Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Reach out and touch the experts. That’s us. (Leslie giggles) I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So call us now because this is where work and fun meet. We’re going to help you tackle those home improvement projects. We’ll help you enjoy those home improvement projects. We’ll inspire you. We will engage you. We will give you the step-by-step; the tricks of the trade; what you need to know to get the job done. But you’ve got to help yourself by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Speaking of home improvement projects that can absolutely paralyze people, let’s do some home improvement therapy right now, Leslie.
TOM: You know, are you afraid of commitment?
LESLIE: I think that’s a very personal question. (chuckles)
TOM: Many home improvers are afraid of commitment and I’m talking about commitment to a paint color, of course.
LESLIE: Oh, no fooling.
TOM: No, you know, you get stuck and you’re afraid to pick a color because you’re afraid it’s going to make the room look too big or too small or too this or too that.
LESLIE: Which is the craziest thing because paint costs the least expensive, you know, material when it comes to redoing a room. So if you don’t like it, fix it.
TOM: Right. And it gives you the most power for a little bit of money. So, how do you figure out what colors you might want to tackle for your home improvement project? Well, there’s a new tool out there; a high-tech tool. It’s a visualizer tool; one of the coolest we’ve ever seen. It allows you to take your room and literally paint it on a screen; see what it’s going to look like. And we’re going to talk about that on today’s program.
LESLIE: And also this hour, you know, it’s almost wet basement season and alright, I know, it’s practically always wet basement season.
TOM: Pretty much always wet basement season.
LESLIE: It really is. I mean there’s always something going on somewhere where water’s going to get in somehow; whether you’re putting it there or Mother Nature is. But it is almost the worse time of year, the fall, when things get really wet again and you’re going to be concerned about keeping your basement dry; keeping your house watertight and keeping your basement from really just taking up all of that excess water around your property. We’re going to teach you all the tricks to keep your basement dry so you don’t learn the hard way like I did.
TOM: Sounds great. We’re also giving away a $100 prize package from Zircon, including a tool that will help you find ductwork, metal conduit, plumbing and just about any type of metal behind your walls. And that can be real important because you don’t want to hit that when you’re – that would like really stop your home improvement project cold, you know?
LESLIE: Yeah. That’s water in your basement in a whole other way. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah. You know, one time I was working in new construction and I was a very young carpenter. And of course, the guy that …
LESLIE: Eager beaver?
TOM: … had to stay – eager beaver. I had to stay late to get all the jobs done. And the last thing the construction supervisor said to me was, ‘Tom, install this toilet paper holder in this bathroom and then you can go home.’ I’m like, ‘Great.’ So everybody leaves the job. I go to install it. What do I hit?
LESLIE: This sounds like it’s going bad.
TOM: A water pipe. (laughs)
TOM: The house was supposed to close the next day. I got water everywhere. So, I wish I had a MetalliScanner before I tackled that project. (Leslie laughs) We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen to you if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You could just win that. Let’s get right to the phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Dana in Florida’s looking to reclaim some space. You’ve moved into the garage. Tell us about your new room.
DANA: Hi. Well, what I’ve done is I really didn’t do a rec room. I have air conditioning running in there. But I still have the garage door there and I’d like to be able to seal up those openings from the garage door to the wall and still be able to, if necessary, remove the sealant so I can open the garage door.
TOM: So you still have an active garage door? You’ve not completely sort of sealed it off or walled it off in any way, Dana?
DANA: I – yeah, I live in a homeowner’s association and they do not allow you to close off that wall.
TOM: Ah. OK. I understand. Yeah, because if you didn’t have this homeowner’s association looking over your shoulder I would have told you to, you know, get rid of the garage door and put a real exterior wall there. Because your situation now is you’re trying to do just that but, you know, you’ve got a very uninsulated garage door. You know, garages are not designed to be part of the heated and cooled spaces in the home, so the doors are kind of not designed to give you any kind of insulation or sealing ability whatsoever. So everything you’re going to do at this point, Dana, is totally stop-gap measure. You follow me?
TOM: So what you need to do is to kind of take advantage of the garage door sealing products that are out there now. I would start with the bottom door seal. You can get a rubber gasket that goes along that whole bottom door and it might be available easier online because I doubt this is going to be available locally in Florida because it’s something you would almost never do. But you would want to buy a bottom door gasket for that and then you’re going to want to weatherstrip all of the sides of that door. And the other thing I would do is I would get some foam weatherstripping and I would put it in between the panes of the door; if it’s like a four-panel garage door. As the hinge sort of opens up those panels I would put weatherstripping in there. And then, you know, you bring it down. That’s probably, frankly, going to be as tight as you can get it.
