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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Or head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com and join the online conversation.
Coming up this hour, do you want to save energy dollars from leaking right out of your refrigerator door? Well, just put a dollar in the door. Seriously, we’ve got some quick tricks of the trade to teach you how to make sure your fridge is running efficiently and it only takes a buck and a couple of seconds. We’ll have that, coming up.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know, you might not be using your deck much if you live in the cooler climates of the United States. But that wood deck still needs you. We’re going to give you step-by-step deck checkup tips to make sure it survives this winter and it’s ready to go next spring.
TOM: Plus, are you bothered by breathing in toxic fumes every time you clean your bathroom? Well, we’ve got an easy and a natural way to polish that chrome and that tile that won’t leave you gasping for air.
LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a whopper prize that’s going to get you through those chilly winter months in cozy comfort. It’s the new ECO model Reiker room conditioner. It is worth – get this – 359 bucks. This is a major prize. It’s a ceiling fan and it actually heats also. It’s very cool.
TOM: So pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Joanne in South Carolina’s got a fireplace problem. What can we help you with?
JOANNE: Yes. We just remodeled our home and took out a glass-front fireplace screen and we have a lot of humidity over here. So I’m trying to figure out how I can keep the humidity out, besides just a damper. We don’t want to do anything permanent because someday we may want to sell the house.
TOM: Well, I don’ t think that your fireplace is the source of your humidity problem if you live in South Carolina. (Joanne chuckles) You know, the heat’s going to be going up the chimney, not down.
If you’re trying to reduce humidity there’s a whole bunch of other things that you should be thinking about doing, starting on the outside of the house: making sure that your gutter system is there, it’s functional, it’s discharging water away from the house; making sure the soil slopes away from the walls. These are ways to manage the water from the outside.
LESLIE: Do you have a forced air system?
JOANNE: We have a heat pump.
TOM: OK, then you’re going to have a forced air duct system if you have a heat pump.
TOM: A good thing to add on to that is something called a whole-home dehumidifier. There is one made by Aprilaire that’s excellent. They’re one of the sponsors of this show. They’re a terrific company that makes a product that takes out 90 pints of water a day.
LESLIE: And it doesn’t ever need any emptying, so it’s consistently pulling the water out from where it needs to be and you can adjust it in different ways to kick on in different zones; particularly rooms below grade more often that in the rest of the house. But it’s continually pulling the moisture.
JOANNE: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ruth from New York, what’s going on at your money pit?
RUTH: Well, I have a little problem with my tile on my floor. I had them down about 20 years and they are beginning to lift up in some places. Now, I’m not really planning on staying here much longer and I would like to protect anyone from falling over them meanwhile. How can I get them to stay down? I had them repaired twice already and it cost me quite a bit of money. I would like to be able to do something with it myself. Is there anything that you know of that I could do?
LESLIE: Is the entire tile popping up or are you just seeing it sort of protruding in a corner? Does it seem like …?
RUTH: No, just some of them are coming up in the corners.
LESLIE: Are they ceramic tiles or vinyl tiles? I’m sorry.
RUTH: Vinyl, vinyl.
TOM: You know, vinyl tiles don’t have a lot of adhesive on the back of them and if the underside gets a bit dirty or if there’s moisture that gets in there it is certainly going to pop up. When you repair them are you using a tile cement? Are you using a vinyl cement or what kind of an adhesive are you using?
RUTH: I didn’t repair them myself.
RUTH: The place that I bought them came in and repaired them with professional, you know, glue or something.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And they keep coming up still? Yeah. You know, it sounds like there is some reason that they are not sticking. Now, whether that’s dirt; whether that’s moisture; whether it’s an uneven floor, if it’s cleaned up correctly and the right kind of cement is used – the right kind of vinyl tile adhesive is used – that should definitely not be happening to you.
RUTH: But he wants about $500 to repair it.
TOM: Definitely not worth $500 to repair a vinyl floor. You could put that money towards a new floor and get a lot more value out of it.
RUTH: Is there anything I could do just to keep it down now for a few more months?
TOM: You know, I don’t think you need to have a pro come in to do this. You could go to the hardware store and pick up some vinyl tile adhesive. Are these vinyl tiles intact? The whole thing’s coming up?
RUTH: Yeah, the corners mostly.
TOM: Well, but is the whole tile separating as well or is it just the corner?
