How to Contract with a Contractor

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  • 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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects. We want to solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you are taking on a project during this beautiful Memorial Day three-day weekend, we would love to lend a hand. Just give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we will do just that. It’s 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, you know, sometimes when you take on a project you want to hire a pro; you don’t want to do it yourself.

    Leslie, you were just talking about building a garden wall that’s 24 feet long and has a lot of heavy, stacked stone.

    LESLIE: Oh, yes.

    TOM: And since you weren’t planning on that being in place of your gym membership, you’re going to have some pros build that for you.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And I’m learning that masonry like that – and mostly it’s the material – is super expensive.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. And that’s why you can’t afford to waste it and why it makes sense to hire a pro for a project like that.

    But when you do hire a pro, good communication is really the key to a good outcome. So we’re going to share what needs to be spelled out in your contract to make sure the job gets done right.

    LESLIE: Alright. And also ahead this hour, are your concrete steps, your walk, patio, driveway looking pretty beat-up from this past winter’s worth of road salt and freezing weather? Well, now there’s a new product that can completely restore those surfaces for a fraction of the cost of replacement. So that’s good news.

    TOM: Yep. And if you’re ready to get outside and enjoy your deck but maybe it’s looking old and cracked and downright somewhat dreary, we’re going to have tips on how to update an old deck or build a new one with some of the most high-tech, advanced composite materials that we’ve ever seen.

    LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you are working on. And hopefully, you’re working at the barbecue this Memorial Day weekend. You’re relaxing. Maybe you’re sitting poolside. Maybe you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor from all your hard work in getting your house ready for this big holiday weekend. Whatever it is, we’re still here for you so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

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

    PAUL: Hi. I listen to you guys all the time and you talk about the ridge – the importance of attic ventilation and insulation.

    TOM: Yes.

    PAUL: And I was wondering, here in Las Vegas where you have the tile roofs – so we really don’t redo them ever; I think they’re lifetime roofs.

    TOM: Right.

    PAUL: And I hear you guys talking about the ridge vents being the best thing.

    TOM: Yes.

    PAUL: But without major unneeded construction, I can’t put one of those in.

    TOM: Yep.

    PAUL: I currently have gable-end vents and soffit vents.

    TOM: Yeah.

    PAUL: And I have two portions of my roof, where my A/C is located on the roof, that is tar shingles that I can put in – I don’t know what they’re called – the whirligig vents?

    TOM: Right. Yeah, like a power ventilator. Yeah, I understand. Mm-hmm.

    PAUL: Now, would those improve my ventilation or should I just stick with the gable-end and soffit vents?

    TOM: Describe this roof section where you think you could get in additional vents. How wide is it?

    PAUL: Pretty wide. My A/C unit on the roof is about 4 foot long. And there’s about 2 feet on either side of it with the asphalt shingles. And the rest of it is the tile – the red-clay tile.

    TOM: The kind of vent that you’re describing that spins, I don’t think that’s going to be very effective. But what I would do is I would put just a plain, square, flat roof vent in there. You can layer it into the shingles so it doesn’t leak. That will help. Given your specific set of circumstances in that you have a tile roof that would be very, very difficult to put a ridge vent, I’d say just keep the rest the way it is.

    Keep those gable vents open. Make sure, if you go up in the attic and look down, that there’s no insulation blocking the soffit vents, so everything is nice and open. And I think that’s the best thing you can do. But if you wanted to put an additional vent in that asphalt section, I would just put a flat roof vent in there.

    PAUL: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Phyllis in New York, what can we do for you today here at The Money Pit?

    PHYLLIS: Well, I was wondering about a Trane gas furnace. Are they supposed to last 20 years or more?

    TOM: Well, most furnaces last 20 or 25 years. So, yes.

    PHYLLIS: Oh. Then I probably do need a new one.

    TOM: If it’s getting to the end of a normal life cycle – it may be operating fine, it may be operating safely. If you’ve had regular service to it before the heating-system season, especially, and they’ve been able to identify whether or not the system is in good working order, then you could continue to use it.

    PHYLLIS: Yes.

    TOM: But I think I would take this opportunity to start to plan for a replacement furnace.

    We have another property that we own that’s like a townhouse/condominium kind of a place.

    PHYLLIS: Yes.

