Improvements that Make Your Home Worth More #0219182

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: What are you working on this weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because we are, too. We’re here to help you with the projects you’d like to get done around your place, your house, your home, your apartment, your condo, your whatever you’ve got that you call “home.” If you’ve got a project you’d like to get done, whether it’s hanging a picture or remodeling the kitchen, simple or complex, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at

    Coming up on today’s program, now that we’re getting closer to spring, many folks are beginning to plan those décor and remodeling projects that might have been put on hold this winter. But here’s a question: how do you know if a project that you’re thinking about doing is going to add real value to your house? We’ll have some tips to tell, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, if you’ve ever tried buying a mattress, you know that process can be a huge hassle. You go to the store, then you go to the next store, you lay down on a bunch of beds that have probably had more folks do the same than a major hotel. You really kind of wish that there’s a better way, right?

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s the same thought that JT Marino had but he actually did something about it. He founded Tuft & Needle. It’s a company that makes and sells mattresses. And I was impressed right away when I checked these guys out, because you know all the reviews that are online now from all the different sources? Those are all compiled and fed into There’s over 60,000 reviews on their home page. It’s crazy.

    JT is going to stop by and share his story – it’s pretty inspiring – and also tell us some insider secrets that I’m pretty sure the old mattress industry never wanted anyone to hear.

    LESLIE: Alright. They are great mattresses, too, so stick around for that.

    And if you’re planning a flooring project, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. It’s a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.

    TOM: Yep. You can use it at any of their nationwide stores or online at So let’s get going. It’s going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Lynn in Missouri is on the line and needs some help with a handrail. How can we help you?

    LYNN: I’m trying to figure out the proper procedure to align and be able to cut the proper angle for the top rail and a bottom rail between two posts.

    TOM: OK. So, are the posts level? Are they straight?

    LYNN: Well, no, not exactly. See, what it is is we took the old, wooden stuff off and we’re replacing it with vinyl. And so, basically, the – some of the posts are kind of warped a little here, a little there.

    TOM: Alright. So, here’s the way you do this. If the posts were straight, it would be a lot easier because, essentially, what you would do is you would lay the railing on the stairs, put a level – vertical level – up against it. And once it’s absolutely straight, use that to determine the cut line. Because that will be, essentially, a vertical cut.

    Now, if the posts are not level – they’re out of level – what I would do is I would take the railing and I would clamp it any way I could to the side of the posts, even if it’s a bit sloppy, just so it’s held approximately in the position that you want and against the side of the posts with some big – maybe wood Jorgensen clamps or bar clamps or something like that.

    And then you can scribe, from the post to the rail, with a pencil that exact cut. You hold the pencil – say, a carpenter’s pencil – flat on the post and then you just basically drag it against the rail. And then add a little bit of extra space, maybe make it a ¼-inch bigger than that. Cut it, put it in place, see how the cut looks. You can adjust if you have to trim it a little bit – I presume you’re using a power miter box – and then you’ll kind of dial it in. But that’s the way to do it, OK?

    LYNN: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Kelly in South Dakota is on the line and wants some help removing wallpaper. What can we do for you?

    KELLY: I have a – some wallpaper that I want to remove. And I believe we primed the walls. This has been about 10 years ago. And when I pulled back on the edges of the wallpaper, it seems as though it’s taking a bit of the drywall with it.

    TOM: So, what you want to do is you want to get a tool called a “paper tiger,” which puts small holes in the surface of the paper. And it helps the wallpaper remover get behind it and loosen up the adhesive.

    Now, in terms of wallpaper remover, you can use fabric softener, which works well or you could use a commercially available product, like DIF – D-I-F. But putting those holes in there is important because, otherwise, it doesn’t saturate the paper.

    Now, if you do that and it still doesn’t loosen up and pull off, then what you need to do is go out and rent a wallpaper steamer. And that will use warm, moist air to separate the paper from the wall.

    No matter how you do it, it is a lot of work. And once that wallpaper is off, you’re going to need to reprime that wall with a good-quality primer so you have a nice surface upon which to put your final color of wall paint.

    KELLY: OK. Do you need to sand that once you get it all done?

    TOM: Well, if it’s a little rough, just lightly sand it. You don’t want to sand it too much, especially because you don’t want to cut into the paper that’s part of the drywall. But a little bit of light abrasion is not a bad thing.

