How to Build a Fence that Lasts #0611182

  • Transcript

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And what are you working on? What home improvement would you like to get done around your house? Because we love home improvement and we especially love helping you get the projects done that you’d like to tackle. Whether it’s a home improvement, a décor, a remodeling project, something that you’ve just got to fix because it’s busted, give us a call right now. Let’s talk it through, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, there’s an old saying that good fences make great neighbors. But that only applies if you can get the fence built right the first time. We’re going to have some tips to make that project a lot easier.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, our homes have always been a reflection of who we are. But for the first time ever, a study has been conducted to understand how our personality impacts our home improvement attitudes and behaviors. We’re going to share the surprising findings.

    TOM: And now that we’re getting deep into summer, are the bugs getting deep into your lawn and garden? We’re going to have a solution that can help block bugs from vegetable gardens and flowers and trees and shrubs and lawns.

    LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you. So give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Howard in Tennessee is on the line and needs some help making things around the pool not so slippy. What’s going on?

    HOWARD: We have a concrete deck around our pool and it has been painted before, years ago. And I was going to pressure-wash it and I wondered what kind of paint surface to put on there that would not be slick where people would fall.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I think what you want, Howard, is a paint with an anti-slip coating. There are paints out there that have some abrasion to them. And so they are specifically designed for stairs and wet locations like just what you’re suggesting.

    I know there’s one at Home Depot that’s called Sure Step – S-u-r-e-S-t-e-p. It’s made by Insl-X and it has some pretty good ratings. Folks seem to be very happy with it. And it’s designed as an exterior coating that does just that. It can go on concrete.

    And what I would caution you, though, is if you are going to pressure-wash, you want to make sure that that surface gets really dry and that you’re lifting off any loose paint. Because as good as the topcoat of paint is, if it’s not sticking, it’s not going to do you any good. So, you want to make sure you – if you’re going to pressure-wash it, that’s great. But make sure that loose paint’s gone and then give it a good couple of days in the sun to dry before you put the next layer of paint on it.

    But take a look at that Sure Step product and I think that’s exactly what you need.

    HOWARD: Well, thank you so much. And I’d just like to say I love your show. It’s very informative and here in Tennessee, we like it.

    TOM: Well, we thank you so much for listening there in Tennessee, Howard, and have a great day.

    HOWARD: Thank you, sir.

    LESLIE: Pat in Iowa is on the line with a question about painting. What can we do for you today?

    PAT: Yes. I would like to paint my aluminum siding on my home. I can’t afford to side it right now and I was wondering if it’s possible to paint aluminum siding.

    TOM: Absolutely. There’s no reason you can’t paint aluminum siding. What you want to do is clean the house really well, power-wash it perhaps. And then you’re going to have to prime that siding. That’s really important.

    LESLIE: Otherwise, nothing is going to stick.

    TOM: Exactly. So you need to do a primer coat.

    PAT: OK. Well, what kind of primer?

    TOM: Well, you’re going to use a primer that’s designed to work with the paint that you select.

    So, for example, if you’re going to work with the Benjamin Moore family of paints, you’re going to use a Benjamin Moore primer.

    PAT: OK.

    TOM: And the primer is the glue; it’s the adhesive coat. That’s what makes the paint stick. And then you put the topcoat on top of that.

    PAT: Now, will this peel on the south side where the sun hits?

    TOM: No, not if you do a good job on the prep. You know, that’s why we’re telling you to prime it. And because the siding is metal, that paint job should last you a good 8 to 10 years. It lasts less if it’s an organic material, like wood siding. But with metal siding, it can last a long time if it’s done well.

    PAT: Oh, good. That’s a good thing to know. OK. I wasn’t sure I could even do it. I thought maybe it would just peel right off.

    Now, the power wash, is that with – I’d have to hire somebody to probably do that.

    TOM: Yeah, unless you happen to have your own pressure washer, yeah, you’d have to hire somebody to do that. And they’ll use a detergent and clean off any dirt and debris and algae and so on that’s on the metal. Then you let it dry really, really well. Then you prime, then you paint.

    It’s a big project, Pat. If you’re not comfortable with 10-foot and 20-foot ladders, depending on how high your house is, you might want to hire a painter to do this.

