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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: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Spring is in the air. Soon you’ll be spending more time outside, so perhaps you might be on your deck. If your deck is not looking so great, we’ve got some tips this hour to help you get it ready for the warmer weather.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, you know, spring means a cleaning frenzy for many of us; myself included. But for those of you who are dreading this annual ritual, we’ve got a few ideas to make it a little less painful.

    TOM: I think cleaning is very painful. (Leslie chuckles)

    LESLIE: I love it. (chuckles)

    TOM: Hard to make it less painful but I’m optimistic. We’ll go with that.

    Also ahead, are you going to be sprucing up for spring? If that includes some painting, we’ve got some tips on paint that is now low-VOC, easy to use and almost odor-free. Now, if you’ve ever been trapped inside of a small room and had to paint it – like a closet or something (Leslie chuckles) like that – you will really appreciate what’s happening with the new paints that are out today. We’ll fill you all in, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away the Better Safecoat Than Sorry prize pack from our friends over at Safecoat and it’s enough stain and topcoat to transform your outdoor wood furnishings from drab to fab.

    TOM: It’s worth 145 bucks; going to go out to one caller who gets on the air with us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones; they’re lighting up.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Pat in South Carolina has a laminate flooring question. What can we do for you today?

    PAT: Well, I have a sunroom with indoor/outdoor carpeting and I’d like to put a laminate flooring over it without pulling up the carpet, because it’s been glued down.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm.

    PAT: Is that possible?

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t see why you couldn’t. You’re going to find that the floor is that much higher, that much thicker. So as long as it doesn’t cause any problem with door jambs and that sort of thing, I don’t see why you couldn’t go on top of that. You know, if you got that old carpet up and could just get enough of the glue up so that it’s relatively –

    LESLIE: Like the big chunks of it.

    TOM: – yeah, so it’s relatively flat – I’d prefer that you do it that way but if push comes to shove, you can definitely just go right on top of it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, especially with the laminate flooring, Pat. There are several different types of underlayments; it’s generally like a foam sheeting that you put down and then the laminate goes over it. So if you can get up the big chunks of carpet or big pieces of glue where you might end up with a severe bump, the foam underlayment will really even everything out and then the laminate floats over it. You’d be better off to get it up but if you can’t, no worries.

    PAT: Well, is there an easy way to get it up if it’s been glued down?

    TOM: Well, you want to grab a corner of it and start pulling it up.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And tug. (Leslie and Pat chuckle)

    TOM: And then you’re going to use a big scraper and basically scrape over every inch of that floor and scrape up some of the glue. You know, it’s a tough job; it’s laborious but it’s not impossible. And I’d much rather see you put the laminate floor down on top of the subfloor than on top of the carpet.

    PAT: Okie-doke. Well, thank you so much.

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

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

    MITCH: Well, I live in Texas. I’m in a house that – I’ve been in it for about eight years or nine years. Over time – the electrical line that comes to the house is connected to a fascia board and, from there, it goes into the meter. And over time, the weight of the electrical line, with the hurricanes we’ve had through here and stuff like that, is slowly pulling the fascia board away from the house and it’s pulling it off. And I’m worried that, before long, it’ll become disconnected and then I’ve got a serious problem with an electrical line just flying down into the yard.

    My question is: a) what are the different – obviously, what would I need to do to repair this or – and is it the phone company’s responsibility, since it’s on their side of the meter, to fix it or is it mine?

    TOM: You know, that’s a very natural question and the answer is, unfortunately, it is your responsibility. We generally think of the meter as being the point of responsibility between the electric company and the homeowner but it’s actually not the meter; it’s the splice. And all of the hardware and all of the work that it goes to attaching that line to your house – whether it’s a mast, whether it’s any other type of connection – is something that you have to take care of and you have to maintain.

    We get this question a lot when it comes to the condition of the service entry cable. Again, people think that once it goes to the meter, it’s on the electric company’s side of it. It’s not. You are responsible for the condition of that wire – up to the splice – including the hardware that it takes to attach it to your house, Mitch.

    So, what does it take to fix it? It’s definitely not a do-it-yourself job. It’s a big project. It’s a potentially dangerous project and one that I would only trust to the hands of a competent electrician.

    MITCH: OK. So, I don’t need to worry about trying to coordinate with the electric company to cut power or something while they work?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No. The electricians are used to that; they do that all the time. If it’s necessary to cut the power, they will do that. If the utility company has to come in and help stretch the wire, they will coordinate all that. It’s definitely well above and beyond the scope of what any homeowner should be doing; it should only be left to a licensed electrician.

