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  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (theme song)

    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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma; because we are here to help you get the job done that you need to do around your house. It is the fall fix-up season. It’s a great time to work inside your house; to work outside your house; to tackle energy-saving improvements; to tackling some of those decorating improvements. The things that you want to do that are going to make that indoor experience that much nicer all winter long are all great questions. Give us a call right now with yours at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    And if you’re thinking about making some energy-saving home improvements this year but you’re concerned that perhaps they will ruin the architectural style of your house, well, think again because there are some very creative ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your home without sacrificing style. We’re going to have some tips to help you do just that, in just a bit.
    LESLIE: And speaking of style, trees are great for shade. They provide fresh air and they give you a gorgeous view but they do take some special care at times and now is actually the perfect time to do just that. We are going to get expert advice this hour on exactly how to take care of those trees on your property.
    TOM: And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure; so call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: David in Tyler, Texas needs some help with the exterior of his money pit. What’s going on?
    DAVID: Just had a question. I have this house that’s kind of in the process of being constructed and, essentially, the 2×4 walls go on the outer edge of the slab and then you nail the OSB onto the outside of the 2×4 walls so that porous, rough edge of that OSB down along the line of the soil there – and it’s got hardy plank over the top of it – but essentially, it’s exposed to the environment. And I was wondering if you all had some sort of a product that I could use to get up underneath the edge of that hardy board and paint the edging of that OSB that would help preserve it for a long period of time.
    Somebody told me something about, you know, use an oil-based paint or whatever and that’ll last about 10 years and I said, “Why, I bet those people on The Money Pit show (Tom and Leslie chuckle) know about some kind of a NASA, space-age polymer (Tom chuckles) product that’ll last forever.” I’m sure that the edge of the OSB would soak up whatever like a sponge.
    TOM: Well, let me put on my rocket scientist hat and see what we can do to help you out here. First of all, the OSB – for those that are unaware of what we’re talking about here – I hate when people start talking in abbreviations and nobody else is …
    LESLIE: In letters.
    TOM: In letters, yeah. I grew up with two parents that worked in the government and all of our dinnertime conversations were like this. (Leslie chuckles) OSB stands for oriented strand board and it’s that waferboard-kind-of-like material that’s used for exterior sheathing.

    Now, in this particular situation, what is the distance between the siding and the grading?
    DAVID: Well, basically, three-and-a-half inches.
    TOM: Yeah, that’s a problem right there because you really need to have at least six inches of space between the siding and the soil. If you have it any closer than that, you’re going to get a lot of water that’s going to splash up in there and certainly, if you could squeeze, you know, a right-angle paintbrush in there – if there was such a thing (Leslie chuckles) – and seal the end of that, I don’t think it would totally solve the problem because it’s just going to be exposed to a lot of water.

