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 right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. It’s a great hour. It’s a great idea. It’s time to talk home improvement. 888-666-3974. Are your pipes in your bank account frozen? (Leslie chuckles) Need some help finding the money to tackle those home improvement projects? Maybe we can save you some cold, hard cash by finding some less expensive ways to get the jobs done. 888-666-3974.
We’ve got a busy hour planned for you. Coming up, tips for spring planting. Yes, we know it still may be a bit chilly where you live, but ….
LESLIE: (chuckling) The ground is frozen.
TOM: … it is time to start thinking spring. You have to be positive. Let’s warm it up and you’re going to be putting those annuals in pretty quickly. So we’ve got some tips to help you get that job done right so you’ll be looking pretty pretty soon.
LESLIE: And also ahead, did you know that the energy that you use at home in your home can pollute outside more than your car can. Coming up, we’re going to have tips on how you can cut that energy use down to size.
TOM: And we’re going to tell you about a poison that could be actually lurking in your home without you even knowing it. It’s a naturally occurring gas. It’s got the potential to cause some pretty serious harm. Later this hour we’ll tell you what it is and exactly what you need to do to avoid it.
LESLIE: And one caller this hour is going to get some cleanup help, too, because we are giving away a basket of cleaning goodies from the folks at Weiman. It’s worth 65 bucks. It goes to one lucky caller for free who asks their question on the air by giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: So let us help you clean up some of those home improvement to-dos on your list. Pick up the phone right now and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Let’s get right to the phones. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Doreen in New Jersey wants to talk about pellet stoves. How can we help you?
DOREEN: Yes, I’d like to know what your advice is on evaluating and purchasing a pellet stove? What kind of features should I look for and can it be used as an alternative heat source?
TOM: Doreen, there’s an excellent website that answers all those questions. It’s the EPA’s wood stove website. The URL is EPA.gov/woodstoves. That’s the Environmental Protection Agency’s wood stove information center. And there you’re going to find out information about EPA-certified stoves, which is what you’re actually looking for. And it covers wood stoves, it covers pellet stoves and it gives you all the information that you need to choose the best one for your situation.
DOREEN: OK, I thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: John in Utah is feeling the chills; calling with an insulation question. How can we help you?
JOHN: Yes, I have a multilevel home and my first floor is very cold and I’m thinking it’s an insulation issue and if I should go into the interior wall or take the siding off and go outside and replace insulation (inaudible).
TOM: What insulation is in the wall right now?
JOHN: I’m not really sure what’s in there right now?
TOM: Mm-hmm. How old is the house?
JOHN: It is a ’99.
TOM: Ninety-nine years old? Well, there’s probably nothing in there. I would do a little exploratory surgery to try to figure out what you have, but the easiest way to insulate a house at that age is to use blown-in insulation and the way that’s done is a hole is drilled into the wall, usually about two-thirds of the way up the wall and then insulation is blown into that wall under a slight pressure and settles down and also goes up to fill up the cavity.
If you end up hiring an insulation contractor to do this, I would insist upon a post-insulation test where they can use an infrared scanner and actually scan the walls of your home to make sure they’ve hit all the areas where there was no insulation.
LESLIE: Tom, would it ever make sense to do that first so that you know where the problem areas are in specific wall cavities rather than having to, you know, cut holes in every nook and cranny? Or does it make sense just to go for the gusto?
TOM: You don’t have to cut holes in every nook and cranny. When you’re all done there can always be situations where there’s one part of a wall cavity that’s sort of blocked off by an extra piece of reinforcing two-by that was put in there, you know, a hundred years ago when the house was built and now you get this cold spot.
You know, when the contracts are working in the homes, Leslie, they get the sense as to how much insulation, for example, they’re putting in the average bay; the space between the studs of the wall. And if one cavity takes like half as much as the next, they’re going to sense that something is wrong. So sometimes the pros can kind of figure it out, but it’s always a good idea to do an infrared scan after you insulate the walls in a situation like this because it literally comes in – I won’t say black and white but it’s usually like red and white (Leslie chuckles) and you can actually see where the cold spots are and go back in and touch up those areas. And it’s not real expensive today because the equipment cost has come way down.