    But the most important thing is a good-quality priming paint applied to that wall surface, because you’re going to have old sizing material and who-knows-what-else stuck to that. And if you put the primer on, it’ll give you a good surface upon which to apply the paint. The paint will flow nicely and it’ll look better when it dries.

    KELLY: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

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

    LESLIE: This is The Money Pit. Call in your home improvement or décor question now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros. Plus, it’s 100-percent free to use.

    TOM: Well, as we get closer to spring, have you been thinking about a project you’d like to get done when that warmer weather finally arrives? Just ahead, we’re going to have some tips to help make sure that project also makes your home more valuable. It’s all coming up, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Post your home improvement question to us, right now, at or call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT – that’s 888-666-3974 – presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.

    And we’ve got a great reason for you to reach out to us by phone or through the community because, this hour, we’re giving away a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. You could choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile. You can use the gift card for all those finishing touches, like moldings and the grills, even installation if you don’t want to do it yourself. You can pick out that flooring at or use it at one of Lumber Liquidators’ stores nationwide. Or just call them at 800-HARDWOOD.

    We’d love to give that card to you. It’s worth 200 bucks. If you’d like to win it, you’ve got to pick up the phone. It’s going to go out to one caller drawn at random. It will include those that have posted this week on The Money Pit’s Community page at or those that have called us this past week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So, make that you. Call now and maybe you will win.

    LESLIE: Mary in Ohio is on the line. How can we help you today?

    MARY: Our house is 130 years old. And the brick is not like the normal, square mason block. It’s not brick to me. I describe it as stone.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.

    MARY: And our basement gets moist. It doesn’t flood because we’re up on a hill. Thank goodness for that.

    TOM: OK.

    MARY: But it gets moist and it’s ruining our drywall work. We do have the humidifier down there but …

    TOM: You mean a dehumidifier, right? Not a humidifier.

    MARY: Dehumidifier, yes. Uh-huh.

    LESLIE: And you’re emptying it often?

    MARY: We have it draining directly into the drain.

    LESLIE: Alright. Good.

    MARY: If it’s not for that, I mean it would just ruin everything in the basement. It just gets so moist down there.

    TOM: OK.

    MARY: And we’d like to know: what can we do to fix it?

    LESLIE: I think this is really a common problem that a lot of people have. And it generally starts with the outside, before you can even think about what’s going on in the interior of the house. And generally, what’s happening is is the ground is so damp that it’s just sort of wicking its way through the foundation and through the walls of the basement and even up through the floor of the basement. So you have to keep that water that’s in the ground away from the perimeter of your house.

    And that’s really done through your water management. So if it’s raining a lot and you have gutters and downspouts, you want to make sure that those downspouts aren’t just dropping that water directly against your foundation wall. You want it to sort of get that water away three, four six, whatever you can do to get it as far away from the house. That’s going to help tremendously.

    And then any sort of soil that you have in that area around the house, you want clean fill dirt and then topsoil on top of it that you plant into. You don’t want to just keep everything with topsoil. And all that soil there has to grade away from the house. If it’s sort of leaning backwards or is more topsoil and just keeps that water there against the foundation, it’s going to come into the house. So you want to make sure that you’ve got, you know, a gradient that gets everything away from the house. You want your downspouts depositing the water away from the house. Use the dehumidifier. Those are things that will really help to keep that basement dry.

    TOM: Even though you’re up on a hill, Mary, we’re talking about that first 4 to 6 feet away from your house. That’s the critical area to cut down on soil moisture.

    MARY: Well, we do have …

    TOM: So, you really need to pay attention to the roof drainage, especially, even more than the surface drainage to make sure there is absolutely no water collecting anywhere near that zone.

    MARY: We do have all of our downspouting (ph) extra-long, way away from the house.

    TOM: OK.

    MARY: That we do have. And we made sure all of our gutters aren’t leaking or anything. So the gutters are working properly. We rerouted all of the water away from the house. That we have done for years. And then we have the dehumidifier.

    But the topsoil part I’m – we don’t have that. It’s just the original grass that’s been around the house forever.

    TOM: I appreciate that everything looks like it’s done right, in terms of the downspouts. I have had this conversation many, many times over many, many years. And usually, there’s something that’s not quite right with the drainage.

    MARY: OK.

