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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.)
    (promo/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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Hope you all had a great Independence Day. Now it’s time to talk about some independence from those lurking home improvement projects. (Leslie chuckles) We’ll help you get through them easy. So pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll get started at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    You know, this time of the summer can get hot and dry in many parts of the country and if your lawn just doesn’t seem lush and green, it’s not a lost cause. We’re going to tell you a little later why a dry, yellow lawn doesn’t necessarily mean dead grass and what you need to do to bring it back to life.
    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we’re going to help you give a covered porch or a veranda a whole new look with just a painted floor. We’re going to tell you how, in just a few minutes.
    TOM: And another flooring trick, learn how to calculate the right amount of carpeting you need for any room. It’s an easy formula, coming up. So get a pen ready. You’ll know what you need when you head off to the carpet store.
    LESLIE: Plus, we’ve got a chance for you to win a great prize that’s going to bring you one step closer to that entry door of your dreams. We’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card that you can use towards a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru.
    TOM: And that’s a great project to do because you get a great return on investment and you can even qualify for the federal energy tax credits and get some money off for improving your house at the same time. So pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Let’s get right to those phones. Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Gloria in New York is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
    GLORIA: Well, I wanted to know – I have a hardwood floor in my dining room and it’s started to squeak over the last few months. Whenever I walk across it, it squeaks. I’ve asked a couple of professionals and they said that I would have to rip out the entire floor and the ceiling underneath it. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: No.
    TOM: No, what they were trying to say is they need a big project and you’re just the one to give it to them.
    TOM: Nothing to worry about with squeaking floors, Gloria; very normal occurrence. Most floors are going to squeak. They squeak because of some movement and …
    LESLIE: And it’s more of an annoyance than a structural thing.
    TOM: Yeah, it’s not a structural issue. There’s no need to rip anything out. Now, if you want to try to quiet it down a bit, there’s a couple of things you can do. Since it’s a hardwood floor, it’s a finished floor; so you have to be careful about how you actually secure the floor.
    You can either drill out the floor and screw the floor down to the subfloor below or the floor joist below and then plug the holes – so it’s a little bit of a carpentry project; or you can take finish nails and do the same thing. But you have to find the floor joist – you can do that with a stud finder – and you’re going to drive those nails at a slight angle. You’re going to have to pilot out the floor first – because, otherwise, it’ll split and the nail will bend – and you could drive those areas a little bit tighter to the floor and that will stop the movement. Once you stop the movement, you’ll stop the squeak.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Chances are, though, there’ll be a squeak in another section.
    TOM: You’ll be chasing them.
    GLORIA: Yeah, that’s what I’ve noticed. It’s started to squeak on the other side, also. Alright.
    TOM: Yeah. That’s normal. I wouldn’t panic over it and you absolutely don’t need to tear the floor up to fix it.
    GLORIA: Well, great. That’s great news. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Gloria. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Man, I love these contractors that come in and just predict, you know, these major projects.
    LESLIE: Doom and gloom.
    TOM: Doom and gloom; panic peddle: “This major project has to be done,” when, in fact, it’s a very, very simple fix. If anyone gives you advice and they’re also part of the solution – in other words, hiring them is part of the plan – you’ve got to question it; built-in conflict of interest. You’ve got to question whether that’s the right advice and Gloria, I’m glad you did just that. We were happy to help you out.
    LESLIE: Gary in North Carolina is facing a slippery slope. What’s going on at your money pit?
