Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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: What are you doing? What are you tackling around your house? Take a look around. What’s the one thing you’d like to get done? Call us with that question. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: So, Tom.
LESLIE: I have to tell you, I have lawn envy. I’m the one with the lawn envy.
TOM: You have lawn envy?
LESLIE: I do. It’s terrible. Every other house on the block has these beautifully manicured lawns and everything that I try to do, nothing seems to work. And I look at everybody’s beautiful, green lawns and I get so mad and I’m almost boiling on the inside. But I try to keep it in and I don’t do anything malicious. I just wish and wish that my lawn could look like that.
But you know what? You don’t have to have a lot of time to keep your lawn looking lush and green all season. But you do need to have the right products and, clearly, I’m not choosing the right products.
TOM: Well, you’re in luck because coming up later this hour, we’re going to hear from a lawn care expert. He’s with Vigoro and he’s the guy on his block that everyone hates for having such a nice lawn. But he has some great tips and products that you can use to make sure you’re the envy of all your neighbors, too.
LESLIE: It’s so funny, there’s that one commercial on TV where they show a beautiful green lawn and they’re like, ‘Ooh, look how nice your lawn is.’ And they show a family having a wedding on the lawn.
LESLIE: And then they’re like, ‘Car, car!’ because it’s totally not their house. (laughing) So it’s true. If you’ve got …
TOM: Then they bolt, huh? (laughing)
LESLIE: … that nice lawn you never know what’s going on when you’re not there.
Well, this hour, we’ve got a great prize for you. It’s going to be totally free for you and it will make vacuuming your house a breeze.
TOM: It’s the bagless Vax X5 with a HEPA filter. It’s worth almost 300 bucks. It could be yours if we answer your question on the air.
So Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Kendra in Maryland has a kitchen question. How can we help?
KENDRA: Hi. My husband and I are renovating our kitchen. And we bought a microwave that goes over the stove so it has a ventilation hood built in.
LESLIE: Yeah, except it ventilates it right back into the kitchen, doesn’t it?
KENDRA: Well, there’s an option that you can ventilate it to the outside, which my husband feels strongly about using because we have a gas stove.
KENDRA: But we have plaster and lath walls. It’s sort of an old house.
KENDRA: And so, other than having exposed duct work, we were trying to think of other options that we could use to ventilate it to the outside. And I was also wondering how important is it to ventilate it outside.
TOM: Well, your real question is, here, is whether your husband is right or not?
KENDRA: Yeah. (laughing)
TOM: Well, Kendra, I would say that it probably is a good idea to ventilate to the outside because the recirculating types of kitchen exhaust fans, frankly, don’t do that much. They don’t do a very good job of taking odor, taking steam …
LESLIE: No, it takes the odor and sends it to the rest of the house …
LESLIE: … because it’s forcefully, now sending it back into the kitchen.
KENDRA: (overlapping voices) Right. (laughing) Right.
TOM: That’s right. As if there wasn’t enough air pressure behind it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s like and wait until you cook seafood. It’s like excellent.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah.
KENDRA: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM: No, I do think it’s a good idea to vent it to the outside. And I don’t … I’m not sure what your hesitation is for cutting the hole in the wall. It’s not that bad. Houses are designed to have holes cut in them all the time. If it’s done properly, it shouldn’t be an issue. Even though you have plastic – plaster walls …
TOM: … those walls can be successfully cut through. It can be framed out properly. It can be ducted properly to get that passageway right through to the outside.
TOM: The fans, today, have dampers on them so when the dampers close, it shouldn’t even have drafts that come back into the house.
KENDRA: Oh, great. Okay. So you’re saying that it’s okay for us to just cut through the plaster and lath the three inches or whatever to put the ducts in there.
TOM: Yeah. It absolutely is.
TOM: Now, the only thing you have to watch out for is whatever happens to be in that wall.
TOM: When you open it up, it would be bad if there was a stud in the middle because that makes it a little more complicated and you’d have to frame around that.
KENDRA: Okay. Okay.
TOM: If there was electrical wiring running through there, you know. All of the normal cautions apply that you would have if you cut into a wall for any reason.
TOM: So, presuming you can get all that stuff out of the way …
TOM: … and you can … I would also tell you to make sure that you’re ducting through that. So you don’t want to leave like a wood hole through there. You want to make sure that there’s a metal duct that goes through that section …
KENDRA: Right, okay.