    TOM: It sounds right but there’s usually something that’s off. It could be a clog, it could be an obstruction, it could be a disconnect. But I want you to look very carefully at what’s going on with those downspouts. And if you do happen to get a really good soaking rainstorm, throw your raincoat on, grab an umbrella, put on the galoshes and go outside and watch what’s happening.

    MARY: OK.

    TOM: You want to make sure there’s no chance that there’s water laying around that foundation perimeter, any source whatsoever.

    Now, the other thing is you mentioned you have a dehumidifier. Is this one that sort of sits on the floor, maybe it’s on wheels and comes on automatically?

    MARY: Yeah. Yes.

    TOM: So, that’s probably not the best kind of dehumidifier. For this level of humidity, I think you want one that’s a little bit stronger.

    MARY: OK.

    TOM: And I would take a look at, for example, the Santa Fe dehumidifiers., I think, is their website. I think – no, it’s actually They make different types of humidifiers.

    I’ve got one that actually hangs in the ceiling and is on 24/7.

    MARY: OK.

    TOM: And it has a condensate pump and it just takes out a ton of water. So, some of the ones that are on – I know the kind you’re talking about. It’s on wheels and on the floor. And it’s OK but I had one of those for years. It doesn’t work that well.

    MARY: OK.

    LESLIE: And they tend to just – if they’re working so much and consistently, they’re just going to go to waste or actually just break down. Because they’re not meant to be on all the time.

    TOM: One of the problems is those fans aren’t strong enough; they don’t move enough air flushing moisture out of enough of the air in the basement. So, I would take a look at Santa Fe, for example, and maybe get a better dehumidifier. But your first course of action has to be to very, very carefully examine that drainage. Because that’s going to be the source right there.

    MARY: OK. And can you explain a little bit to me a little bit more about topsoiling (ph)? I’m not much of a gardener, so …

    TOM: OK. So, yeah, what Leslie was referring to is this: that grade of soil away from the house, it should drop about 6 inches over 4 feet. If it’s too flat or if it’s sloped into the buildings, then you’re going to have all the direct rainfall run back into the house.

    Now, if you do need to improve the drainage, you don’t actually do it with topsoil; you do it with something called “clean fill dirt.” And you get the slope established with the clean fill dirt and then you add topsoil on top of that to support the growth of grass, for example. Or you could add stone, depending on how you like to decorate that landscape, that area. But the slope of the soil, from the foundation wall out, should start to drop away from the house.

    A lot of times, over the years, that area will settle inward and kind of pocket inward towards the house. And again, that’s like a trough that holds water.

    MARY: OK.

    TOM: OK?

    MARY: Alright. I will try those steps.

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

    Well, as the weather turns to spring, homeowners are busy planning and preparing for those future renovations. But when you do plan for those projects, you’ve got to realize that they’ll pretty much fall into two categories, Leslie: the ones that add value to your house by increasing the sales price and the ones that don’t.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, I don’t think there’s a problem to those projects that don’t add value, because some of the things you’re just doing for you, right? And then it’s not bad at all. I mean it’s like taking a vacation: you take it for yourself knowing full well that there is no market value for used vacations. You enjoy it and then you move on, right?

    TOM: Absolutely. And I think a lot of décor projects fall into that category because décor is very personal, right? It’s not intended to make everyone happy, just you while you’re enjoying it, right?

    LESLIE: That’s really true. Now, here’s some examples of things that, I think, people do that are truly a personal project. That could be adding a lighting fixture. While putting in that electrical point is something that adds value, choosing that fixture is something that’s definitely for you. And I think that’s why you see when a lot of people sell homes, they take those fixtures and replace it with something that’s more generic. I think that helps a lot.

    Now, the opposite of that is a granite or a marble countertop. These are things that you put in and you want them to last because they’re expensive. And they increase the value of your home. Whereas if you pick something that’s a little bit crazy in the granite or the marble, by being a strange color or just something more unusual than traditional, I think there you could be hurting yourself because you’re definitely doing something for yourself that’s a huge investment. And you kind of want that to help you on the back end.

    So you’ve got to weigh those things. What are you doing? Do you just want it to be something that you love or do you want it to be something that’s going to help you on the back side when you sell the house?

    TOM: Yeah. And you can’t have it both ways. So, don’t try to convince yourself that a décor project …

    LESLIE: No one likes blue granite.

    TOM: Right, exactly. Listen, I’m sure there’s a lot of guys out there telling their spouses that the new man cave is going to be a great investment. “Really, it will, honey. I promise. It’s going to add value to our house.”

