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 project. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us now if you have a New Year’s resolution that has to do with your house, your home, your castle because we will help you achieve that project; get that resolution; take that one right off your list because we are here to help you get it done. Now we’re not going to come to your house and swing the hammer and pick up the power tools (Leslie chuckles), but we’ll do the next best thing: we will talk you through it. But you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour on the program, we’re going to have some news about a construction material that’s potentially dangerous. It’s called corrugated stainless steel tubing or CSST. Now you probably have seen this stuff around your house. It’s a flexible alternative to iron gas lines …
TOM: … but if it’s installed incorrectly it’s a major fire hazard. We’re going to help you figure out if you have CSST in your home and, if so, how do you make sure it was installed the correct way.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, being that it is a brand, spanking new year you’re probably getting your list and thinking about home improvement projects that you want to tackle. Well, we want to make sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew at one time. We’re going to have some advice to help you plan your projects so you can learn to walk before you run.
TOM: And you should definitely run if you’ve still got those holiday decorations up. You know you can’t leave them up til Valentine’s Day.
LESLIE: Why not?
TOM: Very bad form. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) We’ve got a few tips, a few tricks and a few techniques to help you get those decorations down and stored away properly to make next year’s celebration that much easier.
LESLIE: And this hour we’re giving away a great prize to help you go green in your home. We’re giving away a Kill a Watt electricity meter. It’s worth 30 bucks. It’s a handy little gadget from our friends over at CableOrganizer.com and it helps you figure out which electrical items in your home are using the most electricity so you know where you can save.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Calling from Illinois, we’ve got Sue whose home is cracking up. What can we do to help?
SUE: Hi, yes. (chuckles) Well, I’ve done – I have a 200-year-old house and, as you might guess, I’ve got a lot of plaster walls. I applied skim coat to most of the cracks about seven years ago and they’re back. And I want to know what else I can do. One specifically, upstairs in the hallway, goes vertically from essentially just the roofline all the way down to the baseboard and that one actually has a little bit of a bow to it. So that scares me more than anything else.
TOM: Sue, if there’s a bow to it, what’s happening is the plaster is separating from the lath behind it and there’s not going to be an easy correction for that. That is the plaster deteriorating and the option is really to skim that wall with another layer of drywall or to break off the loose plaster and then replaster it.
Now the solution for the cracks is different. When you just do a skim coat on top of that, that plaster that you put on top is not elastic so it’s not going to expand and contract with the old crack. What you need to do is use a piece of fiberglass drywall tape that looks sort of like netting. It’s perforated and you apply that to the crack first and then you spackle on top of that or plaster on top of that two or three layers and that is going to adhere enough where the wall can expand and contract without the crack showing through. But just to put more plaster on top of the cracked plaster is not going to solve it. The same way it’s difficult to solve with a cracked sidewalk. Anything that moves like that has to have something in it that’s elastic and very sticky and if you use the tape that’ll solve it.
SUE: Actually, I did use the tape.
TOM: You did use the tape? Well …
SUE: I did.
TOM: OK. Now did you use paper tape or fiberglass tape?
SUE: The fiberglass.
TOM: Well, let’s just review how you did it. Did you sand the wall to get rid of all of the old paint first?
SUE: Hmm. (Leslie chuckles) Probably not. (chuckles)
TOM: Because that could be like a layer of grease in between the tape and the wall …
LESLIE: And could cause that tape to slip right off as soon as there’s any movement.
TOM: So that’s probably what happened. That is the solution and if it’s sanded – remove the old paint; there’s nothing loose underneath it and then put the tape back on there. You’re going to have to pull the old repair out now, by the way. But just do a good job sanding that and that should cover it. Now if the bulge is not too bad, you may want to try to spackle over that. And on a wall we’re not as concerned as when you have a bulge in the ceiling because that plaster can actually fall; it’s pretty darned heavy. Don’t ask me why I know; I just do. (Leslie and Sue chuckle) And it can hurt you. (chuckling) OK?
SUE: Yes. (chuckles) OK, very good. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement or your home repair question. Whatever is on your resolution list, we can help you tackle it. Tick by tick by tick we’ll get them all done. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
It’s a new year. It’s time to tackle new home improvement projects. And if you’re a brave do-it-yourselfer and not afraid of a challenge, good for you. If not, we’ve got some tips on what to take on first and how to build up that weekend warrior status. That’s all coming up, next.
LESLIE: And it all starts with war paint. (Tom chuckles)
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: 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 you should be part of The Money Pit Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to hear from you. We want to know what you’re working on, how we can lend a hand to help you get your projects done right. And as an added bonus, one of the callers – one of you all – who gets on the air this hour is going to win a great prize. We’re giving away a Kill a Watt electricity meter. It’s worth 30 bucks. Now this little tool is going to help you assess the efficiency of all your electric appliances around the house so that you can then calculate the cost of the appliance by the day, week, month or year. Then you know, ‘Ah, maybe I shouldn’t really have the TV on all the time or the cable box.’ You’ll know where you’re spending your money and if it’s worth it. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, so give us a call for your answer and your chance to win.
OK, if you are a budding do-it-yourselfer, perhaps somebody who just occasionally wants to tackle a project themselves, you need to make sure the projects you choose are realistic and within your abilities. Start with a simple repair or a small paint job, for example, and remember when to say when. A small repair job can easily get out of hand. Remember the three most expensive words in home improvement are ‘might as well.’ The worse thing that you can do, though, is to let your fear sort of paralyze you so that you don’t get anything done. If you need some help, invite a handy friend or relative to look over your shoulder but try not to do all the work yourself. By taking baby steps, you’ll leave yourself some learning room and be able to successfully complete those projects and feel very rewarded, as opposed to defeated.