    GARY: Yes, I have a Trex decking that goes down a slope and when it gets wet it gets very slick; in fact, I slipped and fell and broke my hand and I …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, no.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, good Lord.
    GARY: What can I do to put on it or clean it or whatever to make it unslick?
    TOM: You know, it’s interesting. I was out at Yellowstone. They had composite decking there as their walkways and we were out one morning running through the geyser field. And it was very, very damp and humid and I was amazed at how slippery that surface got. I know that not all composites are like that and some that are textured, that have a grain pattern to them, are not going to be as slippery. But to deal with what you have, you’re probably going to want to add an anti-slip coating.
    GARY: OK.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and you know there are several coatings out there. A lot of them are available through sort of marine suppliers but the problem with those is sometimes you have a hard time finding non-colorized ones because obviously you like your Trex decking; you don’t want to paint it a color. But there is one that we’ve found; it’s by a company called Evercoat and it’s called Skid-No-More. And you want to make sure that you apply at least two coats. It’s going to go on clear but it’s going to give you sort of a gritty, sandpapery feel; so if you’re barefoot on it, you’re going to feel some sort of – you know, a little bit of abrasion to it.
    GARY: (overlapping voices) Grit to it.
    LESLIE: It’s not going to hurt you if you’re barefoot on it but you will notice a difference. But it will stop you from slipping and sliding with shoes on.
    GARY: Skid-No-More. OK.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    GARY: I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
    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. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair, your home improvement, your home decorating question. Whatever you are working on at your money pit, we can help you get the job done 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, it’s décor du jour. We’ve got a decorating tip on how to bring a boring porch or veranda back to life. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s fast and it’s coming up after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And this is where home solutions live.
    Now you’ve heard us tell you that a great entryway – you know, a beautiful front door; nice patio door – it can increase your home’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. Well, this hour, we’re giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one caller to help you buy a nice, new one that’s available at Lowe’s right now. It’s the Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark by Therma-Tru is not only a practical investment that delivers energy efficiency, security and storm resistance; it’s also stylish. Benchmark by Therma-Tru specializes in prehung entry doors for easy DIY – that’s do-it-yourself installation – and they’re available exclusively at Lowe’s. To get your started, we’re going to give away that $50 gift card to one caller that picks up the phone and calls us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question.
    LESLIE: Hey, even pick up the phone and give us a call if you’ve got a decorating question because Tom and I can tackle those questions as well. And we’re going to jump right into some décor du jour for you this hour.
    You know, if you want to add visual appeal to an otherwise blank slate, think about painting the wood floor of your covered back porch or your front porch or veranda; whatever your money pit has got. If you’ve got a boring floor, you can instantly jazz it up with a few coats of paint and some imagination.
    Now, diamond patterns or decorative rugs, those can easily be achieved in a few steps and, with the right colors, can look absolutely charming. You want to make sure that you prime the surface first and then apply your artistic flair. You know, colors like warm aubergine – which is basically a fancy way of saying like an eggplant-y purple – and a chocolate brown instantly make a rich and a charming statement. And when you finish your work of art, you want to make sure that you add a clear topcoat to help your work last a super long time and it’s sure going to look better than that old indoor/outdoor carpet or AstroTurf that you’ve probably got going on out there anyway. So take some time. Be creative and create something beautiful for your house today.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Victor in Rhode Island is being a good friend. You’re helping a friend build a house? What can we do for you?
    VICTOR: Yes, how are you?

