Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Making good homes better. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. What’s your home improvement question. Call us right now. 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour on the program, the best defense is a good offense. It’s true in sports and it’s true when it comes to taking care of your own money pit. We’re going to tell you how to prepare for harsh weather conditions before they hit.
LESLIE: And find out why your sink could be one of the worst designed items in your kitchen. We’re going to tell you what’s wrong with it and how you can fix it.
TOM: And here you were thinking it worked just fine.
LESLIE: You’re like, ‘It’s my sink. What could be wrong? It’s normal.’ Well, there are some changes you can make that’ll make your back a lot happier. I promise you.
TOM: And replacing windows is a good way to increase your energy efficiency and add some value to your house. It’s a very good investment on your home. But how do you know when it’s time to replace and when it is time, how do you know you’re getting the right windows for your home? We’re going to tell you in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: Plus we’re giving away a Wobble Light Jr. It’s worth 60 bucks but could be yours for free so give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ruth in Rhode Island listens on WPRO. And you’re thinking of moving, huh?
RUTH: Yes, I’m trying to help out my son. I helped him buy his first house and he’d like to move on in the spring. However, being a buyer’s market, we’re a little concerned because the builder – it was a spec home and he forgot to build a dining area or an eat-in kitchen.
TOM: How do you forget to build a dining area? (chuckling)
RUTH: Well, he – really, seriously, he built stairs to go down to the basement …
RUTH: … which is finished. However, there’s just no place in the kitchen for a dining area.
RUTH: The living room – it’s a 38×24 50s ranch. It has – the living room would be invaded if you put like a dining area in there. It would look strange.
RUTH: So, should he – if he goes to sell it in the spring, should he advertise it as a two bedroom and try to make one of the bedrooms into a dining area? Or what (inaudible) …
TOM: So what you’re saying is that you don’t have a formal dining room. You have a kitchen but you don’t have a formal place for a dining table?
TOM: Is it possible that you could create …
LESLIE: Yeah but …
TOM: … for example, like a pass through; where you have like a half-wall and an extended kitchen counter where people who could kind of sit up against that?
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean open plans are so much more popular these days. And if you do sort of separate an area – even with a half wall, like Tom is suggesting – just to, you know, delineate the two rooms.
RUTH: The living room is kind of long and narrow. He has – they have those like the see-through window through the kitchen to the living room.
RUTH: However, that really isn’t an option because there’s really no area to put a dining area. He’d have to cut out the wall going into the next room.
TOM: Well look, I would – there are certain things, Ruth, that you do that give you a good return on investment and certain things that you don’t do. Obviously, your son bought the house. It wasn’t a big deal for him. There are going to be people out there, buyers out there that are just fine with the fact that it doesn’t have a dining room.
TOM: What you might want to concentrate – or rather than spend your money in there – is on some more of the basics; especially in a tough market. First of all, the improvements that give you the best return on investment and that buyers are most interested in are kitchens, baths and decks. So you want to make sure your kitchen and your bath certainly are in good, clean, workable condition. The next thing that you want to do is make sure that you eliminate as much storage as possible in the house before you put it on the market in a tough market like this because people are looking for homes that have a lot of space and if your house is crowded because you’ve outgrown it, that’s not going to be very attractive.
LESLIE: Along those same lines, Ruth, if you – if you’re able to have the furniture out of the house …
LESLIE: … so that that living room is just open and then as you advertise and as you show the house say, ‘This is the living room/dining room’ and allow the new owner to sort of figure for themselves …
TOM: Yeah, good point.
LESLIE: … how to divvy up the space because – I mean every apartment I had before I bought my own, we split the living room, you know, regardless of its size, to be …
LESLIE: … a formal dining area and a living area, whether or not the couch backed up – you know, faced its back to the dining area and just sort of created two separate spaces with a walk-through in the center. You know, there are ways to set up furniture in a smart way.
RUTH: That sounds very good.
LESLIE: So if you sort of give it a blank slate, you’re, you know, already suggesting, ‘This is the two rooms in one and …’ you know. And if they ask, you know, just come up with a plan how you’d laid out the furniture.