    MITCH: Alright. Well, thank you for your advice.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Mitch. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Happy spring, everybody. It is time to tackle your spring home improvement list, so we want to help you get those jobs done right the first time. Give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. And if you’ve got a spring painting project on your to-do list, up next we’re going to tell you about some eco-friendly paint products that will make that job a whole lot more pleasant.

    (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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win our prize pack this hour. It’s from the folks at Safecoat. It includes two gallons of DuroStain and two gallons of AcriGlaze, which is a combination that’s perfect for refinishing wood furniture, wood cabinets, outdoor wood furniture. Whatever you need to do around the house that involves taking care of the wood surfaces, these products can do it. It’s worth about $145, so give us a call right now for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Pick up the phone and give us a call, especially if painting is on your spring to-do list. We want to make sure that all of your painting projects are healthy projects for you. And you know, there are a lot of paints out there that say that they’re low- or zero-VOC. Now, VOC – just so you know – stands for volatile organic compounds. And there are also paints out there with zero carcinogens and virtually no odor.

    Now, most major paint brands are rolling out these new eco-friendly painting products. So when you’re shopping for paint, be sure to inform the clerk that’s helping you that you’re particularly interested in low-odor, low-VOC paints. And if you ever have a question about what’s inside the can, you can also ask for the MSDS – which is the materials safety data sheet – which will give you all of the VOC information in the section nine area of that paperwork.

    Be informed; choose paints that are good for you and your family and you know what? They really do stand up to the test. They’re scrubbable; they come in beautiful colors. So if you’ve got a painting project anyway, choose one that’s not going to put you in harm’s way.

    TOM: And if you need some painting tips to help get that project done – maybe you’ve got a problem painting a wall in your house or a spot that’s not taking paint too well – pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Charlene in Idaho has a question about heating. What can we do for you?

    CHARLENE: I heard it said by energy experts that if you’re not using a room to shut off the registers and I was told by another person that if I shut off the registers, I was – it would be detrimental to the actual heating unit; I’m a little bit torn. Which is it?

    TOM: Here’s what you want to do, Charlene. You can shut off those vents in the rooms themselves but a more effective thing for you to do is on the duct that leads to that, there’s probably a damper built into the duct and …

    CHARLENE: Right.

    TOM: … it’s easier to turn the damper off, which will completely seal that off. It’s more effective than just the louvers that are on the heating register itself. No ill effects from shutting that off. Obviously, if it’s near plumbing, the room gets cold, you could have freezing. You know, I presume that you’re not going to do this in any room that has a thermostat in it that controls the function of the heater.

    But simply shutting them off at the dampers on the vents leading there is not going to have a terribly adverse effect on the heating system itself. The heat is only going to run as long as it needs to, to satisfy the thermostat and whether it distributes to all the rooms or not is immaterial.

    LESLIE: OK. So by shutting off the damper, it’s not just redirecting all of that forced air that would have come into that room into, say, the neighboring room.

    TOM: It’s going to basically take as much air as is supplied by the blower. Now, let me think about this. Could it maybe be a little bit faster? Probably not because it’s only going to run as long as it needs to, until the thermostat is satisfied and it’s going to shut off. If the air speed goes up, it doesn’t really matter.


    CHARLENE: The thermostat is in the hallway, so I noticed that when I did shut them off, the heater didn’t go on as much because the rooms that we were heating stayed warmer.

    TOM: Right. And it probably heated up more quickly, too.

    CHARLENE: Yeah. OK. Well, thank you very, very much. I sure appreciate that.

    TOM: There you go, Charlene. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Sarah in New York needs an opinion on a concrete patio near the ocean.

    Alright, Sarah, my opinion is: I hate you. I want to be on that patio, too. (Leslie, Tom and Sarah chuckle)

    SARAH: Oh. I don’t know what we’d do without you guys. You’re certainly welcome to come to the patio but …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, thanks so much.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks!

    SARAH: … the reason I called is we live in an older waterfront community in New York …


    SARAH: … and everybody has these decks off of the second floor and they’re made out of, I guess, steel or iron and cement. And we’ve been here five years – never had to seal it, never had to paint it, never had to do anything – and even though it’s not as attractive as wood might be, we’ve overcome that with lots of flower boxes.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    SARAH: But now we’re moving to a newer waterfront community and I’m trying to figure out is this a greener way to do a deck. Is it practical compared to the engineered wood; some things you’ve mentioned? What’s your opinion?

