Stage Your Home the Right Way, Rain Water Collection Systems, How to Lay Flooring Easier and Quicker with a Saw Designed Just for Flooring Material and More
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 right now with your home improvement project. We are standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Happy Almost-Spring, everybody.
LESLIE: I can’t wait. It’s just not happening quick enough for me.
TOM: Tell me about it. Tell me about it. We actually saw a daffodil starting to sprout, so that was encouraging.
LESLIE: It’s always the first sign: the daffodils, the crocuses, the goldenrods. Once you know they’re out, you know you’re in good shape.
TOM: Yeah. And the nail pouches come out. Time to go to work.
TOM: Strap on the tools. What’s on your to-do list? We want to talk to you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Spring is also the traditional time of year for those of you that are ready to move on to new money pits, to put your house on the market. However, with this very super-competitive housing market, it’s important to show your home in the best light. That’s why, this hour, we’re going to give you a list of home-staging don’ts that could really help you get that house sold as quickly as possible for the most possible money, without making some critical mistakes.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead this hour, when it rains, it pours. And if you happen to have a rainwater collection system, you can actually save that rainwater for another day’s use. We’re going to tell you how easy it is to collect that rainwater so that your lawn and garden is lush all season long, including those long, summer drought seasons.
TOM: And also ahead, flooring projects just got a lot easier. There’s a new tool on the market that takes care of just about every cut that you’ll need to make on hardwood, laminate or engineered flooring. We’re going to tell you all about that new power saw and how it can save you some steps, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs. It’s super-cool and way high-tech. We’re giving away a Motorola i886 phone. It’s worth $279 and it’s supposed to be super-tough. I mean even tough enough to meet military specs for dust, shock, vibration and even extreme temperatures.
TOM: Which means it can probably stand up to the harsh environment of a construction project quite well.
LESLIE: It’s true.
TOM: Perhaps even one of your projects, Leslie, although that could be pushing it.
TOM: Going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Judy in California has a lamp that’s acting up. Tell us about this tricky lamp.
JUDY: Oh, hi. Yes. I have a real antique table lamp; real heavy brass and real glass-heavy shape. And the cord that’s on it is a – it has a switch about halfway down on the cord; one of those roller switches.
TOM: Right. Right.
JUDY: You roll it forward for “on” and roll it back for “off.”
JUDY: And when I roll it on, it comes on OK but then it comes off just without touching it, all the time. And in order to get it back on, I just kind of bend the cord and stick it under a book or something and then it stays on and …
TOM: That’s a really bad idea, Judy.
TOM: That’s a really bad idea. You have a short in that cord or in the switch and bending it and sticking it under a book is basically like lighting a match and sticking in the kindling. So, don’t do that; that’s dangerous, alright?
JUDY: OK. Oh.
TOM: Because that could catch on fire.
LESLIE: But you can …
TOM: But it’s an easy fix. Take that to a hardware store and let them replace the switch for you. It’s not that hard to do.
LESLIE: It’s not that difficult. They can even just rewire that whole cord and it won’t be expensive. It’s something that can be easily done, whether you bring it to a lamp-repair shop or a local handyman/hardware-type store. It’s an easy project.
JUDY: Uh-huh. OK. So just the switch or the switch and the cord, huh?
LESLIE: It’s probably going to be the cord has to be replaced, because the switch is in line to the cord.
JUDY: Right, right.
LESLIE: They’ll have to look at it but it’s definitely a short somewhere.
JUDY: So it’s dangerous like that, right?
TOM: It’s very dangerous. That’s right. You do – you want to replace it. Stop using the lamp, unplug it and get that cord replaced, OK?
JUDY: Alright. Thank you. I will.
LESLIE: Jeff in South Carolina is dealing with a cleaning concern on the exterior of his money pit. How can we help you with that job?
JEFF: Well, let me just say, folks, before I ask the question, I’m a regular listener. I called in about six months ago and you all sent me a nice, hardwood floor kit. I really appreciate that.