And if you do those two things, John, you’re going to know that the home is insulated thoroughly.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. W are here to help you, so give us a call right now with your home repair or your home improvement question. Don’t feel like calling now, no worries. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, your home is a bigger polluter than your car. Can you believe it? You heard it right. Find out what you can do about it, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer. And add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Because one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a basketful of cleaning wipes from the folks at Weiman. Included are E-Tronic wipes perfect for cleaning computer monitors and flatscreen TVs. You’ll also get some wipes specifically designed for a natural stone surface. This is something we get a lot of calls on here at The Money Pit. The whole basket is worth 65 bucks and we’ll help you clean up your house. Call us right now.
If you want to qualify you may be the name we pull out of the Money Pit hardhat at the end of today’s program but you’ve got to have a question and be willing to come on the air and ask us. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright, well with all those cleaning supplies you’re certainly going to use a lot of personal and physical energy making your home tidy, but have you really thought about your home’s energy? Listen to this. The energy used in the average home can be responsible for more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car. That’s pretty crazy. You know, if you use less energy at home you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help protect the environment from the risks of global warming and something as simple as using a programmable thermostat can actually save you up to $150 a year. That’s huge. In fact, there’s a great new tool that can help you find many, many ways to save money and energy all around your house.
TOM: That’s right. It’s called the Energy Star video podcast. It’s a virtual tour around the house with a room-by-room look at what you can do and you might say (Leslie chuckles), ‘Tom, how do you know so much about that podcast?’ Well, because I hosted it for the folks at Energy Star and …
LESLIE: (chuckling) Or upon watching it you might say, ‘Hey, that guy looks really familiar (Tom laughs) or sounds familiar.’
TOM: If I do say so myself it’s darn informative. You can see it right now at EnergyStar.gov and also on AOL’s real estate section. In the home improvement page in the AOL real estate section you’ll find the Energy Star video podcast.
And if you have an energy efficiency question right now you can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get back to the phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Norma Jean in Arkansas is dealing with some hot water issues. What’s going on at your money pit?
NORMA JEAN: Well, we installed a new hot water heater. The old one went out. And when I do my washing I do it warm water. Well, it’s either hot or cold. It’s not mixing. I don’t know if he’s got it set right.
TOM: What kind of a water heater did you put in? Is it electric or gas?
NORMA JEAN: It’s electric.
NORMA JEAN: But I don’t know the brand of it.
TOM: OK. And do you have any hot water or is it just cold? Or does it run out quickly?
NORMA JEAN: Well, it’s – oh, it’s hot. But when I turn it to where it’s supposed to be warm, when I do my washing it’s cold.
TOM: So the issue is the mixing valve.
NORMA JEAN: Yes.
TOM: Is that what you’re talking about? Hmm.
NORMA JEAN: Mm-hmm, it’s the mixing.
TOM: Well, that may not be the water heater. That could be the valves at the washer. Do you have a single lever valve that turns on both hot and cold at the same time?
NORMA JEAN: Oh, we have a knob that you turn on for the hot and then you turn it on up to the warm, cold, you know, and mix. And that’s all I know. I don’t …
TOM: Well, with a water heater you typically – it’s either on or off. So if you – we’re talking about the fill valves for the washing machine here. It has to be all the way on. So both hot and cold would be all the way on. Now, if you’re doing that and you’re trying to tell the washer to wash in warm water – you’re not getting warm out – I doubt it’s the water heater. If this is a problem you’re only noticing with the washer then it wouldn’t be the water heater. Could be the washer itself. Did you consider that?
NORMA JEAN: The other water heater – the other hot water heater was just fine, you know. It was just fine.
TOM: When you turn on your kitchen sink, do you get hot and cold water and plenty of it?
NORMA JEAN: Yes.
