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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 with your home improvement question; your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help you get the job done. It’s 888-666-3974. Hey, is your home at risk for an electrical fire? You know, millions are and during a certain era of home construction in this country there was a very specific material used for wiring that is now actually considered extremely dangerous. We’re going to tell you what it is and how to find out if you have it in your home, in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, if you love the look of natural stone countertops but you just can’t afford that hefty price tag that goes along with it, we have got a viable option for you. You can actually use real stone and still save a bundle of dough. We’ve got a tip. We’ll tell you what it is in a bit.
TOM: And we are all about saving you money and that’s why we’ve got some ideas to help you redo your bathroom on a budget. Now we all know that bathroom makeovers, and probably kitchen makeovers too, can be the best return on investment. But that doesn’t mean you always have to spend a pile of cash. We’re going to tell you how to do it on a shoestring in just a little while.
LESLIE: Ah, and don’t forget our fantastic Money Pit prize giveaway. This hour we are giving away an electronic Smart Door from our friends at PetSafe. It’s worth as much as 229 bucks and the reason I say that is because it depends on the size of Fifi or Fido that you’ve got at home. And the coolest thing is the way this door works. It’s going to open only for your dog or cat when they walk near it when they’re wearing the special collar, so you don’t have to worry about those strange neighbor animals jumping in to say hi.
TOM: Unless you put the collar on your children and then it would open for them, too. (laughs)
LESLIE: Oh, Tom! You had to go there.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Samantha in New York is dealing with some chilly, uninsulated windows. Tell us about the problem.
SAMANTHA: I live in a home that’s about 100 years old and it has the original windows in it and all my air, hot or cold, seems to leak out and in the wintertime it gets really cold. So I’d just like to know what I could use to better insulate my windows.
LESLIE: So my guess is they are single-pane glass.
TOM: Do you want to replace them with replacement windows?
SAMANTHA: No, I’d like to keep the original windows …
SAMANTHA: … because like I said, the house is over 100 years old.
TOM: OK. Well, couple of things. In the chillier seasons, one of the things that you could do is actually caulk your windows shut and the way you would do that is with a product called temporary caulk. There’s a number of manufacturers that make it. One of them – one of the products is Seal ‘N Peel …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, by DAP.
TOM: Is that the DAP product?
TOM: Yeah. And I think Red Devil has one, too. And basically, the way temporary caulk works is it allows you to sort of caulk the windows shut the same way you might be putting normal caulk on it, but the key is that you can peel the stuff off in the springtime when it gets really warm and then use the window normally.
LESLIE: Yeah, but you’re probably also losing a lot of that heat and energy through the glass itself because there’s no insulating factor to that single pane. Do you have storm windows?
SAMANTHA: No, they’re just the original. They’re really tall and they’re like four panes across.
TOM: Yeah, that’s another issue. I mean if you don’t have storm windows it’s always going to be super cold and the only other thing you can do beyond that is try to weatherstrip it and also put on some heavy drapes. But single-pane glass is single-pane glass and there’s nothing that you’re going to do that’s going to make that any warmer short of a major window project there.
LESLIE: Can you retrofit an existing window to have a track on the exterior for a storm window?
TOM: Yes. A storm window can mount to the exterior surface of that window and provide that level of draft-proofness.
TOM: Alright? If all else fails, wear a sweater. (Leslie chuckles)
SAMANTHA: (chuckling) Yeah, I’ve tried.
TOM: Samantha, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
SAMANTHA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Pat in Oklahoma has a question about bathroom flooring. What can we help you with?
PAT: Yes, I have inherited a tile job on my daughter’s bathroom and ..
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: You inherited it, huh?
TOM: You could have inherited some money but no, he inherited a tile job. (chuckling)
PAT: Yeah, you win some, you lose some.
TOM: Alright. (Leslie chuckles) How can we help, Pat?
PAT: Well, this floor – and it’s both a floor and a shower …
PAT: … which I grouted about one to two months ago.
PAT: And some of – the grout wasn’t cleaned off of the tile very good. Now, the grout lines look good, but it’s a six-inch porcelain tile and it’s kind of rough and has some indentations in it and it has some grout in those indentations. And just trying to figure out an easy way to clean off the excess grout without ruining the grout line.
TOM: I’ve never had a lot of success taking dried grout off. Have you, Leslie?
LESLIE: No. I mean especially at this stage. You know, at one point, if it were just the clouding or the hazing, that’s fixable.