    TOM: And I’ve been servicing that furnace religiously for 28 years and it was still fine. But I just decided that I’m not going to wait any longer and I’m going to replace it pretty soon now, because I just think it’s time and it’s smart to do that.

    But otherwise, it can continue to work. I’ve seen furnaces that were 30 years old and still working safely. But if it’s getting to the end of a normal life cycle, it’s probably best to plan for replacement, OK? Otherwise, you could be surprised. I mean you don’t want it to fail in the middle of winter or something.

    PHYLLIS: Exactly. That’s right. OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. 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 Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Still to come, when it comes to hiring a pro for a home improvement project, good communication is the key to a great project outcome. We’re going to share the details that need to be spelled out, in today’s Pro Project presented by, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    So, Leslie, this weekend I decided I was going to take on a project. A little, tiny project that – it was just one of those areas that was sort of bugging us. I have a patio table that kind of backs up to the back porch. And we have some roses there and as they get big, sort of in the middle to the end of the summer, they sort of encroach on your back if you’re sitting at one of the patio chairs against the table. So I decided we needed a trellis.

    And I was thinking about – OK, I could buy a trellis or I could maybe make one from wood or buy some lattice. And I thought, “You know what? I’ve got some old, black, aluminum fencing that we used on the garden.” And I’ve literally been holding onto these extra sections for probably 10 …

    LESLIE: For the right project?

    TOM: The right project. For probably 10 years. And so I’m thinking, “I’ll look around the house and what can I use?” And I found this fencing and I cut it down and I joined two sections together. Completely hacked it together. I mean there’s no plan for this kind of stuff, you know? You just kind of figure it out as you go. I needed some brackets to support it so I built them out of some of the cut-off pieces of railing. And it came out really, really good.

    And sometimes, that’s a really fun way to do a project, not necessarily knowing how it’s going to end up but knowing you probably can get it done. And solving one problem at a time leaves you with something that you’re really proud of and really fun and kind of an interesting conversation piece now.

    If that’s a way that maybe you think about taking on some projects and need some inspiration or advice, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    RICK: Well, yes, I have a question about a bedroom wall. I’ll tell you real quick what I have. It’s a cinder-block wall and on the outside of it is a stone facing. And then on the inside, they just had furring strips and then plaster. So, no insulation and very cold in the winter.

    So what we’re doing – we’re tearing down the plaster. We’re going to frame it out. We’re going to put – I guess it’s R-19, I think, it is in there and then drywall it. But my question is – we were talking about putting a thermal barrier onto the block itself. And I guess I have a couple of questions or concerns: A) is it going to be worth it? Is it going to raise the R-value any? And B) there’s not really going to be an air cavity. It’s just going to be the thermal barrier on the wall and then the insulation is going to be touching that, so I’m kind of afraid it’s going to act more of a conductor.

    TOM: Well, what you might want to think about using there is Tyvec. 

    RICK: Oh, on the inside.

    TOM: Yeah, on the inside. It’s vapor-permeable, so I think it’ll allow everything to breathe but it’ll keep some separation between the block and the frame.

    And by the way, you’d be wise to leave at least an inch there in between and not have it up against the block, because you really don’t want to have an organic material like wood – and certainly not drywall – that close to a very damp source, which would be the concrete block. Because concrete blocks are very hydroscopic. They suck up a lot of water and – especially in periods of bad weather. So you do want to have a bit of a space there. But I think that I would cover the block first with Tyvec, then I’d frame up against that.

    Now, another option, to kind of kill two birds with one stone, is consider spray-foam insulation. If you did spray-foam insulation, you could frame the wall and then you could spray into the framing, right up against the block wall. And then it would be cut flush with the wall and you would put your drywall right on top of that.

    Now, spray foam has the advantage of being able to not only insulate but seal and draft-proof at the same time. We recently added spray-foam insulation to our entire home. Now, we have an existing home, much like you. And of course, it makes it difficult to get into the walls. But what we did was we put it in the box beams, which were all the way around this sort of perimeter of the basement and crawlspace, and we added it to the attics. And just those areas – without even doing the walls, because we weren’t opening the walls at this time – made a huge difference in the energy efficiency of the house. So, I’m a big fan of Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e – as a result of that experience.

    RICK: OK. Yeah, I didn’t even think about anything like that. I have to check into that.

    Do you know – well, I guess I’d have to look that up online or whatever – if there’s somebody around my area?

    TOM: I’m sure that there will be. Icynene is a Canadian company but they have dealers all across the country.

