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    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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. Let us help solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Pick up the phone and help yourself, first, by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, buying a Starbucks coffee gives you an added boost but it turns out that living near a Starbucks does the same thing for the value of your home. Is your house close enough to experience the so-called Starbucks effect? We’re going to tell you, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. I love that. That’s fantastic. If only the Starbucks could be in my kitchen. Then I’d be much, much happier.

    And guys, if you’re looking to spruce up the front of your home, consider using plants and flowers to jazz up your entranceway. And we’ll tell you how to do that, in just a bit.

    TOM: And if painting is on your to-do list or your honey-do list this spring, you’re a step ahead of the game. A new color does wonders for your old stuff but make sure you choose a paint that’s durable and long-lasting. We’ll tell you how.

    LESLIE: And warmer weather means that you can finally cruise around with your windows down. But first, you’ll want to get that car in tip-top shape with this hour’s prize. We’ve got a 3M Auto Prize Pack and it’s worth more than 100 bucks.

    TOM: The 3M Prize Pack helps you treat your car right, with everything from a sanding block to a headlight-restoration kit.

    Call us, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Heading out to Wyoming to talk to Mike about a flooring project.

    What are you working on, Mike?

    MIKE: My house is probably 55 years old or so and I’ve got an attached garage. And it’s got a concrete floor in it at present and I’m wanting to make it into a workshop. So I – the floor that’s in it is – concrete’s broke up. It looks like people have tried to patch over the top of it. And I was just wondering about putting a subfloor over the top of that, if I needed to do anything with that concrete or what I should use for a subfloor material.

    TOM: So, basically, you just kind of want to cover that concrete surface so you have something that’s more comfortable there?

    MIKE: Yes, correct. Something I can sweep easily and it’s level.

    TOM: Is the concrete just cracked? Is it actually broken into chunks or does it just have cracks going through it?

    MIKE: Well, neither, really. It’s real wavy. I have a son that did concrete for a living for a while and he said he’s never seen anything like it. Don’t even know how they accomplished it.

    TOM: Oh, so it’s sort of deformed, huh?

    MIKE: Yeah, it’s got low spots in it and ridges.

    TOM: How big is this floor?

    MIKE: It’s probably 20×8. It’s not very big.

    TOM: OK. Would you consider replacing it with a new concrete floor?

    MIKE: No. No, I don’t want to go to that expense.

    TOM: Yeah. Because my concern is that whatever you put on it is going to follow the curve of the old floor.

    LESLIE: Yeah, unless he builds out sort of, you know, like a framed floor to sit on top that has angled bottoms.

    TOM: Yeah. Even if he does that, it’s going to be really hard to customize that and get – yeah, what Leslie is suggesting is that if you put, say, furring strips down on the concrete floor and you adjust the height of them to compensate for the curves and that sort of thing – that’s going to be a bit of a challenge for you to do that.

    MIKE: Yeah.

    TOM: Could you live with the curving if we could give you a surface that’s easy to sweep?

    MIKE: Sure, certainly. That’s basically what I’m looking for.

    TOM: Well, I’m going to try to give you the easiest thing to do here and I think that if you were to use a very good-quality epoxy floor paint, I think you’ll get the surface that’s very easy to clean.

    Now, the way epoxy floor paint works is when you buy it, it’s in a gallon container but it’s only filled up to be about ¾-gallon of material. And then there’s usually a hardener that makes up the other quart.

    You mix them together after the floor is thoroughly cleaned and you apply the paint to the floor. You work it, say, from the back out. Usually, there’s some sort of a decorative chip that you can add to it, which gives it some ability to kind of hide dirt and that sort of thing. And you work your way out of the garage with that. Then after that dries good and hard, you can add a clear finish on top of that. And it actually looks quite attractive and is very easy to clean when it’s done.

