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Tips for Painting Ceramic Tile, Apps that Help in Disasters and Tips to Keep Mold Away

  • 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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement or your home décor project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. What are you planning to take on as we move from summer to fall? Thinking about getting a kitchen done before the holidays arrive? Maybe updating your bathroom? Is it time to replace your roof before the winter weather pounds it with ice and salt and snow and mess? Well, give us a call. We can talk about that. We can give you some tips to get it done, the easiest way possible, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up on today’s show, have you ever tried to paint a surface that just didn’t seem to want to be painted, like ceramic tile or a countertop, for example? Well, there’s a new finish on the market that handles those and many more and it’s insanely durable. We’ll have a review, just ahead.

    LESLIE: Plus, when disaster strikes, there’s often mass confusion in the area that’s been hit. FEMA is looking to solve that with a handy, new app that’s got everything you need to know in one place. And we’re going to have a review.

    TOM: And if you’re about to close a vacation home or a boat or an RV for the season, there’s a good chance you might find mold when you open it up next spring. We’re going to have some tips to stop that from happening, just ahead.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away an amazing prize, speaking of bad weather. We’re giving away a Generac iQ2000 Generator to one lucky caller.

    TOM: Very cool product. It’s the quietest, smartest and easiest-to-use portable generator on the market. It’s the same one that I recently featured on Fox & Friends. It’s worth $799 and it’s actually going out to one listener drawn at random who calls in with their home improvement question for today’s show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ve got to have a home improvement question to qualify for the drawing, 888-666-3974.

    Now, you can check out this product at GeneracIQ.com.

    LESLIE: Yeah, guys. Let me be clear: you have to have a home improvement question. You can’t just call us and say, “Hey, I want to win the Generac iQ.” So, look around your house, think hard. Some of us don’t have to think so hard when we look around our houses. Some of us just have a list of projects and I might be speaking from personal experience. But whatever it is, guys, give us a call with whatever’s been bugging you around your money pit, at 888-666-3974.

    TOM: 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: John in Illinois is on the line with an HVAC question. What can we do for you?

    JOHN: About a week ago, we had a really bad heat spell here. My 13-year-old air-conditioning system quit. And the repairman came out, replaced two capacitors – one inside, one outside – and told me that the systems that I have usually start leaking the refrigerant at about15 years. And then told me that the refrigerant that I use – there’s going to be a new generation of refrigerant coming out. The kind that I have now is not going to be available and will also be illegal in 2018 with the passage of a law or something. The equipment I have won’t handle the third-generation refrigerant. It’s different pressures and stuff. So he says I’m going to need a whole new system.

    TOM: So, it sounds like he’s being a little bit of an alarmist. There is – and like all cases – some truth to what he says.

    It sounds to me like you have – like millions of other Americans do – a refrigerant – an air-conditioning system that’s based on the old-fashioned Freon or R-22 refrigerant. And if – when that refrigerant starts to leak – that can happen much sooner than 15 years – it can be topped off. I mean frankly, sometimes – every time you service your air-conditioning system, every year you might get a little bit of system leakage and it has to be topped off. That’s normal service but because you have a 13-year-old system, your technician certainly took this opportunity to try to sell you a new system or get you lined up for replacement because, obviously, that’s where they make their money. So I wouldn’t get too excited about it.

    The cops aren’t going to run up to your house with lights flashing because you’ve got an old air-conditioning system, John, OK? Even in 2018. I would just continue to use that. When you have a small repair, like a capacitor, it does make sense to go ahead and replace it. If you had a big repair, like a compressor, and it’s 13 or 14 or 15 years old, then it’s time to think about maybe putting a new system in. And when that happens, you’re going to get multiple bids from multiple contractors and make a decision based on the information you have at the time, not kind of under pressure because there’s a guy standing in your driveway trying to pitch you on the fact that your system now is going to be antiquated, OK?

    JOHN: I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Dorothy in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    DOROTHY: I respect all life but when you have a centipede crawling up a wall, that left the basement coming up into the house, it looks very ugly and scary. I understand they’re carnivores, so maybe they’d eat other bugs but I don’t really know how to get rid of them. And also, I’d like to know about crickets, how I could catch them.

    LESLIE: What kind of crickets are you talking about? Those weird-looking ones that hop and they’re like gigantic in your basement? They look like prehistoric?

    DOROTHY: The black ones that live outside but as soon as it turns cold, they come in and you hear them singing in your garage.

