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Tips on Cooling Your Home without the Air Conditioner, Ways to Make Bathtub Cleaning Easier, Decorating a Dorm Room, and more

  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here to help you take care of your house. So, let’s take a look right now. Look around, move your head to the right, move your head to the left. Well, not if you’re driving. But we know there’s something that you see that you don’t like, a project that you want to take on. Maybe you don’t know how to get started. The way you get started is this: pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s talk you through it. We’ll help you get it done once, get it done right so you won’t have to do it again.

    We have got a very nice show planned for you this hour. We’re going to talk about, first up, ways to stay cool, this hour, without paying hefty air-conditioning bills. We’re going to give you some ideas on how to keep the sun’s hot rays from getting through your windows, by going through the latest advances in window films.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead this hour, you know, it seems like one of the most universally disliked household chores is cleaning your bathtub or shower. You’ve got to get in there, and I mean you’ve really got to get in there, to do the job. There’s always mold, there’s mildew. It’s kind of a mess.

    Well, we’re going to tell you a way that you can actually make that chore much easier.

    TOM: And also ahead, it’s time to start thinking about back to school. So this hour, we’re going to talk about room décor …

    LESLIE: Oh, I already bought Henry a backpack. I’m ready.

    TOM: Is that right?

    And we’re going to give you some tips to help make those small spaces work for your college-bound teen and deliver big on storage and style at the same time.

    LESLIE: And how would you like to see the very best home transformations from This Old House? Well, one lucky caller is going to get host Kevin O’Connor’s book, which showcases the coolest makeovers from the past 10 years. But what’s even cooler, you guys, is that it’s autographed by the entire cast. I’m jealous. This is a great prize.

    TOM: Definitely a collector’s item. If you’d like to win it, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Scott in West Virginia is on the line with a kitchen faucet that’s leaking. Tell us what’s going on.

    SCOTT: Well, I’ve got a little problem in my kitchen. My wife is driving me crazy about it and it’s driving me crazy, also.


    TOM: Alright. What’s going on?

    SCOTT: Most of the time, you have a drippy faucet in your kitchen or something like that. My problem is is that it’s leaking around the handles: the hot and cold. And I’ve never had that to happen before and I’m like, “OK. Do I have to replace the whole thing or is there a kit that I can buy that – to stop this mess?”

    TOM: Do you know what manufacturer – the faucet you have?

    SCOTT: I knew you were going to ask me that and I thought about looking and I just didn’t. And I believe it’s Delta but I’m not sure about that.

    TOM: See, here’s the thing. If you can identify the manufacturer, you can get a rebuild kit with new washers and so on for those faucets. But if you can’t figure it out, do not ever use a generic. Because if you use a generic, even though it looks perfectly, it doesn’t fit.

    Now, that said, if it’s an older faucet and you replace it now, the new faucets are going to have ceramic discs – ceramic disc valves – which the older they are, the tighter they get. So they really never leak. So the technology has gotten so much better now with the way faucets are made that you might want to consider just replacing it, rather than trying to take it apart and put it back together and maybe they’ll still leak.

    SCOTT: Right. It’s probably, I’d say, 10 or 12 years old, so …

    TOM: Yeah. Might be due for a new one.

    Hey, listen, we saw one not too long ago that actually is a touch – motion-activated that – Moen makes it. It’s called – I think it’s called MotionSense. And you wave your hand over the top of this thing and it comes on or you bring a dish sort of up to it and automatically it comes on. Or it has a regular …

    LESLIE: It’s like, “Look, I’m washing your dish.”

    TOM: Or like a regular faucet. Right. It’s like how many times do you walk up to the faucet to fill your cup – coffee cup – up or to rinse it out, I mean? Just by walking up to it, it comes on.

    SCOTT: Right.

    LESLIE: Or with your hands from chicken breasts, you know? It’s like you don’t want to touch the faucet.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SCOTT: Sure.

    TOM: Yeah. Yeah, that was pretty cool. So I think it’s called MotionSense. It’s by Moen.

