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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project? Need some help solving the do-it-yourself dilemma? What are you working on in your house today? Take a look around. We know there’s something you want to get done. Call us. Let’s talk about it. We’ll get through that job together. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well, you know, two years ago, just three cities in America had outrageously overpriced homes. That was then; this is now. New study – USA Today – reports that 71 cities in the country are way, way over value. What does that mean? Well, it means it’s a good time to stay put if you’re thinking about buying a house because they’re overpriced right now. Might want to think about spending more time remodeling that house.
LESLIE: Yeah, and it’s pretty crazy that 17 of the top 20 cities are located in Florida or California; which makes you think, ‘What’s going on over there that’s so popular?’ And the most overvalued city right now is Naples, Florida. So if you’ve got some parents retiring down there, if you’re thinking to move to Florida, wait a while. So … and you know what, you guys? A huge correction could be coming quickly. So if you’re wondering what you can do to keep your home’s value up, give us a call and we’ll help you out with everything that we can.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey, we’re also giving away a great prize today. We’ve got a pressure washer from Husky worth 300 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller on today’s program. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Shirley in Nebraska finds The Money Pit on KFOR. And you’ve got a leaky roof. Tell us what you see.
SHIRLEY: We’ve got a house that has a fireplace and it leaks right where the fireplace … right where the chimney is. I don’t know if it’s flashing we need to put around it or …
TOM: Yeah, generally it is. When you get a leak right above a fireplace, it’s usually the intersection between the roof and the chimney itself. Now, if it’s done properly, you’re going to have two pieces of flashing there. You’re going to have a base flashing and then a counter flashing. The base flashing goes under the roof shingles and up along the side of the chimney. The counter flashing goes in the mortar joint of the chimney and then folds over the base flashing.
And the reason it’s done that way is because the chimney and the roof are going to expand and contract at different rates. And this, actually, is sort of like a joint that allows the flashing to move and, this way, you’re not going to have it loosen up over the years. And what happens is, typically, sometimes that does loosen up and then the piece falls out. And if that’s the case, you’re going to get a leak in there.
You also want to take a look and see if anyone’s tried to repair it before. Sometimes people will try to repair flashing with a roofing cement. But it’s generally a really bad idea – especially around a chimney – because all that movement will cause it to open up and leak again. But it’s definitely going to be the flashing and, fortunately, that’s pretty easy to fix. It should just be a service call from a roofer.
Shirley, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Virginia’s up next and listens to The Money Pit on WJFK. And tell us what’s going on with your electricity.
JOHN: Yeah, I live in a house that’s built circa 1969. And the basement lights, they seem to last maybe a week, if I’m lucky, and then they just burn out.
LESLIE: That’s definitely too short.
JOHN: Yeah, that’s what I kind of figured. And you know, I even went and like I got on the internet and I did all the obvious stuff like buying the brand name bulbs and making sure that, you know, it wasn’t necessarily vibrations that were causing it.
JOHN: You know, I even tried the fluorescent. They burned out in a … well, they might have lasted two weeks.
LESLIE: (laughing) Well, they’re doing what they say they’re doing.
JOHN: Right, twice as long. And I mean it’s not just one or two of the bulbs down there. I mean it’s … it is the entire grid. Would it make any difference the amperage of the circuit? You know, I’m looking at it right now. It is a 60-amp circuit.
TOM: Oh, my God. That’s not … that’s not a lighting circuit, John. That’s …
LESLIE: (laughing) That’s for refrigerators.
TOM: Oh, that … John, you’ve got a major problem there, my friend. That’s … if the (inaudible) breaker, it’s a 240-volt circuit. And if, somehow, the lights are wired to that, that might be why it’s blowing all the time. Because that circuit … your lighting circuit should be a 15-amp circuit; not a 60-amp, 240-volt circuit. That’s the kind of breaker that’s used for a subpanel or for a very large appliance, like an electric range.
TOM: Alright, John. So something is drastically mis-wired there. You need to get an electrician to check these circuits out and get it straightened out. It’s potentially dangerous. Alright, John?
JOHN: (chuckling) Thank you, sir.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Yeah, that might have something to do with it.
LESLIE: Yeah, thank goodness for cordless phones so he could take us in there to the scene of the crime.
TOM: Yeah, a 60-amp, 240-volt breaker is somehow wired to his lights. Now, this is not making sense. Not a good thing. John, hopefully we’ve helped you get that straightened out.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Ina (sp) in California’s up next, listening to The Money Pit on KSRO. And you’ve got a countertop question. What can we do for you?