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Good.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Excellent.

    VICTOR: Good. Building a modular house that’ll have propane gas heat.

    TOM: OK.

    VICTOR: It’s about 1,600 square feet. And I asked a plumber about a hot-water-on-demand system and he’s kind of uneasy about it because he was concerned about the maintenance, repairs and parts. So I’d like more – any updated information about this kind of system.

    TOM: Have you ever heard the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

    VICTOR: Yes.

    TOM: That’s what’s happening with plumbers in America when it comes to tankless water heaters. There’s a lot of guys that are still uncomfortable with them because they’re just not used to them. But this is the new technology. This is the system that really is going to make a huge difference in the money you spend heating hot water and the convenience that you enjoy from having hot water all the time whenever you need it. Tankless water heaters are here to stay. The plumbers are just going to have to get used to installing them. Yes, you have to learn a few new tricks of the trade. You know you can’t put them in like you used to put in the old tank water heaters. They require larger gas lines. They use more gas but for a shorter period of time. So in the end result, they consume less but they need a lot to burn and heat your water.
    So you know, plumbers have been sort of struggling with learning how to install these things because they actually have to crack open the installation book and read them. So I would, you know, treat your plumber gently but insist that he look into the instructions for installing one because they absolutely are the way to go. You’re going to save a lot of money. You’re going to enjoy a lot of convenience by having an endless supply of hot water, Victor.

