How to Prevent Pet Damage to Your Lawn

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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: And we are here for one reason and one reason only: because we have nowhere else to be. No, actually, because we’re here to help you with your home improvement projects. That’s what we do every weekend, all weekend long. We never take a break. If you’ve got a question about what’s going on with a project around your house, if you want to plan a project to make your house more beautiful, to add some value to your house or just to fix something that’s really bugging the heck out of you, we are here to help. Help yourself first, though, by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, if your yard is literally going to the dogs, we’re going to have some easy tips for keeping your furry friends from ruining lawns.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, maybe you’ve been thinking about a vacation home or going somewhere really wonderful. Well, if that’s out of your reach, you might want to consider glamping. Now, glamping is short for glamour camping. And we’re going to share some tips on how you can do that, just by converting a camper or trailer into a really comfortable getaway that comes home with you after every trip.

    TOM: Plus, are your carpets looking a bit worn out? Well, one simple step can make the difference between carpets that wear out and those that last two or three times as long. We’ll have that tip, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And if you give us a call now with your home improvement question, you’re going to get the answer plus the tools to help get the job done. We’re giving away a $50 set of Arrow tools and fasteners, perfect for crafters, makers, DIYers and pros.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Those tools may go to you. The package includes the Arrow Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, the Mini Glue Gun and the Rivet Kit. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    SHARON: Hi. I’m interested in tearing down a wall that’s between two rooms. And I’m wondering if I can do that by myself – I don’t have any experience at all – or if I – it’s something that I would need to have an expert do.

    TOM: Maybe, maybe not.

    LESLIE: It depends. What’s in the wall? Is it load-bearing?

    TOM: Yeah.

    SHARON: Yeah. How do you tell that?

    TOM: Well, where is this wall? First of all, what kind of house do you have? What shape is your house? Is it Colonial? Ranch?

    SHARON: I have a – what do you call that – bi-level, where there’s an upstairs part and a downstairs part?

    TOM: Bi-level? OK. Alright. And where is the wall?

    SHARON: The wall – it’s two bedrooms and the wall is right between the two bedrooms.

    TOM: Hmm. So is it parallel with the front wall of the house and the back wall of the house or is it perpendicular?

    SHARON: It is perpendicular.

    TOM: It’s most likely not a bearing wall; that is my sight-unseen assessment. I could be wrong but it’s most likely not. Because usually in a bi-level, the only bearing wall is the center wall that goes down the middle, parallel with the front and the back wall of the house.

    But even that said, what you can do, as a do-it-yourselfer, is you can tear out the drywall and get to that. But remember, once you do that, Sharon, you’re going to be having – you’re going to be looking at plumbing, you’re going to be looking at heating ducts, you’re going to be looking at wiring, not to mention the fact that you’re going to have to patch all that drywall. So, there’s a lot to it.

    SHARON: Oh, really? I thought I could be a do-it-yourselfer; I really wanted to do the project myself. It just seems (inaudible).

    TOM: Well, look, you can do it yourself. We don’t want you to become a do-it-to-yourselfer, alright?

    SHARON: Oh, right.

    TOM: So you really should not be doing the electrical work yourself. What you could do …

    SHARON: I am concerned about that part.

    TOM: Yeah, what you could do is take apart all the drywall. That’s easy to do. But again, if …

    LESLIE: Yeah, take out the trim, take down the drywall.

    TOM: Yeah. Maybe if you get it all ready, you can have a carpenter just come pull the wall out and an electrician rerun the outlet and you’ll be done.

    SHARON: Alright. Well, I just wanted some expert advice about that.

    TOM: Alright.

    SHARON: I’m glad you told me before I got in the middle of it.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ben in Arizona who’s dealing with a situation of arachnophobia. What’s going on with those spiders?

    BEN: Oh, not a whole lot. They seem like they’re overtaking our yard. I can mow and they just scatter everywhere. I kill anywhere from 30 to 50 of them every time I mow.

    TOM: Do you have any idea what kind of spider it is?

    BEN: No. They call it – from what I’ve heard, they call them “wood spiders.” And I don’t know if that’s what they’re – really what they’re called or not. But they’re brown and they’ve kind of got black streaks across their backs. And some of them are smaller than – some of them look like they can get to 2-inch diameter or so, something like that.

