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Value-Adding Changes to Make to Your Home, How to Remove a Boulder, Cut Down on Sun Rays in Your Home Without Sacrificing Your Views, 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: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Because we are here to help you get that project done. Whether it’s a do-it-yourself project or a direct-it-yourself project, we’ll make sure that both do not become a do-it-to-yourself project because maybe you took a wrong step. So give us a call right now and help yourself first at 888-666-3974.

    Well, in just a few days, the world will watch the Olympic Games open in London. And if you’re not a world-class athlete but still want to take home the gold, we’re going to tell you about some home improvement projects that are a surefire way to add value to your house.

    LESLIE: Plus, you can always pick up those gold chocolate coins and then just put a string on it and wear it around your neck.

    TOM: That works.

    LESLIE: Also ahead this hour, have you ever had your building project come to an abrupt halt when your shovel hits, guess what, a giant rock? We’re going to tell you how to bust up big boulders so that you can keep your project moving smoothly.

    TOM: And did you know that having screens on your windows can block sun and lower cooling costs? What? You don’t want to sacrifice your view? Well, you don’t have to. We’ll tell you how you can enjoy the benefits of screens, without the eyesore, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And speaking of views, one way to ruin the view in your living room is having a million speaker wires running everywhere so that you can just listen to music. And what exactly is a subwoofer for? Ladies, I ask you this. Do you guys know? Men insist on having it. Do you really need it?

    Well, we’re giving away a prize that’s going to let one caller turn your light bulbs into wireless speakers. What’s this? I like this.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. It’s called AudioBulb and it’s a system worth about 300 bucks. So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Mary in Kansas is on the line with an unusual siding question. What can we do for you today?

    MARY: We’d like to find out how to get cooking oil off of the metal siding. The wind sprayed it on as I was dumping the oil out of the back porch. And we need to get it off of there – it looks kind of bad – and didn’t know for sure what to use.

    TOM: I’m concerned that it may have reacted with the paint but what I would tell you to do is, first of all, is to mix up a solution of trisodium phosphate – TSP. It’s a good degreaser. It works well on taking oil stains out of concrete and that sort of stuff. And wash the siding with the TSP solution. You can find that in the painting aisle of a hardware store or a home center.

    If that doesn’t work, then you’re not going to get it off and you’re going to have to repaint that siding. And you can repaint aluminum siding. You’re going to use a good-quality, flat exterior paint. And paint the entire sort of piece of siding so it kind of blends in with the rest. OK?

    MARY: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Jim in Illinois is on the line with a garage-door question. What’s going on?

    JIM: I primed and finished the – a man door on the side of my garage.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: And I washed it all off, cleaned it all off and then I put – I used KILZ, a latex paint and then I used the MoorGlo Soft Gloss for the finish coat. And then I blocked it open all night – you know, I painted around the hinge and then on there – on the back of the thing that – the next day, then, we – my wife shut it and the next day, that pulled that paint from the door, from the back of the casing, loose.

    TOM: Oh, it pulled it right off, huh?

    JIM: Yeah, in spots. It just – and I’ve – it just didn’t seem to – does that latex, being it’s so hot here right now, does that take longer to dry or what …?

    TOM: Well, it sounds like you didn’t have good adhesion. So first of all, you’re not going to like this but the solution is to – I would take that door off the hinges, lay it down on a couple of sawhorses and try – it’s a metal door or a wood door?

    JIM: No, it’s a wood …

    TOM: Alright. So I would try to do this: I would try to sand off the old paint and rough up the surface a bit and try to freshen it. And then what I would – the next thing I would do is I would go back to the paint store and I would buy the same brand paint and primer, to make sure there are absolutely no compatibility issues. So if you decide to go Sherwin-Williams, you buy Sherwin primer, Sherwin exterior top coat and so on. Behr, Olympic, whatever it is, I would match it, because these products are designed to work together.

    And then I would repaint it. Because basically, what happened is you have an adhesion issue. For whatever reason, either the primer didn’t stick to the original door or the paint didn’t stick to the primer and that’s what caused it to peel off. So, that’s what I would do and then, yeah, I would give it a couple of days to try to dry before you close the door.

    But I just think that for whatever reason, it didn’t stick and you’re going to have to repeat the process, Jim, OK? Does that make sense?