    RICK: Now, if I didn’t do that and I just – I put the frame, the stud up to the block wall – you said to leave an inch. Like what would you recommend? How would you do that?

    TOM: I would just simply frame the wall out away from the block.

    RICK: OK.

    TOM: And don’t attach the frame wall to the block wall. Because I’ll tell you, some of the worst cases of mold infestation we’ve seen is when you have wood framing attached to block walls and drywall which is, essentially, mold food.

    In fact, one other thing you might want to consider is to not use drywall on that wall but use something called DensArmor, which is a fiberglass-faced drywall product. So without the paper face, you don’t have food to feed the mold. Make sense?

    RICK: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, when it comes to hiring a pro for a home improvement project, good communication is the key to a good outcome. We’ve got tips on how to make sure you’ve set that up from the start, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.

    TOM: First up, communication starts with two important documents: a written contract and a written set of specifications. So, first, let’s talk about those specs. Home improvement, repair, remodeling, it can be complex. It can involve a lot of decisions about the work that needs to be done. So you want to make sure the project comes out exactly how you envision it. A set of specifications is what does that: it lays out the work step by step, product by product. And it’s really essential.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, you need one even if it’s a small project. But for a smaller project, these specs can be as simple as a list of the products, the materials, the supplies that are being included in the job, detailing model numbers, colors if that’s appropriate or finishes, for example. For a larger project, specs might be a document that’s provided by an architect or the designer and include a complete set of plans. You’ve got to make sure that the specs are created and followed. That really does keep everybody on the same page. It’s also sort of a checklist to make sure everything is exactly as you want, where you want it, quantity you want, all of those things.

    TOM: Next, let’s talk about the contract. Committing the job details to a written contract essentially communicates the expectations for you and your pro. And it definitely helps disputes later on if you’re both relying on an oral agreement. Then things get really messy.

    The contract needs to include details like the work to be done, the payment schedule. You want to make sure you have a proof of the contractor’s insurance and license and any guarantees that are on the project.

    LESLIE: You also want to make sure that you know which materials are warrantied and what subcontractors are going to be working on your home. And you’ve got to make provisions for any change orders that come up. You know, sometimes when a project is underway, you realize that you’d like a window added or maybe a different appliance installed. A change order is going to state what’s new and whether it’s going to result in an addition or a deduction to that final amount that you’re paying.

    TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Marie calling in to The Money Pit with a cabinet question. How can we help you today?

    MARIE: I’m in a dilemma over kitchen cabinets. I really like this fairly contemporary look but it’s a slab. We’re at – we’re on the salt water and I’ve been told to maybe stay away from a slab cabinet door because of the way it expands and shrinks. What’s your opinion on that or your advice?

    LESLIE: When you say slab, are you talking about a full overlay?

    MARIE: No, it’s an actual slab. I don’t think it’s an overlay or veneer at all.

    TOM: I think you mean a solid-wood door, one-piece wood door as opposed to one that’s made up of panels, like a raised-panel door?

    MARIE: Yes, it’s not a raised panel but you can actually see the pieces of wood – well, I guess they’re glued together. But there’s no raised panels or anything on it.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a solid piece of wood. It’s a laminated door, basically. Solid pieces of wood glued together.

    I don’t know. If the door is made right and the wood is dried when it was built and it’s sealed properly, I don’t think it’s more or less likely to swell than a raised-panel door would be.

    MARIE: That makes total sense the way you put it that way. Why wouldn’t they dry it out first and then seal it properly?

    TOM: Right.

    MARIE: Huh. I never even thought about it in that context.

    LESLIE: The boxes themselves that the cabinets are – the cabinet box is going to be constructed out of a wood-laminated ply so – or something that’s more structurally stable. And I don’t think you have to be concerned about the door.

    MARIE: Hmm, I think, looking at it from that point of view, maybe I won’t be. I’ve had people tell me that they’re just going to get all warped and – but why would they? If they’re – if it is, like you said, a reliable cabinet maker – I guess that would be the question.

    TOM: Right. Exactly. A good-quality cabinet should be dimensionally stable.

    MARIE: I agree with you. Ah, I found a beautiful door and I think I might go for it then. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Andrea from Ontario, Canada is on the line with a mold question. How can we help you today?