LESLIE: But at this point, you know, it’s pretty on there.
TOM: It’s got a porcelain finish to it?
PAT: It’s actually porcelain tile.
TOM: Well, you might be able to buff some of it out if you used a buffing wheel and some very, very fine abrasive.
TOM: That’s the only idea I have. I’m thinking of the type of abrasive that you use on a car finish.
PAT: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
TOM: Rubbing compound.
PAT: Yep. OK.
LESLIE: It might be gritty enough.
TOM: Yeah, it might just be gritty enough. I don’t want to use too much and, you know, I would try it very, very slowly. If it’s nice in the joints of the tile itself, then you can leave it alone. If it’s too much in the joints there’s a grout saw that’s available to take excess grout out of the joints in the tile.
PAT: Really? OK?
TOM: And so, if the joints are a little bit sloppy you could use a grout saw to try to pull some of that out. But if it’s a tile surface itself you might want to try to buff that out, perhaps with some rubbing compound and a buffing wheel.
PAT: OK. I hadn’t thought about rubbing compound.
TOM: Give it a try. Might work.
LESLIE: It’s worth a shot.
TOM: If it doesn’t work, don’t call us back.
PAT: OK. (he and Tom laugh) I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call right now or any darn time you feel like it 24 hours a day, seven days a week with your home repair or home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, if your home was built between 1965 and 1972, you might be at risk for an electrical fire. Find out why, 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: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, do you have a home repair or a home improvement question? We can help you right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a direct-it-yourselfer, we can still help you get the job done and give you a chance to win a great prize because this hour we’ve got the PetSafe Electronic Smart Door. It’s a pretty cool idea because what happens is your pet wears a collar, a special collar, and whenever the pet comes up to the door the special pet door opens up and out Fido or Fifi can wander. And then when they want to come back in, the door opens and closes just for them. Sort of like an automatic door just for your pet (Leslie chuckles) and it’s going to save you energy, too, because a lot of those old pet doors where it’s like …
LESLIE: They’re flappy.
TOM: Yeah, they’re flappy and they have a big hole where the wind just kind of whistles through all winter long. So it’s a good prize if you’ve got a – if you’ve got a pet and could use a pet door, now is a great time to call. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I wonder if your pet’s going to sort of think that they’re magical. Every time they walk by the door and it kind of opens up they’ll be like, ‘How did I do that? This is amazing.’
TOM: The best will be when they try the front door and it doesn’t happen (Leslie laughs) and they just walk into it.
LESLIE: (laughing) Oh, that’s terrible. (Tom laughs)
Alright, folks. Well, all laughter aside, we’ve got a serious question of the day. Does your home contain wiring that could be a potential fire hazard? Well, that really depends on when your house was built. Many homes that were built from 1965 to 1972 have aluminum branch circuit wiring, which could potentially overheat and cause some serious fires. But the repair may not require replacing all of your wiring. If you want some options and find out exactly what you need to do, you should visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission – their website is CPSC.gov – and look for their free booklet on aluminum wiring. You’ll get all your info there. It’s better to be prepared folks and take some safety steps in advance so you don’t end up with a real disaster.
TOM: Soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Taking a call now from Julius in New York who’s dealing with a long distance for hot water to travel. Tell us about your problem.
JULIUS: OK, I have a (INAUDIBLE) narrow house and the gas hot water heater is at one end of the house and my master bathroom is about 60 feet away at the other end.
TOM: Wow. So you wait a long time for hot water in the morning, is that right?
JULIUS: And what I’m thinking of doing is putting in a on-demand heater to replace the gas hot water heater …
JULIUS: … and that would supply the laundry and the kitchen and one bath we have at that end of the house. What I’m wondering is do I install a second one for this end of the house or do I just wait until the hot water comes down that whole length of pipe?
TOM: Well, replacing your conventional water heater with a tankless water heater that stays in the same location is not going to affect the amount of time it takes for the water to get from the water heater to your bathroom faucet which is 60 feet away.
TOM: That’s a function of the distance. However, if you were to install a second tankless water heater near the bathroom, then that would eliminate that problem; the reason being you would have, essentially, two separate zones of domestic hot water; neither of which would have to travel very far to get to the bathrooms and other fixtures that serve it.
LESLIE: And the tankless water heaters are much smaller, so you can really put it in a space that you wouldn’t think would normally accommodate a traditional tanked water heater.