TOM: And the other thing that you might want to think about doing, Ruth, before you put it on the market, have a professional home inspection done because the new buyer is certainly going to do that. And if you have the inspection done up front, you’re going to be able to determine any problems that need fixing before you have a buyer under contract. And also, you can hand that report, gladly, over to the new buyer. It’s kind of like a pedigree that says that the home was properly constructed and well maintained.
RUTH: Thank you so much.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Susan in Minnesota who finds The Money Pit on KNUJ. And you’ve got a basement question. What’s on your mind?
SUSAN: Yes, my question is what your advice would be with the Owens Corning where – for in a basement versus studding it out.
TOM: The basement finish system? Yeah, that’s a – that’s a prefabricated basement finish system where the panels are basically structural and pretty all at the same time. That Owens Corning system allows you to redo a basement fairly quickly. It’s installed by franchisees. It’s fairly pricey.
LESLIE: It looks good.
TOM: It looks great. It’s going to be more expensive then doing it the traditional way, where you stud it out and use drywall and stuff. But it does look fabulous. A lot of basements are – because they’re underground – are being studded with metal studs these days and that actually saves some cost.
And the other thing that she should think about, Leslie, I think is the kind of wallboard …
TOM: … that she uses. I would not use traditional drywall; paper face drywall. No.
LESLIE: Paper face drywall. You want to make sure, Susan, because the basement – if you’re going to go with the drywall technique – the basement is such an area to have a lot of moisture because it’s below grade and you know, humidity, possibility for mold growth. So if you’re going to do drywall, make sure you get one of the newer kinds; like Georgia Pacific has one called Dens Armor. And it is a fiberglass face drywall. It looks just like drywall; finishes just like traditional paper faced drywall. But because it’s fiberglass, it’s not going to be a food source for potential mold and mildew growth. And the only option I say about the Owens Corning basement system is that the way it pieces together is that you do get some seaming of the pieces coming together; whereas if you go with drywall, it’s going to be a smooth wall. So it’s aesthetically a choice you need to think about.
TOM: Well, it’s the great untapped space; the basement. Susan, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bonnie in Maryland listening on WJFK. What can we do for you today?
BONNIE: Well, I’ve got some window problems on the outside and I wanted your help to know whether or not I’m going to need to replace my windows or just replace the trim. The outside is rotten. Obviously, eight – six or seven years ago it wasn’t painted correctly. And the trim around the outside of the window is falling off.
BONNIE: And you know, it’s just – the window is perfect inside, but outside – not so good.
TOM: Well, the window trim can easily be removed and replaced. The key is going to be that when you take the trim off, is the window frame itself rotted? How deep does that rot go? The window trim can be removed and replaced. If you get to a wood windowsill and you find out that the windowsill is rotted …
TOM: … there are different levels of repair. You can either cut out the rotted wood and rebuild it – a good carpenter can do that – or if you have rot spots that are just sort of pocketed out, you can use like an epoxy filler and fill those in; sort of pack that like it’s a cavity.
How old is the house?
BONNIE: Well, this addition is eight years old.
TOM: Mm. Yeah. Well, I would try to save the windows if I could. They’re probably double hung and they’re probably thermal panes.
BONNIE: They’re fine. And what I’m worried about is that a, you know, contractor’s going to tell me I need new windows and I just wanted to …
TOM: Well, then you’ve got to – you’ve got to find – you’re not going to hire a contractor. You want to hire a carpenter because this is a …
BONNIE: I want to hire a carpenter.
TOM: This is a carpentry project.
BONNIE: So don’t call a window replacement company.
LESLIE: No, no.
TOM: No. Oh no, no, no.
TOM: You call a window replacement company, guess what they’re going to sell you?
TOM: Replacement windows. (chuckling) OK? No, this is a carpentry job.
BONNIE: Would it help, at this point, if I’m not getting it done right away, to spray with a mildew or mold inhibitor?
TOM: Painting it may help; might slow it down a bit. But …
TOM: … what I would suggest you do is, you know, get to the worst ones first. They’re probably going to be on the east and the north side of your house.
BONNIE: It’s exactly right. Yes.
TOM: At least try to get – that’s the cold, damper sides and that’s where you get more of the rot.