TOM: … so … the reason for that is because you don’t want grease to get into the wall cavity. That could be a fire hazard.
LESLIE: Well, also, then the walls would absorb all of the odor.
LESLIE: At least in metal, it contains everything.
KENDRA: Right, right.
TOM: Okay, Kendra?
KENDRA: Okay, well thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
KENDRA: (chuckling) Okay.
TOM: Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Tom in California’s looking for some alternative energy. How can we help?
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Hi. Yes, I’m interested in finding out about solar panels for the roof and whether or not there are batteries that are available in larger sizes for more capacity holding. And I have no idea what it would cost to put that system in.
TOM: Well, there’s a lot of different types of solar collectors, Tom. You know, in California, you’re probably going to want to take advantage of a hydronic solar collector, where you basically use it to preheat your hot water for domestic needs. And there’s also ones that can deliver electricity. Those tend to be the most expensive because, as you say, the solar cells and the batteries all add to the hard cost. But there are a lot of benefits to solar energy today and the government actually, in a lot of the states in the country, has offered a lot of rebates and tax incentives to put solar panels on. So I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s definitely worth something investing in.
I know in my home state, there’s a 70 percent credit on your … on your … excuse me, a 70 percent rebate for the cost of putting solar in. So in our state, the government’s making it very inexpensive to do this. So I definitely think it’s a good idea and something you should look into.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Oh, yeah. Fine. Do you have any idea how much the initial cost is?
TOM: Well, it really is depending on how much power you want to deliver.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: It’s electric heat. It’s air conditioning. It’s everything. The whole house is electric. I’d like to be able to tear up the electric bill when it comes.
TOM: Okay, Tom, so your question is, first of all, is it worth putting solar panels in to offset your electrical cost? And really, how much are you going to get out of that if you go through all the time, the trouble and the investment. Correct?
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Yes, it is. Yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, we should understand the way these solar systems work. I mean, with the modules that are mounted on your roof, they basically convert sunlight into DC power. And then, basically, there is another part of this that connects that into the alternating current that is used to run your house.
Now, there is something known as net metering. And that means that if you generate excess power, that the excess power can be fed back to the power company. So basically, you’re supplementing your connection to the utility by using solar panels.
The panels are pretty large so, visually, you have to make sure it’s something that you’re going to want to deal with. The panels, in size, are about 120 square feet. They’re usually about two-and-a-half feet tall and they are usually 10 or 12 feet long each. And to figure out how much of those you need, you basically take your daily kilowatt usage for your house – how many kilowatts you’re using a day in your house – and you divide it by .25 because that’s the size … that’s the number of kilowatt hours you need to generate to be able to keep up with your demand.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Okay.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Yeah. I sincerely appreciate it. Can these be mounted to a south facing wall, also?
TOM: You know, I think they can. But you have to, then, watch your roof overhangs because that’s going to block a lot of the sun. The best coverage would be – the best coverage would be on your roof.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Yeah, I know. But the roof faces west and east. It’s a slanted roof.
TOM: I still think that you’re probably better off putting them on the west side of the roof than putting them on the south wall.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Oh, okay. Wonderful.
LESLIE: And Tom, there’s another website – it’s called solarexpert.com – and if you surf around that website a little bit, you’re going to find a whole worksheet area where you can size your own solar electrical system. So you can find worksheets for the electrical load, the battery sizing, the solar module sizing, solar charge, solar DC to AC and solar electrical wiring guide. So it really is a wealth of information and it’s a California-based company so you’ll have a lot of information from them. It’s Go Solar Company – solarexpert.com.
TOM IN CALIFORNIA: Yes. Thank you very much for your help. I sincerely appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, Leslie, it’s the fastest growing crime in America and it could leave your bank account totally wiped out and your credit cards maxed out before you even know that there’s anything wrong.
LESLIE: It’s really scary and what we’re talking about is identity theft. It’s very easy for an ID thief to strike. Coming up after the break, what you can do to make it harder.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by The Home Depot. You can do it, we can help.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: So Tom, here’s the tip. This is what we’re trying to help people to avoid identity theft. Are you ready?
TOM: I’m ready.
LESLIE: One person’s mail – your mail, folks – is another person’s ticket to identity theft. Why? Because that preapproved credit card application or any other piece of mail that might have your social security number – like a medical insurance bill; I mean, think about it. They have a lot of information on that. This is all a thief needs to open a line of credit in your name and that’s it. He’s charging to your account.
