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What You Need to Steam Clean Your Carpets, Cautions Renters Need to Be Aware of, Fix Patio Furniture Before Storing It, 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: Happy Fall, everybody. It’s the first official fall weekend and for us, that means it’s fall fix-up season. But good news: it’s also the Goldilocks season because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold; it’s just right. The weather is perfect for you to tackle all sorts of home improvement projects and you can call us and we’ll help you do just that. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you to help kick off this fall fix-up season in your house. First up, you know you always think about cleaning when it comes to spring: spring cleaning and so on. But if you are a true money pit owner, you know that spring is not the only time to do the whole-house onceover.

    LESLIE: That’s right. In fact, now that the kids are back in school, it’s the perfect time for a major carpet-cleaning project. We’re going to give you some hints on how to get the most out of carpet-cleaning machines and the cleaning solutions that they need to run.

    TOM: Also ahead, words of caution for those of you that rent: there are big changes expected in the rental market this coming year, including increased costs. We’re going to tell you what to expect and how to protect yourself from some common rental scams.

    LESLIE: And this hour, one lucky caller is going to get a squeaky clean home – speaking of autumn cleaning – thanks to Mr. Clean and Swiffer. We’re giving away a prize pack of $50 worth of top-notch cleaning supplies, including Mr. Clean Magic Erasers which, I’ve got to tell you, are the greatest things ever.

    And if you’ve got kids and crayons and even Sharpie markers in the house, you know that these Magic Erasers can get rid of all that. They’re awesome.

    TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement question. We’re standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

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

    PAT: Oh, thank you for taking my call.

    TOM: Our pleasure.

    PAT: I have a plumbing question.


    PAT: I moved into a new home that’s 10 years old and the hot water in the tub, which is a combo shower/tub, goes directly from hot/cold to boiling; there’s no intermediate. And when I’ve had a plumber out there, they checked it to get into the cut-out to see what the shutoff valves were. There was no cut-out.

    Now, I have another one, which is a stand-up shower. It does the same and there’s no way to get into the plumbing either. So the …

    LESLIE: So there’s no access panel on those back walls?

    PAT: Right, exactly. And the plumber said there wasn’t anything he could do.

    TOM: Obviously, there’s – the valves are behind the wall. But let’s talk about the kinds of valves.

    So your concern is that you get sort of a shower shock where it goes from cold to hot?

    PAT: Well, yeah. And I don’t want anybody getting a burn, you know?

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Does it happen like when you’re in the shower and somebody else is running something somewhere in the house?

    PAT: No, no. It just – that’s the way it is all the time. It goes …

    LESLIE: Pat, have you checked the actual water heater? On the tank, there’s a temperature-demand gauge that you could be like, “I want it to be on A, B or C.” And it’s the thermostat, which tells you how hot you want it to be. And you might just have it all the way cranked up.

    PAT: No. My husband went down and looked at it and he said – I want to say 120, 140, something like that?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s way too hot. You want it to be more like around 110. But I think that you have another problem here and that is that if the valve is just going from cold to hot, there’s sort of no middle ground, then you just might have a bad valve. And if there’s no access …

    PAT: Is that the same thing as a diverter? Because the plumber said something about he would check – the diverter sometimes wears out.

    TOM: Well, the diverter is going to divert water from the faucets to the shower.

    PAT: Oh, OK.

    TOM: OK? From the tub faucet to the shower.

    LESLIE: It could be the mix valve, though, right?

    TOM: It depends on the kind of valves; sometimes it’s all in one. But I think it’s a problem with the valve; you may need to replace the valve.

    There is a type of valve called a pressure-balance valve. The nice thing about a pressure-balance valve is that once you set the mix of hot and cold, it doesn’t matter what happens elsewhere in the house, the mix always stays the same. So you can’t get a situation where somebody flushes the toilet or runs a dishwasher or something like that and all of a sudden, the temperature changes.

    PAT: Right.

    TOM: So you don’t get the cold shock or the hot shock. But I think the bottom line is that you’re going to need a new valve. And to get – to replace that valve, you would open the wall behind the bath. So if that – if there is a wall behind the bath that’s covered with drywall, it’s very easy to sort of surgically cut out a piece of drywall and access the back.

    PAT: Well, the only problem is the back of the shower, where the faucets are in the shower, is the living room wall. That’s where it is.

    TOM: OK. But I mean how old is your house? So it …

    PAT: Ten years old.