    TOM: OK. And you’re thinking about building one or there’s …

    SARAH: Yes.

    TOM: … one there already?

    SARAH: No. We’re thinking of building either/or; the wood or the cement.

    TOM: I don’t know how you would build the cement as an after-project; in other words, after the building has already been up. Generally, if there’s going to be a concrete patio, it’s done at the time the building is constructed because the support for that goes well underneath the …

    LESLIE: That second level.

    TOM: … second floor structure itself. So you probably are going to be thinking about doing a deck and if you’re going to do a deck – especially being out there by the ocean – what we would suggest is that you use pressure-treated lumber for the structure and then composites for the decking surface itself.

    SARAH: Uh-huh.

    TOM: The combination of those two will give you something that’s extremely structurally sturdy but something that’s very, very low maintenance.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you go with a composite, number one, you’re going to get the low maintenance factor. Because you are near the high salt content of the air, lots of moisture, any sort of regular lumber that you might put up there is just going to require a lot of maintenance, number one, to make it look good …

    SARAH: Right.

    LESLIE: … but to make it last a long time and that’s going to be pretty much a yearly chore that you’re going to have to tackle every springtime and that can be sort of tedious. So if you go with a composite, Fiberon makes one. They have an exotic series that looks like – that even it looks like that grey, weathered, beachy wood or mahogany. So that’s that Tropics line. There are several different levels to their line. They all are beautiful; they’re very durable. The website is FiberonDecking.com. They’re the best, in my opinion; super-durable, very easy to clean. Tom and I were at the Builders Show and we saw one of their newer products and we took like a Sharpie marker and wrote on top of the surface …

    SARAH: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: … and we were able to just wipe it away.

    SARAH: Oh, great. Uh-huh.

    LESLIE: So it really has a lot of thought into it to make it durable and easily cleanable, which I think is something that you’ve got sort of a high priority for.

    SARAH: Yeah, yeah.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that new type of decking is called Horizon Decking with PermaTech. That’s the coating on it that makes it so super-maintenance-free.

    Sarah, we hope that helps you out. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    SARAH: (overlapping voices) Thanks so much. OK.

    LESLIE: And enjoy your new house. We’ll be over at sunset. (Tom chuckles)

    Herb in Michigan needs some help up in the attic. What can we do for you?

    HERB: So I’m having a problem with ice jams. I’ve had it for quite a few years. On the side of my house where it’s a hip roof and – there are vents there and I’ve put extra insulation in but where the hip meets up with a room and it goes through the rafters, I get the ice melting there and then I get all the ice on the edge of the roof.

    TOM: Well, the problem is that you’re allowing – there’s warm air that’s getting up into that space and as the warm air gets up there, it’s going to melt the snow which is on the roof right above where the air escapes. That water runs down to the roof edge and because the roof edge is overhanging the exterior wall, it freezes; hence, creates a dam. And eventually, that water can back in and cause leakage.

    Now, a couple of things you do to prevent this. First of all, to stop the leaks, you use something called ice-and-water shield but that’s best done, obviously, when you’re installing a new roof. Because your roof is already in, we want to try to do everything possible to reduce the amount of warm air that’s getting up there.

    I would suggest that you increase your insulation and, secondly, you make sure that you have good soffit ventilation and ridge ventilation so that you’re letting cool air get in at the base of the roof, run up in between the roof rafters and exit at the ridge. If you have proper attic ventilation and excellent insulation, that will do – go a long way towards preventing those ice dams from forming, Herb.

    HERB: OK. Is it possible to do a power vent to pull it out faster or won’t that make any difference?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, no. If you put it – first of all, putting in a ventilation fan is a bad idea, especially even in the summer because it will actually suck conditioned air – air conditioning out at your house. It wouldn’t work because they’re on a thermostat-type switch, so that wouldn’t come on. So using a power ventilator is not nearly as effective as passive ventilation when you have a system of continuous ridge and soffit vents. A hip roof is definitely a little bit trickier to vent but it will work if you have good, open ventilation.

    HERB: OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Betty in New Jersey needs some help with a Krazy Glue situation. Are your fingers stuck together? (Betty chuckles)

    BETTY: It’s not my fingers. (Leslie chuckles) It’s my countertop.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Because I’ve had that happen to me. (chuckles) So what happened to your countertop?