TOM: And the best time for an ID thief to strike is when you are away. So always make sure your mailbox is secure. Stop delivery of the mail while you’re gone or have someone get the mail for you. I also think it’s a good idea to have a shredder. Do you have a shredder?
LESLIE: I do have a shredder and my shredder actually does credit cards and any sort of CDs or discs that might have anything like that. But I tend to not shred everything that comes in. If it’s like a bill or a tear-away from a bill, I’ll shred that. But if it’s like junk mail, I tend to rip it up and then shove it in the recycler.
TOM: Yeah, but apparently, even junk mail can contain identifying information. And …
LESLIE: I didn’t even realize that. I guess I need to pay much more attention to the junk mail.
TOM: … you should be shredding all of that stuff. Just make more shredded paper. You’ll find something to do with it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And you know what? It’s really fun. And actually (laughing) for Valentine’s Day last year …
LESLIE: … or this past year, actually, I made a gift for my honey and I put everything inside. All of our shredded papers. Like I made a little basket and base; I used all the shreddings.
TOM: (laughing) You’re a nut job. (laughing)
LESLIE: So there’s use for it. It doesn’t just have to go to the recycling bin.
TOM: So, coming up in our next e-newsletter, if you think your identity’s been stolen and you’re wondering what to do, we’re going to help you. Tips on how to recover that stolen identity, coming up in next week’s e-newsletter.
Don’t have it? Sign up for it. It’s free.
LESLIE: Yeah. And another thing that’s free is our fantastic prize we’re giving away this hour. It’s the Vax X5. It’s a super vacuum worth about 300 bucks. It’s got an 11-foot cleaning wand so you don’t have to stretch and bend and reach all awkwardly. It’s got a 27-foot cord that retracts with an easy-to-use foot control. And the best thing ever is that there are no bags. When it gets all filled up with dirt, you just press a button and it dumps it right out the bottom. It couldn’t be easier. There’s a HEPA filter so you know it’s nice for the air quality in the house. Again, worth 300 bucks but yours for free.
TOM: Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in Virginia finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And you’ve got an electrical question. How can we help?
JIM: Yes. Actually, I have two questions and I know you’re … they’re slightly a little different from what your … I told your producer. But hopefully, you can help me.
The first question is I visited a model home recently and they had actuators on the first step and the top step that turned on the lights in the stairway.
JIM: Do you … is that a … do you know where I could pick up something like that or is that an application that you would recommend?
TOM: Those are called OC sensors. It stands for occupancy sensors.
TOM: You often see them in – they’re like motion detectors and you often see them at staircases. You’ll also see them in bathrooms or places like that so that when you walk in …
LESLIE: Or closets.
TOM: Yeah, or closets. So you walk in, it’ll pick up the movement. They come in different degrees in terms … like the electric eye has a defined field and some of them are narrow and some of them are really wide and some of them are adjustable so you can control where somebody has to actually walk to trip on the light.
LESLIE: And how long it’ll stay on.
TOM: Yeah, and how long it stays on and all of that.
JIM: (overlapping voices) Right. Now this … this was actually a pressure sensor that … you don’t know anything like that?
TOM: You mean on the steps itself so that when you stepped on it, it did that?
JIM: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
TOM: Huh. Well, that’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those but it sounds like … somewhat like the same technology they would use for an alarm system.
TOM: You know, I think that might be a little more difficult to find than an occupancy sensor which is fairly common. You’ve probably seen them around; you just didn’t realize them. They just look like …
LESLIE: They’re even really common in security systems. They sort of trigger, if you have a system on your wall that will let you know such and such has movement in what area. We have one in our stairway that lets you know if somebody’s walked by. So it’s sort of the same type of concept. It almost even looks the same. It’s a little rounded unit with a light on it.
JIM: Right. Yeah, I’ve seen something like that. And if you don’t mind, I have another question.
TOM: Sure, go ahead.
JIM: Okay. Regarding HVAC systems. I have a local code that says I have to have a fireblock going up the wall …
JIM: … into the ceiling.
JIM: But I want to … but I want to run an HVAC duct from the ceiling down the wall.
JIM: How do I get past the requirement to have a fireblock?
TOM: I don’t think you have to have a fireblock if there’s a duct that’s … a continuous duct that goes through the stud bay from top to bottom.
JIM: Okay. And if … and if I want to actually go …
TOM: (overlapping voices) It would only be for an open stud bay.
JIM: And if I want to go through a 2×4, is there an application that I can … how do you get through the 2×4?