LESLIE: Well, there’s another thing you can do. If you get foam sheeting – like insulation foam sheets that are 4×8 sheets and they’re an inch, two inches, three inches thick depending on what you’re looking for and you can find it in Florida because I’ve actually done this with While You Were Out in a Florida house – and cut them into rectangular shapes that are the same exact size as those inset on the backside of those raised panels if you were looking at it on the inside …
LESLIE: … and you can cover it with fabric or any sort of decorative paper. And then I used some sort of, you know, liquid nails adhesive to pop it into that space. Because then you’re taking that thin layer of aluminum and you’re – or metal, whatever the door is made out of – and you’re sealing it and giving it some sort of insulation which will help keep it cooler since you’ve got it air conditioned.
DANA: OK, so you say the bottom – I should get a bottom door gasket for the bottom part of the garage door itself.
DANA: And then foam insulating for the panels of the garage door.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you can cover them fabric. Make them decorative. Make it look like wallpaper or some sort of treatment. This way it really is a detail to the room.
TOM: And then weatherstripping for all the other gaps. Got it?
DANA: Weatherstripping. Yes.
TOM: Alright, Dana.
DANA: Thank you very much for your help, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And it’s good because when you put those foam insulating panels in there …
LESLIE: … you can still operate the door.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, you know, the homeowner’s association puts a lot of restrictions on what you can do. So …
LESLIE: Yeah, but what are they giving you?
TOM: (chuckling) They’re giving you a consistent exterior so that you …
LESLIE: I would rather be individual in my home’s aesthetic.
TOM: No, no. Trust me. Trust me. You wouldn’t. (Leslie chuckles) I used to be the president of a homeowner’s association. And the stuff that like people think is attractive – like the storm doors with the old-fashioned buggies on them and stuff like that and …
LESLIE: Oh, you’ve just made half of our listeners cry.
TOM: … you know, hanging the college flag and, you know. You know, you’re …
LESLIE: But it’s all individual personality. You can’t tell me what I can’t do.
TOM: Yes I can if you live in my homeowner’s association.
LESLIE: Mm-mm. I’m not moving into your neighborhood.
TOM: (chuckling) Well, hopefully we gave Dana some good ideas on what to do with his garage door.
LESLIE: Me and my purple house are going somewhere else.
So, are you making the most of your backyard? Well, how about building a deck quick before the summer season ends? We can help you do just that. Just call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week – whenever that home improvement project strikes you – at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Speaking of the yard, when you’re standing in your yard look up. If you see trees then you’d better be prepared for a wet basement or a wet crawlspace because very shortly in our future those leaves are going to start to fall and when they do they’re going to clog your gutters. And when that happens your basements are going to flood. That is one of the leading causes of wet basements. And we’re going to tell you how to solve and avoid wet basements from that and many others, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint with advanced NanoGuard Technology. Combined with simple grading and with draining improvements, it helps prevent water penetration and moisture buildup. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And the magic number for The Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And one caller that we talk to today who asks their question on air is going to get an answer and they’re also going to get a great prize package from the folks over at Zircon. And that package is including the MetalliScanner which is a brand, spanking new metal detector. It’s going to locate nails and screws and metal conduit and rebar and ductwork; pretty much anything that’s behind your walls or even embedded in concrete. It’s pretty cool. And you’re also going to get a circuit breaker finder that’s going to allow you to find the breaker that controls a very specific circuit. This way you know exactly how to cut the power to what circuit and you know that you can work on that project safely. These two tools, they’re worth about 100 bucks but could be yours for free if you call in right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
OK, let’s talk about one of the top topics we get asked about and that is wet basements and wet crawlspaces; what causes them and how to fix them. You know, Leslie, if you ask a bunch of folks what sort of the collective average opinion is on what causes these problems (Leslie sighs), they’re most likely going to say high water table.
LESLIE: Which is the least likely answer.
TOM: Which is absolutely wrong and absolutely the least likely because you know what? We don’t build homes below high water tables. We just don’t do that. The reason basements flood is because of poor water management at the foundation perimeter of your house and this time of year the place to start to make sure you don’t have a problem this fall is the gutter system. So here’s what you do to your gutters. Here’s a quick guide to sort of a gutter makeover.
First of all, examine the gutters to make sure that they’re flowing properly; that they’re tilting towards the downspouts. If you have loose spikes remove them and replace them with the gutter lag bolts. They’re about the same size as the spike but they have screws on the end so once you put them in they’re never going to fall out. Check the number of spouts. You want one spout for every 400 to 600 square feet of roof surface. If you don’t have enough spouts the gutter’s not going to be able to handle the water flow and it will overflow and that water’s going to get against your foundation and it’ll flood your house.