TOM: Terrific. That would have been from Lumber Liquidators.
JEFF: It certainly was. Came in a nice, yellow, 5-gallon can. Had all the little accoutrements I need for doing a hardwood-floor project and I do thank you.
LESLIE: And you’re hoping to win again?
JEFF: Oh, no, I didn’t know there was a contest. This time, I’ve got a question about – I have aluminum fascia and PVC soffits on the house.
JEFF: And they’re turning black and gray with some kind of mildew or mold or something.
JEFF: And I don’t know what to clean it with, for one.
JEFF: And two, I’ve got – the back side of the house is fairly high. I’ve got 11-foot ceiling on the first level and 16 on the second and the roof peaks above that. So, is there any apparatus out there that you can suggest?
TOM: Sure. Well, first of all, in terms of dealing with the mildew stains that are on the siding material, there’s a product called Wet & Forget, which is excellent. If you spray it on and let it sit, it pretty much does the work for you. It activates and will kill the mold; kill the mold, kill the mildew for some time to come.
JEFF: Just put it on with a Hudson sprayer or something along those lines?
TOM: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yep. Mm-hmm. You mix it up according to label directions and you spray it. Wet & Forget. I think their website is WetAndForget.com.
JEFF: Are they available at any of the big-box stores like Lowe’s or (inaudible at 0:05:46)?
TOM: Yeah, they have good distribution.
JEFF: And then, what about for getting the very tall peaks? Do I need to rent some kind of a lift or something to do that? Or is there some kind of a long pole extender that you can get?
TOM: Well, if you used a pressure washer with an applicator, you could extend it to get up there. But yeah, there’s a certain level of elevated work that’s involved in this kind of a project and you’ve got to have the tools and the equipment to get up there.
JEFF: Would I be better to subcontract this out to somebody?
LESLIE: If you’re afraid of heights.
TOM: Afraid of heights or if you’re uncomfortable getting up that – you know, the cost of the project is a lot less than the cost of the hospital bills.
JEFF: That’s my point.
TOM: Yeah. I’m with you on that, brother.
JEFF: It’s cheap insurance.
TOM: Alright. That website is WetAndForget.com and they say it is carried at Do It Best, Ace and True Value.
JEFF: OK. Well, folks, thank you very much. I appreciate the help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project.
JEFF: And once again, thank you for that nice gift. Appreciate it.
LESLIE: Oh, you’re so welcome.
TOM: Thank you 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. We’d love to help you with your spring to-do list. We are all itching to get outside and get back to those home improvement projects. So let us help you make your list and get those projects done right the first time. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, a tool that takes the heavy lifting out of laying hardwood, engineered or laminate floors. We’re going to tell you how you can make the most of the cuts you need for your project, right near your workspace, with just a single tool.
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 four times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you could get the answer to your home improvement question and we’ll even give you a phone that you can use to call in the next time because this hour, we’re giving away the Motorola i886 phone.
It includes Nextel Direct Connect functionality and it’s in a phone that’s easy to use. It’s got a side-sliding, full, QWERTY keyboard. You can switch from push-to-talk to voice commands with a touch of a button. You can sync contacts, calendars and e-mail between your phone and your PC with a tool they have called “Exchange Active Sync.”
LESLIE: And you know what else is really super-cool? You can store massive files with a 2-gigabyte, microSD card. And the Motorola i886 also includes a camera, GPS, an mp3 player and stereo Bluetooth.
Plus, this phone is like super-tough; I mean tough enough to meet military specs for dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures and the occasional home improvement project where maybe you drop your phone into some concrete. I’m not going to say it’s happened before but when it does, you just sort of ignore it and go replace your phone and don’t ever think about it again.
But with this phone, you can really tackle those home improvement projects and talk on the phone at the same time, since we seem to do everything all at once. The Motorola i886 phone is worth $279 but it could be one lucky caller’s phone for free, so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, one project that you might be working on is brand new flooring. New wood flooring can really complete the look of a room. It’s something that you can do yourself but installing those wood floors can be very tiring, back-breaking work and the tools pretty expensive. You also have to lug the wood back and forth and to and from a couple of different saws to where you’re working.