    That’s the best way to get a very quick finish on that floor that’s going to look good and be easy to take care of. Because even if you were to cover it and build it up with, say, a false wood floor, that’s still going to be hard for you to sweep. As long as the concrete is not cracked and unsafe where the sections are lifted up, I’d just tell you to paint it and forget it and move on.

    MIKE: I’ll certainly look into it. That sounds like the best option for me, at this point.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’re heading over to Washington to talk with Jean about moss. What can we do for you?

    JEAN: Well, I would like to know, is there a product that I can use safely on blacktop or cement to get rid of moss?

    TOM: Yeah. You can use trisodium phosphate – TSP – which you can buy in the aisle of a – paint aisle of a hardware store or a home center.

    JEAN: OK. Then if you spray that on, do you need to also wash it away and wash it off?

    TOM: Yes. Yeah, you do. You need to let it sit there for a while and you can scrub it and then rinse it away.

    And then another option is a product called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. And that’s available at home centers and hardware stores, as well. And that’s made by the Zinsser Company. And that’s a house wash and mildew-stain remover, so that’ll work well on the algae, too.

    JEAN: OK. And is that a spray-on?

    TOM: You mix it up and you spray it on. That’s correct.

    JEAN: OK. And then do you think you need to rinse it off, too?

    TOM: I would follow the label directions. I believe you do. And that will take care of it, OK?

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

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

    Can you believe it’s April already? My goodness, I can just see the tulips blooming right beneath all that snow that’s slowly melting. But it’s happening.

    Give us a call. We’re here to help you with all of your home improvement questions. Whatever you are working on, we’re here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, living near Starbucks has its perks and we’re not just talking about getting a quick java fix. It appears the coffee chain can up the value of your home. We’ll tell you how, next.

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a 3M Auto Prize Pack worth more than 100 bucks. It’s got everything you need to dust off your car this spring, from a sanding block with different-grit sandpapers to a headlight-restoration kit and Bondo spreader so you can work with the putties and the fillers.

    LESLIE: You can learn more at 3M.com. But give us a call now for your chance to win. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

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

    GETTY: Oh, hi. My uncle is struggling with a mouse problem.

    TOM: OK.

    GETTY: And he wants to get rid of them the old-fashioned way but his wife doesn’t want them to be harmed or killed or anything.

    LESLIE: That’s a tough one.

    GETTY: Yeah. So they’re trying to figure out a way of – I don’t know, catch them or keeping them out of the house, stuff like that.

    TOM: So, what I would suggest is that, first of all, you try to mouse-proof your house as much as possible. So, by doing that, you need to seal all the gaps that may surround the exterior most commonly, like around where pipes and things come through the walls.

    Secondly, you want to avoid anything that creates a nesting site or areas where the mice can sort of dig into. For example, a common one might be firewood piled close to the house and that sort of thing, high grass. So you want to try to make that as un-mouse-friendly as possible.

    Next, you want to look at moisture sources and food sources that are inside the house. So, for example, I’ve seen folks develop mouse problems because they have pet food – in the big, heavy pet-food bags – perhaps sitting on the garage floor where the mice decide they’re going to cut their own door into the side of that bag and help themselves. So, you want to make sure that any type of food source is off the ground, up on shelves and in rodent-proof containers, metal containers.

    GETTY: OK.

    TOM: You could also put in – now, see, she doesn’t want to kill them. So pretty much any other way to get rid of these things is going to remove – is going to kill them. I mean you could use bait stations where they’ll – does she just not want to kill them or she doesn’t want them to die in the house? Because it’s a fine point, you know. If you use a bait station, they usually take the bait and go outside while that stuff goes to work.

    GETTY: Right.

    TOM: I can understand her perhaps not wanting to use mousetraps, because that can get kind of messy and gross. But I would suggest you try to make your home as rodent-resistant as possible.

    We’ve got a great article on how to do that. It’s called “Beating the Rat Race.” It’s on MoneyPit.com. But I do think that if you really want a permanent solution, you’re going to end up having to use some rodenticides, as well.