RUTH: Well, they’re separating from each other?
TOM: OK, but the tile’s loose? So you can lift it and get glue underneath it?
RUTH: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
TOM: OK. Alright, so here’s what you should do. Lift up the tile; make sure you clean it as much as you possibly can; get it very, very dry. Then get a trowel; put on some vinyl tile adhesive; press it down into place and weight it with something so it’s heavy and it sticks.
TOM: And then you’re going to have to wait probably 24 hours and that ought to do a good job of making sure it doesn’t come up again.
RUTH: Mm-hmm. OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the holidays are right around the corner and we here at team Money Pit can help you get yourself and your house in shape for the holiday season. So give us a call right now with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, even though you’re not using it as much, now is not the time to ignore your deck. Find out how to check your deck for damage so you can get the most out of it next spring, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Back with more advice for the hammer impaired. (Leslie chuckles) Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a pretty cool prize. It’s the Reiker room conditioner. It’s a ceiling fan that actually heats at the same time so it can deliver year-round comfort. It’s the perfect solution for a room that’s always too cold or even a three-season room that could use some heat all year long. It’s worth 359 bucks. If you want to win it you’ve got to call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re going to give this to one caller to today’s program at 888-666-3974 but you must also have a home improvement question and be willing to ask us. Give us a try. We’re not going to scare you away. We’re going to help you out.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And I love it. So many times people will call in and say, ‘But I want the prize. Isn’t that a question? How do I win it?’ No, you seriously have to ask us something. We will help you through any home improvement dilemma and we will give you the answer you need to get the job done.
So maybe you’re the big prize winner. You’ve got that room conditioner hanging up in your three-season room and you’re looking outside at that deck all sitting there under the snow and it’s supposed to be a fun, leisure area for you and your family and your friends to enjoy during the outdoor season. However, every spring and fall you should spend a little time on maintenance and cleaning to maximize its lifespan.
First of all, you want to carefully inspect the top, the bottom and the sides of the deck to see if there are any nails or screws popping up or even missing. If there are you want to replace them with galvanized or stainless steel deck screws. Then make sure you sand away any splinters and these are found mostly in high-use areas like the steps and the railings. And keep in mind that corrosive chemicals, they’re used in pressure-treated lumber and those chemicals will tend to leak from screw and nail holes on to those metal fasteners. So you want to be sure to inspect all of your deck’s fasteners for any signs of excessive corrosion, which really could compromise the structural integrity of your deck. I mean we’ve seen them collapse.
Absolutely, and before you replace any damaged or corroded metal fasteners you want to think about adding a protective waterproof membrane. There are some new high-tech membranes that work really well for this. Grace has one that’s called Vycor Deck Protector. You basically put it underneath the metal fasteners and on top of the deck joist and it gives you really good protection and it avoids corrosion.
If you want more tips on how to get your deck ready to go for the winter and make sure it’s going to be there next spring, log on to Grace’s website at GraceAtHome.com or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Walter in Montana tunes in on KGEZ and you’ve got a porch question. What can we answer for you?
WALTER: Well, I have supports on my deck that support the roof and they are four-sided and they meet at 45-degree angles. And in the five years the house was built now it’s – they’ve separated and split apart and there’s white paint showing inside. They’re split about one-eighth of an inch on the corners and I’m wondering how best to fill those and how to handle it.
TOM: So these are columns that are split?
WALTER: Yes, they are.
TOM: OK, the wood itself is split?
WALTER: No, they’re composed of four pieces …
WALTER: … and where they join it’s at 45-degree angles.
WALTER: It’s very sharp.
TOM: Alright. Well, here’s what you’re going to want to do. First of all, obviously you’re going to have to sand them all down and then you’re going to use a wood filler to fill in all of those gaps. If there’s any loose pieces they need to be secured so that they’re not moving. Once they’re sanded down and the filler is applied, all of those gaps are closed, then it’s going to be real important that you use an oil-based primer and seal all of the exposed surfaces of those columns. Once you’re done with the primer then you can put a finish coat on top of it which does not have to be oil-based but I would definitely recommend an oil-based primer to seal it in and it’ll give you some dimensional stability.
WALTER: Sounds good.
TOM: Terrific. Walter, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now on to a big topic here at The Money Pit: roofing. Lori from Florida, welcome. What can we help you with?
