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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Happy Home Improving, everybody. Enjoying this beautiful summer weather. We hope you are. And we hope that maybe you’re spending just a little bit of it taking care of your house and that you let us be a part of that project. You’ve got to help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Well, summer is here and while that means a season of grilling, chilling and sunshine, it also means it’s hurricane season. And hurricanes affect millions of homeowners who live, of course, along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts but they can also lead to flooding and high winds anywhere in the country. We’re going to help you get prepared with the right tools before the storm strikes.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And as long as that weather does cooperate, you’re going to get to spend a lot of time on your deck this summer. But are you sure it’s safe? Now, Tom Silva from This Old House will be along to talk about deck safety. And he is going to share how you can give your deck a checkup.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is presented, in part, by Philips. Philips makes products that can save money in all of your lighting fixtures. You can see what light can do, at Philips.com.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, you know, it’s a Catch-22: you want to let natural light into your home but all that sun can also raise your cooling bill. We’re going to tell you about a way to let the sunshine in but leave that heat outside.

    TOM: And one caller to the show today is going to win Lutron’s Serena Cellular Shades. Now, these are beautiful shades. They’re remote-controlled and they’re battery-operated, so it couldn’t be easier to install them. There is no wiring required for the installation. And they’re perfect for summer because with one touch, you can control light and privacy.

    It’s a prize package worth 500 bucks but it’s going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Tanya in North Carolina is on the line with a door question. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve got some rot in the framework?

    TANYA: The threshold, at the bottom, is coming up; I guess it’s rotten under there. It’s got to be taken out. And then about a foot up, on each side of that frame, it’s rotted out. So do I have to take out the whole frame and put a new one in or can I just cut that off and replace that at the bottom?

    TOM: OK. So, Tanya, I think you’re talking about – when you say “frame,” I think you’re talking about the door sill and the door jamb. Is that correct?

    TANYA: Right.

    TOM: Not the frame of the wall?

    TANYA: Yeah, whatever the door fits in, yeah.

    TOM: OK. So that’s the door sill and the door jambs. And the best way to replace the door is to cut the entire door out, including the sill and the jambs all the way around, and then install a prehung exterior door.

    So down in North Carolina, for example, you can go to a Lowe’s and buy a Benchmark Door by Therma-Tru. Good quality, fiberglass door, all prehung. Pretty easy and straightforward to install that. And you won’t have to worry about it rotting out because it’s fiberglass.

    TANYA: Oh, OK.

    TOM: You don’t try to repair the jamb or the sill that are heavily rotted like that; you just tear them out. The easy way to do that, by the way, is to remove the trim off of all sides. And a contractor would use a reciprocating saw to basically cut the nails between the trim and the frame of the house. And that door will pop out in like five minutes.

    TANYA: OK.

    TOM: I mean it’s really easy to get it out just with the right tools.

    TANYA: OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kirk in California on the line who’s dealing with a patio issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    KIRK: I have a 1974 house. And in the back, I have a patio that I believe was probably poured in the 70s, too. It’s approximately 20×14, cordoned off into about 6 quads separated by 2x4s.

    And under the eaves, with the little bit of rain we get, and along the main walkways, it’s kind of getting worn down a little bit. And I wanted to know how to preserve that.

    TOM: OK. So, first of all, in terms of the patio itself, if the surface is wearing off, you can use an epoxy patching compound on that surface. QUIKRETE makes a whole bunch of products that are designed just for that. You want to make sure you choose a product that’s designed to stick to concrete and one that’s designed to be a patch. Because if you try to use any type of just regular concrete or mortar, it just won’t stick well. It might look good for a week and it’ll start to chip and break apart, so you want to use one that’s really going to adhere very, very well.

    KIRK: OK. But how about with the epoxy? Will it still give it the original look?

    TOM: Actually, if you do it to the whole patio, it’ll look like a completely new patio. It will be actually quite attractive. You can get it in different colors, as well, OK?