    GETTY: OK. I think that’d be a fair idea. She’s wanting to catch them all and take them down the road somewhere.

    LESLIE: Oh, geez.

    TOM: You’re not going to catch them. They’re pretty fast.

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

    GETTY: Thank you.

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

    BECKY: Hi. I’m having trouble with leaking on my back porch. I have a 20×12 porch and it’s not completely flat. It is part of the house but it’s got rolled roofing instead of the shingles like on the house. And there’s a little bit of a pitch but I had a new roof put on in 2006 and have had the people come out several times because of leaking in the middle, under the ceiling part of it. And also, the chimney is right there on the edge and it’s leaked around there, too.

    But they fixed that but we’ve had ice before, which I’ve never had trouble until last week. And I had them come out because it was leaking and there was ice on the – because of all the bad weather. And they said it was an ice – caused by an ice dam. And some roofs do it and some don’t. There’s nothing they can really do to fix it. But it was leaking in the same place that I had just regular rain leaks before.

    And my concern is I can’t – I think they should fix it but they said that it’s an ice dam and there’s nothing that can be done. And I’m just wondering if there is something that can be done for that.

    TOM: OK. You want the good news or the bad news?

    BECKY: Start with the bad.

    TOM: So the bad news is that you do need to take your roof off and rebuild it. Now you want the good news?

    BECKY: Yes.

    TOM: It’s probably covered by homeowners insurance.

    BECKY: Really?

    TOM: Ice-dam damage and ice dams are typically covered by homeowners insurance. And the way they’re fixed is basically you have to take the roof apart and you have to apply something called “ice-and-water shield,” which kind of looks like rolled roofing but it’s designed to sort of seal right up against the roof sheathing. And it’s kind of like putting a rubber membrane, almost, across the underside of your entire roof. And then, over that, you put the roll roofing or whatever other type of low-slope roofing product you want to install.

    And when you’re doing the ice-dam repair with the ice-and-water shield, you will, of course, replace all the flashing around the chimney. Because we are going to be working around it, so you pretty much have to do it. And that will deal with that issue.

    So what I would do is I would contact a public adjuster, not your insurance company, first. Although you could report it to them but a public adjuster – because these guys are independent. They work for the homeowners. They work on a commission based on what they collect from your insurance company. And have them write up a claim and file a claim for you. If it’s done well, you could get the roof, you could get the ceiling painted, the whole nine yards.

    BECKY: Oh, well, yeah. That’s wonderful. So, how are they listed as far as a contact – I mean a public adjuster?

    TOM: That’s how they’re listed. They’re public insurance adjusters. I would check with friends, check with attorneys. You could check with your insurance agent. Might have a lead. There’s obviously – like anything, some are good and some are bad, so you want to find a good public insurance adjuster. But I think you may have a potential claim there and perhaps you’ll get a new roof out of it.

    BECKY: Alright. I will do that. And thank you so much. Appreciate your show.

    TOM: Well, having a Starbucks in walking distance is never a bad thing. But it turns out owning a house near a Starbucks comes with an added perk.

    LESLIE: Yeah. According to Zillow, homes that are within a ¼-mile of a Starbucks rise in value faster than those that aren’t.

    TOM: Yep. Between 1997 and 2013, homes close to a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, which is much higher than the national average of 65 percent.

    LESLIE: Now, don’t be upset all you Dunkin’ lovers. If you live near a Dunkin’ Donuts, that also meant above-average increases, though not as high as living near a Starbucks.

    TOM: And this could just be sort of a chick-and-egg situation, since Starbucks has a knack for opening stores in up-and-coming areas. But if you’re on the lookout for a new place to lay your head and see big returns, neighborhoods near the luxury coffee chain appear to be a solid bet.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Rich in Kentucky on the line who’s dealing with a condensation issue.

    Rich, how can we help you?