    BETTY: Well, I have a laminated countertop we call Formica.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.

    BETTY: And I was – the bottle slipped out of my hand and fell on the counter and I had a drop about a size of a dime. And when I went to lift it up, you know, with something quickly – I even forgot what I lifted it with – it left a hole in my Formica.

    TOM: Oh no.

    BETTY: Yes.

    TOM: A physical hole?

    BETTY: A hole and it kind of lifted up. I have a rough spot.

    TOM: Hmm.

    BETTY: So right now, I’m covering it up with one of those things that you put hot things on, you know?

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Uh-huh.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right, right.

    BETTY: One of those square things?

    TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: So you’ve already gotten rid of the Krazy Glue and now you’re trying to patch a hole?

    BETTY: Uh-huh.

    TOM: Betty, there’s a product called SeamFil, S-E-A-M-F-I-L. And there are lots of distributors for it but it’s definitely – it’s designed to fill the seams between pieces of laminate.

    BETTY: I see.

    TOM: But it will also work well as sort of a touch-up product.

    BETTY: Uh-huh.

    TOM: And again, it’s not going to be exactly the right color. In fact, you know, if you’re not sure in color, get the one that’s a little bit darker and the one that’s a little bit lighter than what you think you need and you can mix them up.

    BETTY: OK, fine.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Betty? In the future, when you spill your Krazy Glue on anything …

    BETTY: Yes?

    LESLIE: … go and grab a bottle of nail polish remover and make sure that it has the acetone in it. You can buy nail polish remover without acetone but make sure you get it with acetone and that is the only thing that dissolves Krazy Glue.

    BETTY: Really?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    BETTY: Well, that’s a good tip.

    LESLIE: I have glued my fingers together.

    BETTY: (chuckling) How do you …

    LESLIE: Don’t ask how but I glued my fingers together and having sent folks out to get the nail polish remover, I discovered that no acetone doesn’t do a darned thing; with acetone – boop! -fingers apart. So put that on the surface; your glue will go away.

    BETTY: Well, thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’ll have tips to help you get all decked out for the summer. Now, you may know that you’ve got to clean and seal the deck but what about all those cracked, split boards? You know the kind that cause splinters all summer long? We’ve got a tip that will help you eliminate all those, for free. That’s coming up, next.

    (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. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. 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. Hey, since it’s spring and we’re getting ready to get outside and enjoy our deck, we’ve got that great prize for you from our friends over at Safecoat. And as long as you’re working on a decking project, we want you to really examine your deck and take a look at everything, see how it’s working. Is it standing up to the wear and tear that you and Mother Nature are giving to it?

    So if your deck has nails that you see and they’re slowly working loose, pounding them back into the hole structure – it’s really only a temporary fix. You know, a better solution is to pull all those loose nails out and just simply replace them with deck screws. They’re easily installed with an inexpensive attachment to your power drill and that attachment usually comes right in the box with those screws when you buy them. It’s that little blue – sort of like a square head. Hold onto them but you’ll end up with tons of them anyway. And it really will ensure smooth sailing for your summer deck enjoyment because summer – it’s really right around the corner.

    TOM: Well, if you like that tip, there are hundreds more on our website. The Tip Of The Day feature is free. It’s guaranteed to save you time, save you money; maybe save you both. You can even have our tips pop up on your website or your blog for free, every day. Visit MoneyPit.com and click on Tip Of The Day for more info.

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

    SPUD: I have like a little guest house that I had been renting out to people who smoked big-time.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Alright.

    SPUD: And it’s just awful. It’s not a real large place but I – it’s got a carpet in it that’s ruined, of course, and the walls, you know, are just reeking. I’d like to find out what I can do to eliminate all that smoke and …

    TOM: Well, first of all, you mentioned that the carpets are ruined. Are they physically ruined or is it just the smell?

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Or just smelly?

    SPUD: Oh, no. We’re going to get rid of them anyway.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. Well, that’s a good start.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright. That’ll make a big difference.

    TOM: Yeah. So pull out those carpets and then what I’m going to suggest you do is …

    LESLIE: And the padding.

    TOM: Yeah. Padding too, of course. And what I’m going to suggest you do is, first, I want you to clean all of the walls with TSP, trisodium phosphate.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Before the carpet is out. Use that as the drop cloth.