LORI: One of – Florida’s homeowner insurance rates are – pardon the pun – going through the roof.
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
LORI: And one of the ways you can save on your insurance – and I’m talking about almost cut it in half – is to take a gable roof and change it to a hip. Hip roofs lower your insurance rate. Is that possible and what do we need to do or contact to go about making this change?
TOM: Well, it certainly is possible. I mean a hip roof is a little bit more difficult to build than a gable roof. It’s more expensive to build and that’s why you see fewer of them out there. Basically, to build a hip roof what you would do is – it would probably not be a full hip but the ends of the roof would be sloping upwards. So you would have sort of a straight ridge in the middle of it and it would be coming up on the ends.
LESLIE: Does that – does the hip roof sort of cut wind shears or wind speed? How is it helpful in a hurricane-prone area?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, what happens – because – the reason is that when hurricane wind hits the end of a gable it’s like a hook that rips the roof right off. But when it’s a hip roof, which is sort of pyramid shaped …
TOM: … then it sort of washes over the top of it. And so, yes you can build a hip roof and convert it from a gable roof. It is quite a big project. You know, it’s probably several thousand dollars worth of work. But you’re going to have to do the cost benefit analysis in terms of whether or not you can save some money.
LESLIE: Yeah, recoup it.
TOM: You know, there may be other hurricane-resistant things that you can do to that house. Have you – are you sure it’s just the hip issue or could you have hurricane tiedowns installed and other types of hurricane reinforcement that would lower cost? I’m sure you could.
LORI: Well, I – you know, I would have to look into that. Another way is to install hurricane shutters which are either the accordion type or the fabric walls.
LORI: That could save money. We were thinking about doing that. But there are – there are other ways that we are trying to save money. But if it was – well, let me tell you. If it was $5,000 to change my roof from gable to hip, I would get that back in what I would save in insurance in probably five or six years.
TOM: Hmm. Well, then it might be worth it.
LORI: That is much – that’s how much a difference it makes.
TOM: Yeah. Do you have – do you have a ranch house? One story?
TOM: Well, you know what? Why don’t you get some numbers on it then because it certainly can be done. It’s not terribly complicated for the right person to do that job but it is going to cost a few thousand probably.
LESLIE: And you know what, Lori? While you’re at it, since you would be getting a new roof and you’d obviously need a new roofing material, there are several manufacturers who make roofing shingles that are hurricane resistant as far as the wind speed that they’ll tolerate. Owens Corning manufactures one of them. You know, many people do it. So it’s worth it to look into materials for the roof sheathing that will also benefit.
LORI: Well thank you very much. I’ll look into that.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got Nancy in Iowa who’s got a bowing basement wall. Tell us about what’s going on in your basement?
TOM: What’s going on?
NANCY: Well, I have a basement wall that’s been bowing and outside behind my house is – about five feet is a retainer wall. So they couldn’t use anchor walls because it’s all cement. And then I was just wondering how I can solve the solution or …
TOM: OK, let me play this back so I understand it. So the basement wall is bowing and then outside the basement wall, about five feet away, you have a retaining wall?
NANCY: Correct. And it’s all cement.
TOM: And it’s all cement in between. OK. So, the reason that this basement wall is bowing is probably because there’s been water sitting outside in that five-foot area between the retaining wall and the basement exterior wall itself. That water gets in there and then it freezes and over the course of the years it moves the wall a little bit, a little bit, a little bit and causes this bow. Can you give me some indication, Nancy, as to how much bow you have? Are you able to put like a straight-edge on it and tell me how far out of plumb it is?
NANCY: No, maybe about six inches.
TOM: No way. Really?
NANCY: But the trouble is …
TOM: Six inches.
LESLIE: So it’s bowing out that much, like a mountain, from the wall?
NANCY: Not – well not quite a mountain. (chuckling)
TOM: (chuckling) More like a molehill.
NANCY: Right. (chuckling) The trouble is that basement wall in that area is a living area because it is a duplex.
TOM: OK. Well, let me just tell you, this is a serious problem. If your basement wall is bowing out so far that you perceive it to be six inches – it’s probably not or I think it would have been collapsed by now but it sounds like it could be pretty serious – this is going to have to be repaired. There’s a couple of ways to repair it. It generally will involve some sort of reinforcement or it could involve rebuilding the wall. One of the ways that this is done is by adding columns between the floor and the floor joists above – the floor below and the floor joist above – that basically add some reinforcement to that wall so it can’t bow in as much.
