Kid Proof Floors & More

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    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 to help you with your home improvement projects. So help yourself first: pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, especially because this weekend marks the very first weekend of the fall home improvement season, which we call the “Goldilocks season.” Why? Because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, right? I mean just right to take on projects inside your house, outside your house. Whatever is going on in your money pit, we’re here to help you get it done. The number again: 888-MONEY-PIT. So give us a call and let’s get to it.

    Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to talk about wood floors. You know, they’re beautiful but they’re not always the best choice in damp locations, like bathrooms and laundry rooms and basements. We’ll have an overview of what will work, coming up.

    LESLIE: And as you plan home improvement projects, would you like to make sure that they’re eco-friendly, also? Well, there’s never been more options out there to help you do just that. So we’re going to tell you how to pick materials that are good for you and the environment.

    TOM: And also ahead, building a new deck or patio to create new space for recreation and relaxation is one of the more popular projects for fall. But how do you know which is best: a deck or a brick-paver patio? We’ll have tips, just ahead. But first, we want to hear from you and take your calls to 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Barbara in Ohio is on the line and is dealing with something that’s on the floor. Is it something we need to get up? What is it?

    BARBARA: Well, I have a brick floor in my kitchen and dining room.

    TOM: That’s unusual.

    BARBARA: Well, I kind of like it. It was a farmhouse and when we moved in, it had, I would say, 10 layers of wax on it. So, I’ve slowly tried to get it off. I’ve used ammonia, let it soak, scrubbed it. I’ve got about half of it done now but everyone is telling me replace it and I don’t really want to because it kind of adds to the structure of the house and that kind of thing.

    But my question is – I’ve got some of it cleared of the wax. I’m using ammonia. I don’t know if there’s another product that I can get to – because it really is a lot of wax. I don’t want to have particles in the seal, so I have to scrub the floor again, get it all clean. How long do I have to leave it dry before I reseal it? Because I don’t want it to have wet bubbles in it. I just don’t know what I’m doing, I guess.

    TOM: Well, we feel your pain. You probably should be using a wax-removing product or a wax-stripping product, as opposed to the bleach and the ammonia, which just sounds like an awful mess. And that’s going to do what it can do.

    And there’s actually a good article online about brick floors and how to pull the wax off of them. But brick is very, very porous.

    BARBARA: Right.

    TOM: And because it’s very porous, when you do wash it, if you let it dry for a few days I don’t think you’re going to have any issues with it forcing a new finish to kind of release.

    BARBARA: Well, see, the whole thing is I have to move everything out of my kitchen and dining room. So I was – I didn’t know if I had to wait a day, two days. So you’re suggesting three days then.

    TOM: Yeah, I would definitely wait a couple of days. You can still use the floor while that time is going on. You don’t have to move it all out. But I would definitely wait two or three days before I put my next layer of finish on it.

    BARBARA: What do you recommend as a finish?

    TOM: I probably would try to keep it as natural as possible. If you use a solvent-based wax, that is another option. Because if you did that, you wouldn’t have to strip the floor. The solvent-based polish can actually be applied over an old wax, because it’ll sort of give it good adhesion; it’ll stick to it. So, you’re probably going to end up with a new wax finish. So, if that’s the case, you may not need to move as much of that old as you thought you did, if the new wax is solvent-based.

    BARBARA: It looks like it’s black.

    TOM: I bet.

    BARBARA: They put this on and never cleaned it.

    TOM: No matter what you do, this floor is going to be a lot of work, OK?


    LESLIE: Oh, truly.

    TOM: Because it’s a brick floor, it’s just going to use a lot of work.

    LESLIE: And if you don’t get the old wax off, the new one you put on is going to lock in that color.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. That’s another good point.

    BARBARA: Yeah, I think I need to take it off. I’ve got about half of it done. I just thought – when I was listening to your show, I thought, “Well, maybe they might have a better idea.” Because you’re right: it is a lot of work.

    TOM: Nothing that hard work won’t fix.