    TOM: There’s actually a couple things that you can do to try to control these – the population of these wolf spiders. First of all, things that you can do on your own are to try to eliminate their nesting sites. And that are areas where you have bushes, ivy, grasses or any plant that is right up against the house. Wood piles, lumber piles, rock piles are all places where these spiders can nest.

    But the most effective way to get rid of them is to use a pesticide. Now, you can either do this yourself or you can hire a pro. If you want to do it yourself, there is a pesticide dust that you can buy in a lot of places; I know it’s available on Amazon. It’s called EcoEXEMPT D Dust – the letter D – EcoEXEMPT D Dust. And it’s an organic, plant-based insecticide that’s ready to use. And it’s pet-safe, as well, which is important.

    I’ve got to tell you, if I had kids and I had that much of a problem, I’d probably have it done first by a professional and then I’d follow up with my own do-it-yourself pest control after. Because the products that the pros use are just far more effective. And they are absolutely safe if they’re applied by a trained professional according to label directions. Does that make sense?

    BEN: OK. Alrighty.

    TOM: 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 Show on air and online at Give us a call 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

    Up next, when it comes to your yard and garden, man’s best friend can feel like the enemy. We’re going to share some tips to keep your landscaping from going to the dogs, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, presented by HomeAdvisor. 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.

    And if you pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, we will also toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat, because we’re giving away a fantastic set of Arrow tools and fasteners worth 50 bucks. Perfect for crafters, makers, DIYers, pros, you name it. These are all made right here in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. They have been making products for 90 years, the Arrow Fastener Company. And the package includes the T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, the MT300 Mini Glue Gun and the RL100 Rivet Kit.

    And that staple gun, Leslie, is one that you need to have if you like to do a little upholstery work around the house. And I know that’s something you know about.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it’s really important, when you’re working with upholstery, that you’ve got a staple gun with a long nose. It’s got to be lightweight, it’s got to be durable. It can’t jam, because you’re always sort of digging into the space and holding fabric with one hand and trying to get the staple gun with the other. So you want a staple gun that fires perfectly every time. And Arrow always delivers just that.

    TOM: You’ll get the tools plus all the fasteners, glue sticks and rivets you need to get the job done. Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Janet in Illinois is working on a decking project. How can we help you with that?

    JANET: We have ordered the material for the flooring of the deck and it’s going to be waterproof and where we have a patio beneath it. And we would like to finish the underneath side so that we can do some canned lighting or – and/or some ceiling fans. And wondered what the best product would be to finish the underneath side.

    LESLIE: To sort of waterproof it, block it from any sort of water, be it rain or snow, getting to that lower underside.

    JANET: Well, the top product is going to do that. So we just want to finish it so it’ll look nicer than just having the wood showing from the framework.

    TOM: OK. Will this be exposed to the weather from the sides, though? I understand you’re putting a roof over the top but will there be sides on this or is it possible for wind and rain to blow in?

    JANET: It will be possible for wind and rain to blow in so, yeah, we would want that.

    TOM: So you do need a good-quality product that’s going to seal and protect the wood.

    So in that case, Leslie, I guess I would go with solid-color stain, a deck stain.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But I think you’re looking for a material, first, to put on the ceiling, correct, other than wood?

    JANET: Right. Yes.

    TOM: Oh, for the ceiling? The underside of the ceiling?

    JANET: Yes.

    TOM: How about AZEK?


    TOM: Yeah, A-Z-E-K. Yeah, AZEK is an extruded PVC product that’s available in many different finishes. It’s synthetic, so it doesn’t rot and it doesn’t need paint.

    JANET: OK.

    TOM: So if you go to and look at a lot of the sheet products …

    LESLIE: Yeah. I bet there’s a beadboard or something that would look like a shingling or a paneling for the ceiling.

    TOM: Right.

    JANET: OK.

    LESLIE: That could be very lovely.

    TOM: Right. But the deck surface is also going to need some protection. So that – for that surface, I would use a solid-color stain.

    JANET: Alright. Sounds wonderful.

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

    LESLIE: Jason in Delaware is on the line and needs some help with an electrical update at their money pit. Tell us what’s going on.

    JASON: Hi. Well, let’s see. We bought an older home: probably like 1940, 1950. It’s a great home, no doubt about it. We thought we were going to have a bunch of problems: we thought we were going to have to replace the roof, we thought we were going to have to replace the foundation. But it’s pretty much like somebody built the house and never really lived in it.

    TOM: I think we’re getting to a “but.” Everything’s great but what’s happening?