TOM: Alright, it’s not the water heater. Something might be wrong with the washer. This could just be bad timing, Norma Jean, but if it’s only happening at the washer I suspect that the problem is at the washing machine. Now, there’s only one other thing I can think of but I – now that I’m – I’m thinking out loud to myself. It probably wouldn’t be it. I was thinking if maybe he reversed the lines and sent the hot water to the cold side and the cold water to the hot side, but you would notice that at the sink. So I’m going to go back to my original theory. I suspect something’s wrong with your washer here and that’s what you need to look at; not the water heater.
NORMA JEAN: Oh, alright. Alright. I’ll have him to do that.
TOM: Alright, Norma. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Brad in Alaska’s got a bathroom project. How can we help?
BRAD: Hi. Yeah, I’ve got a bath tub that if I tried to take it out I’d have to destroy the wall taking it out. And I was wondering if there were any type of finishes that I could possibly put on to it; an epoxy or something like that that I could just change the color of – with.
TOM: Well, you can refinish a porcelain bathtub. The problem is that the finishes that are available – and they are epoxy-based finishes – are not as durable as the original porcelain because, of course, the technology is completely different. It’s not baked on. It’s air cure or it’s cured with a heat lamp, depending on the formulation. So you can change the color. It will look good for a while. But you know, it’s kind of like, I’d say a five to seven-year finish and even amongst that time you may get some chipping.
Another possibility is what’s called a bath insert, where they make sort of like a skin that fits inside the bathtub and surrounds it and that’s fairly expensive but probably just a little bit less expensive than tearing the whole thing out and I’m certain that that price structure is designed to bring it in there just short of the demolition. But that’s another way to do it. Basically it fits inside the tub and it’s custom made and the only complaint I have about that is the inserts are pretty thick; usually about a half-inch thick, so your tub ends up being that much more narrow when you’re done.
LESLIE: There’s actually a good website that’s – it’s called TubbyUSA.com and they sell a product that’s really a series of many products and many processes and many steps, but it does give you a somewhat really durable and good-looking finished product for the bath. But keep in mind, like Tom says, it’s not going to last as long as you want it to.
BRAD: OK, then. Well, maybe I should reconsider and I’ll look up Tubby.com and see what’s on there. But I thank you for your time.
LESLIE: Lucy in New Jersey’s dealing with a flooring issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
LUCY: Yes, I’m thinking about buying a carriage (ph) house and investing a little bit more than a usual one and I would like very much to have your expertise on whether I should put a concrete slab there first and then put the shed on top of it.
TOM: OK, you’re talking about a shed that looks like – not an entire house, right? (chuckling) Just a shed.
LUCY: No, no, dear. No …
LUCY: … it’s like 8×10, I think.
TOM: If you could, I would definitely pour a slab because these sheds, these prebuilt sheds, can go right on the ground, but it’s not nearly as nice as if you can have a cement slab. So if you want to spend a little bit of money, I think it’s a good idea to put in a 10×10 cement slab.
TOM: But listen, Lucy, before you do that you’d better make sure that you’re not violating any zoning restrictions because sometimes there’s zoning laws about how many of those and how much of that you can put on your property, if at all, and how close it can be to a property line. So before you order this thing, go down to your local, you know, municipal hall; talk with a zoning official or whoever’s in charge there and make sure it’s OK for you to do that. Make sure you get a permit, too, because if you do this and you don’t have a permit they could make you take it out.
LUCY: Yes, and then there’s usually a fine, too, on top of it.
TOM: Yeah, and we don’t want to have to bail you out of jail now, Lucy.
LUCY: (chuckling) Aren’t you wonderful? Yeah. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: And Tom is near by to you so (Tom chuckles), you could call him for that.
Richard in Alaska, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
RICHARD: I started a law firm and we moved into a space that was occupied by a yoga studio.
RICHARD: Lot of good vibes here but there’s also a lot of mirrors on the wall.
LESLIE: I’m sure. (Tom chuckles)
RICHARD: The mirrors are about eight-and-a-half feet tall. They’re about a tenth of an inch thick and there are 30 feet of them on the main wall.
TOM: Oh, my God. Wow.
RICHARD: They were glued directly to the drywall.