    BARBARA: Thank you so much.

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

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

    MARK: Well, a question I have is I spilled some cooking oil on a Trex deck.

    TOM: OK.

    MARK: In other words, the deck has Trex on it.

    TOM: Right.

    MARK: And I spilled this oil on it. And I’m just wondering if there’s any way to get the oil out of it or what can I do about it?

    TOM: Well, the first question is: how did dinner come out?

    MARK: Oh, dinner. Dinner was fine.

    TOM: Right. Well, listen, the issue with composite decking, some of it, including Trex, can be absorbent. So it soaks in.

    MARK: Right.

    TOM: Now, I – was this decking ever stained or sealed? Because sometimes, you can do that to composite, as well. Or is it the original?

    MARK: No, I did not.

    TOM: OK. So, you’ve got two options. First of all, to try to get as much of that oil out as you can, what I would do is I would mix up a trisodium-phosphate paste. You get some TSP – trisodium phosphate. You’ll find it in a paint aisle of hardware stores and home centers. It’s a really good cleanser.

    So, you can mix it up and you could apply it to that area, let it sit a little bit, scrub it a bit and then rinse it off and see if that starts to draw it out.

    MARK: OK.

    TOM: Now, if not, it’s kind of there and appears to be permanent.

    The other thing that you could do is you could remove that deck board and potentially turn it upside down and have a clean side on the other side of it. We suggest that often when folks have issues with deck boards that are cracked and they’re wood. But you could do it with composite. Depends, of course, on how that composite was put down. If it was put down with screws, super easy to remove it, flip it and put it back down again and you’ll have a clean side on the back, especially if it’s Trex. Because any Trex has two good sides.

    MARK: Right.

    TOM: Some composite boards, they have an underside that’s not designed to be to the weather. But with a Trex board, you should be able to do that.

    MARK: OK. The other solution I had was just pour oil all over it.

    TOM: You could do that, too. That’s one way to do it.

    LESLIE: Just be making a lot of fried potatoes.

    MARK: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Just (inaudible).

    TOM: And that deck would get awfully slippery, as well. Well, I’m glad you’re looking at it with some good humor. Thanks so much for giving us a call. We’re glad we were able to help you out.

    MARK: Thank you very much.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at Give us a call, let us know what you are planning to work on this autumn weekend as we launch into the fall home improvement season. We’re here, standing by, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews, compare prices and book appointments all online.

    TOM: And just ahead, wood floors are beautiful but they’re not always the best choice in damp locations, like bathrooms, laundry rooms or basements.

    LESLIE: Well, we’ll have an overview of what will work, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, next.

    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: And what are you working on this first weekend of the fall season? Whether it’s inside or outside, we’re here to help you get those projects done. Post your question online to The Money Pit’s Community page at or call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Karen is on the line and she’s got a question about some unwanted visitors to her money pit. What can we help you with?

    KAREN: Well, I thought in the past you mentioned something about some kind of a bug zapper that worked outside. And the issue – there are flies, not like the kind of one – they use light to get mosquitoes. This is for daytime.

    LESLIE: Well, the light works in the daytime, as well.

    TOM: Yeah, I think what you’re talking about is a product that – called DynaTrap – D-y-n-a-T-r-a-p. And the way it works is you kind of plug it in all season long. And there’s a UV light that reacts with a plate of metal. And I’m not sure what the material is but basically, when it combines together, it gives off carbon dioxide, so it mimics human breath. And then the insects are drawn to that and there’s a fan that basically pulls them through the unit and deposits them into a basket below where they kind of dry out.

    So, that’s the product that you were referring to. Does it work on flies? I think so but not as well as it works on mosquitoes, I’ll tell you that.

    LESLIE: And boy, does it work on mosquitoes.

    TOM: It really works on mosquitoes well.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s amazing.

    KAREN: Yeah. And I know those light ones that do, too. But the issue out in California is actually more flies than mosquitoes, because we don’t have the moisture.

