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  • Transcript

    (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.)

    (promo/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: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Happy New Year’s, everybody. We hope that you have had a great holiday season. We certainly have. It’s time to put away the decorations, cart out the holiday tree and take out the toolbox and get back to work fixing up your home. But we’re here to help you do that because we are in the money pit prevention business. We’ve all got them. We love them. We consider “the money pit” a term of endearment around here and we’re going to help you take care of it: make it better; fix it up; expand it; decorate it. Whatever project is on your mind, we’re here to help you get that done. All you’ve got to do is pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Coming up this hour, we’re going to talk a little bit about preventing identity theft. It’s a growing crime. It’s making it harder than ever for some people to buy houses. And now, criminals are getting even sneakier by stealing the identity of kids. Learn how to keep yourself and your kids safe, in just a bit.
    LESLIE: Well, I guess identity is the new stealing candy from a baby. (chuckles)
    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, I guess so.
    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s so easy; why not just take it? Alright. And we’re also going to tell you about the one place in your house where the temperature will plummet 25 degrees just by cracking open that door. So we’re going to tell you exactly where that is, in just a few minutes.
    TOM: And in case of emergency, could the right people get access to your house? Learn how to put your address on the map, literally, for fire fighters and police.
    LESLIE: And our guest this hour is Vern Yip. Everybody’s probably super-excited to hear from him. He is the star of HGTV’s Deserving Design and a judge on Design Star. We’re going to get some ideas on what’s hot for the new year and what’s not right now for your home’s décor.
    TOM: And we’re giving away a great prize this hour to those that pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one lucky listener is going to win the Snow Joe Plus. It’s a snow thrower that is worth 99 bucks. It’s going to save your back at the same time. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Jocelyn in Utah is looking to put her house on the market and wants to revamp her kitchen cabinets. How can we help?
    JOCELYN: I have 1970s cabinets. They’re really, really dark. I’ve started taking the varnish off. Now I don’t know what else to do with them. (Tom laughs)
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: You got halfway through the project.
    JOCELYN: (overlapping voices) Friend of mine told me to paint them and crackle but I’m not sure. I would like to resell the house and I want the best look possible and I don’t know what type of paint to use.
    LESLIE: Alright, are you at a point where the old cabinet is ready to accept a new treatment or do you still need some more work there?
    JOCELYN: I’m still working on them. I have half a kitchen to go but I’m ready to start at least on the part that’s bare wood now.
    LESLIE: OK. Crackling is a really nice effect. What you can do with a crackle paint is you would paint a base color – and it can be something in a similar tone; it can be something super-contrasty, like you could do a chocolate brown and then the crackle paint and then a white on top of that, so it gets an interesting sort of contrast underneath that crackle. It is a very specific look and if you’re dealing with a kitchen that sort of has a vintage-y, country feel, it could be very nice.
    I think a big trend that we’re seeing in kitchen design are super-light, very clean cabinets. So I think if you have an opportunity to paint the cabinets a beautiful tone of a white or a vanilla – you know, something in that off-whitish area – just to kind of make the kitchen space pop and feel bigger and feel much cleaner, I think that’s going to be very successful; plus, a neutral space is very nice. And if you’re having a hard time with some of the doors, you might want to think about replacing maybe two of the doors, maybe in a key area along the line of cabinets, with something that has a glass front also; just to sort of break up the space and give it something a little bit more focal-pointed or feature-y in that line of cabinets.
    JOCELYN: Oh, OK. That sounds neat. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: It’s a nice project and if you take the doors off, make sure that you label everything so you know exactly which door and which drawer front go where. And leave the hinges on one of the items – either on the door or on the cabinet box itself; so this way you know exactly what goes where, you’re not readjusting screws. You know, put some painter’s tape on the backside of the cabinet door and on the inside of the cabinet box and put like “Door A” so you know where things go.
    TOM: And get it done, Jocelyn. And think of the good things about how much money you’re going to save on takeout food when you get the kitchen done.
    JOCELYN: I know. I’m tired of eating out. (all chuckle)
    TOM: I bet. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Ron in Alaska, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    RON: Hey, I have a big problem with my home carpet.
    TOM: OK.
    RON: You know, the main trail ways and our hallways and right by the little eating nook that we have in our kitchen. We’ve wanted to change our carpet out but it’s anywhere from $5,500 to $8,900 and I need something that will take up stains out of carpet so that I don’t have to replace my whole doggone house worth of carpet.
