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 1 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: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. It is the dog days of summer so we know that maybe you don’t feel like getting outside. Why don’t we talk about some inside projects that you can do; unless your outside project is maybe one that can keep you cooler. (Leslie chuckles) We could talk about that, too. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. The website is MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got a great show for you all this hour. First up, you know they’re probably the most used appliances in your kitchen, but depending on how you use them you could really hurt yourself.
TOM: Am I pushing the wrong button on my coffeemaker or something? (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) You know, Tom, in your case the most used appliance might actually be the coffeemaker.
TOM: Or the microwave. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, both because you’re reheating your morning coffee.
TOM: (chuckling) All day long.
LESLIE: But no. We’re talking about your cooking appliances.
LESLIE: We’re going to tell you how to whip up a design plan for your kitchen that’s going to eliminate bending down to reach an oven or reaching across some deep front burners to reach the ones in the back; all to alleviate stress and strain on your back, your body, everything.
TOM: And if the air conditioning in your house has been running overtime lately, like ours, you’re of course not alone. They don’t call these the dog days of summer for nothing. This hour we’re going to have some tips on making sure that you’re not overworking your already hardworking air conditioning system. We’ll tell you how to make sure it’s working properly so it can cool your house and keep the bills down at the same time.
LESLIE: Alright. And also ahead, getting ready to help some loved ones in your home pack up for college? Well, we’re going to tell you the must-have fix-it items for the dorm room in just a little bit.
TOM: I’ve got a great story for that.
LESLIE: Alright, let me hear it.
TOM: Toothpaste. Toothpaste makes a great spackle.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s so true! You know, it’s like you’re never supposed to hang anything on the walls and of course the first thing when you walk in you’re like, ‘Tube of toothpaste, hammer and nails. All set.’
TOM: Well, there was a dartboard incident and don’t ask me why but my friend used to throw the dartboards (ph) into the textured ceiling. (Leslie chuckles) And that was kind of hard to patch. We found the toothpaste worked well there. (chuckling)
LESLIE: And it does sort of give the little tip like a spackle would as well.
TOM: It does. It does. It worked well. And if all this cleaning is going to make a big, stinking mess in your house no problem. We’ve got you covered there too because this hour we’re giving away a vacuum; the Eureka Capture Plus vacuum. It’s a complete cleaning machine from floor to ceiling with dusting attachments. Going to go out to one caller to today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. And you must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask that question to qualify for this great prize. It’s going to one caller; name chosen at random from the Money Pit hardhat.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Boing, boing, boing, boing. (Tom chuckles) That is what’s going on to Stephanie’s floor in Utah. Are you bouncing everywhere? Are the kids jumping up and down? What’s going on?
STEPHANIE: Yes, whenever the dogs run through the house the kitchen island goes shaking (Leslie chuckles) because the floor is so bouncy.
TOM: Hey, Stephanie, how old is your house?
STEPHANIE: My house was built in 1989.
TOM: OK. And the kinds of floor joists that you have, is it a solid floor joist; is it a truss joist; is it one – do they look like plywood I-beams?
STEPHANIE: They’re I-beams and they’re 24 on center.
TOM: How did I know that? (chuckling) I knew exactly what was happening when you said the floor was bouncing. Yeah, when you use those plywood beams what happens is they have more flex than a standard floor joist. And so, they do bounce a lot. They’re not weak in terms of a structural issue but, man, the China sure rattles around when that happens. And I’m not so sure there’s an easy way to fix this.
There’s a couple of things I’ve seen done. They’ve put bridging on that attaches to the bottom of the floor joist all the way across. I’ve always also seen folks construct what kind of looks like a girder in the middle of that span so that you’re shortening the length of the floor joist from, you know, whatever they are to half of what that is. The girder wouldn’t necessarily have to have any sort of footing because it’s really just there to take the flex out as they bounce. But the last thing I would check is to make sure that none of those beams have been cut improperly because one common error that we see with – especially with HVAC contractors; heating and air conditioning contractors – is they’ll cut out part of the web, either the bottom web or the top web, when they’re running ductwork. But assuming that that’s not happened, that flex is unfortunately fairly normal for that type of floor system.
STEPHANIE: OK, wonderful. I’ll take a look into those options.
TOM: Alright, Stephanie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: She can also look into acrobatic tricks for the dogs to do. (Tom chuckles) They’ve already got that extra bounce.