    TOM: They’ve got some good science behind it, so I certainly would give it a shot.

    KAREN: OK. And so you said that was called DynaTrap?

    TOM: Yep. D-y-n-a-T-r-a-p. DynaTrap.

    KAREN: And do you know where it’s sold?

    TOM: Oh, it’s sold everywhere. You can find it on Amazon, you can find it in home centers and hardware stores. Or look at their website which is, I believe,

    KAREN: Oh, OK. And how big of an area does it kind of take care of?

    TOM: It depends on the size that you buy. I actually – two units. I have a 1-acre unit that’s in the back of my house, kind of around our dining area/patio. And I actually have a smaller one, that I think is rated at a ½-acre, on my front porch which is the other side of the house. Because we like to sit out there at night. And I tell you what, it’s really created a mosquito-free zone around the entire home.

    LESLIE: It’s amazing how well they do work. You just have to remember to clean it.

    KAREN: OK. Thank you so much.

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

    Well, if you just love the look of wood floors and you’d like to have them in areas that can be prone to a lot or even a tiny, little bit of water, hardwood is probably not the best choice. We’ve got better options, in today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators.

    LESLIE: So, guys, you know if solid hardwood gets wet, it can swell and then it can buckle. And once that happens, there’s really no going back from that. But there’s a new waterproof flooring option on the market that can deliver the look of real hardwood without the risk of water damage. And it’s called “engineered vinyl plank.” Now, you might see it also listed as EVP.

    The nice thing about EVP is that it’s waterproof, so it can stay wet for an extended period of time. So wet-mopping, bathroom splashes, pet accidents, none of that is going to damage the floor.

    TOM: And don’t be confused by the name. It’s not your mom’s vinyl, guys. EVP combines the comfort and waterproof features of that old-fashioned, standard vinyl but it adds the quick and easy installation of laminate flooring. And the EVP comes in a lot of trendy designs that capture the authentic grain and the color and even the texture of real hardwood. It really looks like the hardwoods that kind of inspire its design.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know the best part? Because of its truly waterproof construction, you can bring that beauty and warmth of hardwood to every room in your home, even full bathrooms, kitchens, your laundry room, even the basement. It creates a rigid plank, so EVP is going to install easily and it’s not going to show ripples that are caused by imperfections that you might have in the subfloor. You know, everybody’s got them and you want to make sure that when you put floor down that it lays really nicely. And EVP will do just that.

    And I really love that it’s extremely durable, which is great for busy homes. It’s not going to show dents from heavy furniture or, say, your children maybe dropping things or wrestling on it. It’s truly a fantastic flooring surface.

    TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Tip presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you’ll find the new CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank Flooring. CoreLuxe EVP is ideal for any room in your home, including bathrooms, kitchens and mud rooms. It’s easy to install and a great option for upgrading your floors with a truly durable and waterproof option.

    You’ll find CoreLuxe Engineered Vinyl Plank at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at

    LESLIE: Tom in Ohio is on the line and has a question about a basement. What’s going on at your money pit?

    TOM IN OHIO: I have a basement with some cracking issues. The house was built in 2000 and the floor is cracking in numerous places. They’re not wide cracks. Some of them, they’re – none of them are greater than a quarter. They’re usually about an eighth. And I’ve also got a poured basement wall and I’ve got a couple of seams that when it rains really hard, I’ve got a little bit of water seepage. Nothing puddling on the floor, per se, but just on two spots in the whole entire basement.

    And I’m just wondering if that’s – these new epoxies where you can inject it into these walls for the leaks, if those things are something that would work for my situation. And as far as the cracks in the basement, I don’t think they’re structural but it’s settling, I think. But anyway, I’m just wondering if you guys have any kind of suggestions on that.

    TOM: Absolutely. We can fix both of those issues for you.