The next thing to do, of course, is to look into some sort of gutter cover. Now, there are many types of gutter covers. There are gutter screens. There are louvers. There are the solid pieces of metal that come across the top of the gutter and cover it; make the leaves wash off. All of those types of covers are doing the job but there are some that do it better than others.
TOM: We would recommend that you don’t use screens because screens …
LESLIE: Because it tends to like macerate everything …
TOM: It does.
LESLIE: … and makes like a mush of it.
TOM: Yeah, it kind of rots it and mulches it and it sort of ends up as sort of a cake in the bottom of the gutter itself. I like the gutter covers that kind of go across, under the roof shingles and across the top so the leaves sort of wash off and the water sort of hugs in there. That’s a good thing to do.
And lastly, take those downspouts and extend them not just two feet – which is where most builders leave them, onto a small splash box. No, go out four to six feet away from the house. And if you keep the water from going straight from the roof to your soil right outside your house, that’s going to stop wet basements almost every time.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Talking to Amy in Alaska who listens to The Money Pit on KENI. What’s happening at your house? Something with a washing machine?
AMY: Yes. (giggles) Kind of gross.
LESLIE: OK, we’re ready for it.
TOM: OK, we’re ready.
AMY: (giggling) We bought this home about, oh, probably four or five months ago and they left the washer and dryer. And …
LESLIE: And they left their smelly with them.
AMY: It’s kind of smelly. It smells like rotten eggs. Not all the time; just every once in a while. And (INAUDIBLE).
TOM: And you’ve not been washing your eggs in the dryer, is that correct?
AMY: That’s correct. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Do you notice the smell when it’s on or in between usage? When are you finding that it’s stinky?
AMY: It’s stinky when I put a load in the washer and it starts. The water is – the cycle actually starts.
TOM: Well, here’s a suggestion. What you might want to do is run the washing machine without any clothes on hot water with a gallon of bleach dumped into the whole thing.
LESLIE: That much bleach? Really?
TOM: That will sanitize every piece of the plumbing system associated with the washing machine and it will not hurt the washing machine. And there’s going to be nothing left that smells after that. I would run it once with a high bleach solution and then I would run it again just plain. And that’s going to clean out anything in that washing machine that’s giving you an odor.
AMY: OK. Would it have anything to do with a hot water heater?
TOM: It could. Sometimes water heater develop sulfur smells. And how old is the water heater?
AMY: It’s fairly new, actually. I think it’s between three and four years old.
TOM: Hmm, probably not.
TOM: Probably not. I’d run the bleach through the washing machine, Annie (ph). I think that’s going to probably clean it up.
Annie (ph), thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Moisture management is on Jim’s mind in Mississippi. How can we help?
JIM: My question was we pulled some drapes out of the wall and the screw, when it came out, had rust on it. So it led me to believe that there was moisture in between the walls. And I was wondering how I would be able to get rid of the moisture or find out where the leak would be coming from.
TOM: Maybe, maybe not. I don’t necessarily believe that you have a moisture problem in your walls just because you pulled out one rusty screw. There could be a lot of humidity in the house …
TOM: … to cause that. Especially in Mississippi.
TOM: So I wouldn’t go searching for it just based on pulling one screw out. Was it a really long screw? Was it in the middle of the wall? I mean …
JIM: It – of course the original walls were wood. And then they were sheetrocked over. And we had installed the drapes when we moved in and we were moving the drapes and when we pulled it out the screw had rust on it. And I didn’t know if I was going to need to actually go into the wall to figure that out or not.
TOM: Yeah, I can see how living in Mississippi that you need to watch every source of moisture because you never know when it’s going to sneak up on you.
LESLIE: And it’s most likely just condensation from using your air conditioning.
TOM: Yeah, it’s probably just condensation, Jim. I wouldn’t get too worried about that.
JIM: Well, thank you so much because there is an air conditioning vent right up under the window.
TOM: Well, there you go.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s totally what it is. (Jim chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, Leslie’s psychic, Jim. She knew that.
JIM: Oh, very good. Thank you so much.
TOM: Either that or she’s been – either that or she’s been stalking you. (Tom and Jim chuckle)
LESLIE: And the new drapes look fantastic, Jim. I love where you put them.
TOM: Yeah, and by the way. (chuckling)
JIM: Thank you so much. (Leslie chuckles) Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Anna in New Jersey finds The Money Pit on WABC. You are on. How can we help?
ANNA: Hi, I have foundation poles in my basement.
ANNA : And they have some kind of liquid that they sweat. And somebody’s painted them and the paint bubbles up with the liquid underneath.
LESLIE: Is it a finished basement?
TOM: Well, what’s happening is those are lolly columns. Those are the posts that are holding up the main beams of your house.