    What I would suggest that you do in this situation, David, is try to look for some ways to reduce the angle of that soil. Is there a way to get it down lower? Can you do some regrading and get yourself a little more room there? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t put anything on it; I think it’s fine the way it is. I just want to try to make sure we have enough air space in there for it to keep dry.
    LESLIE: Time to head into the bath with Mary in Massachusetts. What’s going on at your money pit?
    MARY: Hi there. Yeah. I’ve got an old tub, a clawfoot tub, and it came with the house; the house built in early 1900s. And I don’t know if the finish is going on it or what but now when I let the water out, it’s like all yellow wherever the water was; not just a water line. And also, if I – even when it’s perfectly dry, if I put, let’s say, a plastic bottle of bleach or detergent in the tub just to get it out of the way and then …
    TOM: Does that work?
    MARY: It doesn’t leak or anything but when I pick up the bottle the next day out of the tub, it leaves a big, round, brown spot that doesn’t go away.
    TOM: OK. You know, I wonder if you’ve got hard water. Have you thought about using a product called CLR?
    MARY: CLR. No.
    TOM: Yeah, it stands for …
    LESLIE: Calcium, lime and rust.
    TOM: Yeah. It’s a good cleaning product for mineral salt deposits. It’s called CLR. As Leslie said, it stands for calcium, lime, rust remover. Very common product; been around for many years; very effective. I’d try cleaning the tub with that and see what happens. You know, sometimes the old porcelain actually gets reasonably porous and it tends to build up some stains easier than it did, you know, when it was newer.
    MARY: Oh.
    TOM: And that’s a good way to clean it. OK, Mary?
    MARY: OK.
    TOM: Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 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, we’ve got tips on energy-saving home improvements that look great inside and out.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Paint and Primer in One, with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-E-H-R.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And do you have a do-it-yourself dilemma or maybe a home improvement how-to question? Well, if you do, just give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now and if we take your question on the air, not only are you going to get an expert answer and then run off and do your home improvement project, you will then be automatically entered into our weekly prize drawing.
    And this hour, we are giving away a very useful copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed with a ton of information to help you save money and get your project done right the first time.
    TOM: And if you don’t win, don’t worry; because, for a limited time, we are giving away a bonus chapter of our book online. We’ll tell you more about that in just a few minutes. The number again is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, energy-efficient improvements like replacement windows don’t have to be a sort of one-size-fits-all situation. There are so many beautiful options out there and you can definitely put your own style stamp on the project by choosing custom window interiors that will really compliment your furniture, your lighting fixtures, your cabinetry or any other part of your home furnishings.
    LESLIE: Now, you really want to do your research and look into some unique window options; they are offered by every single manufacturer out there. Now, one of them is the Decorum collection by Simonton Windows. Now, the Decorum collection comes in durable, scratch-resistant, wood-grain, laminate interiors including antique cherry, maple, contemporary oak and pure white. And now they’ve got grid options to match so you really can choose something that’s going to work with your décor or whatever your design dreams are sort of laying out for you.
    TOM: And don’t forget about the tax credit. Many windows will qualify to receive that credit, which means it’s going to save you some money on next year’s taxes. Now, to learn more, you can check out our guide to replacement windows; it was put together with help from the experts at Simonton Windows. It’s a bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, and it’s yours free. You can find it at MoneyPit.com.
    888-666-3974. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Keith in New York is calling in with a roofing question. How can we help you today?
    KEITH: I have a problem with a flat roof on a building and …
    TOM: Well, you’re not alone. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
    KEITH: OK. Well, this one I can’t change.
    TOM: OK.
    KEITH: It’s eight inches of steel, reinforced concrete.
    TOM: OK.
    KEITH: And after about 50 years – which I haven’t been part of it but going back a long time – the edges are starting to erode away.
    TOM: OK.
    KEITH: When I was down in Florida, I noticed some people were putting roof-overs on a lot of their trailers there.
    TOM: OK.
    KEITH: On the original ones.
    TOM: Yes.
    KEITH: And these were a rubberized type or synthetic membrane of which they put Styrofoam over the top and then put this wonderful stuff and wrapped it all around and it’s UV-protected and all that kind of stuff and I …
    TOM: Yeah, they’re probably EPDM roofs; they’re like sort of a rubber membrane.
    KEITH: EPDM. I …
    TOM: Yes.
    KEITH: Somebody had told me once of Firestone.
    TOM: Well, Firestone is one of the manufacturers. They’re out in …
    LESLIE: Of that type.
    TOM: They’re based in Indianapolis. But there are a number of manufacturers.
    KEITH: And I’m trying to find out who I have to contact.
    TOM: Keith, the best way to find a commercial roofing supplier in the city is to simply Google it. There are a number of them that we’re aware of. One that seems to be somewhat prominent is Allied – Allied Commercial Roofing. They are in New York but they serve New York, New Jersey and they specialize in all sorts of commercial products: flat roofing, tear-offs, metal roofs and so on. And they also happen to be the distributor of Firestone.
    KEITH: Well, that – you have answered my question. What does EPDM stand for?
    TOM: Ah, you’re asking the tough questions now. (Leslie chuckles)
    KEITH: (chuckling) Sorry.
    TOM: This is like the home improvement expert of the SAT question, Leslie. Well, it actually – believe it or not – I do know what it stands for.
    LESLIE: Well, the “E” has got to be like ethylene or something.
    TOM: Yeah, well, actually you’re right; it’s ethylene, propylene, diene monomer. It’s basically a very high-density rubber used for roofing products.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s got to be professionally installed; I mean, this isn’t something you can buy, you know, at the local home center.
    TOM: Not a DIY project and, in fact, I’m not surprised he’s having problems with a leaky roof – leaky flat roofs – because flat roofs, that’s what they do; they all eventually leak and they leak a lot more frequently than sloped roofs and I think that an EPDM product is the solution for you.
    KEITH: OK. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Caroline in Pennsylvania is looking to build a deck. What can we do for you today?