    JIM: Appreciate it. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. 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. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we want to help you with all of your summer projects even, as Tom mentioned, the Olympics are approaching. And if it’s building a hurdle, we can help you do that, too. But promise me you actually know how to jump over them before you attempt it. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, do you need to make some changes around the house but want to make sure you get the most out of your home improvement dollar? We understand and we’ll teach you how you can bring home that gold, after this.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    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. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs, because I think it could actually make many happy marriages across the country? We’re giving away one of the most high-tech and easiest ways to turn just about any lamp into a speaker for your music. So no more random speakers all around the room: one’s behind the couch, one’s over here, this one’s got to go under something. I don’t get it, it doesn’t make a difference to me, it kind of freaks me out, it makes me think the police are coming, it’s too loud. It’s just too much.

    But this prize is awesome. It’s called the AudioBulb System and they’re LED light bulbs with four-stage dimmers that become wireless speakers. And you can turn up to eight lights into speakers for one system. It’s worth about $300, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ken in Texas on the line who’s got an insulation question. How can we help you today?

    KEN: My wife and I have an historic home. It’s on the Texas Historical Places, as well as the National Registry of Historical Places. Built in 1852. And I have 27 nine-over-nine windows with historical glass and we have to be careful about changing the look of the outside.

    TOM: Wow.

    KEN: So I was wondering if there was something I could do to maybe help insulate a little better. It’s hard of a house to heat and – especially heat but cool, also.

    TOM: So you want to keep the original windows? Is that your primary area of concern: drafty windows?

    KEN: Yes, we have to keep the original windows, because they’re – it’s all 1850s glass, you know, and …

    TOM: OK. So here’s a solution for you: this is a perfect situation for interior storm windows. Yeah, these are windows that could be mounted inside and really would not be visible at all from the outside and only put up in the winter season. And they would dramatically improve the energy efficiency of those windows. They’re all custom-made to size and they fit nicely inside those windows and they’ll do a good job of making them more energy-efficient. Have you seen those yet?

    KEN: Interior storm windows?

    TOM: Interior storm windows, yep. Interior storm windows, yep. They’re all custom-built. They fit inside the existing windows.

    KEN: I’ve never heard of them.

    TOM: Yep. They’re available.

    KEN: They cut down the UV and all that, too?

    TOM: They can. I will say this: if you can’t find them with UV-resistant glass, what you could do is a combination of an interior storm window and a window film. 3M makes window films that will reflect almost all of the UV.

    KEN: And that would go on the inside, too? OK. Very good.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a call from Tiffany in Ohio who is looking to renovate her new home.

    TIFFANY: Our search for – a laundry is very valuable to have at home for resale. This one, older home, it’s built down in the basement. Is it worth the investment of bringing that upstairs, as well?

    TOM: I think so. The more typical place for a laundry today is up near the bedrooms where you generate the clothes. The old – and in the 30s, when the house was built, it was more common to have the laundry appliances downstairs. But then after 75 years of schlepping the clothes up and down, it’s probably time that you moved the laundry upstairs.

    Now, are you going to have to give up some other room to squeeze those in?

    TIFFANY: Most likely. I just don’t know what it’s going to be. Right now, the laundry is in the basement.

    TOM: Right. But when you move them upstairs, where are they going to fit?

    TIFFANY: There is room on the first floor; it would be a small addition. If I do it on the second floor, I’m not sure yet where it would go. I need to get some architect opinions on that.

    TOM: Do you have bedrooms on the first floor?

    TIFFANY: No.

    TOM: Then I would move it all the way upstairs.

    TIFFANY: OK.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s going to be – I definitely would not move it from the basement to the first floor. I think that would be a waste; that would give you, literally, no benefit. But if you’re going to move it, move it all the way upstairs. Have it near the bedrooms; that’s where people expect it to be and that’s where you generate the dirty clothes.

    LESLIE: And I think that depending on your budget, if it’s more budget-friendly to just create a knockout laundry room with all the amenities, drop-down ironing boards, really give it bells and whistles with cabinetry and counter spaces – if that works out to be more cost-effective than moving everything, I say go with that because to me, it’s more appealing to have a full-functioning laundry space.

    TIFFANY: Interesting. Well, thank you very much. I certainly appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, while the rest of the world might see the Olympics as the best athletes competing for gold, we see it as a chance for you to bring home the gold in home improvement.

    Now, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the top five remodeling projects are kitchens, baths and other interior rooms, as well as additions and window replacements.