    PAT: No, I’d probably hire someone else to do it but do you think it’d be real expensive? Or would I be better off to find a good vinyl-siding man to put …?

    TOM: Well, I think that you don’t have to side the house. You don’t have to put siding. You can paint this house and paint it successfully and I think it will be less expensive than siding.

    PAT: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit. Call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whatever you are working on, we are here to lend a hand so you get it right the first time, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: Up next, there’s an old saying that good fences make great neighbors but that only applies if you can get the fence built right to begin with. We’re going to have some tips to make that project a lot easier, after this.

    Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call, right now, with your how-to or décor question to 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got Katherine in Arizona on the line who’s dealing with an issue with sod. And Arizona is pretty darn hot, so tell us what’s going on.

    KATHERINE: I live, actually, in the mountains in Arizona and so our issue is not the heat but the cold. And so what we’ve had happen is that we laid sod about eight years ago. And unbeknownst to us novice homeowners, it had mesh netting on the back side of the roll. And I don’t know if we were supposed to remove that or something but now the sod did not take to our climate and it has died.

    And we would like to reseed or lay on some new sod or something like that. But in order to prepare the soil and till it and all of that, I just don’t know what to do. Because there’s this mesh netting all over the ground. And in some areas, it’s exposed and some areas, it isn’t. But I just wondered what your advice would be.

    TOM: So the sod never really bit, so to speak? It never really grew through the mesh netting and connected with the soil below?

    KATHERINE: Not really. I mean it did in some areas but it just did not grow well for our climate. It couldn’t handle the winter; it just wouldn’t recover.

    TOM: Well, the first thing you want to do is a soil test. You can – sometimes, your county extension services and services like that will do the test for you. Or have a landscaper do the test. But you need to know what’s in that soil and how to adjust the pH to get it just right to reseed.

    LESLIE: Yeah, to fertilize correctly and …

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: In other words, you might not be giving it the stuff that it needs and it won’t grow.

    TOM: Yeah, you’re working blind.

    Now, the other thing to keep in mind is that the best time to do this is not at the beginning of summer. The best time to do this is in the fall when it’s a little cooler out. Because even if you did everything right and it started to grow, the intense heat that follows a month or two down the line will burn it out and kind of ruin all the good work that you did. So I would spend this summer getting the information that you need to kind of come up with a plan.

    Now, in terms of whether or not you remove the old sod or not, if it’s really loose and disconnected and not really knitting – sort of sitting on top – then, in that case, I would take it out and then prep the soil below. If it has connected, then I would leave it.

    Now, if you have sod – is it weedy? Is it also weedy, Katherine?

    KATHERINE: There are lots of weeds. So it’s not so much the sod that’s the issue but it’s the plastic mesh netting, that was on the back side of the sod rolls, that’s there. And I just don’t know – can we till with that there or is that going to get all caught up in the tiller?

    TOM: I think you probably can. In my experience, those types of backers are designed to stay there and not be removed. And they just sort of deteriorate, naturally, away.


    TOM: So I don’t suspect that that would be an issue. Because otherwise, how would you ever lay it down?

    KATHERINE: Right, right. Yeah, I don’t know. I didn’t know what was supposed to be common, just that it hasn’t degraded at all. After a year, it’s still totally there.

    TOM: Well, here’s an idea: one of the things that you could do is you could rent a seeding machine that slices the lawn. There are machines out there that will actually slice it and you – and drops the seed sort of into the slits and that will cut through it. But really, before you do any of that, the first thing to do is do a soil test and see what’s going on there.

    LESLIE: Now, this way, you’ll know how to feed it, how to take care of it, when it’s going to want to be seeded. That will really answer a lot of questions for you.

    KATHERINE: OK. That makes a lot of sense.

    TOM: Yeah. And if the sod – if you end up deciding to leave the sod in place and if it gets really weedy, one thing you could do is something called a Roundup restoration. You can spray Roundup right on the sod and kill the sod and actually leave it in place. And then put the seed right up into the dead grass. It will hold it really well and it will resprout. And the Roundup will not prevent the new seed from taking root.


    TOM: It’s called a “Roundup restoration.”

    KATHERINE: Hmm. Alright. That makes sense.