    VICTOR: OK. Another comment I can add – we’ll be having an enclosed year-round greenhouse.

    TOM: OK.

    VICTOR: Now, we’re considering getting a generator but all I can think about is the old days when they were so noisy.

    TOM: The new standby generators are actually much quieter. Now, we have one here at my house and I also have one at the studio and that one we could not afford for it to be very, very noisy but the way they’re built, the construction of the cases now, actually makes them quite quiet. We have a sponsor on the show which actually manufactured the same generator that I have. It’s a Guardian generator; it’s by Generac. And the prices have come down on these and they’ve gotten a lot quieter. So you might want to take a look at those generators. They’re available at Home Depot and other places like that.

    VICTOR: OK, I’ve got more questions but I’ll let you go. (Tom and Leslie laugh)

    TOM: Victor, we are happy to be with you as you build this house. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Justin in Missouri needs some help with a staircase. What can we do for you today?
    JUSTIN: I was trying to get stairs put into my house. I have a spiral staircase right now.
    TOM: OK.
    JUSTIN: And I wanted to put in a normal staircase because the spiral staircase is a homemade version and not very applicable for us. So I was trying to figure out the best way to do that; resources, books, anything, any information you can give me would be great.
    TOM: Well, the problem is that if you want to get rid of the spiral, you’re going to need a lot more space, physical space, to get a staircase in.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
    TOM: I mean the nice thing about a spiral is it needs very little run, so to speak; the size of the hole in the ceiling is pretty much the whole space that it needs to operate. If you’re going to have any type of a straight run staircase, you’re going to need a lot more distance. Do you have that ability to carve out that much floor space to create, you know, a straight or an angled staircase going up?
    JUSTIN: Yes, sir. We do. We have a – the whole floor is – only half of it is cut out for the top floor and then, behind that, is a framed-up coat closet; so we would take that out and move it on over. So we have probably, I think, 12 feet of linear space.
    TOM: Twelve linear feet? Yeah, you’re going to need every bit of it. And what’s the ceiling height?
    JUSTIN: Of the first floor or …?
    TOM: From the top of the second floor to the top of the first floor, what’s the ceiling height?
    JUSTIN: I believe that it’s a ten-foot ceiling?
    TOM: Really?
    JUSTIN: I’m guesstimating. It’s a ranch – it’s a built-in-’68 ranch, so …
    TOM: Well, it would be unusual for it to be ten-foot. Let’s assume it’s eight-foot.
    TOM: Well, Justin, if you have a typical eight-foot ceiling, you’re going to need probably about nine-foot worth of vertical rise from the floor – you know, up through the floor joist to the top of the next floor; so that’s around 108 inches. What that boils down to is that you’re going to need a run, a linear run, for a straight staircase of around 11 feet. And the problem is you only have 12 feet. And so you can’t do a straight staircase up. You’re going to probably have to do this in two sections; where it goes up, say, five treads and then it hits a platform and turns again and goes up again, which means it’s going to cut out and into that room quite a bit.
    So the bottom line is if you replace the spiral with a straight staircase, it’s going to cost you a lot of space to do that. So make sure it’s something that you really are prepared to give up because it’s not going to be nearly as efficient as the spiral stair that you have right now in terms of square footage. It will give you better access; be easier to move around. But doing the straight run with a nine-foot rise, you’re going to need about 11 feet to do that; otherwise, the staircase gets too steep.