    Now, if you go to Remodeling Online, they report that even though the average, minor kitchen remodel is going to cost you about $15,000, you’re going to see a return on that investment of 88 percent. Plus, fixing up a tired bathroom can actually deliver an 81-percent return if the house is sold within a year from the time the work is completed. So you don’t really even get to enjoy it that long. You’ve got to do it and get out.

    TOM: Absolutely. And what’s more, a good landscaping redesign can add about 20 percent to the value of your home, proving that even if your home improvement budget isn’t up for big projects, smaller ones can also pay big dividends.

    Now, a new deck or patio, for example, might be the cheapest way to add to your outdoor living space and can therefore be a very valuable home improvement project that you can make with the budget and the space that you have.

    Replacing kitchen appliances – another good project. If you do it with ones that are Energy Star-rated, these can reduce your utility expenses and help protect the environment. And even something as small, as tiny, as easy as replacing about 25 percent of the incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescents, well, that can reduce total electric lighting costs by an amazing 50 percent.

    If you want more tips on how to reduce costs just like that, go to MoneyPit.com and search “best home improvements for added value” and you’ll get more ideas on how you can bring home the gold in your own money pit.

    LESLIE: Sam in South Dakota is dealing with a design challenge: the gutters. The gutters don’t match the drapes.

    Sam, tell us what’s going on.

    TOM: And everybody that drives down the street says, “You know, it’s a nice house if only those gutters would match the drapes.”

    SAM: If only.

    OK. Well, we had a house storm and that’s pretty common. And we had the roof and gutters replaced but the gutters are a merlot color and they felt it would be the best match. However, all our trim is this beautiful, fresh, kind of a rust color on a cedar-sided house. And I’m thinking, “Gosh, I really want to paint the gutters to match.”

    But is it possible? They come all prepared and all finished and should I just give it up and paint them the merlot color and forget our beautiful rust? Or should I just buy some really cool flowers and put them on the house and make it all kind of a fall scene with rust and merlot in there, too? What do you think?

    TOM: Well, I tell you what. If you paint those gutters anything other than white, it’s going to be a bit odd because usually, you only see white gutters.

    The other thing that would work well is if she went to copper gutters, Leslie, right? Because that would match the tenor of this.

    LESLIE: But that’s a replacement of the entire gutter system, which sounds like you just did, Sam.

    When we redid our gutters, we were given a slew of colors to choose from because they extrude them right on site and they just bring all the different colors with them and can do it in those colors right there. For us, we chose white just because it worked well with the style of our home. I imagine that your home really has a very specific look and I love that the trim is done in this sort of rust tone.

    And I could see how the rust and this burgundy-ish merlot, as you’re calling it, might not mesh well in the way that you’re thinking. But you’re right: you can go with an autumnal theme. Because I just feel like if you paint the gutters, given the wear and tear – you get hailstorms, the amount of water movement that they see, the freezing, the thawing – that paint is going to have a tremendous time holding up and sticking up. And it’s going to become more of an issue than you want to deal with.

    So if you – do you currently have window boxes?

    SAM: No. No, no. We’re kind of out in a rural area. It’s pretty much virgin – a look: virgin soil, kind of a – just a mellow landscaping. So, no, we don’t go for the neighborhood picket-fence thing at all. It’s kind of woodsy-looking but the merlot, for me, kind of sticks out.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you don’t want to paint the trim. Is it time to paint the trim merlot or …?

    SAM: I guess I might have to acquiesce to it. But I love that rust on the cedar siding. And I thought, “Well, maybe I should go down and get some – just something – some decoration put on the house, which has both colors, and then maybe it’ll fix it.”

    LESLIE: Right. That’s what I’m thinking. If you do some window boxes with some great autumnal-colored foliage, some Coleus. Coleus is a beautiful, leafy annual that comes in rusts, burgundies, bright greens. I mean that’s a really interesting leaf and it does very well in a window box. And that could sort of tie everything together.

    I think it’s probably only bothering you, so if you can sort of find a way to bring a cohesion of the two colors so that you’re happy – I’m sure that the neighbors are admiring your beautiful home for just being a beautiful home and not saying that – “I wish those two things match.”

    SAM: OK. Sounds good to me.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Matt on the line calling in from Des Moines, Iowa about water pressure. Tell us what’s going on.

    MATT: Throughout the house, my – the water pressure in the upstairs, in the bathrooms is completely fine up until I go to do dishes.