    RICH: Went in the crawlspace last year to run some wire and I got all this water. And it’s on the heating and air ducts. And it’s nice, fresh, clean water dripping on the vapor barrier. When I bought the house, the two vents that are down there are blocked. They might have did that when they put in the radon vapor-barrier system.

    So, basically, I was mopping it up with a towel and putting it in the bucket to get it out of there and I was just – same thing’s going to happen this summer when I run the air condition, I guess.

    TOM: This is a crawlspace that’s unfinished and you have a radon ventilation system in the crawlspace or it’s a basement?

    RICH: The radon’s in the basement but I thought there was a tube going into the …

    TOM: OK. Because it typically – here’s what you’re going to do. With a radon system, the basement, if it’s finishable, it’s going to be sealed and have a ventilation system installed into it. The crawlspace is usually – you never put a radon system in a crawlspace because a crawlspace is always vented.

    And if the crawlspace is open to the basement then, if anything, you might seal off the space between the crawlspace and the basement to create two separate and distinct areas that have their respective levels of ventilation. Does that make sense?

    RICH: Yeah, I think it’s pretty much blocked off. I guess the radon doesn’t go in there then.

    TOM: So now let’s talk about your moisture problem. Now, what you’re seeing in the ductwork is condensation, because the ducts get cold when you run air conditioning. And you have warm, moist air in the crawlspace area and that condenses on the outside surfaces of the ducts and they drain. Basically, they drip.

    So, what can you do about that? Couple of things. First of all, we can take some steps to reduce the amount of humidity that you have in the crawlspace. So how do we do that? Well, number one, I want you to look at your gutters outside. Make sure that the gutters are clean, free-flowing and discharging away from the house. We want no water collecting anywhere near the first 4 to 6 feet away from that foundation.

    LESLIE: Because that’s just going to find its way right back into your crawlspace.

    TOM: Exactly. Big U-turn.

    RICH: OK.

    TOM: Then, look at the slope of the soil and make sure that the soil slopes away. And make sure the gutters are finally clean. So if all that water from the rain is moving away from the house, that’s good.

    The next thing that you can do is you can make – that those ventilate – that those vents are open in the crawlspace. And then thirdly, you can add a dehumidifier. Take a look at the Santa Fe dehumidifiers. They’re best in the business. They are ENERGY STAR-rated, so they’re not going to cost you an arm and a leg to operate and they’re going to totally dry out that crawlspace. And then the fourth thing that you can do is insulate the ducts.

    So, drainage on the outside, open up the vents, get a Santa Fe dehumidifier and then insulate the ducts. And that will stop the problem.

    LESLIE: Anastasia in Colorado is on the line with a bathtub question. What’s going on?

    ANASTASIA: Well, I have a tub drain. Trying to get that out – the drain out ­- because it’s – I can’t put a plug in it now. So, what I’ve tried is the drain-remover tool or it’s a plug wrench. And then I also tried that flaring tool to get it out and neither one of them works, because the little crosshairs in the bottom aren’t still in there because it’s from 1960 tub.

    TOM: Oh. So you have nothing to grab onto. Is that what you’re saying?

    ANASTASIA: Yeah. So, I’ve tried to get WD-40 in there underneath the tray but I can’t reach under there. And then I could crawl under the house but I don’t want to do that. So I was trying to think of a better way of getting it out.

    TOM: If I understand it correctly, this normally would unscrew but what you’re driving – what you’re trying to grab onto is either stripped or completely gone.

    ANASTASIA: Correct.

    TOM: I have only two suggestions for you. Number one is to hire a plumber, which is probably – you didn’t need me to tell you that. But I will say that the plumbers are – deal with this kind of thing all the time. And secondly, if I was a plumber and I was faced with this and there was absolutely no other way to get this off, I would probably drill it off and chisel it away, which you can do with a cold chisel.

    And it’s not a pleasant process and it’s time-consuming and kind of a pain in the neck but when all else fails and you’ve just got nothing to grab onto, that’s a way to get it done.