Fortunately, though, there is a new tool on the market that is pretty cool, that I actually got introduced to last year at the remodelers’ show and it’s now on the market. It is the Skil Flooring Saw and it’s designed to cut through hardwood, laminate and engineered flooring up to 8 inches wide and ¾-of-an-inch thick. And it makes both miter cuts and rip cuts; pretty much one tool that does it all.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s a huge timesaver and a back-saver, as well. And the Skil Flooring Saw is a really great alternative to a larger, benchtop tool for your flooring projects. Think about it. What if you’re installing floors in the basement and you’ve got to keep running up and down the stairs just to make all your cuts? Let’s not forget, you get to the top – “Oops, was it 26 and a half? Twenty-six and three-quarters? Let me run back down.”
So this really is going to be a major helper when it comes to doing these flooring projects. If you want to check it out, go to their website, SkilTools.com, for more information on this exciting new tool.
TOM: That’s SkilTools.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, looking for your calls with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Adam in Iowa is dealing with a wet bathroom. Tell us what’s going on in there.
ADAM: Well, I have condensation on my ceiling.
ADAM: We had our roof redone, oh, about three years ago and now it seems like when it gets cold out, we get condensation on our ceiling.
LESLIE: Do you have any sort of venting in your bathroom? Because it sounds like your attic is cool and you’re in your shower and the bathroom gets super-hot and then there’s no movement of air in that bath and that’s what’s causing that temperature differentiation.
TOM: So what happens is the warm, moist air strikes the underside of the chillier bathroom ceiling and condenses.
TOM: And so, if we were to warm up the bathroom ceiling by making sure it’s insulated above, couple that with proper bathroom ventilation, then this problem will totally go away.
ADAM: Right. OK. So the vent we have for the shower is probably not significant enough for the bathroom itself?
LESLIE: And are you certain that the vent that you have in the bathroom is actually vented outside and not just venting into your attic?
ADAM: I believe it is. There is – I don’t know. I’d have to look for sure but I think they did put it but it’s not a very big vent itself.
LESLIE: OK. So you have some air movement but just not enough. It could be that you’re just not getting enough of that moist air out or you’re not using it in the proper way.
Traditionally, with a bathroom vent fan, you want, obviously, to have the vent fan on while you’re bathing and then you want to continue to run it for about 10, 15 minutes once you’re out of the shower because that’s when the condensation really occurs.
Now, if it’s time for a new one – maybe your model’s just not efficient enough or not moving enough of that moist air out – a great company to check out is Broan-NuTone. And if you go to their website, Broan.com – B-r-o-a-n.com – you’ll find a ton of different models available with lights, without lights, ones that actually look like vent fans, one that looks like a ceiling high-hat that really conceals a bath vent fan.
And what’s great is that a majority of their models are Energy Star-rated, because they’re made so efficiently to be silent and to move a tremendous amount of moisture out of the bath. That’s how they meet a lot of the Energy Star ratings. They’re affordable. It’s really worth looking into because if you’re dealing with this problem over and over again, eventually you’re going to get mold and mildew growth on your ceiling. You’re going to have to repaint, repair. There’s a lot that this is going to cause if you don’t nip it in the bud right now.
ADAM: OK. And this is something I could install myself?
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re a handy guy or you’re a DIYer, you definitely could put in a new fan yourself. It’s not terribly a difficult project to do; pretty much basic carpentry and basic electrical work.
ADAM: OK, guys. Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Adam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Phyllis in Texas is working on a bathroom makeover. How can we help you with that project?
PHYLLIS: Hi. We have a very large bathroom and I’ve got a lot of wallpaper. And I’m trying to decide whether I need to pull the wallpaper off the wall before I paint it or if I should just put more wallpaper up over it. I’ve taken wallpaper off of my kitchen at one point, which was really kind of a chore.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. To say the least.