INA (sp): Yes, I was in a shopping center and I saw a display which was granite …
INA (sp): … that was covering Formica or they were covering tile. And I was wondering how practical is something like this rather than just kind of replacing the entire countertop with regular granite.
TOM: So they were resurfacing a laminate countertop with granite? Hmm.
INA (sp): (overlapping voices) It was a veneer. It was actually a veneer that was placed on top of tile or Formica.
TOM: I’ve never seen that.
INA (sp): Oh.
LESLIE: I’ve never heard of such a thing.
LESLIE: I imagine such a thin layer of granite would be incredibly fragile.
TOM: Yeah. And if … and if that countertop wasn’t perfectly flat …
INA (sp): Yes.
TOM: … that would crack in a heartbeat.
INA (sp): It could crack, I suppose. Mmm.
TOM: Granite is very fragile.
INA (sp): I didn’t realize that.
TOM: Yeah, it’s very fragile. And if it’s not, you know, perfectly flat and supported during the installation, it cracks like crazy.
INA (sp): It looked like about three-eights of an inch; like a (inaudible) …
TOM: Yeah. You know, it usually doesn’t make sense to resurface a countertop.
INA (sp): Mm-hmm.
TOM: It’s almost always less expensive just to replace the whole thing.
INA (sp): Replace the whole thing.
TOM: Because it’s a boat load of work.
LESLIE: Well plus, then there could be plumbing problems by the extra height that you’re adding to the countertop. Your sink would have to be readjusted.
TOM: Right, everything has to be readjusted. You know, it could be one of the solid surfacing products that maybe look like granite. Are you sure it actually was granite?
INA (sp): There was nobody there. It was just (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah. You know, it might have been a solid surfacing product that sometimes they use to resurface tops. But generally, I think, if you want it to come out best, you’re always better off replacing it.
INA (sp): OK. Well, I certainly appreciate it and I thought I’d get your advice before I did anything.
TOM: Well, we’re glad we helped you out, Ina. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next is Green from Chicago who’s got a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
GREEN: Hey, we had the roof stripped off and they put new wood up under the roof from the ceiling. It’s a two-story brick bungalow in Chicago. And it’s not leaking at the rooftop; it’s leaking between the floor … between the first floor and the second floor because they took everything off, they reshingled it and everything and it’s still leaking. When it rains.
TOM: Well, what water tends to do, Green, when it gets into a building, is it’s going to find a path of least resistance. And it can very often run down a wall cavity, for example, and then come out across the floor and then maybe leak through to the ceiling below. So it, unfortunately, does not always leak exactly where it’s happening; it can run a ways down.
But let’s talk about the places that roofs normally leak. Typically, it’s not in the shingle itself. Typically, it’s in the flashing. So anyplace there’s a junction between, say, a plumbing pipe that comes through the roof or an intersection between two angles of the roof or an intersection between a second-story wall and a first-story roof, these are the places that roofs commonly leak.
Now, one way to track this down is to actually run a hose up there and flush a lot of water down in different parts of the roof to see if you can figure it out. If you can’t figure it out visually, sometimes running water against these areas is another way to try to track it down. But I would caution you because that could be very, very dangerous unless you’re, you know, securely on a ladder or, you know, have some other way of attaching yourself or being secure to the roof. It’s probably better, if it’s a second-story roof, frankly, to call a contractor to do that.
But what you have to do is eliminate the obvious and that’s all the flashing points first. And then you can do a water test and see if you can track it down from there. But the fact that it’s showing up between a first and second floor structure like that, not unusual because water will run down the path of least resistance. It could be shooting right down a wall cavity and then coming out across the ceiling.
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean the leak could be nowhere near where it’s coming in the house.
LESLIE: Roy in Alaska’s up next and you have a question about your garage. What can we do for you?
ROY: (inaudible) the recommended sealer is to put on new concrete garage floors.
TOM: Well, the best thing to do is to probably use an epoxy floor paint. That’s going to do a really good job of giving you a surface that could stand up to the abrasion of cars going back and forth and the salt that drips off your car in the winter and sand that can grind into the surface. QUIKRETE has an epoxy garage floor kit, which is great because it comes with all the instructions on how to do it. There’s a wash that you use to basically wash down the floor to get the concrete ready to accept the epoxy. Then there’s a two-part epoxy that you mix together. The gallon size can is sort of short-filled so when you pour the hardener in there, you mix it up and then you have, I think, about four hours to work with this stuff. And it goes on really nicely and gives you a really durable surface. And then there’s these color flakes that you can kind of shake into it to sort of give it a pattern and that helps hide dirt on the floor. (hammering)
So, a good …
LESLIE: Roy, it sounds like you’ve got some work going on in your house right now. What’s happening?