TOM: And they may be filled with concrete. And those poles are in contact with the slab below and perhaps even part of the earth, depending on how they’re installed. And what happens is if you get a lot of moisture in the earth, it draws up through the concrete into the column and then actually sometimes rusts through that pole and forms this sort of condensation-like look.
Now the key here is going to be to take all of the steps possible to reduce humidity and moisture in that basement because if you cut down the volume of water around your house that problem is going to go away.
LESLIE: First of all, are you using a dehumidifier in the basement?
LESLIE: OK. Is it constantly running? Are you emptying that bucket all the time?
ANNA: Well, it’s worse in the summertime so I run the dehumidifier in the summer. In the wintertime it’s kind of dry in the house so I don’t run it during the winter but …
LESLIE: Generally you want to run that dehumidifier all year long. It’s not going to kick on if it doesn’t need to be. Set it at 30, 40 percent. It’ll come on when you need it. Then you want to look at the areas outside of your home where you could be getting a lot of moisture buildup getting that water into the foundation and into the house. Do you have gutters on the house?
LESLIE: You want to make sure that your gutters are clean and that the downspouts are free-flowing. You want to make sure that there’s not a lot of debris in there so that the water is just flipping up and out and getting right onto the foundation area. So keep those well maintained. Then look at your downspouts. Are they depositing the water right against the foundation? If they are, extend them as far as you can; three to six feet. If not, bury them; do it more. You don’t want to deposit that water along the foundation because it’s just going to find it’s way back into those poles in your basement.
TOM: Anna, do you have a forced air heating system?
TOM: Well, one of the things you might want to consider is something called a whole-home dehumidifier. It’s actually installed into the forced air system and dehumidifies, automatically, not only the basement but the entire house. It can really create that balanced condition where you don’t have excessive moisture anywhere. You know, improving the grading and the drainage on the outside, like Leslie suggested, and then reducing the volume of moisture on the inside is all going to work together to stop this condition from happening.
Now, after you get the humidity under control, what you’re going to need to do is to scrape, sand all of that rust off of those posts and then prime them. I would recommend an oil-based primer.
LESLIE: And make sure it’s something that’s made specifically for concrete adhesion, if that’s what they were filled with or made of.
TOM: And then put a topcoat of paint on it and I don’t think it’s going to happen again.
TOM: But you have to treat the symptoms; otherwise, it will continue to occur.
LESLIE: Laura in Florida’s got a floor situation going on. Tell us about it.
LAURA: Yes. I have terrazzo floors and my house is older and they have carpet laying over it now but there’s terrazzos underneath there. And I would like to know how to make them brand new again.
LESLIE: So you want to take the carpet away and see the condition of the terrazzo floor?
LAURA: Yes, ma’am.
LESLIE: Have you seen it? Can you tell us what it looks like or are you just guessing?
LAURA: Well, in the two bathrooms the terrazzo floor is visible where you can see it right now and in the storage room. And they look sort of dull. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried every single cleaner I could possibly imagine on them to try to get them to look right but (chuckling) still haven’t …
TOM: No, they need to be rebuffed.
TOM: You know, terrazzo’s just gorgeous. I’ve actually seen terrazzo made and it’s a lot of work to make that and there’s a lot of steps involved. And if the finishes are getting worn and grimy and dirty it has to be abraded and then it has to be rebuffed. So this is something that you might want to do yourself because you’ve already seen how frustrating it can be. But if it’s done right it’s going to come up and it’s going to look gorgeous. And you basically need to have the right tools and the right equipment to sort of grind down or abrade down or sand down the surface until you can get to some new material and then kind of bring it back up again. But if it’s structurally in good shape then I see no reason to do that.
LESLIE: Oh and it would be such an addition to the price of your home …
TOM: Oh, yeah.
LESLIE: … terrazzo floors are gorgeous.
LESLIE: And if you’ve got them protected underneath that carpet pad and under that rug it really should just be the buffing to restore it.
TOM: So Laura, it’s not cleaning. It’s buffing and it’s bringing it back up that way. OK?
LAURA: Sounds great.
TOM: Alright, Laura. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stick around for some more great home improvement information. Hey, don’t be afraid of color. You want to find out exactly how it’s going to look on your walls before you paint them? Well, we’ve got a cool new tool that’s going to help you do just that, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Especially if that question involves picking up a paint brush.
LESLIE: Yeah, or choosing color. You know what, Tom? If you ask any homeowner who’s got stark, white walls in their house what that main reason is that there’s no color, I guarantee you 100 percent that they are going to say fear. It’s just paint, folks. Come on. If you don’t like it, pick up another color and do it again. (Tom chuckles) Color can make a huge difference in your room and really in your d