    CAROLINE: Yeah, hi. We have an old house. It’s an old, brick house and we want to put a deck on the back of it and we’re shopping around for decking materials and there are these composites, there’s wood. You know, we’d like to make it as carefree and maintenance-free as possible since we have so much other work to do on this 100-year-old home.

    And after looking at some of the material, we are just at a loss of what – where to start and what kind of material to build with. And we’re not particular about color and so, that’s what – well, that’s what we need help with; we need a little bit of help with what to make our deck out of.

    TOM: Well, you’re stuck in analysis-paralysis. (Leslie chuckles) You’ve got too many decisions here, so let’s make it easier for you. First of all, composite is definitely the way to go today. Composites …

    LESLIE: Especially for low maintenance.

    TOM: Composites would be used on the deck surface and the railing. The structure would still be built out of pressure-treated lumber. Now Leslie, you just completed a composite deck with Fiberon; that’s great stuff.

    LESLIE: We did. We used Fiberon decking materials for the top. We just resurfaced our existing deck. You know, we made sure that everything underneath that was made out of pressure-treated lumber was still in good shape and then just put the new Fiberon on top. It looks gorgeous. It comes in two sort of price points. They both look fantastic. You can really see that there is beautiful graining, so it looks like real wood. You will never have to paint it. You will never have to sand it or stain it.

    If you go with wood, every two years you’re going to be putting something on it – refinishing, sanding something down. I mean, there is just a lot of maintenance with a wood deck and that’s OK, because some people really like that look and want that and are committed to the upkeep. But if you’re like me and you feel a little lazy and you just want to enjoy the deck and you don’t really want to do a lot of work, a composite is fantastic. They just need a little bit of cleaning every season, just to get the yuck off that’s been on it for the winter. Fiberon is a great one; check them out.

    CAROLINE: (overlapping voices) OK.

    TOM: I’ve never seen a product that looks more like natural wood.
    LESLIE: It’s gorgeous.

    TOM: Their website is FiberonDecking.com – F-i-b-e-r-o-n Decking.com.

    CAROLINE: Got it.

    LESLIE: We went with the Tropics line, in the mahogany. It’s beautiful.

    TOM: Alright?

    CAROLINE: Oh, mahogany sounds great because we have – our house is an old, red, clay, brick house and that sounds like that’ll match it pretty nicely. Thank you so much. I had one other question and it slipped my mind. Oh! (Leslie and Tom chuckle)

    The one thing that I was concerned about – the wear on the stuff. Is it kind of like a – you know, like how fiberglass kind of chips away and the fiber starts coming up like on an old boat or whatever?

    TOM: This is tough stuff. You should have no concerns about the wear and tear. It’s really very, very durable. It’s the perfect choice for your house.

    CAROLINE: Thank you so much.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome.

    CAROLINE: (overlapping voices) You have a great day.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: And you know what? We stupidly resurfaced the deck and then went and had the house painted.

    TOM: Yeah?

    LESLIE: And of course, the painter was not as tidy as we had hoped they might be and there were footprints and paint all over the place and with a little bit of elbow grease, my husband and I were able to, you know, just scrub with some soapy water and use our fingernails, a little bit of steel wool and got all that paint off and there is no damage to the deck.