BONNIE: Right. And this climate is very humid in the middle part of Maryland …
BONNIE: … near Washington, D.C.
LESLIE: And it’s even got your dog upset about it. (chuckling)
BONNIE: Yes. Yes, he’s very upset. He’s barking at the window because he sings (ph). (chuckling) Thank you so much.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome.
TOM: Thanks, Bonnie.
LESLIE: You know, a good national company is something called Mr. Handyman, which is a national chain of people that are carpenters specifically for all types of handyman. And they’re licensed and bonded and they’re pretty good in every state. And so if you don’t know of somebody offhand, you can generally call them and they’ll be good.
BONNIE: Perfect. OK, well that’s a good hint. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Bonnie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hey, Money Pit listeners. Did your New Year’s resolution involve the state of your money pit? Well, if it did and even if it didn’t, now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, by now you certainly know that proper preparation is the key to minimizing damage from harsh weather. A big storm can cause major problems. But even routine storms can cause damage to your home if it’s not properly protected.
LESLIE: That’s right. Up next, find out how to protect your home’s roofs, windows, doors and decks. We’re going to help you out, after this.
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, one way to protect your home’s roof, windows, doors and decks from the effects of severe storms is to use weather barrier construction materials. Very important if you want to keep the moisture out.
LESLIE: Yeah, and they’re not automatically applied. You’ve got to ask for them.
TOM: You do; especially, you know, stuff like, for example, ice and water shield. It doesn’t automatically come. You’ve got to ask your roofer for it because the weather barrier is designed to prevent that wind-driven rain, which really can cause a lot of damage. And if you’ve ever had a problem with a leak and you couldn’t like nail down exactly where it was, it’s probably because the leak was wind-driven. So it’s not necessarily going to follow sort of the pattern of gravity. I mean it could and many times it is – goes against gravity.
Now there’s a lot of barriers on the market. They come in various levels of protection. To help you choose the right barrier for your house, here are a few tips.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. You want to start at the top because your home’s roof is constantly exposed to the elements. I mean it makes sense. And it might be the most critical part to protect from water infiltration. If you’re going to use a self-adhering roofing underlayment, such as Grace Ice and Water Shield, it’s going to provide extra waterproofing and leak protection under your roof’s covering; such as shingles, tile or metal – whatever you’ve got up there. And this same level of protection can be achieved around skylights, dormers and chimneys if you use the Grace Roof Detail Membrane.
Then you want to seal the gaps around your windows and your doors because drafts and moisture can easily pass through these openings and that’s going to cause damage and promote mold growth behind your walls; a whole host of problems. And be sure to properly flash windows with a self-adhered product because that can close those gaps and prevent the water, air and moisture infiltration into your home. And it’s also going to help make your home way more energy efficient. All good ideas.
TOM: And also, make sure you check the area around your deck, too, because homes aren’t the only structures that are susceptible to the weather. You can get moisture problem around decks, fences, other wood products. They need to be routinely weatherproofed to clean and maximize their use for life.
If you want more information, you can log onto this website for tips on how to weatherproof your home. It’s GraceAtHome.com. That’s GraceAtHome.com.
Well, some talk radio shows think you need to pay to download their podcasts but we think our podcasts should be just like our radio show; free. So do help yourself, if you’ve missed a program, to our entire library of podcasts that are online right now at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Yeah and you can even search by topic, so it’s really a great resource. And just to prove to you all that we at team Money Pit are in favor of freebies, if you give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we answer your home improvement or your home repair question on the air, you could win a great prize. This week we’ve got the Wobble Light Jr. It’s just like that toy; those Weebles, when you were a kid. It’s like a light on a buoy. You push it around. It’s not going to fall over. Great for those DIY projects that get you moving.
TOM: Worth 60 bucks so call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Brian in Tennessee, how can we help you in your money pit?
BRIAN: Well, what I was wanting to know is – my house is about 30 years old. The kitchen cabinets and all the woodwork in the house are that kind of dark looking wood. Not real expensive or anything but it’s just got a real ugly finish to it.
BRIAN: We want to know the best way to – whether we strip them, paint them, whatever we need to do. I can’t afford, really, to reface the cabinets; put new cabinet doors on. And there’s nothing physically wrong with them. I just want to make them look decent.