    ANASTASIA: Alright. That’s what I thought but I thought you might have a little trick up your sleeve.

    TOM: But that’s a trick but it’s a lot of hard work. Anastasia, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, are you looking for a pop of color to greet your friends and family right at your front door? Well, why not enhance your front entrance with the right flowers and plantings to really create that colorful welcome? We’re going to have tips on how you can do that, from This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook, after this.

    ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with Tom and Leslie.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we want to take a minute to welcome a brand-new Money Pit affiliate in Minnesota: KNSI-FM out of St. Cloud.

    Welcome to The Money Pit family, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

    LESLIE: Rob from Utah is on the line who’s looking to save some green by going green and needs some help with an energy audit.

    How are you doing today, Rob?

    ROB: We are interested in getting a home energy audit and mostly trying to figure out what to expect, like how much should it cost?

    TOM: Well, that’s a great question. Now, have you looked around for audit providers?

    ROB: I haven’t really reached out to people yet but tried to get in a little bit. But no, not really.

    TOM: OK. So I would start with your local utility company. Because sometimes, they provide home energy audits, themselves, or will provide those at a discount. What I would like to see you find is someone that’s not tied in with a repair operation so you get somebody that’s truly independent. There are some energy auditors that work for the same companies that offer insulation services and weatherstripping and that sort of thing. And what you really want to do is find someone who’s completely independent.

    The scale of the energy audit can vary dramatically. A couple of things that I would look for – one thing that is really good to get is what’s called a “blower door test.” And this is where they take a device and pressurize your house with air or depressurize it and can measure the amount of leakage your house has. And that can help you pinpoint the worst offenders and teach you how to get those sealed up.

    Other parts of an energy audit would determine how energy-efficient your windows are, how much insulation you have in your attic space and match with the right kind of ventilation, how efficient are your appliances. It really looks at all of those areas.

    And then it should boil down to a specific list of recommendations that are prioritized. Because, I think, a lot of times when we try to make our homes more efficient, we guess. We guess at where we’re suffering the most, whether it’s new windows or insulation or whatever we think we need or a salesperson tries to sell you. It ends up being a guess. But an energy audit really can nail that down with some cold, hard facts and help you prioritize where to put the money.

    ROB: OK. Great. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Good luck, Rob. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, your front yard creates a welcome entry to your home. And when it comes time to sell, it’s also your chance to make a good first impression on potential buyers.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. Curb appeal is what draws people in and helps your home stand out visually from the pack. Here with tips to help make sure your home makes a grand entrance is This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, people can become easily overwhelmed when they’re planning any landscape project. And I think that’s especially true when you’re trying to create a design that’s going to give the home that first big impression. So, what would you say are the keys to sort of giving your house a wow factor?

    ROGER: If you’re selling your house, you only get that first minute that people pull up for them to decide, “Whoa. Do I like this or do I not like that?”

    TOM: Yeah. Or not, right?

    ROGER: Very, very quick.

    TOM: Yeah. And it’s actually even more important than that because, many times, we’re shopping for homes online. If that picture of your house doesn’t create that impression, you’ve kind of lost the battle.

    ROGER: Oh, you have to remember you never get a second chance at making a good first impression. And so, what you want to do is create an environment that looks welcoming to the house.

    Now, for years, we’ve been doing what’s called a “foundation planting,” because we have a foundation that sticks out of the ground. Well, nowadays, houses are sighted a little better and you don’t need to line the foundation with plants. So you want to create something that has different textures, different flowers, different colors and just invite people to go up the front walk.

    LESLIE: And along those lines, is it smart to sort of line your walkway, maybe, with a low shrub or pretty plantings?

    ROGER: I like having color because it just leads you up to the front door. And I’ll even take that color that you have on the edge of the walkway and combine it with some pots or hanging baskets from the house itself.

    TOM: Now, creating a garden is something that people often do in the back of their house. But is there an option to create sort of an entry garden at the front of your house?