PHYLLIS: And I’ve heard some kind of bad stories about – that maybe the wallpaper will bubble up and so I’m just – I just don’t really know what the best way to do this is and which way to go.
LESLIE: What’s your ultimate goal? Do you want new wallpaper or do you want paint? Like if you could have anything in your world.
PHYLLIS: I kind of would like to go to the paint, at this point.
PHYLLIS: I’ve been in the house about 14 years.
LESLIE: And you’re tired of this wallpaper.
LESLIE: And you’re tired of wallpaper in general.
LESLIE: You know, I’ve seen people paint over wallpaper. Please, I’ve done home-makeover shows for seven years. When you are on a budget and on a time issue, people paint over wallpaper and it’s never a pretty sight. You end up where you can see the seams, regardless of how much you sort of patch over the seams and smooth it out. It’s never pretty, in the end, and should you get a situation where the adhesive on the wallpaper will eventually wear out, now everything starts peeling off.
And if you want to remove that wallpaper later, now you’ve sort of sealed it all in with paint and that’s going to make the removal process even harder. I say just, really, get your act together and get prepared to take that wallpaper down and resurface those walls. Or if you can spare half an inch, cover it up with new drywall.
PHYLLIS: Oh. Now that’s an idea.
LESLIE: Just forget it’s there and cover it up.
PHYLLIS: It’s a really large bathroom and it’s just – having done it once to a kitchen, it’s like, “Do I really want to do that again?” But yeah, OK. Well, that kind of answered that. So it doesn’t ever really work out when you paint over wallpaper? There’s no real …
TOM: No, because you always see it coming through and it just doesn’t look right, Phyllis.
LESLIE: You can prime it as much as you want. It just – it never looks right and then in the end, it’s like you’ll always know that you skipped a step and you’ll hate it. You’ll feel sad about the project.
PHYLLIS: Oh, right. Yeah. Don’t want to do that because you spend so much time going in and out and it – you can see it from the bedroom itself and – no.
TOM: Right. Now, we always say you’re better off to do it once, do it right and then you don’t have to do it again. There’s a little tool called a Paper Tiger that you can pick up. It’s about seven bucks and it scores the wallpaper. And then you put the wallpaper remover on top of that and it soaks through and it makes it a bit easier to remove. And if that doesn’t work quickly enough for you, you can always rent a wallpaper steamer.
PHYLLIS: OK. Alright. Well, I’ll try that and see how we do.
TOM: Alright, Phyllis. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dion in Iowa is dealing with some sort of crazy situation in the basement. What’s going on? You got a lot of water in there?
DION: Yes. We live on a slope and the contours out in the yard, they pretty much funnel everything towards the house. I’ve got a good idea on what to do on the outside of the house but I want to finish my basement. And I don’t quite know what to do on the inside to battle this mold off to where I don’t have to worry about it being inside the wall after I finish it off.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, on the outside is where I would start and typically, if you have a hillside that points down towards your house, you want to intercept the water as it runs down the hill with something called a curtain drain. Are you familiar with this?
DION: That’s something like, say, a sub-drain?
TOM: It’s like a trench. And basically, you dig this trench …
LESLIE: It’s a moat, in this situation.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a moat. That’s a good point. It’s a very shallow, small moat about – it’s about 12×12. So, you basically shovel out this narrow ditch and you put in a perforated pipe – so, like a 4-inch PVC pipe with holes in it – and then you surround that with stone. You put a little bit of weed cloth and then dirt and grass over it so when it’s done, it’s invisible. But as the water runs down the hill, it falls into the curtain drain and then it comes up into the pipe and then runs off somewhere, wherever you point it.
DION: Would you want to horseshoe it around the house more or less?
TOM: Yeah, on the right. That’s right. Exactly.
DION: And outlet it on the sides and nothing …
TOM: And shoot it off – right, shoot it off to the sides where it’s not going to do any harm. That’s one way to intercept that water run-off. The other way is to create something called a swale, which is what should have been done, but it’s very hard to do at this point when the house isn’t new.