    LESLIE: Oh, OK. And you don’t want to kill anything, correct?

    DOROTHY: Well, I guess I could. But personally, I have a pet that eats crickets. I’d like to catch them. I read on the internet – I can’t seem to come up with a way to capture them. And we’re – I’d like to catch them and get them out.

    The centipedes, I’m open to, you know, extermination.

    LESLIE: Well, I was going to say, for your basement, I would start by making sure that everything is sealed off. So if you have anything that protrudes through the foundation wall – dryer vents, anything – make sure that it’s all sealed around. Anything can come in through the tiniest opening. So whether you use an expandable foam or a steel wool, you want to make a combination of things to close up every opening that you see, because that’s how they’re getting in.

    Now, once you’ve done that, if you see a centipede in the house, I would suggest – you could take a vacuum and you can put a piece of pantyhose at the end of the intake hose. So before it gets into the bag or gets into the area, it gets caught in that little piece of pantyhose.

    DOROTHY: Oh, that’s a good idea.

    LESLIE: And you can vacuum them into the pantyhose and then release them into the wild or whatever you like or feed the crickets to your lizard or snake friend.

    Now, as far as the crickets in the garage, I would do the same. I’d make sure everything is sealed up. I don’t know of any sort of traps that you can place and leave and go and then collect any of the crickets. I’ve done – and I’ve seen this done with bait – with people who have crickets in the basement, specifically the cave crickets. They take tape and lay it sticky-side up around the entire perimeter of the room. And then the crickets, when they crawl in under the walls, they get stuck to the tape.

    Now, they’re still alive stuck to the tape. I would usually think people throw away the tape but you might be able to, I don’t know, feed them to your friend that way?

    DOROTHY: Right. OK. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, there’s a high-tech solution to help now in the event of an emergency and it’s out from FEMA. We’ll have a review of that app, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Pavestone’s easy-to-stack RumbleStone Rustic Building Blocks. Create any outdoor hardscape you can imagine, to instantly add old-world charm. Available at The Home Depot. For more information and product instructions, visit Pavestone.com.

    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: Here’s what you need to do: pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, ask us a home improvement question. And guess what? We’ll toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat. Because this hour, we’re giving away a Generac iQ2000 Portable Inverter Generator worth 799 bucks. So appreciative to the folks at Generac for providing this and two prior generators that we gave away on the program. Going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show.

    This is really a fantastic product that lets you bring power wherever you need it to be, like tailgating or camping trips or the jobsite or even if you lose power at your house. You can just get it off the shelf and fire it up and get going. It’s a very lightweight design that makes it easy to move around. It’s also quiet. It’s actually the quietest portable generator on the market. It’s got a smart LED dashboard so all the controls are there, easy to see. And it’s got this thing called a “power dial,” which I like because it integrates the start, the run, the stop into one simple-to-use dial. And it’s quieter, smarter and beats Honda’s product, as well.

    LESLIE: Now, we’ve got just one unit to give away to one very lucky caller to the program. But we also have a very special offer exclusively for all Money Pit listeners interested in purchasing a Generac iQ. So here’s what you do: you go to GeneracIQ.com or you call them at 800-965-1172. There, you can receive free shipping on a new Generac iQ2000, plus a free copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.

    TOM: You will absolutely love this generator. I actually featured it on Fox & Friends I liked it so much. But remember, the only – and I do mean only – way to get that free shipping and a free copy of our book is to visit GeneracIQ.com or call them at 800-965-1172. That’s 800-965-1172. There’s no other way to get the free shipping and the free book. You’ve got to go to GeneracIQ.com or call them at 800-965-1172. Now, the offer is valid right now. So, why not check it out? GeneracIQ.com or call 800-965-1172.

    LESLIE: Heading out to Iowa where Andrew has got a question about a wood floor. Tell us what you’re working on.

    ANDREW: My fiancée and I just sanded our floors and we are getting ready to put down some product on our floor. And I just wanted to know what kind of product I should be using. It’s probably an oak floor.

    TOM: That’s a great project, Andrew. There are choices to be made now. Did you have a finish on this floor before?

    ANDREW: It did. It was like a reddish tint.

    TOM: OK.

    ANDREW: So it’s still showing through a little bit. We didn’t take it all the way down to bare wood.

    TOM: What did you use to sand it with?

    ANDREW: It was a machine that had – it was like a giant hand-sander, basically. It had a handle on it and a big sheet of sandpaper on it. It took down the old varnish that was on it.