    TOM: Alright, Katherine. Good luck with that project. Let’s hope there’s some more green in your future.

    KATHERINE: Yes, I hope so. Thank you.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: It used to be that working with concrete for small projects, like setting a fence post, was a big hassle. You had to buy all the raw materials, mix them up probably using tools like your garden wheelbarrow and your garden hoe and then clean them off before the concrete becomes permanently attached to those tools, making them unusable. I mean kind of a big pain in the butt.

    TOM: Well, QUIKRETE has made that project a lot easier with their Fast-Setting Concrete in the red bag. It’s a special blend of fast-setting cements, sand and gravel. And it’s designed to set in approximately 20 to 40 minutes.

    LESLIE: Now, you can use it for setting a fence post, a mailbox post, deck footings or even for pouring a slab. And for those posts, you don’t even have to premix it. You just pour the dry mix into the hole, add the water and then the post will be solid in about 20 minutes. So make sure it’s nice and level and stays that way, because it’s going to be set.

    TOM: And QUIKRETE is available at home improvement retailers nationwide for about five bucks a bag. Look for it in the red bag.

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

    ROB: Calling to get you guys’ opinions on the – I’m having my deck partially repaired and it’s got some cedar trim and cedar boards that have gone bad, so they’re going to be replaced. So they’re going to look newer compared to the rest of the deck. I was looking into getting one of the epoxy, composite-type, deck-coating systems. Rust-Oleum Restore is one brand. Behr makes one, too. I’m just curious what you guys think about these products. And are they worth it?

    TOM: How many decking boards are deteriorated, Rob?

    ROB: Well, oh, it’s the majority of the steps. It’s a cedar deck with a green, treated wood underneath baseboard support. The cedar is just dying out on me and it’s about seven years old. The railings are going bad, too, so we’re looking at replacing a lot of the boards on the steps and the railing. But up to the same platform are the main boards. They are doing fine. So it’s mainly the steps up.

    TOM: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily consider completely sealing in all of that cedar with a product like that.

    Here’s what I would do. First of all, the deck boards that are cracked or checked or deteriorated, one thing to try is to flip them over. Because the underside of those deck boards is usually as good as the day it went down. Even though it’s cracked on top, the side that was not exposed to the sun is usually in pretty good condition. So you try to do that as much as you can. For ones that are really bad – just have to be replaced. Just replace those with new cedar decking boards. And yes, it’s not going to match.

    And then once all the repair has been done, then you want to use a deck-washing product, like the one that makes – that Flood Wood Care makes. You run a deck wash across everything and then you want to hit it with at least two coats of solid stain. So not paint but solid stain. Not semi-transparent, not transparent but solid-color stain. And a good-quality solid-color stain, that’s going to look all the same. It’s going to maintain its wood quality, so you’ll see the grain through the stain and it’ll look perfect.

    So, I don’t think you need to go with some sort of really thick – super-thick – coating right now. I think you just need to do some basic repairs.

    ROB: OK. What stains would you recommend that …?

    TOM: Good-quality stain. So, yeah, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams. A good-quality stain like that.

    ROB: Alright, alright. OK. Well, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Teddy in Oregon is dealing with a wet foundation. Tell us what’s going on.

    TEDDY: Well, I am blessed with rain and clay soil here in Western Oregon. And I have a crawlspace that is wet. I lift up the plastic and there is mold and salamanders and slugs under there.

    And so I did discover a crack in the foundation, which explains a lot of this moisture.

    TOM: Well, yes and no. You know, concrete foundations and brick foundations are very porous. The fact that you have a crack doesn’t mean that that’s the only way water is getting through. What this does mean is that you have way too much water collecting on the outside of your house.

    So what you need to do is to very carefully improve the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter so that soil slopes away from the house. And even more important than that is to clean your gutter system and extend those downspouts away from the house. That’s really critical. If you do that, you will find that it makes a big difference on the amount of water that’s getting into that space and it will dry up quite nicely and frankly, quite quickly.

    TEDDY: Oh, OK. I believe that the gutter system is all – has pipes out to the street.