    KIRK: OK. I’ll try that. OK. Thanks so much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, it is the first official weekend of summer. We hope you are enjoying that beautiful weather wherever you are in Money Pit Land. Pick up the phone and give us a call, because we want to help you with all of your home improvement projects. Right now, or 24 hours a day, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, it’s also officially hurricane season and a good time to talk about how to protect your home from severe weather no matter where you live. We’ll tell you how, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are so glad you’ve joined us today.

    Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. If you do, you might just win a fantastic prize, because we’re going to give one away at random. It’s the Serena Remote-Controlled Cellular Shades from Lutron.

    Serena Shades are a really easy way to upgrade a room at a super-affordable price. The shades are battery-powered, so there are no wires to run.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, they use regular D batteries but an innovative technology actually allows the shades to run on the same battery for, get this, three years. You can …

    TOM: Three years. Wow.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s amazing considering sometimes windows are out of reach and you might not be able to access that battery often, so that really is fantastic.

    Now, you can raise and lower the shades from anywhere in your room with just the touch of a button. And the shades start at a very affordable $299. But our winner today gets 500 bucks worth of Serena Shades.

    Now, they’re really so pretty; you’ve got to see them to understand what we’re talking about. So head on over to their website right now. It’s ChooseLutron.com for all the information. And give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jenny in Kentucky on the line with a tiling question. How can we help you?

    JENNY: I wanted to know if I could put my ceramic tile right down on top of my linoleum. Because when I watch all those DIY shows, it looks like they put some type of mat underneath the linoleum – or underneath the tile. And so I thought I could save that step and just use the …

    TOM: No, no, no, no, no. No, nice try but no, not quite so easy. You have to put down a tile backer. And so you can put a tile backer down on top of the linoleum; you don’t have to tear linoleum out. Of course, it’s all – it all builds up and it all counts in terms of thickness. But you have to put a tile backer down first and then you could put the tile on top – the ceramic tile on top of that.

    JENNY: OK. But I don’t need to tear it up?

    LESLIE: If you’ve got the clearance, Jenny, meaning in your kitchen or wherever you’re putting this, you’ve got room with the toe-kick of your counters – I mean of your cabinets and your dishwasher and your refrigerator – to add the extra thickness of that tile backer, the adhesive and then the tile, then absolutely you can go right on top of the linoleum. But if it seems like that inch to 2 inches is going to get tricky, you might need to rip up what’s there.

    JENNY: OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Well, June signals the start of hurricane season and it only takes one hurricane to cause major devastation. Millions of people, even those inland, can face severe weather at a moment’s notice. Hurricanes can spin off tornadoes and flooding and really just about wreak havoc anywhere in the country.

    TOM: So the best way to protect your home is to be prepared. The first thing to do is to put together a storm-ready tool box. What’s that? Well, it should include a staple gun and some plastic sheeting, for starters, because that will help you slow down major leaks and also protect your belongings if the rain gets inside. It’s also a good idea to have a caulk gun at the ready and check this out: you want to use silicone caulk for this purpose.

    Now, generally, we don’t recommend silicone for a lot of things, maybe short of caulking your bathtub. But you want to use silicone in this situation because it can be applied even when the surface is wet which, of course, is going to happen if your windows start to leak.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And perhaps most important: a good flashlight. You’ve got to have one and maybe one like the 3-in-1 LED Tripod Flashlight from our sponsor, Stanley. It’s great because it’s got a hands-free tripod design. So if this is your only light source in case of a power outage, you’re really all set.

    But you can also use each flashlight separately, which is great for members of your family to move around the house with ease. And the lenses are shatterproof, the heads are multi-directional; you can swivel them up to 120 degrees. You’ve got to check them out, because they really are the coolest flashlight. They’ve saved Tom in 101 Boy-Scouting emergencies, I’ve got to say.

    TOM: We did take them to a major campout and tell you what, it’s the best way to light the inside of a tent, to boot.