RICHARD: So my question is, is there a way for me to take these down. I’m relatively handy. Because the cost from the people that put them up is pretty silly. They want about 2K to take these mirrors down and that – they’re guaranteeing the destruction of the mirrors and the destruction of the drywall for the pleasure of the 2K.
LESLIE: I’m pretty sure – I mean we have a good trick. Keep in mind that these are large mirrors. You are most likely going to break them so take every protective precaution as far as long sleeves, eye wear, everything so that you don’t get injured.
TOM: And remember, Leslie, he is a lawyer. (laughing)
LESLIE: You know, what we’ve done – and this has been in cases with smaller mirrors –
TOM: Yeah, like 12×12 tiles.
LESLIE: … or even, you know, like a 24×36 mirror that’s been glued to a wall – is you take a piano wire and you sort of stretch it out behind the mirror and start at the top and then one person is on one end and – well, with a smaller mirror you’d be doing it yourself in front of it, but you could take a friend and each go on either end and sort of use it as a saw through the glue behind the mirror. You’re most likely going to break that mirror. I mean you’re dealing with a pretty large piece of glass here, although it’s thick, and that’ll cut through. And you’re probably going to have to re-drywall over that anyway.
TOM: Yes, I think that there’s going to be so much damage that’s going to happen in removing these mirrors that it’s going to absolutely impossible for you to preserve that drywall. Because the surface is very weak. You know, it’s only paper over plaster. And so, by the time you spend all of this time and aggravation trying to save the drywall, in the best-case scenario the surface is going to be so rough you’re not going to be happy with it and you’ll end up putting a second layer of drywall over top of that.
In this case, with that massive amount of mirror, I would recommend you have the pros do it and walk away from this. I don’t think is a job you want to do yourself. If you want to do some of this work yourself, maybe you can do the rebuild by adding the drywall after the fact. Just make sure they agree to clean up all of the glass and all of the old drywall and leave it ready to be re-rocked for the number. I think that I would tend to hire pros for this rather than do it myself because that’s a really, really big and potentially dangerous job.
RICHARD: Well, thank you so very much and we appreciate it from here in Alaska.
TOM: You’re welcome, Richard. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pedro in South Carolina, what can we do for you today here at the Money Pit?
PEDRO: Hi, I wanted to call because, see, we’re in the house now and I got married and my wife – who’s my wife now – she has seven dogs.
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness.
PEDRO: Yeah, but they’re very well trained.
PEDRO: She has a pet door, so they go in and out; you know, no problem.
PEDRO: But she also does rescue for the state of South Carolina.
LESLIE: And they are not trained so well.
TOM: Yeah, they’re not trained so well.
PEDRO: Right. And what – it’s not like I’m walking around on a sponge here; you know, all slopped up. Like every once in a while there is something. And I don’t want to – I don’t know if what the damage or what’s the best way to clear that up. Is it – do I have to replace? Is there something I can do to clean? Because I don’t know what’s going on under the carpet.
LESLIE: I would save – Pedro, the first step is definitely trying to attack it itself and do some cleaning before you think about pulling out carpet, pulling out padding and seeing what’s going on with the subfloor. There’s a product called Just Rite. R-i-t-e is how they spell Rite. JustRite.com. And it’s a series of different components that are sort of all organic in the fact that these little enzymes attack the bacteria that’s in the pet urine that – you know …
LESLIE: … makes the odor that makes it last. So there’s like a syringe that you inject one into the carpeting pad and it really does get rid of the odor because it’s getting rid of the source of it. And if you’re dealing with only, you know, limited accidents here and there with these rescues it really can make a huge difference. The kit is affordable and it’s definitely worth it and it’ll last for ages. You know, we got it when we were training our puppy and she was having some accidents and you would never even know that there was a problem.
PEDRO: Oh, that’s great because the first thing the cleaning guy did was recommend that we replace and it ends up – we ended up finding out that he had a stake in the carpet (inaudible) that we wanted us to replace.
LESLIE: Of course.
TOM: (laughing) That’s terrible. Here you guys are trying to do the right thing and rescue animals and the cleaning guys trying to sell you new carpet.