TOM: Now, is the 2×4 that you want to cut through one of the vertical studs?
JIM: It’s one of the horizontal studs that go across …
TOM: You just break it out of the way.
JIM: Break it out.
TOM: Yeah, one of the … one of the fireblocks? You just take it out of the way.
TOM: It’s not load bearing. That’s just a fire stop. The fire stops are important in open bays.
TOM: But if it’s not … if you’re going to run a duct inside of it, then it’s no longer open.
TOM: Alright, Jim?
JIM: (audio gap) lot. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
TOM: (overlapping voices) There you go. You’re very welcome. Two questions for the price of one.
JIM: There you go.
TOM: (overlapping voices) 888-666-3974 is the telephone number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dick in Georgia has a flooring question. How can we help you?
DICK: Hey, I’ve got a … the first house I’ve ever had is … and it’s not on a slab. And when I walk on the floors – a rather large house; a brick house – but when I walk in the room, any room on the bottom floor, everything on the coffee table seems to vibrate. (laughing) I’m trying to figure out is there anything I can do to stop the vibration or make it …? I’ve been in other houses that aren’t on slab and I don’t feel the same thing; I don’t hear the same rattling.
TOM: So what kind of floor structure do you have?
DICK: What kind of floor structure? It’s … I’m not sure. It’s up on …
TOM: Is it over a crawl space or a basement?
DICK: It’s over a crawl space. I’m sorry. Yeah.
TOM: Alright. So, what you’re going to need to do is this, Dick. You need to go down in the crawl space …
TOM: … and figure out this area where the loose flooring … or the loose floor is.
TOM: And then you’re going to construct a girder underneath those floor joists. Now, a girder is going to go perpendicular to the floor joist.
TOM: And what it does is it sort of divides the span in half. Now, because it’s not really going to be taking a lot of strength and a lot of weight, you don’t have to do traditional footings that are down two or three feet. You can probably pour a small pad. Just mix up cement by hand that’s maybe, you know, one to two feet square so you have kind of a solid surface to block against.
TOM: And then you’re going to put a girder, basically, under those floor joists. And what that’s going to do is that’s going to take the bounce out of the joist. You’re not, again … you know, if you were putting in a dishanon (ph) and you needed to install a girder, you’d have to do a lot beefier job. But in this case, all you’re doing is taking the bounce out of the floor joists just by building a girder and dividing the span in half. And that will stiffen up the floor and make you a lot happier.
How old is this house?
DICK: It was built in ’93.
TOM: Well, the other thing that you can do … oh, 1993? I wonder, Leslie, if they’re TJIs. The engineered beams.
TOM: Have you ever been down there?
DICK: Yes, I’ve been down there.
TOM: Does it look like a plywood web … beam? With this thick piece of wood at the bottom, a thick piece at the top and plywood in between?
DICK: Oh, I didn’t see that. (laughing) What I … what I saw were these thin little narrow …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Because you see the more modern …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (laughing) He wasn’t looking that hard.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You see …
DICK: (overlapping voices) … narrow strips going up 45 degrees to angles between the joists.
TOM: Yeah, that’s the bridges. That’s bridging.
DICK: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and I was hoping … I was thinking maybe I needed to reinforce that or something. But …
TOM: Well, if the bridging is there, that’s one thing to check. The reason I asked you about TJIs – that’s a type of plywood laminated beam …
TOM: … and they tend to be a lot bouncier than the old-fashioned, full thickness 2x8s or 2x10s.
LESLIE: But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them.
LESLIE: That’s just their thing.
TOM: They just have more flex.
DICK: (overlapping voices) Oh, no. It’s regular … it looks like 2x12s or something on these cement tilings (ph) that are down there.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. Well, then, I want to go back to my first answer, Dick.
TOM: You have to build another girder and stick it under there and take the flex out of it.
DICK: Okay, so …
TOM: By the way, check that bridging, too, to make sure there’s no sections there where the bridging is missing.
TOM: Whether the bridging was not fully nailed off. Because that also stiffens up the floor.
DICK: So when I put the girder down, then I build up to the joist?
TOM: Correct. The girder goes up underneath the floor joist …
TOM: … and then it’s supported with, say, 4×4 posts down to a small concrete pad in the soil.
DICK: Alright. That sounds like it’s going to be kind of difficult under there but I guess I can do it.
TOM: It’s a tough job. It’s a tough place to work.