    TOM: OK.

    MATT: Once I turn the faucet on, it trickles out excess. And I’ve replaced some of the piping downstairs, so I’m wondering maybe if it’s the water heater or the faucet itself.

    TOM: So it’s only the faucet in the kitchen that this is a problem with?

    MATT: Yes, sir.

    TOM: Now, how old is this faucet?

    MATT: I couldn’t tell you. My girlfriend’s house. She’s lived there about four years and I know it hasn’t been replaced.

    TOM: OK. Have you ever removed the aerator?

    MATT: I have not.

    LESLIE: The tip of the faucet.

    TOM: OK, so that’s the first thing to do. Unscrew that aerator and see if your flow is instantly and magically restored. Because the aerators get clogged with a small bit of debris that gets inside the water. It could be a little piece of solder or a piece of mineral deposit or something of that nature and it will log inside the aerator. And it will clog it and you’ll get almost no water out of it. If you pull the aerator off and you’ve got – all of a sudden, the pressure is restored, then there’s your problem.

    Now, you want to clean out that aerator. Take my advice: take it apart like – it’s like three or four pieces; remember the order in which you take it apart.

    LESLIE: Put a piece of paper down. Label one, two, three, four.

    TOM: Like one, two, three, four, yeah.

    LESLIE: Because it’s so easy to get confused.

    TOM: It’s like a puzzle when you go to put it back together again. It only goes together one way but if you don’t get it right, you’re going to be really frustrated.

    MATT: OK, great.

    TOM: Alright?

    MATT: Sounds great. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, is a big rock getting in the way of your building plans? No, I’m not talking about an engagement ring. We’re talking about actual boulders. Now, This Old House landscaping expert, Roger Cook, is going to tell you how to break it apart, next.

    And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you, in part, by new Trex Enhance Decking. It’s now in stock at Home Depot.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, 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.

    TOM: Hey, do you need a little relaxing escape this summer but don’t have the money or time? Why not take a staycation? It might only take a little reworking of your outdoor space. You can go to our website at MoneyPit.com and search “outdoor patio design” for some tips on how you can transform your backyard into your very own private retreat.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doris from Delaware on the line who’s dealing with a dryer that thinks it’s a washing machine.

    DORIS: Yes.

    LESLIE: Tell us what’s going on.

    DORIS: More frequently now, I have puddling in the bottom of the dryer, in the drum. It seems that on the top – and I’m going to call it the rib that’s in the inside, the drum – there’s condensation that drips. There’s no wet clothes in there and it’s probably maybe four or five days that – since I have used it. But this last couple times, it’s actual puddling.

    TOM: Is it in your basement? Is that where the washer/dryer is?

    DORIS: Yes, it is.

    TOM: OK. And you must have …

    LESLIE: Is it a newer dryer? Is it a steam dryer or is it your traditional dryer?

    TOM: I don’t think it matters, Leslie. I think what she’s got is condensation and I think it’s because the basement is very humid.

    Do you have a dehumidifier going down there?

    DORIS: Yes, we do.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: And is the dryer vented outside?

    DORIS: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think it has anything to do with the function of the dryer; I think it’s just warm, moist air striking a cold surface and condensing. And so, the solution is to lower the relative humidity in the basement space. And I – that work would start on the outside of your house.

    I suspect that your downspouts may not be extended away from the walls, that the grading may be very flat. It could be very mulchy or lots of topsoil. You’re probably holding a lot of water right around the immediate foundation perimeter and you want to try to move some of that water away from your house. If you do that, the relative humidity will go down in the basement, because there’ll just be less water to accumulate at the foundation perimeter, and you should see some of that problem go away.

    And by the way, as you get into the chillier months, you probably won’t see this coming back; it’s pretty much a summer type of a thing.

    DORIS: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Just think about it. It’s like when you take a glass of iced tea outside in the summer, you get water that forms on the outside of it?

    DORIS: Right. Right.

    TOM: Well, it’s kind of like that.

    DORIS: OK. That’s something I will check out but thank you. I appreciate that. I would have never thought of that.

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

    LESLIE: Well, planning a new landscaping project and then shopping for the plants and all the materials can really be a fun project. But when you start to actually dig and then you hit big rocks, well, not so much.