PEDRO: Yeah, it’s hard to turn to (ph) anybody. That’s why when I heard your show …
PEDRO: … I said these are the people to ask.
TOM: JustRite.com is the product.
PEDRO: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
That’s terrible. (Leslie chuckles) The guy he turns to for advice is selling him – he’s got a stake in the carpet business.
LESLIE: Well, and then it’s crazy. He’ll be like – come back six months later to do another cleaning he’ll be like, ‘Aw, you’ve got to replace this again.’
LESLIE: ‘You should stop rescuing those animals.’
Pedro, you’re doing a good thing for all those lost little doggies.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. When we return, we’re going to discuss something that you can’t see, you can’t smell it and you can’t even taste it. But if you’ve been breathing it without knowing, it has the potential to kill you. We are talking about radon. If you’re not sure what it is, stick around because we’re going to tell you all about it, next.
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: Call us now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma at 888-MONEY-PIT. Call us if you just bought a house and it came with a built-in squirrel trap in the attic. (Leslie chuckles) We can help you with that at 888-666-3974.
You know, we get a lot of calls about wildlife that sort of got lost in folks’ houses this past winter. So, you know, if that’s happening to you call us. We will see …
LESLIE: But they were happily rescued and released in most cases.
TOM: Absolutely. Well that’s because we know the humane ways to help you, let’s say, serve the eviction notice on your …
LESLIE: (chuckling) Forcefully (ph).
TOM: … on the furry friends. (chuckling)
Hey, we were talking before about radon gas. It is, of course, an odorless gas that forms from the radioactive decay of uranium in the soil and, basically, as the uranium breaks down, the gas is released. Now, if your home is particularly tight and is not ventilated properly – and this can happen even if it’s a very energy-efficient home – that gas can get trapped inside the house and it can rise to a toxic level.
Now, it can be remediated but the first thing you have to do is test for it. To test for radon gas, you have to use – probably the most common type of test is called a charcoal adsorption canister. It is put in the basement. It’s left there for a period of, say, two to six days. It’s sent to a lab. The lab tells you what the reading is and if it comes out to be 4.0 picocuries – which is the measure of the gas – or higher, then there’s a way to put a ventilation system in so you can have your energy efficiency and have a healthy basement environment at the same time.
LESLIE: And the best time to really do the testing is sort of when you’re in a sealed-in time of year like – so this time of year would be excellent because you’re not really opening the doors and windows a lot except for regular entry and exit, correct?
TOM: It is. You know, I used to do these tests when I was a home inspector and, you know, imagine the July or August hot day; going into a house to do this inspection …
LESLIE: And telling them they can’t open their doors or windows? (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, no air conditioning. ‘And by the way, once I set this test you can’t open your doors or windows except for normal in and out of the house.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah. Right. OK.’ (Leslie chuckles) So yeah, it’s a good time to do it.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re looking for some more information, we’ve got a great website for you. It’s www.EPA.gov/radon. They’ve got a ton of info there. Also, in the next edition of our e-newsletter, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know, including exactly where to start if you even suspect that you might have radon in your home. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so sign up for our free Money Pit e-newsletter at MoneyPit.com today.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement question.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Heading out to California to talk to Carol. What’s going on at your Money Pit?
CAROL: I have a brick hearth fireplace and it has – just on the hearth itself it has a fine layer of what looks like dust, but it isn’t dust. When I tried to wash it off, as it dried it just – the white reappeared. And I’m not sure what product to use and I thought I’d talk to somebody like yourself who might guide me in that way.
LESLIE: Well, have you tried white vinegar and water?
CAROL: No, I haven’t.
LESLIE: Because that …
CAROL: You think that would do it?
LESLIE: It works amazingly well on any sort of mineral deposit that you would see on a concrete wall, around a faucet. And it makes it go away lickety-split.
CAROL: And it won’t damage the brick?
CAROL: OK. Alright. I definitely will give that a try. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Johnny in Louisiana has a question about flooring. How can we help you with your project?
JOHNNY: Yes, Leslie. I’m considering laminate flooring or hardware flooring to replace carpet in my home.