    TOM: It’s a great drop cloth.

    SPUD: Yeah.

    TOM: So clean all the walls. Get rid of all of that stuff and then after the walls are cleaned, then you’re going to need to prime all of the surfaces. And I want you to use a good-quality, oil-based primer, like a good oil primer from Behr or from KILZ; not water-based because the oil-based does a much better job of sealing in whatever is on that surface, including the smoke odor that’s probably saturated into the drywall at this point. If you do those two things, you will find that the smell is going to go a long way towards being totally eliminated.

    Did you rent this place with furniture or is it empty of furniture?

    SPUD: It’s empty.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) OK.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, that’s good because if the furniture was saturated, you’d have an issue there as well. But getting rid of the carpet and repainting the walls with a good-quality primer after they’re clean will do a trick.

    LESLIE: Hey, Tom. Once he gets the carpet and the padding out, is there any reason – or would the smoke sort of saturate through the carpeting and the padding to the subfloor? Do you want to throw paint there, too, or no?

    TOM: It’s also a possibility and along the goal of while-you’re-at-it, it doesn’t hurt to also put a coat of primer on that floor. You don’t have to be particularly pretty or neat about it but in the unlikely event that there is an odor on the floor, that will help. Very often, that will also be addressed – address also any type of pet odors that are in the floor at the same time. So, probably not a bad idea to prime that subfloor as well before you put the new carpet down.

    SPUD: OK.

    LESLIE: Bernadette in Delaware has a painting question. What can we do for you?

    BERNADETTE: We are about to paint our cabinets.


    BERNADETTE: They’re a wood and a fake material of some sort.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.

    BERNADETTE: And I would like to know how do I go about preparing and priming and painting to get a reasonable result?

    LESLIE: And the fake material is a laminate. Is that on the doors?

    BERNADETTE: Yes. It’s on the panel of the door. The outside of the door is real wood, I believe – oak – but the center panel does not appear to be real wood.

    TOM: You think it may be a veneer?


    TOM: OK.


    TOM: Same advice.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you really want to make sure, first, that you start off with a very clean surface. So, do everything …


    LESLIE: … you can to get rid of all the grease. Do everything to make them as clean as possible. This way you make sure everything really adheres. Then you want to take off …

    BERNADETTE: OK. Something like a TSP?

    LESLIE: TSP is an excellent preparatory product. It’s wonderful …


    LESLIE: … for cleaning wall surfaces. Even sometimes in a kitchen situation, when you’re dealing with a lot of grease, TSP will do the trick but sometimes you might need like an orange cleanser; something to get rid of the grease. But try the TSP first because that generally does the trick.


    LESLIE: Then what you want to do is take off all the cabinet doors and I would leave the hinges either on the back of the door or inside the cabinet itself. Leave them attached on one place and make sure you label …


    LESLIE: … everything, because you want to know exactly …


    LESLIE: … where everything goes back. Do the same with the drawer fronts as well.

    BERNADETTE: Very well.

    LESLIE: Then you want to prime everything. Make sure you prime it well and let the primer really dry. Then you want to put a topcoat paint on there that is – I would go for a glossy paint so it’s easier to clean and you want to make sure that it’s, you know, good for kitchens but you want a good, high-quality, high-gloss paint.

    BERNADETTE: Very well. For the primer, could I use something like KILZ? Just any normal wood primer?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You can use KILZ, you can use Bin, you can use Zinsser. Those are all excellent primers.

    BERNADETTE: All excellent primers. OK. Then I would want a high-quality gloss paint.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    BERNADETTE: And do I need to …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And I think gloss will be the best.

    BERNADETTE: OK. Very well. And also, do I need to seal that with anything or is, actually, the gloss paint a sealer all in itself?

    TOM: The paint itself will be your last coat and that will do a real good job and because it’s glossy it’ll be easy for you to clean it.

    BERNADETTE: I appreciate it so much. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You’re so welcome.