ROY: I’m at the house now. The electrician is nailing staplers.
TOM: (laughing) OK.
ROY: Staples. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, so I think an epoxy floor coating is probably the best way to go.
ROY: OK. Do you know, if there’s a general kind, where most hardware stores or paint stores would carry it?
TOM: Yeah, I would … I would recommend QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – and that’s available at most home centers.
ROY: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thank so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, summer might be vacation season for you but it’s the busy season for burglars.
TOM: Up next, we’re going to tell you what you need to know to make sure a thief passes on your home as a potential target.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Alright, so you want to keep burglars away. I know everybody wants to keep burglars away. But here’s some things you can do to make sure that they just pass right by your house and some of them are pretty simple; like this one. Lock your door. Sounds like a no-brainer but some people don’t. Some people are very trusting. In fact, most burglars get through unlocked doors and windows and that even includes second-story windows folks, so make sure you lock everything.
TOM: Yeah, good point.
LESLIE: Make sure you lock your car; especially if you’re in the habit of leaving your garage door opener inside. And if your garage doesn’t have an opener, make sure you keep it locked since most of the items you might need to break into your home are located in that garage.
And if you ever get a phone survey about your spending habits, don’t take it. You could be giving a potential thief a shopping list of everything that’s valuable in your home.
TOM: Speaking of phone service, you know another dumb thing to do? Leaving a message on your answering machine that says, ‘Hi, this is Tom and Leslie and we’re going to be away until the end of the month in our vacation house in …’
LESLIE: (chuckling) ‘We’re far, far away.’
TOM: ‘We’re far, far away.’ Exactly. ‘We’re going on a cruise. So our house is wide open for you to break into.’ So don’t leave a message on your machine saying that you’re actually away. Bad idea.
In the phone book, is your number listed? You might want to think about removing your address from your listing.
Another thing to do – leave a light on in two rooms. It’s best to use timers. This way, you could have your lights come on and perhaps a TV or a radio to create the illusion of activity.
Another tip – don’t give your keys to just anyone. Have someone take in the mail and the paper and close your shades and drapes.
Coming up in our next e-newsletter, we’re going to teach you how to think like a thief. We will tell you exactly how a thief breaks into a house and, interestingly enough, where they go first. You’ll be very surprised when you find out. You want to learn more, sign up for our free Money Pit e-newsletter at Money Pit.com.
LESLIE: Alright, folks, we’re giving away a great prize this hour also. It’s the Husky 2200 PSI Premium Portable Pressure Washer. It’s fantastic. Does just about every project. It’s got a Briggs & Stratton engine, it runs on gas and it’s got a telescopic handle and it’s on wheels to help you get around all of your property to tackle all of your washing tasks. It’s available exclusively at The Home Depot. It’s 300 bucks but it could be yours for free if you call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: April in Maryland finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And you’ve got a tiling question. What can we do for you?
APRIL: Well, I just got done putting tile all over my bathroom floors and my bathroom walls and I have to grout.
APRIL: So, I need to know do you use the same type of grout for the walls and the floors, what’s the best way to go about it and what type to use.
LESLIE: Well, what is the spacing between your tiles? What is that measurement? Is it an eighth, is it …?
APRIL: Probably about a fourth.
LESLIE: About a quarter. So for a quarter you would use sanded grout. Is that correct, Tom?
TOM: Well, yes. You want to use a sanded grout and you want to mix it up so that it’s not too loose and not too stiff so that it flows …
LESLIE: Kind of like peanut butter.
TOM: Kind of like peanut butter, right. That’s the … that’s the key. If you make it too stiff it’s real hard to work with and if you make it loose it’s just a big, stinking mess and it never seems to dry. So the peanut butter is a good consistency for you to shoot for.
LESLIE: And then what you want to get is something called a grout float, which is like a rubber-backed trowel. And then you scoop up some of your grout on that trowel and, holding it at a 45 degree angle, you want to go across the joints on your tile. So you’re filling it in and you’re really sort of pushing it into that space. But by holding it at a 45 degree, you’re going to get it in there pretty nicely. And you want to cover up that entire floor and then what you want to do is you want to wait until it hardens up a little bit – maybe about 20 minutes – then you want to go back in with a damp sponge – not too wet – and wipe off all of that excess grout. But don’t rub it too much because then you’ll start affecting the integrity of the grout and the joints. And then let it set up a little while more and then you can go back in with a nice soft cloth to get rid of the cloudiness that you’ll see on your tile. And that cloudiness is going to come back for a couple of hours over that day as it’s curing. You can keep going back and wiping it away. And that should do it for you.