    TOM: Alright. So it’s drywall. Drywall is repairable. I understand it’s your living room wall and it’s not going to be pretty to have a hole in your living room wall.

    PAT: No.

    TOM: If you cut that open nicely, you can patch it nicely. There’s …

    LESLIE: And then repaint and you’ll never notice it.

    TOM: And then repaint – retape, respackle and repaint. Yeah, it’s a project.

    PAT: Yeah. But what if you have to go back in again?

    TOM: You shouldn’t have to go back in. It’d be nice – the perfect situation is when it backs up to a closet or something like that.

    PAT: Right.

    TOM: But if it backs up to a finished wall, OK. So you’re going to open it up, you’re going to replace the valve and hopefully you’ll be good for 5 or 10 years.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But Pat, if there’s a piece of – is there nothing on that wall? No piece of furniture? Not a bench, not an ottoman, nothing?

    PAT: The cut would be right between two doors: one goes up to the attic; the other is a coat closet.

    TOM: It’s not possible that any of that plumbing is behind the coat closet door?

    PAT: No, we checked. We were praying.

    TOM: That wall area? OK. Yeah, right, I bet.

    LESLIE: Because an access panel can be as small as it needs to be. And you can get three or four of the same mirror or piece of art or objet-type (ph) thing to put on the wall and hang them vertically as a purposeful group and use one to conceal your access panel, in the event you ever need to go back in there, which you may never.

    TOM: Now, listen, if you want to fix this, you’re going to have to open up the wall and replace the valve. After that, if you want to patch it, fine. If you want to install an access panel there, that’s fine. I’m sure there are a lot of things that you could put there that could cover that and make it less obvious.

    But I am not the least bit concerned about you completely drywalling that wall back together again. Because even though it feels like it’s an enormous project, we’re talking about a half-a-day’s worth of work here to patch a wall, collectively. Patching it is very simple. You put one coat of spackle on, you come back the next day and put another one, another one and so on. It’s not that big of a deal to cut into a wall and replace it. Don’t let it dissuade you from doing this project the right way.

    Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can join in the home improvement fun. Give us a call with your home repair, home improvement, design, décor, fall fix-up, whatever you are working on. We’ve got answers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, almost nothing can hold odors better than a carpet. And if yours is ready for a scrub, we’re going to tell you which machines and cleaning solutions work best, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Flood. Know how to open a can of wood stain? If it’s Flood Wood Stain, you’ve already mastered the hardest part. From the first board you brush to the last, Flood products make it surprisingly simple to protect and beautify your deck, fence and more. Find a retailer at Flood.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Hey, I want to give a shout-out to the folks at American Standard. Had a very positive consumer experience this week, Leslie, with an American Standard product. It’s called Americast and I don’t think they make these sinks anymore. But way back in 1995, I actually built a kitchen for my mom and we put in an Americast sink, which was made by American Standard, and it came with a lifetime warranty.

    So here’s what happened. I was at Mom’s house about a week ago. She says, “You know, my sink’s kind of rusted. I’d like you to replace it.” And I hadn’t noticed it and I looked and sure enough, there’s a couple of rust spots. So I remembered that there was a warranty on it. Don’t ask me why I remembered this from 1995 but there’s a warranty on it. And I said to Mom, “Hey, do you still have the paperwork for the kitchen?” Well, sure enough, she pulls out the receipt from 1995.

    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh.

    TOM: I call the American Standard warranty-service people and they’re like, “Absolutely no problem. Send us pictures of the damage, send us your receipt and they’ll send you a new sink.”

    So, shout out to American Standard. Way to go standing behind a product like, what, 17 years later?

    LESLIE: I mean that’s amazing that they’re willing to do that.

    TOM: Crazy. So, thanks again, American Standard. Mom is going to be very happy with her new sink.

    LESLIE: Daniel in Wisconsin is doing some work on a deck. Tell us what you’re doing.

    DANIEL: I have some 4×4 posts that are support-structured posts that have warped. And I want to take them out, replace them. And what I want to do is get an idea from you guys – there’s any product out there that I could replace these posts with that would cheer (ph) some of this warping so it wouldn’t happen again.

    TOM: Well, is it a 4×4 post?

    DANIEL: Correct.

    TOM: Yeah, they do tend to twist and warp a lot. How long are they?

    DANIEL: I would say 8 feet: 4 on the – 4 below the deck and 4 above.

    TOM: OK. And you want to use like one piece and have it go right sort of through the deck and become part of the railing structure?