LESLIE: Well, is the – so the finish is just really dark. Is it solid wood?
BRIAN: Yes, they are solid wood. It’s a real dark finish.
LESLIE: OK. What do you want them to look like? You’ve got two options. You’re right; you can strip them or you can paint them but they both give you very, very different looks. If you want to see the wood grain, if you want to see the look of wood, you can strip it down. There’s a great product called Rock Miracle, which I like because it’s kind of pastier in its application so you can see where it’s going on. It’s not very runny and it changes how it looks as it starts to affect the wood so you can actually see it doing it’s job. And it works quickly, which I like. And it’s going to take you a bit of time to work through all these cabinets.
Are the doors fully overlaid? You don’t see any of the framework on the cabinet behind it?
BRIAN: Yeah, you do see the framework behind it as well.
LESLIE: Alright. So what you’re going to want to do is pull off all those doors. Make sure you label them so you know exactly what doors go to where. So leave the hinges either on the door or on the cabinet so you don’t have to worry about realigning any of those euro hinges or any sort of hinge that might give you a problem. And then, as you pull each door off, put a piece of tape on the backside; label it A and then A in the cabinet where everything is coming from so you know exactly what to do. And then, at least you can take all of those doors outside; lay them flat; decide if you want to – you know, regardless of painting or stripping, clean them well. Get them wet with water and make sure you get off all the grease. Use an orange cleaner. Whatever you want but get that grease and that wear and tear from the kitchen of all those years off of the cabinets because it’s going to work a lot more quickly.
Then if you want to strip them, use Rock Miracle – which I love. Put it on there. Use a wire brush. Get in there. Really get things out. And you might have to do it a couple of times to get it down to raw wood. And then you can either go ahead and put on a new stain or polyurethane; depending on how the wood looks. That’ll help decide. You can go with colored stains. You can go with solid stains. There’s a lot of choices. So if you want to go with something that’s in a blue tone or even a white washing, you can do all of that.
If you choose to paint, make sure you clean the cabinets then prime them well; usually with an oil-based primer only because of the moisture and the grease and the stickiness that happens in a kitchen. And then you can go ahead and put a latex paint on top of that primer. And really, the option is yours, depending on how you want that look to be. And then you can go ahead and change the hardware; change the pulls and the knobs. Really modernize it or make it traditional; make it classic. Whatever you like.
BRIAN: Well what kind of – what kind of paint would you want to use on them? I mean something that would hold up real well? What would you suggest?
LESLIE: Well, I definitely say an oil-based primer because that’s going to adhere very, very, very well. And then you can go ahead and use a latex paint on top of it. And generally, Behr makes one that’s made specifically for the kitchen. It’s got a nice sheen to it. You want to go with something that’s glossy. You want to make sure that it’s non-yellowing; especially for the kitchen area because of all the moisture and the grease that’s in there. But once you’ve got it primed, you can put any paint on top as long as it’s latex and it’s made for moist environments. Because the kitchen generates a lot of moisture from cooking and washing the dishes and even just breathing. So make sure you do everything to stand up to those conditions.
BRIAN: OK. Well, that sounds good. That helps a lot. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brian. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What’s your home improvement question? Call us now.
LESLIE: Jack in Nevada, you’re on the line. And you listen on KBZZ. What can we do for you today?
JACK: My chimney (inaudible) goes out to the roof and whenever the rain hits it, it comes down inside.
TOM: Inside. OK, do you have a cap on the chimney?
TOM: Have you examined the crown of the chimney; the concrete crown between the liner and the outside of the chimney from the top?
JACK: Got no concrete. From a gas stove? Furnace?
TOM: It’s a metal vent pipe?
JACK: Yes, sir.
TOM: If it’s leaking at the base, then you probably need to replace the flashing and that’s usually built in to a metal chimney. That’s very often called a B vent. It’s a double-lined, metal vent made out of stainless. And there’s a flashing component to that that will seal against the chimney and put under the shingle. And I suspect that the flashing is breaking down if it’s leaking. You can try to tar it but that usually is very short-lived. The best thing to do is to disassemble the chimney because it’s usually built in sections and slip over a new piece of chimney flashing. It’s built right into the vent itself. It goes up under the shingles and allows the water to roll over that and then around the chimney and it won’t leak again.