TOM: Yeah, built-in trampoline.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Whoo, well it has been one hot summer and Keith in Virginia, listening in on WJFK, doesn’t have a very nice air conditioning situation. Tell us about it. What’s going on?
KEITH: The air conditioning is very cool in the basement, it’s OK on the first level and hot on the second level. So it’s not reaching the second level.
TOM: Now you have central air conditioning?
KEITH: Yes, I do.
TOM: Is the furnace and air conditioning unit in the basement?
TOM: So you’re trying to push that air up two stories.
TOM: Alright, that’s part of the problem. Do you have supply and return ducts in each room or is there a centralized return duct?
TOM: OK, that’s another part of the problem.
KEITH: Actually, I think there’s only one.
TOM: The problem here is, Keith, is that you’re not moving enough air upstairs. And the way to solve that is to improve the – is put additional ducts in. But a more practical thing would probably be to put in a second zone upstairs and allow that unit to only cool the first floor and put a second zone upstairs. That’s going to give you the best balance; most balanced air conditioning system. It’s very common when you have your furnace and air conditioning unit located in the basement that it’s very hard to push up that air two stories and get the second floor to cool nearly as well as the first.
KEITH: Because I’ve taped vents and everything trying to – I’ve actually closed the vents in the basement and on the first floor.
TOM: Yeah, you may just be pushing the system as far as it’s going to go and this may not be big enough to give you the BTUs that you need in cooling power to do that.
KEITH: Oh, you think so?
TOM: And the best way to do it is to put a second zone in on the second floor.
KEITH: Second zoning?
TOM: Second zone on the second floor. Yeah, second set of air conditioning equipment. You’d have an air handler instead of the furnace because you wouldn’t need the heat. You’d have an air handler probably located in the attic and then you’d have a second compressor outside.
KEITH: Oh, I see.
TOM: And you’d drop some ducts through the ceiling of the second floor and that would make it super comfortable.
LESLIE: Tom, what would be the more cost effective decision? Adding in that whole second zone or upgrading the compressor unit for the first system to a larger unit to accommodate more?
TOM: That wouldn’t buy you anything.
LESLIE: It wouldn’t do anything.
TOM: You could have more cooling power but you don’t have enough airflow. This is a game of airflow. If you don’t have enough airflow, enough cooling air going out and enough return air coming back, it’s not going to cool the second floor. So that’s why you’re better off putting in a second zone upstairs where you can really move a lot of air across the coil and that will actually cool it and make it much more comfortable for you, Keith.
TOM: Why don’t you get this system serviced by an HVAC contractor, talk about your problems and see if they have any solutions because there may be some adjustments to the duct system that will be less expensive than putting in a second zone that could fix this as well.
KEITH: OK, alright. Well, great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Keith. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit fans. Just a few more weekends left in summer and we can help you make the most with those home improvement available weekends. Just call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, in your mom’s day the stove and oven basically came in one design: bad. (Leslie chuckles) It was a bad design. But now you don’t have to settle for bending and stretching and reaching when you’re prepping your culinary masterpiece. We’re going to help you cook up a design plan that’s easy and fun to use, next.
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: Reach out and touch the experts because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where work and fun meet. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we’re the experts (Leslie chuckles) so call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to today is going to win a $169 vacuum from Eureka; the Capture Plus. This machine will reach more dirt on more surfaces than your average vacuum. It’s got a powerful HEPA filter. It’s also got a dusting wand that can be electrostatically charged to grab dust from hard-to-reach places. And the Power Paw – it’s an attachment that cleans both horizontally and vertically so there’ll be no excuse for having a dusty, dirty Money Pit (Leslie chuckles) if you win this prize today. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must be willing to come on the air and ask your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you know the cool tools really do make doing a chore fun; even if it’s a vacuum, which I find one of the more soothing household chores to tackle.
Alright, well speaking of household chores, cooking. And back in your mom and your grandma’s day the stove and the oven, it was basically one item. They came attached. But you don’t have to settle for your mom’s kitchen anymore. As long as you’re renovating you want to think about mounting your oven in the wall so you don’t have to bend or stretch to reach things. You can even choose an oven with a door that swings open from the side like a microwave. This is going to allow you to get closer when you’re taking foods in and out and you won’t have to lean across a hot door to check your cake or baste the turkey. It really helps make things a lot safer.
TOM: Now for your cooktop you want to install it on an island if at all possible. Then you’ll be able to reach it from both sides.