But the first step here is for you, Nancy, to contact a licensed, structural engineer. Because the engineer is going to have to assess the situation and design a repair. It’s very important that you do this properly because that engineer’s report is going to essentially be the pedigree on this repair. Once the engineer designs it then you need to hire a contractor to follow the design and make the repair. You don’t want to just go to the contractor because contractors are not going to have the professional qualifications in and of themselves to design a repair. They may have some ideas …
TOM: … but you need to have it done by an engineer or an architect. And then after the contractor makes the repair, do yourself a favor. Have the architect or engineer come back and do an inspection and write a follow-up report. The reason I’m telling you to do this this way is because if you ever want to sell that house, this is something that could become a major problem for you. And if I was the home inspector on that house and I saw that and you had had it fixed and followed our advice and had the report, I would tell the buyers, ‘No issue. It’s been done correctly.’ But if you didn’t have such a report and I just saw some reinforcement up there one way or the other, it would be a big, red flag and that house would not sell. So it’s got to be done correctly. Do you follow me, Nancy?
NANCY: Correct. Yes.
TOM: Alright. I know it’s not what you want to hear but it’s a potentially serious problem if it’s bowing in that much. It’s got to be – it’s got to be dealt with.
NANCY: OK. So I have to take – I have to take all the drywall and everything out to really see the wall. I can’t (INAUDIBLE) …
TOM: Well, you know, an engineer, if they came in to do an inspection, there’s a couple of tools that you can actually sort of poke through there and see behind. One’s called a borescope. So it may not be that they have to rip it off to do the inspection. They may be able to take off a section of it. But clearly if it’s bowing out that much somebody’s got to look at it. You can’t just close your eyes to this, Nancy, because …
LESLIE: Yeah, you’d rather open it up in a controlled environment rather than have it cave in on you …
LESLIE: … and be potentially hazardous to yourself, your home and your belongings.
TOM: Yeah. Act on it now while you’ve got the benefit of time to do an analysis and make sure it’s repaired correctly.
Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Hey, are you tired of that chrome all around your house? You know how easily it looks dull and so quickly it shows all of those fingerprints? Well, we are going to help you bring back the shine right after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Get a $1,000 guarantee that the contractor you hire gets the job done right with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And you know, one of the ways that I made my home better – and literally, it was because I could not stand cleaning up all of those fingerprints on the chrome faucets in our bathroom upstairs. It was driving me crazy. So when we did our bath remodel I did the satin sort of nickel finish so that I didn’t have to worry about all this …
TOM: Hoping to avoid …
LESLIE: Seriously. But you know what?
TOM: … the fingerprints.
LESLIE: It’s got a whole host of other problems. It’s water spots; toothpaste stains. Not that the toothpaste should be on there but you know how it goes. So if you’re like me and you’re constantly cleaning and you find that those chemical cleansers that are so readily available at the stores are just plain giving you a headache, you should try this to clean all of your bathroom chrome. You should make a paste of baking soda and water and then apply it with a soft cloth and then you want to let it dry and then you can go ahead and gently wipe it off and then you are going to find that all of your aluminum and chrome surfaces all around your house are going to sparkle like new and it will save you a ton of money on cleansers, believe me.
TOM: That is just one of the many, many examples of nontoxic cleaners that we have collected and will be publishing in the next edition of the Money Pit free e-newsletter. It comes to your e-mail inbox every Friday. If you don’t get it sign up now at MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Glen in Texas wants to talk roofs. What can we do for you?
GLEN: Yes, ma’am. I’ve been hearing rumors about reflective coatings for roofing the house; where they’re liquid or material, like insulation type things. Can you help me out on what to do? It’s going to be about six more months and I’m going to have to reroof the house. I was told that I could possibly paint something on the inside of the attic.
TOM: I don’t know that you could paint something on the inside of the attic. But what kind of roof structure do you have? Is it a pitched roof? Is it a flat roof? What do you have, Glen?
GLEN: No, it’s pitched. Yes sir, it’s 1950s ranch-style house facing north and south. And therefore, you know, the hips are east and west.
TOM: OK. Well (clears throat), the type of foil product you’re talking about for inside the attic is called a reflective barrier. And a reflective barrier basically keeps the heat on the side that you want it to be on. You know when you take tin foil and you put it over a casserole that’s come out of the oven to keep the heat in?