    JASON: But the breaker box is outdated. And the total cost of replacing that – hiring a certified and professional contractor and everyone – or the electrician to do it – is going to cost us around $5,000.

    TOM: Alright. Why do you say it’s outdated? What’s wrong with it?

    JASON: It’s a 100-amp box.


    JASON: And you can’t run more than two air conditioners in the house at one time.

    TOM: Take a breath. I’ve got great news for you, alright?

    JASON: What’s that?

    TOM: You don’t have central air, right? You’re running window units?

    JASON: Window units.

    TOM: You do not need a new panel. A hundred amps is way more than enough power to run that house. What you need …

    LESLIE: Unless you’re planning on making those updates.

    TOM: Yeah. What you need are some new circuits, which are easier to run.

    JASON: OK.

    TOM: You see, the reason you’re tripping those breakers is because whatever circuit those air conditioners are on is pulling more power than that one circuit can handle.

    Now, most circuits that go to bedrooms, for example, are 15-amp circuits. You put an air conditioner or two on a 15-amp circuit, it’s going to pop, especially an older air conditioner that’s not as energy-efficient, because it’s going to start pulling more power. And if you happen to have those two air conditioners on the same circuit, there’s not a chance that you’re going to be able to run that when you have to.

    What you do is you add more circuits. So you add another circuit that’s just for that air conditioner, from the point where it’s installed to the panel. Put that on its own 15-amp circuit and there you have it; you’re done. No $5,000 for a new panel.

    See, this is another example – when electricians come in and they size you up and they give you a price on doing a job that you really don’t need. A hundred amps is a lot of power. I doubt in a house that’s probably gas-fired – is that right? It’s gas-powered?

    JASON: Yes.

    TOM: So you have a gas-powered house, so you’ve got gas heat, gas stove, gas water heater. You know, if you pulled 30 amps when everything was running in that house, I’d be surprised. So you don’t need a new box; you need more circuits.

    JASON: OK. Well, thank you, guys, so very much.

    TOM: Well, dogs may be a man’s best friend or a woman’s best friend but they’re rarely your yard’s best friend.

    LESLIE: That’s true.

    TOM: I mean from their foot traffic to their messes, pets can really wreak havoc on landscaping.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Trying to grow grass on a path that your dog has made is usually an uphill battle. So try installing a stone walkway over those paths instead. Now, your dog can still run where he wants, while you enjoy that beautiful stone walkway’s natural charm.

    TOM: Or you could switch to hardscaping and sort of confine your pup to that space with a traditional or an electric fence. Stone and masonry are easy to clean. And as an added bonus, they keep your dog from digging holes and dragging that dirt inside.

    LESLIE: Now, if you can’t bring yourself to keep your dog from his beloved grass, switch to a variety that’s more resilient against foot and paw traffic, like Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass.

    TOM: Or if the issue is dog spots – bare patches that are caused by a dog’s byproducts – well, you might want to consider planting a lawn made of clover. It stands up better to what your pets leave behind – their behind – so to speak.

    LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina is just not enjoying the taste of a popcorn ceiling. Tell us what’s going on over there.

    LAURA: Well, a tree fell on the roof of our house, which caused the ceiling to crack in the bedroom.

    TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.

    LAURA: And we’ve gotten the roof fixed and all those things fixed and everything. And so we redid the drywall and the plaster up in the ceiling. But we can’t match the popcorn so that you can tell or not tell that there’s been damage. And we don’t know what to do.

    TOM: How have you tried to patch it?

    LAURA: Well, we took – we patched it first. We removed the section that had actually come through the ceiling and put new – the new ceiling up.

    TOM: Yep. Yeah.

    LAURA: And then we plastered over the crack, because there were two cracks where the edge of the – the width of the tree was, all the way to the middle of the ceiling

    TOM: Right.

    LAURA: And so we plastered that and then we tried to use that popcorn texture that you get at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

    LESLIE: In the spray can?

    LAURA: And you – yeah, in the little – no, we tried the spray but that was so, so messy. And then we got the can of it – the little container of it – where you use the putty knife or the paintbrush?

    TOM: Right.

    LAURA: And tried to put that up but it does not – it looks horrible; it looks like water is dripping or big drip marks.

    TOM: Right.

    LAURA: And it just does not match at all and we don’t know what to do.

    TOM: So, did you file an insurance claim for this act of God?

    LAURA: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: You did?