    So, first of all, let’s talk about the basement floor. The basement floor, you mentioned it may be settlement. It might just be a poor installation if it wasn’t reinforced, if the concrete wasn’t mixed right. There’s all sorts of reasons it could get cracking. But the floor itself is not structural, so that’s really just to be a separator between you and the soil below. So, for those cracks, you certainly could seal them with an epoxy crack sealant that you can find in any home center. QUIKRETE makes a bunch of products for that that will work well.

    In terms of the basement leakage, the leakage through the wall, the fact that this is happening when you have a bad rainstorm is indicative of the cause. The cause of this is a drainage situation right outside those walls. So, it’s going to be one of two things or it could be both of these things, one of which is if your gutters are overflowing, if they’re insufficient and not handling – you don’t have enough leaders to handle the runoff or if the leaders, the spouts are not discharging far enough away from the wall.

    Anything that collects water or keeps water close to the foundation allows it to build up in that first 4- to 6-foot area between the house and the yard. That’s going to lead to a leak in your walls. It could even push down around the walls and show up coming up through the floors. It is not caused by a water table; it’s simply a drainage issue caused by this heavy rain.

    So, to that, you want to look at those areas. Look for the gutters that are overflowing, look for the downspouts that are not extended. You want them to be at least 4 to 6 feet out from the house. And those two things will solve that. Gutters and grading, leading cause of almost all wet-basement problems. A lot of folks blame rising water tables and things like this and look towards expensive solutions like sump pumps. Virtually never needed. You just need to fix the gutters and the grading.

    And then if you want to seal the cracks as a last step, that’s fine. But remember, Tom, it’s the last step; it’s not the first step. You can’t seal every crack in the wall and expect to hold back the tide. You’ve got to stop the water from getting there by fixing up the drainage first, OK? Does that make sense?

    TOM IN OHIO: Yeah, that makes sense. Thank you. I appreciate it.

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

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

    WENDY: I bought a large commercial building in a historic downtown of Atlantic, Iowa.

    TOM: Oh, it sounds nice.

    WENDY: And it had a roof leak and we have repaired that; we’ve put a new roof on. But there was a lot of damage to the second-story ceiling, which was lath and plaster.

    TOM: OK.

    WENDY: And we want to put a loft – a residential loft – up on the upstairs. We have about 1,500 square foot of lath and plaster that needs to come down. So my question is: is there something that’s available as an aid to funnel all of that dirt and lath and plaster down off of the ceiling and out to a dumpster?

    TOM: Yeah. Let me give you some suggestions, having been through this very repair in my home which was all lath and plaster. I went about remodeling rooms in different stages. The first time, I decided I would take all the lath and plaster out and drywalled right on top of the original studs. And after going through that mess, I decided it wasn’t as important as I’d once thought to take the lath and plaster out.

    And the next time I did it, I simply put a second layer of drywall over the old lath and plaster and screwed through that drywall up into the ceiling joists and the wall studs to support it. And that was a much neater, much easier way to get a nice, clean, new ceiling without all of the mess and the dust and the dirt and the debris.

    So is the lath and plaster somewhat intact or is it all loose and falling off? What’s the status of it right now?

    WENDY: In some places, where there was a water leak, the plaster wants to fall off. And then in some places, it’s not so bad.

    TOM: Well, if you were to put 4×8 sheets of drywall over that and screw the drywall in, it’ll probably support any loose lath or plaster that’s there. And again, you won’t have this big mess of having to tear it all down, which is an awfully big project. Because it’s very heavy, you’ll be shoveling it off the floor, putting it in trash cans, carrying those cans down. And you can’t even fill up the cans because it’s too heavy to lift them.

    So it’s a big, stinking mess and if you could apply some drywall to the ceiling as it is now and attach through that drywall into the ceiling joists, it should support the old lath and plaster and give you a nice, clean surface to start with.

    WENDY: OK. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome, Wendy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, as you’re planning your upcoming home improvement projects, are you thinking about making sure they’re more eco-friendly? Well, there’s never been more options on the market to help you do just that. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is joining us next with tips on how you can choose eco-friendly materials.