And a swale is simply a way of grading soil away from the house walls and then the hillside grows into that or grades into that and then it collects that water and runs it around the house. But that’s a lot more complicated from a grading perspective. A curtain drain is pretty straightforward. It’s a couple of days of work but it works really well.
LESLIE: And does a landscaper do that?
TOM: Yeah. But I mean – well, I wouldn’t hire a landscaper if it was the first time he ever built one.
TOM: They’re not that hard to do. You need about 1/8 to 1/4-inch-per-foot slope.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead this hour, we’ve got tips on how you can use rainwater to keep your lawn and garden watered, even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky on that super-hot, August day. So stick around.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: On air and online at MoneyPit.com, where you can browse our entire archive of videos and perhaps find one that matches a project that you’re working on and we can help you out that way, too. That is online. It’s all free at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Earl in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
EARL: Yes. You could help me by telling me how to solve a little problem I have with a knock on the washers behind my washers.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
EARL: I installed, behind there, an air chamber or stub-out. And the washer is new and I didn’t want to have all that knocking, so I – when the valve comes on and I’m standing by the washer, it’s just – all I can hear is the valve.
EARL: But I went upstairs – it’s in the basement on a one-story house. I’m upstairs to a bathroom that’s above the washer and I hear a very loud knocking when I – still.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, that’s because you have what’s called “water hammer.”
TOM: And even though you installed that air chamber right near the washer, it’s probably not big enough to absorb the shock of the water as the valve opens and closes.
LESLIE: Absorb the sound?
TOM: Have you seen these – do you know what a water-hammer arrestor is?
EARL: I do.
TOM: Hmm. That’s probably what you need. It has sort of a like a rubber shock absorber inside of it. Because water is really heavy; when you think about it, water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, Earl. So with all that water and all the centrifugal force, when the valve opens and closes, you get that big bang. It’s because the pipes are loose and one other way to solve this is to – is wherever you can access the pipes, to tighten them up with proper securing – with proper hardware to secure it to the wall studs. But typically, you can’t get to that.
But that’s what’s happening. The pipes are basically shaking, rattling and rolling and that’s what’s making that loud sound, because of the weight of all that water going through the pipe and then suddenly stopping as the valve closes. So the solution here is a water-hammer arrestor, which is sort of a step up from what you did but that will make it a lot quieter.
EARL: I will give that a try.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when it rains, it pours. And if you have a rainwater collection system at your house, you can actually use those downpours to help hydrate your yard during future dry spells.
TOM: Here to tell us how they work and how to find the best one for your yard is Roger Cook, the landscaping expert for TV’s This Old House.
ROGER: Good to be here. And sometimes, this is the only water your garden is going to see.
TOM: And that’s a great point. And it really is the utmost in recycling, to collect the rainwater and reuse it when you need it.
So, how exactly do you install a rain barrel?
ROGER: Well, the first thing you’ve got to do is find a downspout.
TOM: Get a barrel.
ROGER: No. Get the downspout first, because that’s going to fill your barrel.
ROGER: What we do is we locate a barrel right next to a downspout. Cut it into the barrel so that when it rains, it comes down into the gutter, down the downspout and fills your barrel.
TOM: So we drop the entire downspout right into the barrel.
ROGER: That’s right.
TOM: Alright. Now, what happens when the barrel fills up?
ROGER: It has an overflow on it.
ROGER: So you can either do two things: you can either let it run off from there or you could double it up with another rain barrel and fill two or even three if you had the room.
LESLIE: But that would probably require a lot of room, correct?
ROGER: No, these barrels don’t take up much space at all. But it all depends – I wouldn’t do that on the front of the house.
ROGER: Maybe in the back.
LESLIE: So you’ve got to think about where you put this, because I imagine it becomes not an eyesore but something to plan into what the structure of your home looks like.
ROGER: You want it near the area you’re going to use the most water in. For a lot of people, that’s a vegetable garden. If you can locate it uphill with a vegetable garden, you can simply attach a hose to the barrel and let gravity run the water down to the vegetable garden.