    TOM: OK. So was it a belt sander where the big, wide belt spins around or was it more of sort of like a vibrating sander?

    ANDREW: It was a vibrating sander.

    TOM: Alright. So, here’s the thing. This floor was stained before and I’m concerned that if you just put a clear finish on it – if you’re happy with the look of the floor, right now, with a little bit of the red showing through, then you can just put a clear finish on it. But if you’re not, it gets a little bit tricky because to try to add more of that color in, it’s hard to get the exact same color. And you would almost probably have to go a couple of steps darker. And then you may have some issues about some areas had more of the old varnish on it than other areas and they’re going to absorb differently.

    So, it’s a little more difficult to refinish a floor, like you’ve done, if it had stain on it. Now, if it didn’t have stain on it and you’re just sort of sanding off the varnish and you’re putting a fresh coat of varnish, you don’t have the issue.

    The issue that you might have is, because it was stained before, you might have some of that blotchy color coming through. If you have stain on a floor, generally, you can’t use that type of approach to sand it. You have to use the belt-sander approach, which is a big machine with a very wide belt that you should not do yourself. Because if you sneeze while using this thing, you’ll just ruin the floor. It’s a very hard machine to use as a do-it-yourselfer. It’s really something a pro has to use all the time.

    So, the first question you have to kind of ask yourselves is: are you happy with the look of the floor? If you reseal it and finish it just like it is, if that’s going to work for you guys. And if it is, what I would do is I would put on at least three coats of oil-based polyurethane or solid, solvent-based polyurethane. Do not use the water-based products – the acrylic-based products – because they’re just not durable enough. They’re great on doors and trim and furniture but on floors, I would always use the oil-based product.

    Now, you apply it, not with a brush but with something called a “lambswool applicator.” And basically, it’s kind of like a mop on a stick. And you dip – so dip it into a tray of this urethane, then you sort of mop it on and work your way out of the room and then find something else to do for at least a half a day, maybe even longer to let it dry really, really well. If it’s the least bit tacky, do not put second coats on it. This may take a couple of days, depending on the humidity level. Wait until it’s really, super dry.

    If you try to recoat it and it’s still tacky, it has even a harder time drying the next time around. So make sure it’s super dry before you put the next coat on. And about three coats of that, try to stay off of it as much as you can for the first month or so. And by that, I mean don’t drag the furniture around. Put some pieces of carpet or something underneath the legs. Just try and treat it gingerly because it does take a while for it to really, really harden. And you’ll be good to go.

    ANDREW: Great. Well, thank you very much.

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

    Well, there’s a new app that was just released from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that sounds kind of handy. Now, it’s designed to be a one-stop shop with all the tools and tips that you need to keep you safe before, during and after a disaster.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And it seems like they did a pretty good job with it. It’s designed to feed you updated weather-related alerts from the National Weather Service. And it has tips on what to do before, during and after over 20 types of disasters and can help you locate open shelters and where to talk to FEMA in person at those disaster-recovery centers.

    TOM: I like this feature, too. You can even save a custom list of the items in your family’s emergency kit, as well as the places that you’ll meet in case of an emergency. It’s free, of course. You can find it in the App Store or on Google Play, as well as at FEMA.gov/app.

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

    ERICA: I’m calling about a concrete-slab house that is completely built with cinder blocks, with the exception of the upstairs portion of the house. I have some cracks that are starting. And I live in Louisiana and sometimes, you know, we have a lot of rain. But the cracks are – I also have galvanized piping that has to go through them, I guess, the conduit? They have to match in order to go into the concrete wall. And I think that that’s what started the cracking in the beginning but the house was built in the 1940s.

    TOM: Well, there’s probably a lot more than just the pipe going through the wall that started the cracks. Houses built in the 1940s are going to have a lot of movement over the year.

    The thing is, as you mentioned, with all the water and the driving rain, you just want to seal that out as much as you can do to keep that rain out. It’s going to help preserve and protect those walls.

    So in your case, if the crack is sort of from a hairline to a ¼-inch, I would be using a masonry sealant – a masonry caulking compound. QUIKRETE has a big one – a good one – that works well. You want to make sure whatever sealant you use is paintable. So if you use something like silicone, you wouldn’t be able to paint it. But use a good, paintable caulk that’s designed for masonry and just stay on top of those cracks by filling them in with caulk whenever they tend to show up.