    SCOTT: OK. That sounds worth looking into.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck, Scott.

    SCOTT: OK. Thanks, you guys, for the info.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. And make your wife happy and replace it, will you?

    SCOTT: OK.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lou in North Carolina who’s got a really interesting situation. Maybe once but Lou’s house has been struck by lightning twice this year.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: What is going on? It is just shocking to meet you.

    TOM: Lou, did you go buy a lottery ticket after this happened, because you had such incredible luck?

    LOU: No but that’s a good idea. I don’t know. I think my luck might be in the opposite direction.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s true.

    LESLIE: Oh, no, no. You’re pretty lucky you still have a house that you’re living.

    TOM: That’s right.

    LOU: That’s true. Very true.

    TOM: So you got hit twice. That’s terrible. Did you have a lot of damage, Lou?

    LOU: No. Actually, we were very fortunate. Just some electrical appliances that got fried but nothing that was terribly expensive.

    TOM: OK. So you may be a good candidate for a lightning-arrestor system.

    LOU: OK.

    TOM: And you know what?

    LOU: I’ve heard of lightning rods. When I was a kid, all the houses had those.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s part of it. Yeah, that’s part of it.

    LOU: OK.

    TOM: Here’s how they work. They’re just that: they’re metal rods. They look like the grounding rods and they can stick up off the roof of your house. Usually, you put two or three of them across the peak and they’re connected to a very heavy grounding wire.

    And that grounding wire is brought from the roof down to soil and attached to a grounding rod. But where it’s brought through, it’s brought in a way where it’s not going to interfere with any electrical wiring or appliances that are in the wall near where the wire goes down. Because as you probably noticed, wherever the electrical line strikes, that energy gets sort of absorbed into whatever wiring is nearby and it causes the spike that damages a lot of electronics. So it kind of …

    LESLIE: Even washers and dryers.

    TOM: Yeah. So it kind of anticipates the strike, grabs the current, runs it from the rod, through the wire to a ground which is actually in the ground. And it does so by keeping that wire away from anything else in the house that it can cause trouble. So even away from your plumbing system, because if you have that ground wire go down the house and you’ve got a plumbing pipe right inside the wall – on the other side of the vinyl siding, for example – it will jump across and can electrify the plumbing system.

    LESLIE: That’s crazy.

    TOM: So, that’s something you might want to consider. And I will tell you that those lightning-arresting systems, some of them are very beautiful. There’s a lot of very ornate designs with glass bulbs and things like that and they can look pretty cool. So, that might be a good option for you, Lou.

    LOU: OK.

    LESLIE: Lou, were you home?

    LOU: We were at home, yes. It was in the middle of the night. The first strike woke us up; the second one almost gave us a heart attack.

    LESLIE: Wait, so it was the same storm?

    TOM: OK.

    LOU: Oh. Well, actually, the first – this was – no, this was two different storms. The first time was before we lived in the house; it was when it was in construction.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    LOU: And then the second time, we were home, yes. But the house is less than a year old, so I was thinking this is not normal.

    TOM: Well, they always say that lightning can’t strike twice in the same place, except Lou’s house, apparently.

    LOU: Exactly. They were wrong.

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

    LOU: Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, cleaning a bathtub or shower can be quite a workout but letting it go can mean a nasty mold or mildew buildup. We’re going to tell you about a way to make cleaning a non-issue, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number to call is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. One caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to take home a look at the very best home transformations from the past decade at This Old House. Because it’s – host Kevin O’Connor has a new book called The Best Homes from This Old House. We’ve got a copy to give away and it’s also signed by not only Kevin but the entire cast of This Old House. Definitely a collector’s item. If you’d like to win it, pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Ray in Arizona needs some help with getting his pool ready for the winter season. What can we do for you?

    RAY: We have a six-year-old pool. It’s a play pool, so it’s about 12,000 gallons.

    TOM: OK.

    RAY: It’s Pebble Tec; it’s not smooth plaster.