    LESLIE: “Diamond plating on the walls are awesome.”

    TOM: Yeah. If you think a project like a kitchen, a bath, a deck, a patio, a new front door, these are all projects that have great returns on investment. So just be realistic about it and then enjoy those improvements.

    LESLIE: Wayne in Iowa is on the line with a septic issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    WAYNE: Well, when I take a bath, I have odor when I drain the tub. If I take a shower, I have no odor when I take – when I take a shower, obviously, I don’t plug the drain. But everything runs through down to one pipe, which goes out to a septic tank. I do know the line is good from the house to the septic tank, because I had to dig that up before I ever did any of the plumbing in the house. I did not replumb the drain on the tub but otherwise, the house has new plumbing throughout.

    TOM: So we don’t think that it’s in the drain line. For example, when you talk about sewer odors, the first thing you think of is a missing trap. But if the plumbing has been redone, it’s not likely that that’s the case, correct?

    WAYNE: No, it has a trap. And it doesn’t leak into the basement but I – whenever I take a shower, it works fine. But if I take a tub bath and pull the plug on the drain, I get a sewer odor in the hallway outside the bathroom.

    TOM: Because the other cause of those odors is something called “biogas” – is when you get a lot of bacteria that can form in a drain. And it may not even be the drain of the tub; it could be the drain of the sink. I presume there’s a sink in that same bathroom. And sometimes, even in the overflow channel of the sink, you get this bacterial buildup that can have just an awful odor to it.

    And the solution there is to thoroughly clean it with an oxygenated bleach so that you kill that bacteria, flushing out the overflow channel, scrubbing the drain with almost like a bottle brush to make sure that all of that bacteria is eliminated.

    Biogas can be very pungent and unpleasant to live with but relatively simple to get rid of once you get to the spot where it exists. Will you give that a shot?

    WAYNE: Yes, sir. I most certainly shall.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Just ahead, a better way to buy a mattress? Who would have thought? We’re going to talk to the founder of Tuft & Needle about how he turned his own lousy mattress-buying experience into a company that’s helping millions sleep better and for a lot less money, so stick around.

    TOM: Well, alright. Just ahead, are you one who suffers from allergies year-round? There’s a very simple step you can take to clear the air in your house. We’ll share that tip, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, not too long ago, if you wanted to buy a mattress, you needed a healthy budget and a lot of time to visit store after store to lie down and test out mattresses that plenty of people before you had been testing out, which is not such a great idea, all while …

    TOM: Kind of gross.

    LESLIE: It’s kind of gross. All while being pushed around by a high-commission salesman.

    TOM: Yeah. But just imagine if you’d walked into that store and told the salesman you wanted him to ship the mattress to your house, give you 100 days or so to make sure you really liked it and then if you didn’t, you wanted to be able to send it back for a full refund, no questions asked. They’d probably look at you like you had two heads but that’s exactly the business proposition that was started by JT Marino who, together with his co-founder, started Tuft & Needle. They set out to bring quality, integrity and honest pricing to the mattress industry. And JT Marino joins us right now.

    Welcome, sir.

    JT: Hi there.

    TOM: Hey, that’s a pretty amazing story and I think the success of which is really seen on your website. I was taking a look at it today and I was very impressed that you had 60,000 reviews on the website from customers, which you share openly. And I think being open is part of your business model, right?

    JT: It is. That was one of the issues that I experienced when I went shopping for a mattress. It was actually how we started our company. I ended up shopping for a mattress and suffice it to say, it was worse than shopping for a used car and having to …

    TOM: Oh, yeah.

    LESLIE: It’s kind of similar.

    JT: You know, it – yeah. And it’s something that when you share your story of how it goes, you find that a lot of people have a similar experience. But having the – my background is software engineering and design. And my co-founder and I were from Silicon Valley. So when we – when I had this experience and shared it with him, we knew we had to do something about it.

    TOM: Yeah. And there was a good opportunity there. And I do remember we bought a couch not too long ago – a few years ago – and I remember going into the furniture store and passing by the mattresses, which we hadn’t bought in a long time, and being astounded that the pricing – I couldn’t believe that they – some of them were over $10,000. And I said to my wife – I said, “You probably could buy a used car for less than you would pay for a mattress in one of these places,” so …

    JT: The typical excuse you hear from mattress salesmen is, “You sleep – you spend a 30-year-life in a mattress, so why not spend as much as you would on a car?”