APRIL: Do you use the same type for the wall as you do for the floor?
LESLIE: Well, I’ve always thought, depending on what the spacing is between your tile, is that’s how you determine what type of grout you get. If it’s an eighth of an inch spacing or smaller, I go with non-sanded. And if it’s larger than an eighth I go with sanded because obviously there’s sand in the grout component which helps it to fill up a larger space. So I go by joint size.
TOM: April, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Phil in Kansas finds The Money Pit on Discovery Radio Network. And you’ve got a toilet issue. What’s happening?
PHIL: Well, I’ve got a house; it was built back in 1970. Say, it sat vacant for about six years before I just bought it this last year.
PHIL: And I’ve got a … got all copper plumbing throughout. And I’ve got a toilet in the upstairs; it empties directly into the sewer line headed out of the house. It’s the very first drain in the house. None of the other drains stop up or anything but this toilet refuses to flush. I’ve pulled the toilet up; checked the pipes; ran through the toilet, replaced everything – all the guts in it; made sure there’s no obstructions in it; checked the vent pipe, made sure that’s all good; ran a snake with a camera through the main sewer line out to the … out to the actual dump; and there’s no obstructions but it just … most of the time it does not want to flush.
TOM: So have you checked the body of the toilet itself, Phil? When you took it apart, did you make sure nothing was wedged in the side … the trap that’s actually built into the ceramic part of the toilet?
PHIL: Yes, I actually did. I had a problem with that a few years ago with the kids with a dinosaur. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, I had … I had the same problem.
TOM: My kid had a little tiny phone that got stuck … just jammed it in the trap. Well, when you got the toilet up, can you run water through the pipe? Through the waste pipe?
PHIL: Yes. Yeah, it runs great. I even ran a snake through it and everything.
TOM: Well, then maybe this is … maybe this toilet’s just not working for you, Phil. Maybe it’s time to replace the toilet. Have you thought about doing that?
PHIL: Actually, I have. I just … I can’t see anything physically wrong with this one; why it wouldn’t. But yeah, I’ve actually thought about that.
TOM: Well, I think that you’ve kind of come up with your own answer here, Phil. You know, the newer low-flow toilets – the ones that only handle 1.6 gallons of water – have actually gotten a lot better. And a lot of manufacturers have redesigned those bowls and the piping and the trap – the throat of the toilet that all the waste passes through – to have very little restriction so that you can use less water to push the waste through.
You can also get a pressure-assisted toilet that would … uses the force of air to push the waste through. But it sounds to me like this toilet is just not working for you and it’s time to replace it.
PHIL: OK. Yeah, I’ve actually … I’ve looked at the pressure-assisted ones before and I know the pipes would actually handle it, with them being good copper pipes.
TOM: Yeah, it absolutely will work and I think that’s going to solve your problem. Phil, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alan in Alabama’s up next and you find The Money Pit on WTBC. What can we do for you?
ALAN: I’ve got a new home and we have two rooms in the house that don’t heat or cool as evenly as the rest of the house.
TOM: Well, generally, if you have a balance issue with your heating or cooling system, it has a lot to do with, obviously, the design of the system. You need to make sure that you have good return air flow, is the first thing. Do you have returns that are in the rooms or is the return duct in the hallway somewhere?
ALAN: The return is actually in the great room in the center of the home.
ALAN: The return … it’s one central return for the entire house.
TOM: Well, clearly, you need somewhat of a redesign of the HVAC system. Generally, putting in additional returns will help boost the efficiency and solve some of those problems. Because, basically, a room does not heat or cool on a single pass of the air. The air has to pass through that room several times to be able to heat or cool efficiently. And if you’re having that kind of imbalance, then something is not right with the design of the system and that’s going to have to be changed. You may have to add a duct; you may to remove a duct; you may have to enlarge a duct to try to get the amount of airflow in. Now, a good HVAC contractor can figure out where this has gone wrong and make the adjustments.
Alright, Alan, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Chris in Utah finds The Money Pit on KTKK. And you’re thinking about juicing up the insulation in your house. You been freezing? What’s going on?
CHRIS: Well, it’s an old house and it was probably built in the 50s. It’s kind of a funny setup. It’s got sheetrock on the inside of the 2x4s, of course; which is a quarter of an inch with foil. And then they had tar paper and shingles on the outside.
CHRIS: So that makes it pretty inefficient, I would think, with just an air space.
TOM: Well, right. You want to have insulation in those walls. Now, you have no insulation now in the walls?
CHRIS: None whatsoever. I tore off all the old shingles and stuff but I needed to know which way to face the bat insulation with the paper because we’re talking barrier vapor.