JULIUS: OK. Does it make sense to install two of them?
TOM: Yes, and that’s – if you want to stop waiting for the hot water then you have to install two of them. If you don’t mind waiting for the hot water you could still install just one in the same position that the conventional water heater was installed in. But just understand that although it will be a more efficient water heater you’re still going to have to wait that amount of time …
LESLIE: It still has to travel that distance.
TOM: Yeah, and you’re still going to waste that amount of cold water on the way there.
JULIUS: Right, and eventually all that hot water in the pipes just dissipates into the air …
TOM: That’s right.
JULIUS: and [comes out showering] (ph).
TOM: That’s correct.
JULIUS: Well, thank you. That gives me a good idea on how to approach it.
LESLIE: Betty in Pennsylvania needs some help staying warm this winter. Tell us about the problem.
BETTY: Yes, our cellar is very damp. We spent a small fortune with scrubbing it down and putting things down there. Now, our duct tapes are all, of course, on the outside wall and they sweat and some of the insulation has even got wet from that.
TOM: OK, you mean your ducts; not your duct tapes.
BETTY: No, our duct.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
BETTY: Our ducts. (chuckling)
TOM: You said your duct tapes are on the outside wall and they sweat.
BETTY: Oh, did I? Sorry. (Tom laughs)
TOM: Alright, so your ducts on the outside wall.
TOM: They’re sweating, they’re condensing …
TOM: … because they’re cold and uninsulated, OK?
BETTY: Yes. Now, is there a wrapping or something that you can have put on those?
TOM: Sure. Yeah, there’s an exterior duct insulation that can go around that and that would be an appropriate thing to do. Now, is this happening in the summer more than the winter? Because that would be typical.
BETTY: Seems it happens most of the time.
TOM: Yeah, I bet you it happens worse in the summer when you have warm, moist air and cold ducts. So I would definitely insulate those ducts.
BETTY: Yeah. Who would do that? My heater man?
TOM: Ah, heating contractor. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah, just call your heating contractor up, Betty, and tell him you need to get all your ducts in a row. (Leslie chuckles) Yeah, because we had an awful lot of mold down there. We’ve had a terrible time with that.
TOM: Alright, Betty. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. She didn’t get that all, did she?
LESLIE: No. (Tom laughs)
Talking to Charles in Ohio about flooring. What’s going on at your Money Pit?
CHARLES: We have the parquet flooring and I was wondering if you knew where I could pieces to replace the old parquet flooring.
TOM: Hmm. If you can find a new – some new parquet that looks similar to the old, that’s probably the only way you’re going to be able to find some replacement pieces, by breaking those up. If not, I think the easiest way to do it – if I was a contractor working on your house I’d probably cut the pieces myself. I’d probably buy the hardwood of the same type and I’d probably replace them. Are you having just some pieces here and there that are coming out or is it entire tiles?
CHARLES: Well, it’s just in one corner where the refrigerator had – the icemaker …
CHARLES: … had sprung a leak.
CHARLES: And it got on the floor behind the refrigerator.
CHARLES: And they’re little six-inch squares is what they were when we put them in.
TOM: OK. And have your guests been looking behind the refrigerator lately, Charles?
CHARLES: No. (all chuckle) I just know it’s there.
TOM: Alright, so it’s bugging you. Well, I wouldn’t worry too terribly much about it, being in that very unseen area. But if you really wanted to fix it what I probably would do is if I couldn’t find the exact pattern that you have right now is I would probably have a flooring contractor cut me some new pieces that looked very similar in shape to the old one.
TOM: Sometimes it’s easier to do that. For example, I had an old floor to repair in my house not too long ago that was made of Douglas fir and it was tongue-in-groove but it was two-and-a-quarter inches wide and that’s an unusual width for a Douglas fir floor. Normally it’s about three inches wide. So I bought three-inch boards and cut them down to the two-and-a-quarter to make it work. So sometimes with these old floors you’ve got to get creative and sort of mill your own pieces to make it fit what the old house had.
CHARLES: OK. Well, I appreciate your help there because, like I say, I’ve been trying to – I’ve even thought about putting – you know, cutting out a little bit bigger than what it was and putting laminate in there.
TOM: Well, I mean you certainly could do that but, you know, if you want to preserve the old parquet floor you’re going to have to kind of rebuild it in place.