DICK: (laughing) But it’s worth it. It’s going to be worth it.
TOM: It’s definitely worth it.
DICK: Alright. I can do that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright, Dick? Alright.
DICK: Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re …
DICK: Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Yeah, there are few worse places to have to do this kind of work than a crawl space. But you know? Once it’s in there, then you have choice.
LESLIE: Then you don’t ever have to go back there again.
TOM: That’s right.
TOM: Coming up next, lawn care secrets to help you get that putting green look and be the envy of all your neighbors.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project? Need some help solving that do-it-yourself dilemma? Hey, do you want to make your house look really, really good from the outside? You could use some help from our next guest.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, Tom, do you have lawn envy? Because I know I have lawn envy.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I know you do. (laughing)
LESLIE: I definitely do. I look around …
TOM: I’ve seen your lawn.
LESLIE: Shhh. That’s not nice. (laughing) You know, there’s more than one house on my block that’s perfectly manicured, it’s lush, it’s green. It makes me crazy. And our next guest is one of those guys whose lawn is going to make me crazy. And he doesn’t share his secrets with his neighbors.
TOM: Yeah, but he’s going to share it with us. He’s John Molleck (sp). He is a lawn care expert with Vigoro. And he’s joining us now with some tips and products so you can be the envy of all your neighbors, too. Hey, John.
JOHN: Hey, Tom and Leslie. How are you?
TOM: We’ve got to … we’ve got to help Leslie out here, because she has a beautiful house …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) It’s not as bad as you’re making it seem, Tom.
TOM: … but she has an area in her yard with a beautiful, old stately tree.
LESLIE: It’s a gi-normous pine tree. I mean it’s huge.
TOM: And it’s so hard to get the grass to grow in areas like that. Where can we start with a shady spot like that?
JOHN: I think that consumers often have problems with high shade areas. Any time that you’re not getting at least 40 percent of the day’s sunlight in an area, it’s going to be difficult to grow grass.
LESLIE: What if you don’t get any sunlight? What if it’s just so shady that it just doesn’t allow any sun to get to the area?
JOHN: Oh, what I would suggest in that situation, Leslie, is to switch to a bed. Put in an ornamental bed because if you’re not getting any sunlight, you’re going to be very frustrated. You’re going to put that grass seed out every spring or fall. It’s going to come up. It’s going to look good for, maybe, one or two months; but there’s just not enough sunlight there to keep that grass alive.
TOM: So what would be an ornamental bed? You mean like something like pachysandra or something like that?
JOHN: Absolutely. Whatever grows well in your area. When you look in your neighbors and you see what they’re doing. It could be an annual bed; it could be any type of ornamentals. And if you happen to do that, we have an exciting new product that you might want to consider.
TOM: Now, what’s that?
JOHN: And it’s called Vigoro Mulch with Weed Stop.
JOHN: Now, in ornamental beds, most people will put down a garden weed preventer/herbicide or possibly a weed block mulch before they apply their mulch. What we’ve done is we’ve taken the herbicide and we’ve incorporated it into the mulch.
LESLIE: So you’re combining the two products into one, which is really helpful.
JOHN: Absolutely. It’s a great timesaver for consumers. It makes it extremely convenient and it provides pre-emergent weed control for up to four months.
TOM: John, do you think that consumers are intimidated by the process of lawn control, in the sense that they’re afraid that they’ll put on the wrong product or too much a product and make the situation worse? And is this an example of how companies like Vigoro are sort of responding to that and trying to make the process simpler and easier to understand?
JOHN: Absolutely. I think consumers get very confused in the lawn and garden category. That frustrates them. In addition, they don’t have enough time. They want to get out there and they want to work in their yard. But we’re trying to find ways to save them time and make the products very, very convenient.
LESLIE: Well, I think what it is, John, is that everybody just wants to get out there and enjoy their yard and they don’t want to work on it. That’s the problem.
LESLIE: So what about feeding your plants and feeding your lawn? How do you know what to feed them and when to feed them and how to water them?
JOHN: Well, I think that … you know, information that you can find on our website, Leslie – www.vigoro.com – is a great source for most consumers. But to make a generalization, most plants want fed in the springtime. They’re coming through the winter season. Lots of times, they’ve been in dormancy or they’re not taking in very many nutrients. But when that soil temperature warms up, that’s when you want to feed your plants.