    TOM: Bernadette, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You know what? If she does it on a not-humid day, she’ll have a better shot of everything sticking.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Alright. Keep all those great calls coming. You know, this is the time of year when spring cleaning might be on the very tippy-top of your to-do list but you just want it done. It’s one of those things no one likes to do, except for me and a whole bunch of other handful of crazies out there. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    Coming up, we’re going to give you easy ways to tackle that dreaded cleaning chore.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the all-natural, super-strong air freshener. Available in spray and solid form. 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 and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You know, one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to get the answer to their home improvement question but is also going to get a chance to win a prize pack from the folks at Safecoat. Now, the prize pack is worth $145 and in this package you’re going to get two gallons of DuroStain and two gallons of AcriGlaze. And these are great, low-VOC products that are perfect for refinishing any wood inside or outside of your money pit but you’ve got to be in it to win it. Plus, you’re going to get a lot of helpful information to help you tackle your to-do list, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Now, if spring cleaning is an annual headache for you, here are a few ideas to help out. First, don’t forget that spring cleaning should also include spring maintenance; otherwise, you’re going to be calling us with a question about how to fix stuff that breaks in your house. Do your own house tour: look inside, look outside and make a list of any needed seasonal maintenance.

    Stick to four basic cleaning compounds for the inside of your house: glass cleaner; heavy-duty cleansing – a cleaner that’s a degreaser; tile cleaner; and also a powdered, abrasive cleanser. With those four types of cleaners, you can do almost anything in your house.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you want to also find time on a sunny day to scrape and prime and paint any peeling spots that you see on trim or any woodwork outside, because this is really going to help protect against the summer heat and the moisture that we get from the humidity and the rain. You know how it is; my hair is already standing on end.

    So don’t forget to inspect your roof also for any winter water damage and then arrange for any of these repairs that you find early in the season so you’re not at the bottom of that pro’s to-do list. Get it all handled and your house will be in perfect shape for the winter.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let us help you get your house in perfect shape and keep it in perfect shape all year long. Call us with your home improvement question right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now, I’ve heard of the south making good barbecue but Pennsylvania is not that far south and John is looking to work on a barbecue pit. What can we help you with?

    JOHN: Yes. I have a barbecue pit; it’s about 16 foot long and probably about 3 foot high. And I have developed – it’s sort of cracked. There’s about like an inch-and-a-half crack all the way down through it. I didn’t want to tear it apart and I was planning to figure out how I could fill that crack. It’s like a snake and I just wondered what’s the best way to – concrete it or what we have to do to it.

    LESLIE: Is it all concrete?

    JOHN: It’s decorative bricks from the outside in order, I guess – the decorative bricks had come apart all the way through. It’s separated.

    TOM: So the decorative bricks are not full-thickness bricks, John?

    JOHN: Yeah, it’s got a full brick and then it has a fancy, decorative brick on the front.

    TOM: The inside is made of fire bricks?

    JOHN: Yeah, it’s regular brick that – concrete block.

    TOM: Alright. Where’s the crack?

    JOHN: It’s coming down – it’s like a snake on both sides of the pit. I guess the pit has settled.

    TOM: On the outside of it?

    JOHN: Yeah, on the outside and …

    TOM: Alright, I …

    JOHN: … on the – so it’s cracked all the way through.

    TOM: Alright. What I would use is an epoxy patching compound. I would not try to use mortar because what’s going to happen is it’s going to freeze and crack and fall out again. I would use a good-quality, epoxy patching compound.

    There is a product called Abocast that is available online and I’m sure there are others. But the epoxies adhere very, very well to the concrete surfaces and they’re not going to fall out and that’s how you fix that.

    JOHN: OK. And that was – let me get a piece of paper here. What was the name of that one?

    TOM: The product is called Abocast and it’s available online. I think their website is Abatron.com.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ray in North Carolina is dealing with a moldy situation. Tell us about the problem.

    RAY: Yeah, I keep getting mold in my garage. It’s an unfinished garage and my dog stays out there a lot and I keep getting mold around the door frames and on the floor. How can I clean it and keep it from coming …

    TOM: On the floor?

    RAY: Yeah, on the floor.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) On the concrete?

    RAY: (overlapping voices) It’s a concrete floor. Yeah.

    TOM: That would be very unusual because mold doesn’t grow on inorganic places like floors.

    LESLIE: But it does grow on dust and dirt.

    TOM: Well, that’s true. Well, what you need to do is you need to wash everything down with a mildicide and I would use a bleach-and-water solution or I would use a commercially available mildicide.

    RAY: Uh-huh.

    TOM: And the common mistake is that people sort of scrub this stuff away but they don’t leave the mildicide product on the surface long enough for it to really do it’s job.

    RAY: Uh-huh.

    TOM: You need to spray it on and let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes so it really goes to town and kills all of the fungal spores that are left behind and then you can clean it off.