    ROGER: You can do a lot of different things at the front of the house and it all depends on what you are. Right now, there’s a thing called “edible gardens” where you put in plants, like blueberries and things, that you can actually pick. You can do that in the front yard, too.

    The scope is endless. You can do so much to the front of the house. It’s just picking the right blend of material.

    LESLIE: And I think it’s also important to think seasonally, you know? So much of what’s on the market – with a home sale, you might list your home in the summer and then come wintertime, you’re still trying to sell it. So you’ve got to make sure that whatever you’re doing either stays looking nice or you’re refreshing it every season.

    ROGER: No, you’re exactly right. You need to have some bones, some structure that’s going to be there all season long. And then, as true gardeners, transition the color so that you have different things in flower all the time.

    TOM: And is it a good idea to also sort of mix up the colors and the textures so you have a really kind of carefully crafted space?

    ROGER: It’s always nice to have things that complement each other. Me, I keep putting purple and yellow together, because I’m a guy and we (inaudible at 0:24:56).

    TOM: And those are your colors.

    ROGER: Yeah. And again, it’s personal thing. If you’re not selling the house, then you’re doing this decorating for yourself. So use colors that you like and plants that you feel are good for your environment.

    TOM: And of course, like everything in our home, maintenance is really important. So how do we set up those beds in the way to kind of reduce weeds and really minimize the maintenance?

    ROGER: Well, again, weeds – by planting things that are going to grow full and keep the weeds down and mulching the beds. That helps with the weeds.

    What you want to do is you want to put in plants that don’t require a lot of work. Some of the hybrid tea roses are pretty fussy. They’re beautiful but they’re fussy. You want plants that are going to grow and fill in and come back year after year after year. And there are now these things like daylilies that bloom more than once, so that’s an interesting fact. So you don’t have to replace it with another color.

    TOM: So I guess, Roger, this seems like it could be an overwhelming project but it’s also important to remember this is something we can build on. We can start small and build out a small area and then complement that every season, correct?

    ROGER: Right. You can graduate it in any way you want. What I tell people is to put in the basics, the bones, first and then dress down from there. Or do one side, do one bed and then next year, do another bed and another.

    TOM: Roger Cook, a guy that always creates a good first impression, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: You obviously don’t know me very well.

    LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.

    Up next, are you tired of spending all weekend painting only to get those so-so results? Well, we’ll have tips on a new paint that can make the job easier and the results better, when The Money Pit continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: When you’re ready to search for a home, start at Realtor.com. Realtor.com is the most accurate home search site. And be sure to work with a realtor to help you through the process. Realtor.com and realtors. Together, we make home happen.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    And we want to hear from you, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Not only are you going to get help with whatever it is you are working on around your money pit, one of our lucky callers that we talk to on the air this hour is in for a treat. We’ve got a 3M Auto Prize Pack worth more than 100 bucks.

    TOM: For over 100 years, 3M has developed over 1,000 innovative solutions used in cars. And this hour’s winner gets to test drive a few of them, from Bondo Rotted Wood Repair to the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit.

    Learn more at 3M.com and call for your chance to win, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    ANNA: Well, I have a problem with a painted banister. We have a white staircase – white banister – painted and after a while, we’ve been cleaning it and it gets a lot of dirt into the paint and the paint has become sticky. I need to know what to maybe seal it with or some suggestion.

    TOM: Well, at this point, if you’ve gotten kind of a sticky mess on your hands, there is no sealing. You’re going to have to go back to the …

    LESLIE: Yeah, you’ve worn through the finish.

    TOM: Right. You’re going to have to go back to the raw wood and get as much of that old paint off as possible. So I would use a paint stripper first. There’s a pretty good product called Rock Miracle that we like, that does a good job. Get as much of that paint off as you possibly can, then use a good-quality primer – oil-based is best – and go up from there. There’s nothing at this point – if you’ve got a goopy, sticky, yucky surface – that you should put on top of that. It’s only going to make the matters worse, Anna.