And we’ve found another way to make feeding plants very convenient for consumers. The number one gardening plant food has always been water soluble plant foods. Consumers like to use water solubles because they see the really quick results. The problem with water solubles is that you have to reapply the product every 7 to 14 days to maintain those results.
Now, what we’ve done, we’ve taken the extended feeding technologies that we have in our granular formulations and we’ve incorporated …
TOM: So when you say extended feeding technologies, do you mean feed that you put down one time and it slowly is released into the soil to work over an extended period of time? Is that the way it works?
JOHN: That’s exactly right, Tom. We’ve taken that same technology and we’ve incorporated it in the water soluble products. So it’s a dual feeding formula that provides that quick release, which consumers are looking for, and a gradual feeding that lasts twice as long as traditional water soluble products.
TOM: These products are really getting pretty fancy, John. I mean it sounds like you guys are really nailing some of the things here that have deterred consumers from wanting to take care of their lawn by engineering these products to do so much more with really a lot less effort.
LESLIE: Well, and they’re also more easy to understand.
JOHN: I think that’s the key. Is to try to make it as simple for people as possible.
TOM: We get a lot of calls on this show about moles and how they really tear up the yard. Any tips for trying to deal with those guys?
JOHN: Boy, Tom, if you’ve got a mole problem, chances are you’ve got an insect problem.
TOM: Because that’s what they’re feeding on, correct?
JOHN: Absolutely. They are feeding on those insects. So you know, good broad-spectrum insect control through the summer months and especially in areas in the northern climates. Also, almost everywhere in the country now, grubs are becoming a problem. So there …
LESLIE: Which is their main food source.
JOHN: Absolutely. So there are …
TOM: Lots of protein.
JOHN: There are some great new technologies out that, once again, provide extended insect control for grubs. Because you have such a long period of gestation, it’s important that you get the products out early. And they have extended feeding value now. It’s controlled release, as far as the insecticide is concerned. Does an excellent job.
TOM: We’re talking to John Molleck (sp). He’s a lawn care expert with Vigoro and a guy who must have the greenest lawn on his block.
JOHN: Well, I try but no one knows what I do.
TOM: (laughing) That’s terrific. John Molleck (sp) with Vigoro. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and helping us shape us those lawns for the spring.
JOHN: Well, I enjoy, always, talking with you folks. And I want to encourage, once again, all of your customers – if they’re looking for a great source of general lawn and garden information – to visit us at www.vigoro.com. We’ve got some other new products that we didn’t have time to talk about today. We’ve launched a line of lawn and garden tools in addition to a line of decorative stone that they also can gain that information on our website.
TOM: John Molleck (ph) with Vigoro. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Man, when he finds me camping out in his yard, he’s going to be very, very surprised. (laughing) So, take that as a warning, John.
Alright, well this time of year, I always really look forward to having my windows open, letting in some fresh air, enjoying that breeze and keeping my fingers crossed that my screens are going to keep those bugs out.
TOM: I know exactly what you mean. But at my house, I’ve got to be very careful because we’ve got three very rambunctious kids running about. And you know, those flimsy vinyl screens that all the windows come with today will not protect them from a potentially dangerous fall. We’ll talk about what will protect your kids from falls from windows, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you’re putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one – getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at faucetcoach.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement questions. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or log onto our website at moneypit.com.
LESLIE: So, today’s modern window screens aren’t made of that tough aluminum that they used to make them out of years ago. They’re actually made of a much weaker vinyl that’s not going to protect your kids from a dangerous fall.
TOM: So how do you correct it? You need to invest in childproof window guards; bars that will keep kids away from high windows but that are easy to open by an adult in the event of a fire. Don’t choose a window guard that just creates or takes that room and turns it into a prison. You need to make sure it’s openable from the inside, by an adult, so you can get out if you had to in a fire but it would definitely protect those rambunctious little children from high falls.
LESLIE: Alright. This hour, we’re going to give away a great prize. It’s the Vax X5 vacuum. It’s designed to take the chore out of cleaning and actually make vacuuming fun. Like they need to do anything to make vacuuming fun. I just love to vacuum.
Anyway, if you don’t love to vacuum, then this is the vacuum for you. Number one, it’s free if we answer your question on air. And number two, it’s got an easy-reach wand that extends 11 feet so you don’t have to stretch or climb on a chair or do anything strange to get to that dust that – you know, you got those spider webs on your ceiling. You know they’re there. Come on. You’re vacuum them off with this. It’s got a 27-foot cord that retracts with an easy-to-use foot control. And the best thing …
TOM: And most importantly, it’s got no bags. You just press a button, the dirt comes out the bottom. It’s also got a HEPA filter so the air that comes out will be cleaner than the air that goes in. It’s a great prize. It’s worth almost 300 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller this hour. So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. To qualify you must have a home improvement question that we can answer.