    LESLIE: Seriously. So check them out. You can learn about the Stanley 3-in-1 LED Flashlight at MoneyPit.com today.

    TOM: 888-666-3974 is our telephone number. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Jamie from Connecticut on the line who’s looking to stain a deck. How can we help you with that project?

    JAMIE: I know, right now, there’s a lot of innovative ideas out there and I’m just wondering if there’s something I can use on wood that I can afford to do it with.

    LESLIE: Now, are you looking for something that’s going to give you a color or just be clear? When you say “natural,” do you mean what it’s made from or a natural look?

    JAMIE: Either/or, clear or color.

    LESLIE: Just cheap.

    JAMIE: Right. I’m going to pressure-wash it first and bring it down to the wood.


    JAMIE: But I’m looking for something that is really affordable because, obviously, the price of everything is outrageous.

    LESLIE: Oh, it’s crazy.

    Now, depending on what you put on there is also going to factor in greatly how often you’re going to have to redo this. And probably the most natural thing that you can use would be boiled linseed oil. And that you would just coat onto the surface but you’re going to have to redo that.

    How often on a horizontal surface, Tom?

    TOM: On a horizontal surface? I think every five years.

    LESLIE: Even with the boiled? That’s great.

    TOM: Think so, yeah.

    LESLIE: Because I know when you put it on a siding, you’re looking at 10, 15 years, which is great.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

    LESLIE: But once you get on a surface that you start walking on – and you want to make sure that you use boiled because if you don’t, it’s never going to dry.

    JAMIE: OK. Now, when you buy it, it says “boiled” or it doesn’t, right?

    TOM: It says “boiled linseed oil.”

    JAMIE: OK.

    TOM: You do not – you don’t have to boil your own; it’s already boiled, OK?

    JAMIE: OK. I’ve heard of linseed oil but I didn’t hear it called “boiled linseed oil.”

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, boiled linseed oil. It’ll say that right on the can.

    JAMIE: OK. Now, if I stain the deck, say, with just a regular stain you pick up at the hardware store, that’s still going to have to be done every 5 to 10 years, right?

    TOM: Right. Yep. Yeah.

    LESLIE: Yes. But I believe the cost is going to be much greater for a stain.

    JAMIE: Exactly, yep. OK. Well, that sounds good. That confirms some – one thing that someone has told me, that that is something good. And it will help preserve it.

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

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

    JENNY: Hi. I’m calling to see how we can permanently remove some lilac bushes.

    TOM: You’re not a fan of lilacs, I guess, huh?

    LESLIE: Wow.

    JENNY: Well, it’s not the idea of not being a fan; it’s just that they were planted too close to the house.

    LESLIE: So why don’t you transplant them?

    JENNY: Is that possible?

    LESLIE: Absolutely. I mean, Jenny, if I could tell you the countless times, as a child, that my mom would – and even to this day, my mom, if seeing a beautiful, blooming lilac bush or tree in the cover of night would make one of myself or my sisters or herself hop out of a car and pick other people’s flowers. I’m like, “Tell me where you live. I’ll take it to give it to my mom.”

    JENNY: Yeah. Don’t get me wrong. I love the aroma, I love the trees. They’re just right in – and they’re obscuring the sunlight that’s coming through the picture window and …

    LESLIE: And that’s why they’re doing so well, because they love the sunlight. But you can absolutely transplant them. You just need to dig a diameter around the root ball and then dig under, just scoop it up and stick it somewhere else.

    JENNY: Oh, OK. Yeah, I guess that would help.

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

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

    MICHAEL: I had standing water in my basement last Monday: about 4 inches worth.

    TOM: OK.

    MICHAEL: After three or four days, I started noticing mold was popping on my walls.

    TOM: OK.

    MICHAEL: And I started ripping off the trim around my walls and there was this black mold covering everywhere.

    TOM: Oh, boy. That’s not good. First of all, I would stop right away and make sure you contact your insurance company. Because if this is the result of a storm, which that’s what it sounds like it is – in other words, it’s not ongoing; it’s a point-in-time occurrence – then you very well may have – and I say “may,” not for sure – but you may have insurance coverage.