    ANNA: It’s not (audio gap), it’s more just sticky and it gets grime into it. It’s the only thing I can tell you.

    TOM: Yeah. Right. And …

    ANNA: I was hoping I could maybe save it but it’s an awful lot of stripping.

    TOM: Yeah, I understand that. But the problem is that anything you put on top of that is just going to make it worse right now. When the paint gets to be that – in that kind of condition, you’ve got to really start taking off some layers. You may not have to go down to raw wood but you’ve certainly got to get off the upper couple of layers and go from there.

    ANNA: Oh, OK. Alright. Well, was hoping you had a magic but …

    TOM: Sometimes we do but not always. Sometimes, the only magic is the hard elbow grease that has to go into a project.

    ANNA: OK. And what kind of paint would you suggest? An oil-base, I know that.

    TOM: Well, for priming, yeah. Just an oil-based primer. At least you get better adhesion with it.

    LESLIE: And then it’s better to use a glossy finish, because anything with a glossy finish has more layers of that finish in it to achieve that high gloss or a semi-gloss. And then it’s more cleanable or easily wipeable.

    ANNA: OK. Alright. Thanks so much.

    LESLIE: Well, you’ve heard us say it before: “Painting is one of the easiest and most wallet-friendly ways that you can update the inside – or the outside, for that matter – of your home.” But getting paint onto the surfaces doesn’t always come that easily. And the final result doesn’t always last as long as you’d hoped.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s why Krylon’s CoverMax Spray Paint is a real game-changer. We are thrilled to have Krylon join The Money Pit as a sponsor. And not only does the CoverMax EZ-Push Spray Tip require two-times less finger pressure than other spray paints, it lets you spray horizontally, vertically or any angle in between for easier application.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I think that’s really important. You know, if you don’t spray-paint a lot, you don’t realize how fatigued your finger can actually get. I mean it’s true. You guys have all seen me spray-paint a ton of furniture on the TV shows I’ve worked on. So it’s true: your finger can tire very easily. And the CoverMax EZ-Push Spray Tip really makes it a lot more enjoyable.

    Now, CoverMax is the only general-purpose paint with rust protection for indoor or outdoor use. And it’s going to dry in 10 minutes or less and you can use it on metal, wood, plastic and more.

    TOM: CoverMax comes in nine different colors, all guaranteed to be as clean and crisp as you hoped. Learn more at Krylon.com and from the floor of the National Hardware Show. Coming soon, all of our picks from the Money Pit’s Top Products Pavilion at the 2015 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

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

    KELLY: Yeah, I have a Craftsman-style home and it has ridge vents. But I had an energy audit just this spring and the energy audit said, “Kelly, you don’t have any soffit vents in your – around your eaves.”

    TOM: Yeah. Hmm.

    KELLY: Well, I don’t really have eaves. All of my roof ends in these exposed rafters. It does have gables and so he said, “You need to vent this house. Your house – your attic is not properly ventilated because you don’t have any way for the air to get in the bottom.”

    TOM: OK. So you have no soffit. Is that correct? Basically, it terminates?

    KELLY: That’s correct.

    TOM: So here’s the solution, OK? There’s a type of vent called a drip-edge vent. And what a drip-edge vent does is it essentially extends the roof line by all of about 2 inches. And that 2 inch becomes an overhang at the edge that provides the intake ventilation for the soffit.

    So, if you go the website for AirVent.com – it’s the Air Vent Corporation – take a look at the product selection there. Look at the Drip-Edge Vent and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

    Now, to do this, you’re going to end up taking off the bottom course of shingles and maybe even putting two shingles in its place, because you’re going to have to actually physically extend the roof by a couple of inches. But done right, you will install that soffit that you don’t have and you won’t notice it from the outside. So you’re not going to physically notice a difference in terms of the architectural style of your house but you will provide that all-important space for intake ventilation.