    ANDREA: My question (inaudible) regarding black mold. And it’s behind my sink. Between the sink and the backsplash, there’s a little bit of space and this black mold settles in. There’s a lot of moisture, obviously. We’re running the water and it splashes, so – behind and around the sink, as well as around my tub.

    I tried bleach. I scrubbed it. We, at one point, took out the caulking and recaulked it but it came back. So I’m at a – kind of a loss what to do with this.

    TOM: Mold is going to grow any place that you have an organic material, which could be drywall. Or it could also be, believe it or not, soap scum. It can have organic matter in it and that can feed mold. And so, you have a condition there that’s going to be prevalent to mold regrowth. Even when you clean it, it’s going to come back. You’re not going to permanently prevent it unless you change the environment – the climate – that exists in that particular area.

    So, with respect to the tile area, let’s deal with that first. When you retiled – when you recaulked, I’m sorry – did you pull all the old caulk out?

    ANDREA: Pulled it all out. Took it all out. It was actually our contractor who said, “Keep it very dry.” “Bone dry,” he called it. And then once we had it all dried out, then he came back and put a layer of this white material. I’m not exactly sure what it was but he finished it all.

    TOM: OK. So you’re not quite sure what the product is.

    Here would be the steps. When you pull the old caulk out, you need to spray the joint between the tub and the tile with a bleach solution. That’s going to kill any mold spores that are left behind. Then, after that’s dry, one additional step: fill up the tub with water because it makes it heavy and it pulls it down. And then you caulk it.

    And when you caulk it, you want to use a product that has mildicide in it. Now, DAP, for example, has a caulk that has an additive called Microban. And Microban will not grow mold; it will prevent it from growing. And so, if you use the right product and you take the step of treating it with a bleach solution first, before you apply it, that helps it to last as long as possible. But again, if you don’t control humidity conditions, eventually it will come back.

    As for the sink, the same advice applies. You not only have to clean it, which takes away the visual, but you have to spray it with a mildicide. And so you could mix, say, a 10- to 20-percent bleach solution with water. And then let it dry and that will help prevent it from coming back.

    ANDREA: I’ll try that.

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

    LESLIE: Don’t forget, you can always reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to

    TOM: Alright. Just ahead, are you ready to get outside and enjoy your deck but maybe it’s looking a bit old, cracked or downright dreary? We’re going to have tips on how you can update an old deck or build a new one with some of the most advanced composite-decking materials we’ve ever seen. It’s all coming up, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, outdoor living has never been more popular. But if you’re going to create a structure, like a deck, to enjoy that space, you want to make sure to choose products that are sturdy, cost-effective and need less maintenance while delivering outstanding beauty.

    LESLIE: Well, Deckorators offers an extensive line of decking and railing that can be combined to create endless outdoor possibilities. With us to talk about that is Chris Camfferman, the managing director.

    TOM: Welcome, Chris.

    CHRIS: Hey. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here.

    TOM: Hey, let’s start by talking about the trends that you guys are seeing. I like to always take sort of the pulse of the experts in the field, because you guys spot trends way before we see them, because you’re planning your business around it. But what’s happening with outdoor living right now that might be different and surprising to what folks are thinking?

    CHRIS: It’s a good question because it’s something that I think Deckorators and other manufacturers have done a better job, over the last four or five years, of tracking. Because for a while there, it was just kind of a pressure-treated deck off the back of the house.

    And as these alternative materials and different styles of rails and lighting and all that stuff started to move outside, it’s just become a lot more dynamic of an industry as far as the outdoor-living space. And taking cues either from the interior of the home or taking cues from, say, some sort of commercial space. I think of outdoor beer gardens and so on that people try to emulate on the back of their home. So, we’ve been able to kind of speed up that transition of, you know, something that is popular on the inside of the house and start translating it to the outside.

    And you’re right: more and more homeowners are just taking cues from the interior of their homes to design and create those outdoor-living spaces. And a well-done deck and outdoor space is typically one of the top projects that prospective home buyers are now looking for in their new home. It adds clear value to the property and it’s a (inaudible) short to determine long term. Short term, you’re going to enjoy that outdoor space more with friends and family. And long term, it adds value to the home if it’s designed well and cared for properly.