    TOM: Have you thought about just renting a carpet cleaner or kind of doing it professionally?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, like a steam cleaner.
    RON: We have steam-cleaned that stuff four or five times ourselves at least.
    TOM: Well, if you’ve done that – I hate to tell you but if you’ve done that …
    LESLIE: That stain is set in there then.
    TOM: … there’s no stain to remove. You’re looking at probably a discoloration that could be the result of whatever spilled on there causing a chemical reaction that has physically changed the color of that carpet fiber itself.
    RON: Yes.
    TOM: There’s nothing on top of it that you can pull off of it. You understand what I mean?
    RON: So do you have any ideas to, you know …
    TOM: How about – Leslie, how about redying the carpet?
    LESLIE: Yeah. There are kits available on the market. There are even spot dye kits where you can try to match the existing color of your carpet and just sort of work on specific stain areas. I think, for you, the best bet is probably to just redye the entire carpet a different color. I …
    RON: OK, where do you buy dye from? Where do you get that kind of thing from?
    LESLIE: There’s a website called Americolor Dyes and it’s A-m-e-r-i-c-o-l-o-rDyes.com; Americolor Dyes.
    RON: OK.
    LESLIE: You can find kits; you can find pens; you can find spot-dying kits. They’ll give you all the instructions for it. I would say try it in one room first, just to see how you like the results and make sure that you’re happy with it before you sort of tackle the entire first floor. You know, worse comes to worse, you’ve at least changed it for a little while longer.
    RON: OK.
    TOM: And Ron, remember; be careful applying that stuff. There’s a reason they call it dye.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: (chuckling) OK?
    RON: Yes. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Ron. 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. And 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.
    Now, there is one place in your house where the temperature can drop 25 degrees when you simply open the door. It’s a huge energy waster. We’re going to tell you where that is and what to do about it, next.
    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    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: Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Snow Joe Plus snow thrower worth $99. It weighs just 12.5 pound and features an adjustable back-saving handle and an ergonomic design that makes snow removal a breeze. Going to go to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question.
    LESLIE: Yeah, give us a call; especially if you’re doing some work in the kitchen and you’re hoping to improve your cooking skills. Well, here is one tip that we want you to put in your pocket and use every, single time you step into that kitchen. Because if you are a sneaky chef – and you know who I’m talking about – you’re the type of person that once you’ve got something in the oven – especially a roast and I guarantee that when you were cooking for the holidays – turkeys, hams – every few minutes, open the door, peeking in, opening the door, looking to see how it’s doing. That is what the oven light is for, folks. Try to resist the urge to open the door because every, single time you open your oven door just to see how the food is doing, your oven temperature is going to drop 25 degrees.
    Now, not only does that waste energy; it can actually result in an unevenly cooked meal. So, to save energy and to make sure that you’ve got consistent cooking times and temperatures, keep sneak-peeking to a minimum. Rely on timers, rely on thermometers and the light to help you cook up energy savings. It’s a great tip. It really will save you a ton of bucks.
    TOM: If you need to cook up a solution to your home improvement question, though, pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Let’s get back to the phones. Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: James in Kentucky, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    JAMES: I’ve got a 1968 Buddy trailer that’s semi-stuck into the house still yet. And I’m just curious enough to call you to find out whether or not it would be worth my while to pull the rest of it out or …
    TOM: James, what’s a Buddy trailer?
    JAMES: It’s a 12×60 trailer; a house trailer that was built by Buddy.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK. OK.
    JAMES: And my wife bought it about 20 years ago. We’ve been married 18 years and I’ve been building onto it ever since.
    TOM: OK.
    JAMES: I’ve taken the frame out from underneath it and the roof is still on it; the original roof. There’s an A-frame over the top of it but the original trailer roof is still in there and there’s still part of the floor there.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK.
    JAMES: But for the most part, the trailer has been eliminated. And we were thinking of selling our house and I was just wondering if it would be worthwhile to take that out or is that going to be – I mean it’s going to be in the disclosure that it was once a trailer.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. I think that right now you’re probably better off just disclosing what it is; unless it’s – is there anything wrong with it? I mean is it a problem in any way?
    JAMES: Not for the most part. It’s all just about brand new.