    TOM: Yeah. And they like to break it down. “Well, you know that’s only 25 cents a day, right?” Or whatever it comes out to be.

    JT: Yeah. Yep.

    TOM: They try to justify it but I would rather have that 25 cents in my pocket.

    And I want to talk to you about how you saw that opportunity and actually developed a product that could give us a good night’s sleep and at the same time be very, very affordable. Your prices start at – what is it, around 325 bucks? And they go up to 700. So this is a very, very affordable mattress and one that’s just going to last just as long as one of those $10,000 mattresses and probably give you a much better night’s sleep.

    JT: Yeah, that is definitely the case. And when we set out – so when we first started, we made what we called “the hate list,” and we listed everting we hated about shopping for a mattress and everything we hated about a mattress. Drew a line down the center of that page and everything we would do instead. And that’s how we essentially got started. So, our goal from the very beginning was to build the best mattress at the best price, with the best service.

    LESLIE: Now, I think it’s interesting you really value what your customers are saying and truly have created a mattress that speaks to all of the points that they were saying were problematic with mattresses, not just the problems you guys were having. And you’ve even gone so far to develop a new type of foam to meet those needs.

    JT: Yeah, we invented a new kind of foam called – we call it “adaptive foam.” So what we were able to do – this is an innovation at the raw-material level. We’re actually able to figure out how to reduce the weight of the mattress while actually increasing its durability. So, a big difference between adaptive foam and something like memory foam is the way it feels after you’ve slept on it for a few weeks will feel the same in about 10 years. Memory foam, over time, degrades. You’ll get those sagging effects and the feel just changes. And that really is the durability of the material.

    And the way that we develop and improve our products, it’s all customer-driven. We survey every single one of our customers. About 40 percent of them respond to our survey. We take all that feedback and that’s what we use to make improvements in constantly making the mattress better, our customer service better, our delivery methods better.

    And one of the big points that customers wanted was not everybody wants to shop online and not everybody wants to shop on Amazon. They want to see it in person, so we began opening our first stores. So where we started online, we’ve actually now begun moving them to brick-and-mortar.

    TOM: We’re talking to JT Marino. He’s the co-founder of Tuft & Needle, a company that has over a half-million very satisfied customers sleeping on their very well-made mattresses.

    JT, I read a story about you where you had pointed out that one of the sort of tricks of mattress salesmen and mattress companies, even today, is to point to the number of layers in a mattress. Because you think of more layers, the better. But you pointed out that the more layers you have, actually, it may not be better. Because one of the complaints about foam mattresses is cooling. And if you have multiple layers, the mattress really doesn’t vent, so you end up having an overly hot night’s sleep. Is that correct?

    JT: Yeah. How it works is to attach a layer to another layer, you glue it. And so you create this film of glue which is, essentially, an air barrier.

    TOM: Got it.

    JT: And to have a cool night’s sleep, the primary variable that creates a cool night’s sleep is airflow. There’s all these other additives, like gel and other things. But really, the thing that matters the most is air. And if you cut the air off, you make that mattress hot.

    But beyond that, just ask yourself: if you were to put a piece of memory foam at the bottom of the mattress, you think you’re going to get the benefits of memory foam? But at the top of the mattress, that’s essentially what’s happening when you create – I mean I’ve seen mattresses with over 10 layers. But if you’ve got four or five layers, you’re not going to really get the benefits of them. That’s really what they do is they try to add in every single piece or every single type of ingredient in these layers and say it has all the benefits but none of the cons. But it doesn’t work like that.

    TOM: Hey, you need to see this website and try these products. Tuft & Needle. If you go to, you can check out the website. You’ll get free delivery and a 100-night-free sleep trial. And they mean it. It’s 100 nights. If you’re not happy, you send it back. JT and his team arrange for it to be donated to the local Red Cross or another viable charity. But I don’t think you’re going to be sending it back.

    And JT, we are owners of a Tuft & Needle mattress and we got it for our son. And I think one thing that’s interesting about folks that buy these is people become very accustomed to their bad mattress. And they don’t necessarily know they need a good mattress. And his reaction was that he had no idea how much better he could sleep once we got him a better mattress. I think that people just get accustomed to what they have.