    And so, a couple of specific trends that we’re seeing, though: those interior cues. And when I talk about there, it’s maybe some of the colors that are being used on the interior of the home are working their way out quicker to the exterior of the home. And something that we’re seeing this year is rich cappuccino colors and deep chili-pepper reds are popular on the interior of the home. And those translate very well to the outdoor space. And Deckorators happens to be launching a couple products where we hit on a couple of those colors that translate well to that deck.

    TOM: Every time I get a call from somebody who wants advice on how to restain a deck – and somebody asked me last week, “Do I have to stain my deck every year?” Well, no but why are you even still with pressure-treated? Composite has come so far so quickly. And this color scheme that you guys are talking about is just more evidence of the reason that you should be thinking about using it today. I mean even if you have an old deck, you – if the structure is in good shape, you can do what I call a “deckover,” basically taking off the decking boards and the railing and replacing just those components with composite and get that beauty and durability, right?

    CHRIS: Absolutely. Wood still has its place and some of that is on the underside of the deck, on that understructure. It performs very well there. But you’re right: it can refresh on the decking and the railing. It can do so much for that outdoor space.

    And we always encourage people to choose something that’s going to be a little more timeless so that it blends well with the house. Those trends aren’t as volatile as they are in the interior of the home. So if you pick something that blends well with the exterior of the home, with the landscape, and then you change up your furniture and your pillows and your umbrellas and so on, that allows you to keep it up to date and looking fresh.

    LESLIE: Well, I think so many people get overwhelmed because there are so many options and so many styles and so many different materials and so many different looks that are achievable for those outdoor spaces. Where is a good place to sort of start and gather all your resources so that you can get organized and plan?

    CHRIS: As we look towards the consumers and the homeowners and what their problems are and what challenges they have – is someone is going to do a decking project maybe once or twice in their life. And so it’s not something they’re immersed in every day.

    So, Deckorators, on our website, we’ve actually created a new section for 2019 that’s called Start Your Project. And it’s just exactly what you’re talking about there. It’s a place to go to start to get going. From there, you can order a catalog from us. You can actually go to our Deck Visualizer design program if you want to start looking at some of the options we have available. That program actually helps you curate the products. So if you do choose a certain rail, it tells you what balusters and post caps work with that rail. So it can be a good tool there.

    It also can schedule a consultation with Deckorators or one of our certified pros. There’s an area on there for finding a contractor to work with or locating a dealer. Or it can actually go out, pick up some samples, look at some decking displays.

    So, it’s a really good resource for consumers that are just getting started and really don’t know where to begin. Because I’m sure if you asked five different people that you know, ask them, “How do you go about doing a deck project?” they’d probably tell you a different story every time.

    TOM: We’re talking to Chris Camfferman. He’s the managing director with Deckorators.

    Chris, I have to let you know I first had a really detailed look at your product at a trade show late last year. And I was pretty impressed by some of the things that you guys are doing, that are unique, no other composite manufacturers are doing.

    For example, with your Voyage line, you are actually adding some sort of treatment to the decking boards that give them better traction than other types of composite. And that’s a concern, especially for folks that have kids that love to run on wet surfaces or even folks that have elderly parents. You don’t want anybody to slip and fall on a deck. And what you guys have come up with with this traction surface is really pretty amazing.

    CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. Thank you. And Voyage hits on two things for us. One is it looks great. Like I said, the colors are on trend, the streaking looks good. Most people, when they visually see it, they like it.

    But one of the questions that we constantly hear at trade shows and home shows is composite decking is slippery. And rather than just trying to skirt around the answer – because anything in a horizontal application, in the right conditions, can become slippery. But we actually added a surface traction to it that is, in an independent test, three, four percent more slip-resistant than some of the next leading competitors. So, it’s actually traction you can feel if you step on it. And that’s the thing about some of these products is they’re still very tactile and they’re still very visual. And I encourage homeowners that are looking at purchasing a deck to find a Deckorators dealer out there where they can actually touch, see, feel the product and know what they’re investing in.

    TOM: And it’s not just the traction issue. I mean the other thing is it’s lighter to handle, so it makes it easier to install. And it’s actually stiffer than – a lot of the composites are very, very floppy, in a sense. And look, with the quality of the pressure-treated lumber that we’re using for the floor joists, sometimes you don’t get a perfectly flat surface. And that telegraphs when you put a floorboard on it that is very, very flexible. Well, your boards are much stiffer and they’re lighter. And so they lay in nice and give you a much better appearance.