    TOM: Yep. You need to be sure about that and you need to be sure that they’re not disconnected or clogged.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Especially if you’ve got something underground that you can’t monitor or see if it’s, in fact, free-flowing. You’ve got to make sure that it’s actually going somewhere, it’s connected. Because the smallest amount of a clog can produce a huge amount of water, in comparison to the amount of a clog, inside your house.

    TEDDY: Oh, OK. OK. So, I’ll work on that and grade the soil away from the house.

    Now, right now, I have – I was all set to buy a dehumidifier and then someone told me, “No, that won’t do you any good.” So, I put a fan on either end – one blowing in and one blowing out – so it could go out the vents.

    TOM: But look, the solution here is not to try to get rid of the moisture that’s there; it’s to stop it from going there in the first place. So you need to follow our advice on this, which is specifically to improve the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. There’s advice on how to do this, online, at It’s one of the most common questions we get asked and the solution is really quite simple, OK?

    TEDDY: OK. Yeah.

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

    LESLIE: Gary in Virginia is on the line and is dealing with some odor coming from the sink. Tell us what’s going on.

    GARY: We do have a problem in the bathroom. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I don’t know whether it could be trapped gases or whether it could be – I don’t think it’s anything in the water, because it’s just in the bathroom. But a lot of times when we take a shower, get out and – now, if we get dried off and everything and leave the bathroom or come back in, it’s a terrible odor in there. It smells like you – kind of like a sewer, I guess, maybe.

    TOM: Right.

    GARY: But we’ve had our septic pump (inaudible) last year and it’s not that. And it not only happens in the shower, it can happen if we use the tub or sometimes if we’re at the sink, like we shave – or if I shave or something like that and finish up, it’s like it comes up through the pipe. But it doesn’t happen every time. It could happen twice a week, it could happen no time.

    TOM: It sounds like something we call “biogas.” You get bacteria that will form in the drains and in the traps and in the fittings around there. And the bacteria itself has an awful odor to it.

    GARY: Yeah.

    TOM: So what I would do is I would take the trap apart for the bathroom sink, because you can get to that. I would use a bottle brush and scrub the heck out of all of that. I would put it back together and fill the entire trap with oxygenated bleach and let it sit.

    I would do the same thing for the bathtub. I would take the drain cover off and I would use a bottle brush to get down there and scrub the insides of those pipes. And I would fill those with oxygenated bleach and let them sit. Because the bleach is going to kill those microbes, kill that bacteria.

    GARY: OK.

    TOM: And that should make a difference. If it is biogas, it smells terrible and …

    GARY: Then why wouldn’t it do that at every time?

    TOM: Well, sometimes it’s more active than others is all I could say. But it depends on a lot of things, including the air pressure in the room. If the room happens to have a lower pressure because of other things going on in the house, it may draw out or not. So, it’s probably there all the time; it’s just that you don’t smell it because of the airflow.

    GARY: Yeah. Well, we’ve had a plumber look at it and he’s just – he can’t find the answer, either, so I had …

    TOM: I think if you Google “biogas,” you’ll see that there are a lot of folks that have the same issue. And this is how you solve it.

    GARY: Right.

    TOM: OK?

    GARY: OK. Alright. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Just ahead, our homes have always been a big reflection of who we are. But for the first time ever, a study has been conducted to understand how our personality impacts our home improvement attitudes and behavior. We’re going to share those surprising results, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, our homes have always been a reflection of who we are. But for the first time ever, a study has been conducted to understand how our personality impacts our home improvement attitudes and behavior.

    TOM: That’s right. The research was completed by the Home Projects Council of which we are pleased to be a part of. And it was conducted under the very capable, expert eye of Fred Miller, President of Consumer Specialists, and someone we know has devoted much of his career to studying home improvement trends.

    Fred, welcome to The Money Pit.

    FRED: Well, thank you very much for having me on.

    TOM: Now, you’ve been involved in hundreds of studies over the years. But the idea of trying to determine how personality impacts projects is one that was really never done. What did you find?

    FRED: Yeah, what was really interesting is we started down the road to do this because with hundreds of studies, as you mentioned that I’ve seen, nobody’s really ever looked at that. Demographics have been looked at heavily, differences between men and women, age groups, things like that. And so we weren’t really sure if personality would drive how people feel about their homes and what kind of home improvement activities they do. But we decided to find out.