    TOM: And it only gets worse if you find that you have just begun to unearth not just any rock but one big enough to truly qualify as a boulder. You don’t have to give up those landscaping plans just yet. Landscaping contractor Roger Cook, from TV’s This Old House, is here to tell us how to get rid of it.

    Roger, hearing that telltale ping of the shovel striking a seemingly immovable object can be a pretty depressing moment in a landscaping project for most people.

    ROGER: Well, do what I tell most people: sell the house and move to one that doesn’t have any boulders.

    LESLIE: Pick a new spot.

    ROGER: There you go.

    Well, you really have to get creative when you hit rock. The first thing you want to do is try to find out how big the rock you’ve hit is.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: And that can involve digging around with a shovel or taking an iron bar or go around and feeling your way out. Fortunately, if it’s for a plant bed, you may have the ability to build up on top of it or move slightly and still be able to get in. In one case, on Ask This Old House, we were putting in a wall and we had to remove some rock that was right in the middle of where the wall had to go.

    TOM: Now, if the wall is going to sit on top of the rock and the rock is a pretty good piece of the foundation, as well, is there any chance that the building inspector would let you build on top of it?

    ROGER: Oh, absolutely. But the problem is if the rock sticks out into where the wall is going to go, beyond what would have been the face of the wall. And that’s what we had there.

    So we started off by drilling some small ½-inch holes and using what are called “feathers and wedges.” It’s a wedge that slides into the hole between the feathers.

    LESLIE: And what’s a feather exactly?

    ROGER: Piece of steel that sits on the outside of the hole so that the wedge has some steel to push against.

    LESLIE: Gotcha.

    ROGER: Think of it as a steel V and then you put the wedge right down into the middle. Then you start tapping them lightly, lightly tapping them and work your way down. And it exerts enough pressure that it pops a piece of the rock out. Depending on what type of stone it is, some will split better than others.

    TOM: And how big of a section can you split with the feather-and-wedge approach?

    ROGER: Probably like a 2- or 3-inch section.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: You’re not going to get a whole lot off of there at one time. And that’s why we sometimes switch to a big compressor with a probably 3-inch drill and drill some really serious holes in there. And then you use a huge feather with big wedges and break off the stone better that way. But that’s …

    LESLIE: Now, is the goal to completely remove this rock or just get enough of it off to make your project work?

    ROGER: All we’re trying to do is get enough of it off to make the project work. If we’re trying to completely remove it, we would probably come in with a huge excavator and dig a big hole in the yard until we got rid of that stone – hopefully got rid of that stone.

    There’s one other thing that’s new and we – I haven’t tried it yet and I’ve been just reading about it. And it’s called a “non-explosive cracking agent.”

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: And this is a powder that you mix up. You drill holes in the stone and then you put it in the holes. And then overnight, it expands and exerts 12,000 psi on the sides of that hole and will crack the stone.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: Oh, interesting.

    ROGER: I’ve seen it done before but I have not done it myself yet. But it’s going to be an interesting thing to try.

    TOM: Yeah, now that sounds like what happens when water gets into soil and it freezes and it expands. If this is an agent that’s designed specifically to transmit an incredible amount of force, that would break that rock right apart.

    ROGER: Right. You think about ice gets in and over time, very slowly, it’ll break off a piece of rock. This does it overnight.

    TOM: Now, how big of a rock do you think you could split with something like that?

    ROGER: The ones I saw were pretty big boulders, like 3 or 4 feet across.

    TOM: Wow.

    ROGER: Yeah.

    TOM: Wow, that’s quite a bit.

    Now, if you do need to go out and rent some equipment to help you with this, is that something that would be at a local rental yard? Are we talking about sort of jackhammers and big compressors and that sort of thing?

    ROGER: Exactly. You can get it all from a rental place and bring it home. And it’s a lot of work. I will tell you, leave a whole day, if not two days, to do this and have someone to help you. Because running an 80-pound jackhammer for a while becomes really tiring.

    LESLIE: And if these are tools that you’re not familiar with, I mean really read the directions, get proper safety gear, earphones, safety goggles. You need all of that, correct?

    ROGER: Exactly. You have to be safe. You’re drilling a hole in rock and the rock is flying everywhere while you’re drilling. So you’ve got to be really careful and so do the people around you.

    TOM: And you might just want to consider that that landscaping project will look just as good 2 feet to the left.

    ROGER: Not a bad idea. I’d rather see you put the time and energy into plants than into the rocks. So, yeah, let’s see if we can slide the bed over a little bit.