LESLIE: John in Florida is wondering whether or not he should remove stucco. Why do you want to remove the stucco, John? What’s going on?
JOHN: Well, I’m not at all that hot on the idea of actually removing the stuff, though. I was just wondering if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m adding an addition onto the house and there is, of course, the wall is stucco. And I’m wondering can I put something on the stucco to hang the drywall on it or do I need to remove it?
LESLIE: I think you can fir out right on top of it, can’t you?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly. I don’t see why not.
JOHN: So, what does that mean? Fir out.
TOM: Oh, fir out. (laughing)
JOHN: I do that (ph) with my dog.
LESLIE: Sorry. We forget.
TOM: Yeah. Sorry. We must digress. You can attach wood sticks to the stuccoed wall.
LESLIE: Those are called firring strips.
TOM: And you can do that using masonry nails or something known as a Tapcon screw, which is kind of cool; it allows you to shoot a screw right into a masonry wall. And then, those wood firring strips is what you attach the drywall to.
JOHN: Oh, I got you. That sounds much easier.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Yeah, you don’t want to take that …
LESLIE: Yeah, this way, you’re going over it. You’re getting a nice, clean surface. And you don’t have to worry about taking that stucco off.
JOHN: Oh, yeah. That was a nice …
LESLIE: You’re just going to need a good hammer drill, ear protectors and a lot of energy. (laughing)
JOHN: Okay, we can handle that. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sharon calling from New York has got a question. What can we do for you?
SHARON: Hi. I have a home and it faces east and west. And I live up on a hilltop and I have a problem with air and snow, like wind and filtration in through my windows. And it’s a brand new home. And I have double-pane vinyl windows in my house and the snow comes in the windows.
TOM: Huh. So these are brand new windows and the snow’s getting in?
TOM: That doesn’t sound too good.
LESLIE: Is it getting in around the windows? Is it like really snowing in or are you just feeling a draft and coldness?
SHARON: No, there’s draft and coldness and then right in that – I’m not really sure what it’s called. You know that little groove that the window slides up and down in – right in through there, the snow actually will blow in.
TOM: Hmm. Now, how old is the house? You said it’s new. I mean is it brand, spanking …?
SHARON: Three years old.
TOM: Three years old.
TOM: Did you buy it from the builder?
SHARON: It’s a modular home.
TOM: Did you buy it from the builder? Are you the first owner?
TOM: Have you dealt with this with the builder before or is this something that just happened this year?
SHARON: (overlapping voices) Yes. No, I have. They actually replaced the windows on the west side of my home and …
SHARON: … it did a little bit of good but not much.
TOM: Huh. Well, it sounds to me like your windows are just not that good, Sharon. And there may not be an easy way to fix this. You could consider putting a storm window on top of them. Generally, you don’t put storm windows on when you have thermal pane windows. But it’s going to be a question here as to what the easiest way it is to make these weather tight and it might be that that’s the best way to do it. Because there’s not a lot of things that you can do to existing windows. If they’re not sealed properly, they’re just not sealed properly. It’s very hard for you to fix them in any way and make them tighter than what they are.
It would not … it would not be happening if it was a good quality window. If that was a Pella or an Andersen window, this wouldn’t be happening.
LESLIE: I mean, in the meantime, she could caulk around the windows with that removable caulking.
TOM: Well, that’s true, too. But it’s a brand new house and you hate to have to stoop to that.
LESLIE: I know but at least it’s a temporary solution.
TOM: Yeah. Okay, Sharon?
SHARON: I could do that. Is it that peel off stuff?
TOM: That’s right. The peel off stuff, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, make sure it’s that peel off caulk.
SHARON: Right. Yeah, I did do that last year.
TOM: Then you might …
LESLIE: Did it help at all?
SHARON: Yeah, it did help. It stopped the air from coming in.
TOM: Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Have you ever tried to repair a wall only to have a lumpy, bumpy mess under your newly applied coat of primer? You know, it looks perfect until you put that paint on and the lights come up and then oh, my God, there is a big, stinking mess on your wall that you didn’t know that existed.