    DANIEL: Correct.

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t know that you’re going to have any luck finding any better 4x4s. It’s kind of a condition that these things – that that size twists a lot. If you were to upgrade to a 6×6 and do a different kind of railing, you would have a lot less twisting.


    TOM: But a 4×4 is very, very famous for twisting and cracking and checking. I’ve seen these things twist 15, 20 degrees; it’s almost like they’re rotating.

    In fact, one time, I was putting in a railing system where they had to be covered by a PVC sleeve and we could not get the sleeve over the 4×4 because it had twisted. We ended up having to plane the 4×4 down – all the high spots – so that we could slide the sleeve for the railing system on top of it.


    TOM: So with that length, 4×4, you’re going to find a lot of twist. If you’d like to have less twist, you’re going to have to use a 6×6.

    DANIEL: OK. Second question, the original – this deck was put in a for a hot tub on top and the original construction person used 20-inch on center spacing. Now, the deck boards themselves have warped because of that, because they didn’t have the appropriate support underneath it.

    LESLIE: Because it wasn’t close enough for the hot tub.

    DANIEL: It was support for the hot tub but the spacing – see, we’ve taken the hot tub off now and the boards themselves – the decking boards – have warped. And what I want to do is – I’m asking you a question: what size boards should I put in between this 20-inch on center? Should I use a 2×6, 2×8?

    TOM: That’s a really odd size but you should be – definitely be able to do OK with a 2×6 because 2×6 could go 24 on center. So I would do a 2×6.

    Now, by the way, if you’ve only got a couple that are warped or cracked, you could pop them up and flip them over and screw them down the next time. Because the back side will typically be in almost perfect condition.


    TOM: Save some money.

    DANIEL: OK. Yeah, I’ve got to get after it and it’s going to be a nice-looking thing once I get it done. I appreciate you guys.

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

    LESLIE: Well, as summer turns to fall, it really is a great time to think about making sure that your home is clean and smelling fresh for that long, chilly season ahead. And if you’ve got a full house, you know that kids, pets, family traffic, all of that can lead to some pretty dingy looking carpets.

    Now, there are many consumer-based steam cleaners available on the market. And if you’ve got kids and pets, it might actually be worth the investment.

    TOM: Well, absolutely. Now you can rent a steam cleaner at your local home center. Sometimes, you even see them at the supermarkets near your house. But be sure to pick up the type of cleaning fluid that’s recommended to go with that particular machine. And remember that if you’ve got pet stains, there are very specific pet-cleaning solutions available. Because pet stains are a lot different than regular stains that carpets get, because pet stains have acid in them.

    Be sure to read and follow the directions carefully and also consider getting the upholstery attachment for those hard-to-reach areas, like the furniture and the stairs.

    And I’ve got to tell you, my wife and I have a condo that we rent, Leslie, and the last time we had a change of tenant, the carpets were looking pretty bad. And I hit it with a steam cleaner twice and I was really surprised, because I was actually thinking about replacing the carpets. But when I got done, they looked pretty darn good and we were able to save them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it’s one of those fun chores that’s kind of like power-washing. It’s like when you start with a carpet cleaning, it gets kind of addicting and then you end up doing the rest in your house. So it really is a fun chore to have done and something that you can do yourself.

    And you want to make sure that you’re not afraid to go over those really dirty areas more than once. Because sometimes it does take a little bit more aggressive cleaning to get the results that you’re really looking for.

    Now, remember, a little hard work now is really going to go a long way in keeping your home feeling and looking fresh for the season ahead. Because remember, this is the time of year we’re coming in with muddy boots and salt on our shoes and all sorts of gross things that really make the inside yucky. So take care of those rugs now and then you won’t have to do it again until next year.

    TOM: Hey, if you’ve got a cleaning question, we could help you with that, too. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lou from Arkansas on the line who needs some help with a home in Missouri. How can we help you today?

    LOU: Well, I’ve got a multi-level house and it has mold at the lower level.

    TOM: OK.

    LOU: It’s a living area and I cleaned it up with mold remover and bleach and all that stuff. And in addition to the inside, on the northern wall, it gets black and I had to really blast it with a power wash to get that off. But I’m concerned more with the inside, not only the mold and the odor that it creates but I’m thinking about trying an ultraviolet-ray kind of thing that I put in the furnace. Do you know anything about that or is that a good solution? Or do you know of any other?