You know, a few design changes like this will help you cook up comfort and fun and safety along with those meals. If you want more great kitchen design tips visit the website for AARP at AARP.org/HomeDesign. That’s AARP.org/HomeDesign. Or pick up the phone right now and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Lisa in New York tunes in to The Money Pit on WABC. And you’ve got a mold question. What can we do to help?
LISA: Yes, I have – I’ve had water damage in my basement due to heavy rains over – I would say twice over the last year. And we had just installed new carpet with padding. And the carpet got really soaked. I mean it didn’t come above the carpet but the water got into the carpet both times. We dried it out with dehumidifiers and, you know, a wet/dry vac. And I’m just very concerned. I have little children who play down there. There’s a playroom. And I’m very concerned about the possibility of there being mold beneath the carpet and behind the walls.
TOM: Well, there certainly is a risk of that. And I have to tell you, Lisa, we – if you had called us before you did this …
LESLIE: We would have said no.
TOM: … we would never, ever …
LISA: Yeah, you don’t recommend carpet. I know. Neither did my contractor but we did it. You know what? We put in a French drain.
TOM: (overlapping voices) But you did it anyway! (chuckling)
LISA: We thought if we put in French drains we won’t have water in the basement.
LISA: So after we put in the French drains we felt secure enough to put in the carpet and we still had water twice.
TOM: Let’s assume that – best case scenario here – your basement never flooded. You’re calling us because it flooded and it got damp. I’ve got news for you. Even if it didn’t flood but it was just because it’s a basement – it’s damp and it’s moist all the time –
TOM: – the carpet will still grow mold. It will still attract dust mites. It’s still unhealthy for kids. So if your basement flooded and you’ve got carpet damage, I think this is a great opportunity for you to pull that carpet out and put down a flooring there that’s really meant for a basement.
TOM: Use a laminate floor. Use engineered hardwoods. If you want to use – if you want to use carpet, put throw rugs on top of that. But don’t put in wall-to-wall carpet in the basement. It’s just not a good idea.
Now secondly, let’s talk about the fact that you’ve got French drains and you’re still having a flooding problem. And you mentioned that it’s happening consistent with rainfall. We need to get you outside looking at your gutter system and your grading because that’s what’s causing this. You’ve got too much water collecting in the foundation perimeter.
LESLIE: You want to make sure that all of your gutters – number one, that you have enough; that you have enough downspouts supplying those gutters and that the downspouts are free-flowing and that they’re depositing the water at least three to six feet away from the house. You don’t want them dropping off the water right next to the foundation.
LISA: Right. I’ve heard that, yeah.
LESLIE: If you’ve got gutters – yeah – clean them.
LISA: And the truth is, to be honest, this year we weren’t so good about having the gutters cleaned.
TOM: And now you know what happens. (chuckling)
LISA: So maybe this year (INAUDIBLE).
LESLIE: But you know what? You’d be surprised …
LISA: They’re coming tomorrow.
TOM: Oh, good.
LISA: Yes. We …
LISA: Yeah, that’s probably one of the problems. If the – you’re saying if the gutters are clogged we’re more likely to get water accumulating?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. Because as the – as all of the rain water drains off of your roof and pours down into those gutters, if the gutters are full they’re going to hit that full area and just splash out. So it’s not really going anywhere.
TOM: Listen, Lisa. Leslie had this very same problem when she bought a house …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s a touchy subject. (chuckling)
TOM: … that had carpet. She didn’t put it in. It was there to begin with. She never pulled it out.
LESLIE: And I loved it, Lisa.
TOM: She liked it. She never pulled it out. But what was it? One gutter got misdirected on your house and it flooded. Yeah, it was one gutter.
LESLIE: We had one downspout that went into a pipe that directed it down the front yard and out to the street. And that whole pipe and downspout was clogged. We had no idea. You know, we were cleaning everything. We thought we were doing OK but we never snaked that downspout and you’ve got to do that. And something got clogged up. And let me tell you, it was like the exact opposite corner of our home. We had such a flood in the exact opposite corner from that clogged downspout that I came home that night to a squishy, wet basement floor and just went at it with a blade and pulled up everything. And the next day I went and bought laminate flooring.
TOM: And if your situation, Lisa, that you’ve got water – that you’ve got gutters that are obviously clogged, that has to be the problem.
TOM: So this may very well be the entire problem; is that gutter system.