    TOM: Well, then I wouldn’t disturb it. I mean I would disclose it and let the next owner decide if it’s an issue or not. But I wouldn’t spend money, you know, trying to eliminate it just because maybe it wasn’t built properly. If it’s not been a problem and you say there’s a lot of new stuff in there, I’d disclose it so you’re covered and let the new owner decide what they want to do.
    JAMES: OK. Well, that’s a real big help.
    TOM: Alright, James.
    JAMES: I really like your show. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: OK, well thanks so much. You like our show and you like our answer, huh?
    JAMES: I love it. But I thank y’all very much for taking my question and it’s been a big help, believe me. (chuckles)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re welcome, James. Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Hey, is your house stuck in the 70s? Well, it could be; like our next caller Maureen who is dealing with some sticky, vinyl wallpaper. Welcome.
    TOM: I remember vinyl wallpaper. My mom had that in our kitchen. It was covered with big, yellow flowers. (all chuckle)
    MAUREEN: OK, this wallpaper – that’s what it is; big, yellow flowers almost.
    LESLIE: Oh!
    TOM: Oh, you probably have the same wallpaper we had.
    MAUREEN: Must be. Anyway, it’s vinyl wallpaper. It’s in the main bathroom. The paper itself comes off …
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, but the glue stays behind. Yeah.
    MAUREEN: But the backing of the paper is stuck on the walls.
    TOM: Yeah. Now, have you tried any wallpaper paste remover or any of that sort of thing?
    MAUREEN: Oh, yes.
    TOM: Yeah.
    MAUREEN: It’s doesn’t work.
    TOM: Doesn’t work that well, does it? Have you tried – Maureen, have you tried to rent a steamer; a wallpaper steamer?
    MAUREEN: No, I have not done that yet.
    TOM: I tell you, sometimes you’ve just got to bring out the heavy artillery with this stuff. It’s old, it’s sticky, they don’t make the glues like they used to and it’s just very hard to get off with any of the paste-remover products. So I think what you should probably do is just go right and rent the steamer. They’re very inexpensive to rent. It’s going to save you a lot of hours of hassle. And even when you get it all off, what you’re going to have to do is – you’re going to have a very rough surface underneath; even the best job is going to leave a very rough surface. So I want to make sure that you do two things.
    Number one, you want to prime that surface completely and I would recommend an oil-based primer. And then you want to cover it with flat paint; nothing with a sheen because if you put anything with a sheen on an uneven surface like that, it’s going to show the lumps and the bumps every time the light hits it in a funny way. OK?
    MAUREEN: OK. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Maureen. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Jason in Indiana is calling in about his old house; a 1940s house, to be exact. Jason, how can we help you?
    JASON: Well, I have a tile that was broken when I purchased the house. And I pulled up the tile and I found out that the wood underneath the tile – it used to be – I guess it used to be a hardwood floor.
    TOM: OK.
    JASON: And the wood underneath the tile is warped. And there’s several other tiles that are cracked, so I don’t know if it’s a good idea to just kind of sand that tile down and replace it or just pull up all the tiles and start from scratch.
    TOM: Well, I’ve got to tell you, Jason, a 1940s house is pretty well built and it was a great era for hardwood flooring. So if that is, in fact, what you have, well, getting the tile up might be a difficult job. When you do so, if you can get through that glue coat and do a real good belt sanding job on that floor – and I’m talking about the real wide, 12-inch belt sanders that you rent; or, better yet, have somebody do it for you that works with that equipment everyday because if you cough while you’re using it you could put a big dent in your floor that you can’t get out.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Your floor is going to be two inches shorter.
    TOM: Right. But I mean if that floor is in decent shape underneath all of that glue and broken tile, you’re going to have a really beautiful floor. Because, structurally, even though you might see a little bit of a warpage, you can probably sand that right out and have a nice, clean, flat surface.
    JASON: Alright, thank you.
    TOM: Hey, you’re very welcome. Yeah, give it a shot. Is that something that you’ve considered?
    JASON: Yeah, I actually didn’t consider just redoing it that floor, though; so I just figured just patching up the tile. But yeah, that sounds like it would probably be a better deal anyway.
    TOM: Well, there’s another option for you. Jason, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Pauline in New Jersey is dealing with a situation where a wall and window are coming apart. What can we do for you?
    PAULINE: Before I start, I’d like to thank you both so much for your wonderful show.
    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome.
    LESLIE: Thanks, Pauline.