    TOM: That’s fantastic.
    LESLIE: Dee needs some help taking care of and cleaning some marble in her house. What’s going on?
    DEE: Hi. Hi, Leslie. Yeah. I have a problem with travertine.
    DEE: I have an open shower and a tub surround and from the water – it’s about 18 years old – and from the water, I guess it’s there’s a mineral deposit and where the water is going down in the shower, it’s taken off the polish from the travertine and I’m wondering how do I clean this mineral besides with a little putty knife and how do I get the luster back into the travertine where the water is hitting the wall?
    LESLIE: Well, I think first, to get rid of the mineral deposit, it is actually a simple homemade solution that you could use which is a white-vinegar-and-water mixture and that really does a wonderful job of dissolving that mineral deposit; any sort of white cloudiness that you might see around a faucet or on a shower wall. Dilute some white vinegar and you can really make a difference with that.
    DEE: Soak it with the vinegar and water? I mean, it’s like …
    TOM: Well, you could mix it up and put it in a spray bottle and spray it on there and then just sort of wipe it down. And maybe you can just kind of keep that spray bottle around to clean up after the showers. It does a great job of melting the salts. Travertine marble is a great material; you would think that as natural as it is, it would be incredibly durable in terms of the finish but actually it’s not and it does need to have a lot of maintenance.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it’s very porous.
    TOM: It’s very porous, right. There is a website that specializes in products for marble and other porous surfaces. It’s called StoneCare.com.
    DEE: Oh. OK.
    TOM: And they have a …
    LESLIE: Great website. Excellent products.
    TOM: Yeah. They have a product there called All Surface Cleaner that works well.
    DEE: OK.
    TOM: And they also have a sealer. The bottom line is it’s a two-process – it’s a two-step process. You need to clean it first, then you need to seal it and you really need to seal this stuff pretty frequently; I would say probably once every three to four months.
    DEE: Is this something I can do myself or I have to have it …
    TOM: Yeah. You spray – yeah. No, you can do it yourself. These are sealers that you basically spray on and wipe off.
    DEE: OK.
    TOM: So they’re not hard to do.
    DEE: OK.
    TOM: But you really just need to use the right product on this.
    DEE: OK. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
    TOM: I think you’ll also find too, when you keep it sealed, that you don’t get as much mineral deposit built up on it.
    DEE: Will the sealer bring back the sheen where the water is hitting against the wall?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes, yes. Yes, definitely.
    DEE: Oh, great. Great. Wonderful. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Dee. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Frank in Georgia needs some help cleaning a floor. Tell us what’s going on with the stain.
    FRANK: Hello. Yes. I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to clean vinyl flooring. I’ve used the – I guess the household brands like Mop & Glo and it just doesn’t clean it. I even have a steam cleaner that didn’t do a real good job either. I can get on my hands and knees and still tell that there’s, I guess, some dirt still in and I just wondered if there’s anything that successfully cleans vinyl flooring.
    TOM: You know, Frank, I think what you might want to think about doing at this stage is using a floor stripper; not so much a floor cleaner but a product called a floor stripper. Armstrong makes one. Of course, they’re one of the leading floor manufacturers in the country so you would hope they’d get it right. It’s called New Beginning Extra Strength Floor Stripper. It’s available online and at retailers.

    You can go to their Armstrong website and look it up at Armstrong.com. But basically it’s designed to remove really ground-in dirt …
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Any sort of build-up.
    TOM: … ground-in stains, wax build-up, any kind of polish that’s on the floor and kind of get you back to what it used to look like.
    FRANK: Now is that – and that won’t damage the no-wax floor?
    TOM: No, because it’s designed to work specifically with foreign products.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) For vinyl.
    FRANK: Well, great. That sounds like my answer then. I’ll try that.
    TOM: Alright, Frank. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, trees provide cooling shade, oxygen and beautiful views but caring for the trees on your property is important. So up next, we’re going to have tips on tree care from an expert arborist.