    TOM: So it’s above ground or is it inground?

    RAY: It’s inground. It’s built into the landscape, so it’s got an infinity edge and a separate spa but it’s combined.

    TOM: OK.

    RAY: So, we have some major repairs that we need to do and we thought we would decommission it for the off-season and then shop for the parts while it’s – we’re getting the best prices and then bring it back online next season.

    TOM: Right. Well, that makes sense. So are you talking about major mechanical repairs, like replacing pumps and that sort of thing?

    RAY: We had a chlorinator that was making the chlorine out of salt and that went out. And we have three pumps. We’re probably going to replace all of the pumps and the sand filter.

    TOM: Well, there’s not much left to winterize if you’re going to replace all the mechanical systems.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: You got all the water out. Obviously, it’s a good time to check the structural condition of the pool and make any improvements that are deemed necessary there, to restore any cracks or any other deterioration of the structural surface: the liner and that sort of thing. But what, specifically, can we help you with?

    RAY: We’re just wondering what we should do – could do – to protect the surface of the pool. Should we cover it with tarps? Is there a coating we should put on it? What steps might we take to just – to best preserve the Pebble Tec?

    TOM: So you don’t have a cover for this inground pool, then, do you?

    RAY: No. It’s a play pool, so it’s an irregular configuration that is, like I said, built into the landscape.

    TOM: The self-draining pool covers are really the best kind and they’re usually custom-ordered for a shaped pool like that. And the nice thing about self-draining covers is that they don’t hold water, obviously, and even more important than that if, God forbid, somebody was to fall in the pool, it can support a person. So, if you put …

    LESLIE: I mean we’ve had deer walk across ours.

    TOM: Oh, yeah, yeah.

    LESLIE: It’s amazing.

    TOM: And they’re super-strong. And because you’ve got the cover of the pool then, of course, you’re keeping the sun off of it and that stops the UV degradation that can impact the finishes and so on, so …

    RAY: So then when it comes time to use the pool, with an irregular shape and it being a smaller 12,000 gallons, does retracting and the cover present any challenges, as far as flexibility?

    TOM: No. You, essentially, take it off.

    RAY: Oh, OK.

    TOM: You put it on and you take it off.

    LESLIE: Ours is stored in like a giant – it’s not gigantic; it takes up a little corner of the garage at my parents’ beach home. But the cover goes right in there. It goes on really easily, it comes off really easily and it really just protects the patio around – the surround. It protects when – because we keep water in it year-round, so it protects the water, it protects from debris going in there. And again, where my parents have their home, lots of deer and crazy wildlife and they walk right across it and there’s never been an incident, knock wood.

    RAY: So it doesn’t float on the surface of the water; it’s separate from the water surface.

    TOM: That’s correct. Well, that’s correct. It sits just above and there are fasteners that are embedded into the decking, in the concrete around the outside edge.

    LESLIE: Into the concrete.

    TOM: And they – and then when you don’t need them, they drop down flush. So you pull them up …

    RAY: Oh. So what should I Google to shop for that?

    TOM: Well, any – I’m sure any pool-supply company is going to sell these but just – it’s called a self-draining pool cover.

    RAY: OK.

    TOM: And usually like a mesh or pool – sometimes it’s called a “safety pool cover” or a “mesh pool cover.”

    RAY: OK. Excellent. Thank you.

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

    And next summer, Leslie, we know where we’re going to be swimming in Arizona.

    LESLIE: When we get to Arizona. Completely.

    Well, bathtubs and showers, they can actually be a monster to clean. Now, if your knees and your back aren’t in the greatest of shape, it can actually be a downright painful chore with all that squatting and scrubbing and bleach. Can you tell that I really enjoy that project? It’s my least favorite household chore.

    TOM: Absolutely. Well, there is another way to get around all that scrubbing and cleaning and it’s called BATH FITTER. They are one of the proud sponsors of The Money Pit and they provide a way to make that chore totally easy, because they make single-piece, custom-fit acrylic overlays for your bath and your shower.