TOM: Reflects the heat back down? Well, if you put a reflective barrier in your attic it keeps the heat out of the attic and makes the attic cooler. I’m not aware that that’s available in a paint; some sort of a liquid application. But it’s available in more like a sheet foil type of material.
GLEN: Really? For the outside – for an underlaying underneath the tar paper?
TOM: No but it goes – no, it goes in the attic. It does not go on top of the roof.
GLEN: Oh, it is in the attic. OK.
TOM: In the attic, right. Now, the reason I asked you if it was flat is because if you have a flat roof there is an aluminum paint that’s very often applied to flat roofs that does reflect the UV radiation of the sun back out and helps them last longer. But it’s not something that you would put on any type of a sloped roof because it doesn’t look so hot.
GLEN: On a – I’m using single. Now I’m going to be going to dimensional. So the only thing I can do is on the underside.
TOM: Yeah. You can add a reflective barrier. The other thing, Glen, to look at – especially in Texas – is make sure you have great ventilation in that roof structure. Take this opportunity to add a ridge vent down the peak of the roof; add soffit vents on the sides so that you have good airflow throughout that roof. That will also help keep the home much cooler.
GLEN: Yes, sir. I just did that about three months ago. Alrighty, thank you so much, kids. I appreciate and love your show.
TOM: You’re welcome, Glen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Taking a call now from Hawaii. Aloha, Peggy. What can we help you with?
PEGGY: We’re ready to begin a renovation of our kitchen.
PEGGY: And I want – we have a – well, I have granite countertops but I want to do some kind of a design on the backsplash with tiles.
PEGGY: And I wonder is there any books available that would help me, you know, figure out a layout of, you know, designs that I could go with?
LESLIE: Are you looking for smaller tile that’s perhaps laid out to create an image; almost like a mosaic? Or something that’s just like a blend of different colors? You know, what is your goal here as far as the look?
PEGGY: Well, I’ve seen – saw a picture in one magazine where when you’re standing at the stove it looks like you’re looking out the window at a great yard.
LESLIE: Well, here’s an idea. There’s a company – it’s Susan Jablon Mosaics. And it’s S-u-s-a-n J-a-b-l-o-n Mosaics. Look her up online. And what she does is small, one-inch by one-inch or three-quarter-inch by three-quarter-inch, even half-inch square tiles. And you can put in an image and she will pixelate that image and assign tiles to each color and gradient to make that image up. Then what she does is she mounts all of those tiles onto a face plate and it all comes to you so that you know exactly where it goes. It’s on a 12×12 sheet. You put out your tile adhesive; you put the 12×12 on there. Once it sets you peel off that facing. And you can have any image that you want there. And her prices are not bad at all and there’s a ton of choices. And it’s totally unique and custom for you.
PEGGY: Now would that be her website, too? Susan Jablon?
LESLIE: Yeah, Peggy. That website is actually SusanJablonMosaics.com – all one word – and that goes right to her page.
PEGGY: OK, OK.
LESLIE: And it’s beautiful work. Prices are fantastic. It’s unique and it’s easy to install yourself.
TOM: Peggy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: David in Kansas, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
DAVID: I was wanting to repaint my garage floor.
DAVID: It has paint on it now but it’s – a lot of it’s already come off; flaking off now but it – I didn’t know if I had to remove it all or if I could put a product over it.
TOM: Well, if you put good paint over bad paint it’s still going to pull off. So, I would say that it’s probably going to be a good idea for you to try to get as much of that old paint as you possibly can. After that, you really should look at some of the new epoxy paints that are specifically designed for garages.
LESLIE: Yeah, they go on in a system. There’s a color that goes on first. There is even an additive that gives it sort of a speckle texture and this resin sort of sealer that goes on top of the epoxy coating. It’s done in stages. You can do a garage in an afternoon. It’s usually sold in a kit. The prices are right. Come in a ton of colors and it’s very, very durable; specifically for what you need it for, the garage.
DAVID: Alright, well that answers it.
TOM: Terrific. David, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now you know, Tom, I wish I had that problem.
