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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    And we are here for you. If you are taking on a project this weekend, take on a call to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and let’s talk through it. Whether it’s a do-it-yourself project or a direct-it-yourself project, we want to make sure that you don’t become a do-it-to-yourselfer by taking some wrong steps as you try to get those jobs done on this fine spring weekend. So pick up the phone and call us at 888-666-3974.

    Now, one of those projects you might be planning this spring is to paint your home. And if it’s going to be the outside of your home, experts are saying that you can never go too bright if you choose the right shade. So we’re going to have some tips for picking the best bold colors for your home’s shutters, trim, siding and roof, coming up.

    LESLIE: And after you paint your house or even after you don’t paint your house, you’re probably going to be ready for some outdoor spring relaxation. But is your deck ready? We’re going to have some tips to make sure it’s in shape before that first get-together or barbecue.

    TOM: And nothing kills a DIY mood like having to strip and sand before painting. But you’ll never have to go through all that again with a brand-new paint that’s out that adheres to any surface. We’ll tell you all about it.

    LESLIE: And most do-it-yourselfers dread electrical work that’s behind the walls or they’re just going to hire somebody else to do it for them. But it just got a little bit more manageable with Raco’s Mighty-Bite Push-EMT Connectors. Now, this is a push-to-connect technology that’s going to make the job a lot easier.

    TOM: One caller this hour is going to win a $50 Home Depot gift card. That’s enough to pick up a few Mighty-Bite connectors. So call us, right now, for your chance to win it at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FONDA : Alright. Well, thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Fonda . Good luck with that project, just in time for summer. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rich in Massachusetts on the line he 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  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 are 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 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 be part of the home improvement fun. Give us a call with your repair, décor, home improvement. Whatever you are working on, we are here to give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead, the summer is all about getting in shape and your deck is no exception. We’ll have tips to make sure yours is safe – with this week’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Shingle Siding from the Tapco Group – when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.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 it doesn’t matter if you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a pro, behind-the-wall projects can be a real hassle.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But this is where Raco’s Might-Bite Push-EMT comes in. It’s a push-to-connect technology that’s going to let you take the guesswork out while you’re putting electrical work in.

    Now, one caller this hour is going to get to see for themselves how easy it is, with a $50 Home Depot gift card. And that’s enough for several Raco connectors.

    TOM: And that gift card could be yours if we answer your question on the air this hour. Learn more about Raco at HomeDepot.com. And give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jackie in Illinois is looking for some small garden-décor tips. What’s going on? Tell us about your space.

    JACKIE: I just purchased my home. It’ll be a year the second of next month. And my yard is big enough for me but yet small enough for anybody else. What I would like to do is put a garden area up along the west side of my fence without having to dig the yard up and make the yard look real tacky. Do you have any hints, suggestions, ideas?

    LESLIE: So, you have a fence along this one wall. You want to put a garden or a flowerbed in front of that. What is the rest of the space?

    JACKIE: Well, it’s – my backyard is fenced in.


    JACKIE: And from my garage, which is on the east side of the property, clean clear to the west side, I get plenty of sunlight.

    LESLIE: OK. But is it grass? Is it patio?

    JACKIE: The biggest portion of the yard is grass. I’ve got a small patio area right next to the garage. And if I could just put a flowerbed or a place that I can put a small garden, it’s what I would like to do. I’d kind of like to use the landscape lumber but I don’t know how much to get or how to go about putting it up.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, my first thought, since you’ve got this patio area in front of the garage and the garage is probably just a blank wall of whatever the siding material is, my first thought is to do a great, little seating area in front of there.

    And you need to think about, you know, are you looking to sit at a table or do you want to sit at a small settee, a little couch area with a chair? So think about how you would like to use that space. Are you looking for eating and entertaining or more like lounging and relaxing?

    JACKIE: Mainly eating and entertaining.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So definitely a table, umbrella, some chairs there. That’s great and does not have to cost a ton of money. I mean you can find some at home centers, department stores that specialize in home décor, for very affordable amounts.

    Now, on that back wall with the garage that’s kind of lackluster, you can either do a trellis with some potted plants on either side, with a climber, like a clematis or an ivy or a night-blooming jasmine, something that will sort of grow up and out of the pots and onto the trellis.

    I did this on the side of my garage with two potted clematis and I have this beautiful, wrought-iron trellis that I found that I’ve put twinkling white Christmas lights on and the clematis sort of takes over it in the summer months and blooms and smells fantastic. And it’s just lovely to sit in front of. You can do something like that very inexpensively and very easily, as well.