    Now, what that means, from a practical standpoint, is that there’s no more caulking in it to get moldy and mildewed. And that means you’re not going to need to bleach it and scrub it. All those little nooks and crannies where those mold spores love to breed, totally a non-issue. In fact, most common household cleaners work perfectly well to keep the BATH FITTER shiny and clean. And they come with a lifetime warranty.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what the coolest thing is? You can actually get a complete bathroom makeover in one day. You’ve got no mess left behind and no disruption to your plumbing or your flooring, either.

    So check them out, because they really do come in a ton of different styles. They’re really easy to clean. You’re going to be surprised about how gorgeous they could be. And they really do have a style that’ll go with any décor, so check out BATHFITTER.com and take a look for yourself.

    TOM: That’s on BATHFITTER.com. Take a look. They are absolutely beautiful. BATHFITTER.com.

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

    MIKE: Yes. I have an 1873 home with a stone foundation.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: And the stone is in very good shape but it keeps crumbing: a light, sand deterioration onto the floors on the inside. And I was trying – I would like to slow that or stop it without – I have read that stone foundations should be allowed to breathe and it’s survived very well for 140 years.

    TOM: Yeah. But let’s – enough already. It’s 140 years; you’ve got to maintain this at this point in time.

    MIKE: Yes, yes.

    TOM: What’s happening is the mortar in between the stones is deteriorating and it has to be repointed. So you’re explaining a very normal condition where the mortar eventually dries out after 140 years and needs to be taken out and repointed.

    So, typically, this is a job done by a mason. They mix up a very sticky mix of mortar, usually with a lot of – extra amount of lime in it to make it stick. And they pull out the loose mortar and then repoint it: press new mortar into place. And that’s the way you maintain a floor like that.

    I don’t know what “breathing” has to do with it. Foundations are foundations; you want to keep the moisture away from them on the outside of your house. But when the mortar starts to deteriorate like that, it’s got to be pulled out and repointed.

    MIKE: I see. So it’s more mortar deterioration than the stone.

    TOM: Than the stone itself, that’s correct. Yep.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: Stone’s going to last forever; it’s the mortar that needs some work.

    MIKE: OK. And then one other quick question. Two of the floors have – by a previous owner were Puritan pavers. And moisture – ground moisture – sometimes leaches up through. Do I need to take all the pavers out and put a plastic under them or what?

    TOM: Well, if you’ve got water that’s leaking up from the floor of the basement, that points to poor drainage conditions. And so what’s going on here is simply that you have moisture that’s collecting at the foundation perimeter and it needs to be drained away from the foundation further, because that water collecting outside your house pushes down along the foundation wall. I’m sure it goes through the wall. You may be seeing some efflorescence because of the deteriorated moisture – the deteriorated mortar that you have – and then it eventually comes up under the floor.

    So I need you to look at gutters – making sure they’re clean, free-flowing and extended 4 to 6 feet from the house – and grading, making sure the soil is sloped in such a way that water runs away from the house. Those two things should stop or completely stop that water that’s rising up in the basement floor.

    MIKE: Yes. And I know you’re right. This entire town has drainage problems and so even the ditches out at the edge of town – it’s a rural area. Even the ditches don’t drain away very well.

    TOM: Yeah. But you know what? You don’t have to worry about the entire town; you have to worry about the first 4 to 6 feet around your foundation and that’ll do it.

    MIKE: OK.

    TOM: Alright?

    MIKE: Thank you.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, the heat this summer hasn’t been just uncomfortable, it’s been expensive. Tired of paying all those cooling bills? Well, there is a way to stop that solar energy from streaming through the windows and heating up your house. We’re going to talk about the latest technology in window films, after this.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And this has been one of the hottest summers ever. I mean records have been broken, in just about every state, for extreme temperatures. And that means it’s also been one of the most expensive summers ever for cooling your home.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And we really all know that keeping your air-conditioning system in tip-top shape can help you cut those cooling bills. But there’s also a new, innovative and inexpensive way that you can help stop the heat of the sun from streaming into your home, by simply applying window films. We’ve got Peter Eisenberg – he’s an expert from 3M’s Renewable Energy Division – joining us now to tell us more about it.