    PAULINE: You absolutely have explanations that are so uncomplicated that for anybody like myself, who knows very little about fixing things, you make it so interesting that I just want to listen to it every week.
    TOM: Well, thank you very much.
    PAULINE: Yes, and I recommended it to other people as well. You’re excellent.
    TOM: OK.
    PAULINE: But now I’ll ask you my question. (Leslie chuckles) I have a side wall around a single-hung, double-pane window.
    TOM: OK.
    PAULINE: It’s a double window facing the front of my house in my living room and all of a sudden I noticed, a few weeks ago, stains on the side wall that frames the window and the caulking is away from the frame of the window, from the …
    TOM: OK.
    PAULINE: Is this a problem? There’s no water on the sill.
    TOM: What kind of siding do you have?
    PAULINE: Vinyl.
    TOM: Alright, well first of all, we want to know if there’s an active leak or not.
    TOM: Do you think it’s leaking or do you think it’s just …
    PAULINE: I don’t know because what it is, it’s not – I have a top, like a transom-type window, that’s the very top; it’s nine-foot ceilings.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    PAULINE: Then I have the top window. It’s a tract house, so the top window is not a double-hung; it’s a single-hung. The cracking is starting just above where it would lock.
    TOM: OK. What you’re explaining is normal wear and tear; normal movement inside a house. You almost always get some expansion and contraction and the gap between the window trim and the inside wall is going to move. And so, from time to time, you do need to recaulk that.
    TOM: You do that with a latex caulk. It’s a very easy project.
    PAULINE: Latex?
    TOM: Yeah, don’t use a silicone because it’ll get real gooey on you; but, basically, use a latex caulk and you can use that very special caulking tool – we have five of them on each hand – to smear it in there. (Leslie and Pauline chuckle) And …
    LESLIE: Your finger. Generally, dip your finger in some water first.
    PAULINE: Is there a special brand that’s better than others?
    TOM: Well, all of the sort of name-brand latex products are good. I use DAP a lot.
    TOM: Yep, DAP – D-A-P, yeah.
    PAULINE: And you use your finger rather than an instrument.
    TOM: That and a sponge; you know, to kind of pull off the excess. Once you do that, that will eliminate the draft and the gap. And then, in terms of the wall itself, if you’ve got some discoloration there, you’re always better off priming it if you don’t know what that is because that gives you a neutral, reliable surface on which to apply new paint. So …
    PAULINE: Thank you again for all your help. You’re wonderful and I love listening to your show.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Pauline.
    LESLIE: Thanks so much.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Happy New Year, folks. We have got a great first guest of 2010. Up next, we are going to learn the top three worst design mistakes from HGTV’s Vern Yip; so stick around.
    (theme song)
    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.
    Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on. And maybe you are having some design issues with a room in your money pit. Well, if you are, you know the philosophy: one room at a time. And well-known interior designer Vern Yip is designing his way across America. And Vern is currently the host of HGTV’s feel-good design show, Deserving Design, and he just wrapped judging on season four of HGTV’s Design Star.
    TOM: And Vern joins us now to share his design tips and much more.
    Hi, Vern. Welcome to the program.
    VERN: Hey, thanks for having me.
    TOM: So, fall has got to be a really great time for designers because there’s so much color outside to be inspired. What would you say are sort of your top three tips for fall trends?
    VERN: Well, I mean there are so many trends going into the fall but the ones that I’m really seeing emerging as kind of being the big, leading ones are: number one – animal accents and patterns are really, really big. And they’ve been big in the past but this fall they really seem to be a big home interior décor trend. It’s really, really easy to kind of inject that trend into your home if you want. They have all kinds of accessories and art work and pillows and bedding and there’s just all kinds of very good and inexpensive ways that you can inject that trend if you like.
    LESLIE: So Vern, do you notice; is it the same animal that keeps reappearing in sort of home trends? I’ve always noticed cheetah or leopard or zebra. Do those seem to be following back through?
    VERN: You know, I mean those are kind of like the great classics but now we’re seeing a lot of different things, too. We’re kind of seeing a lot of python pattern. Python is really big, for some reason.
    TOM: Oh, interesting.
    VERN: I’m not a big snake fan but (Tom chuckles) apparently there are lots of people who do like the look of python, so that’s really big. But it’s also – you know it’s also like injecting literal animal figures into your home; like statues of rhinoceroses or elephants or birds or – you know, all kinds of animals across the spectrum. And it’s one of those rules: the more exotic, the more current it is for fall.