TOM: Alright. So now we’ve got the rain barrel installed; it’s full with water. How do we get it out?
ROGER: Well, there’s two ways. Usually, they have a spigot attached to the barrel. You could put a soaker hose on that and let it run right into the vegetable garden or we could perch it up on a couple of blocks of concrete and then you could take a watering can, slide it under there and fill the watering can and take that to your pot or whatever needed water.
LESLIE: But you can’t take a hose with a nozzle attachment and – there’s no pressure there to help you do that.
ROGER: There’s no pressure there unless you supplemented it with an electrical pump.
LESLIE: OK. Now, are these readily available? Can I just go to the home center and pick one up?
ROGER: In the last couple years, most home centers have them. You can just walk in and take them home.
TOM: And some of them are actually very attractive. I’ve seen some that look like sort of the old whiskey-barrel look.
ROGER: Yeah. We have some we used at – are actually wood and I believe they had scotch in them and it was great; great to empty out the barrel before we put the water in it.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah. Did the project get done that day, Roger?
ROGER: Very slowly. But not only are there barrels but now they make bladders. Barrels only average about 50 or 55 gallons apiece.
ROGER: But you can now get bladders, which you could hide underneath a deck or in a crawlspace, that will hold thousands of gallons of water.
TOM: Wow. Wow, so that’s basically a big, sort of inflatable balloon, so to speak.
ROGER: That’s right. And it just fills up with water. It has a pump attached to it, so this you could use with a nozzle or even with a sprinkler.
TOM: That makes a lot of sense.
TOM: You could probably water a good part of your lawn with that.
ROGER: Yep. Much bigger. It’ll take care of a lawn area.
LESLIE: Do you find – I know this is a funny question but do you find that it’s mostly like the green, enviro-friendly folks that are asking for this or is every type of homeowner thinking this is a good idea?
ROGER: You know, with the water bans we’re having and the heat we had this summer, everyone’s looking for an option. Now, 50 gallons doesn’t seem like much but for a vegetable garden, it can get you through a really dry streak.
TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: My pleasure.
TOM: And you guys have a great video online showing exactly how to install a rainwater collection system and that is, of course, at ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And of course, you can watch Roger and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.
Still ahead, with a real estate market that’s making a comeback, you don’t want any excuse for a potential buyer to look elsewhere. We’re going to have some home-staging advice that can help, next.
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 we’d love for you to be part of The Money Pit fun, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Motorola i886 phone. It’s really cool and super-high-teched. You are going to get the Nextel Direct Connect functionality in a phone that’s really easy to use. It’s got a side-sliding, full keyboard. You can switch from push-to-talk call to voice-command calling with just the touch of a button. It connects your contacts, your calendars and e-mail between your phone and your PC, with the Exchange Active Sync. I mean really, it’s going to make your cup of coffee in the morning, too.
TOM: Yeah, practically. You can also store very large files. It comes with a 2-gigabyte, microSD card. And the Motorola i886 includes a camera, a GPS, an mp3 player and stereo Bluetooth. The phone is tough. It’s tough enough, in fact, to meet military specs for dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures and most construction projects.
It’s going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s worth 279 bucks, so call us right now for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and maybe you are thinking about selling your house.
Well, in a competitive buyer’s real estate market, presentation is everything. And good home staging can actually help to create a positive first impression. But if you make some of the most common staging mistakes, your efforts can totally backfire on you.
TOM: Well, that’s right. And the first thing that homeowners need to know is that staging is definitely not meant to cover up poor maintenance, structural problems or mechanical issues. In fact, for a successful sale, you do need to tackle those repairs and improvements first, after a thorough review of your home by a certified home inspector. So that’s the first place to start.
You don’t want to try to fake it. Believe me, I spent 20 years as a home inspector and I’ve seen some very strategic placement of boxes. And when that’s discovered, it really ruins the whole sale because people think, “Well, if you’re hiding that little crack or dent in the wall, what else are you hiding?”
LESLIE: What else are you hiding?