    TOM: And today’s edition of This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you by ADT. Introducing ADT Go, the new family mobile safety app and service. Go to to learn more today.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, on this first weekend of fall. We’d love to hear about what you’re working on in your money pit. And that is the number – 888-MONEY-PIT – which is presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to

    LESLIE: Alright. Just ahead, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House will be by with some great options for green flooring choices.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Get the latest fall trends in hardwood, bamboo, laminate and waterproof floors for less.

    But first, let’s get back to your calls, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ron in California is on the line and needs some help with a fence. Tell us about it. Hate your neighbors or just want some more privacy?

    RON: Not exactly. I don’t hate my neighbors. I have a big property in (inaudible). We’re living in a 10-acre parcel up in – close to Yosemite National Park.

    TOM: Oh, beautiful.

    LESLIE: OK. Oh, wow.

    RON: Right now, there’s a wire fence that is surrounding the back of the property. So we have also a terrain that – it’s kind of hard, if we’re going to put back the same kind of wire fence. So, I’m looking for a design of fence that I could be able to use to set it up as a regular fence, to protect from wild animals.

    TOM: Wild animals? So, you say it’s a wire fence. Is it like a thin wire fence, like not a real sturdy one?

    RON: Yes. They’re a thin wire fence, yes.

    TOM: Hmm. Alright. Well, I mean look, you’ve got some options. You can use a solid fence, like a wood fence, or you could use a chain-link fence. Or you could use a metal fence.

    Now, when you say wildlife, how big are we talking about?

    LESLIE: Bears, I bet.

    TOM: You’re going to need a pretty strong fence. So I think your only option is going to be chain link and it’s going to have to be a pretty high chain-link fence. And it’s going to have to be professionally installed. So that’s a really big project.

    RON: Alright. Great. Thank you very much (inaudible).

    TOM: Alright. So I wish we had better luck for you but you want a fence that can keep those bears out, you know. They can be 1,000 pounds. You’re going to need something pretty sturdy.

    RON: Yes. And I really don’t want them to come over.

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t blame you.

    LESLIE: No, I don’t blame you.

    TOM: I wouldn’t want them, either.

    RON: Alright.

    TOM: Yeah, well, I guess that’s what you get for living so close to nature. But you’ve got a beautiful backyard nonetheless.

    So, Ron, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that project.

    RON: Thank you very much for your time.

    LESLIE: Well, are you in the market for a new floor? If you are, are you worried about choosing flooring that’s eco-friendly? Well, we’ve got some good news for you. There have never been more options for flooring materials that are also good for the planet.

    TOM: That’s right. And while no flooring product has zero impact, some materials are definitely better than others. Kevin O’Connor is the host of TV’s This Old House and he joins us now with some green options for your floors.

    Welcome, Kevin.

    KEVIN: Hi, guys.

    TOM: So what makes a flooring product very green? It’s not just a color we’re talking about here.

    KEVIN: Not just a color.

    Well, several things, I think, will classify it as green. Is it sustainable or is it renewable? Or does it have any toxic chemicals involved in the manufacturing process? These are all things to think about when you’re looking for a green floor.

    TOM: Let’s talk about the first point: being renewable. It means something like bamboo is incredibly renewable; grows fast and also makes a super-tough floor.

    KEVIN: Yeah, it’s funny. You see bamboo all over the place right now. A lot of people are scratching their heads. Why is that? Well, it does. It grows super-fast so that means that when you harvest it, it actually comes back very quickly. So the yield is very high in terms of how much material you can get out of an acre of land. It’s oftentimes harder than oak, it’s a good look and so it definitely goes into the renewable category.

    LESLIE: And I think previously with bamboo flooring, it had a very modern, stark look to it. You definitely saw the ends and the nodes of the bamboo themselves. Now, bamboo flooring really just looks like a beautiful hardwood, so there’s a lot of great options out there.