    JUSTIN: Yes, I agree. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Justin. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Yeah, those spiral stairs; they don’t take a lot of room and they do deliver – do the job. But if you’re trying to move …
    LESLIE: Yeah, but they always make me feel really nervous.
    TOM: Do they? Well, you’ve just got to get used to them.
    LESLIE: Like I always feel like I’m going to misstep. They’re too narrow.
    TOM: Well, there is one other option – fireman’s pole.
    LESLIE: That is true. (Tom chuckles) But going up is a problem.
    TOM: That’s true. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Mariah in Connecticut needs some help with a decking project. What can we do for you?
    MARIAH: Yes. You know, I have a wooden deck and I need to try to seal it. I bought a product someone told me was a good one. It’s Cabot. C-a-b-o-t?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes? Yep.
    MARIAH: And I was wondering – you know, you need a second coat because it’s an old deck.
    TOM: OK.
    MARIAH: And I was wondering, you know, if there is a good product; better than Cabot.
    TOM: Well, it’s an excellent product and putting two coats on is never a bad thing.
    MARIAH: Never a bad thing.
    TOM: Never a bad thing. That’s right.
    MARIAH: What is – I heard, you know – and maybe I misunderstood – there is a product, you know, if you put it on you don’t have to do it for I don’t know how many years. It’s called FiberonDecking.com.
    LESLIE: Oh, that’s …
    TOM: Well, Fiberon Decking is a beautiful product but it’s not a coating.
    MARIAH: Oh, it’s not.
    TOM: It’s a composite decking. Right. In fact, Leslie’s got a Fiberon deck and we’ve seen that product. It’s a fantastic product. If you’re ready to replace your deck, that’s the product you want.
    MARIAH: Oh.
    LESLIE: Well, it’s a great option because, as you’re seeing, you have to put a second coat on and a few years from now you’re going to have to put some more coats down on your deck. With a wood deck, you have the beauty of real wood but you’re dealing with a lot of maintenance and a lot of upkeep and eventually you get tired of it; that’s pretty much what happened to us. So when it was time to redo our deck, instead of going with, you know, pressure-treated lumber, I went with the Fiberon composite decking and it looks like mahogany. I mean there’s an amazing grain pattern to it. The color is fantastic.
    It’s at my family’s vacation house. You know, we put it in last summer. This summer, we went out for a holiday weekend – first weekend out there; I didn’t have to do anything to it and it was just thrilling. It was so nice.
    MARIAH: But it has to be a brand new deck, right?
    TOM: Correct.
    LESLIE: Well, the deck structure itself could be what you already have but the planking, the top of the deck, would be replaced with the Fiberon.
    MARIAH: OK. Yes. No, so that’s not – that won’t – but besides Cabot, is there any other product or you said Cabot is a very good product, right?
    TOM: Cabot’s a good product. I mean there are others but if you’ve already got that and you put one coat on it, I wouldn’t mix it.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: I would put the same product down and put a second coat.
    MARIAH: Oh, so I would buy another Cabot and then do a second.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes. Yep, exactly. You want to buy solid-color stain …
    MARIAH: Oh, solid-color stain?
    TOM: … which is going to last longer than semi-transparent.
    MARIAH: Ah. Solid …
    TOM: OK, Mariah?
    MARIAH: OK, thank you so much for all your help and you have a good day.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome. You’re welcome.
    LESLIE: You, too.
    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Nadine in Oregon is dealing with a moldy situation. What’s going on at your money pit?
    NADINE: Hi. I was calling to see – there was some mold in the closet my sister did …
    TOM: OK.
    NADINE: … and she said that – she pulled some of the wall out and they even replaced them and then there’s more and more and more. And she was cleaning it with water and bleach and it isn’t doing anything.
    TOM: Well, if it’s a significant amount, you’re really going to need to get an expert in there. We’ve got to identify the source of the moisture and see if we can get to the bottom of this problem because when you take building materials, air and moisture together, they will grow mold. Very common, Nadine, to have mold in a closet because you don’t get a lot of air movement in there.
    LESLIE: Well, it’s not a conditioned space, generally.
    TOM: Right, so you get a lot of humidity. And if you have a little bit of mold, you can usually spray it with a bleach-and-water solution and that will kill what’s there. But if you have a lot of it, you’re better off getting a pro in because if your sister gets in there and starts really tearing things up, she may spread some of that mold to the rest of the house; could make her or other members of the family very sick.
    NADINE: Oh.
    TOM: Alright, Nadine? So get a pro, get some help, get it done right the first time. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, if the long, hot summer has left your lush, green lawn looking now dead and brown, it’s not a lost cause. Up next, we’re going to give you some tips on how to bring it back to life.