    Now, as far as a flowerbed on the opposite side, you’re really not going to sacrifice that much yard space if you do dig up a portion of that lawn. And that really is the best way to do it to create a flowerbed.

    And what you can do is you can use either that landscaping lumber or even stones – river rock or fieldstones – stacked up to create a little wall for a flowerbed. Just remove that layer of grass, fill it in with potting soil and plant away. And that really is a great way to create a flowerbed. And if you go sort of creatively with your shape and edge it a bit, you’re not giving up that much lawn space.

    JACKIE: I thank you so much for your help and I greatly appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, the weather is getting nicer and soon, you’ll be spending more and more time on your deck. But before you get ready for the season of outdoor living, it’s important to make sure that the deck is in good shape. And we’ve got your checklist, with this week’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Shingle Siding from the Tapco Group.

    LESLIE: Now, deck trouble is something that a homeowner can definitely spot if you know what to look for and where to look.

    First of all, you want to look for signs of rot. Now, you can check different parts of the deck to be sure that the wood is still sound. You want to use a tool, like a screwdriver, to penetrate the wood surface. If the wood is soft and spongy, decay might be present.

    TOM: Next, check the flashing. Flashing is the metal or synthetic material that directs water out and away from sensitive areas. It’s often installed where the deck and the house come together. And keeping moisture and debris from collecting between the house and the deck is key. Be certain that the flashing is sound and firmly in place.

    LESLIE: And you want to go ahead and tighten any loose fasteners and pound in any nails that have sort of popped up over the winter season. If a fastener looks rusted or corroded, you want to consider replacing it. A corroded fastener can cause deterioration in that surrounding wood.

    And finally, the deck or the stairs should appear even without any sagging and shouldn’t sway or move when tested.

    TOM: And also, don’t forget to check your railing to make sure it’s secure. And that’s today’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from the Tapco Group. The uncompromising beauty of Grayne’s 5-inch shingle siding offers the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today. That’s G-r-a-y-n-e.com.

    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 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.” 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.

    LESLIE: Heather in Texas is dealing with a mold situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    HEATHER: Well, I have black spots in my restroom and I’m not sure if that’s mold. And I would like to know: how can he fix it?

    TOM: Without seeing it, I can’t tell you but if they’re black spots, it probably is mold. And where are these spots? Is it on the wall, shower curtain, tile? Where? Ceiling?

    HEATHER: In the wall.

    TOM: On the wall? Do you have wallpaper on the wall?

    HEATHER: No.

    TOM: What you might want to do is mix up a bleach-and-water solution, about 10- to 15-percent bleach and the rest water. Spray it on those spots, let it sit for a bit of time and then wipe it down with fresh water. So if there is mold there, that will kill it.

    The reason we usually get mold in bathrooms is because they’re wet and damp all the time. A couple of things that you can do there is – do you have a bath exhaust fan in this room?

    HEATHER: No.

    TOM: Well, you should have one. And this is one of the reasons you should have one, because it will draw air out of that room when it gets damp, especially if you hook it up to a humidistat so it’s only running when there’s moisture in the room. If you don’t have that, then the only thing that you could do is just get into the practice of wiping down walls or using a squeegee to wipe most of the water off the bath, the shower walls, that sort of thing, every single time and leaving the door open. But if you don’t have a bath exhaust fan, you’re always going to be fighting this.

    When you do repaint next time, make sure you use a paint that has a mildicide built into it because that can also further reduce the chance of developing mold. OK, Heather?

    HEATHER: OK. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Up next, there is a very fine line between being the it house on the block and the house that sticks out like a sore thumb. Now, the difference often comes down to the right color. We’re going to have some expert advice on choosing bold shades for the front of your home, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.

    TOM: Making good homes better, 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.

    And while color trends are showing us that gray – and I mean a very neutral gray – is the hot color right now for inside your house, colors for your home’s exterior are really getting bolder. And now you can use color on your outside shutters, on the trim, siding and get this, even your roof.

    TOM: That’s right. Here to tell us about the colorful roofing options available is Kate Smith. Kate Smith is the chief color maven at Sensational Color and a color-design consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes.

    Welcome, Kate.

    KATE: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.

    TOM: So is that what it says in your business card: “Chief Color Maven”?

    KATE: It does.

    LESLIE: That’s a pretty cool card.

    TOM: Well, that’s a pretty cool title. So, before we get started talking about roof colors, we mentioned that you’re a color-design consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes. Can you just explain to the audience what DaVinci does? Because their roofing product is quite unusual. It’s actually a polymer roofing tile, correct?