    MICHAEL: I don’t.

    TOM: You don’t have homeowners insurance?

    MICHAEL: Well, I have homeowners insurance but they do not cover mold.

    TOM: Yes. But they probably cover water damage.

    LESLIE: Water damage, yeah.

    MICHAEL: I’ve been calling them every day and I’ve been in – they haven’t sent – they didn’t – they said that the inspectors are too busy to come out right now.

    TOM: What do you mean the inspectors are too busy? That’s crazy.

    Here’s what I want you to do. You pay these guys good money to be your insurance company. They’re telling you they’re too busy to look at it? I want you to contact a private insurance adjuster. Private insurance adjusters work on a commission basis. They are specifically trained to deal with insurance-company hassles.

    The thing that bothers me about insurance companies is that they make the filing of the claim, as you’re experiencing, so painful that they hope that you will just go away and save them a lot of money. But a private insurance adjuster will work with you. They’ll know, based on the type of policy you have, what’s covered and what’s not covered. They will help you put together a claim reflecting exactly what’s covered and for the most possible money that you’re entitled to and then see that through to collection with the insurance company.

    I would not do this yourself until I exhausted that issue. These guys are not going to cost you anything except a percentage of what they get from the insurance company. It’s well worth it if you find a good one. You might want to call your insurance broker and see if they have any private adjusters that they can recommend or check with your friends, your family. Check Angie’s List, check ServiceMagic, check some of those online review sites. Find a good insurance adjuster and file the claim with them.

    Now, aside from this issue, I will tell you that the reason the basement flooded is most likely because of the grading and the drainage outside the house. You’ve got too much water that was discharging near the foundation. It might be that the gutters were clogged, you don’t have gutters, those doubts (ph) are too close to the corners. You’ve got to fix all that up and this way, you won’t have a problem that crops up the next time.


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

    LESLIE: Darryl in Iowa is on the line with a patio question. How can we help you with your project?

    DARRYL: Well, I have a paver walkway from my driveway to my front door and it’s about six, maybe seven years old. And all of a sudden, last summer, it disintegrated.

    TOM: Wow.

    DARRYL: And I don’t – and here where we live, we have four distinct seasons, pretty much. But I didn’t use salt; I never have. I don’t know – that’s what I want to ask: is there any kind of a sealant or protectant that we could put on that to help it a little bit or …?

    TOM: No, not really. Now when you say “disintegrated,” do you mean the concrete surface is disintegrating?

    DARRYL: No, the thing just went by like mush.

    TOM: The brick just fell apart?

    LESLIE: Weird.

    DARRYL: Yeah, the brick. Yes, yes.

    TOM: Wow.

    DARRYL: I was just flabbergasted.

    LESLIE: Like completely through and through? Not just the colored layer on the top?

    DARRYL: Well, there – OK, let’s put it this way: probably half of them are mush and then the other half are just the skin on top has come off, yeah. You might say that.

    TOM: Well, here is what I suspect. I suspect that because of the most recent winter that occurred before this, they may have gotten very, very wet and then froze. And in doing so, they would have expanded and cracked internally, which made them very weak. And add to that the expansion and contraction of another few months of weather and they can start to really show that and actually start to fall apart.

    That’s the only thing that I think would make sense that happened here. There is no repair for that but because they’re pavers, you should be able to replace them. Are they all deteriorated or is it just certain ones?

    DARRYL: No, it’s pretty much the whole walk. The whole walk, you just, well – no more than I could say about – just go ahead and redo it.

    TOM: Yeah.

    DARRYL: But in doing that, then I wonder if there’s any way I can help it or not, really?

    TOM: Nah, you shouldn’t have to. I mean how old was that walk now?

    DARRYL: I’d say six, seven years old. Maybe seven.

    TOM: Yeah. Typically, you don’t put any kind of sealant on them. You just don’t. So I would replace it with concrete pavers.