    And the interesting part was there were some pretty big impacts on how people behave based on their leading personality traits.

    TOM: So let’s talk about the folks that are really extroverts. You know, they’re afraid of nothing, they’re the first ones that speak up at a party or any kind of a crowded room. What kinds of projects are those folks doing? Are they doing the crazy, huge projects because they just don’t have any limits?

    FRED: Yeah, they’re kind of into that. Obviously, being an extrovert, they’re very interested in other people, in their opinions and want to share those. You may have run into some – you go over to have dinner and they’ve got to show you the latest project they’ve done, because they’re very proud of it and want to share it. And so, they’re kind of fearless in that regard and will take on pretty big things and really dig into them, because they want to have something to show for it at the end of the day.

    LESLIE: Now, Fred, when you’re looking at these home improvement personalities, is it based on just the projects that they’ll tackle or are they doing the projects themselves? What was the approach or just how they go about approaching these projects in general?

    FRED: Well, what we did is we looked at their personalities first. And so to start doing this, we decided to use a well-established set of personality traits. They’re called the Big Five. And there’s some standardized tests that have come out from – in the literature over the years. They classified people. And what we did is we looked at their leading personality trait. And then we said, “OK. Let’s take all those people that” – for instance, Tom just mentioned one: The Extroverts happened to be one of the personality traits.

    And let’s put them together and see how do they compare to other people. Are they the same or different in how they approach home improvement? What’s important to them? What kind of projects are they doing? And we found some pretty big differences based on that leading personality trait.

    LESLIE: We have a group called The Project Planner. I feel like I fall somewhere in between The Project Planner and The Extrovert but very much The Project Planner. So tell us about that.

    FRED: Yeah, well, these people like order. They’re very – they like to plan the things out, they like to know where they’re going with things. They’re not – they don’t tend to be impulsive; they tend to be very thorough. These are great people in dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s. And so, they tend not to do things on the spur of the moment. But they’ll plan them out, whether they’re doing them themselves or working with a contractor to do it. They’re not – they don’t tend to be people that want to go out and do something new. They’re more into fixing things, kind of. But they’re very planning.

    But we have some other groups that will kind of launch into something and without very little in the plan, with the faith in themselves that they’ll find their way through to the end somehow.

    TOM: We’re talking to Fred Miller – he is an expert on home improvement trends; been studying them for years and years – about a new survey that came out by the Home Projects Council, where they have defined five home improvement personality types.

    In addition to the personality types, Fred, I noticed that you had some other findings here. One of which that struck me is the percentage of male versus female doing home improvements. This used to be a male-dominated sport. Not so much anymore. In fact, your numbers now completely shift the other way with more of the ladies taking on more of the projects: men, 42 percent vs women, 58 percent. So, way to go.

    FRED: Yeah. It’s definitely – the old, stereotypical gender roles have really changed. And I think much to the better because people do now what they feel good about doing and want to do. And a lot of women have interest in making their homes looking right and improving things and stuff. And with today’s tools and techniques, there’s no reason why they can’t get there and then doing it. And there’s a lot of personal satisfaction that comes out of doing these things, as well.

    One of the things I find, if you step back just one layer further on this, is that a lot of people are looking for ways to express themselves. And home improvement is really just a very rich way to do that. There’s so many different options. Everything can be customized. It’s not like going in and saying, “Do I want A, B or C?” The things you can do in your house are almost endless and it’s really an expression of who you are and how you want others to see you.

    LESLIE: It’s 100-percent that. You want people to walk into your home and say, “Oh, I know exactly who lives here or know a lot about what they are or where they’ve been.” And I think you’re right: it’s everybody wants to have that and doesn’t matter, guy or girl, you want to get out there and make your house beautiful.

    TOM: Yep. And there’s no reason that women can’t be doing exactly the same work that men are doing. And if I dare just take a moment to pat this show on the back because we’ve been on the air now almost 20 years. And every other home show out there is all guys all the time. I have had a female co-host – competent female co-host, a true expert – for every one of those 20 years.

    LESLIE: Thank you, sir.

    TOM: And I’ve had the best one for the last 12 with Leslie.