LESLIE: (laughing) Well, coming up, we’re going to have the secrets to getting a spackling job done right the first time.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. You can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or log on to our website at moneypit.com. Click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an email question just like Marilyn did from Smithfield, Rhode Island.
LESLIE: Okay. Marilyn writes: ‘On the walls in my hallway, I did some spackling before priming and painting the walls.’ Okay, this sounds pretty easy. ‘When you look at the wall from a side view, I can still see the paper tape. Is there anything that I can do to cover this up?’
TOM: Well, yes, Marilyn. More spackle. (laughing) You didn’t put enough on. Seriously, once the wall has been painted, you are pretty much back to square one. What you need to do is to lightly sand that area and then respackle.
Now, to help you avoid the same hassles next time, there are a couple of tricks of the trade that might help. First, the secret to a good spackling job is to use very thin coats and to apply them first with a small spackle knife – you know, the kind that’s just a little bit bigger than a putty knife; maybe four inches or six inches – and then use larger knives to taper off the spackle into the surrounding area.
LESLIE: And secondly, just when you think you’re done, Marilyn, before you put on any paint, get a really strong flashlight. And then, what you’re going to do with that flashlight is hold it against and parallel to the wall that you’ve just repaired. As the light bounces over the affected area, you’ll be able to see exactly how this will look later and, when the sun hits it in that very uncomplimentary direction, revealing that pock-marked wall that’s still going to need the work. So it’s a good trick so you can see what you’re in for later on.
TOM: That’s the best time to find that out, too. Before you slap the paint on and the sun crests over it and shows that horrible, horrible wall.
LESLIE: Alright. Do we have time for another?
TOM: I think we do.
LESLIE: Okay. Annie from North Plainfield, New Jersey, writes: ‘We’re redoing an old bathroom that dates back to the 40s. It’s black, pink and every color of the rainbow.’ (laughing)
TOM: What’s wrong with that? (laughing)
LESLIE: I’d kind of like to see it. Well, ‘We’d like to go with white walls, black trim and the tile floor would be a marbleized effect. I believe it’s the best color scheme in there. I will also paint murals on the walls. What do you think of this?’
Wow, she’s just looking for a (laughing) good idea. Alright.
TOM: You know, instead of that marbleized effect on the floor, what about the glass tile that you’ve been talking about lately?
LESLIE: You know, it’s really amazing. There’s a glass tile company – her name is Susan Jablon Mosaics and she’s based out of New York. And she does all different kinds of glass tile. She does a thinner one for walls but she’s doing a half-inch thick one for floors. And she’s even doing one that sort of has an etching process on it so it almost feels like a wood grain but it’s suitable for flooring. And that’s coming out really, really soon. And she’s even doing one in her house in a teal in the dining room. And she’s like, ‘I don’t think anybody’s going to want to buy my house when I’m done but it looks beautiful.’
TOM: Well, glass is actually a really, really durable material and it makes sense as a floor product. So certainly, Annie, there are a lot of options out there. But I will tell you one thing that’s really good about the 40s bathrooms and the tile jobs. Even though you may not like the color, the tile jobs are really tough. They’re usually on thick concrete mud walls and they will last forever. So it’s definitely a smart idea to decorate around the old tile.
LESLIE: And Annie, before you do any of that work, send a picture. I kind of want to see what this rainbow bathroom looks like.
TOM: Well, it’s time, once again, for Leslie’s Last Word. This time, money-saving secrets for great patio furniture.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, if you’ve got some old rusty, yucky looking patio furniture, don’t just throw it away. Actually refinish it. And salvaging it can be a fun and great weekend project. All you need to do is get a wire brush or some sandpaper and remove all of the rust and any of the flaking paint from the furniture. Then give it a good wash and dry it. And then apply a good coat of a metal primer. Then choose a good outdoor metal paint and use a couple of coats because really let it build up. And do a couple of thin coats. Don’t go all crazy and put a ton on at once. Put a thin coat, let it dry, another thin coat, and so on until you’re happy. And before you know it, you’re going to have a brand, spanking new looking patio set in no time. Enjoy it, you guys.
TOM: And all your neighbors will be very, very jealous and they’ll want to know where you bought that brand new patio set. But really, you did it yourself.
Hey, coming up next week on The Money Pit, did you know that there’s an ideal temperature to keep your food fresh in the fridge? Find out how to check your refrigerator to determine if it is set properly, next week on this program.
That’s all the time we have this hour, though. 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.
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(Copyright 2006 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.)