    Now, if you get a lot of cracks and it’s an active, ongoing problem, then in that case you have to have the house looked at by an inspector or a structural expert to make sure there’s not a deeper issue going on. But if you’re just trying to maintain the few cracks that will – that show up in the 70-plus years since that house was built, caulk is all you really need.

    ERICA: OK. Well, thank you so much.

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

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

    JOHN: My house was built in 1957. And the architect designed it with concealed gutters. And originally, the gutters were made of galvanized and they were covered with neoprene. And that lasted for many, many years. But now I had some leaks and I’ve had a proposal to put on a project called GacoRoof – G-a-c-o-Roof – and to paint that on there. It’s kind of a – looks like rubbery stuff but it’s actually silicone. So, do you know anything about that product and do you think that would work?

    TOM: Yeah. I mean it’s basically a flexible, silicone roof-coating system. It’s been around for a long time now. When you have that built-in gutter, there’s usually two ways to deal with that. I actually had built-in gutters on my old house. And in our case, we decided that we would abandon those built-in gutters by basically roofing over them. You have to add another piece of plywood, basically, to extend the sheathing. So you take the pitch of the roof, you add an additional plywood piece that covers that old, built-in gutter and then you just use a traditional seamless gutter on the outside. So you can basically abandon those gutters.

    Or if you want to keep them, yeah, you’ve got to reline them. So what are your options for relining them? Well, you can reline them with a rubber roofing material. Or if they’re structurally sound – because this Gaco material has got to have something to stick to or to be applied to – you could consider using this roof-coating system. I would just be careful that the gutters are structurally sound, because I wouldn’t want holes to form in the silicone coating once it dries because maybe there’s a hole in the bottom of the structure.

    I’m very familiar with this as a roof coating for low-slope roofs, in particular. I’ve not seen it used to line gutters but I don’t have any reason to believe that it won’t work. If the roofing company is very well-established, if they’ve had experience with the product and if they’re going to stand behind their working guarantee, I think I might be willing to give it a shot. Because I know the product will work well in other roofing applications.

    JOHN: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Money Pit. Hey, over the years, we’ve been asked many times if it’s possible to paint surfaces like ceramic tile or laminate countertops. And the answer has pretty much been not really. Well, there’s a new product out there that’s pretty much changed all of that. We’re going to share a review, after this.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Well, every once in a while, we find a product that seems to address a wide variety of the questions we get on the show that don’t always have a great answer, like “can I paint ceramic tile?” or “can I paint over my ugly laminate countertop?”

    TOM: Well, we found a product that addresses those painting projects and many more. It’s called BEYOND PAINT. With us to talk about that is Thomas Morrell, the VP of client services.

    Welcome, Thomas.

    THOMAS: Hey, thanks for having me on the show today.

    TOM: Hey. So, surfaces like the ones we mentioned can be painted but we found that, usually, the paint is nowhere near as durable as the original surface and it just sets up a need to have to repaint again and again in the future. When I first saw your product and your demo, I noticed two things immediately. First was how hard the surface was – it was really a durable finish – and secondly, how well it adhered to very slippery surfaces like glass. In fact, I tried to do the traditional sort of scratch-off test and I really couldn’t get very far.

    So, how is this product different than traditional paint? Why does it perform so much differently than the finishes we’re used to?

    THOMAS: You know, it’s kind of what we did and set out to do. We made a paint product that is beyond any other paint. And it’s kind of what our name is: BEYOND PAINT. And we developed the product with the highest technology that we could, with nanotechnology that is not only durable but it’s beautiful and it’s easy to apply. And anybody could apply it. And with our product, there’s no stripping, sanding or priming. You can just roll it on and it’ll lay down and give you a uniform finish with no brush marks and roller marks. And it is super durable.

    LESLIE: So let’s talk about the process of putting it on. Is there a tremendous amount of prep? Because I know with all painting projects, prep is super important. So is that key to getting that durable finish?

    THOMAS: It’s so easy for us. Instead of going through deglossing, say it’s your cabinets or your vanity, you no longer have to degloss that wood or that urethane finish off. You just simply clean it with a Simple Green or a degreaser, make sure it’s dry and just roll on the product. And it’ll bond and adhere to it.

    TOM: So there’s no separate bonding agent or primer application? It’s all built into the product. So it’s basically a one-step process, Thomas?