    TOM: Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and to watch a step-by-step video on this fun boulder-removing project, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by Home Depot. More saving, more doing. That’s the power of The Home Depot.

    Up next, do you want to block strong sun from your home but not ruin the view from your windows? We’ll tell you how, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by BATH FITTER, the one-day bathroom remodeling company. Call 866-654-BATH today for your free, in-home estimate or visit www.BATHFITTER.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: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only will you get the answer to your home improvement question, one caller will win the latest wireless music system called AudioBulbs. These are very cool. They’re LED light bulbs that are controlled by a remote but whenever you want, you just push a button and they become wireless speakers for your mp3 player.

    You get surround sound from your lamps with no wires. The system is worth 300 bucks. Going to go out to one caller, drawn at random, from those that reach us this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, it’s definitely the time of year when homeowners are looking for ways to keep cool without a huge expense. And one way to block out hot sun rays from entering your home is to have a good screen on your window. The problem with that is that many homeowners still want to enjoy the view that screens may block.

    Phantom Screens has a solution. They are a proud sponsor of The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, Phantom, they make a retractable screen. And you can actually install these screens on practically any size or shape window, as well as doors.

    Now, you pull them down when the sun is beating in. Then when not in use, they go back into their casing and your view is completely unobstructed. There are a ton of styles available that can coordinate with any house design, from historic to modern. And they can be used on existing homes, as well as new construction.

    Now, Executive Motorized Retractable Screens, they’re perfect for screening-in porches or lanais: you know, a beautiful sort of three-season room or outdoor space. It really is wonderful. So whether you’ve got a porch already or you’re planning a new one, it really will work for that application.

    Now, you can mount them on the outside of your home or on the inside. And you can also coordinate mesh color and size to the design of your house.

    TOM: And as the industry leader in retractable screens, Phantom is not happy until you are. Work with an authorized distributor by calling 888-PHANTOM or visit PhantomScreens.com.

    LESLIE: Mary in Wisconsin is looking for a way to jazz up her kitchen on a low budget. What can we do for you?

    MARY: Well, I’ve kind of – I like my cupboards. They were built for the house, because we had our house built in ’64. But I really don’t want to tear them out. I want to leave them there but I’ve got to know how to clean those so they look more sparkly or at least they look better. And I’ve got a couple of bare spots that I have drawers that come out. And if you don’t shut one drawer right – you know what I mean? The other door comes out and it makes a gouge.

    LESLIE: Well, no worries. But with drawers, when they start to sort of get misaligned, there’s a good chance with just over years of usage – the drawer front is just attached with a couple of screws through the drawer box itself. So it could be that as screws become loose – and it’s started to shift around.

    And that’s a really easy fix. Pull the drawer out, move your belongings out of the way and just take a screwdriver. Generally, it’s going to be a Phillips, although because it’s been since the 60s, it could be a crosshead. So just see what kind of screw is in there and see if tightening it sort of realigns it?

    MARY: Oh, makes it – oh, without bumping into each other?

    LESLIE: Exactly. Because that could be the problem. And the same goes with cabinet doors. If you ever have a door that one closes one way and then the other one seems a little wonky – the hinges that are traditionally used for cabinetry are called Euro hinges. And they have two separate screws on them that sort of accommodate the door going up and down and in and out? So if you just sort of start tightening and loosening and see how that realigns the drawers, that could help with the cabinet doors, as well. So you might just see that.

    Now, as far as cleaning and refinishing, it could just be – are you in love with the cherry or are you open to painting?

    MARY: Could they be painted over?

    LESLIE: Yeah, of course they could be.

    TOM: Absolutely.

    MARY: Really?

    LESLIE: You would do – clean the surface well and give it a good sort of scuffing. And you could do that with a liquid sanding product. And depending on the doors – are they full overlay or do you see some of the cabinet box behind it?

    MARY: Oh, no. They’re tight. You can’t see through them.

    LESLIE: So you don’t see any of the cabinet box itself? So it’s just doors when you look at it?

    MARY: Oh, yeah. Yeah, the doors with the little knobs.

    LESLIE: Because what you could do is just take – it’ll paint easier if you take off each door. And when you do that, you want to make sure that you label each door to exactly where it goes back to. And keep the hinges either on the cabinet box or on the door; don’t completely disconnect everything. I generally leave the hinges on the box and then label it like “upper one, upper two,” so I know exactly where they go to.