    LAURA: It wasn’t actually an act of God; it was a dead tree from the neighbor’s house that fell.

    TOM: Oh, OK. But it’s covered by insurance, right?

    LAURA: Yeah, the insurance took care of it.

    TOM: So why didn’t they go all the way and just restore the ceiling? If this was something that is covered by insurance and you had a popcorn ceiling and you deserve to have that ceiling restored, why didn’t they just pay for a painter to come in with the popcorn-ceiling machine and just respray the whole thing?

    LAURA: Well, it was kind of a mistake on our part because there was a gentleman that lives in the neighborhood who’s a contractor that we got. And then he finished the outside and most of the inside but didn’t finish that part.

    TOM: Alright. Well, live and learn. I mean you probably can go back to them but look, are you really in love with the popcorn ceiling? Because most people are not; most of the calls we get about popcorn ceiling is how to get rid of it.

    LAURA: No.

    LESLIE: How to get rid of it.

    TOM: So, the other option here is just to get rid of what’s there and match it all.

    LAURA: Exactly.

    TOM: And you can do that. It’s not really that hard to do. You dampen the ceiling with – you can use a pump-up sprayer to put a little bit of a water spray on it: not terrible, not a lot but just enough to dampen it. Then you can scrape away the popcorn with a putty knife or with a drywall knife, like a spackling blade?

    LAURA: Right.

    TOM: And you get that off the whole ceiling that way. And then you prime the whole thing and then you paint it with a flat paint, because it won’t reflect light when it strikes across the flat paint. And that usually blends in quite nicely.

    So, if you’re not satisfied with the patching – because it sounds like you’re using the right products. And if it’s not looking right to you and you can’t have the entire ceiling restored, then why not get rid of the popcorn that remains and just go with a popcorn-free ceiling?

    LAURA: Yeah, that might be the best – but I didn’t know how hard it would be to remove that ceiling, so we didn’t want to start something we didn’t know if we could finish, like …

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not easy but it’s not terrible, either. So, that’s – I think that’s your best approach.

    LAURA: Yeah, it sounds like it’s going to be our only option at this point. Alright. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    You know, I don’t know if Laura did this but if you do have something that you can file with your insurance company for protection on – for coverage on, I should say – you really want to get a public adjuster in at the get-go. Because public adjusters work for you, not the insurance company. They work on a percentage of the claim. They’re always going to find more than the insurance-company adjuster does.

    And this is a perfect example of the kind of thing they would not miss. They wouldn’t put in for the popcorn ceiling to be patched; they would include a big budget number for the entire thing to be restored, completely replaced. And if you do that at the get-go of a project like this, it’s going to come out better.

    And the other lesson, I guess, Laura learned is never hire the nice man that lives around the corner to do your project when – get enough money for it and have a professional do it. It’s not a part-time job.

    LESLIE: No. And it can never end well when utilizing a neighbor’s help.

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’re still dreaming of taking that summer vacation but you don’t have a big budget, we’ve got some ideas for creating vacation memories all year long without breaking the bank, coming up when The Money Pit continues.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: What are you working on on this fine summer day? If it’s your house, your yard, your condo, your co-op, you’re in exactly the right place because we are here to lend a hand. Call us, right now, with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Maryann in Virginia is on the line with a roofing question. What can we do for you today?

    MARYANN: We had a terrible windstorm here about a month ago and it just wreaked havoc to the roof. There were a lot of loose tiles and …

    TOM: What kind of roof do you have, Maryann?

    MARYANN: It’s just the basic asphalt roof right now?

    TOM: Asphalt-shingle roof? OK. Yeah, you said tiles; I just want to make sure we knew what kind of shingle you had, OK?

    MARYANN: Yeah. Right. And there’s just like one layer of shingles on and so the question that I have, really, is – the roof is only 17 years old and I know, just from living there 16 of those years, that we’re going to get these windstorms. And what I would like to know is what would be a good roof to replace this with or should we put a second roof on top of it or a metal roof?

    TOM: OK. So, kind of a multi-part question.

    First of all, let me ask you, how long do you expect to stay in the house, Maryann?

    MARYANN: Oh, a good while.

    TOM: Like a good while, like the entire life of the new roof?

    MARYANN: Sure.