Charles, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call about our number one topic of question asked here at The Money Pit – flooring, with John in Delaware. Tell us about your problem.
JOHN: Yes, I had a new vinyl floor put in.
JOHN: And they failed to roll it with a roller.
JOHN: Now the vinyl doesn’t seem to be sticking to the luan flooring that they put down under it.
TOM: Was there an adhesive put underneath the vinyl sheet floor or was it just laid on top? Because some of them are floating.
JOHN: No, it was – the vinyl or the glue was put down …
JOHN: … and then the flooring was put down.
TOM: So you’ve got some delamination now. You know, how bad is it? Is it real visible?
JOHN: No, it isn’t visible at all. It just cracks in certain spots when …
JOHN: … when you walk on it.
TOM: You mean like – when you say cracks, like a floor creak or the physical material is cracking?
JOHN: It sounds like it’s not sticking to the glue that it’s …
TOM: Oh, does it have like a popping sound?
TOM: OK, that’s – what’s happening there is it’s probably not that the floor is not stuck to the luan. It’s that the luan is not stuck to the subfloor underneath. Sometimes you get some space in between the luan and the subfloor. That’s a fairly common type of a floor noise. And you get this very crisp popping sound. Instead of a creak or a squeak you get sort of a clicking sound.
TOM: And it’s not – it’s basically going to annoy you but it’s not disruptive or destructive in any way.
JOHN: I know. It’s just annoying.
TOM: Well, listen. I can tell you how to fix it, but it’s a high-risk repair and here’s why. I have fixed these before and the way I’ve done it is with a hole saw …
TOM: … where I’ve gone underneath. And I’ve found the area where I thought the gap was and I very carefully used a hole saw to cut out the subfloor but not the luan.
JOHN: Luan, yeah.
TOM: I say it’s a high-risk repair because if you’ve ever used a hole saw you know there’s a drill bit that comes up through the middle of it.
TOM: And if that drill bit is a little bit too long, it’s going to poke right up …
JOHN: Right, yeah.
TOM: … through your vinyl floor and now you’re going to be calling us about how do I fix in a hole in a vinyl floor, thank you very much.
JOHN: I follow you exactly.
TOM: But if you can get just that little plug of subfloor out of there, you can take liquid nails or another construction adhesive and squeeze it in there and then weight the floor from the top, you know, with a heavy chair or even by, say, inserting a 2×4 from the floor to the ceiling as a temporary hold-down.
TOM: That would tighten that up and that will silence that. But you know, listen. I wouldn’t do it myself unless it really, really bothered me because, like I say, it’s easy to screw this one up, John.
JOHN: Well, to tell you, when you have radical changes in temperature, sometimes it does it and sometimes it doesn’t.
TOM: It’s not going to hurt the floor. Just going to be bugging you. So I’d learn to live with it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up, including this awesome tip for those of you who love the look of natural stone countertops but hate the hefty price tag that goes along with it. We’re going to tell you how to not spend a fortune for those real stone countertops, 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, you need a little Tom and Leslie to go? Little home improvement advice on the road? You can get just that at MoneyPit.com when you download our free podcast which we’re pleased, proud and privileged to tell you is the number one most downloaded podcast on all of iTunes. That’s kind of cool.
TOM: So find out what everybody else already apparently knows and download it at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright, I love the fact that we are so high-tech and on this iPod generation it totally rocks it out. Good work, Tom.
Alright, folks. You love the look of natural stone countertops. Everybody wishes they could have this in their budget. Well if it seems like it’s something that’s a little bit out of your wallet’s league, we have got a great tip for you. And if you’ve got your house on the market I bet you that you’ve heard from one or more of those listing agents that you’re talking to that upgrading your countertops from the laminate you’ve already got to a natural stone like granite is really going to make a great kitchen for those potential buyers who want that chef-style kitchen in the home. But if it’s not in your budget, no worries. If you’re looking for a more affordable option for those stone countertops, go ahead and use smaller sections of the stone that you love, which are usually sold as large squares. Now these squares can be placed side by side with the joints filled with grout or you can even butt them up super-tight together so you don’t have to use any grout at all. They’re easier to install; they’re less expensive; it’s something you can do on your own and it’s going to provide an equally attractive look of a stone countertop at a fraction of the price and you are going to be the only one who knows this secret.