    MARY: Oh, I know what you mean. Yeah, OK. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: Take them outside, put them on a flat surface, do some liquid sanding and then some really great, good-quality primer and then a latex top-coat paint in whatever color you want and that’ll do the job. And generally, I would go with a gloss on a cabinet, just for wear and tear and cleanability.

    TOM: And Mary, if you want the step-by-step on how to do that, we have a great article on how to paint kitchen cabinets, online at MoneyPit.com.

    Mary, 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. Have you ever tried to remove wallpaper that just won’t come off? I mean it’s meant to stick there, so sometimes it’s hard to get off. We’re going to give you some solutions to get out of this sticky situation, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.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, do you have a do-it-yourself project that you want to share with the world? You’re just so proud of it, you’ve got to show pictures, you’ve got to write a blog about it? We are The Money Pit community and we want to hear from you, so share your masterpiece. You can get great project ideas; you can get information, advice. You can even write your own blog and post your pictures and share them on Facebook. It really is truly about being a home improvement community here at The Money Pit. So head on over to that section today at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    And while you’re online, you can post your home improvement question and we will answer it on the show or in the Community section. Sylvie did that from Kansas. Has an interesting question. She says, “Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this. Can you paint over wallpaper? I swear the previous owners of my home put wallpaper straight on the drywall with no primer. What’s the worst that could happen if I just paint over it?”

    Well, I don’t think it’s a cardinal sin, you know, to paint over wallpaper, although it’s kind of a sloppy way to redecorate your room, Sylvie.

    Leslie, I think we’d see a lot of texture under that, wouldn’t we?

    LESLIE: I mean it really depends on the type of paper. I’ve done it on a home makeover show only because of the speed, time, got to get it done.

    TOM: You had to, right? You didn’t have time? Yeah.

    LESLIE: But you see the seams. They become that much more obvious when it’s a painted surface because, suddenly, everything is the same color rather than being distracted by a pattern or a texture.

    So the seams become visible. If a seam ever starts to sort of split open or snag in any way, shape or form, that’s going to become very obvious. If you’ve got to do it, do it. I don’t recommend it. Make it a temporary solution until you can attempt to take it off or put more drywall over the existing drywall.

    But give it an attempt. Try a steamer, try fabric softener. It’s amazing enough. You can Google it and find exactly how to mix the fabric softener with hot water and put it on and it releases the adhesive. Give it a whirl; really give it an attempt before you start to paint over it. That’s my opinion.

    TOM: Alright. Jack from Georgia is writing us and he says, “My plaster ceilings are really deteriorated. Can I put drywall over them or am I asking for a moisture problem?”

    You know what, Jack? You’re not going to have a moisture problem by doing that; that’s not going to have any effect on that. But I will tell you that I think it probably is the best way to restore those walls or ceilings.

    Now, I’ve gone full circle on this, Leslie. When we first moved into our 1886 house, we decided the first room that we were going to renovate was the office. And I’m of the mind that I like to tear it all out, go right down to the studs, start from scratch, right? And you’re probably the same way.

    But I’ve got to tell you, it was like a disaster zone, tearing out old plaster. It was just dirty and dusty and in the air and it got everywhere and it was an enormous project. We finished that up and then we moved into the kitchen and the dining room. I decided I would put drywall over the plaster and leave it there, move the trim and pull it out, extend the boxes – the electrical boxes.

    And I’ve got to tell you, it came out perfect; it looks great. And I’m convinced from that point forward that when you have old plaster, you’re better off covering it and not tearing it out. Because even if you tear it out, all those studs are uneven and you end up having to do a lot of carpentry work to get the new drywall to lay flat anyway.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Jack? When you’re putting up those sheets of drywall, you can actually use drywall adhesive to cut down on the amount of fasteners you need and it will really make a huge difference in your project.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Hey, visit our Facebook page and click on the Weekend Warrior Giveaway to win great Black & Decker powerful painting tools. We’ve got the Two-Speed Paint Sprayer there that has really easy cleanup. Giving away two of those. We’ve got a couple of the HVLP airless sprayers and also a couple of the RapidRollers. That contest running all this month on Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    That’s all the time we have this hour. Remember, you can reach us 24-7 at 888-MONEY-PIT or by logging on to the Community section at MoneyPit.com.

    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.

    END HOUR 1 TEXT

    (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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