    But what I like most of all is the warranty. You guys have a 25-year removal and replacement warranty. I have to say that’s unheard of, because typically any of those warranties that go out that long are materials only which, of course, is a small part of the job. But you’re covering labor and materials if the product were to fail. And you can’t do that unless it’s a really good product or it puts you guys out of business.

    CHRIS: We really stand behind our product and appreciate you bringing that up, because it is really one of the hallmarks of what we’ve introduced with our decking product – is if that project fails due to us, something that we’ve done from a manufacturing process, we pay for the entire project to be replaced.

    In most manufacturers, if something fails, they’ll give you new boards. But guess what? Someone needs to actually take out the old, discard it and then replace the new. And that is a very expensive warranty claim all around. So, really, we just want to give everyone throughout the channels – our dealers, our contractors, the homeowners – that peace of mind that Deckorators is going to be standing behind this product and their decking project. Because, ultimately, this is an extra room on their home and we want them to be able to use it, enjoy it, be proud of it and tell their neighbors about it as they’re entertaining with family and friends.

    TOM: The product is called Deckorators, spelled D-e-c-k-o-r-a-t-o-r-s. That’s also their website. You can go there, click on Start Your Project, you can request information. Use their Deck Visualizer. What a great way to imagine how your deck is going to appear on your own house. You can find a contractor, you can schedule a consultation. Whatever you need, it’s on that website.

    And Leslie and I love the picture on the homepage, Chris, with the pop-out window that – talk about bringing the outside in on the kitchen. Where do you find that window? It’s like an awning window that flips straight out so you can have a barstool against the kitchen wall.

    CHRIS: Absolutely.

    TOM: Love it.

    CHRIS: Yeah, the decks are really becoming the focal point and it’s good to be in on the decking industry right now.

    TOM: Chris Camfferman, Managing Director for Deckorators. Their website is

    Thanks again, Chris.

    CHRIS: Appreciate it.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us now with your how-to questions at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You could get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and book appointments online for free.

    Just ahead, are your concrete steps, walks, patios, even your driveway looking beat-up from all of the winter’s worth of road salt and freezing weather? We’re going to share a tip on a new product that’s designed for DIYers that can completely restore those surfaces for a fraction of the cost of replacement, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: What are you doing this Memorial Day weekend aside from maybe firing up the barbecue? If you’re tackling a home improvement project, we would love to help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call, right now, because 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do your home project before you a hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, all for free at

    LESLIE: Heading out west to Hawaii where Gary has an electrical question.

    Aloha, Gary. How can we help you?

    GARY: Aloha. Thank you, guys, very much. I have a situation in my bathroom where I actually want to take an existing wall light and I want to remove it and then create a situation where I have a light on either side of the mirror. So I’ve got this one electrical feed coming out of the wall. And what I want to do is I want to kind of splice it so that I could take one wire off to the left and one wire off to the right of the mirror. And I’m trying to find out if there’s an easy way to do that or if, basically, there’s a kit that might help me do that because I’m not an electrical genius here.

    TOM: So, because you’re not an electrical genius, I don’t want you to try this yourself, OK?

    GARY: OK.

    TOM: But I will tell you that it’s a fairly easy project that any electrician could do this for you. Since you have power going to the one fixture, it’s very easy to split that off into two separate fixtures and use the same switch that the other fixture was on. So it’s a really simple project but I don’t want you doing it yourself. Because if you want to tackle a plumbing project, you can get wet; if you want to tackle an electrical project, you could get dead. So, we don’t want you to try that yourself, alright? You’ve got to use common sense.

    GARY: OK. OK. Very good. I appreciate the advice, yeah. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, over the winter, the combination of road salt and freezing weather can do some real damage to concrete steps and walks and patios and driveways and leave them looking very old and worn and just plain dull. And it used to be that we had to put up with that concrete that’s past its prime until we had time and money to tear it completely out and start again.

    There is now a new product out that can restore those surfaces and it’s a lot easier and a lot less expensive. It’s out from QUIKRETE and it’s called ReCap.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, ReCap lets you recap and restore your concrete surfaces with a completely new surface at a fraction of the cost of replacing it.

    Now, the new finish is beautiful and it’s going to last for years without separating from the old concrete below. And you know what? It’s really easy to use. You can do the project yourself. All you need to do is wash the surface with a pressure washer and then apply it by squeegee, trowel or brush.