TOM: That’s right. So, you really need to deal with those issues first.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Another mistake that a seller can make is to stage their home but still stick to their own, personal decorating style. The reason that you stage your home in the first place is to create a neutral canvas so that the buyers, when they come in, they can easily visualize themselves, their lives, their belongings in your home, rather than being forced to sort of think around a very unique design style. So go neutral; it really does help.
TOM: Well, that’s right. You also want to remember that potential buyers will open every cupboard and inspect every floorboard, so declutter and clean every corner of your house. Don’t show them a sloppy house. If you’ve got a lot of stuff in your house, your house is going to look crowded and they’re not going to want to buy it.
LESLIE: And small.
TOM: And it looks small, too.
And if you do make some significant changes, like installing a new chandelier, you need to decide up front if those are going to stay or go beforehand and make sure those are outlined in the contract.
Now, if you want more home-staging mistakes to avoid, all you need to do is Google “money pit staging mistakes” and we will pop right up there in the results page and you can read all about it at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Tim in Alabama is calling in with a mold question. What can we do for today?
TIM: Yeah, hi. What I’m currently experiencing is in my bathroom area, we have a marble shower area and the caulking has become overrun with mold. And directly when you step out of the shower, on the tile, the grout – where some of the water has dripped from the shower door – looks like mold is starting to try to set up in some of the grout there.
TIM: My question is, what I have understood you’re supposed to do is just cut it out and recaulk it. But I’m not sure if there’s any prep work that needs to be done prior to putting new caulking in and what do you do about the grout?
TOM: OK, the grout that’s – well, first of all, the caulk that’s down there now, is it clear caulk or is it …?
TIM: No, it is a color to match the tile.
TOM: It’s like a white?
TOM: Ah, OK. Well, here’s what you need to do. The first thing you need to do is to remove the old caulk. There’s no way to clean it because what happens is the mold actually gets in it and it grows under it. You can wipe it down, yeah.
LESLIE: Gets through it, goes behind it.
TOM: You can wipe it down with bleach but if that doesn’t do it, you’re going to have to strip it out. So you can use a caulk softener for that. There is a very simple – kind of think of a paint stripper but it’s for caulk; it softens the caulk. And then there’s a plastic tool that you can use to scrape it out with, available at any home center or hardware store.
Next, the new caulk that you put down, you want to make sure that you use a caulk that has a mildicide in it. The most common one is called Microban and I know it’s available in DAP caulks. It may be available in others, as well. But this Microban product is pretty darn good and it doesn’t let mildew grow into the caulk. Since you have a colored caulk, it might be something that’s fairly custom. You may not be able to reproduce that exactly. I would just go as close as possible and make sure it has Microban.
As far as the grout is concerned, you can, again, try to clean that. You want to use a grout stripper, not a grout cleaner. It’s a little more aggressive. But if you – if it gets so dirty and so mildewy and moldy that you really can’t clean it, then what you do is you scrape the old grout out and you use new grout and the grout also should have an additive in it. The Microban is available in grout, too, and the brand that carries that is called LATICRETE – L-A-T-I-C-R-E-T-E – so you can actually replace the grout with a grout that has Microban inside of it and that should stop the mold problem.
The other thing, though, is to make sure you manage the moisture inside that bathroom; that will actually help, as well. So make sure you have a good, powerful vent fan that runs for at least 20 minutes.
LESLIE: And you use it.
TOM: Yep. Runs for at least 20 minutes after you’re done.
LESLIE: And you know what? Tim, while you’re at it with the caulking, when you take out the old caulk, you want to mix up a solution of bleach and water and go pretty heavy on the bleach. And spray it where you’ve taken out all of that grout, just so that any mold spores that may have gotten behind it – I’m sorry, the caulk – so any mold spores that may have gotten behind it, you can kill those. Then let that area dry out very well and then apply the new caulk in there. This way, if there’s anything back there, it’s not going to grow again on the new.