    KATE: Yes, it is. They make polymer slate and shake roofing tiles. And they’re fabulous because they resist impact, severe weather, hail, fire. And the best thing, as far as I’m concerned, is that they come in 50 different colors. And so, there’s an option for everyone.

    TOM: And so they look like traditional slate or shake roofing but because they’re made of a polymer, there’s nowhere near the maintenance that’s required. And I understand that they can last up to 50 years. Is that correct?

    KATE: Yes, that is. When you compare the two side by side, in the long run they just look so much better for so long. And as you said, low maintenance. So I just love the product and I’m really happy to be working with them.

    LESLIE: Now, Kate, it’s got to be intimidating. You just said there’s 50 different color choices. So, if I’m a homeowner that wants to do something a little bit different with my roof, how do I go about even starting to think of what’s going to work? Because that’s a lot of color choices.

    KATE: Well, you’re absolutely right, Leslie. And it can be a little intimidating and that’s why I’ve shared with people that are looking to add color to their exterior, especially to their roof, the way I do it. Because I work with hundreds, maybe thousands, of homeowners on their home and many, many of them – of those were with exteriors, which is actually my favorite thing to choose color for.

    And I have an approach where I start and I call it “from the top down.” Because the roof is a crucial element in your exterior home design. So I always start with looking at the roof and the other fixed features. And my approach is called FRESH – F-R-E-S-H – just like in the word fresh – FRESH Colors. And each of those letters stand for one of each of the five steps of what I’m looking at, so it helps you to remember what you want to look at when you’re working with your home.

    TOM: So, first up, Kate, you mentioned the importance of the roof. I presume that’s a fixed feature. What else is important to consider?

    KATE: Well, the other fixed features are any permanent design element of your home. This might be things like partial stone or brick or even your retaining walls. And although they’re made of different materials, you want them all to have a common color or color cast and that helps pull the exteriors together and keep it cohesive.

    LESLIE: And I think also important has got to be regional colors. I mean there are so many different styles, depending on where you are in the country, right?

    KATE: Yes. Because each region of the country has a different quality of light, different surroundings, different available materials and really, different home styles and even colors that are more accepted or work better in certain areas.

    TOM: Now, you also mentioned the importance of environment in contributing towards the color choice. How does the environment impact what choices you make?

    KATE: Well, the environment I’m talking about are the surroundings. So look around your neighborhood, look around your home. Are you in a suburban neighborhood? Are you in an urban area? Is your home near a desert, waterfront, mountains? All of these things will impact the types of colors that are going to work well. And most often, we want colors that blend into our natural surroundings.

    LESLIE: And I think the style of the home is also important.

    KATE: The style can dictate a lot about when you’re looking at what types of colors work. You’re going to put different colors on a Victorian than when – than you might on a Tudor-style home.

    And so do some research. There are a lot of great resources online. We’ve got some free resources available that I’ll tell you about. But to help determine how the style will impact the color, there are certain colors that work really well or certain types of color on different styles of homes.

    TOM: We’re talking to Kate Smith. She’s the chief color maven at Sensational Color and a color-design consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes. Kate developed a system called FRESH for help when selecting roof colors. And FRESH stands for Fixed features, Regional colors, Environment and Surrounding Style of the home and finally, perhaps my favorite topic, Historic colors.

    Leslie and I both enjoy living in very old homes. And the color of those homes is really, really important to make sure it’s going to work with that particular design, correct?

    KATE: Yes. Historic colors can also be used on more contemporary homes. They’re always favorites. These are great colors because we’ve liked them throughout history. When you have a historic home, it does help to have colors that seem to really fit with the age of your home and the style of your home. And that’s normally what people are looking for is something that gives it that good fit.

    But the H also can stand for Homeowners Association. I like to remember people that whether they live in a historic district or their home neighborhood is over – they have oversight by a homeowners association, you want to check with those organizations to make sure that the colors you select meet the requirements of the area before you paint.

    TOM: Always a good idea. We’re talking to Kate Smith.

    And Kate, you’ve actually got two books that are available for free to our listeners: FRESH Home Exteriors Color Guide and FRESH Color Schemes for your Home Exterior Guide. And those are both available at ColorMyRoof.com. That’s ColorMyRoof.com.

    Kate Smith with DaVinci Roofscapes, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KATE: Thank you for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Imagine being able to pick up a can of paint and go, no prep required. Coming up, we’re going to have advice on paint products that save time so your projects get done quicker, when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.

    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: And you know those behind-the-wall electrical projects that you put off for as long as possible? Well, they’re about to get a lot easier for one caller, because this hour we’re giving away a $50 Home Depot gift card, enough to pick up several Raco Mighty-Bite Push-EMT Connectors and Couplings.