TOM: Yeah. The vapor barrier always faces the heated space. So the paper would be facing the inside of your house.
CHRIS: So I can just tuck it in?
TOM: Yeah. Basically, the paper is against the inside of your house. So the vapor barrier always faces that way. Yeah, if you’re replacing your siding, of course you can insulate it from the outside. But if you weren’t replacing the siding, then you could have used blown-in insulation. Either one would have worked.
But interestingly enough, Chris, most of your heat loss is probably going to be through your ceiling. So make sure you take a look at the attic insulation. In your part of the country, you’re going to want at least 10-15 inches of insulation up there.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. Are you in to woodworking and carpentry like I am? Well there’s a cool tool that’s a gadget lover’s dream. Coming up, one tool that can polish, cut, clean and carve, sand and even engrave. And it’s a personal favorite of mine, so stick around.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And joining us on the line right now is John Hauter. John is the marketing communications specialist for Dremel. And Dremel has got a new product out that we want to talk a little bit about now on the show and it’s called the Dremel Stylus. And it’s really unique because I don’t know if this is true, John, but this is the first time I’ve seen a Dremel go cordless. Has it been cordless before?
JOHN: Yeah, we’ve gone … we’ve gone cordless. This is actually our second cordless tool using a lithium ion battery.
TOM: Now, the lithium ion is interesting and that’s really making … that’s really contributing to the power that these tools have today. Talk to us about that technology and why it works well for a tool manufacturer.
JOHN: Sure. Dremel was actually the first tool company, by any manufacturer in North America, to use lithium ion on a tool.
TOM: Now, isn’t lithium ion the battery technology you would … you would commonly see, for example, in notebook computers and other electronic devices that required a lot of power?
JOHN: Yeah, like camcorders and cell phones. Yep, that’s it exactly.
LESLIE: So John, I’ve been an avid user of the Dremel for many, many, many years actually. I use it to carve foam scenery a lot in my theatrical experiences. Why do you think the Stylus is becoming so much more popular? Is it it’s shape. Is it that it’s more of like a trigger shape rather than that handheld piece?
JOHN: I’d say yes. The lithium ion battery has a lot to do with it because it’s a really usefulness … you know, it’s a very small size. Plus it’s the ergonomics of the tool that’s so unique that allows people to use it with a lot of control and finesse.
TOM: OK, great.
LESLIE: I like it because it looks like a Star Trek thing.
JOHN: (laughing) I’ve heard that. Yeah.
LESLIE: It does. It has … it has a very phaser look to it and I enjoy it.
JOHN: What the Stylus did was take that battery pack, which is normally at the back end of the tool – they moved that to the palm of your hand, made the tool in a T shape so that now that the motor is directly over the top of your hand, there’s none of that balance problems that you would have, so you have complete control of the tool. Yeah.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, it really helps you have control over whatever it is you’re working on.
TOM: Yeah, John, I was able to use it to actually do some engraving on glass and that’s pretty tough to do if you don’t have a steady tool in your hand.
LESLIE: Yeah, you should see Tom’s Money Pit Rocks glasses. (laughing) He did a great job. (laughing)
TOM: Now, you can do a lot of different things with a Dremel. Have you guys ever tried to figure out how many projects you could have? I mean, are there 1,001 uses?
JOHN: There really are because we say that we have 150 different accessories to go with the tool. And each one of those accessories can allow you to do something different. So that, multiplied by all the different types of materials that you can use the tool on, it’s just thousands.
LESLIE: And do you guys keep track of unusual uses or any sort of strange projects people are working on with it?
JOHN: We’re always interested in finding that out. I don’t know if I know any offhand with the Stylus in particular but all the time. Some stuff I wouldn’t be able to say. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, I bet.
JOHN: Especially for like an unused … unsafe use of the tool or something, but …
LESLIE: I think I might want to know what some of those are, though. (laughing)
JOHN: Oh, yeah. All the stuff that the owner’s manual tells you not to do.
TOM: Right. (laughing) John, let’s talk about some of the projects that you can do with a Dremel because, I think, this time of year, people are doing things like cleaning furniture and scrubbing grills and you know, maybe making some projects for the outside of their house. What are some of the projects that Dremel is good for?
JOHN: Dremel can do so many different things but I’m going to talk, really, more specifically about the Stylus in that … can use it for detailed, intricate uses; you know, like carving and engraving and things where you’d hold it almost like a pencil – between your thumb and your forefinger …
JOHN: … and that was the original intent of the tool. But as we put this tool in people’s hands, they say, ‘Yeah, it’s great. It does all these fine detailed projects but I find myself running around my house doing all these other craft and/or DIY types of projects; like polishing the door hardware or removing rust from my garden furniture or cleaning the car interior or even just cleaning hard water buildup around sinks and hanging mini-blinds (chuckling) and more.’