    THOMAS: It is. It’s a one-part product. So, again, you just simply clean, degrease and roll it on. And it lays down, gives you uniform finish. We ask for two coats and two hours in between to make sure we get a strong bonding from the substrate. And it’ll lay down and give you that finish that everyone’s looking for, like it came out of the factory.

    TOM: And that’s kind of exactly what it looked like. I had seen this applied to some kitchen-cabinet doors and painting cabinets is usually kind of an act of last resort. You don’t really have the budget to replace your cabinets but maybe the old finish of it was a stain or a natural finish is completely worn off. And you kind of settle with the fact that you’re going to paint them and then, of course, repaint them and repaint them. What I noticed about this product is it really laid in so nicely that it let all the grain kind of come through. You could see the formation of the grain, even though – and it didn’t sort of completely cover it. So I thought maybe a little bit thinner than traditional paint finish. Is that what gives it that sort of flow?

    THOMAS: It’s not. It’s actually thicker than most paints. And especially when you use it in a vertical surface, the paint – when you take it and apply it, it’s very thick. So it won’t run, drip or roll all over either your cabinets, when you paint it vertically, or a dresser. It just kind of bonds and adheres to it so you can roll it on easy. The paint is – just when it pulls together, it gives that lay-down look and it will go into the nooks and crannies. And it will leave some grain and it’ll also hide some imperfections if you have them in the dresser or cabinet, whatever you put it on.

    LESLIE: Now, is this sold in a gallon can or in a quart? And is the price just out of this world because it does such a good job?

    THOMAS: We sell it in several different ways. We sell it in a kit, which has a quart of paint, a brush, a roller and everything you need to have in there for success, for any DIY-er. They’ll use that once and once they use it, they’re going to realize that they’ve become a professional painter with our product, because we kind of make that for everyone. Anybody can apply it. But we do sell gallons, as well, which is our big seller to the savings. But a gallon will cost you $129. And some people will say, “Wow that’s a lot of money.” But it really isn’t because once you look at the cost of buying sandpaper, the gloss or primer, stripper, the time and effort you put in, the special brushes you have to use.

    LESLIE: And then hiring a professional because you didn’t do it right.

    TOM: That’s right.

    THOMAS: Right. So the cost, in the long run, really is not that much. And look, I’m not interested in sanding my kitchen cabinets or dresser for a long period of time, the cleanup and wiping it down and then coming back, priming it and then hopefully getting a nice surface on without brush or roller marks when I can just use Reclaim BEYOND PAINT and just take it, clean off whatever my project is and roll it on. And the paint will adhere to just about anything you can put it on. So we can be used on any project, whether it’s a lamp, ceramic-tile backsplash and again, your vanities and cabinets.

    LESLIE: As I say, Thomas, I’ve been working for home makeover TV shows for 15 years and where have you been for the past 15 years? I definitely could’ve used you on all of these makeover projects.

    TOM: Well, absolutely. And I’ll tell you what, when you hear $129 a gallon, it sounds like a lot but having seen this in person and had a chance to experience it, I would buy this in a heartbeat for a project that I had in mind.

    One thing I think this would be fantastic for, Leslie, is if you are one of these poor souls that’s stuck in the 70s or the 50s or 60s with avocado tile walls in your bathroom. This would be a great solution for that and a heck of a lot cheaper than tearing that tile out.

    THOMAS: It definitely would. And you know what? We have been a little bit of a hidden secret. But we just came out in January on This Old House and it was a great show. And the woman who had a kitchen, they redid her entire kitchen, just the two of them, in one day. They did not only the outside of the cabinets but the inside. And the next day, she really appreciated how it looked and she loved it and she decided to paint the backsplash on the tile. And it was just, again, easy. Clean, degrease, roll it on and in two days she had a brand-new kitchen.

    TOM: The product’s called BEYOND PAINT. Their website is ReclaimBEYONDPAINT.com.

    Thomas Morrell, VP of Client Services, thank you so much for filling us in on this fantastic product.

    THOMAS: Hey. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

    TOM: If you’d like to learn more, you can reach them at 886-266-0650 or ReclaimBEYONDPAINT.com.

    LESLIE: Well, sadly, summer is coming to an end in a few weeks. And if you’re getting ready to close up a vacation home, maybe your RV or boat or even a shed, do you know how to keep it mold-free? Well, we’re going to share some tips for keeping those spaces free of mold, after this.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a great prize for storm season, for tailgating season, for anything you might need the power for. We’ve got up for grabs the Generac iQ2000 Portable Inverter Generator worth $799.