    TOM: We’re talking to Vern Yip. He is the host of HGTV’s feel-good design show, Deserving Design, and just wrapped judging on season four of HGTV’s Design Star. That must be a fun show to work on.
    VERN: Oh, it is a total blast to work on because every season we have amazing contestants but this season it was truly a privilege to be a judge on the show. The level of talent this year was so much higher than it’s been in seasons past; and it’s always been great but this year the designers really, really brought their A game. And of course it was super-fun being able to co-judge with Candace Olson and Genevieve Gorder because we all have the same job. We all know how difficult it is to be a designer on television and what it takes to have your own show. So we had a great time doing it this year.
    LESLIE: Oh, that’s good. Vern, you know, you’re such an influential designer and I think so many people really trust what you recommend and how you encourage folks to find what it is that inspires them in their own homes. Do you see that once you sort of launch a homeowner in the direction of what it is that is driving their design look, that they make mistakes; that they’re over-indulging in things that they like or taking too much of your ideas and going too far? Where are the homeowners at right now?
    VERN: You know I mean there are mistakes that I see in a lot of people’s homes. First off, your home should never have to feel like it’s just one style. A lot of people feel like they have to dedicate themselves to having everything in their house or everything in one room be completely contemporary or completely traditional. And the truth of the matter is – we’ve been seeing this in design for a while now – you can really mix and match styles in one home and even in one room. It really should just be a reflection of who you are.
    And a second thing that just really drives me a little bit crazy is (Leslie chuckles) it’s absolutely OK not to have everything in a room match. You know, the days where you were buying the dining room table with the matching chairs and the China cabinet and the sideboard; those days are kind of gone. Now it’s really about mixing and matching things to create that unique look that’s reflective of you; that’s sophisticated and also happens to be also be a very environmentally friendly way to go. Because you can then mix things that you already have with some new things.
    TOM: You know, I imagine it takes a certain amount of courage on the part of homeowners to do that. I mean when you buy something that matches, you don’t have to worry about it not matching because it comes in a set. But when you’re setting off to assemble things that are not necessarily designed to go together, it does take a little bit of guts to go that way. Are you finding that homeowners are being a little more creative and taking on their own design products; feeling a little more confidence to do that now because of the influence of shows like yours, shows like Leslie has done and programs like ours?
    VERN: Absolutely, because I think that the message has been being delivered for a while now; where your show and our shows – everybody sort of encourages you now to express yourself and to not be afraid to mix that great garage-sale find with a beautiful table that you maybe inherited from your grandmother. I mean it’s really about sort of identifying some common links and then bringing elements together so that it’s sort of unique to your home.
    TOM: So what’s the new project on your horizon right now, Vern?
    VERN: I’ve been working on a lot of things. I just got back from L.A. not that long ago. I was shooting several episodes of a new series that’s premiering next year on HGTV called HGTV Challenge; where we take an HGTV super-fan – somebody who’s watched endless hours of the programs and they now think to themselves, “Well, you know, I can do that.” We fly them out to L.A. and we give them four days, a budget of $7,500, the assistance of a carpenter; and then they bring onboard an HGTV personality like myself to act as a sounding board; and then they’re challenged to transform somebody’s room. So it’s a really fun program (Leslie chuckles) because you kind of get to see all the super-fans at work.
    LESLIE: That’s great. And you know, you have to be a pretty big fan to be willing to have your house be the guinea pig in the experiment as well. (Tom and Vern laugh)
    TOM: Certain amount of courage there; you know, [certain amount of guts] (ph).
    LESLIE: Seriously.
    TOM: Alright, well that’s terrific. Vern, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Folks want to follow your career, see what you’re doing next, how should they do that?
    VERN: Yeah, I mean always go to the website, HGTV.com; but you can also visit ILoveHGTV.com for the latest on your favorite shows and what’s happening with folks on the network. And if you go right now, you can enter to win an “I Love HGTV” t-shirt.
    TOM: Sounds good. Vern, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. You’re welcome to come back anytime.
    VERN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
    TOM: Alright.
    Vern Yip, host on HGTV. His show is called Deserving Design and he just wrapped judging on season four of HGTV’s Design Star.
    LESLIE: Hey, Vern, great tips. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    Up next, folks, we want to help you protect yourselves against identity theft because con artists – get this – they’re targeting your kids, so stay tuned.