    Welcome, Peter.

    PETER: Well, thank you very much, Tom and Leslie. We appreciate the opportunity to come down and talk to you.

    TOM: So, Peter, when the summer comes, everybody loves the increased light, the longer days. But we do get a lot of heat from that sun that gets into our homes. How much energy are we losing through the windows?

    PETER: Yeah, that’s a great question. You could be losing up to 20, 30 percent of your cooling costs.

    TOM: Just because of the radiant heat that we have to overcome, that comes through the windows, right?

    PETER: Yep. UV and the IR – or the ultraviolet and the infrared – heat that’s coming from the sun into your home is making your air conditioner work a heck of a lot harder.

    TOM: Now, I had the opportunity last year to go out to your – is it your Innovation Center?

    PETER: It is.

    TOM: And I had a chance to tour that and I was amazed at what you guys are doing with films now for windows, that can really dissect every light wave that’s coming out of the sun and send it in the right direction. So tell us about window films and how they can help keep those cooling bills down.

    PETER: Yeah. We, at the Renewable Energy Division, are – we’re the division that actually manufacturers 3M window film. We call it 3M Solar Rejection Window Film.

    And it’s a thin layer of film that goes on the interior of your window in your home. And what it does is it protects from, as we talked about earlier, the ultraviolet and the infrared rays of the sun and keeps the rays outside, as well as allowing the light to come inside. So you get to enjoy the long days and you get to enjoy the coolness of the air condition.

    LESLIE: Now, is this something that can be installed by the homeowner themselves? Or do you really need a pro to do this, because it’s a precise installation project?

    PETER: Yeah, that’s a great question. We suggest you have a professional installation done. There are window films on the marketplace that a homeowner can put on their own home. But without the right skill level, you could end up with bubbles, you could end up with the film delaminating. So we strongly suggest you have a professional come in that’s been trained by 3M. 3M is a big fan of training and knowing that we have people that know how to put this stuff on so you won’t have a problem in the future.

    The other benefit with having a professional do it is 3M offers a limited lifetime warranty as long as you own your home.

    TOM: We’re talking to Peter Eisenberg. He is an expert with 3M’s Renewable Energy Division. We’re talking about window films.

    Peter, when people think of window films, the – I think they often also think of car tinting. Because that’s probably the most common application for window films that folks relate to. And you see good car tinting and you see lousy car tinting. But these window films really don’t have any tint. Is that correct?

    PETER: Well, we can – you can have some that do have shades of tint but in the residential market, we found that one of our fastest growing areas is what we call our 3M Prestige product.

    TOM: OK.

    PETER: And that is actually a window film that gives you all the protection benefits and it’s a clear film. And what it does is it uses over 200 layers of film to help refract the light and it’s the width of a Post-it note.

    TOM: Wow. Yeah. That’s crazy.

    Now, let me ask you this question: if you already have energy-efficient windows, if you have thermal-pane windows, if you’ve got low-E glass, is this still an application where you would want to add window film or are window films designed for older windows that don’t have that modern technology built into that?

    PETER: Yeah, that’s a good question. It can be used for both. You’ll get more solar protection and more UV protection with some of the older windows and there are a lot of those out there. But it can be applied to UV, as well.

    One of the positives for films, as well, is it can also protect against bad weather and things flying, debris flying and that type of stuff. If you think about it, you have a layer of film on the inside of your window and a branch or something flies through the air and hits that, it’s not going to smash into your home; it’ll actually stay in one piece.

    TOM: Right. But what you’re saying is that the fade is what’s not covered by even modern window glass today. The fade protection, correct?

    PETER: Correct.

    LESLIE: So, Peter, I imagine you’re going to save some money over time but I feel like, you know, as far as your initial investment goes for installing the 3M films, are we looking at a large out-of-pocket fee? Or does that really range depending on what type of film you choose? And how long after that can we expect to recoup our expenses?