    (theme song)
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
    Now, maybe you’ve been enjoying a little bit of time outside but noticing that your trees are not looking so good around the house. I’ve got one that looks pretty bad in my backyard, Leslie. Every year I think it’s going to die but it surprises us and comes back in full bloom, but perhaps you are not quite so lucky. If you’ve got some concerns about trees, we’ve got a great expert standing by. You know, trees provide shade, oxygen and great foliage but summer storms, drought and even disease can affect all of the trees in your yard. And even if you’ve got a green thumb, knowing how to care for a tree can be very confusing.
    LESLIE: Especially when you’re in a situation like yours, Tom. You know, how do you know when a tree is beyond saving and what you should be doing right now to protect your trees for the upcoming winter? Well, we’re going to have the answer to those questions and many more from Lauren Lanphear and he’s the immediate past president of the International Society of Arboriculture.
    How are you doing?
    LAUREN: I’m doing great. It’s great to be on the show with you folks.
    TOM: So you are the tree doctor, huh, Lauren? (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
    LAUREN: That’s what I like to think of myself.
    TOM: Well, now is a good time to work on the trees. It’s fall; it’s the time to give the outside landscaping one final bit of attention before the winter sets in. Let’s say that you are a homeowner and you’re staring at the backyard and checking out the trees. What kinds of things should you be looking for to indicate that maybe a tree needs attention?
    LAUREN: Well, trees that have begun to drop leaves early or begun to change color early, if you’re in the part of the country where it’ll get fall color change; if that is happening and has been happening in August and is starting maybe in early September, that’s usually a sign that the tree is under stress.
    LESLIE: I mean it seems like if a tree seems suspicious, it’s something that you kind of want to act upon because number one, your house could be in danger but number two, you know, a neighbor’s home, somebody walking by. When is there a tell-tale sign that says, “Act now”?
    LAUREN: Well, in terms of hazards where you may be concerned about something falling on property or people or vehicles or whatever, you certainly want to look for dead limbs in the tree because that will begin to decay. You want to look for any kind of mushroom or fungi coming out of the trunk or the base of the tree; that’s an indication of some kind of decay inside the tree. If you have ants or things coming out of an old tree wound, they aren’t necessarily causing the problem but they’re a symptom of it and it’s something that you may want to look at to see if, in fact, the tree has got enough structural integrity to be left there.
    TOM: We’re talking to Lauren Lanphear. He is a tree expert and immediate past president of the International Society of Arboriculture.
    Speaking of safety, Lauren, when winter storms and winter winds blow across our yards and landscapes, many of us get concerned about trees dropping branches. Is there a certain amount of thinning-out of trees that’s good to do so that more wind passes through as opposed to stressing out the tree to the point where it breaks?
    LAUREN: Yeah. A couple things that can be done; certainly, thinning out is appropriate. You don’t want to remove, usually, any more than 25 percent of the foliage at any one time. But thinning out not only reduces the wind blowing through the tree but reduces the snow load on the trees, if you’re in an area of the country where you get snow; and it also allows some light and air penetration into the middle of the tree, which will help reduce some of the disease problems.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Lauren, I know this is – this might be a silly question. I know trees need water but I mean I never think about actually adding supplemental water to my trees other than rainfall. Should I be and when should I continue through into the fall season?
    LAUREN: Well, a couple of things. If you’ve been in an area where it’s been dry, as the soil loses its water it becomes harder so that even if we get rains – where I am in Cleveland, we’ve had a couple of hard rains in the last couple weeks. When that much rain falls in a short period of time and hits a hard, dry soil, a lot of it just runs off and never really penetrates. If it’s not getting down to six, twelve inches in the soil, the tree roots aren’t going to get it; it may green up the grass.

    And the other point you make is good; is that oftentimes people think as temperatures cool in the fall, that water isn’t important. They really need water up until whenever you have a hard frost where they begin to go dormant.
    TOM: Lauren, one of the questions that we commonly get here on the show is how to deal with roots that come up through the ground and break sidewalks, crack driveways. What can we do to try to eliminate that problem? Are there a certain – is there a certain amount of root structure that we can carve away if we were to excavate those areas out, without harming the tree?
    LAUREN: Well, it’s really important, if cuts have to be made, that the roots are, as best as possible, exposed, dirt gotten off and that you make a nice, clean cut with a sharp saw as opposed to ripping them off with a backhoe or an axe or something like that. You can look at it like surgery; if your doctor (Tom chuckles), you know, used a butter knife to open you up or just pulled apart your skin, the healing process would be very poor. It’s really the same for the tree.
    Also, generally, if you stay three feet away from the trunk for every foot of diameter, you will reduce the chance that the roots you cut will cause some structural problems for the tree and maybe create some dieback. So it also just depends on how close – the closer you get to the tree, the more damage you’re going to incur by cutting the roots. The less carefully you cut them, the more problems you’re going to have.
    TOM: Good point. And one final question, Lauren: is this a good time to plant new trees, in the fall?
    LAUREN: Fall can be an excellent time, particularly for shade trees. Some of the more flowering or ornamentals may do better in the spring but, again, once we’ve got trees begun to get dormant and they don’t have foliage on, they’re not evaporating water, the nurseries will be digging them and it’s a great time to plant them.
    TOM: Fantastic. Lauren Lanphear, past president of the International Society of Arboriculture and president of Forest City Tree Service in South Euclid, Ohio. Great tips. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    And if you’d like some more information on how to take care of the trees in your yard, the society has a great website: TreesAreGood.org. Love that URL, TreesAreGood.org; or they have a number you can reach them at, at 217-355-9411.