    LESLIE: Raco push-and-connect technology is so good, it cuts down the time it takes to connect electrical conduits by 75 percent.

    TOM: Learn more at HomeDepot.com. And give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win that $50 gift card from The Home Depot at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Pam in Missouri is on the line and has a question about installing a dimmer, a great do-it-yourself project. How can we help you, Pam?

    PAM: I have a room that has fluorescent lighting in it and there’s two entries into that room. So there’s a light switch on each door, so it’s a two-way switch. Can I put a sensor on that so that when you walk in and walk out, the lights come on and go off?

    TOM: Are you asking me if you can? Can you put a sensor on that?

    PAM: Yes.

    TOM: Is your concern that you want the lights to come on automatically or is your concern that you don’t want people to leave the lights on when no one is in the room?

    PAM: Both.

    TOM: Well, I guess you could use an occupancy-sensor switch there but you would need to set it in vacancy mode, not occupancy mode. See, in occupancy mode, the light comes on when there’s motion. So if you had a three-way, what could happen is you walk in the room, the switch closest to you picks up your motion, turns the lights on. You continue halfway through the room until the one on the other side picks it up and turns the lights off, so that wouldn’t work too well.

    A better option might be to just replace one side of it – just one of the switches – with an occupancy sensor but set it in what’s called the “vacancy mode.” So what that means is you manually turn the light switch on but if there’s no motion in the room, it will automatically go off.

    So we use these, for example, in the bedrooms upstairs at our house because kids turn lights on but as we all know, kids don’t turn the lights off. So, if you set it in the vacancy mode, they can turn the lights on but then they’ll go off, depending on the period of monitoring you set. They’ll either go off 1, 5, 15 or 30 minutes later.

    PAM: Oh, OK. Alright. That would work. Thank you.

    LESLIE: So, you know that phrase “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Well, in a few weeks, The Money Pit is going to smash that rule to smithereens. That’s right: Tom and I are headed to Vegas for the National Hardware Show.

    This is an invitation-only event and the whole reason we’re going? Because we’re cool enough to score invites. No. Because it’s all for home improvement professionals and that’s us. And we’re going so we can report back to you about the coolest, new products from our Top Products Pavilion, right on the show floor.

    TOM: And we’ve been getting sneak peeks at some of the products. And one that’s caught our eye is the Krylon SUPERMAXX. It’s a spray paint that eliminates the need for sanding, priming or prepping on any surface.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Basically, you more or less shake it and go, no matter where you’re spraying. That’s pretty awesome.

    SUPERMAXX technology is so cutting-edge that it’s going to stick, even to laminate and Plexiglas, as well as traditional materials like wood, wicker and plastic.

    TOM: Krylon SUPERMAXX at the National Hardware Show this year. You can hear more about it and other hot Krylon products on Twitter. Just follow us at the hashtag #TopProductsNHS.

    LESLIE: Jack in New York needs some help with a crawlspace. What can we do for you?

    JACK: Well, I have an area that is – was a crawlspace and we dug it out. And so it’s – we have about a 7-foot ceiling now. And I put some gravel in it and I wasn’t going to do anything but now I want to expand my shop. And I don’t really have access to where I can put concrete in it. And I was wondering if you would have any ideas.

    TOM: Well, first of all, Jack, since you dug it out down to 7 feet, how did you support the soil under the foundation wall?

    JACK: We left a step. This dirt that was in there was so compact that it was almost impossible to dig it out, so we weren’t too worried. But we did leave a step around the foundation, the footer.

    TOM: OK. Right.

    JACK: There’s about 2½ foot – we went about 2½ foot below the footer.

    TOM: That’s what we call, in our part of the country, a “Yankee basement” where it’s dug out. It’s not a joke; that’s actually what they call it. They call it a “Yankee basement” or, well, sometimes a “root cellar,” where basically you take the interior perimeter of the foundation wall, move in about 2½, 3 feet and then dig down there. So you leave this sort of berm of soil to support the foundation that’s under the footing.

    So, options for cleaning – for finishing that floor. Why can’t you get concrete into the floor? Because most times, there would be a situation where they’d set up a chute that goes right through a window and pour some concrete into that floor. That’s clearly the easiest way and fastest way to create a floor in a basement.

    JACK: Yeah, I agree with you but I really – the time to – the expense of the concrete and having – you know, doing a whole project would be pretty pricey.

    TOM: How big is the floor area?

    JACK: Well, it’s about 25×15 and then with an 8×8 jut to – on one end of it. So it’s L-shaped, basically.