TOM: Alright, Jack. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, are you thinking about replacing some or perhaps all of your windows this winter? How do you really tell if it’s time to replace? We’re going to give you some telltale signs and some tips to get the job done right, after this.
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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project? Are you bracing for the energy bills that are already starting to pour in? Trying to wonder how you’re going to pay them? Call us right now with your home improvement question. We’ll tell you how to make your house safer, more comfortable and less expensive to operate.
Speaking of which, if you’re a regular listener of this show, you know that we are always encouraging you to make good investments in your home that will pay off. And replacing your windows is one of those; especially now, since there are federal tax credits available on some replacement windows.
LESLIE: Ah, but you don’t want to spend money if you don’t have to. So how do you know when it’s time to start shopping for some new windows? Well, we’re going to ask an expert today. So, Steve Girard (sp) is with us from Andersen Windows. Hi, Steve.
STEVE: Hi, Leslie.
LESLIE: So tell us, how do you know when it’s time to update your windows? Do you wait for an obvious sign or is there a general timeline to follow?
STEVE: Well, there’s so much new technology today and there’s so many things that a person can do. But really, it’s based on the signs of deterioration or the past performance of a window from years past. If a sill’s been rotted out or the sash isn’t lining up properly or working properly, single-pane glass may be a sign. And sometimes it’s a combination of things that really motivates or drives the consumer to want to replace their windows. They feel hot or cold around the window. Those sorts of things.
TOM: You know, Steve, the most important question that needs to be answered for a homeowner considering a replacement window project is what’s the ROI? What’s the return on investment? And so, it seems to me that there are really sort of several layers of this or levels of this. First of all, you have, ‘How much am I going to save on my energy bills before versus after I put the windows in?’ And then there’s sort of the resale value of having new and improved windows. And then there’s sort of the convenience value of having, you know, nice, easy-to-operate windows as opposed to ones that you’re fighting with that get stuck all the time or have broken springs. How do you weigh all that to try to make the right decision?
STEVE: Well, there’s a whole variety of things that, as you say, that certainly come into play. Obviously, if the consumer’s going to stay in their home for a longer period of time, the return on their investment is lasting. Certainly if they have a quality window with a very reliable warranty, that comes into play because sometimes the warranty on windows is non-transferable to a new owner. So if they’re going to be updating a home and reselling it, they want to be sure that they have a transferable warranty included with the replacement project.
LESLIE: Which would mean it would go over to the new owner.
STEVE: That’s correct.
LESLIE: So Steve, there are so many choices out there: low-e glass, triple-pane, double-pane. How do you know what’s best and how do you make sense of all those options to choose what’s right?
STEVE: Well, oftentimes it’s consulting with the lumber yard or a trained expert. Or there’s so many ways of doing research online today and getting a good handle on what really works. But there’s also the – what’s called the National Fenestration Rating Council – NFRC – and also an organization called Energy Star. And oftentimes, that will appear on the label of a window, similar to the EPA sticker on a new car. And it’s important to look at that NFRC rating to get a better handle on what the energy usage of the product would be.
TOM: So you can use the NFRC rating to kind of make like an apples-to-apples comparison if you’re looking at various windows. That’s one standard that you can use to prepare?
STEVE: Yes, that’s correct, Tom.
TOM: Well, what about the question of double-pane versus triple-pane? Does triple-pane ever make sense?
STEVE: Well, triple-pane is really something of the past. It’s oftentimes very heavy, so it can cause poor operation. And with some of the new energy efficient glass, such as the high performance glass – we have what’s called high performance low-e glass – there’s a thin coating on the glass which re-radiates or reflects heat back into the home or to the outside in the summertime. And some of these coatings and this high-tech glass that’s available today really makes it a better choice than triple-pane glass.
LESLIE: And are all of these options available if you’re just replacing the sash or the entire window? Do you have to really go with a whole brand new window to get all of these features?
STEVE: No, the great thing about the replacement products today is they are included with the – what are called insert-style windows. And that’s really where we’re just replacing the sash. And they’re included with those; custom sized. And then also with the full frame window if the window is rotted or deteriorated to the point it needs to be completely replaced.