    But I’m – seriously, radio is awful about that. They always have the female co-host but she’s not the main one, you know? She’s not the main expert. I don’t want to decorate a room. I couldn’t give you that kind of organizational advice. Leslie has her own set of skills that helps with all that stuff but she also knows her power tools.

    LESLIE: And I enjoy them very much. I like getting new tools, I like working on things around the house. It’s like I always want to have the right tool for the right job. And it helps being in this business because we get to see what’s new and what’s best. And we know the right approach.

    TOM: We always get a laugh when we go to the trade shows and see the vendors that are selling the pink tools, as if that’s going to be something attractive to the female home improver.

    LESLIE: I don’t ever want the pink tool.

    TOM: I was like …

    FRED: They’re still doing that?

    LESLIE: They are.

    TOM: Yeah, I know.

    FRED: I remember years ago when they came out with colored tools and they thought that was going to attract – how badly do they view their audience that they want to talk down to them that way?

    TOM: Exactly. Yep, exactly.

    FRED: I mean it’s – I don’t think it bordered on insulting; it really was insulting.

    TOM: Well, you guys have done an excellent job on this and it’s really fascinating information, something that’s never been revealed before: the Home Improvement Personality Survey, how your personality impacts your home improvement choices. Where can we go for more information, Fred?

    FRED: Well, we’ve got a Facebook page for the – Home Projects Council is a good place for people to get some more. So if they go to, there’s some more information right there.

    TOM: There you go: Hey, check it out and let us know what personality you think you are.

    Fred Miller, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    FRED: It’s been my pleasure.

    LESLIE: Well, now that we’re getting deep into summer, are the bugs getting deep into your lawn and garden? We have a solution that can help block those bugs from vegetable gardens, flowers, trees, shrubs and lawns and you, just ahead.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by for your calls, your questions to 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.

    TOM: And there’s no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. Go to

    LESLIE: John is on the line and he’s dealing with a mold situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    JOHN: I have a mold problem around my shower door. I bought the house two years ago. I stripped all the caulking out when I had the mold problem. I’ve put caulking in with a nationally known brand. I even used a Saran Wrap-type thing on my finger to eliminate any contamination. Before I did that, I cleaned it, I stripped it out with a plastic scraper. I also used mineral spirits to clean it out. I put it in and I still have problems with it.

    God, I’m just at my wits’ end here. I run the humidity in my basement between 40 and 50 percent. I leave the shower door open. I even shut the furnace vent off in there to try and keep it so it doesn’t have a breeding of bacteria or anything or mold in that.

    You’ve got to tell me what I need to do. I don’t know if I have an off-spec caulking that I used, which is nationally known, or if I have an off-spec aluminum frame and door that causes the mold. I have no idea.

    TOM: Well, look, you’re going to get mold when you have moisture and organic material. And in a shower, that organic material can be soap and dirt and that sort of thing. So you’re doing the right thing but let’s just back it up and try it again here.

    You want to remove the old caulk. You mentioned mineral spirits. I usually recommend a bleach-and-water solution because this kills – this is a mildicide that kills anything that’s stuck behind. After you get that all dried out and cleaned out really, really well, then you can apply a caulk with mildicide. I would use a caulk that has Microban in it. DAP caulks are available with Microban and it’s a good antimicrobial additive that will not grow mold.

    Now, the other thing I would do is I would also make sure that you have – obviously, have a bath exhaust fan and that you have an exhaust fan that’s hooked up to a humidistat, which takes sort of you and anyone else that’s using that bathroom out of the equation. If it’s on the humidistat, it’s automatically going to kick on when the humidity gets high enough to cause mold problems. And it will stay on for some number of minutes when that humidity goes down, to make sure that the room is thoroughly vented out.

    That’s the best way to handle that. And I think if you do those steps, you will find success.

    JOHN: Hey, thank you very much.

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

    Well, now that we’re getting deep into summer, the bugs may be getting deep into your lawn and your garden. And a great way to control these insects is with a product called Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.

    This is great stuff. First, it’s made by Bonide who have been helping homeowners and pros alike, for more than 90 years now, grow those beautiful lawns and gardens.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is a product that’s approved for organic gardening. And it’s effective in vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees, shrubs and lawns. I also like that it’s an all-natural insect control that can handle a lot of different types of very bothersome bugs, like bagworms, borers, beetles, caterpillars, gypsy moth, leaf miners, spider mites, tent caterpillars, thrips and more. I mean it covers pretty much every kind of bug out there.