    DARRYL: Yep, that’s it then. OK.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, before you head out to the deck with your family to catch some rays, make sure that that deck is a safe place to actually be on.

    Coming up, Tom Silva from This Old House will tell us about deck safety. And today’s This Old House segment is presented by new Trex Enhance Decking, now in stock at The Home Depot.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    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: And we hope you like us on the radio but now it might be time to “like” us on Facebook. It’s a great way to get the best home improvement advice any time you want. Plus, you will also learn about our exclusive, weekly prize giveaways. You can get instant access to the newest Money Pit shows, articles and videos and priority access to ask your question here on the radio show. Just go to MoneyPit.com and click on the Facebook logo.

    LESLIE: Well, the weather is getting nicer and soon you’ll be spending more and more time on your deck. But before you get ready for your next season of outdoor living, it’s important to make sure that the deck is in good shape.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Now, we’ve all heard the horror stories of deck collapses and a good checkup will tell you if you’ve got anything to worry about. Here to tell us how to do just that is our favorite contractor, Tom Silva, the general contractor for TV’s This Old House.

    Welcome, Tommy.

    TOM SILVA: Thank you. It’s nice to be here.

    TOM: Nice to have you here, as well.

    Let’s talk about deck safety. Every summer, it seems that we hear the same story: it’s a party, somebody has invited over 40 or 50 of their closest personal friends and a tragedy ensues. How do we make sure that doesn’t happen to us?

    TOM SILVA: It’s how true: 40 or 50 of your closest friends; see how much weight is put onto that deck.

    TOM: Sure.

    TOM SILVA: And if it’s not built structurally strong, it can collapse no matter what. But what you want to look for are signs of rot. And I always look at – first of all, you look at the decking itself. That’s usually a sign, because a lot of people aren’t going to get under that deck to find out about the structure.

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: They’re going to say, “Hey, these floorboards look a little worn. They look a little rotted.”

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: That’s a sign right there. And then you’ve got to start looking at how it’s connected to the house. There’s a ledger board that the joists are connecting to the house. What’s the condition of that? Usually a sign is at the top edge, where it meets the deck. You may have some rot in there that you’ve got to look out for. Take a screwdriver and hit it, poke it, just like you’re looking for a rotted sill on a house.

    TOM: Now, that’s a good point. A screwdriver really can be one of your best rot-detecting tools.

    LESLIE: Probing tools, if you will?

    TOM SILVA: You should know, yeah.

    TOM: All the years I spent as a home inspector, I used to wear the tips off of those screwdrivers, because it really does tell you whether the wood is good or not.

    TOM SILVA: Absolutely.

    TOM: Because it can look perfectly fine from the outside.

    TOM SILVA: Right. Very deceiving, especially if someone has put a coat of paint on it or a stain or whatever, it can hide it.

    But also, look at your supports where they are connected at the bases. A lot of time, they’ll rot in the center. If there’s a bolt or a fastener that runs up the middle, there’s no protection there. And if the deck isn’t a good, pressure-treated material or it’s just regular, conventional lumber that hasn’t been sealed, you’ve got a short life.

    TOM: Now, the flashing is also real important because that’s what separates the water from the wood, correct?

    TOM SILVA: The water from the wood and also the house connection. It keeps that connection nice and clean. Because if water is going to get in between that flashing and the ledger, you’re going to rot the ledger but you’re also going to rot the house. And you’re not going to see that from the outside, so you’ve got to be – make sure that the flashing is really solid.

    LESLIE: Now, when you’re inspecting that ledger point, can you actually see the flashing there or is it so encased behind it that it’s anybody’s guess if it exists?

    TOM SILVA: It depends on what type of flashing they used and how they sealed the flashing. Lots of times, people will use an aluminum flashing on a piece of pressure-treated wood and that’s going to rot anyways on its own. And then they put nails through the flashing, so you’ve just defeated the purpose of the flashing. So you’ve got to really look and inspect it and hope – poking around with that screwdriver will really solve a lot of problems right up around there.