LESLIE: You know, what I think is so interesting about the Stylus is that it saves the memory of whatever power you were using it at; whereas, previously, with the Dremel tool, you sort of had to gear up through all the different speeds to get right back to where you were.
JOHN: That’s right. They separated the on/off switch from the speed selector. So, when you turn it off and put it away and turn it back on, it’ll be right at that same speed you were using.
LESLIE: Thanks, John.
JOHN: Thank you.
TOM: John Hauter from Dremel, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit. If you want more information on the Dremel Stylus, you can log on to their website at Dremel.com.
Well, this common accident causes more than 150,000 emergency room visits each year.
LESLIE: Learn how to prevent one of the most common causes of falls, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by BEHR From Home, where you can select from over 3,700 paint colors and order samples online for home delivery. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So, are you working on the outside of your house? Make sure to use your ladder safely. That’s right, it’s the ladder, folks. It causes 150,000 emergency room visits every single year. Can you believe that?
LESLIE: I mean that’s a lot. And I bet so many of them are people using things that aren’t supposed to be ladders as ladders as well.
TOM: Well, here’s some tips to make sure you use your ladder properly. Make sure your ladder has slip-resistant rungs and feet. Inspect it for cracked uprights, split rungs or loose rivets. For an extension ladder, angle it one foot away from the house for every four feet of height. If you use it when it’s too steep, it’s going to tilt back on you. And never, ever stand on the top rung of any ladder.
LESLIE: Oh, so they mean it when they put that sticker there? ‘Not a step.’ (laughing)
TOM: I think … I think so. I think so.
LESLIE: Alright, folks, we’ll while you’re …
TOM: That’s probably responsible for 25,000 of those emergency room visits. (laughing) The people that don’t read.
LESLIE: They’re like, ‘Aw, they don’t mean it. Do-do-do-do-do-WHOA!’ (laughing)
TOM: ‘But I’m almost there. I can just barely reach it if I …’ (laughing)
LESLIE: ‘If I just stand on this last rung. WHOA!’ (laughing)
Alright, folks. Well, once you’re up on that ladder safely, here’s something that you can use while you’re there. We’ve got a great prize this hour. It’s the Husky 2200 PSI Premium Portable Pressure Washer. Say that 10 times fast. And it’s a great pressure washer for anybody and just about any project you could be working on at your house. It’s powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine so it’s super powerful. It’s got a great handle that lets you reach just about anything so you don’t have to stand on that top rung. It’s worth about 300 bucks. It’s exclusive to The Home Depot but it could be yours for free. So call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Judy in California finds The Money Pit on KSRO. And you’ve got a flooring question. What’s going on?
JUDY: Well, I’ve had a linoleum floor for 10 years and it was put down over concrete. In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed some dark spots appearing on the floor. And at first I thought it was dirty but it wasn’t. And I’ve tried to remove these spots with bleach and all kinds of things and I’m … I know it’s mold coming up.
LESLIE: So there was no vapor barrier or any sort of coating or …
JUDY: That I don’t know. I don’t know if there was or not. But my question to you is I want to put a new floor down and I want to put tile.
JUDY: Do I have to remove this linoleum or treat it in any way? Or can I just tile over it?
TOM: I would think you probably have to remove it because you’re not going to be able to get good adhesion for the tile adhesive with linoleum.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Especially if it’s containing a ton of moisture.
TOM: Yeah, I would take it up.
JUDY: And what would be the process of that? Is it really difficult to remove it?
TOM: It depends. If the linoleum is glued to the concrete, it could be very difficult. But most likely it’s not. It may just be glued at the edges. And once you get it up, hopefully it’ll peel up pretty easily.
LESLIE: And then, Tom, would you put an underlayment or just go directly, building a subfloor out of some ply?
TOM: I would probably go right on top of the concrete with the … with the tile adhesive. Because that’s the best way to get a good bond.
JUDY: Since I’m putting tile on concrete, I wouldn’t have to seal the concrete, would I?
TOM: No. Absolutely not. No, you should be able to glue it right down on top of the concrete.
JUDY: OK. With just some mortar.
TOM: Well, you’re going to use a tile adhesive and it’s specifically designed to glue tile to concrete or wood floors.
JUDY: Oh, OK.
TOM: Very gooey stuff but it does the job. And stinky stuff, too.
TOM: Lots of windows open when you do that one.
LESLIE: So ventilate well.