    (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. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
    TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and now that we are in the summer, you know, a vacation is great; but sometimes you just want to get away from everything in your own backyard. Well, we can help you do that. We have got all of your staycation solutions online at MoneyPit.com/Staycation and it’s all presented by the fine folks at WORX GT and Fiberon. Now Fiberon, they’re the makers of superior composite decking. All you need to do is visit MoneyPit.com/Staycation now and, if you go there, not only are you going to get great ideas; we have a chance for you to win a $400 mower from John Deere.
    TOM: And you can use that mower on your lawn after we bring it back to life. Now, if your lawn has lost it’s lush, green look, not to worry. Lawns affected by summer droughts are smarter than you think and even though the lawn looks dead, it’s really just dormant; not dead, just dormant and it’s going to come back …
    LESLIE: It’s sleeping.
    TOM: It’s sleeping. It’s going to come back to its lush look when the rain returns. But to make sure you protect it from damage – from structural damage, so to speak – you need to try to stay off it. So here’s when you really want to enforce those pathways, using the sidewalks; or if you’re going to cut across the lawn, limit it so that you don’t have dead grass that you have to regrow. The dead grass that is not harmed will come back to life. The dead grass that is beat into the dirt will not come back to life and you’ll have to plant new seeds and that’s going to take a while for it to regenerate.
    So remember, it’s not dead; it’s dormant. But stay off it to try to protect it.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to those phones.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Don in Pensacola, Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
    DON: Hi, I’ve got a house on Pensacola Beach and it’s 14 feet in the air and I have stairs and a deck in the middle. And I’ve painted this thing continually. It seems like even cleaning it, priming it, painting it with – sometimes we have high tides and it gets flooded but hurricanes; you know, we’ve had water as high as 11 feet but the paint just …
    LESLIE: It’s your forever project.
    TOM: Yeah.
    DON: Yeah.
    TOM: No end.
    DON: It seems like I paint these stairs every year-and-a-half, two years.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Three weeks?
    TOM: (chuckling) You know, that’s why I don’t like paint for an application like this; I much prefer a solid stain because it’s …
    DON: Well, that’s what my question is.
    TOM: Yeah.
    DON: Should I go with stain? Because that’s what I decided to do and – but it’s so labor-intensive, getting all that paint off of these decks and the stairs.
    TOM: The problem is you have so many layers of paint on that right now that you have a real serious adhesion problem.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s going to take forever.
    TOM: So what I would recommend is you get that old paint off, use a solid-color stain – oil-based, if possible – and I think you’re going to find that it lasts a lot longer and it’s certainly not going to peel.
    LESLIE: Well, what about this as an option, Don? I mean I don’t know how many steps you’re dealing with and what the condition of the lumber is, but what about replacing not the stringers and not the support pieces in the pressure-treated but just the wood that’s the treads and, you know, flat surfaces that are easily replaceable. It might be, you know, more beneficial for your time and effort to just start fresh with new lumber.
    DON: Well, yeah. I have replaced some of the treads because they have become so deeply cracked; you know, they just suck up tons of paint and I guess you never get that moisture out of there or something. But, in fact, the deck portion I’ve replaced probably 90 percent of the lumber for this time. But I think I’m going to go with the oil-based, as Tom was saying, because I just – you know, since I’ve had this house, the painting, it never looks great.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You’re going to have to strip all that paint off though, Don.
    DON: OK.
    TOM: Yeah, but I think you’re going to be happy with the oil stain. Just use solid color. It’s got plenty of pigment in it. It’s very durable. Use a brand like (inaudible at 0:22:35.1) or something like that; works very well.
    DON: Thank you very much.
    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Ruth in Illinois needs some help hanging something on her walls. What can we do for you?
    RUTH: Well, I moved into a house that has plaster walls and every time I try to take a little nail and, you know, hang up a picture, I get a whole chunk of wall out.
    TOM: OK.
    LESLIE: Do you actually get the wall out or do you just hear it falling down behind?
    RUTH: No, it actually – a little, round, quarter-sized piece just comes out toward me.
    TOM: OK.
    RUTH: So I didn’t know if there’s a way that I can hang pictures or I’m just going to have to have a wall that doesn’t have pictures.
    TOM: Are you trying to nail into that plaster?
    RUTH: I am, mm-hmm.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, what happens is the plaster gets old, gets weak and the plaster is probably put up on lath, which is like wood strips. And the way it stays in place is the plaster sort of swells behind the wood lath – kind of grabs it like little fingers – and when you try to nail it, you break those fingers off and then the plaster itself gets very loose. So what I would do is I would predrill this first or always pilot drill it out …
    LESLIE: Using a very skinny drill bit.
    TOM: Yep, or even the nail itself. You can take a finish nail and turn that into a drill bit and use that to pilot out the hole because you’re not really cutting it – you’re just sort of making some room in there – and then drive the nail through that. The other thing is always try to drive the nails into the stud and you can use an electronic stud finder to figure out where that is; even in a house that has plaster.
