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: Spent 20 years crawling through attics, crawl spaces and basements to figure out how these money pits fall apart and now I am here to help you with your home improvement projects with Leslie Segrete.
LESLIE: That’s right, Tom. So, all of those years crawling around in those crawl spaces and snooping around strangers’ houses – well, they’ve hired you, so they’re not really strangers but you know what I’m saying. Did you ever get poison ivy?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, I’m not – the house is not a stranger; only the people that live in them.
LESLIE: Well, exactly. (laughter) When you’re snooping around back there, have you ever gotten poison ivy?
TOM: I have not. Now, I have actually never gotten poison ivy. I should knock on wood right now. (laughter) I think that I’m either very, very lucky or maybe one of the small percentage of people that are not allergic to it.
LESLIE: Yeah, well, we’ll talk to you next year (laughter) and see if you’ve still got that same boastful fact. Because it’s really easy to get. It’s the oil from poison ivy or poison oak or sumac that people are actually allergic to and that’s what causes the reaction. And you don’t actually have to touch it yourself. It could be on a pet or on your jacket. You just have to brush by it and that could cause you to get the allergic reaction to it.
TOM: Well, if you’re one of the 85 percent of Americans that may be allergic to poison ivy, we’ve got a great guest coming up. It’s Rebecca Cole. She’s the master gardener from ABC’s Good Morning, America; will be joining us late this hour with some garden safety tips.
LESLIE: You know I’ve never had it either.
TOM: Really? Wow. So we’re part of the 15 percent that don’t get it. How about that?
LESLIE: Or maybe I’m very careful.
TOM: So now we’re going to have a – have a race to see who gets it first. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) I know there’s some floating around by my family’s vacation house. I’ve seen it because I know, you know, ‘Rule of three, leave it be.’
LESLIE: But there’s lots of things with three leaves.
TOM: Yeah – oh, yeah, right. (laughter) I know.
Well, one caller this hour we choose is going to win a cordless air compressor also from Husky; worth 100 bucks. It’ll keep your kiddy pool and your bicycle tires inflated all summer long so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Now we welcome Bob from Georgia who listens to The Money Pit on WBLJ. And you’ve got an electric issue. What’s happening?
BOB: Yes, ma’am. Thank you for taking my call.
I had a weird thing happen on my deck and my sunroom. Evidently, they’re on the same circuit and working fine. My wall plugs are also there and one day I closed the door and they did not come on.
BOB: Then about a week later, my wife actually slammed the back door and everything came on … (laughter)
TOM: Oh, that’s not good.
BOB: … then went back off again and I – I don’t know too much about electricity but I tried to trace some, maybe, shorts and can’t find anything. So I don’t know what’s going on.
TOM: Well, you’ve got a short somewhere. It’s breaking the circuit, Bob, and it’s potentially dangerous because if it’s that loose that the slamming of the door is helping it make contact and not make contact, what you probably could be getting is some arcing in that circuit, where you can have some heat build up and that could cause a fire. So I would recommend, at this point, that you get an electrician involved because it’s – you know, it’s beyond the scope of what you could do as a homeowner. There’s a problem in that circuit and those wires are separated somewhere.
How old is your house, Bob?
BOB: Seven years.
TOM: Seven years.
BOB: Yes, sir.
TOM: So it’s not that old …
BOB: No, sir.
TOM: … which is good. Which means you have modern, safe wiring. But if that circuit is going off, you’ve got to get to the bottom of it because there’s definitely a short somewhere.
Where’s the main electric panel? Is it near that area? Is it anyplace where the impact would …?
BOB: No, sir. It’s in the garage; about 80 feet away.
TOM: OK. And is this a ground fault circuit? Does it have a ground fault circuit breaker attached to it? The kind that will …
BOB: Yes, sir.
TOM: … pop off? Yeah. That’s even more sensitive. One of the things that you could try is simply to replace the ground fault breaker because they do wear out quicker than the others. It could be in the circuit breaker itself or it could be in an outlet. But even that, unless you’re really experienced with electricity, can be dangerous, Bob. So I would get an electrician in because if you’re having the circuit pop off and pop on, that means you’re getting arcing and sparking and that can lead to heat and that can lead to fire.
Bob, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lisa in Virginia, you’re next. What can we do for you?
LISA: Hi. We live in a Tudor style townhouse and it’s part of an overall community that has very specific styling to it. And we have this tape on our windows that’s cross-hatched all over.