    Now, this really is a fantastic product. Like I said, you can bring power wherever you go, whether you’re tailgating or you’re camping, you’re at the beach, you name it. It’s so lightweight that you’ll really be able to carry it wherever you go. It’s super quiet; I would say the quietest portable inverter generator in its class. Features a smart LED dashboard. Now that’s going to show you the fuel level, how much time you’ve got left for running, the wattage usage and your generator status. And then it’s really easy to operate. There’s one simple power dial. That integrates the start, the run, the stop, all the functions into one place. And the Generac iQ2000 is quieter, smarter and it beats Honda.

    TOM: Now, we’ve got just one unit to give away thanks to the generous folks at Generac. It’s going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random that reaches us at 888-MONEY-PIT. But we’ve also got a very special offer here exclusively for all Money Pit listeners that are interested in purchasing a Generac iQ. What you need to do is go to GeneracIQ.com or call them at 800-965-1172. And you’ll get free shipping on a new Generac iQ-2000, plus you’ll get a free copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.

    You’re really going to like this generator. I featured it on Fox & Friends I was so impressed with the product. But I’ll tell you, the only way to get the free shipping and the free copy of our book is to visit GeneracIQ.com or call them at 800-965-1172. There’s no other way to get the free shipping and free book. You’ve got to go to Generac iQ or call 800-965-1172. The offer is valid right now, so pick up the phone and call 800-965-1172 or visit GeneracIQ.com.

    LESLIE: Well, you take steps to keep intruders out of your vacation home, your boat or even your RV throughout the winter. But there’s a potential squatter that you’ve probably been overlooking. Talking about mold. Left alone for long stretches, sealed-up spaces can become breeding grounds for it.

    TOM: Now, there’s a couple of ways to stop this from happening. And the first is to simply control humidity. If you do this in a space that’s unoccupied or one that’s closed for days or weeks or months at a time, you’re not going to give the mold the moisture that it needs to form.

    So, if we’re talking about, say, a vacation home, you want to control that indoor humidity by using a programmable thermostat. Just set the A/C at 72 degrees for about two hours in the morning and then two hours again before sunset. And then set it to 88 degrees for the rest of the day and the night. This is going to prevent that mold from forming by removing moisture from the air when the relative humidity is at its highest peaks.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And portable dehumidifiers, they’re another key component to keeping the mold away; 1 for every 1,000 square feet is really a good rule of thumb. And they should be used instead of air conditioning, not with it. Now, placing your dehumidifier next to a sink, shower or any other potentially damp places will make them extra effective.

    TOM: And if it’s a boat or an RV or a shed that you’re worried about, a way to control mold in those spaces is to simply pretreat the surfaces, inside and out, with mold cleaners prior to locking up for the winter and then again as soon as they’re opened up for the next season.

    And to the extent possible, you also want to avoid using materials in those spaces that can feed mold, like pretty much anything organic. A big one is cardboard boxes. Never leave those in those unconditioned spaces, because you will open them up in the spring and they’ll be green and fuzzy. So, if you take these steps, hopefully, you’ll have very little or no mold to clean up next spring.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to remote Alaska where Lonnie has an igloo question. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about an igloo.

    LONNIE: OK. Well, we have the opportunity to purchase a monolithic dome, which is – it looks like an igloo.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    LONNIE: And when we were touring it – it’s only a 20-foot in diameter. But they did have a dehumidifier inside. And on the outside, it had just been painted with a – like a vinyl paint. A thicker paint? And there were bubbles on the outside. And I took a knife and poked it and water drained out. So I’m wondering if there’s a condensation problem, especially for mold, and what it would take to remedy that.

    TOM: So what is this dome constructed out of? Is the entire thing concrete or what’s it made out of?

    LONNIE: It is concrete.

    TOM: Well, listen, you’ve got to have some sort of a system to try to manage moisture in a space like that. Because let’s face it, first of all, concrete is very hydroscopic. So, water that will get into that concrete at the base, where it comes in contact with the soil, it’ll draw up into the concrete surface and essentially saturate the entire thing. If there’s bad drainage, it can get worse. But I could definitely see how it would stay very, very damp.

    The moisture that you are seeing inside that paint is clear evidence of the fact that this structure is holding a lot of water. Now, it could draw it from the soil or it could just be from the humidity in the air that’s getting into the walls. So, it definitely has to be managed and it sounds like just a dehumidifier by itself may not be the answer. You might need to really have an HVAC pro design a system that could manage that moisture.