LESLIE: Great tip. We love to save money and show that style all at the same time. Call us right now with your home improvement question; maybe your home decorating question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Nioma (sp) in Montana who’s got a question about putting in a pocket door. How can we help you with this project?
NIOMA (sp): We have made the decision to change bedroom doors to pocket doors.
NIOMA (sp): One of the bearing walls that we would have down the center of our home has been suspended in between the hallway in our wall that we’re going to be putting the pocket door in. Is there a suggestion of what size header we should do on that thing? Should we go – we’re going across – we’re eliminating a hall closet between the two bedroom doors. And should we put a header all the way across? Would that be a better strength for that area?
TOM: Is this a bearing wall?
NIOMA (sp): It is a bearing wall. It actually would be running north-south. Our pocket …
TOM: Well …
NIOMA (sp): … doors are going to be going east-west.
TOM: OK, so the wall that you’re putting the – that you’re asking about the header is not a bearing wall, is that correct?
NIOMA (sp): Yes, it is.
TOM: It is a bearing wall? OK. This is a question, then, for your building department because there’s a calculation involved. I don’t know how much weight is above that but I will tell you that installing a pocket door in a bearing wall is quite an involved project because a pocket door requires twice the width of the door – of an opening in order to make it work. Because what happens, of course, is the door slides into the wall. So if you had a pocket door that was a three-foot-wide pocket door, you would need a six-foot-wide opening with three feet of that being sort of hidden inside the wall. But the header would go across the whole six-foot space. So this is quite a big job and quite a costly job to have it done correctly.
Is there a real compelling reason you want to put all of these pocket doors in? Because you’re going to end up doing an awful lot of framing.
NIOMA (sp): We’ve done this with other projects. The reason probably is saving the space on a swing door …
NIOMA (sp): … and as we’re getting older it is a lot better idea to have something that is a wider entrance into these rooms.
TOM: Yeah, it absolutely is. Let me give you a suggestion. The AARP has a program with the National Association of Home Builders called CAPS. That stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialists. And these folks are specifically trained to provide the advice that you might need and the specialized construction skills that you might need to make your house more accessible. Information on that program is available at both the NAHB website as well as the AARP website and these are great people that really do know a lot about this particular topic and can probably find the least disruptive and the easiest and least expensive way to give you that access that you’re looking for, Nioma (sp).
NIOMA (sp): OK. Well, we presumed that we were going to have to, of course, go with – it’s a – [two six] (ph) doors. And so we knew we’d be going in six feet on both sides.
TOM: Right. Right, exactly. Yep, it’s a big job.
NIOMA (sp): Yeah, it is. But it’s fun, if we can do it right. (chuckling)
TOM: (chuckling) Absolutely.
Nioma (sp), thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
NIOMA (sp): You’re so welcome. Thanks for the answer.
LESLIE: Taking a call from Illinois with Ed who’s got a heating question. What’s going on? Tell us about it.
ED: Yeah, I just basically remodeled my house …
ED: … and I put all brand new insulation. I mean every square inch I could find to insulate. And the lower four feet of my downstairs, at times, gets actually cold. You can stand up and it’s 70 degrees, where I set the thermostat.
ED: But down below, I set the thermometer down there.
TOM: So what’s happening here is when you sit down you’re chilly. When you stand up it’s warm. So you’re not getting good circulation of the warm air. And it sounds like you have ducts that are supplying it in the floor but what you probably are not – don’t have enough of, or perhaps it’s not designed correctly, are return ducts. Because just because you’re supplying the warm air at the floor level doesn’t mean it’s circulating correctly and I suspect that there’s some defect here in the return duct that you’re not taking the heat back through the ducts and then reheating it. So I would have a heating contractor come out and take a look at the return duct situation and make sure we’re getting a good mix of hot and cold air. It’s normal for it to be warmer towards the ceiling, but if you’re not getting a good return then you’re always going to have those imperfections in the balance; an imbalance in the hot and the cold even over a couple of feet like that.
LESLIE: You know, Ed, another option might be a ceiling fan. If you’ve got a traditional ceiling fan in the room you can go ahead and flip that switch that’s on the motor itself and that’s going to reverse the way that the blades are rotating and that’s going to help push that warm air that’s rising down, which’ll help give you a little bit more heat in that space. Or you can think about installing something called a Reiker Room Conditioner which is a ceiling fan that heats and cools. It’s got a heating element built up into the motor unit itself. So you turn it on, it’s got a thermostat by remote and you can control any sort of heat that you want for the space, plus it keeps the cords of the floor; it’s safe for kids and pets. It might just help you sort of balance out that temperature in the room; especially on those damp days.