LISA: Right. That probably is the problem. But now this – you’re saying just to pull up the carpet.
TOM: I would recommend it.
LISA: And I just put it there for the kids to play. It’s nice. You know, it’s so comfortable.
LESLIE: I know. And I know you love the carpet.
TOM: But you could probably file an insurance claim if it flooded because of a storm. Call your homeowners insurance company. You could probably get this paid for.
LISA: Get the carpet paid for. Uh-huh.
TOM: Sure, call an insurance adjuster. But this time don’t put the carpet back in. Put a laminate floor back in. It’s kid-proof. If you want something soft and nice for them to play on put a couple of throw rugs down there. You can always roll them up.
LESLIE: A good, fun idea for a cushy surface for kids to play on in a basement especially, go to Flor Carpet Tiles. It’s F-l-o-r. And they sell, you know, 20×20-inch carpet tiles. You can snap them together with some stickers on the backside.
LESLIE: There’s full, high-pile ones; little soft ones. And they make a great play surface. Plus if – once you put it together as an area rug, one piece in the middle gets dirty, you just replace it. And with growing kids you’re going to get messes. So, you know, you might as well do something that you can renew without a big cost.
LISA: I probably have mold down there.
TOM: (chuckling) Lisa, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LISA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, we here at The Money Pit wield a lot of power. In calling Edwina back in Florida we got her out of the pool. Alright, Edwina. Are you freezing?
EDWINA: Oh, no. I’m fine. (Tom chuckles) I’m in sunny Florida (chuckling), so it’s nice and warm.
TOM: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) OK.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You are so lucky.
TOM: Brag, brag, brag. How can we help you?
EDWINA: Well, I’m – my question deals with mold.
EDWINA: How does one detect whether or not there is a mold problem? Is there a kit; some product out there? Do you have to start tearing out the walls or what?
TOM: Well, do you have any symptoms? What’s giving you some indication that you may have a mold problem? Because mold is very common in homes but it’s not always a problem.
LESLIE: Especially in high humidity Florida.
EDWINA: Well, we did recently have a plumbing problem where we had water coming up from between the tiles in a bedroom and it happens to be the same bedroom that my mother uses and she has begun having respiratory problems.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: So this is good evidence. Now, if you have a single leak like this and the leak is fixed and the wallboard or the – whatever part of the house framing it was that got wet, if that dried out, then it’s not a mold problem because you need a solid, steady moisture source for the mold to really take hold. However, if it’s remained damp then it’s possible. This area where the leak came out, was this inside of a wall?
EDWINA: You know where we detected the leak was actually from around the rim of the drain; where it had – the drain grid was adhered to the bottom of the tub.
EDWINA: The water was leaking in around and not going down into …
TOM: Was it leaking like through the floor below or what?
EDWINA: Yes. Down into the floor below and then I guess through the wall and into the adjoining bedroom.
TOM: There’s a ceiling there, obviously, below the – below where the tub is.
TOM: Well, listen. If you fixed the problem and it’s not leaking anymore it’s not an issue. If you think it may still be leaking then you’re going to have to open that ceiling up and make the repair for one thing. And then while it’s open you could treat all that surface with a bleach solution and that would kill any mold that’s in there. I wouldn’t tell you to go on a witch hunt for mold unless you knew that you had a problem, but if your mom is having respiratory issues and – you know, an interesting thing to note here is whether those issues continue when she’s out of the house. Because if your home is ‘sick,’ if you have a sick house your issues with respiratory problems happen more so when you’re home than when you’re away.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you feel markedly better when you’re outside of the house.
TOM: Yes, exactly.
TOM: So those are a couple of things to think about. But if you had a leak and you’re having respiratory problems and you can put those two together then maybe it’s worth opening it up because if nothing else you want to make sure you’ve got that leaked fixed.
EDWINA: Well, say that I did strongly feel that I had some problem, where do I begin to rectify it?
TOM: Well, you’re going to open up the ceiling under where the tub drain is. First of all you’re going to confirm that the tub is not leaking. Most leaks have to be fixed from the bottom, not from the top. So to confirm that it’s not leaking I would open up the ceiling; I would run water full blast from that tub. If it doesn’t leak then I would put the stopper on the tub and I would fill it up to the overflow so now the water’s going through the overflow. Make sure it’s still not leaking. And if it’s not leaking with that test then it’s not going to ever leak.