    LESLIE: Yeah, but the stud finder is going to go like bananas because every …
    TOM: No, even if it has plaster lath; the newer ones are pretty good at detecting the difference between a thin piece of lath and a large, wood, full 2×4 beam.
    RUTH: Well, great. Thank you very much for your advice.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Ruth. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Joe in Missouri needs some help fixing the damage from a leak. Tell us what happened.
    JOE: Yes, we noticed some discoloration on the linoleum around the toilet, so I suspected a leak and we have a walkout ranch, unfinished basement. So I went in the basement and looked up at the floor joists and there was, in fact, a failure of the wax seal and now I’ve got this black mold/mildew growing on the 2x10s and I need to find a way to remove it. Most of the commercial products suggest spray it on and then wash it off with a hose or something, which I really can’t do in the basement of my home.
    TOM: Yeah. I mean how much do you have? Just a little bit of black around these floor joists?
    JOE: It’s probably three of the floor joists; anywhere from 18 to 24 inches on two to three of the floor joists.
    TOM: OK. I mean do you know if it’s mold or is it just water damage?
    JOE: No, it looks like it’s mold or mildew. It’s not water damage, I don’t think.
    TOM: Well – and is the basement finished or unfinished?
    JOE: It is unfinished.
    TOM: Well, why don’t you just do this? Why don’t you mix up a bleach-and-water solution and spray it down.
    JOE: (overlapping voices) OK.
    TOM: Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then spray on a little bit of water on top of that to sort of rinse it. I mean if it’s unfinished, you can simply put a tarp down; catch a little bit of that water; clean it up; you’ll be good to go.
    LESLIE: And you can use one of those little pump garden sprayers.
    TOM: Yeah, that’s a good point; one of those pump garden sprayers. Yeah. You don’t need to hose it off.
    LESLIE: Yeah, we don’t need a pressure washer.
    TOM: And that will kill any mold that’s actually there but it’s probably more likely to simply be some moisture damage. Then make sure you fix that wax seal.
    JOE: Yeah, we fixed that already.
    TOM: Alright, so it’s dry now?
    JOE: It is dry.
    TOM: So if it’s dry, you don’t have to worry about any further decay. Because without the leak, it’s not going to continue. I’ve seen a lot of leaky toilets over the years and I rarely see mold. It’s almost always just water damage.
    JOE: OK.
    TOM: A little of the early signs of decay.
    JOE: Well, that sounds good. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Thank you so much for joining us this hour at The Money Pit.
    Hey, are you getting ready to replace old carpeting or even add new carpeting in your home? Well, don’t waste money buying more than you’re going to need. We’re going to give you the surefire formula for measuring your room, right after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Now, you guys have heard us talk on and on about how wonderful a good-looking entry door could be for your home and increasing your house’s perceived value by thousands of dollars. Well, this hour, we’re going to be giving away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one lucky caller and that’s going to help you buy one great entry door that’s available at Lowe’s exclusively right now. Now we’re talking about the Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. It’s not only a practical investment that’s going to deliver energy-efficiency, security and storm resistance; but these Benchmark doors are also beautiful and stylish.
    Now, Benchmark by Therma-Tru specializes in prehung entry doors, so they are an absolute easy do-it-yourself project and they are exclusively available at Lowe’s. And to help you get started getting that curb appeal on your home up to par, we’re going to give away a $50 Lowe’s gift card to one lucky caller this hour. So pick up the phone and give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement or your decorating questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    OK, so you’re getting ready to order carpet and you’re just not sure how to measure your room’s square footage. Here is what to do. Simple formula. Measure the length and the width then multiply the two numbers. Take that total and divide by eight. This will give you the amount of carpet you need in square yards with enough extra to be safe. Now, if you divided by nine you’d know exactly how much square yards you need but that wouldn’t account for waste. That’s why we say to divide by eight.
    LESLIE: Now, here’s another quick tip. If you’ve got carpeting that you need to do on a smaller area – like stairs or on a landing – when you go to the store, ask them if they have a remnant section. They always do. These are smaller pieces that are left over from other projects that maybe people didn’t want or left over on the bolt. They will sell them to you at a very affordable price and you can find some really beautiful carpets that you wouldn’t even have considered because of the price. So look in the remnant section first before you move on to the other section.
    TOM: And here’s yet another quick tip. Pick up the phone and give us a call – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – for the answer to your home improvement question.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Bonnie in Colorado needs some help with the curb appeal of her home. How can we help?
    BONNIE: Yes, hi. I had a question about restoring some very faded vinyl siding. My mother put siding on the house probably about 20 years ago and it’s a medium brown color. And where the sun hits the side of the house, it has turned into kind of a pale, greenish-tan, yucky, faded color. So I’ve heard of a couple of products that you can spray on that are supposed to bring it back but I didn’t know if those really work or if you had a brand to recommend or …