    TOM: OK. So, here’s what I would suggest. First of all, if you’re going to be in the house a long time, we always recommend removing the first layer of shingles, not putting a second layer on. And here’s why: if you put a second layer of shingles on, because the first layer is underneath, it tends to act as sort of a heat sink. And because it stays hotter and warmer longer, it more quickly evaporates the oils and different materials that are in the shingles and causes them to fail quicker. So, the cooler the roof, the better. Take off the first layer of shingles.

    And so far as making sure that the roof is not going to blow off, there are high wind-resistant shingles that you can buy.

    LESLIE: And Owens Corning, they make a very attractive, sort of dimensional-looking asphalt shingle that I want to say goes up to 120 miles. So I – an hour. I would start off with their website. But you definitely want to get a roofing shingle that’s made to withstand high winds.

    And there are even some that will maintain higher wind gusts there if, say, you’re in Miami-Dade County. But I don’t think you need to be that crazy.

    MARYANN: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, if you’d like to take off for a relaxing vacation but do that on a budget, you might want to consider what some call “glamping,” which is pretty much the opposite of roughing it. You get to enjoy the great outdoors but with all the comforts of home. And you can take it one step further and kind of glam up your camper to create a vacation home on wheels.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Just imagine a pop-up trailer tricked out with the best bedding and beautiful décor. You can camp near the beach or lake and now you’ve got a home right on the water. The best part is since you can park it in your driveway after the vacation is over, you don’t need to worry about flood insurance or hurricane damage that goes along with a vacation property.

    Now, this new trend of glamping is something that you can take advantage of, even when you’re not away. You can create a guesthouse, office, man cave, even just some extra space that’s just steps away from your home for you to escape to. The next time your teen hosts a sleepover, you don’t have to lose any sleep.

    TOM: Now, there are a lot of possibilities and you can do this at a fraction of the cost of a second home. And if you look for vintage campers to renovate, they can be a very cost-effective project.

    That’s what we’re all about: finding affordable ways to get those projects done around your home. Give us a call, right now, if you’ve got a specific project in mind. And that number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Steven in South Carolina is on the line with a water heater that seems to be leaking. And it’s only four months old, so that’s not good. Tell us what’s going on.

    STEVEN: Leslie, I consider myself a home improvement master.


    STEVEN: And I put in this new water heater in a rental unit that I have – a rental unit/townhouse. And I went over there the other day and noticed that the pressure-relief valve is slowly leaking. And I can’t figure out why it would be leaking.

    TOM: Well, Steven, there’s two reasons it could be leaking: the first is that you have a bad pressure-relief valve; the second is that your water heater is not working correctly and it’s actually building up excess pressure. And as a result, the valve is doing exactly what it’s intended to do, which is to open up if the pressure in the valve exceeds – or the pressure in the tank exceeds 150 pounds. So which is it? That is the question.

    And I wouldn’t recommend that you do this project yourself. But I guess the first thing I would do is probably replace that valve and see if it continues to happen.


    TOM: The other thing that you could try to do is you could try to let a little bit of water out of it. Since it’s already leaking, it’s probably not going to get much worse. We almost never tell people to do this because sometimes, if there is a little crud in the water from dirt or debris that’s inside the plumbing system in your house, it can actually make the leaking worse. But if it’s already leaking pretty bad, I would open and close that little valve lever – the lever on the side of the valve that releases some pressure – a few times. Just let some water blast out of that and see if it resets.

    But if it continues, then there’s something wrong with the water heater and it’s doing its job.

    STEVEN: Well, let me ask you this. What about – I put it in the same way it was installed 10, 12 years ago. And it’s just the hot water out, cold water in. And isn’t there some kind of a diaphragm-type valve or something that can go on the newer water heaters?

    TOM: It doesn’t – it’s not for that, OK? You may be talking about a water-hammer arrestor but this has nothing to do with the pressure in your water heater. The water heater is an appliance that’s designed to work by itself. It’s designed to heat the water and deliver the water to your domestic system. And specifically, if it’s not doing that correctly, in terms of this valve, it’s going to open up and prevent it from rupturing.

    So, no. The water heater is not supposed to leak and if it is leaking, something’s wrong – either a bad valve or a bad water heater – and you’ve got to get to the bottom of it.

    STEVEN: I appreciate your insight.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.

    STEVEN: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully, it works out for me.

    TOM: Alright. I’m sure it will. Steven, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Still to come on the show, steam-cleaning is a simple way to make your carpeting last longer if it’s done right. We’re going to have some tips, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The Money Pit is presented by Never worry about overpaying for a job. Just use HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide to see what others paid for a similar project. That’s all for free at

    You know what else is free, Leslie? We’ve got some free tools to give away.

    LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got a $50 set of Arrow tools and fasteners that are perfect for crafters, makers, DIYers, even pros. We’re giving up, this hour, the Arrow T50 Heavy-Duty Staple Gun, a Mini Glue Gun and a Rivet Kit.

    Now, the Mini Glue Gun, it’s compact, it’s easy to use and it’s perfect for a huge range of DIY and crafting projects. Even great for upholstery, general household repairs, school, crafting projects. Such a fantastic tool to keep in your handy drawer at home.

    Give us a call. You’ll get the tools plus all the fasteners, glue sticks and rivets that you need to get started. And that’s all going out to one lucky listener.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Pat in South Dakota is on the line with a painting project. How can we help you?

    PAT: Can you repaint vinyl siding?

    TOM: Yes. You can repaint vinyl – well, you’d be painting it, initially, not even repainting it. But I will tell you this: once you paint, you do have to repaint. So, you’re not going to have the maintenance-free service that you had once before. You will have to repaint it.

    Now, that said, if you’re going to do the repainting or you’re going to paint it, you want to make sure that you use a product that’s designed specifically for vinyl siding. And I would only use a product from a top brand like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams. They both have their own line of vinyl-siding paint. So choose your paint carefully, make sure it’s good-quality paint and keep in mind that eventually you’re going to have to repaint it.

    PAT: OK. That was what I wondering. Thank you so much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got wall-to-wall carpeting at home, you know that with kids, pets and just general family traffic, that can all lead to your carpeting getting pretty dingy looking very quickly.

    Now, fortunately, it’s not hard to steam-clean them yourself. This is something that you can do, at least once a year, to keep your carpets looking new and smelling fresh. And it’s going to help them last longer, as well. Because the number-one reason that carpets wear out is dirt. It’s like sandpaper that gets ground into that carpet every time you walk on it. And then that breaks down the fibers.

    TOM: I am always amazed with what a great job a steam cleaner can do. You know, I’ve had kids in college. And when it gets to the end of the year and it’s time to move out, that carpet has not been touched for nine months. The last time it was clean was when they moved in and now they’re moving out and it’s just totally gross, because you can never nail them down to move stuff out of the way. And I tell you what, every year I think I’m going to have to buy carpet for this place, because it just looks so terrible. And yet I rent a steam cleaner and it all comes up.

    So, steam cleaners do a great job at that heavy-duty cleaning. And like you say, that dirt is really what wears down those carpet fibers. So if you keep your carpet well vacuumed, you steam-clean once a year, it’s going to last a very long time and keep your home feeling and looking fresh.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Charles on the line.

    Charles, what’s going on at your money pit?

    CHARLES: We’re in North Central Louisiana and we get up in the 90s with the high humidity. But specifically, my house was built in ‘91 and I’ve got good insulation in my attic: the roll-type insulation. About 8 inches of it. And then we put another 3 inches of blown insulation on it.

    What the problem is is I don’t have any kind of airflow to really pull the heat out of my attic. I have a big vent on the north end of the roofline and I have two turbines and that’s it. There are no, I think – what do you call them, soffit vents or something that normally you see under the edge of your roofline? On the – yeah, I don’t have any of those so I’m wondering, would that help my situation some? And if so, how do I figure how many I need and how to space them?

    TOM: So, here’s how you add additional ventilation to a roof that’s configured like the one that you’ve described. The best type of insulation is, in fact, soffit venting combined with ridge venting. So soffit venting is at the overhang and ridge venting is at the peak. Now, because you don’t have soffits, there is a type of a vent called a “roof-edge vent” or a “soffit-edge vent” that essentially extends the roofline only about 2 or 3 inches and provides an intake vent for air to get in right under those shingles.

    So if you were to add the roof-edge vent and then combine that with a continuous ridge vent, you would have the kind of flow that you really need. So what happens is as the wind hits the roof, it pushes up, it depressurizes that ridge, it’ll pull air out from the ridge vent while pushing air in from those soffit vents that we just talked about. And that will do a lot to cooling that attic space.

    Now, those turbines that you described, if you get the ridge and the drip-edge vents installed, I would remove the turbines because they’re just going to get in the way. They’ll interrupt that airflow that we’re trying to establish the pattern for.