    Thanks, Lauren.
    LAUREN: Thank you very much.
    LESLIE: Well, still ahead this hour, if you’ve got a delicate project that just can’t be done with traditional nails, well, we have got a great option that works even better. It’s super-durable and very cost-effective. All of that, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.com.
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And if you’d like some access to home solutions, any time of the day or night, pick up the phone right now and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller is going to win our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, give us a call if you are working on a project that maybe has some delicate areas or you don’t quite want to see the nails that are used to put it together because if you’ve got a project like that, you know that sometimes nails just won’t do the job.

    Now, we’ve been asking you for your Liquid Nails stories and we’ve gotten some great submissions like this project from Cameron Hanson. Now, Cameron says, “I used Liquid Nails to secure miniature cedar shingles to the roof of our chicken church. The shingles were too small to fasten with nails as they split too easily. The adhesive not only secured the shingles but also sealed them so water won’t get under them and they certainly don’t blow away.”
    TOM: Cameron, that’s a great idea. We’re going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack for sending that idea in to us. It includes 11 different samples of Liquid Nails adhesives in a tool bag. Keep those Liquid Nails stories coming; you can share them at MoneyPit.com. Just go to MoneyPit.com/MyStory and if we use it on the air, we’ll send you the Liquid Nails gift pack worth 65 bucks.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Roger is calling from West Virginia and he wants to talk windows. How can we help?

    ROGER: Hello. I had a question about getting into replacement windows; that has to do with triple-pane versus double-pane. Some of the technology is a little overwhelming and I’d like to be able to understand that more clear as to which way to go or is it necessary?

    TOM: That’s a good question, Roger, and the answer is no because double-pane and triple-panes are fairly similar. Now, if you get up to a real brutal climate, like you’re up in the high hills of the north part of the country where you’re dealing with just brutal winters, you might get a better return on investment. But in your part of the country, in West Virginia and in most of the center of the country, I would say no. It’s not going to be a big difference between double-pane and triple-pane. What is more important is that the window is Energy Star-rated and it’s never been a better time to replace your windows with those that are Energy Star-rated because there is a federal tax credit that you may be eligible for, which goes from now until January of 2008, where you can actually get an income tax credit for …

    LESLIE: Of up to $500.

    TOM: Yeah, for putting in new windows that are Energy Star-rated windows.

    ROGER: Oh, that’s good to know.

    TOM: Yeah. So it’s a good time to do it.

    ROGER: Now, I was also on the internet trying to understand some of this technology that’s new that’s come out; I guess some of the gases that they put in between the panes.

    TOM: Yes.

    ROGER: And I guess there were two main kinds; one is fairly new.

    TOM: Argon and krypton.

    ROGER: Yes. Yes. And out of those two, I didn’t know – you know, you get salesman hype and you don’t know what to believe. But also it was saying that it’s not so much how many panes you’ve got but the distance between the panes.

    TOM: Listen, Roger, you know there’s a lot of science between designing a window that’s energy-efficient and I commend you for trying to understand the science but the government’s done the job for you. If the window is Energy Star-rated, you know it’s meeting the model energy code and if you go that route, you don’t have to worry about what the difference is between argon and krypton and the space between the glass and whether it’s got swiggle or whether it’s got …

    LESLIE: I love that word. You know I love that word. (Roger laughs) Swiggle. It’s my favorite. I’ve been waiting for you to say it.

    TOM: Exactly. She just loves to hear me say it. Swiggle, swiggle, swiggle.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) My swiggle. (Roger chuckles)

    TOM: But really, Roger, you don’t have to do that work. If you get an Energy Star-rated window, it’s going to meet all those standards for the model energy code and don’t try to – you know, this way you get out from under, you know, what one salesman says versus the other. Just say, “Hey, is it Energy Star-rated? What Energy Star rating does it have?” And go from there.

    ROGER: Do you have a brand that you would lean toward?

    TOM: Well, sure, I mean we like Pella Windows; we like Andersen Windows. We like those good-quality, name-brand windows.

    LESLIE: And it’s not just the window manufacturer. You have to make sure that they’re set nicely in a good frame. Stay away from aluminum-framed windows because they’re just going to cause condensation and it’s not going to be really good because they’re going to hold a lot of the temperature, whether it’s cool or hot. Make sure you go for a nice vinyl or wood-framed window. Triple-pane glass, not necessary; go for the double pane and Energy Star-rated. That’s all you need to know and you’ll be really happy.