    (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.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Leslie Segrete.
    LESLIE: And I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    TOM: No you’re not.
    LESLIE: So says this piece of paper. (chuckles)
    TOM: But I guess you could be if you stole my identity.
    LESLIE: Indubitably.
    TOM: And we’re making a point here because identity theft is a growing crime and it’s very hard to track normally; but when the criminal steals the ID of a child, you might not even realize it until decades later. Imagine applying for your first car loan and learning that you are already 40K in debt. That’s what happened in one case.
    The good news is that there are some ways to prevent child ID theft and some signs that you should look for that could make you pretty suspicious.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. First of all, if you start getting an earnings report from the Social Security Administration for your child and he or she has never worked because, say, they’re two, that is a giant red flag. Now if anyone ever asks for your child’s social security number, make sure you ask why. Don’t just give it blindly.
    You know, in one case, a troop leader got this info under the ruse of needing it for medical forms and then, instead, stole the IDs of several of the kids in the troop. I mean how crazy is this?
    Now, you can also put a freeze on your child’s credit. This way, no one will be approved for credit under that social security number until you lift that freeze. And lastly, don’t let your child carry his or her social security card. Lock them in your lockbox, like Al Gore told us to. (Tom chuckles) Lock them in your lockbox and then never, ever let them give out this information online or to anyone without your approval.
    TOM: And you know, one more thing you can do. Identity theft protection is really a good investment right now and we are fans of the LifeLock Program. So you might want to give these folks a call. They have an offer now where you can get 30 days free. The number is 800-978-8441. That’s 800-978-8441. This way, you’re going to have a service sort of standing by there 24/7 in the background protecting you and your kids from identity theft. Again, that number is 800-978-8441.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Jean from Illinois is calling in with a concrete question. How can we help you today?
    JEAN: Yeah, I’ve got about a half-inch crack on my patio.
    TOM: OK.
    JEAN: And I’ve tried everything you can imagine to caulk it – I’ve tried concrete, I’ve tried patch, I’ve tried everything in the store – and it separates over the winter.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, well you’re trying the wrong products. I don’t know what you’ve been putting down there. Caulk is not the right product, concrete is definitely not the right product. The only products that are going to work here are epoxy patching compounds because they adhere permanently to the old, deteriorated concrete surface and they do not separate. They’re not – water can’t get into these products, so there’s nothing to freeze and split them apart.
    So, what you want to buy here, Jean, is an epoxy patching compound and if you can’t find one at the store, there’s a company called Abatron that sells them online – Abatron.com. They have a product called Abocrete that’s a liquid epoxy that’s blended with sand that works very, very well here. You could mix it up kind of loose if you need a thin layer or thick if you’ve got to really build up an area that’s been deteriorated. That will fix it once, it’ll fix it right and you won’t have to deal with it again. OK?
    JEAN: OK, and I can only order that online?
    TOM: There’s probably local distributors but I would go to the Abatron website and find out where there’s one in the Illinois area. OK?
    JEAN: OK. Thanks so much. That’s what I thought. I kept asking about epoxy and they said, “No, no, no.” Because I know how epoxy works.
    TOM: Yeah, next time listen to that little bird in your head because it’s always going to be right.
    JEAN: Yeah. Yeah. OK, thanks so much you guys.
    TOM: Jean, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Robert in Virginia needs some help with a project. What can we do for you?
    ROBERT: Well, thank you for taking my call. I really appreciate it.
    My problem is that we built a new home and during the course of the construction the hardy plank siding that was to be applied came into contact with some of our famous Virginia clay soil that …
    TOM: Oh, the red stuff.
    ROBERT: The red stuff.
    TOM: (chuckling) OK.
    ROBERT: And it seems to have stained it in a few spots and we can’t get it off.
    TOM: OK.
    ROBERT: And I don’t know if I have to paint the whole daggone thing over or what do we need to do?
    TOM: Well, not yet. There’s actually a good product that Krud Kutter makes that’s specifically designed for removing stains from red clay. You can go to their website …
    LESLIE: Yeah, on all types of surfaces like concrete, clothing, everything, stucco.