    CHARLES: Yeah, this ridge vent you’re talking, I’m going to have to have them redo the ridge thing. It’s a shingle-type roof. Going to have to have them redo that?

    TOM: Yeah, you’re going to have to do some carpentry work here. The ridge vent is pretty easy because you can cut right through the roof shingles, at the top peak, and attach the ridge vent right on top of that. And it’s a pretty watertight fit. The soffit drip-edge vent, that’s a little bit more complicated. You’d have to take apart the first couple of rows of shingles to get that in.

    CHARLES: Alright. Well, I appreciate the information and I’m going to take a look at that stuff and then start looking around for a good contractor that can do that for …

    LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    You can reach us anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right here at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Up next, could your house use a little more shine? Get in on the design trend that’s making a comeback: lacquer. We’re going to tell you how, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is 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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by

    LESLIE: That’s right. You never have to worry about overpaying for a job. You can just use their True Cost Guide to see what others have paid for similar projects. Then get matched with top-rated pros, read reviews, get quotes and book appointments, all for free at

    TOM: And if you’ve got a home improvement question, you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to, which is what Jim did. And he’s got a question about cleaning wood kitchen cabinets.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Jim writes: “What product would you recommend for cleaning wood kitchen cabinets? We just bought a new house and the cabinets are a light-white oak and they’re very dirty with grease, hand grime and cigarette-smoke residue.”

    TOM: That’s like the trifecta there.

    LESLIE: Yeah, seriously.

    TOM: Grease, grime and cigarette smoke.

    Well, I’ll tell you what, you have to start with a soap. But the problem is you can’t get too wet with those cabinets, because you could rot the wood.

    So, I would start with Murphy’s Oil Soap. If it’s a good, dependable wood cleaner, you’re going to find it to be very effective at pulling a lot of that out of there. But just don’t use a lot of water with it. You can dip a washcloth into the Murphy’s Soap, wipe the cabinets down, rinse the washcloth, wipe them again and so on, so that you’re not really sort of sloshing that water on there. And that’s going to do a good job of taking a lot of that out there.

    Now, another great product, though, is WD-40, which has a ton of household uses. But you only want to use it as spot treatment. If you’ve got some specific areas in those cabinets that you just can’t get clean, try a little squirt of WD-40, especially if there’s adhesive on it from sticky shelf paper or something of that nature. It works really well.

    LESLIE: Yeah. All of this is a great start. And if you’re not happy with the finished look, remember at this point, you’ve sort of done the prep to start painting. So that’ll be the first step but cleaning really is a great way to see what you’ve got and decide where you want to go.

    TOM: Well, love it or hate it, the 80s are back. And whether you’re wearing acid-washed denim or not, the most stylish place to keep your clothes is a lacquered dresser or chest of drawers. And the sheen does not have to stop there. Leslie has got some ideas, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah, that lacquer look is popping up again. But wood that’s finished with lacquer does need proper prep. That includes sanding and sealing.

    So, before you apply that lacquer, clean thoroughly with a tack cloth. Then use only aerosol-spray lacquer and protect that working area with drop cloths, newspaper. And please make sure that you work in a well-ventilated space.

    Now, you’re going to want to apply the lacquer slowly and evenly. And you’ve got to hold the can about 18 inches from the surface of the project. Any further away than that and that lacquer can orange-peel and sort of give a dimpled appearance on the surface. Closer than that is going to cause you to have too much lacquer building up and you’re going to get runs or sags.

    Now, as you work, overlap the lacquer spray patterns slightly. You want several thin coats to give you that high-gloss look, as opposed to a couple of heavy coats immediately. Make sure you follow those instructions and dry completely in between the coats.

    Now, lastly, while lacquer can be used on most woods, you cannot use it on mahogany or rosewood, simply because those woods are just too oily. And that’s going to bleed through the finish and it’s not going to last. It also can’t be used over certain finishes, including oil-based stains and many wood fillers. So you’ve got to make sure you’re putting it on the right surface.

    But trust me, if you do, lacquer is gorgeous. I love the super shine. It makes colors look really saturated and it’s fantastic even in unexpected places, like a handrail or a banister in your stairwell. Fantastic. Use it wisely and love it.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, older windows are more challenging than charming when they get stuck shut or even stuck open. If that sounds familiar and you’re thinking about updating those windows, we’re going to have tips for how you can work on getting them unstuck without causing more damage, 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.)