    TOM: We’re talking to Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House.

    So, first we have to check for rot, then we have to check the flashing. The fasteners are also very important, too.

    TOM SILVA: Absolutely. Look at the fasteners, look at the hangers, look at the connection where the posts or supports are to the, hopefully, the footings. And if you see any signs of rust at all, that’s usually a sign that there’s a problem somewhere. Maybe the wrong fasteners were used and you’ve got to look into it.

    LESLIE: And what about the railings and the banisters? They really take a ton of abuse, especially if you’ve got a fairly high deck. How do you make sure that they’re maintained?

    TOM SILVA: Well, again, you want to look at the connection where the railing hits the post: that connection there. You want to look at the balusters. Usually, the sign – the way the balusters are connected to the railing at the bottom, you may see some signs of deterioration or rot there or the wrong kind of fasteners.

    So if you check your railing, you can give it a gentle kick at the bottom to see if there’s any loose movement there. And if there is, get on it; get it fixed.

    TOM: Now, speaking of railings, a lot of times we have decks that were built many years ago and the railings were actually quite low. It’s a good time to take a look at the height of those railings, as well, isn’t it?

    TOM SILVA: Yeah, the railings were 26, 29 inches high. They look …

    LESLIE: That’s low.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM SILVA: Yeah. Historical houses. But think about it: back then, nobody fell off the deck, you know?

    TOM: Right.

    TOM SILVA: But the building code today is now 36 inches. Some people like 42. I don’t like the look of a 42 but if you’re up 3, 4 or 5 stories, higher is better.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And what about the spacing? It almost seems to keep them closer together so that kids and pets can’t wiggle their way through.

    TOM SILVA: That’s the idea. You don’t want a 4½-inch ball to go through the hole of that railing or the space – any space at all – because you don’t want a baby to climb through it or a dog or a pet.

    TOM: Now, aside from the structure, we’re looking at the floorboards and we just find that they’re badly splintered. Do you think – a lot of folks think that because you have pressure-treated wood, it’s not going to deteriorate but that’s not true. Sun can really do a number on it. It can splinter it, it can become uncomfortable for the feet. Any quick tricks to fix those boards?

    TOM SILVA: Well, you’re right; you hit it right on the head: pressure-treated wood still needs maintenance. People don’t think it does. It gets large checks in it. Lots of times, it won’t rot. Sometimes, you can get – and actually get a defective piece and it will rot.

    But you should keep some stain on it. You should keep something in there protecting that wood. I don’t care if it’s pressure-treated or not; it still should have some protection on it. And if it’s too far gone, you may have to cover it with another product or basically replace it. Sometimes, you can take it, flip it over.

    TOM: Great advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. This is a really important topic and something that you really should be doing at least once a season, correct?

    TOM SILVA: Absolutely. Right after the winter.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and a step-by-step video on deck maintenance, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.

    Well, with all the beautiful weather we have this time of year, it is time to let the sun shine in. But when doing so, you also want to keep the heat out. We’ll tell you a way to do both, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes. Formulated to restore, beautify and protect decks, fences and siding year-round. Behr is available exclusively at The Home Depot, where you can visit the new Exterior Wood Care Center, built to help you find the right products and colors for your project. For more information, visit B-e-h-r.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. If you want to change a look of a room, install a Lutron C?L Dimmer. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit ChooseLutron.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, because one lucky caller who gets on the air with us today is really going to get a chance to win a great prize. We are giving away the Serena Remote-Controlled Cellular Shades from Lutron.

    And Serena Shades, they’re an easy way to upgrade a room at a very affordable price. And here is the coolest part is that the shades are battery-powered so no electrician, no wiring, nothing required except the simple installation process. I mean they’re great shades at a great price.

    TOM: Yeah. And thanks to the work of some really smart engineers at Lutron, they’ve developed a really innovative technology that makes these batteries last three full years. Now, I can’t get a flashlight to last six months. They’ve got these battery-powered shades lasting three years, so you can raise and lower the shades from anywhere in the room with the touch of a button.