    TOM: You can go to their website at KrudKutter.com and that’s spelled with a K. So it’s K-r-u-d K-u-t-t-e-r. And they make a lot of different cleaning products but one of these – what they call a specialty product that they sell – is the Krud Kutter Red Clay Stain Remover and that should be probably your best bet for trying to pull those stains out. Of course, you can always go the painting route but we’d like to see if we can get it lightened up first and that might be a good way to start.
    ROBERT: Thank you very much. That’s what I’ll do next.
    TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    So, what are you tackling on your New Year’s resolution home improvement to-do list? Maybe one of those things are identifying those weird black marks on your walls. Is it mold? Is it soot? Well, we’re going to tell you how to tell the difference and how to get rid of it for good, next.
    (theme song)
    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.
    TOM: Hey, in 2010 are you thinking about doing some kitchen renovation? We’ve got some ideas that won’t break the bank; online at MoneyPit.com. Simply search “kitchen renovations on the cheap.”
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And while you’re at MoneyPit.com, click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and you can shoot us your question by e-mail. And we always answer them on the show and I’ve got one here from Phil in Brick, New Jersey who writes: “I have noticed on my ceiling, something like black soot lines coming from the edge of the wall about two feet up along the ceiling rafters. I notice black from my vents higher in the ceiling but they are air conditioning vents. Any clues what this might be?”
    TOM: Yes. What you’re seeing is essentially dirt. And it’s not like you’re a bad housekeeper here, Phil (Leslie chuckles) but what happens is you get soil that gets in the air, you get dirt that gets in the air and then you have a difference in temperature between where the rafters are and where the insulation is. And the edge where the beam is, that edge of the wall or the ceiling that’s right against the beam, is a little colder; so as the convection of the heating system moves that dirty air up to the ceiling, it sticks to the rafter area but it doesn’t stick to the areas aside from it, so you get this sort of black stripy effect, as a result.
    LESLIE: I mean what can you do aside from more insulation or heating issues to sort of correct this problem?
    TOM: It’s pretty common and it takes an awful long time for it to build up. So I would just clean it and move on. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to repeat very, very quickly. You may end up having to do a cleaning job every year or two because it just takes a long time. It’s not an area that people think they have to clean but it is and it actually helps when you do.
    LESLIE: Alright. Next up we’ve got David in Alaska who writes: “How can I soundproof our bedroom from highway noise?” It’s funny. When I think of Alaska, I think of quiet. (chuckles)
    TOM: Apparently not where Dave lives. And how do you do that? Well, there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, if you want to do a construction project, there’s a product out there called Green Glue and it’s essentially a soundproofing glue and what you end up doing is putting a second layer of drywall on top of what you have now and that creates sort of an insulating effect between the first and second wall, so to speak. And that actually will absorb some of that noise and quiet it down.
    You can also do something a little less expensively; just with maybe some heavy drapes, though. Right, Leslie?
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? There’s another thing that you can do. I did a media room for a client in Manhattan and I did an application to the wall that was sort of like a fabric acoustical wall panel.
    TOM: Right.
    LESLIE: And I did it with some Homasote to act as the sound-deadening material – of course there are other things that you can buy that would work the same way – and a plastic track that I then snapped fabric over. And I mean you could do a series of panels like that. It’s very tailored. It’s beautiful. Their website is AcousticalSurfaces.com. Or you can hang some beautiful drapes just for some décor. I mean there’s a lot of great options; so, hopefully, you’ll get a good night’s sleep, David.
    TOM: Well, if you had a fire or other emergency at your home, could the right people find your house and quickly? Maybe not. Leslie is going to give you some tips, though, to make that very simple problem go away, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. This is pretty serious, guys.
    You know, residential fires, they reach an all-time high during the winter. So you don’t want to make it hard for emergency crews to find your house, just in case this unthinkable scenario – I mean nobody wants to think about it but it could happen and it could happen to you. So here’s what you need to do.
    You want to place large numbers on your home or on your mailbox. Now, if you have a long driveway or even an obscure entranceway, be sure that your address is in plain view from the street and well lit.
    Now, some communities even offer to spray paint your house number on the curb near your home with bright, reflective paint. Go to your town, find out if they do this; if they do, take advantage of it. Because God forbid something happens to you or your home or there’s something wrong and you need to get help. You want to make sure that they can find you.
    TOM: Good tips.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some tips on the huge benefits of tankless water heaters. They are definitely more energy-efficient than a tanked water heater and you can even get the government to help pay for it. We’ll tell you how on the next edition of the program.
    Happy New Year, everybody! 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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