JOHNNY: And I want to know the upsides to each and the downsides to each. What would you recommend?
LESLIE: Well, where is the carpeting?
JOHNNY: In my – well, carpeting is throughout the house. Well, not throughout. Actually I have ceramic tile in the kitchen and the bath area but the carpet is in the bedroom and the living area.
TOM: Is the floor structure wood or is it on top of a slab?
JOHNNY: The substructure is on a slab. It’s concrete slab.
TOM: Oh, it’s a concrete slab. OK, that makes a difference because you can’t put solid hardwood floor on the concrete slab because the slab’s going to be too damp and it’ll cause buckling. But what you can use is a product called engineered hardwood, which is a laminated style of hardwood. It’s kind of like plywood where you have layers of wood that are glued together at opposing angles and the top layer is the hardwood. So your choice is really between laminate and engineered hardwood and both work will work very, very well on a slab. They go down similarly in that they’re not attached to the slab. They float on top …
TOM: … and there’s usually an underlayment that goes in between the two. So beyond that …
JOHNNY: Call it free float? (ph)
TOM: Beyond that, it really comes down to the look and the feel. I mean …
LESLIE: And your budget.
TOM: And your budget because the hardwood’s going to be more expensive. So maybe you want to think about doing a combination of both.
LESLIE: You know, is there one room that you really had the look of hardwood in mind and the engineered hardwood might be a better choice? A good website and a good company for you to consider is Armstrong. They offer both laminate and the engineered hardwood and what Tom and I learned at the International Builders Show in Orlando was that the Armstrong engineered hardwood plant – the facility that actually makes the floor – has been recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council that they’re completely green in the way that they produce the flooring and they’re planting more trees than they’re using. So you can feel good about that choice. And both the engineered hardwood and the laminate are great for moist conditions like being on a slab.
JOHNNY: Which one is more durable? I guess I’m asking scratch resistant or durability.
TOM: Well, it’s interesting because both of them are finished with a similar material. It’s called aluminum oxide.
TOM: And depends on what level of durability, essentially, you order. For example, with an engineered hardwood you can order residential grade or you can order commercial grade. The commercial grade is going to be a lot more durable. It has to do with the results of something called a taber abrasion test, which is basically a disk that they spin and count the revolutions it takes to actually cut through the finished surface. So, if I was putting, for example, either the engineered hardwood or the laminate, say, in a foyer where I know there’s going to be a lot of dirt tracked in …
TOM: … there’s going to be a lot of abrasion, I would use a really good quality product there. If I was putting a hardwood floor …
JOHNNY: (overlapping voices) (inaudible)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And make everyone take off their shoes.
TOM: Yeah, and if I was putting the hardwood floor or the laminate in a bedroom, I wouldn’t be so worried about it. By the time you get to the bedroom you usually have dropped all the dirt along the way. (Leslie chuckles)
JOHNNY: (chuckling) Yeah, right, right.
LESLIE: Stick around. More great home improvement advice coming up on the Money Pit, including step-by-step instructions for all of your spring planting because spring is right around the corner.
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: Have you repaired your banister five times and it still falls out at the same spot in the drywall?
LESLIE: Oh, no.
TOM: We can help. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call with your banister question. Don’t keep doing the same project over and over again and get the right answer. Do it once, do it right. So call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only are you going to get the helpful and, most likely, shortcut answer to the problem that you are facing; we’re giving away a great prize to one lucky caller this hour. It’s a $65 gift basket of cleaning wipes from the folks at Weiman. Only one caller is going to get it for totally nothing. And the cleaning wipes, they’re great. There’s one specifically made for computers; one for leather; one for, you know, those hard-to-care-for stone countertops. So you’re going to have everything you need for every specific job around the house. The only thing you’re missing is the cleaning lady or cleaning guy to do it for you.
TOM: Yeah, you know, it doesn’t have to be a cleaning lady.
LESLIE: That’s why I said cleaning guy.
TOM: Because we do clean, too; once in a while. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: Oh, I was talking about, you know, the always, ever, hopeful hired hand so you just didn’t have to do it.
TOM: I see, I see.