    JT: Yeah, that typically happens. And one of the things I hear all the time, not just with customers but even family members and myself, is when you’re sleeping on your Tuft & Needle and then you go to – you know, it’s always a delight to go to a hotel, because they always have a great mattress.

    TOM: Right.

    JT: But it’s sort of reverse now. When you go to a hotel, it’s like, “Oh, man, I don’t have my Tuft & Needle.” We actually see a lot of customers, when they travel and visit family over the holidays, they actually will gift their family members a Tuft & Needle for the guest room so they get to continue sleeping on that mattress (inaudible), yeah.

    LESLIE: It’s a subtle hint.

    TOM: Exactly. Bring your own mattress. That’s great.

    LESLIE: And I have to tell you it’s sort of my favorite spot to read to the kids, because we can all sit comfortably together, next to each other, without one fidgeting and everybody kind of jostling along with it. And I have two boys who are as fidgety as they can be. So when we read, this is a really pleasurable experience for all of us. And it’s comfy and I find my older boy snuggles in with the little one because he likes that mattress best. You really did a great job.

    JT: Awesome. Well, yeah, thank you. We’ve got a good team over here and we just – we’re just hustling to constantly make our improvements and keep growing this company as we develop even more products.

    So, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve got – we still have a long way to go. We catalyzed the disruption of the industry and we – it’s probably going to be a few more years until we unseat some of the bigger companies. But we’re on our way to doing it.

    TOM: JT Marino, thank you so much for taking some time with us. Congratulations on a great company, one that’s really solving a problem. You have completely remade the mattress industry with your innovation.

    And again, go to Take a look at these products and give them a try. He’s not kidding: 100 days, 100 nights. You try this out and you’re not happy, you can send it back. But we bet that you will be. You can also call for more information. That number is 877-355-8774, 877-355-8774. You’ll get free delivery and a 100-night-free sleep trial.

    LESLIE: Alright. And thanks to JT and the team at Tuft & Needle. We’ve launched the Good Night’s Sleep Giveaway on And the grand prize is everything you need to get just that, including a bed choice of any size, plus a mattress protector, a sheet set and two pillows worth up to 1,000 bucks. Plus, we have five runner-up prizes with two pillows each. You can enter today at And be sure to share the sweeps with your friends on social media to earn even more entries.

    Stick around because we’ve got a lot more great home improvement advice to share with you when we come back.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.

    LESLIE: You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

    TOM: No matter what the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a home pro you can trust.

    Give us a call right now. We’re here to help at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: And hey, here’s another great reason to reach out to The Money Pit by phone or by the Community section online. We’ve got up for grabs a $200 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. There you can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank, even wood-look tile. And best part, guys, is you can use your gift card for all of those finishing touches, like molding or grills. Or if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, you can actually use it towards the installation. So, lots of great ways that you can have some new flooring at home.

    And you can redeem that at or at one of the Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide.

    TOM: And that $200 gift card is going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, are you one of the many, many, many people out there who suffer from allergies? There’s actually a very simple step that you can take to help clear the air in your house. That’s changing your HVAC filter. Guys, it’s not that difficult. You just have to remember to do it.

    You know, pretty soon, all that pollen is going to start to float around once again. And everybody’s going to be sneezing and stuffed up and with the itchy eyes and everything. But even in the winter months, you’ve got dust, dust mites and all those contaminants that are circulating through the air in your home and your furnace’s filter. This is really the best place to catch it with a filter.

    TOM: Yeah. And if you do put a filter in, you’ve got to remember to change it. Changing filters is really important. I can’t tell you how many times, in the 20-plus years I spent as a professional home inspector, that I would take a look at those filters and maybe make a comment to the homeowner that, “Hey, you probably should be changing that soon.” And they’re like, “What filter?” I mean folks don’t realize that the filters are there.

    They’re usually in the bottom of the furnace, in the blower compartment, if you have a forced-air system. Or they could be on the return register. If you’ve got the simple fiberglass filters, they’ve got to be changed once a month. If you’ve got some that are a little more thorough, it might go three months. And there are a few that go even longer than that. And the best ones are the electronic air cleaners. They can take out virus-sized particles.

    So, make sure you know where you have your filter. Make sure you change it on a regular basis. There’s even filter-subscription services today. There’s a way to do everything online. It’s amazing. So you sign up for these subscription services, right, and you kind of create an account with your size. “I need a 12×16 filter for this one and I need an 18×24 for that return.” Whatever it is, you sign up and then you say how frequently you want the filters to be sent to you and they just ship them to you. They show up at the door like, “Oh, I guess it’s time to change my filter.” You change it and you’re done.