    TOM: Well, I mean if we’re trying to solve a mold problem here, that’s not necessarily the right total solution for it. Those lights will help fight bacteria and germs that get into the air and – yeah.

    LESLIE: That are airborne. And those are usually associated with a whole-home air filter.

    TOM: Yeah. Or they can be installed separately.

    LOU: Right.

    TOM: But your mold problem sounds pretty serious.

    Now, when you said the lower walls were all coated, do you mean inside or outside?

    LOU: Well, the outside was sort of darkened and black; you could see it. But inside, there were little, tiny spots, so it wasn’t too heavily coated.

    TOM: OK, good.

    LOU: And I kind – wiped it all off and it’s not reappeared now but I’ve got complaints about odor.

    TOM: OK. Let’s deal with the outside first. There’s a product called Wet & Forget that I want you to look into. Their website is WetAndForget.com.

    This is a product that once you apply to the siding will work 24-7, from the moment you put it on, to kill the algae and the mold and the moss that wants to live there. And you will notice, after a period of time, that your siding is now very, very bright and you don’t have to go after it with a pressure washer. Because eventually, it’s just going to come right back.

    LOU: Yeah.

    TOM: The Wet & Forget lasts quite a long time and does a really good job. So, check that out: WetAndForget.com.

    Now, as far as the inside is concerned, you mentioned odor. Does the floor have carpet?

    LOU: Yes, it’s all carpeted, upstairs and downstairs.

    LESLIE: Well, that could be a big part of the problem.

    TOM: Well, the odor is downstairs predominantly or not?

    LOU: Yeah, predominantly downstairs, right.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LOU: There’s nothing upstairs.

    TOM: Yeah. See, carpet is not a good thing to put on a low- or below-grade space like that. I don’t know if it’s in your future to replace that or take it out but we much prefer to see laminate flooring or engineered hardwood, vinyl, anything but carpet.

    LESLIE: Because what happens is the carpet and the pad sit on top of your slab. The slab is hydroscopic; it’s pulling in all the moisture from the surrounding ground. That goes up into the carpet pad, goes up into the carpeting. Never, ever really fully dries out and just becomes a breeding ground for mold. And then it’s just there in the room until you get rid of the carpet.

    LOU: Will this Wet & Forget work on the carpets or what?

    TOM: No, no.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: That’s just for the outside. That’s just for the outside.

    As far as the interior is concerned, when you get done with the Wet & Forget outside, we want to also look at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. Because high degrees of moisture that hang out around the outside of the house will evaporate, go through the walls and evaporate to the inside of the house and cause high humidity inside. And that could be also contributing to the odor.

    So, look at the grading: the angle of the soil around the house. Look at the gutter system, make sure all the downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet from the house. Cleaning inside using a bleach-and-water solution to spray any suspected mold areas is the right thing to do. And then, if at all possible, get rid of that carpet and then think about, as a last step, adding a dehumidifier. A combination of all those is going to solve this for you, my friend.

    LOU: OK. Thank you.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next, hey, do you rent or maybe you just know somebody that does? If so, stay tuned because we’ve got tips on how to save money and protect yourself from common rental scams, when we welcome an expert from Kiplinger’s Finance, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by American Craftsman. Right now at The Home Depot, special-order American Craftsman windows, patio doors and accessories are 15-percent off. Whether you’re replacing your windows, adding a new room or building a new home, American Craftsman, an Andersen company, offers products for your project at an unparalleled value. Quality, energy efficiency, low maintenance and even better, great value. American Craftsman windows, patio doors and accessories now 15-percent off at The Home Depot. Valid through September 26, U.S. only. See store for details.

    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 with your home improvement question and your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We want to hear from homeowners and we also want to hear from those that are renting. Because we’ve got a big story to tell you about when it comes to renting. It’s something you’re really going to want to watch out for. A shakeup in the rental market is causing rents to rise, as well as scams to increase. And with more tenants and fewer spaces, landlords can pick and choose these days.

    So, what do you need to know to protect yourself? How can you be an attractive tenant? How can you find the best house? What’s the best way to negotiate fair rents? We’ve got an expert standing by with the answers.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And here to answer all of those questions and more is Patricia Esswein. She’s the associate editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

    Welcome, Patricia.

    PATRICIA: Thanks.

    TOM: So, Patricia, this seems like a sign of recovery here. Rents are actually going up, so that’s a good thing for America. But it does mean it’s going to be more expensive to get a roof over your head.