    RAY: Right.

    TOM: And the other thing that I would do after that is I would use a bathroom-type paint that has a mildicide in it. I would prime the surface and then I would use a mildicide-based paint on top of that …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and that will help slow this down.

    LESLIE: And what about an epoxy coating for the floor?

    TOM: Yeah, that as well. That’s a good idea because it makes it easier to clean.

    RAY: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Well, thank you so very much.

    TOM: You …

    RAY: What would the – what’s the ratio of the …

    TOM: Bleach to water?

    RAY: … the bleach to water?

    TOM: I would probably go about 20 percent bleach.

    RAY: 20 percent?

    TOM: Yep.

    RAY: Thank you so very much. I appreciate it. Love your show.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, Ray. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thanks for living and learning and laughing with Tom and I. When we come back, we’re going to answer your e-mail questions and we’re going to help unravel a plumbing mystery for one of our e-mailers, so stick around.

    (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. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: You listen to the show; you love it. Well, hopefully you will show it off proudly. If you go to MoneyPit.com and click on our shop, we’ve got hats, t-shirts, mugs and yes, even tote bags that bear the Money Pit logo, that are very handy to have around the house. Leslie and I carry ours wherever we go and maybe you would like to do the same. If you’d like to check them out, go over to MoneyPit.com and you can proudly show off your team colors.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what I use my Money Pit tote bags for? My grocery shopping as well. It’s like the ultimate in eco-friendliness as far as I’m concerned. When you go to the market, you don’t need paper or plastic; I’ve got everything I need right there in my Money Pit bag. So, while you are getting yours to be eco-friendly at the stores, click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and you can shoot us an e-mail question.

    We’re going to jump right in now with one from Libby in Staten Island who writes: “When I flush my toilet, a very loud sound is heard coming from the vanity and sometimes the shower drain. Several plumbers have advised to break the wall to access the pipes. Can there be an obstruction in the vent pipe that could be cleared from the roof of the house?”

    TOM: Well, you may or you may not have to get into the walls. The problem here is, Libby, that your system is not vented properly. There is a part of the system that’s not essentially breathing as it should be and, as a result, you’re getting these very loud gurgling-type sounds coming from the shower drain.

    It might be that that can be addressed in the walls. It might be that it could be addressed, say, up in the attic where the pipes go through. You need to figure out what the venting situation is; you’re going to need an additional one. There’s also a type of vent that could be put inside the house that has sort of a one-way seal on it, so to speak, so it’ll let air in but it won’t let sewage gas out. But you definitely need to get some more air into the system; it’s unlikely that it’s an obstruction if it’s happened like this all the time.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s not something that would just newly pop up, this noise; this is something that’s happened right from, say, installation of the entire system, right?

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Dan in Coralville, Iowa who writes: “We’re building a new home and I’d like more information on the plastic and composite decking materials. I’ve read about mold issues with composite materials and static shocks with the plastic decks. Are they just not ready for prime time? What should I do?”

    Now, Dan, I’ve got a Fiberon deck out at my family’s vacation home. We all chipped in for it; it is beautiful. It came out fantastic. We used the Pro Series in a Mahogany. It looks like real wood.

    As far as the mold issues that you might be reading about online, mold grows on everything and even a composite deck – they require maintenance. You do need to do some seasonal cleaning. As far as refinishing, restaining, repainting – you will never have to do that. But you know what? I’ll take one round with my power washer at the beginning of the season and be done with it for the year.

    TOM: And Fiberon also has a new product that’s called Horizon Decking with PermaTech. PermaTech is a very innovative new process that essentially encapsulates the entire decking board. It’s stain-resistant; it’s incredibly tough and durable stuff. In fact, Leslie and I saw this product demonstrated at the recent International Builders Show and we were able to write on it with a permanent marker – like a permanent Sharpie – and wipe that stain off with a tissue. It really is an amazing innovation in composite decking.

    So, take a look at the Horizon product with PermaTech innovation. The Fiberon website is FiberonDecking.com and you can get some more ideas right then and there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the site is brand new. It’s very user-friendly. Take a look around; I guarantee you’ll find something that you like, that looks beautiful. I mean, this stuff really looks like actual wood and it’s really going to stand up to anything Mother Nature can dish out, so enjoy.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve helped you out giving you a few tips, a few ideas, a few projects to tackle to make your money pit a better place. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.

    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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