    KEVIN: I think we’re getting used to it. There are different ways to cut it. But mostly, it’s just because we’re accepting it more and we like looking at it. It’s a sharp look.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And another one that’s a really nice, renewable source is cork. And cork floors, super-durable, great for moist conditions and really looks fantastic.

    KEVIN: It feels pretty good underneath your feet, too, right, or if the kids are rolling around?

    LESLIE: It does.

    KEVIN: Cork, it comes from a tree and they actually cut it off around the tree. They don’t kill the tree, so it grows back. So that is a sustainable material, as well, and it’s a very distinctive look.

    TOM: It is. And in fact, this past summer, we were on vacation and got a chance to look at one of the most outstanding examples of American architecture: the Fallingwater House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Back in the early 1900s, he was using cork on the floors and cork on the walls of the bathroom.

    KEVIN: He was a visionary, wasn’t he?

    TOM: He certainly was. And you know what? The original cork is still in good shape today; it’s amazing.

    LESLIE: Now, Kevin, here’s one that’s surprising: linoleum. I wouldn’t necessarily think of that as a green flooring choice, nor something that’s modern.

    KEVIN: Well, I mean it’s been around for a long time. They make it the same way they’ve been making it for the last century. But it’s all made from natural materials. So, we’re talking about linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone. And they’re all pressed onto a jute backing, so the materials are natural.

    But just because it’s been around for a long time doesn’t mean you can’t get a real sharp, modern look out of linoleum. There are tons of styles, tons of colors out there. And it fits into that green category.

    TOM: Good point. Now, recycled flooring is also very popular. Rubber flooring, for example, made from old tires and that sort of thing?

    KEVIN: Yeah. Made from old tires, rubber. Here’s my favorite recycled flooring: wood.

    TOM: There you go.

    KEVIN: Think about this. We did this on a project a couple years ago. We took the beams out of an old mill building. They were shipping off for disposal. We stopped them and we had them actually milled into flooring. And so, the wood has already been cut down; it was being used as beams for hundreds of years and now we’re using it for flooring. So we can reclaim a lot of these materials and put them down on our floors.

    TOM: And what’s nice about choosing a green floor, there really are very few trade-offs. They’re all durable floors. Most of them are reasonably green. But what about carpeting when it comes to that? Are there green choices in carpeting, as well?

    KEVIN: Well, generally, you want to look for natural fibers in your carpet, because that’s going to be a little bit more green. Things like wool or jute.

    But carpets used to have a really bad name – the synthetic ones – because they were made with lots of resins and glues. And they’ve cleaned up their act considerably. So just because it’s not natural fibers doesn’t mean you just can’t get one with recycled synthetic fibers and also ones that don’t have any toxins or off-gas.

    TOM: Great topic. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: Thank you for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and step-by-step videos on flooring and even articles on projects that you can tackle, visit

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm.

    Just ahead, building a new deck or patio to create some new space for recreation and relaxation is one of the more popular projects of fall. But how do you know which is best: a wood deck or a brick-paver patio? We’ll have tips to help you sort that out, in today’s Building with Confidence Tip presented by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    We’d love to help you get started on your next home improvement project. So post your home improvement question to The Money Pit’s Community page or call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. They really do have the best local pros for any home service.

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

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

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

    ANNA: Well, I hope you can without involving me in too much work. I have …

    TOM: A tall order but we’re up for the challenge.

    ANNA: I have two long slats from a bunk-bed set. Now, to use it as a bunk bed, you can’t get rid of these and I was thinking about throwing them out. And then when I looked at them, I thought, “Down the road, if somebody else would ever want these and use them as a bunk bed, I can’t throw them out.”

    TOM: OK.

    ANNA: But they’ve been outside and they’ve been kind of sheltered. But they’ve been outside for a couple years and they’re rusted; they’re metal. And so, I wondered how I could clean the metal off, (inaudible) the rust off them so that – and treat them however – so that they could be used again.