    And they come in different colors and textures. They start at a very affordable $299 but one winner today is going to get $500 worth of Serena Shades. You’ve got to check them out online. The website is ChooseLutron.com. They are absolutely beautiful. Or pick up the phone right now and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Well, this is, of course, the first official week of summer. And of course, one of the greatest parts of summer is all of that darn beautiful sunshine. But there is one problem. I know you’re thinking, “How could there be a problem with sunshine?” But seriously, how do you let all that sunlight into your home without raising your cooling costs?

    Now, the experts at Therma-Tru, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, have a great solution. They make beautiful sidelights: those windows that can be installed on either side of your front door. Now, the sidelights that Therma-Tru makes are made of low-emissivity glass or low-E, which you may have heard, for short.

    TOM: Yeah. And if you’re not familiar with low-E, what it basically does is uses a special coating to reduce the amount of infrared radiation that’s transferred from the warm pane of glass to the interior, cooler pane. So if you put in the sidelights, not only do you get a beautiful addition to your entryway but you can also let in the maximum amount of sunlight but keep all the heat out.

    You can visit ThermaTru.com to check out all the different styles and the different glass that are available for the sidelights. I have these doors on my house. I’ve got sidelights and they are really, really beautiful and they work very well. And we don’t really have an issue with heat getting inside.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jane in D.C. on the line who needs some help with an eco-friendly rug. Tell us what you’re looking for.

    JANE: I am in search of a type of rug or rugs that one can safely have installed in their home and it’s not toxic or as toxic as the present ones we have.

    TOM: Yeah. You know, it used to be that we look forward to that new-carpet smell, because it …

    JANE: Right, exactly. Exactly.

    TOM: Now we know that it’s bad for you. So, yeah, there are lines with all major manufacturers that are low-VOC products that have reduced those odors and made them safer for us to take inside our homes.

    The organization that creates standards for the carpet industry is called the Carpet and Rug Institute. And the Carpet and Rug Institute has an indoor air-quality testing program that is kind of like an Energy Star sort of thing where you have a seal. It’s an icon that has a CRI inside a small, green house. And if you see that icon on the carpets, you know that it meets their standards for low emissions. And that’s something you can learn more about at the Carpet and Rug Institute website.

    But besides that, the other thing that you want to do is try to have the carpet delivered a day or two before it’s installed so that it can be unrolled outside and aired for a bit or perhaps in the garage or a place like that. That’s important. If there’s any gluing that has to be put down, you want to make sure that you use, also, low-VOC adhesives so you don’t have any adhesives that are contributing to the VOC problem in your house.

    And I think manufacturers like, I think, Shaw has made a name for themselves with environmentally-friendly carpets. Mohawk is another brand that I know has those types of carpets.

    LESLIE: And when it comes to padding, you might want to use the felt padding instead of any of the rubber padding that they might have.

    JANE: OK. What do you call that padding?

    LESLIE: Felt padding. It’s just a standard carpet padding. That, of course, cannot be used below-grade.

    But airing it out is very important. I remember when we were putting wall-to-wall carpeting in my son’s room when I was pregnant, we had the installer roll out the piece and keep it in his shop for days and days and days and days.

    JANE: I remember my mother used to air certain things out when they came back from the cleaners.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Mm-hmm. That’s right. So you took the bags off and let them air out a bit.

    JANE: Exactly.

    TOM: Essentially, you’re going to do the same thing with the carpet. And I think that will make it …

    JANE: Yeah, that’s what I’m picking up from you. Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Yeah, it’ll be much more comfortable. That plus the fact that carpet today – if you search for the right time, the right kind with the CRI seal on it – is going to have less VOCs to begin with. OK, Jane?