TOM: Ed, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. When we come back we’re going to tell you how updating your bath could be a great investment that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’re going to flush out all those design possibilities for an inexpensive shower, 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 where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and brrr, it’s cold up here in the northeast. (Tom chuckles) But is it really cold where you live? Is that idea of taking your dog for a walk in the middle of the night making you shake in your boots right now? It is like my least favorite chore. When I’m all like sleepy and cozy around 11:00 and Daisy’s looking at me like, ‘Come on. Want to go outside.’ Meanwhile, she doesn’t really want to go outside. She wants to turn around and come right back in. Well, if you’re feeling the chill and your pet still wants to go outside, you are going to love our prize today. Because one caller that we talk to is going to win an electronic Smart Door from PetSafe and it works just like an automatic garage door because you’ve got this cool pet door and all your pet, your dog or cat, has to do is wear a special collar and when they walk right by that door it’s going to open up like shazam. Your pet will be outside, you will be inside and you will never have to do that chore again.
TOM: Do you have to say shazam or does it do it automatically?
LESLIE: No, I think your dog or cat has to think shazam (Tom chuckles) or perhaps open sesame.
TOM: That’ll work.
LESLIE: Whatever works. (chuckling) You’ve got to be in it to win it, folks. You’ve got to ask your home improvement question on the air. It’s worth up to 229 bucks but it could be yours for free.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Now it’s time to talk about upgrading your bathroom. You don’t have to spend a pile of dough. You know, a new sink and a vanity, maybe some flooring and a new shower and bath surround can go a long way. And when it comes to showers, fiberglass and ceramic tile are the normal choices to traditional choices, but there’s some new solid surfacing materials out there that are like Corian that are available as tub and shower enclosures, which are just a little bit more expensive than the plastic shower enclosures that are out there and look fabulous. Corian is a very durable product. These solid surfacing (ph) products are easy to maintain. They go up pretty easily. You can usually cut them with traditional woodworking tools. And if you install them, then you don’t have to worry about ripping out, say, old ceramic tile because you can go right on top of it.
If you need some more cheap tricks for cool bathroom makeovers, log onto our website at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Jean in Florida has a question about flooring. What can we help you with today?
JEAN: I ripped up the carpets and I had the Pergo flooring put down. But unfortunately, when he put the Pergo flooring down he didn’t put it down to where it was all running in one direction. You know what I mean? Like the kitchen is going one and then it’s 180 degrees opposite in the living room …
JEAN: … then 180 degrees …
TOM: So the patterns aren’t lining up.
JEAN: That is correct. (INAUDIBLE)
JEAN: Can Pergo flooring can be put down over the top of Pergo flooring?
TOM: Yeah, generally you can and – you’re talking about laminate floor and most of the flooring products today, whether it’s Pergo or Formica or Armstrong, they’re all locked together. And so you can put a second layer on top of it. However, you mentioned you’re dealing with a kitchen. Be careful around a dishwasher. You don’t want to lock that dishwasher in so that you can’t get it out when it breaks down because, believe me, it’ll break down probably the week after you put your floor in and you’ll be wondering how the heck you’re going to get out of there.
LESLIE: Yeah, but some of the laminate flooring, Tom, are meant to be locked and unlocked more than once. Like you can get a second lock out of them. It might be that type where you’d be able to reposition it, unless they’ve been cut in ways that you can’t switch it around.
TOM: How long has this flooring been down?
JEAN: Oh, just a matter of seven months.
TOM: Oh, well maybe you can disassemble it. Take a look at this. Do you have any extra pieces around?
TOM: See if you can figure out if it’s a lock-together type because you may be able to simply disassemble this.
JEAN: Oh yeah, they are the lock-together …
TOM: Well then, you may be able to disassemble it. You won’t have to put a second layer on it.
LESLIE: I mean as long as it’s not glued together and, you know, nailed down to the floor. If it was installed truly in a floating capacity, some of them are made to lock and unlock twice. Like you could.
TOM: Yeah. Get the guy back that put it down wrong in the first place. You shouldn’t have to do this yourself, Jean.
TOM: I mean that’s just not right. Did you buy it from a flooring company? From a store?
JEAN: No, no, no. I didn’t.
TOM: Ah, well.