    TOM: Right. So, very simple. What you’re going to want to do is either wire-brush and/or sand the metal to get rid of all of that rust. Then wipe it down so it’s nice and clean and dry and then you’re going to paint it with a rust-proofing primer, like Rust-Oleum. If it’s fairly flat, you can brush it on. If it’s got any kind of detail to it, you can buy it in a spray can and just spray it on.

    It takes a couple of hours to dry the Rust-Oleum product but it’s worth it because it really does seal it in and protect it. Then after it dries, you can put a topcoat on of the same color that the slat was before, just so it doesn’t look like – it doesn’t have that primer color to it.

    ANNA: OK. So I can get it in a color as a shade.

    TOM: Oh, sure. Yeah, any color you want. But the rust-proofing primer is kind of like a rust color. And so after that dries, then you can paint whatever you want.

    ANNA: Thank you for the advice and I like your show an awful lot.

    TOM: Thanks very much, Anne Marie. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, if you’d like to build your own wood deck or brick paver patio this fall, all it takes is an evaluation of the space you have, the selection of the right materials and some basic construction knowledge. But how do you know which is best to build: a wood deck or a paver-brick patio?

    LESLIE: Well, that’s going to depend on a couple of things but primarily, the height above grade that you want to have this surface. If you plan to have your outdoor surface be more than a foot higher than grade, a deck is best. Otherwise, it makes sense to go with a patio.

    TOM: Now, if you are going to go with a patio, a paver-brick patio is probably the most popular kind. And paver bricks can include natural stone or cement pavers. And they’re installed in sand.

    Now, the natural stone is the biggest challenge to work with because it’s kind of like assembling a giant outdoor jigsaw puzzle. You know, they’re pretty much maintenance-free when they’re done but the most common paver-patio mistake also comes from not properly prepping the base. And when that happens, the bricks are going to loosen and weeds will grow through and just look terrible.

    LESLIE: Now, your other option is having a wood deck built. But the price of building them can vary greatly just because there are so many materials available to choose from.

    Now, wood decks are the least expensive but can be troublesome to maintain. So, if your budget is healthy and your tolerance for maintenance is low, you might want to consider a composite-decking material. But whatever that decking surface and railing material you choose, pressure-treated lumber is generally that standard for construction of the floor framing and the support structure of the deck. So you’re still going to use that there.

    TOM: Now, regardless of whether you do choose a deck or a patio, don’t forget the permits. It’s really important. If you’re planning to sell your home, your local zoning or code-enforcement inspector might be contacted for an inspection. And you want to make sure that you’ve done everything properly, because it’ll come up and probably at the last minute when you’re trying to close. So, get a permit and get it done right.

    LESLIE: And that’s today’s Building with Confidence Tip brought to you by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. It’s completely online, reduces annoying and time-consuming paperwork and gives you a real, accurate and personalized mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation, with no hidden fees or hassles.

    TOM: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Apply simply, understand fully and mortgage confidently.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rhonda in Washington who needs some help with window cleaning. Tell us what you’re working on.

    RHONDA: Hi. Well, you know what? We bought new windows and then my husband turned the sprinkler on and now we’ve got water-deposit stains all over these new windows. And it’s on the west side of my house and it’s just baked on. And I cannot find any way to get that cleaned off and I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

    LESLIE: There’s actually a super-easy trick of the trade. Have you tried white vinegar?

    RHONDA: Oh, you know what? I soaked paper towels in white vinegar and just soaked it on there and it didn’t seem to do anything to it.

    TOM: Rhonda, have you tried LIME-A-WAY?

    RHONDA: Uh-uh.

    TOM: LIME-A-WAY is a cleaner that’s designed to dissolve mineral deposits. What you have are mineral salts. And it’s kind of like CLR. It’s made by Reckitt Benckiser. They’re a big cleaning manufacturing company. And it works very well on vinyl siding and other vinyl surfaces and I’m sure it will work well to take those deposits. It’ll take lime off; it’ll also take rust stains off.