TOM: Or you’ll be floating away, if you know what I mean, Judy.
TOM: (laughing) Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Raul in California listens to The Money Pit on the QUAKE – KQKE. And you have a patio question. What’s going on?
RAUL: Well, I’m enclosing an old patio that was open to the outside to the new wall. It drops off about two-and-a-half inches. The steps out from the back door to the initial part of the concrete is right at seven-and-a-half inches, so I can’t really come up anymore; otherwise, it’ll be a really short step.
LESLIE: What is your patio made of?
RAUL: Concrete. And it’s about eight inches thick so it was my plan to not chip it out and have to re-pour it.
TOM: Right. Now, Raul, this room that you’re finishing off – is this going to become part of the interior space of the house?
RAUL: Yes. The main reason I need to level it off is because it drops off from the back door out to the wall …
TOM: The way to level this out is probably to use wood sleepers. And basically, what you’re going to do is you’re going to cut wood beams that would go, essentially, from zero up to that two-and-a-half inches that you’re trying to level it out. Like wood strips. And then …
LESLIE: Like little wedges.
TOM: Right. Like long wedges. And then you’re going to put a floor on top of that. And if it’s all going to be under cover, under roof as part of an interior space, then that’s the way to level it out. I would build wood sleepers, level it out from there. You basically cut the wood sleepers. It’ll be two-and-a-half inches thick on one end and then pretty much down to a wedge – a point – on the other end. You put those in about every 16 inches. They can be attached right to the concrete and then you can put a floor on top of that. And that’s how you’ll have a level surface when you’re done.
Alright, Raul, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Tom in Texas is doing a flooring project. What can we do for you?
TOM IN TEXAS: Yes, I’m trying to remodel a bathroom in an older home. And I was just wondering what would be the best way to do that. Whether I could tile out the bathroom for a shower or do I need to go another route.
TOM: Well, I think rather than … you’re talking about making a tile shower pan?
TOM IN TEXAS: Yes.
TOM: Probably the easiest thing to do would be for you to put in a modular shower. You know, where you can buy a shower that’s the pan and then the walls and it assembles in place.
TOM IN TEXAS: Oh, OK.
TOM: If you want to put in a tile base, you can; but you’ve got to do it properly. Generally, what happens is you start by framing it out with wood and then the base gets lined with fiberglass or there are other rubberized materials that are made to go underneath the tile itself. Because, of course, the tiles not the waterproof membrane; it’s the rubber or the fiberglass.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Whatever’s below it.
TOM: Yeah, that’s attached to the drain. And then you tile on top of that. But that’s a whole lot of work, Tom. An easier way to do it might be to just install a modular shower where you … where it comes, basically, broken down. You put the pan in and then you set up the fiberglass walls. It can come for a corner unit or a U-shaped unit and they basically lock in place. And it’ll go together a lot quicker.
LESLIE: But you can tile the floor and the rest of the bathroom leading up to the shower. That would make a great addition.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
TOM IN TEXAS: Do I have to do any special preparation or can I just lay that tile on the floor?
LESLIE: Well, what’s the existing floor?
TOM IN TEXAS: It’s wood.
LESLIE: As long as it’s in good shape, you can go right ahead and go on to that. Just make sure that whatever tile you choose for the bathroom floor has a high slip resistance and you’re not using a wall tile for the floor. Otherwise, people will be slipping and sliding; it could be really dangerous.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Darren in Maryland’s looking to refresh his house. What’s going on? Tell us about it.
DARREN: I have a question about my vinyl siding.
DARREN: It’s about 16 years old and it’s getting kind of hazy. And I’ve tried washing it – power washing it and stuff like that – but it’s really not doing the job. And I was contemplating painting it but I’ve heard mixed reactions from that.
LESLIE: Well, actually, you can. According to the Paint Quality Institute – there’s actually such a thing – you can paint vinyl siding if you use a top quality exterior acrylic latex flat or satin paint. They’re actually excellent for vinyl siding. The only thing that you need to do is make sure that when you’re changing the paint color or you’re changing the color of your vinyl siding, that you choose a color that’s not darker than the color of your existing vinyl siding. And what you want to do is you want to make sure you power wash the house very thoroughly, but make sure you don’t use it with a very heavy psi because you can blast a whole right through that vinyl siding.
LESLIE: Make sure you power wash it well; get rid of any dirt, mildew, any sort of debris that’s on the house. Then make sure, again, that you use a top quality exterior 100 percent acrylic house paint. You don’t have to prime. Make sure you paint under the proper weather conditions; apply at a proper spread rate; use two coats for your best performance; make sure it’s flat or satin finish and it should be great.