    ROGER: That’s great.

    LESLIE: And let them measure for you.

    ROGER: (chuckling) That’s great. That folds it down into – put the jelly on the bottom shelf where I can get it.

    TOM: There you go.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) I like that.

    TOM: Roger, thanks so much for calling 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, if your kitchen is in need of a fix-up, you can update an outdated kitchen quickly and inexpensively by fixing up your cabinet doors. We’re going to tell you how, next.

    (theme song)
    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: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or head on over to the website at MoneyPit.com, click on Contact Us and e-mail us your home improvement question. Let’s get right to those.
    LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Deepak in Irvine, California who writes: “I have some outdated cabinet doors and would like to make my own doors. What is the best wood to use?”
    TOM: Ah, well that’s a good question. Generally, if you’re going to make new cabinet doors, the first thing we need to know is are they going to be stained or painted. Because if you’re going to stain them you really can’t use plywood; unless, of course, you have a square edge and you band it to cover the exposed edge of the plywood.
    If you’re going to paint it, then plywood is a perfect choice. If you do choose to use plywood, you want to buy what’s called a cabinet-grade plywood, which is a very good-quality, flat, sturdy piece of plywood; it is not the same as the sheathing grade they use for floors and walls. It’s more of a …
    LESLIE: It’s called sanded ply, isn’t it?
    TOM: Sanded ply. And it’s also available in birch, which is a nice material to use; the birch plywood because …
    LESLIE: And has a very nice grain.
    TOM: Yeah, nice grain; very flat and if you paint it, it’ll look great. So, you first need to know if you’re going to stain them or paint them and make your material decision based on that.
    LESLIE: And then think about how you want them to look. Do you want them to have glass inserts? Do you want some raised panels? Do you want recessed panels? It’s really up to you. I would do some research: look in a kitchen design magazine, go to the home centers, see what you like and then this way you can replicate those doors. I think it’s a great project and you’ll have an excellent time working on that.
    Alright, we’ve got one here from Benjamin in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire who writes: “We recently bought a foreclosure with a drilled well. The water in our area is very high in iron and manganese.” Sorry about that.
    TOM: Yep.
    LESLIE: “And the pH of our water is below 6.8. The previous owners never had a whole-house filter installed so the insides of the pipes have a decent layer of rust which is evident in the toilets, tubs and sinks. I have since had my whole-house filter installed but my question is: is there any way we can safely and inexpensively flush the plumbing lines in the house to remove the rust?”
    TOM: Not really; because if that rust is still coming through, through normal use, you’re not going to be able to really flush them out. You know, there’s no way to sort of install some sort of a high-pressure spray. If you did so, you may put a lot of stress on the pipes and cause some leaks.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And cause more problems.
    TOM: I think the filter is eventually going to catch all of that but, meanwhile, you’re going to have a lot of cleaning to do and probably a good product to use for that is CLR which takes out calcium, lime and rust. Very good on all those fixtures and faucets to make sure you get as much of that out of there as possible. And eventually, with the filtration system in place, I think that it will all go away and be nice and clean within a few months.
    LESLIE: Alright, Benjamin. I hope that helps and good luck with your new house.
    TOM: Well, humidifiers are a great way to help maintain your comfort level inside your house, especially if you’ve got dry, forced, hot air heat. But they do have to be maintained; if they’re not, humidifiers can get clogged and stop working or worse, they can actually distribute mold or bacteria throughout your house. For all the latest cleaning steps, Leslie has got some great ideas on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You want to make sure that you clean your humidifier as recommended by the manufacturer of the humidifier you’ve got. So hold on to those directions; don’t chuck them. Pay attention to the maintenance and make sure you do it.
    Now, one trick of the trade is to soak the evaporator pad in a white vinegar and water solution. Now, humidifiers often get clogged by the mineral salts – which are left behind as your water evaporates – and the vinegar is going to melt all of that salt right away. You just want to be sure to rinse well because if you don’t, your house is going to smell like antipasto, (Tom chuckles) which is fine if you’ve got your Italian grandma coming over; otherwise, not so much.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, are you looking for some fast fixes for your wet basement? Well, here’s a tip: don’t look down, look up. We’ve got your simple steps to a watertight bonus space, right here on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    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.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 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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