    PATRICIA: Exactly. It’s a good thing for landlords and it’s driven by some problems that arose – or some situations that arose as a result of the housing bust and the recession. Demand is really high right now with former homeowners who went through foreclosure having to rent.

    And also, with a lot of young people who might otherwise have rented either moving back in with – originally, they were moving back in with Mom and Dad. Now, with jobs, they are looking for their own place or they are coming out of a shared arrangement with a friend.

    So demand is up, supply is down because builders haven’t been building. And so, according to our source, rent this year will rise by a national average of 5 percent.

    LESLIE: And that’s a lot. But I feel like – you know, I haven’t been a renter for a long time. It’s been eight years that I’ve been a homeowner but I remember when looking for an apartment, pretty much I picked up the paper or found a broker and got an apartment within a week’s period. I mean is it still that quick or do I have to negotiate a lot more time to make sure that I’ve got the situation in hand when I need to find a rental?

    PATRICIA: Rental brokers in different markets told me that you should plan to allow for about two to three months to look before the date you want to move in, which is a lot more than a week.

    And they also suggest that you should be somewhat flexible in terms of what you think your needs might be. At this point, you may think you want a two-bedroom but you might only be able to afford a one-bedroom or a studio in lieu of a one-bedroom. If you think you want central air, be willing to consider window units. And try to be a little more flexible on location: the neighborhood you think you want to be in versus the one where you can actually find someplace.

    TOM: We’re talking to Pat Esswein. She is an associate editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

    Now, Pat, let’s talk about the rent. We know that rents are going up but can they be negotiated? Where are the deals these days in the rental market, if there are any?

    PATRICIA: It’s not so much that you can find a deal on rent. What you may be able to do is negotiate. If you are really – if you look like a really great, steady, stable renter to a landlord …

    TOM: So good income, great job, a solid credit history, you’re looking like a good prospect. Because I’ve got to tell you, I’m a landlord and those tests, so to speak, those characteristics mean a lot to me.

    PATRICIA: Absolutely. You want – you might want to go to meet a landlord with verification of your means in hand. Bring paystubs, maybe bring a reference or some other documentation of your history as a renter to show that you paid on time and you’re a great renter. So, yeah, you want to be persuasive.

    And then, if you – you may be able to negotiate on the security deposit. A lot of landlords now apparently are asking not only for a security deposit but the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent, which is a lot of money up front.

    TOM: Yeah.

    PATRICIA: So maybe you can negotiate on that or on a pet deposit.

    LESLIE: Now, it seems like there’s a lot of opportunity, since so much money could potentially be changing hands before you’ve even thought about packing a box and moving in – how are you to avoid being scammed? Because it seems like there’s a lot of opportunity here for some not-so-honest people to take advantage.

    PATRICIA: Right. A lot of people start looking on Craigslist and what some renters have told me is that a lot of times, the information on Craigslist is either a duplicate or it’s incorrect. And it’s also a great place for scamsters to fish for unsuspecting marks.

    So, the eternal advice “if it sounds too good to be true,” it might be. So if the rent is really low compared with everything else you see on the market, that’s a good sign. If the landlord is – says that he or she is overseas and can’t meet with you, prefers to communicate by e-mail, asks for money up front by wire transfer, those are all signs that you really want to be wary.

    TOM: We’re talking to Pat Esswein. She is the associate editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

    Pat, one more question before we let you go. In this busy rental market, does it make sense to work with a real estate agent or a rental broker to help you find the perfect place?

    PATRICIA: If you can afford it, it really might make sense. My understanding is that a lot of landlords don’t want to mess around with meeting prospective renters, so they hire a rental broker.

    So there may be a lot of nice, appropriate properties that you will never see if you don’t work with a rental broker. And usually, they charge a month’s rent. In a very tight market, with little to look at, you’re probably going to have to pay that fee. In a market where there’s more to look at and fewer renters, it’s less demand, then you might be able to share that fee with the landlord.

    TOM: Good advice. Pat Esswein from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, always a pleasure to have you on the show, Pat.

    If you’d like to follow Pat and learn more about Kiplinger’s, take a look at their website. It’s Kiplinger.com. It’s K-i-p-l-i-n-g-e-r.com.

    Thanks, Pat.

    PATRICIA: You bet. Thanks a lot, Tom and Leslie.