TIM: Ah, will do. Thank you very much. Appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Up next, when planning a remodeling project, the order in which you tackle the various steps of the project from, say, painting to flooring can make all the difference in how that project is going to turn out. We’re going to help you break it down, 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. And we would love for you to join The Money Pit community. There’s a lot of great stuff going on at the new MoneyPit.com. And in the Community section, you can find out great project ideas, you can get information and advice from all of your fellow do-it-yourselfers who are out there working on projects.
Plus, Tom and I, we get in on the fun. We answer questions, we post blogs, we talk about all the things that we’re working on. You can direct-connect to your Facebook account. I mean there’s so much you can do in the Community section of MoneyPit.com, so check it out today.
And while you’re there, you can post your question.
TOM: That’s right. And Deborah did just that. She says, “We bought a house and would like to paint the walls and finish the wood floors before we move in. Which do you advise we do first? The floor guy says we should do his work first. The painter says painting should go first. Who is right?”
Yeah, this is pretty common. You’re stuck in the middle. I say gravity rules.
LESLIE: Yeah, totally.
TOM: And when it comes to this kind of work, I would definitely do the painting first and get that all out of the way. Now, what will happen is that when you do the floors – and I’m going to assume here that you’re sanding the floors – you will get some floor dust on the walls. You may have to do some additional dusting but you shouldn’t scar them up too much; you shouldn’t damage the paint. And if you do, that’s what touch-up is for.
But I would do the walls and the ceiling and all of that first. This way, any drips that get on the floor can be totally cleaned up. And frankly, if you are sanding floors today, it’s not that dirty. It’s not nearly as bad as it used to be, because the machines are pretty efficient at vacuuming up the dust as it’s created. So I say gravity rules.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Plus, you know, accidents are just bound to happen and you really – if you’re going to get paint on the floor, you might as well do it at a point where you’re going to be able to get it off.
Alright. Sandy from Nebraska posted: “How do you get carpet glue off of a cement floor so that you can seal and paint it?” Chemicals, open windows and a lot of other chemical choices, right?
TOM: Yeah. I’ll tell you what, Sandy. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If it’s carpet glue and it’s fairly flat so it’s not bumpy, I would say that you could probably paint right over it.
LESLIE: Flat, yeah.
TOM: Frankly, it’s a little bit of a chance but getting that off is – requires a lot of very, very strong, glue-softener chemicals. And as long as it’s hard and not too bumpy, I would suggest you paint right over that.
LESLIE: Yeah. And the other thing, Sandy, is that depending on what – you know, there are so many different bases to the adhesives that are used for carpeting. And then, of course, the glue remover depends on what that base of the adhesive used was on your floor. So it’s really going to be just a lot of experimentation and they really are just harsh things to work with. So if you really don’t need to, I suggest leave it alone.
LESLIE: Alright. James in Plainfield posted: “How do I get rid of weeds between the pavers?”
TOM: Roundup. Way to go.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
TOM: Definitely Roundup. And it works so effectively. We used Roundup when we were actually restoring our entire lawn by killing off all of the grass and then planting new seed and it came up through it. Very effective for that. For weeds through brick pavers, Roundup is terrific because it’s very, very specific. You simply shoot the weed itself.
But one thing you do have to be careful about is not spraying it in such a place where the wind’s going to blow it around. So a way to do that is to take a milk bottle – empty, of course – cut off the bottom, surround the weed with the milk bottle and then shoot through the top of the spout of the bottle, so you’ve totally contained where the spray sort of ends up. You follow me on that?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And once you’ve gotten all the weeds out, you can get something called locking sand or joint locking sand. And what you would do is you sort of brush that over the entire paver patio, then spray it with some water and it’s polymer-based, so it’s going to sort of stick together. And then nothing’s ever going to grow back up through that.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for starting your spring projects with us. The show does continue online, where you will find a wealth of home improvement tips and advice.
We’re also available 24-7 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do have a question any time – whether it’s mid-project, before project or after the project fell apart on you – pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio, we will try to call you back the next time we are.
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.
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(Copyright 2011 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.)