    PETER: Yeah, that’s a great question. The answer is it depends based on what you said. I mean it depends based on the type of film you put on your home and the amount of glass that needs to be filmed. So some homeowners would have a south-facing area that has a lot of glass or they could have a west-, south- and east-facing home that has a lot of glass. So we tend to talk about overall cost and price separately.

    But a homeowner would say, “Well, how much is this going to cost me?” So what we would suggest is certainly having somebody come out to give them a bid. But at the same time, they could kind of do a rough estimate by saying, “Per square foot, we can give you a cost ranging anywhere from $4 installed – $4 per square foot installed – to $10 per square foot installed.”

    TOM: Alright. That doesn’t sound too bad.

    Now, Peter, one more question before we let you go. This summer, we see lots and lots of cars with those big, ugly, reflective, mirror-like inserts that people stick in their dashboards to try to keep their cars cool. Does window film like this also work well in automobiles?

    PETER: Absolutely. Window film will work very well. Whereas you can – we have films for automobiles, as well as homes and as well as large tenant buildings.

    TOM: Good to know. Peter Eisenberg, Sales and Marketing Manager for 3M’s Renewable Energy Division, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    PETER: Well, thank you for having us.

    TOM: And if you’d like to learn more about window films that are made by 3M’s Renewable Energy Division, consider how they could be used in your home or your car, visit their website at 3M.com/WindowFilm. That’s 3M.com/WindowFilm.

    LESLIE: Alright. Up next, do you have a son or a daughter who’s heading back to school soon? We’re going to talk about dorm-room décor, with tips to get your teen’s small space working double-duty both with storage and style, so stick around.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, pick up the phone, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great prize up for grabs this hour. We’re giving, to one lucky caller who gets on the air, the new book from This Old House‘s host, Kevin O’Connor. And it’s a look at the best home redos from the past 10 years of the show.

    And what makes it even cooler is that it’s been autographed by all of the cast members. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

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

    JOHN: Yes, ma’am. I’m thinking about finishing off a room up on top of the garage. And I’m going to use spray foam – I plan to – and spray it under the sheathing – the roofing sheathing – and follow the roof line on up, oh, about 10 feet above the – make it a 10 – a vault-type ceiling and – over top of the attic.

    My understanding is that if I spray foam right under the sheathing, that it may void shingle warranties. And I was going to put baffles up there, underneath the sheathing, and then spray the foam on top of that but do I have to put that on every rafter or every other one or every third one? Or how many do I put that under or don’t I have to put baffles?

    TOM: So, John, what’s the shape of this roof? Is it an A-shape?

    JOHN: Yes, A-shaped.

    TOM: OK. So it’s A-shape. What’s the depth of the roof rafter? Two by eight? Two by ten?

    JOHN: I think it is eight. Eight. I think it’s eight.

    TOM: Two by eight?

    JOHN: Eight.

    TOM: OK. So the way I would do this then is I would not use spray-foam insulation. I would use 6 inches of fiberglass insulation and I would leave the inch-and-a-half that’s left – or the 2 inches that’s left – as the ventilation space. So this way, air would enter the soffits, it would go up between the insulation and the roof sheathing and exit at the ridge.

    JOHN: OK.

    TOM: And that kind of gives you everything that you want to accomplish.

    JOHN: OK.

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

    Well, if you’ve got a teen heading for college this fall, decorating that dorm room is an important step. It’s usually pretty small and it’s got very utilitarian furniture to put it, I guess, nicely. In other words, boring.

    LESLIE: That’s right. So, really, when you’re thinking about a dorm room or just a small space, you want to get creative.

    Now, here are some ideas. You can get stylish by choosing furniture pieces that look great but also double as storage: you know, things like ottomans that open up, vertical storage bins and colorful, stackable bin pieces.