TOM: And Darren, one more thing. You know what comes after paint? Repaint. (laughing) So remember, once you paint it, you’re committing to a lifetime of repainting that; probably every five to seven years. So, you have to decide, you know, whether or not that’s something you want to step into. So you can paint it but you’re going to have to repaint it because, once you put that surface on it, it’s going to wear out again.
Alright, Darren. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, have you been thinking about finishing your attic? You might want to check to make sure your attic venting will still work after you put up the finished wall and ceilings.
LESLIE: Coming up, find out the best kind of attic venting that will support a finished attic down the road.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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 you can call us 24/7 at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Or you can choose an email by logging onto MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. Let’s get to that email bag right now.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. Here’s one from Lars in Madison, Wisconsin, who writes: ‘I have a 100-year-old home needing a new roof. Right now, there are attic vents on each side of the house and the attic has potential to be finished one day. Would it be smart to have a ridge vent installed with the new roof since the attic vents may be covered by walls one day?’
TOM: Actually, it’s a very smart idea, Lars. You know, the best ventilation system for a roof is a continuous ridge vent matched with continuous soffit vents. So you have vents down low on the roof and as the wind blows against your house, it gets forced into those soffit vents and goes up under the roof sheeting and then exits at the ridge vent. That’s the best system to have because it means that your attic will be properly ventilated 24/7. And it even works better than an attic fan – which we usually don’t recommend, especially if you have central air conditioning because it can suck some of that cooled air actually out of the house. It’ll reach down through all the holes in the wall and find it’s way into your space and pull that cooled air out.
So putting in a continuous ridge vent and continuous soffit vents is really the best thing to do. And certainly, doing that in connection with the roof job is the right time.
LESLIE: Yeah and it’s smart to even have this done even if you’re not finishing that space. It just makes sense.
TOM: Absolutely. And by the way, Lars, when it does come time to finish the attic, you’re essentially going to close up those vents on the end of the wall; the gable vents. That’s a good thing to do and once you put that ridge vent in – if you have a ridge vent and soffit vents now – you can even close them up ahead of time because having those vents together will actually interrupt the air flow. It’ll work better if you don’t have the gable vents once you have the continuous ridge and soffit vents in.
LESLIE: Alright. Here’s another one from John in Knoxville, Tennessee: ‘I’m updating windows for the first time in a 40-year-old brick basement rancher. Is it worth the 40 to 45 percent more to buy triple-pane versus double-pane windows?’
TOM: Actually, no. (laughing) It’s rarely worth it to …
LESLIE: Yeah, not in Knoxville.
TOM: Yeah, not in Knoxville. If you lived up in a very, very, very cold climate – if you were in Canada, if you were in Minnesota; you know if you were really up on the northern border of the country where you get real harsh, long winters – in a situation like that, you would probably get the return on investment to make it worthwhile to buy triple-pane windows. But for most of the country, you can buy double-pane. What we would recommend, however, is to make sure that they are Energy Star rated. If they’re Energy Star rated, you know that you’re going to get a decent window regardless of who the manufacturer is. Energy Star rated …
LESLIE: Yeah and you’re even going to get some cash back right now with those federal refunds.
TOM: That’s a good point. That energy tax credit is available right now as well. So, a good time to replace windows; good time to make some money on it and save some energy at the same time.
LESLIE: Yeah. All good updates. So John, don’t worry about those triple-pane glass. You can say no to the extra expense.
TOM: Well, if it’s raining inside your house (chuckling), it might be important to know where the emergency valve is. It is the most important valve in your house. It’s the main water valve and that’s the topic of today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. It sounds like exactly what it does. The main water valve controls all of the flow of water into your house. So if something goes wrong there, you are going to get inundated by a flood of water, literally. And it’s just going to keep coming. So make sure you know where that main shutoff valve is. It’s usually located on the lowest level of your home, near the street. Once you find it, make sure you label it clearly and make sure all family members know of its location and how to turn it off. And before you go out of town for any sort of vacation or lengthy amount of time, make sure you shut it off before you head out of town. This way, you can avoid any unwanted visitors in the form of water.
TOM: The very worst flood I ever saw in my entire 20-year career as a home inspector was from a broken water line. And the house … it had frozen and broken and the house was vacant.
TOM: Four feet of water …
LESLIE: Oh, my God!
TOM: … in the lower level of a … of a split house.
LESLIE: Well, I had always dreamed of keeping a dolphin in the basement, growing up. (laughing) So that would be a perfect opportunity.
TOM: Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. If you have a home improvement question, remember, you can phone in your fix-up question 24/7 to 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 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 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.)