    And in terms of the paint itself, you also have to choose a paint that is designed to stick well to concrete. You mentioned this is a really thick paint. We’ve seen a lot of paints out there that claim to be sort of almost like a liquid siding that are very thick. But the problem is that they’re not vapor-permeable, so they don’t breathe. As a result, everything stays underneath it and then when you see those bubbles and the water is just forming right there, it’s just going to continue to push that right off. And I imagine when it gets really, really cold, it’ll probably freeze and expand and crack that paint, basically making it worthless.

    So I think you have reason to be concerned. And I would definitely – if there’s a good, professional home inspector in that area that could look at it for you, that might be a pro to start with. But I definitely think you’re going to need to have an expert design a system that works for that.

    You know, typically, when you paint concrete, you want to use an epoxy-based paint that has really high adhesion and really strong durability. But it sounds to me like this paint that they used, in this case, was not that type of paint.

    LONNIE: OK. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Have you ever struggled through a clogged drain only to end up calling the plumber anyway? Well, we’re going to have tips on a surefire safe and easy way to clear a clogged drain, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete and Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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: Post here from Sandra. She says, “We have a slow-running drain in our bathtub. I bought a bottle of chemical drain cleaner from a local store and followed the directions. The water now drains faster than before but when the tub starts to drain, I hear loud gurgling sounds. What would cause this loud noise? The house is about 125 years old.”

    So, the gurgling sounds are caused because the vent is now partially clogged. You probably moved this clog around. Here’s a trick of the trade, Sandra, a really easy way to clear a drain like that. And that is to use a wet/dry vacuum, right? It’s got a lot of power. It can suck up gallons and gallons of water. So what you do is you basically put it over the drain and turn it on. It will pull, in many cases, whatever is clogging it right back out the same way it came in. So give that a shot and see if you can clear that once and for all.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Chris who writes: “We have a concrete patio and it holds water when it rains and then in the middle turns green. How do I fix this and keep it clean?”

    TOM: Couple of part question there. First of all, in terms of just cleaning it, if it’s a cleaning question, you can use a product like Spray & Forget. Spray it on there, let it sit and it’ll kind of start to degrade that mold, mildew or moss that’s coating that patio. But more importantly, this sort of sunken-in area is going to continue to catch water. You might want to think about, first off, cleaning it and then using a concrete patching compound to kind of level it out. You can sort of resurface that whole concrete patio, eliminate that dip and then the water won’t really have any place to form, if that makes sense.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Chris? With concrete, you’ve got such a blank canvas. I mean you can tint it, you could acid-stain it, you can even stamp it. So you can really get something beautiful in an area that drove you crazy before.

    TOM: Well, with school underway and fall activities just about ready to step into full swing, there’s a good chance your kids are spending a lot of time in the car. We want to make sure they’re as safe on the road as they are at home, which is why Leslie has some surprising news about car-seat safety, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Constantly getting in and out of cars with kids can be a real drag. And you might be tempted to boot the booster seat once your child is a little bit older. Listen, guys, don’t let the hassle of straps and seatbelts get the best of your judgment and really, your little guy’s safety. So, studies show that many parents are getting rid of booster seats long before their child is actually big enough to ride safely with just a seatbelt. Parents are also bending safety rules by letting kids ride in the front seat or even without any seatbelts at all.

    Here’s what you need to keep in mind: your child has got to be at least 57 inches tall – that’s 4 feet, 9 inches – and weigh 80 to 100 pounds to ride with just a seatbelt. Yeah, that means so many of your children out there are going to be in a booster seat well into elementary school. Henry is going into third grade. He’s 4-foot-5 and weighs 65 pounds and he’s a giant. But he’s still not big enough for the seatbelt. And the matter is that where the seatbelt actually cuts across their neck can be far more dangerous than, you know, the seatbelt itself.

    So you’ve got to really think about the rules and follow them carefully. I mean really, you’ve got to remember, also, that a booster seat’s no good if it’s not buckled in properly. So you want to make sure, on a regular basis, that those seats are strapped in.

    And finally, just be a good example. Click your own seatbelt before you put that car into drive.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about how to finish your attic. If you do it right, you can build yourself a nice master suite, a quiet home office or a getaway for the kids. But if you do it wrong, you’re going to really damage your house structurally and the value for years to come. We’ll have tips on how to get that project done the right way, 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 2016 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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