    RHONDA: Soak it in a paper towel and stuff and then just put it on there like that and let it just sit?

    TOM: No, it’s a concentrate. You just mix it.

    RHONDA: Alright. Well, cool. Thank you so much. I love your show.

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

    Coming up, we’re going to help out one of our community posters who’s dealing with a problem with wallpaper. You guys know I love wallpaper. So, hopefully, we can give Frank in New Jersey some help with some seams that just won’t stick. So stick around.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now – I mean right now – with your home improvement project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor.

    Hey, do you need some new flooring in your kitchen or bath or maybe you need some help to get that deck done that you’ve been dreaming of? HomeAdvisor can instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.

    LESLIE: Alright. And these two pros are standing by to help out the folks posting questions in our Community section. And I’ve got one here from Frank in New Jersey. And these are his words and I’m going to say them. He says, “Great show!”

    TOM: Sure. I bet. You make that stuff up. Come on.

    LESLIE: I swear. It’s on my printout. I’m telling you.

    I wouldn’t just say it, even though I totally agree, Frank. Thank you so very much.

    Alright. So Frank writes: “I have paper wallpaper with some texture to it on my walls and the seams are separating. I attempted to remove the paper but the facing on the sheetrock started coming off, as well. I’ve tried every glue and seam-repair product. I can’t find anything to fix the seams and I can’t remove the paper without damaging the walls. Can you help?”

    You know, Frank, it does happen. Eventually, over time, wallpaper paste will just sort of give way. The seams, obviously, are the most vulnerable part. Now, in my home, I have two boys who seem to think a starting peel on a seam is invitation to start ripping the wallpaper off the wall, because boys.

    But anyway, I’ve also tried every product. And sometimes, depending on the amount of curl that’s sort of lifting up at that seam, it’s difficult to get those adhesives to work, because you really don’t have a lot of surface area. You’re just applying a little bit, then you kind of have to hold it down and almost re-squeegee it. So, depending on the situation, sometimes I will use those seam-repair products.

    If not, even like a new batch of wallpaper paste. I’ll just buy a little bucket of it because it lasts. I will put that on but then I will also use a paper tape, like a painter’s masking tape, that’s not going to stick to the surface once it’s dry. And I will put that on there. Obviously, extend it further than the seam-repair area that you’re working on, because that will hold everything down while that paste is setting up. And hopefully, that will do the trick for you. I don’t know if you’ve tried that step but it’s definitely worth it to give it a go.

    TOM: Good advice. Let’s hear now from Jim who writes: “There are several loose ceramic tiles on the floor of our church, in our church foyer. We’ve got no spare tiles. I don’t think I can buy any that are going to match. Is there a way to secure loose tiles without taking them up? Or can I take them up and reset them successfully?”

    So, yes and yes. So, first of all, to the question of no more extra tiles, if this happens to you, generally, what you want to do is find complementary colors. And sometimes, even if it’s a wall or a floor, like a bathroom, and you can’t find that special tile, what I’ve often suggested is taking the tiles off of, say, one row – like, say, the row against the tub ledge – and then put in a complementary color there. This frees up some extras for spares to use somewhere else, so you can kind of end up with a two-tone sort of look. So you could sort of move ceramic tiles around.

    Now, to loosen them up, what you’re going to have to do is grind out the grout joint. You say they’re loose now, so they’re probably not adhering very well. So you want to grind out those grout joints. And if you could do this and lift the tile and keep it in one place, there’s certainly no reason you can’t re-adhere that back down to the floor, put some weight on it, let it dry really well and then replace the grout. I’m sure you’re going to have some different tones of that grout but eventually, they’ll all fade in together and it will be nice and secure. And it’s probably the easiest way to reset them successfully, Jim.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this very first weekend of fall. What are you working on? We would love to help you with those home improvement projects but we are just about out of time on today’s program. So here’s what we want you to do: head on over to the Community page at and post your question right there, because we will dive into those questions just as soon as we get off the air.

    Thanks so much for listening. 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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