TOM: We’re talking to Steve Girard (sp). He’s a window expert with Andersen Windows.
Steve, one final question about the tax credits that are now available. Are all of the new windows pretty much eligible for the energy tax credit? And how do you qualify? How do you apply for that? How do you actually get that money?
STEVE: Well, I think the key is to remember to save your receipt. And I really think it’s important to consult with your – with (inaudible). They’re a tax expert. But there’s a federal tax credit. It’s not available with everybody and every product but it’s really important that you check the guidelines – IRS guidelines for that.
TOM: Steve Girard (sp) from Andersen Windows. Thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
For more info, you can log onto Andersen’s website at AndersenWindows.com. That’s Andersen with an ‘e.’ A-n-d-e-r-s-e-nWindows.com.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well it’s pretty easy to get used to some bad design. And in fact, your kitchen sink is the perfect example. Up next, we’re going to have tips from AARP to help you take a good look at your kitchen sink to see where you can fix some of those flaws. So stick around.
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Alright, folks. So your sink – bad design or good design? I happen to think that my extra deep sink is quite attractive and I love it. But you probably never think about the way your kitchen sink is designed. Nor have you thought about how inconvenient and unsafe it is to use sometimes. In fact, if your sink is deeper than six-and-a-half inches – which mine is and if yours is – you’re probably bending over much, much further than you actually should. And if your faucet is at the back of the sink – which most people’s are – you’re probably stretching way too far, putting a lot of strain on your back and your body.
TOM: Well, the AARP says you might want to think about moving your faucets to the side of your sink. That’s a really innovative idea because then you don’t have to reach over to get to it and it’ll actually give you more room in the sink to be able to wash the dishes. And also, it makes it more accessible if somebody has some limited mobility and has to use a sink, such as someone who happens to use a wheelchair or has a bad back. Easy ways to get closer to the sink is simply by shifting that faucet over to the side.
LESLIE: Yeah, and what about lugging those heavy pots full of water to the stove – you know, you’re going to boil some water for pasta; whatever your purposes are – those are big, heavy pots you’re filling up. And what happens if you ever drop one on your foot?
TOM: Ouch. (chuckling)
LESLIE: That’s got to be no fun and hurt. And I guarantee you’re probably going to break your toe in the whole thing. Why not think about having your plumber install a sprayer hose nozzle that’s going to extend? Get that whole hose to extend to where your stove is so you can fill up those pots in the places where they’re going to end up. Or even go all out like the pros do and install a pot filler faucet right at the stove so you’ve got it right where you need it.
You know, a few changes can really spruce up your kitchen and keep you safe, too. So all good ideas.
TOM: For more tips, there is a good website that you can log onto for great design tips that can make your home a little bit easier to live in. That’s AARP.org/UniversalHome. AARP.org/UniversalHome.
LESLIE: Still got a prize up for grabs this hour, so give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. It’s the Wobble Light Jr. It’s a light. It’s not going to fall down. It’s going to be with you even if you trip over it.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s our next caller?
LESLIE: Russell in Texas, you’re live on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
RUSSELL: We moved into a new house three or four months ago. And we’ve noticed the smell of – like the fireplace suet. So we had a chimney sweep come out and clean out the chimney and they said that we’re always going to have that smell because our fireplace is not tall enough. Is that – is there any way of fixing that other than …
TOM: Did that assessment include an estimate to fix it?
RUSSELL: He did say it would be about a couple thousand dollars.
TOM: I’m psychic. (chuckling)
RUSSELL: You’re psychic. See that – that’s what – I figured it sounded too good to be true.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I tell you what. There probably are some great chimney contractors out there; some chimney sweeps out there. I know I know some local guys that do a great job. But the problem is that there are a whole lot of bad ones. I mean just a ton. You know, if – when I get advice from a chimney contractor, I always take it with the smallest grain of salt. Because these guys are famous for – standard operating procedure if you’re a chimney sweep is to do a low priced chimney cleaning, get in the door, always find something wrong with the chimney and then present an estimate to repair it. You know, it’s like, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is your chimney’s falling apart. The good news is I’m just the guy to fix it for you.’ And that’s – that happens time and time again. All the years that I’ve been doing home improvement radio and in all the years I was a home inspector before, I heard the same story over and over and over again.