TOM: That would be the thing to do and then while you have it open you could, of course, see if there’s any decay or apparent mold in there and if that’s the case you could treat it with a bleach solution. And that’s all you need to do.
EDWINA: OK, very good. That answers my question. Thank you very much.
TOM: Terrific. Edwina, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And we can let Edwina hop back into the pool. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) And we can continue to be oh so jealous.
TOM: You know, when we have the callers that come from Florida they always say, ‘Well, we’re calling from sunny Florida.’ But Edwina could have said, ‘I’m calling from moldy Florida.’ (chuckling) Which, you know, you get the best of both worlds when you live down there in that tropical environment. You’ve got to be on your guard for that mold.
LESLIE: I’ve been down in Florida filming my new show all summer. And as – you know, it’s pretty hot and sticky down there. I don’t know how enjoyable it is. (Tom chuckles) But these residents who live there they are so lucky to go jumping in that pool because when you’re doing home improvement out there it can be a bear.
TOM: And that certainly is a great relief. Call us for your home improvement relief. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up. But first, it never fails. Your air conditioner conks out on the hottest day of the year. Well, up next, we’re going to help you figure out why your air conditioner is not working and what you might be able to do without calling in a pro. So stick around.
TOM: It’s hot, it’s sticky and the last thing you need is for your air conditioning system to go on the fritz. So here are a few things to remember. First of all, always keep your thermostat at 78 degrees. Contrary to popular belief, you know, lowering that temperature down to 70 – not going to help. It will just not help. It doesn’t work that way.
LESLIE: (chuckling) You want to, though.
TOM: I know you want to. But the air conditioning – the way it works is it delivers cooled air but then it takes warm air back to be rechilled. So it has to happen over a cycle; repeating that process many, many times. So simply like dropping it down to 70 is not going to make the house get any colder any faster.
Now, another thing that you can do to check, if you don’t think that it’s working correctly, is to take two measurements. Grab a thermometer and check the temperature t the supply where the air’s blowing out and then again the temperature at the return where the air’s going back into the system. You are looking for a temperature differential of between 12 and 20 degrees. If it is less than 12 the system probably needs refrigerant. If it is more than 20 it’s also not working right and it’s going to freeze up on you. So if it’s in that range you know that it’s working properly.
LESLIE: Alright, and you also want to check for power by moving the fan switch from auto to on. This way if the blower runs you know there’s power. If nothing’s happening a control is burned out or the power has been disconnected. If your system uses a furnace for heat you want to check that the emergency switch is on. And if you’re familiar with the fuse or the circuit breaker panel make sure you go down there and check for blown fuses or tripped breakers. That could be the big culprit right there.
TOM: Lots more detail on how to keep cool this summer on our website at MoneyPit.com where you can read pretty much everything we’ve ever written about cooling your home. It’s a cool site. Click on the Repair and Improve section and then simply search the words ‘air conditioning’ on MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Jim in California has the very annoying sound of a water hammer. What can we help you with?
JIM: Well, I listened to your show about a month ago and I just got in the tail end of the water hammer problem …
JIM: … underneath a kitchen sink. And you were describing two types of devices that can be bought. You said one was about the size of an inhaler and don’t get that; that’s a toy. That there was a bigger one about the size of a baseball that actually …
TOM: Yeah, about the size of a softball. It’s called a water hammer arrestor.
TOM: And it’s like a little shock absorber that gets installed by a pro into the line. And essentially, what causes water hammer – for those that are not familiar with it – is as you run water through a faucet in your home that water essentially builds up a centrifugal force because water’s very heavy. It weighs about eight pounds per gallon. And when you turn the faucet off all of that centrifugal force wants to keep moving forward. And if the pipe is a little loose it will bang and that’s what we call water hammer. One way to deal with that is to install water hammer arrestors. That will soften it.
The other thing that can be done if you have access to the pipes is simply to secure them. Many times I’ve found water hammer problems that could easily be solved just by putting additional brackets on piping across crawlspace ceilings where pipes were hung or across floor joists in the basement. If you have access to those pipes you can tighten them up so they don’t shift and shake as much. But if you can’t get to it you can always put in a water hammer arrestor, Jim, and that will solve the problem.
JIM: OK. I’ve been to my local home centers and hardware stores and they’ve heard of them but they don’t have them.
TOM: No, you need to go to a plumbing supply house. And Jim, it’s not something you can install yourself. You’ll probably need a plumber to do that.
