Because you can start with the boards that are used to build the cabinets. If they’re a pressboard or a composite board of some sort, that may have formaldehyde in it, for example. Then you have the finishes and on and on and on.

    I think what you want to do is you want to look for kitchen cabinetry that is built to meet the new CARB 2 standard. That’s C-A-R-B – 2 standard. That stands for the California Air Resources Board and that’s a standard that measures the level of those types of toxins in cabinetry. And so if you search for kitchen cabinets that meet that standard, I think that’s a good place to start.

    STEVEN: Well, generally, I do like maybe some metal cabinets, you know. That would look nice in a kitchen. Would you have any ideas on something like that?

    TOM: Well, you’d still have finishes on metal cabinets that would have some of the same issues.

    STEVEN: Yeah.

    TOM: I haven’t seen metal cabinets in a kitchen in forever. The Gladiator folks at Whirlpoolare doing a really good job these days with metal cabinetry for laundry rooms and utility areas and spaces like that. But I don’t know if that cabinet line is going to extend to the point where you’d have enough flexibility to do it in a kitchen.

    LESLIE: Well, I can share with you a vendor of a no-formaldehyde-added cabinetry. They’re actually beautiful, handmade, wooden cabinets. I’m not sure of their price point but I am familiar with the fact that they are not adding any chemicals to it. And they are very responsible in how they utilize the wood and the products that they use to make their cabinets. It’s a company out of Portland and their name is Neil Kelly. And it’s N-e-i-l K-e-l-l-y.

    And then, there was a metal-cabinet manufacturer that I was familiar with a while ago. It’s Fillip Metaland F-i-l-l-i-p. It’s sort of this new revival of some interesting, repurposed materials. And you might want to check them out, as well.

    STEVEN: OK. Well, thank you very much for the information. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, one of the biggest challenges after facing damage at home is dealing with your insurance company. Coming up, we’re going to have tips on navigating your homeowners insurance, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We’d love to get your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post it online at MoneyPit.com or at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. And that’s what Liz did.

    LESLIE: Alright. Liz writes: “We recently discovered our refrigerator water line had been leaking for some time. My biggest concern is that previous owners laid the kitchen tile and the wood flooring on top of an original layer of tile. And I’m concerned that there may be some water trapped.”

    TOM: I can understand your concern, Liz, but the situation is this: if the leak has been fixed – or the moisture that’s inside that sort of flooring sandwich that you described will evaporate out. It will dry out and not be an ongoing issue. The one thing you might want to think about doing, though, is contacting your homeowners insurance company. They may – with a big may – cover this as a repair because plumbing leaks are covered. However, the kind that start really small and go on forever and you just ignored it, that kind’s not covered. So it’s going to be a maybe whether they’re going to cover it or not. But it’s definitely worth asking.

    And also, most importantly, check that floor structure. If it feels weak or spongy, you’re going to have to cut it out anyway and repair the rotted areas.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a post from Tim who writes: “I inherited a home that’s not been occupied in over five years. Electricity is questionable in two rooms. I’m not sure about HVAC and there’s been water in the basement. Floors, walls, ceilings look good but the roof has three layers on it. Should I repair it or get rid of it as is? I’m not a handy person and I don’t have a big budget.”

    TOM: You know, it’s never a bad thing when you inherit a house, Tim. So even if it is a real life money pit, none of the things you mention are really insurmountable. I mean if the basic foundation and framing and roof are intact, then everything else is fixable. 

    Now, even though these things can be fixed, it’s also a question of economics, skills and time. So if the projects are really too much for you, you might consider selling the home as is. But don’t give it away. These are problems that are easily repairable with the right skill set and the right budget.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Tim, the problems that you mentioned are entirely repairable and for far less than the value of a new home. So even that wet basement, take it for what it is. You’ve got a great place to fix up.

    TOM: Well, spring is a good season to clean your closet. But if you’ve got a lot of accessories, it can be hard to find places to keep them all organized. The solution might be to repurpose some of your common household items. Leslie explains how, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. You can actually use kitchen items to organize your bedroom closet.

    Now, example here: a rolling pin. It makes a perfect bracelet or even a watch holder. You can also use shower rings on your hanger and then you can put things like scarves or belts or ties right there. So you can see everything and it actually gets it off of the floor or out of a drawer.

    Now, get this: muffin tins. You can use them to store little trinkets, like your pins or your earrings. And you can even use them for cufflinks or tie pins or even just to sort your spare change. I know I have this catch-all drawer and I throw one of those in there and it kind of makes everything much easier so that it’s easier to find things and keep things tidy.

    Now, toilet-paper rolls that you toss away, those are perfect to keep your tights from getting snagged in your lingerie drawer. You just roll them up inside the tube and you can actually label on the tube what kind of pantyhose or tights are in there. And you can even do this with socks to avoid that one navy/one black problem.

    And finally, a corkboard with some cute, decorative pushpins is a great way to hang costume jewelry, like necklaces, and also makes them very easy to see when you’re getting dressed and accessorizing for the day. I know this was a very girly Leslie’s Last Word but you can adapt all of these things into your very manly life or your very kid-friendly life. Whatever it is you’ve got at your money pit, these are great ways to keep yourself organized.

    TOM: Good advice.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, one of the frustrations of a drafty house is that the heat inside your house also escapes to the outside. But what if you could trap that and reuse it? You can with an energy-recovery ventilator. We’ll tell you how that works, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2016 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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