    TOM: Well, I don’t have any quick ideas on how to create a hard-surface flooring when you don’t want to put concrete down there. You could frame something but I mean it would be very temporary. I would really prefer that you put concrete. And you don’t have to do – it doesn’t have to be 6 inches thick. I can be 4 inches thick and pour it in sections. But I really think you should just budget for and use concrete down there because anything else you do is going to be very substandard. It’s not going to contribute to the value of your house.

    JACK: I hear you. Yeah, it sounds like a foot (ph) I was afraid I was going to hear.

    TOM: Yeah, OK. Well, look, you got all the hard work done digging it out. I would just budget for and save up for some concrete. Get a mason to help you or get somebody that’s used to finishing concrete. And get it all poured and it’ll be done in a day.

    JACK: Oh, yeah, sure.

    TOM: It has to be done in a day because the concrete’s going to cure.

    Alright, Jack? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still ahead, Tom and I do our best to keep your house disaster-free. But sometimes we run into house troubles ourselves. I’m going to share my recent home improvement headache, when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Vigoro. The Vigoro brand offers quality products for your lawn and garden at the ultimate value. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Visit your local store today.

    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 I have fantastic news. If you missed your chance to make that Garden Sasquatch Statue yours, you might be in luck. Because SkyMall, the catalog of the skies, could be returning to airline-seat pockets soon. The in-flight catalog declared bankruptcy in January but says it’s potentially found a buyer who will continue operations, which means products like a life-size King Tut Cabinet and the classic Pet Ramp Staircase can once again be yours.

    And I know those must have been your favorite products, as well. Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: I always found it so funny. Why would you have a kitty-litter box that’s in the bottom of a potted plant so that it’s like hanging out right in your living room? But apparently they did.

    TOM: Well, hopefully, there’s a spring getaway on your calendar. For Leslie, though, her vacation was more of a cleanup than a vacation. And it’s damage she’s still dealing with and tells us all about it in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word. And all I can say is what a mess.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I don’t know if you guys have seen the video online yet. We posted it on The Money Pit page.

    So, you know how all winter long, we’re giving you advice on how to keep your pipes from freezing? Well, I had a firsthand reminder of why this is so important, a few weeks ago.

    So, my family – my mom, my sisters, brothers-in-law – we all share a house on the North Fork. It’s actually my parents’ house but we all go out there and we’ve done so for many, many, many years. And we’d been hearing from neighbors and we’d been hearing from the news out there about the damage being caused by such low temperatures we had this winter and tremendous amounts of snow.

    So, my sister and her husband had been out there a month before. And we went out there to check on the house exactly a month to the day that she had been there. And when we opened the door, I mean it was exactly what we had feared: there was water and water damage everywhere. The ceiling was on the floor, the water was just pouring. It sounded like a waterfall. We had two pipes freeze and burst at some point in the past – in that month between. And it caused a ton of damage.

    Now, luckily, there are some easy ways to get the help that you need, because there’s been so much damage in the area that it had actually been declared a catastrophe zone by the insurance company who, as you can imagine, have been in the media a lot lately. We’ve been talking a lot about the insurance involvement and what’s going on with the weather-related damages with the home.

    So, lucky for us, we got into the right hands immediately. And of course, we knew how to shut off the water immediately. We knew how to turn off the power so that the house was restored to a sort of safe, workable situation.

    Now, a few weeks out, we’ve already had the insurance adjuster there. We have had a sort of water-removal/cleaning company come in and they pretty much took every piece of furniture from the first floor and every piece of clothing, bedding, drapery from inside the house to be cleaned, to be dried out. They’re seeing what can be salvaged. The base cabinets in the kitchen? Hopefully we can just get away with replacing the toe kicks if everything dries out carefully and nicely. But worst-case scenario, we’re going to replace it.

    So it’s just a very awakening situation to remember that you want to properly winterize a home. You want to make sure that you get leak alarms on your house so that, especially if it’s a vacation home, that you know should something happen. And then you’re just a couple hours away from being there to actually fix something. There’s so much that you can do to make sure that these things aren’t going to happen and if they do happen, that the extent of the damage is not so great.

    So make sure that you stay on top of it. And we’re here to give you a hand. In this situation, it’s do as we say and not as I do, apparently. But I can’t take all the blame; it’s the entire Segrete clan. We’re going to share this one.

    TOM: There were too many cooks in that kitchen, I think.

    LESLIE: Yeah. That there’s no kitchen anymore.

    TOM: Well, you’re going to get a new kitchen, so let’s be positive about that.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Well, coming up next week on The Money Pit, that crack in your foundation can be nothing or it could be the sign of a bigger problem. We’ll have tips on how you can find, fill and fix those foundation cracks, 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 2015 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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