    So whatever it takes for you to do that, it’s a really important step. It’s going to have you breathing a lot easier. And by the way, it’s also going to cut down on the dust on your house.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: It surrounds the house. So that makes dust …

    LESLIE: Cuts down on your cleaning time.

    TOM: Yeah, definitely cuts down on the cleaning time. So, keep it in mind. You will not be disappointed.

    LESLIE: Up next, we’ve got good advice on a DIY project that will help protect all of your off-season clothes while they’re not in use, when The Money Pit continues.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, your source to find trusted pros for any home project.

    LESLIE: Hey, you’re looking for a trusted source? You’ve got us right here. And online at, in the Community section, post those questions. Maybe this weekend we’re answering yours.

    Justin in Idaho writes: “I rearranged my living room last week. It looks great except for the scuff marks left behind from moving the furniture. How do I remove them from my wood floor without damaging it further?”

    First of all, Justin, get a friend and pick up the furniture.

    TOM: That’s the idea, right?

    LESLIE: Or get those – right. Or get those little pads or slides that go on the bottom of the legs so that you can actually push them across the floor without damaging your floor.

    But if, truly, all you have are scuff marks and they look almost like a black mark that you might get from a shoe, I would say pick up a Magic Eraser, you lightly dampen it, make sure all the water is out. That will do an amazing job of getting scuff marks off of the floor. I think unless you’ve got deep scratches, that should do it.

    TOM: Yeah. And the other thing that you can try is, if they’re a little bit deeper than that, is you can actually use compound – rubbing compound – like you would pick up at an auto-parts store. It has just a little bit of grit in it. And if it’s just something that’s dug into the top surface of the finish, rubbing it very carefully with that compound and then wiping it clean – because it can get a bit slippery – is a good way to kind of get that top surface off. Just keep in mind that if your floor is really shiny, you might lose some of that sheen.

    So just approach it carefully. But those two tricks will help you clean up those scuff marks and make it look like it did before you moved the furniture, we hope.

    LESLIE: And Justin, listen, pizza, that’s an excellent bribe to have your friends come over and help you move the things. Just keep that in mind for next time.

    TOM: Well, getting the off-season clothing out of storage can turn into a big disappointment if you find that those clothes have been ravaged by insects or moths, in particular. Leslie has got a timeless solution that you can build yourself to prevent that, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.


    LESLIE: Yeah, Tom. And this isn’t a new idea here. For centuries, cedar has been used to keep bugs and moths from turning wardrobes into their buffet. Now, cedar doesn’t only repel those pests; it actually helps to resist mildew, as well. And you can add as much or as little cedar as you like to the walls of an existing space. But it’s most effective if you line that space in full. And that includes the ceiling and the back of the door. I think those are two areas that a lot of people forget about.

    So, to start, you want to go with eastern red cedar. That’s the type that gives off the scent that will keep those moths away. You can either nail the tongue-and-groove to the studs, attach it using construction adhesive or do a combination of both. You just want to make sure that you use a stud finder to find and mark those studs. And begin at the back wall. And once that back wall is covered, you can install the cedar on the side walls.

    Once your project is done, I mean first of all, that closet is going to smell amazing. But best of all, the bugs are going to hate it. Now, you’ll find that, over time, the smell will fade. That’s totally normal. All you have to do is maybe once a year, when you’re switching your clothes over, pull everything out, lightly sand that cedar and that will just rejuvenate it and bring back its natural aroma. And then it will continue to keep your belongings safe for years to come.

    If you can’t do an entire space, get all of those little cedar things that you see in spaces and stick it in a drawer and stick it on the shelving units just to give that scent to that small space. But I’m telling you, a cedar closet or a dedicated cedar storage area is going to change your life. You will save money on clothing and you won’t be disappointed season after season.

    TOM: It makes a big difference.

    Coming up next time on The Money Pit, there are many things that are built in factories but houses are not one that come to mind. But we’re going to take a look at today’s factory-built homes. And we’re going to dig into the topic and try to figure out why they’re becoming more and more popular as a way to quickly build a very energy-efficient home. It’s all coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit. But for today, that’s all the time we have.

    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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