    LESLIE: Up next, cooler weather means packing up some of your patio furniture for the winter. But before you do, you need to get it ready for next year. We’re going to tell you how to do that, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One lucky caller who’s going to make it on the air with us this hour is going to win a great prize. We’ve got some cleaning products from Mr. Clean and Swiffer. And the six products include a Swiffer WetJet Starter Kit and a WetJet Power Pad Refill with the scrubbing power of Mr. Clean.

    The package is worth 50 bucks, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for help with your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Well, we know you love your deck and your patio and the furniture that goes on it. And it’s really a sad time of year this time when you have to start storing all of those outdoor furnishings and you know that it’s going to be too chilly to actually use them. But before you lock that shed door on your wooden chairs and your tables, why not give all of that beautiful furniture a onceover and make those needed repairs?

    TOM: Well, Elmer’s Glue, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, makes this task one that is very simple and can be done in a day with Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max, a product that can eliminate your need for hammers and nails when making those repairs. Just use it to glue the loose or broken pieces of wood furniture, including any slats that might be missing, the arms, the legs that are in disrepair or even clean breaks right through the wood.

    It’s very strong. In fact, it’s so strong that you can glue together the seat of a chair in pieces and be sitting on it once again, sooner than you actually might think.

    LESLIE: Now clamps, you really need them because they help hold those pieces in place as the glue is drying. But the best part is that Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max is fully stainable or paintable. So once you’ve made those repairs, they’re going to totally disappear.

    Cross this chore off of your fall to-do list and now you can be ready to relax when that furniture comes out again next year.

    TOM: You can go to Elmers.com to learn more. That’s Elmers – E-l-m-e-r-s – .com.

    By the way, you talked about using clamps to hold the chair together while it dries?

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You know what my favorite clamp is to use for a project like this? A rope.

    LESLIE: A rope.

    TOM: Very, very simple. Yep. Make a tourniquet out of a rope. You string the rope around the chair, because it’s big and bulky. Like how do you get a clamp around a chair? You tie the rope around it a couple of times, put a stick in it or a ruler or something and twist it a few times to make it really tight, like a tourniquet. It’s a fantastic clamp for odd-shaped pieces like chairs.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Alaska on the line who needs help with a decking question. Tell us what’s going on.

    DOUG: The cabin we had built by a local builder, it’s remote. And what was supposed to have been done was a decking adhesive used on the floor joists on the three-quarter OSB tongue-and-groove.

    TOM: OK.

    DOUG: It wasn’t done. They put nails in and I’ve asked them since if he could go back at least and – they can’t redo that unless you tear everything up because – to go ahead and put some decking screws in there.

    And I’ve got kind of two questions. One, would it be worth it after he goes through and does the decking screws to do something underneath, at the juncture of the underlayment of the underside of the OSB, along the top of the – yeah, would that be worth putting some kind of decking adhesive in? And is there a gun that’s made that you can do from the standing position to put extra decking screws in from up above?

    TOM: The answer to the second question is yes. First of all, let me explain what’s happening. When builders nail in OSB, they typically use a special type of nail. It’s called a cooler and it’s about a seven-penny common nail with a black rosin coating on the outside. And when you drive the nail in, it heats and the friction melts the glue, theoretically.

    And then once it cools, it sort of glues in place. The problem is that it doesn’t always do that and as the boards sort of move and pull in and out of the floor joists that they’re attached to, because the rosin is on the nail, it makes an awfully loud sound. So that’s probably why you’re getting the squeak.

    The solution is to screw it down. And do you have – what kind of – do you have a floor covering on that now? Is there anything covering that OSB?

    DOUG: Well, no. We haven’t got any squeak yet because the cabin was just built about – finished the floor about – roughly two weeks ago.

    TOM: Perfect. So, I’m telling you, squeaks will happen – I’ve just predicted for you – unless you screw everything down.

    DOUG: Oh, great. Yeah.

    TOM: But yes, you definitely can screw it down. Easy way to do that, by the way, would be to chalk lines where all the floor joists are, so you don’t have to guess. And then just go ahead and screw about six screws in every floor joist that goes through each sheet of plywood. So you do six on the seam and six on the next joist, the next joist, next joist and so on.

    Now, as far as the screwdriver, there is a special type of screw gun that is specifically made for this and it has an attachment that’s about 2 feet long. And it has a cartridge of screws that sort of roll through it, so you literally can stand up and walk down the line and screw the floor in; you don’t have to do it on your hands and knees.