TOM: OK. You mean to give it the appearance of sort of divided glass? (baby crying)
LISA: Yes, exactly.
TOM: And you have a baby, too.
LISA: Yes, I do. (laughter) I’m feeding him right now.
Actually, the problem is that our homeowners’ association has cited us and, actually, several others in the community because the tape is melting away a little bit and it’s peeling away and they want us to replace it. But we can’t find it at our standard Home Depot or Lowe’s or …
TOM: Is this – is this tape that’s creating the divided glass effect in between panes of the glass?
LISA: No, it’s not. It’s actually on the exterior of the glass.
TOM: It’s on the exterior?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) On the exterior?
LESLIE: Because I’ve done, when I’ve tried to make, you know, for a theatrical project or for any sort of, you know, home design project where you’re trying to make something look like leaded glass or stained glass …
LESLIE: There’s something called Liquid Leading and then there’s also leading tape.
LISA: Right. They want us to – it’s basically leading tape but we can’t find it. And the homeowners’ association isn’t even giving us any information on it. They said that they don’t have any …
LESLIE: I had gotten mine – we have a major art store here called Pearl Arts and Crafts, which is a huge arts center in the New York area. I don’t know if you have one in Virginia. There might be one in the D.C. area, but that’s where I usually have gotten mine from.
TOM: Yeah, you’re not going to find that at your average hardware store or home center. That’s kind of like more of an …
LESLIE: It’s going to be more of like an arts and crafts store. And it’s very pricey.
TOM: Yeah, or an online store.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Evelyn in Georgia has a problem with her door. What happened?
EVELYN: The paint is chipping on the back door. When I went to open the door to check on the house – back door – it’s the white enamel and it’s been several coats and it’s all over the floor and it’s kind of bustling up on the door itself.
TOM: What kind of door is this, Evelyn? Is it a wood door?
EVELYN: Wood door. Uh-huh.
TOM: OK. If you have a lot of coats of paint on that door – and especially if the heating and the cooling in the home is running inconsistently because it’s a vacant house – what you might be finding is that that door simply can’t hold anymore paint. And so, it’s stripping. As that wood starts to get moist, especially, a lot of that wood will fall off. So if you’re not running the air conditioning all the time or if you’re not running the heat on a regular cycle, it’s not going to stick very well.
At this point, the best thing to do is to strip the paint off the door and to repaint it. Because if you try to put new paint on top of that, Leslie, I think it’s not going to stick.
LESLIE: (overlapping) It’s not going to stick. And your best bet is to take that door off of its hinges; you know, pull the pins, pull the door off and lay it down on some horses outside and work on it on a flat surface. Because it’ll really help you to strip the paint more efficiently.
EVELYN: I figured that much .
TOM: Well, the best thing for you to do is – once you get the old paint off – is I want you to prime it next. Don’t put a top coat on it, directly, without putting a primer first. And for a wood door, I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ.
EVELYN: But how am I going to get the paint off to start with?
TOM: Well, you’re going to scrape off all of the loose stuff and then you’re going to sand whatever’s left. You don’t have to go right down to the raw wood, but get as much of it off as you can.
LESLIE: And get it to as smooth as you can.
TOM: Yeah. You know, you don’t want to leave any loose stuff on there is the bottom line. But then you want to put a primer on it. I would use an oil-based primer like KILZ. And then, use a surface paint over that. Just use an exterior grade trim paint, is the best thing to use, because the trim paints on the exterior grade, they have more pigment in it. They have more titanium dioxide, which is the colorant in paint. And that tends to stand up and be a lot harder and tougher; especially in a problem paint area.
So that would be the way to do it, Evelyn. And I think if you do that, that door’s just going to look good all over again. And if you do a good job with the sanding – if you have a place where you took off a lot of paint and then there’s still some paint on there, just sort of feather the edges so that you sand down that rough edge so it’s all smooth and one again. OK?
LESLIE: So it doesn’t jump down.
TOM: Yeah. Alright, Evelyn.
EVELYN: OK, thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Susan in Minnesota, who finds The Money Pit on KNUJ. And you’ve got a basement question. What’s on your mind?
SUSAN: Yes, my question is what your advice would be with an orange Corningware for in a basement; versus studding it out.