Well, from spring cleaning it’s time to talk about spring planting. You know, it is almost time to do just that, so here’s a few tips to help you get started with those annuals in the ground.
First, when the weather is warm enough you want to dig a hole as deep and about twice as wide as the clump of dirt surrounding the roots of the plant. That’s the technical term for the root structure: clump of dirt.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Clump.
TOM: Then take the plant out of the bed or the pot and use a gardening trowel to sort of gently chop up the dirt ball to loosen the roots. Now, you don’t want to mince your dirt balls.
TOM: You want to finely chop them because otherwise you’re going to destroy them. Then put the roots into the hole and make sure that the dirt ball is level with the surrounding soil. The next step is to fill the hole halfway with dirt before filling out the rest with water and once that water is drained back in the soil you can go ahead and top off the rest with dirt. Potting soil is great for this. Gently pat down that soil and you can add a few inches of mulch around the top. This really helps keep the weeds down and also holds the moisture into the plant. And if you’re concerned about the level of moisture, you can also add a soil conditioner to that dirt around the plant and what that does is actually swells up and holds the water and sort of lets it back into the root structure very slowly.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, they’re like liquid polymer crystals. They’re great to use in, you know, drought-prone areas of the country or just …
LESLIE: … super-hot places where you just can’t be watering everyday.
TOM: You have a planting question? You have a home repair question? Call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Flooring is the number one topic of question here at The Money Pit and we’ve got Bill in Florida joining in on that line. Bill, what can we do for you?
BILL: Hey, I love the show, by the way, first of all.
TOM: Thank you.
BILL: Yeah, I’m helping my friend build his house and we put the subflooring down and it’s plywood. It’s – let’s see here. It’s five-eights plywood.
BILL: We used liquid nails and (inaudible) on it. And we’re not going to get the things right in for a while and this is Florida and it’s wet, it’s dry, it gets cold now and it gets hot again the very next day and I was wondering what we needed to do for that; if we needed to coat it with something.
BILL: Because the plywood – already on one piece it’s kind of bubbled up on one area where the plywood is coming apart …
TOM: Well …
BILL: … and I believe it’s from the weathering. So …
TOM: Plywood is not designed to be left to the weather indefinitely, so you say …
LESLIE: Even if it’s CDX?
TOM: Well, if it’s CDX – it’s probably CDX, what he has – that means it’s C on one side, D on the other and exterior grade.
BILL: Right, right.
TOM: The adhesive is exterior grade but wood is wood and wood left unfinished …
TOM: … is going to be subjected to be deteriorated (ph) by the weather. But you know, you can’t – it would be improper to paint the floor or something of that nature. You might want to tarp it or put plastic sheeting down or something like that and try to keep it as dry as you can until you get it in; totally you get it totally dried in. I mean it’s designed to stay out in the weather for some period of time …
TOM: … but when you say you’re not going to get dried in for a while – I mean we’re not talking six months here – then you’re going to start having problems.
BILL: (chuckling) It’s possibly six months, as a matter of fact. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Well, what kind of fasteners did you use to attach it? Did you nail it or screw it?
BILL: We nailed it down.
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you what. I would …
LESLIE: You want to screw it down.
TOM: I would definitely screw it down because …
LESLIE: It’s going to keep it from moving far greater.
TOM: And you know what it’s going to do? It’s going to stop annoying floor squeaks that will pop up after like you get everything in. So while it’s wide open like this, I would rent myself a screw nailer. There’s these kind that you can basically – you don’t even have to bend over. They have a screw gun attachment and they just rapid-fire screws.
BILL: Right, I know what you’re talking about. OK.
TOM: Yep, and you just screw that whole thing down and I think you’ll be real happy if you do that.
BILL: OK, well what do you recommend for that part that’s kind of bubbled up? Should I – I mean like I said, I used liquid nails as well.
TOM: What I would do is this. I would ignore that for the time being …
TOM: … and when you’re ready – like when you’re getting close to being closing this in …
TOM: … I would – last thing; I would cut that piece out and replace it. But I wouldn’t do it now because – just let it wear.