    TOM: Well, you’re talking about UV degradation and the color in the vinyl is solid. And while you can change sort the U of it – have you ever used a product called Armor All on your tires?

    BONNIE: No, but I know of it.

    TOM: Well, if you put Armor All on your tires – and those that have used it know exactly what I’m talking about – you can take the dull, gray tire and it sort of turns it to shiny, cool-looking black.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Shiny, dark gray.

    TOM: Yeah, it looks like real neat. And that’s kind of what those products do. They sort of give you a bit more sheen and they will change the color a little bit. But then again, they have to be repeated from time to time because as anyone who’s used Armor All knows, it lasts until about the first rainstorm; sometimes less. (Leslie chuckles) But that’s their marketing strategy. You’ve got to go out and buy more. So you’re not going to change it permanently but it might make it a look a little bit better.


    TOM: And so what I’m saying is, I wouldn’t have unrealistic expectations that you’re going to maintain a color change over the long haul if you do this.

    BONNIE: Well, thank you so much for your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Bonnie.

    BONNIE: That covers what I needed to know.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit and the staycation theme seems to really be resonating with our listeners.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    LESLIE: This week’s e-mail bag is full of questions about patios, windows and green roofs.
    TOM: Well, except we’re not talking about the environmentally friendly type of green roof. (Leslie chuckles) We’re talking about the mossy kind of green roof. We’re going to have tips on how to remove that, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.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: Too shy to call? Well, e-mail your question instead. Just go to MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like Gerald did from New York.
    LESLIE: That’s right and Gerald writes: “My roof shingles are 16 years old and have a green mold on them. Is there any way to remove it without damaging the shingles? And what causes this condition? There’s a lot of tree cover over the house.” (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
    TOM: Hmm.
    LESLIE: I wonder, Gerald.
    TOM: I wonder. Did that have something to do with it? (chuckles) Gerald, sorry; we’re poking fun at you, my friend, but the roof – the moss on the roof is being caused by the tree cover because here’s what happens. First of all, you get a lot of tree droppings; including seeds of the moss, so to speak, that grab on, take hold and grow. Because you have the tree cover, you’re not letting sunlight in there, which is sort of a natural mildicide. So we want you to do a couple of things here.
    First of all, try to cut back some of those trees. Let a little more light on the roof. You’re not giving up all the shade but you’re letting a little more light on. Secondly, I want you to clean the roof with a mildicide. I’d recommend a product called Jomax – J-o-m-a-x. You mix it with bleach and water; you apply it; you let it sit. You gently scrub the roof surface and, if you’re not the kind of guy that likes to get up on the roof and do this himself, hire somebody; but it’s got to be clean.
    And then, thirdly, I’m going to give you a little trick of the trade that will help keep the roof clean. Go up to the ridge of the house, the peak of the roof, and wrap a piece of copper or a piece of nickel or use a copper or nickel ridge vent there. Either way, you want some copper or nickel strips along the top ridge of the roof because, as the rain hits it, it will release some of that metal and copper and nickel are mildicides and they will essentially scrub your roof every time it rains.
    So remember, a little more of the sunlight; clean the roof; get the copper and nickel ridge vents or flashing on top of that roof and that will keep it clean in the long run.
    LESLIE: And you know what, Gerald? It’s always gong to be sort of a maintenance situation, so just clean it really well the first time and then stay on top of it.
    Alright, we’ve got one here from Linda in New Hampshire who writes: “I need to replace slider windows with double-hung-type windows. My problem is that I have vertical shiplap siding in place. What is the easiest and most economical way to remove the old and install the new windows?”
    TOM: Well, it’s kind of unusual to replace sliding windows with double-hung windows because sliding windows are kind of wide and double-hung windows are kind of tall. But if that is truly what you want to do, Linda, if the sliding windows have a wood frame on them right now, you can simply remove the sash part – the operable part – and replacement windows can fit inside of that. If your sliding windows have metal frames, then you do, in fact, have to take the shiplap siding off. And you know what? It’s not that terribly hard to do. What I would do is number the pieces so you know where they came off from. Take them off, remove the frames of the window and, in this case, you’re going to install what’s called a new construction window and you put it all back together.
    Now remember, Linda, right now – between now and the end of 2010 – if you put in a qualifying window, you can actually get 30 percent of the cost of that window taken off in the form of an energy tax credit and, in fact, if you go to our website at MoneyPit.com, there is a free window replacement guide. It’s actually a bonus chapter to our book, My Home, My Money Pit, and it talks about all of the things you need to know about installing new windows in your house: how to qualify for the tax credit; what the qualification requirements are and so on. So that’s all for free at MoneyPit.com. We put that together with help from the folks at Simonton Windows.
    LESLIE: And Linda, make sure that you save all of the labels and everything that comes attached to the windows themselves and your receipts and proof of purchase. Because when you do file for the tax credit – and you’ll find everything at the link through MoneyPit.com – you’re going to need all of that information to give to your accountant to make sure that they’re verifying the type of windows that you used so that you know exactly what you need and how to file so you’ll get as much money back through the tax credit as you possibly can. And good luck with that project, Linda.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. The show continues online right now at MoneyPit.com where we will be with the answers to all your home improvement questions.
    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.

    (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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