    TOM: Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is available at independent garden centers, hardware stores and farm feed stores. It’s available in a concentrate, a hose end – so no mixing – or a dust and ready-to-use formula with a trigger sprayer.

    And remember, Bonide products are family-made in the U.S.A. for more than 90 years. Learn more at That’s

    LESLIE: Up next, are messy pets creating a decorating dilemma? Are you afraid that anything you buy is going to be ruined by your well-meaning pooch? Well, we’re going to have tips to help you get the best of both worlds, next.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by for your call, your questions at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.

    LESLIE: But if you’re looking for advice answered right now, post a question in the Community section, just like Ed from New Jersey did. Now, he writes: “I want to have a storm door and exterior door combined – combination – installed. What information can you give me?”

    TOM: Hmm. Well, first of all, Ed, these days the doors are made so well you don’t really need a “storm door.” What you may need is just a screen door but you really don’t need a storm door. I would look at new fiberglass doors because they’re so well made and they’re absolutely beautiful. They could look like a painted wood door or they could look like a stained wood door.

    We’ve got doors in on our home that were put in, I guess, about seven or eight years ago now. And they are just as gorgeous today as they were back then. And they’re fiberglass doors. And we, in fact, have screen doors over them for the summer. So I think that’s the combination.

    Frankly, if you take one of those modern metal doors with the plastic trim, you put a storm door over it, you create so – and such intense heat between those two layers of door that the plastic actually starts to melt. So, I would look for a fiberglass door and put a screen door on top.

    LESLIE: And boy, oh boy, those fiberglass doors are gorgeous. They really do look so great. You’ll find one you love, I promise.

    TOM: Well, are messy pets creating a decorating dilemma? Are you afraid that pretty much anything you buy is going to be ruined by your very well-meaning but loving pooch? Leslie has got some tips to help you get the best of both worlds, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, having a family pet is rewarding in so many ways. But the mess that ensues really isn’t one of those rewards. Now, here are a few ways to create a space that works for both the pets and the people.

    First of all, you’ve got to pick pet-friendly furnishings. You want to make sure it’s something that doesn’t have a lot of exposed wood that maybe your dog or cat might scratch on or chew on. There are ways to avoid things like that but you have to be careful with upholstery, as well.

    Now, with the furniture you do have, you want to protect what you’ve got with those pet-proof covers. And then you won’t need to worry about all the hair and the mess that those animals can make on the furnishings. This way, you can remove those covers, you can clean them as needed. You’ll find them in a lot of different styles, colors and fabrics. And that’s a big saver to keep the furniture you’ve already got.

    But if you’re going to redecorate and change things up on the furniture front, you’ve got to be careful about what types of fabrics you introduce into your living space. You want fabric options that are easier to clean up than other types: maybe denim, canvas, durable synthetics. You can also find options that are resistant to odors, stains, moisture. A lot of it will make it ideal when you have a dog or cat in your life.

    I made the mistake of choosing a sofa that had a very loose sort of woven texture to it. And then I got a rescue puppy who then destroyed that couch, because his little claws didn’t mean it but they were pulling the threads and making huge pulls. Luckily, that wasn’t supposed to happen with the fabric in the first place, so the company replaced it for me with a more appropriate fabric. But you’ve got to be careful because they don’t even mean it and something gets ruined.

    Now, think about adding a pet-washing station to your home. This way, when you and your dog head out on a rainy day, only one of you knows to wipe your feet before you head back inside. And I can guarantee it’s you and not the dog. And the dog is going to be making a gigantic mess. If you’ve got a mud room, this really is the perfect place to install one of these. A dog-washing station is basically a rectangular stall just for the pooch, with a spray hose. It makes those rainy, muddy walks a lot more bearable.

    Now, we’ve got a great post on called “Pet-Friendly Design and Decorating Tips for Your Home.” You can find a lot of tips there, help you make sure that everybody stays sane as you’re getting used to the pet in your life.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next time on the program, whether it’s an actual break, a crack or other damage, can you replace window panes yourself? Well, you can and we’ll give you the tips to do just that, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    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 2018 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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