    JANE: Oh, OK. Thank you so very much. I really appreciate this. I’ve been waiting and waiting to get this information.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Hey, just because it’s summer, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your chimney. In fact, this is the perfect time for maintenance. We’re going to tell you how to seal around your chimney to stop those leaks, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And it’s the season, Leslie: the season for grilling.

    And if you’re in the market for a new gas grill this year, you want to make your backyard the gathering spot in the neighborhood, MoneyPit.com should be your first stop. Just search “how to buy a gas grill” to get tips on finding the perfect one for your space. That’s live on MoneyPit.com: “How to Buy a Gas Grill.”

    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re online, you can head over to the Community section and post your question, just like Jackie from Kentucky did. And Jackie writes: “What should I use to seal a leak around my chimney? I’m worried whatever I choose won’t be fire-resistant and I don’t want to spend a fortune.”

    TOM: Well, first of all, you don’t have to worry so much about the fire-resistant issue if you do this correctly. Now, very often, chimneys will break down and leak and they leak at the intersection between the roof and the chimney itself. So, the solution to that is basically to replace the flashing.

    Now, many people will simply go up there and tar that junction but guess what? The tar doesn’t bend and the chimney and the roof are going to expand and contract at different ratios. And essentially, that becomes sort of like a movable joint between the chimney and the roof and the tar will simply crack, even if you gob it on, which too many people do.

    So what you really should do is to have a roofer come in and put in new flashing. You want base flashing and counter flashing. Base flashing goes under the roof shingles and up against the side of the chimney. And counter flashing goes into the mortar joint on the chimney and then folds over it. So that becomes sort of the movable joint: it’ll expand and contract and ride along with the roof, no matter which way it wants to go, and it will keep the water out permanently.

    Now, it might be a case that you have this already and one piece of it got loose or fell off. That’s something to look at. Hopefully, that’s the case; maybe it’s a less expensive repair. But we always encourage people to properly reflash chimneys, because this way we know it’s going to be fixed and it’ll be good to go and you won’t have to worry about this every single year.

    LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps, Jackie.

    Now I’ve got one from Matt in Texas who wrote: “I have a red-brick home. The water from my sprinklers has been hitting an exterior wall and has left a kind of white, foggy residue. How can I get that off?”

    You know, that’s really simple to get rid of, isn’t it?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s mineral-salt deposits. So, when you take water out of the ground, for sprinkler systems or even if it’s a public supply, very often there’s minerals in that water. And when the water hits the brick, the water evaporates and it leaves those salts behind. So, as a result, you’re going to get that kind of grayish, white look to the brick.

    So here’s what you want to do: you want to mix up a pretty strong solution of vinegar and water. White vinegar, that is. You can buy that by the gallon. It’s not very expensive. Mix it up about 50/50 with water. Put it in a pump sprayer, like a garden sprayer, and saturate that whole area.

    Now, the vinegar will react with the salts to release them and you should be able to rinse that right off and you’ll be good to go.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it vanishes like instantaneously.

    TOM: It does, it does.

    LESLIE: It’s going to be maintenance and redirect your sprinkler heads. But you’ll see it comes right away.

    Alright. Now, Joe in New York wrote: “I live in a home that was just built in 2002. I’m noticing the wood floors in the kitchen are starting to bend. The planks look like they are cupping. How do I keep this from happening?”

    TOM: Yeah, that’s tough because you have high humidity in that space. Solid-wood floors are just not the best choice for kitchen. Next time, think about using engineered floors instead.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And with so many styles, you’ll really find a beautiful, engineered hardwood that’s meant for a high-moist environment.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Happy First Week of Summer, everybody. We hope we’ve given you some ideas – some inspiration, perhaps, this hour – to help you get started on your home improvement project or perhaps dig out of one that you already got started and maybe didn’t exactly go in the direction that you intended it to.

    If you have questions about your projects, 24-7, we encourage you to visit our website at MoneyPit.com. Or remember, you can always post there in the Community section or pick up the phone and just call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Our lines are open 24-7; our screeners never sleep. 888-666-3974.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2012 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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