    TOM: You also want to use the walls to their fullest potential. So simple shelving or even cubes that you can customize or paint or cover with wallpaper can add some interest while providing that storage at the same time. So get creative and make that space very personable and make every nook and every cranny count.

    You can get more tips on dorm-room décor by searching MoneyPit.com.

    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 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: Up next, the battle to keep mold out of your house never ends but you might have something stored in your basement that’s causing you to lose that battle. We’ll shed some light on that topic, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, have you seen what’s going on of late at MoneyPit.com? We’ve got some new video tool reviews. You don’t just need to guess what’s right for you when you head to the store. You can take a look at the lawn-and-garden tools, like string trimmers and mowers, up close and personal to help you make the right buying decision. Just visit MoneyPit.com/Videos.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re on MoneyPit.com, you can become a member of our Community section and post your question online. And I’ve got one here from Kate in Texas who wrote: “We apparently have a high rust content in our city. It causes a rusty brown, hard-to-remove film in our toilets and around the drains in our tubs. There’s no odor. What are our options?”

    TOM: CLR – Calcium Lime Rust Remover. Good product; does a good job. It’s just a maintenance headache, Kate. There’s no point in you putting filters or any of that sort of thing onto the water; it’d be very expensive. I would just make CLR part of your routine for cleaning those areas and that will stop the buildup and have it looking sparkling again.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It really does do a great job and you can pretty much find it anywhere.

    Alright. Helen in Indiana wrote: “I have very old linoleum on my kitchen floor. It’s pretty ugly. I was wondering if I could just paint it.”

    Unless you want that linoleum floor to look more ugly, I say do not paint it.

    TOM: You cannot paint linoleum floor. You know what linoleum is made out of? Linseed oil. So that just gives you an idea of whether or not something can stick to it. The answer is no, it absolutely cannot. So don’t paint your floor.

    Look, Helen, there’s lots of inexpensive floor options out there. You can buy remnant pieces of vinyl to put down on top of that. You can buy laminate floor: install-it-yourself laminate floor. It all clicks together today. You need very few tools to put this down. I think it’s time to freshen up that linoleum with some new flooring – with a new flooring choice. But paint certainly is not one of it.

    LESLIE: No. And even if you’re thinking, “Heck, I’m just going to try it anyway,” don’t. Because you’re not going to get it to adhere well; it’s just going to come up. It’s going to give you more of a headache than any other process, so just please don’t do it. Seriously, with a laminate floor, tons of different manufacturers. You can find it at home centers, you can find it online. You can do a Money Pit search and find some great references and resources on laminate flooring.

    And it can look like anything. So if you want it to look like a wide-plank wood floor, you can do that.

    TOM: Or even that really old linoleum look.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: You can get that, too.

    LESLIE: Well, I hope that helps you with that problem, Helen.

    TOM: Well, if you have a basement or attic that’s moisture-prone, you are no doubt familiar with the battle that you fight – on a daily basis, sometimes – to keep mold away. Leslie has some solutions on how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, there is one culprit that most of us have in the storage areas of our home and getting rid of it can actually cut down on the chances of mold taking hold in your home, pretty much almost immediately. Now, here’s what mold needs to grow: it needs moisture and it needs food.

    Cardboard storage boxes? They can actually become a mold feast in a damp basement or attic. And right now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow. I’ve got a ton of those in those exact spaces, right at this moment.”

    So to protect your belongings and your home’s air quality from the threat of mold, you want to store your items in plastic. You want to put them on metal shelving instead of on basement floors and keep them out of cardboard boxes when you can. Also, address any basement water leaks.

    And if mold has already started to grow, hire a mold-remediation professional. They’ll clean up the space. This way, you’re sort of starting from square one again. It really does make a huge difference. So think about it, keep your family safe and breathe easy.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, some people see ivy as a way to dress up or cover an ugly wall. But ivy can cause major damage to your home, it can bring up moisture into the surfaces, it can cause rot. It leads to carpenter-ant infestations. It can be a real mess. So we’re going to talk about the safest way to get rid of it, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2012 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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