    TOM: QUIKRETE ReCap will give you a durable, new-look finish that will last for years. To watch the how-to video for ReCap, visit That’s

    LESLIE: Coming up, is your dog’s favorite pastime digging holes in your yard? Well, that’s exactly what my dog likes to do except then he sits in them and then brings all the dirt all around town.

    Well, your favorite pastime doesn’t have to be filling up those holes that the dog makes. We’re going to have some tips to stop dogs from digging up your yard, after this. We’re going to try them out on Sherman.

    TOM: Alright.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Happy Memorial Day Weekend. We hope that you are resting and relaxing around your home or apartment or condo on this holiday weekend. If you’re tackling a home improvement project, we’d also love to help. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by Never worry about overpaying for a job. Use HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project. It’s all for free at

    LESLIE: And while you’re online, head on over to and post your question in the Community section, just like Sarah in New York did. Now, she writes: “What should I be using to caulk around the tub where the porcelain meets the tile: silicone or latex? I heard that the two don’t mix. If I already have one type in there, should I apply a different type? What do I do?”

    TOM: Well, let’s see. First of all, what you should do is you should take out all of the old stuff, all of the old caulk. Whether it’s silicone or latex, I would pull it all out. You can’t put layer upon layer, because it’s not going to connect. And even if they were exactly the same type, I still wouldn’t do it. So I’d pull it all out.

    If it doesn’t come out easily, there is a product that is sort of like a caulk-softening product that you can pick up. And it’s kind of – think of it like a paint stripper for caulk. It just kind of makes it soft enough and gooey enough where you can scrape it all out of there.

    The next thing you want to do, Sarah, is you want to fill the tub with water so it kind of weights down and then caulk it. I would use silicone, because it lasts a lot longer. Use one that’s designed for a kitchen or bath because it has a mildicide in it. And after it dries, let the water out of the tub. That will help compress the caulk, especially with all the in and out of taking showers. It’s not going to stretch it down and kind of rip it away. So if you follow that procedure, it will last a really long time.

    LESLIE: Alright, Sarah. That’s totally going to do the trick and you’re going to be so happy with how long it’s going to last. And it’s really going to look nice. You’ll find that new, clean caulk in a tub makes the bathroom look so much more ridiculously clean.

    TOM: Well, most dog owners will tell you they love their pets, even when they’re being naughty. But you don’t have to put up with their antics. The warmer weather means more idle time spent outside, which can bring out your dog’s digging instinct. Leslie has tips to stop dogs from digging, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Alright. Here goes, guys. I’ve got a dog who’s a digger and I work on it with him all the time. But I think he just likes to stay cool. But we’ve got to keep in mind that there are reasons for dogs to dig. And the thing is, they don’t realize that digging is wrong unless you tell them that it is wrong.

    So here’s a couple of ideas that can help you. Now, if your dog is burying things like food or bones, you might dig up those items when he’s not looking so they won’t be there the next time he digs. After a while, he’s going to realize that his digging provides no reward and stop.

    Now, another technique that dog professionals use is to spray the dog lightly with a hose every time it starts digging, then offer praise when it manages to roam around the lawn without digging. The dog is going to associate digging with being sprayed and then positive attention when they’re not digging. So you’ve got to get that: the dog doesn’t want to do something that they’re going to get punished for, even though it’s a light spray. And who knows? Some dogs might enjoy that. But you’ve got to praise them for good things and punish them for the bad things.

    Now, some experts believe that dogs will simply stop digging if they’re given enough exercise. So take the time to play with your dog. That could be the easiest solution. And remember that a dog’s behavior is best changed when the owner is consistent with the training and when all the members of the household are also encouraging and training that dog, as well. Consistency is key, guys. So you’ve got to stick with the plan.

    You too can have a dog that doesn’t dig in the yard. I’m going to post pictures of Sherman not digging holes, I promise, come this summertime. First, I’ll show you one where he’s really cute in a hole that he dug and then we’ll figure out how to stop him from doing it.

    TOM: Well, bribes work, too. I mean a little treat goes a long way toward teaching your dog some good habits.

    LESLIE: That is true.

    TOM: Well, coming up next week on the program, is your air conditioning just not cutting it? Think about last summer. Did you struggle to stay comfortable? If so, now is the time for an A/C upgrade to improve comfort and efficiency. We’re going to have A/C upgrade tips to help you keep cool without breaking the bank, on the very 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 2019 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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