LESLIE: Now if you’re looking to feel rewarded on a weekly basis, we’ve got The Money Pit e-newsletter. It is a great issue that goes into your inbox. It’s absolutely free. It is filled with home improvement information, project ideas, product recommendations, all sorts of wonderful information to help you tackle all of your home improvement chores around the house; which, of course, we know aren’t chores because you love to do them. A chore might be washing your dishes but that’s definitely not on your New Year’s home improvement list. So shoot us an e-mail, head on over to MoneyPit.com, sign up for our e-newsletter. It comes to your inbox every Friday. It is great. It’s free. There is no reason not to get it.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. We are standing by to help you get that project done.
LESLIE: Will in Utah needs some help with a fencing project. What can we do for you?
WILL: Yeah, you guys talked about decks and how to take care of them. How do you take care of a fence? I’ve got a fence that some of the posts are starting to rot in the ground. I was just wondering if there is a preventative way, without having to rip all the fences up and redo them – the posts.
LESLIE: So it’s the posts and not the pickets?
WILL: Yeah, it’s the posts in the middle that holds the others up.
TOM: And the posts are rotted?
WILL: Yeah, they’re starting to rot and in heavy winds they’re starting to – the whole fence is starting to come down.
TOM: Well, listen, if the post is rotted we can’t give you a miracle cure for that because that’s the main structural member of this assembly that’s keeping it up. What we can tell you is that if you replace those posts that the best way to do that is without concrete; is to drop the new posts into a carefully cut hole, fill the sides with stone, tamp it down and this way it drains very well and is not likely to rot again.
WILL: So you’re not supposed to use concrete?
TOM: No, because that’s like wrapping sponges around the bottom of the post; keeps it wet all the time. We want to make sure the water drains around it and doesn’t sit next to it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s the most common practice and it’s OK to do but eventually you’re going to get this breakdown.
WILL: Alright. Are there chemicals or anything you need to treat the posts with before you put it in the ground or …?
TOM: Well, I would recommend you use a pressure-treated post.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Pressure-treated.
TOM: Because that’s just not going to rot ever again.
LESLIE: Alright, Lois in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
LOIS: Well, I have a problem with my water in my bathrooms throughout the house turning yellow and it’s coming out of both the hot water heater – or the hot water line – and the cold water line. I’ve had the plumber. He thinks that there could be granules or rust in the water heater, which is about 12 years old, but it’s coming out of the cold water taps as well. I’ve had the city check the outside line. My neighbors are not having a problem. It is my problem. So I don’t know – I’m ready to replace the water heater if necessary but it’s puzzling to me that when I turn the faucets on – specifically, in the master bathroom – that also this yellowy stain comes out of the cold water tap as well and then, after you run it a while, it clears up. So that’s my problem; is what else could it be. I have copper piping, so I don’t know where this is coming from.
TOM: Lois, when you have yellowish water it’s generally caused by iron in the water.
TOM: Now, typically, if it was an older house we’d say, ‘Well, that could be coming from the pipes.’ But it could be coming from the water company itself. What you really need to do is to test your water for iron. Now if it turns out that your iron numbers are pretty high, you’re going to need a filtration system. There are a number of different types of filtration systems that will take this out. The good news is that it’s not unhealthy. It’s really just a cosmetic issue.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s just unpleasant.
TOM: It’s unpleasant and it certainly – it can actually affect the taste of the water, too; but it’s not going to make you sick.
LOIS: OK. Alright, well we’ll give that a try.
TOM: Alright, Lois. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pete in California has some walls that are cracking up. What can we help you with?
PETE: Hi. I have a stucco house that’s about 15 years old and we want to have it painted – actually, I want it painted. But where the sun shines on those windows …
PETE: … there are diagonal cracks going out at the bottom of each corner and I was thinking about getting either a rasp or some type of plaster (ph) file and I don’t know if I should widen that up and put stucco over it again or is there a better type of product like a caulk that will accept paint that won’t shrink.
TOM: Well, alright. I would not try to patch those with more stucco. That crack area which is adjacent to the bottoms of windows or, really, any of the window corners or above the corners and doors, that’s pretty much where the wall moves; it’s expanding, it’s contracting, it’s shifting. So if you patch that with more stucco material, even if you widen out the crack, it’s going to crack again. I would simply suggest that you use an exterior-grade latex caulk that’s going to be paintable – not silicone but a latex caulk that’s going to be paintable –
TOM: – and just paint it. Because this way it’ll expand and contract with the house and it won’t open up again.
LESLIE: Pat in Indiana has a question about flooring. What can we do for you?
PAT: I have a house and it’s a new house and I put a flooring product on the floor and then they had to take it up because it wasn’t going together right like it should. Then they brought another one out and put it together on the living room floor and it was the same thing. Then they brought the other one out and put it down and it’s rippled. Now they’re telling me that it has a humidity problem.
TOM: It’s not the floor’s fault; it’s your fault. Is that what they’re trying to tell you?
PAT: That’s what they’re trying to tell me, yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, when did you put this floor down? What month of the year was it?
PAT: End of February, first of March.
TOM: Hmm. And by June it was all rippled?
PAT: In three months it was starting to ripple, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen. It sounds to me like they did something wrong. What kind of flooring material was this? Was it solid hardwood or was it something else?
PAT: It was