BILL: (overlapping voices) OK, just take the piece out. Right, right. Well, OK. That answered my question, guys. Appreciate you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bill. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and we’re getting to that season where it’s sort of the perfect time of year to replace a roof. And if you are thinking about doing this project around your house, one of the questions you’re going to have is, ‘Should I tear off my existing roof or should I simply put a second layer on.’ Well, there’s actually an economic reason to go one way or the other. We’ll tell you what it is and how you can save money in the process, next.
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 and we know you love to listen to The Money Pit live on the air but why not listen to it when you want to, where you want to? You can download The Money Pit any time you like; any episode of the show; even just segments about specific topics that you’re working on that you need to know that info right now for free. If you go to MoneyPit.com/listen, you can learn how to download our very free Money Pit podcast.
TOM: And when you set it up it’s all totally automatic. We will just show up on your iPod every single week and you can listen to the show whenever you like.
Hey, and while you’re there, if you have a home improvement question you can click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail just like Janet did from Topeka, Kansas. And Leslie, it looks like she is looking at a very, very expensive roof job here.
LESLIE: Yeah, this is pretty crazy. Janet writes: ‘We need to replace the asphalt roof. We have a bid of $49,000 to remove it (Tom chuckles) but we don’t like that option.’ Yeah, I wonder why. (chuckling)
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, I don’t blame you. (chuckling)
LESLIE: ‘Can we leave it on, put new sheeting and reroof right over the old if a structural engineer says the house will hold the weight? What are the problems with this scenario?’ Why is it so much money to remove it, first of all?
TOM: The first problem is I think you are getting totally ripped off. I cannot imagine a $49,000 asphalt shingle roof. I mean you must have a house half the size of Bill Gates’s mansion if that’s the kind of money that they’re talking about. Asphalt shingle roofs just shouldn’t cost that kind of money unless you really have an extraordinarily high house; one that’s very difficult; one that’s very challenging. So, I suspect that that number is wrong. But that doesn’t change the economics. So let me explain those to you.
First of all, if you’re considering whether or not you should replace your roof or tear it off or roof over it in a roof replacement, the first question is how long are you going to stay in the house. Because when you put a second layer of asphalt shingles on top of an existing layer, there is an additional amount of heat that gets held into that roof. It stays warmer than it normally would. And what that heat does is it evaporates the oil that’s in the asphalt of the new shingles and, hence, shortens the life of the roof.
LESLIE: By how much?
TOM: Well, that’s a good question. In my experience as a home inspector, over 20 years of seeing this condition, I’d say it shortens it from 25 percent to a third. So you’re going to get a third more life out of the roof if there’s one layer than if there’s two layers. But if you’re only going to be in that house 10 years, who cares if the roof lasts 15 or 25 years? It’s not going to matter to you. You’ll have no economic benefit for paying the additional money for the tear-off. So it comes down to how long you’re going to stay in the house. If you’ll be there for most of the life of that new roof, go ahead and rip the old roof off; put one layer on.
Now, in terms of the weight issue, believe me; most homes can handle two, three, four layers of asphalt shingles. I have no concern about putting too much weight on the roof.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one more here from Sherry who writes: ‘I listen to the podcast in Montreal and I love the show. I recently bought a townhouse that was totally redone. The house is very quiet. I hear water dripping in the kitchen walls. The bathroom is right above the area. I see no signs of leak or moisture anywhere. I noticed, however, the toilet tank water drips into the bowl. I checked this using food coloring. Could this be the problem.
TOM: Probably not. I suspect what’s happening is the pipes are actually rubbing against the wood structure and especially …
LESLIE: And that sounds like water dripping?
TOM: Yes, it does. It sounds absolutely like water dripping. If it’s the hot water pipe, especially, when you turn that pipe on the pipe starts to expand and it sounds just like a drip. So if you’re not seeing any water I wouldn’t worry about it.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Want to remind you we’re available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So if in the middle of the week you notice that your cell phone is operating your garage door opener (Leslie chuckles), pick up the phone and call us and we will try to help you out.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete, wondering if that even happens. (laughing)
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2008 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.)