    KELLY: OK. Appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Hey, are cabinets eating up your entire kitchen-renovation budget? It’s really easy for them to do so but they don’t have to. You can find quality cabinets at a reasonable price. We’ll tell you how, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    And we all know you guys love home improvement and décor as much as we do. And if you’re looking for some more advice, more answers and more Money Pit whenever you want it, like us online on Facebook. Just head to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and click Like and you’re going to be getting a ton of information about cool projects, blogs, prizes, everything.

    You can also post your question in the Community section at Money Pit, just like David did in Idaho who writes: “I’m looking for inexpensive cabinets for my kitchen that won’t use up my entire remodeling budget. Which will be cheaper: assembled or ready-to-assemble?”

    TOM: You know, I think that you can get a quality version of either type of cabinet at a reasonable cost. For example, if you look at the cabinets that are sort of always in stock and in the aisles at Home Depot, they’re actually really well-made. I’ve used those on a project.

    In fact, we built an entire kitchen for a home that was owned by our local Boy Scout council, where they do a lot of different events for the scouts. They needed a complete, new kitchen. We did that entire kitchen with Home Depot cabinets – and actually Home Depot countertops, as well – for under 2,000 bucks. So that was pretty cheap.

    Now, another option would be, of course, IKEA. They have ready-to-assemble cabinets. I’ve had good experiences with IKEA, as well. I have sort of a kind of a coffee/sink area in our office that was done completely with IKEA ready-to-assemble cabinets. And I’ll tell you what, they’re really tough. The hardware is solid, hasn’t worn out.

    So I think you could look to either. If you stay away from the kitchen showrooms, you’re probably going to save a boatload of money.

    LESLIE: It’s true.

    Now, I’ve used the IKEA cabinets, as well, for the Ronald McDonald House makeover that I did. And you’re right: they do have a little bit more of a modern sensibility but I think with the right hardware and the right finish, if you’re looking for something a little bit more traditional, you can get that look, as well.

    I will say this: when you order all of those kitchen components – and they have kitchen team members there at your local IKEA that can help you select and make sure you’re getting all the right pieces. And they can even do a layout for you, if you need that.

    But I will tell you, I ended up with a big pile of hardwares that were drawer slides and all different things that I wasn’t necessarily sure, exactly, what they were. Because some of the things, in random packages of hardware, didn’t say exactly what it was. And some of them were drawer stops and some were a part that went to the glide on the drawer. So you have to be a little bit more savvy when using them.

    But it was a fun project; I enjoyed putting them together. And it’s always kind of a fun challenge to beat the IKEA machine by conquering those directions, if you will.

    TOM: You know what I love about those directions? Of course, there’s no words, right? It’s all pictures and pictographs.

    LESLIE: Right. Nothing.

    TOM: So you follow them, right? But if you get at some point and you missed something …

    LESLIE: Or you skipped a page by accident.

    TOM: Right. You have to go back six steps to do that. I call that the “Scandinavian surprise.”

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: You kind of missed it and got to go backwards and take it apart and then start again and put it back together again. But they’re good products. So either something like IKEA or Home Depot cabinets, I think you’ll be really happy with them.

    Take advantage of the skill set of the pros in either location and make sure you’re ordering the right sizes, you’re getting filler materials when you need it, all that sort of thing. They’re really quite good at designing these things.

    And I think you could get them quickly – or reasonably quickly – and get it done for a great price.

    LESLIE: Yeah. I mean IKEA, you’ll drive away with them. Home Depot, depending on if they have them in stock, you can either drive away with them or get them delivered. So it really is both good options. Stick with what’s local to you. This way, you’re not getting any shipping charges and you’ll end up with a great, affordable kitchen.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this beautiful spring weekend with us. We hope we’ve helped you out with tips and advice to take care of your home improvement projects.

    If you’ve still got questions, remember you can post them, 24-7, on MoneyPit.com or on The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2015 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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