    DOUG: Right. (inaudible at 0:32:25) worth anything to get up under the underside of the deck and put it – any glue or (inaudible at 0:32:30) the juncture from the top of the joists on the underside of the decking itself?

    TOM: I don’t think you need to get up under the underside of the deck like you were asking earlier. I think that if you screw the floor down from the top, you will be good to go.

    DOUG: You betcha. Bye bye now.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we’re in the fall season and while it’s lovely out of doors, you’ve got to keep in mind that this time of year can bring a host of dangers for your pet. We’re going to have some tips to help you keep them safe around the house, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by American Craftsman. Right now at The Home Depot, special-order American Craftsman windows, patio doors and accessories are 15-percent off. Whether you’re replacing your windows, adding a new room or building a new home, American Craftsman, an Andersen company, offers products for your project at an unparalleled value. Quality, energy efficiency, low maintenance and even better, great value. American Craftsman windows, patio doors and accessories now 15-percent off at The Home Depot. Valid through September 26, U.S. only. See store for details.

    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: Would you like to turn your bathroom into a more spa-like experience? Log on to our website at MoneyPit.com and search “bathroom shower accessories” to get tips on how to do the transformation.

    And while you’re there, stop by the Community section, post your home improvement question, just like Kim did.

    LESLIE: Alright. Kim writes: “I live in a condo. My upstairs neighbor had a pipe burst in her kitchen and water poured through the floor and into my kitchen. What are my chances for mold? The plumber came quickly and fixed it and the super used a shop vac and mops to get rid of the water.”

    TOM: You know, that’s a very common question, Kim. And the good news is you probably don’t have much of a chance for mold, because you and your plumber did all the right things.

    Now, mold needs three things to grow: it does need water and it does need air and it does need a food source. But in your case, you eliminated the water quickly and so I think you’re going to be good to go. As long as you dry it out fast like that, you should not have a problem with mold.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Peter in Florida writes: “Is there a simple way to tell if a wall is load-bearing or do I need to find the blueprints to my home?”

    Well, Peter, don’t start picking up a sledgehammer.

    TOM: It’s difficult sometimes for a novice to figure this out but a contractor that looks at your house, somebody that works on buildings and knows how to frame, could do this quite quickly.

    I can give you a very basic rule of thumb, which may or may not apply to your house. And that is, generally, the long wall of your house – the front wall and the back wall – if there is a center wall in between the front and the back – like a long hallway, for example – that’s typically the load-bearing wall. And that’s going to carry the floor joists for the second floor and then the roof above that. The short walls that go from front to back of your house generally are not.

    And remember, I said, “Generally.” But if you have a contractor come in, they can almost always tell you without the need to look at the blueprints.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So definitely stick with the pros on this one.

    TOM: Well, fall is a favorite time of year for so many of us and it’s also a favorite time of year for your pets, which makes it a good time for you to pay them some special attention. Leslie has got some tips on how to do just that, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, if you’ve got cooler temperatures where you live and they really want to make you get outside and run around, you’re not the only one. You know your four-legged friends? They tend to get a little more energetic this time of year, which means they might be getting into things that could be dangerous for them. So let’s keep them safe with these tips.

    First of all, the use of rodent poisons goes up dramatically when the temperatures drop. You know, those mice are looking for ways into your house and so you start to treat the situation in a way that will keep those rodents out. So you want to make sure that your pets don’t have access to those poisoned rodent baits by keeping those baits in a pet-resistant container. And these containers allow access for the rodents but not for your dogs or cats.

    Now, autumn is also the time of year when snakes are very active. Hooray! All sorts of weird animals outside. And you should know that if you happen to have any venomous snakes in your area, maybe keep an emergency vet’s number handy. Because you might not see what happens, your pet could start acting strange and you might start thinking that this could have been the situation. So keep that emergency-vet number handy.

    And also, when you’re doing home improvements, remember that pets can be even more susceptible to toxins in paints, paint thinners, stains, glues and more. And you want to also be sure to keep the hardware, the small stuff – nails, screws – away from any curious pups.

    You want to learn some more about pet safety? Head on over to MoneyPit.com and search “pet-safe home improvements” and we’ll help you keep your furry friends safe this time of year.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this first fall weekend with us. Coming up next week on the program, there was a time when only natural products were considered high-end for a home’s exterior trim and that is not so anymore. So we’re going to tell you about all the advances being made with synthetic trim that looks like wood, cuts like wood but doesn’t rot like wood, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2012 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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