So, if you’re getting that kind of advice from a contractor – be it a chimney sweep or anybody else – you need to get a second opinion.
TOM: And a good person to go to for a second opinion would be somebody who’s not in the business of cleaning chimneys. For example, a professional home inspector.
TOM: You’d have to pay them for a partial inspection. But if you had a professional home inspector come out and take a look at the chimney and assess it’s condition, they can give you a sense as to whether or not it’s constructed correctly or not.
LESLIE: And it’s going to be a completely unbiased opinion.
LESLIE: You know, they’ve got nothing to gain by helping you.
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Amy in Michigan finds The Money Pit on WTOD. What can we do for you today?
AMY: Yes, I have a cement back porch that right now is like skating on ice. It is so slippery when it is wet. And I’m …
TOM: Oh, but it’s fun. (chuckling)
AMY: Not really, when we are falling down. I wanted to find out if there is anything that I can put on the cement to make it so it is nonskid; so we’re not slipping when we walk out the back door.
TOM: Is there any kind of finish on the cement porch right now, Amy?
TOM: Good. That’s the right answer. (chuckling) Because what we’re going to probably recommend for you is an epoxy floor finish because whenever you’re trying to finish concrete, the best finishes today are epoxy based; where there’s two parts that mix together and then it’s air and sort of chemically cured together. But in addition to that, you probably are going to need an anti-skid finish.
LESLIE: Yeah, actually Behr makes an excellent additive that you can mix into – even if you weren’t going for a paint and say you had a wood surface, you could mix it into a stain. And it’s their non-skid floor finish additive and you can get it at any Home Depot and mix it right into any paint or stain; whatever type of finish you want to put on that concrete. And that should keep you falling down and much to the dismay of the rest of your family members, who I’m sure get a kick out of it.
AMY: Yes, they do find it funny. (laughing)
TOM: There you go, Amy. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lisa in Virginia, you’re next. What can we do for you?
LISA: Hi. We live in a Tudor style townhouse and it’s part of an overall community that has very specific styling to it. And we have this tape on our windows that’s cross-hatched all over.
TOM: OK. You mean to give it the appearance of sort of divided glass? (baby sounds)
LISA: Yes, exactly.
TOM: And you have a baby, too. (chuckling)
LISA: Yes, I do. I’m feeding him right now. Actually, the problem is that our homeowners association has cited us and actually several others in the community because the tape is melting away a little bit and it’s peeling away and they want us to replace it. But we can’t find it at our standard Home Depot or Lowe’s or …
TOM: Is this – is this tape that’s creating the divided glass effect in between panes of the glass?
LISA: No, it’s not. It’s actually on the exterior of the glass.
TOM: It’s on the exterior? Wow.
LESLIE: On the exterior? Because I’ve done – when I’ve tried to make, you know, for a theatrical project or for any sort of, you know, home design project where you’re trying to make something look like leaded glass or stained glass …
LESLIE: … there’s something called liquid leading and then there’s also leading tape.
LISA: Right. They want us to – it’s basically leading tape but we can’t find it. And the homeowners association isn’t even giving us any information on it. They said that they don’t have (inaudible) …
LESLIE: I had gotten mine – we have a major art store here called Pearl Arts and Crafts, which is a huge art center in the New York area. I don’t know if you have one in Virginia. There might be one in the D.C. area. But that’s where I usually have gotten mine from.
TOM: Yeah, you’re not going to find that at your average hardware store or home center. That’s kind of like more of …
LESLIE: It’s going to be more of like an arts and crafts store. And it’s very pricey.
TOM: Yeah, or an online store.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re dipping into our Money Pit e-mail bag and up next, we’re going to answer an e-mail from Elizabeth, who’s new condo is so damp there are mushrooms growing in her closet.
TOM: (chuckling) Oh, no.
LESLIE: Wonder if you can eat those. I don’t know about that.
TOM: I wouldn’t try that. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Well, we’re going to tell Liz what to do about those mushrooms, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone any time and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or perhaps you’re a bit shy and would refer to e-mail your question in. You’re welcome to do that. Just log on to our website at MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie. Elizabeth from Los Angeles, California did just that. Let’s go to her question next.