JIM: OK. Well we really started noticing it. We’ve lived in the house for quite a while and had no problem. And I recently installed a beautiful, high-tech dishwasher. Paid a fortune for it but you can’t even hear the thing run. That’s beautiful. But I guess it has some pretty high-tech solenoids in there when it shuts off the water; when it goes through its cycles. And you know, it’s just – it’s not like when you gently turn off a water tap.
TOM: Now the good news is you have a quiet dishwasher. The bad news is you have loud plumbing pipes now. (chuckling)
TOM: So you can – they were probably always loud but now you can hear them because the dishwasher’s so quiet.
Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
JIM: OK, thank you.
LESLIE: Marsha in North Dakota has some mold stains in the grouting around the tub. Let’s help. What’s going on?
MARSHA: Hi. I’m wondering about some graying that’s in – like it’s a fiberglass tub. And the – it’s kind of graying in the bottom of it. I’ve scrubbed it and scrubbed it with all kinds of different things and it doesn’t come out. It just looks real gray and worn. And it’s about a 30-year-old tub.
TOM: It sounds to me like – do you have any anti-stick material on the bottom of this tub?
MARSHA: No, we’ve never done that.
TOM: Because sometimes what happens is the dirt gets sort of rubbed into that and that may be why you see that. But if you don’t think it’s on there then this could just simply be wear and tear on the fiberglass if it’s 30 years old. So there may not be anything that you can pull out of that.
MARSHA: OK. I have bought a kit that’s called a restoration kit …
MARSHA: … for tub and tile.
MARSHA: And I’m just wondering if that is something that might be a good idea or not. It says that it’s for tub and tile and that it’s simple to do (INAUDIBLE).
TOM: Well, you know, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to try it. We would have to caution you, though, that these restoration kits tend to not last nearly as long, of course, as the original material. But you know, it can be a restoration that will give you, you know, several more years of use out of this with it looking halfway decent. But it’s not going to last another 30 years just because you restore it.
MARSHA: Oh, I understand that.
I was wondering also about the tile around the shower; another shower in the house. The grout is wearing away in places …
MARSHA: … around the surround part of the tub.
MARSHA: The grout is wearing around the tiles.
TOM: When you say wearing away is it actually eroding away? Is it wearing out or is it just getting dirty?
MARSHA: It appears to be both.
MARSHA: Again, it’s a 30-year-old tile; tiled area.
TOM: OK. Well, if your grout is actually eroding then you’re going to have to strip it out and replace it. There’s a tool called a grout saw that is specifically designed to get in between tiles and scrape away the surface of loose and deteriorated grout. Regrouting it is not such a terrible job if you get the old stuff out. It’s a matter of mixing up the new grout and troweling it on with a rubber squeegee. And then, by using a sponge and lots of water you sort of rinse it down until only the good – only the thin line of grout between the tile is left. But if it’s deteriorated there’s nothing that you can put on top of that that’s going to solve this and if it’s discolored at the same time I think the best thing for you to do is to try to use a grout saw and pull out the old grout and then simply regrout the tub.
TOM: Marsha, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MARSHA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright, lots of great home improvement calls coming in this hour.
Up next, when you’re packing for a semester of dorm room living – alright, I know a lot of parents out there are forced to pack up for their kids – you want to make sure that that college-bound kid of yours has a tool kit that’s going to help them take on any fix with ease whether or not there’s something broken in the dorm room you might not want to know about but at least they’ll know how to fix it. Save you money in the long run. Stick around.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And hey, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Neat freaks are especially going to love our prize today. I know I’m in love with it. It’s the Eureka Capture Plus vacuum and it’s got a couple of really cool things in particular going on. It’s got a telescoping dust wand that’s statically charged. So basically you sort of run it by the dust and it just leaps right onto it. It’s actually making your cleaning chores much easier. And it also has a Power Paw attachment and it’s perfect to clean the tread and the rise on the stairs. Plus it’s fun to say. I love it when they give the attachments a wacky, fun name.
TOM: Like Power Paw? (chuckling)
LESLIE: Yeah. Rrrr, it’s the Power Paw. It’s worth 169 bucks. It could be yours for free. The number – you’ve got to call in; you’ve got to ask a question on air – it’s 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You should know that by now.
Back to school shopping has definitely amped up when college is the destination. And amid, you know, all of the linens, dorm d