LESLIE: Because a few years ago my husband and I were repainting the living room and, you know, I like to finish everything in one day …
LESLIE: … and were done with all the stuff. And I took the gallon of trim color; put it on the top shelf in the garage; closed the garage door – you know, this is 11:00 at night; half sleepily, home improvement days – closed the garage; hear this ruckus; open up the garage; the paint can has spilled; there’s white paint everywhere. And my husband starts to like sweep up – you know, scoop up, the paint.
LESLIE: And I’m like, ‘Why don’t we just paint this area white and call it a night?’ (Tom chuckles) And that paint has not chipped, moved, stained, nothing.
TOM: It’s been perfect, right? (laughing)
LESLIE: It’s perfect. And it’s an interior trim paint. And it’s stuck there.
TOM: Hey, sometimes it all works out. (laughing)
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s a design choice, I call it.
TOM: Here’s a riddle for you, Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright, riddle me.
TOM: How can you save cold, hard cash on your utility bills by actually putting money in the refrigerator?
LESLIE: (chuckling) You’ve got me.
TOM: I’m going to teach you how to cash in on this energy-saving trick of the trade, next.
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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number, like Tom said, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT and if you give us a call this hour, ask us a home improvement question and we talk to you on the air with that question – you’ve got to ask a question – you are going to be automatically entered into our random prize drawing because up for grabs this hour we’ve got the new ECO model Reiker room conditioner and it’s totally cool. It works like a space heater and a ceiling fan all in one. So there are no cords to trip over, no fire hazards, no burn risks for kids or pets. It’s great because it puts that heating element right up in the ceiling. You don’t have to worry about it at all. Got to be in it to win it, though. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, here is an energy-saving tip that will cut down on the cost it takes to run your refrigerator and it only costs a buck. But you get the buck back, sort of. (Leslie chuckles) Here’s the trick.
Most refrigerators lose energy because the seals go bad. They lose their magnetic edge; they get warped; they get twisted; they get dirty; they get grimy and then they don’t seal the refrigerator. How do you tell? Take a dollar bill and close the refrigerator on the dollar bill. If you can pull it out easily the seal should be replaced because it’s not doing its job. It’s as simple as that. It’ll cost you a buck but you can stick it back in your pocket when you’re done.
Hey, do you have a question about saving energy in your house? It is leaky wallet season. We’re paying those high heating costs right now. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got Jackie in Tennessee who’s got a fireplace project. What are you working on?
JACKIE: We have about a maybe 50-year-old home that has a standard brick fireplace.
JACKIE: And we added a gas insert that’s smaller than the hole. And so we had some brick – additional brick. A mason added some additional brick, you know, to fit the insert. And it looks great structurally but the color doesn’t match and the mortar doesn’t match. Do we have any option to make that naturally look more natural and blend in? Is there a way to use watercolors or stain rather than just paint?
LESLIE: What sort of difference are you seeing? Is it just that the grout is more dark in the older parts and the brick just has sort of like a brownish, age-y glow? Or is …
JACKIE: It’s noticeably different. It’s a gray grout versus a tan but we didn’t worry about it at the time because we just assumed we were going to paint. But the new brick, of course, is a different color. We got as close as we could but it’s more of a red brick versus a mesa, you know, western-looking desert color. And it just doesn’t match at all.
TOM: It would be difficult to strategically stain that grout, wouldn’t it? Even if you tried an acid stain or something like that?
JACKIE: That’s what I’m wondering. Now, we do have a wooden mantle that we are putting that will cover the seam where the connection is. So, you know, we’re fine with just painting it. That is our best option. Is there anything special we need to do or kind of paint or …
LESLIE: Well, first try this. Do you have any extra of the new bricks kicking around?
LESLIE: OK. Take one of the extra ones; get something from the home center called an aging glaze.
LESLIE: And that basically is a quart. I know Ralph Lauren has one. Behr makes one. There’s a ton of different vendors …
LESLIE: … that sell specifically something called aging glaze. Then you mix into that or you can mix in a little dish on the side – you don’t have to commit to the entire quart with the color. Pick a tone in that brownish, mesa family that would mix into that aging glaze. Because the aging glaze is sort of clear and just helps loosen the paint and make it stick in a way in places where corners would wear and tear.
LESLIE: And mix in, you know, a couple of different colors that you think might help achieve that brick transition.
LESLIE: And try it on those extra bricks until you find something that sort of ages it.
For the grout, you know, you could’ve tinted the grout or chosen a grout at the time of install.
LESLIE: At this point – you know, is it too late at this point to use a grout tint?