LESLIE: I don’t think she’s shy. I think she just doesn’t want to say this problem out loud.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
LESLIE: She writes: ‘I just moved into a new condo and the closets are damp and musty and I just found mushrooms growing in the carpet.’
LESLIE: ‘I’ve read on your website what this means but I’m stumped …’ – ha-ha, stumped, mushrooms, ha-ha (chuckling) – ‘about where to start. And how do I address the problem? Do I call a plumber, an inspector, a mold remediation specialist? Help!’
TOM: Well actually, humidity and moisture problems and the mold that follows in closets is not that unusual. Normally, closets are …
LESLIE: The mushrooms are unusual. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s actually that’s kind of part of the mold problem. Normally, closets are on an exterior wall; especially if they’re on a north wall, they tend to get very cold. They don’t get a lot of ventilation. And so, you have moisture and humidity. You obviously have oxygen and you have plenty of mold food because the jute under the carpet – the backing under the carpet –
LESLIE: The weaving.
TOM: – the weaving – is a great mold food as is drywall and things like that. So there are a couple of things that you have to do, Elizabeth. First of all, you’ve obviously got to open this closet up. I would take the door off of it. And then I would pull the carpet out. I would not have carpet in that space. I would use a solution of one-third bleach, two-thirds water and I would spray down all of the walls and the floor area with a bleach solution and let it sit so that we kill any spores that are remaining behind. Then I would clean it up and I would repaint the entire surface. I would certainly …
LESLIE: Now because it’s a condo situation, how does she address what might be going on with the exterior? Perhaps an upstairs neighbor?
TOM: Well, if you see a leak source, so there’s obviously a leak source, then you can deal with that through your condo maintenance. But I suspect, Leslie – because I’ve seen this happen a number of times – that the closet is just not well ventilated. That, plus the fact that, you know, you have a – you have a carpet in there and dampness and humidity is what’s causing these mold problems, what I would suggest you do after the fact is you might want to think about changing the door from a solid door to a louvered door, which will mean there’ll be always some of that warmth from the house that gets in there. It’ll stay a heck of a lot dryer. Or the least you can do is …
LESLIE: Trim your door down.
TOM: … trim the door, right, from the bottom up so you have a little bit of a gap; so you let some air get in there. You’ve got to have ventilation in that closet space or this condition could happen again. But we have to get it cleaned out to begin with. I would repaint everything; make sure you prime the walls. I would use a KILZ or something like that. And make sure they’re primed and nice and clean and dry and then put it back together again. And I don’t think you’re going to be serving up any of those mushrooms for dinner any time soon again.
LESLIE: Yeah, don’t eat them.
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: And you know what? Laminate flooring is a great option for there.
TOM: Yeah, good point.
LESLIE: And if you’re not keen on having a different kind of closet door, why not do fabric sliding panels? You know, it’ll be nice; it plays off the clothing that’s in there; and it’s a good look for the room.
TOM: Well, did you ever think you’d have to clean your dishwasher? You know, there’s soap and water sloshing around in there all the time. So why clean it? Leslie tells us why in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, you have to clean it because water with a high iron content can easily stain the inside of your dishwasher. So to get rid of the stains you’ve already got in there and to prevent new ones from forming, you want to fill the soap dispenser of your empty dishwasher – empty – with a powdered citrus drink mix; you know, like Tang, something orangey, lemonade, something citrusy. And you want to begin that wash cycle, stopping it midway and leaving that door cracked open for an hour. Then close it up, complete that cycle and you’re going to have a super clean and a fresh-smelling dishwasher, I might add, all over again.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us 24 hours a day with your home improvement question or log onto our website at MoneyPit.com.
Well, you’re used to seeing concrete on the driveways, sidewalks, patios and garage floors. But this versatile material is not just for basements and foundations anymore. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some tips on lots of new uses for concrete in your home; including some tips …
LESLIE: Mm, I love stamped concrete.
LESLIE: So beautiful.
TOM: Stamped concrete and also – my favorite – beautiful concrete countertops. 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.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2006 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)