TOM: Well, if you can get him to come back I think that you can disassemble them and put them back together as long as, like Leslie said, they’ve not been glued together.
Jean, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
That laminate floor is great stuff and it’s not that hard to install, but I guess even with a puzzle piece like that you can put it together backwards.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, noisy neighbors. No, they’re not coming up next but if they’re bugging you we can help you; especially if you’re sharing a wall with them. Learn what you can do to get some peace and quiet, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. And if you can’t get through to us and you still want some info on, say, walls or carpets or countertops or bathrooms or basements, just visit MoneyPit.com and check out our new project finder tool. A click away is everything we’ve ever written or said about your project and best of all, it is free at MoneyPit.com. And while you’re there, why not click on Listen and then Ask Tom and Leslie?
LESLIE: And some folks who’ve done that today are David in San Diego who writes: ‘I live in a condo. I’ve got one attached wall with someone next door. I’d like to somehow sound-proof or close to that this one wall that runs the entire length of my place.’ I guess he’s got some noisy neighbors.
TOM: I guess so. Well listen, David, I have to say that trying to sound-proof a wall that’s already constructed is a challenge because if you were going to truly a sound-proof wall you would have two walls with an airspace in between. That’s the way, for example …
LESLIE: To sort of deaden the space.
TOM: Yeah. We in the radio business, when we want to build a studio we put a wall inside of a wall with a dead space in between and that gives you that sound isolation. But when you have one wall you always have the risk of this transference of sound through the wall. However, that being said, there are a couple of things you can do.
First of all, you could add insulation to that wall. Now, if it’s an interior room it may not be insulated already and that does help to deaden the sound. Another thing that you could do is add an additional layer of drywall and you want to attach that drywall with something called green glue, which is sort of a rubbery glue substance that’s used in soundproofing and it helps to create somewhat of a space in between the two panels of drywall that gives you that deadening effect. So those two things will definitely soften it up and if you open the wall up to insulate, you have any plumbing pipes go through there – especially those waste pipes, so you hear the flush every time somebody on the second floor …
LESLIE: (chuckling) When you’re flushing and having that romantic dinner …
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: … it just doesn’t work.
TOM: Not always a nice thing to see. You can wrap that with a rubber insulation and that will actually help quiet that as well.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got another one here from Andrea in St. Louis who writes: ‘I would like to install some kind of gutter cover. The edge of my shingles extend over the gutter opening about half-an-inch. My concern is that when I lift the edge of the shingles to install the gutter cover, will the shingle edge get ruined? Will water seep, creep, run, back up under the edge of the shingle and then not go into the gutter at all? The roof is about five years old and it’s in good condition.’
TOM: No, the shingles, you should be able to gently lift those up. I would say, Andrea, that probably the best time to do that is not in the winter because …
LESLIE: When it’s really cold and not flexible.
TOM: Yeah, because the shingles get very, very brittle and then they’re apt to crack. But in the summer they’re very kind of soft and pliable and that’s a very easy thing to do and you should be able to do that with no damage whatsoever to those shingles.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got another one here from Ken in Decatur, Alabama who writes: ‘My house was built in 1966 and lately I’ve had an abundance of stopped-up drainage pipes. Two weeks ago I had Roto-Rooter out twice in the same week unstopping different pipes. Seems like about every six months I get a drain stopped up. Is it time to think about replumbing the whole drainage system?’
TOM: What you might want to do is have your sewer or drain cleaning service do a camera inspection of that waste pipe, Ken, because it might be broken or cracked and that could be forcing roots to grow up in there. And if it turns out that it is cracked, there is a way to reline an old waste pipe that goes through the ground and it doesn’t actually require a whole lot of destruction.
LESLIE: Any digging up a mess.
TOM: Yeah, you can – the trained pros that do this start on one end and work towards the other. It’s actually sort of a fiberglass-saturated sock, it looks like, that goes inside of the pipe and then they fill it up with water which sort of pushes it against the inside walls and it pretty much is a way to create a new pipe inside of an old bad one.
LESLIE: And Ken, you know, I think your friends over at Roto-Rooter do that service for you, so give them a call one more time. I’m sure you’ve got them on speed dial.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Want to remind you that we are available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Our crack team of call screeners never sleeps because we are awful to work for. (Leslie chuckles) And they will take your home improvement question. If we are not in the studio we’ll call you back the next time we are.
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 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)