JACKIE: Maybe not. If you …
LESLIE: I would look into grout tints. I would also, if you can – if you’ve got a little bit of the extra grout kicking around – you know, smear some on a brick; let it solidify and then work with it in the same way with a – not a watercolor but a latex paint with the aging glaze.
JACKIE: OK. OK.
LESLIE: Something that will help it. Just to try. Because I would hate …
JACKIE: We do have about a foot of wood that will separate the new brick from the old so it does – doesn’t have a very close transition. And there’s only about four inches of the new brick that are going to show. So …
JACKIE: … that’s good.
LESLIE: Yeah, because I – personally, I hate painted brick.
TOM: Yeah but Jackie, the good news is if it doesn’t work out you can always paint. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s like at least try it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
JACKIE: (overlapping voices) OK. Thank you for your thoughts. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we have got a lot more great home improvement advice coming up, including what you might do if you’re thinking about getting a spare fridge and keeping it in the garage. You know, a lot of Americans do it. People buy things in bulk. We love to have a lot of stuff on hand. But is it a good idea? We’re going to tell you the ups and downs of it, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
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: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We have tips. We have tricks. We have advice. We have mottos, like don’t run with a chainsaw. (Leslie giggles) All kinds of great information you get out of this show if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And if you can’t call us because perhaps you’re a bit shy, you can always go to our website at MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie just like one of our readers of the AOL blog did.
LESLIE: Yeah, this person writes: ‘I adore your radio show.’ I didn’t add that it. It actually is in there. And it says: ‘I listen as often as I can. Please help me with this question. I’m planning on purchasing an additional refrigerator to put in my garage. I do a great deal of entertaining. I’ve been told that I cannot do so as the garage is not insulated and my appliance will not work properly. Is this correct? Many of my friends have done this and they don’t have a problem.’
TOM: Yeah, but that’s not as much of a problem though because the normal indoor temperature range of about 60 to 100 degrees is fine for a refrigerator. But since garage temps can run between like zero and 100 …
TOM: … and because the freezer is set to come on only when the refrigerator is working, what’s going to happen is it can actually warm your frozen food, causing it to thaw and spoil.
TOM: So they’re really not designed to be used in a garage. So I guess it kind of depends on how warm your garage stays in the winter. If it doesn’t get too dramatically different than the outside, you may be able to get along with it.
Now, that being said, there are special refrigerators that are designed to work in a garage. I know that Whirlpool makes one as part of that – what’s that garage furniture cabinetry? – Gladiator system it’s called.
TOM: And I know that’s specifically designed for a garage. But unless you have one that’s built like that, it’s probably not a good idea.
LESLIE: Hmm. Well that is good to know and you probably saved her a ton of money on wasted foods and I assume it’s a girl because she’s entertaining, but that’s just me. (Tom chuckles) Alright, we’ve got one here from …
TOM: That is so sexist.
LESLIE: I know. I’m sorry.
Josh in Ogden, Utah writes: ‘I want to insulate my old 1892 Victorian home but there’s no attic space. I have four inches between the lath and plaster in the roof. I bought some cellulose to blow in but I’m worried about ventilation and mold. It sure can get cold in there and I had a gas bill one month last winter of 500 bucks. Help!’
TOM: Well, I think if you have an 1892 Victorian, ventilation is not something you need to worry about, Josh.
LESLIE: Yeah, seriously.
TOM: Drafts ‘r us with a house of that age and so, adding more insulation is a wise thing to do. In your part of the country I would expect that you’d like to have probably 12 to 15 inches of insulation. Now, if you are so fortunate to have soffit vents, just make sure that the cellulose does not cover those; you don’t block your vents. If you have good intake vents and say some vents around the ridge, you will be good to go.
LESLIE: Yeah, gosh. You know, those older homes, I have one; you’ve got one, Tom. It’s the newer homes you need to worry about venting or insulation or drafts because with our homes from our generation of houses, there are so many drafts coming through. So you’re in good shape, Josh.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and that’s just about all the time we have this hour. But the conversation continues online at MoneyPit.com. And if we didn’t get to your question, remember you can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Our screeners are always standing by live and in person – we are awful to work for; we never let them go home – to take your home improvement question and we’ll call you back the next time we’re in the studio. Or you can always e-mail us your question to [email protected].
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 2007 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.)