TOM: The basement finish system? Yeah, that’s a – that’s a prefabricated basement finish system where the panels are basically structural and pretty all at the same time. That Owens Corning system allows you to redo a basement fairly quickly. It’s installed by franchisees. It’s fairly pricey.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It looks good.
TOM: It looks great. It’s going to be more expensive than doing it the traditional way where you stud it out and use drywall and stuff. But it does look fabulous. A lot of basements are – because they’re underground are being studded with metal studs these days and that actually saves some cost. And the other thing that she should think about, Leslie, I think, is the kind of wallboard …
TOM: … that she uses. I would not use traditional drywall; paper-face drywall. No.
LESLIE: Paper-face drywall. You want to make sure, Susan, because the basement – if you’re going to go with the drywall technique, the basement is such an area to have a lot of moisture because it’s below grade and you know, humidity, possibility for mold growth. So, if you’re going to do drywall, make sure you get one of the newer kinds. Like Georgia Pacific has one called Dens Armor and it is a fiberglass-face drywall. It looks just like drywall, finishes just like traditional paper-face drywall, but because it’s fiberglass, it’s not going to be a food source for potential mold and mildew growth.
And the only option I say about the Owens Corning basement system is that the way it pieces together is that you do get some seaming of the pieces coming together; whereas, if you go with drywall, it’s going to be a smooth wall. So it’s aesthetically a choice you need to think about.
TOM: Well, it’s the great untapped space; the basement.
Susan, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, concrete is one tough material but cleaning it can be tricky.
TOM: Up next, find out how to wash away years of grime on your concrete sidewalks, driveways and patios.
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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, waiting for your calls, your questions, your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Call us right now.
Say, is one of those how to clean up those sort of worn looking, dirty looking, moldy and mildewy sidewalks around the house? (chuckling) Well, Leslie’s got a tip.
LESLIE: Yeah. Well, you know, concrete – it’s tough and it’s porous. And those are the exact attributes that make it really easily able to hold dirt and grime and that makes it look really dirty quite quickly, actually. But by applying a sealer to fresh concrete – that’s fresh concrete, folks – you can actually keep it looking new for years to come.
If you’ve got older concrete that’s showing some wear, you can use a pressure washer along with an application of a mildicide – bleach and water, whatever you choose. The mildicide is going to kill that fungus that detracts from the concrete surface and the pressure washer is going to help blast away those years of grime and really freshen things up. If you’ve got some tough stains, you should try a paste of TSP, which is trisodium phosphate. Be careful because it can be slippery while you’re working with it. But that should do the trick just to get about any stain out of your concrete.
TOM: Yeah, and you’ve got to do it, really, you know, pretty much every year if not every six months. Because like you say, it’s – the same thing that makes it a great material also makes it hold dirt. So it definitely has to be added to that home improvement to-do list.
Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only will you get the answer to your home improvement project; you’ll get a shot at winning the Husky Cordless Air Compressor; worth 100 bucks. It can inflate lots of stuff around your house – kiddy pools; bicycle tires; your automobile tires; your trailer tires. You can even hook up air-powered tools to them – brad nailers and staple guns. It’s available exclusively at The Home Depot but if you call us right now, one person this hour is going to win …
LESLIE: Got some mold on the roof. Tell us about it.
ELIZABETH: Yeah, I don’t really know what’s causing it. I mean in between our shingles there’s just mold growing.
TOM: Is it that big, thick, green moss?
ELIZABETH: It is green moss, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you know, there’s two ways you could fix this. You could get rid of it or you could simply mow your roof. (laughing)
TOM: That is caused just by a combination of conditions. I’d be willing to bet that this part of the roof is in a shady or damper spot. Is that correct?
ELIZABETH: It is. Yep.
TOM: Yeah. When you have a shady and damp spot, you get a lot of moss that grows because all of that stuff is floating around in the air and …
LESLIE: It’s perfect conditions for the growth.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you have all of the little moss seeds, so to speak, that are floating around in the air and they land on the roof and then they find a place and sort of grab onto that shingle and take root.
The good news is, Elizabeth, that it’s not hurting your roof shingles. It causes no damage to the roof. It’s just ugly.
Now, you want to get rid of it?
ELIZABETH: Yes, that’d be great.
TOM: Alright. Couple of things.
First of all, we’re going to have you wash the roof down with an oxygenated bleach.
TOM: Something you can pick up at a home center and mix up. This is a job that you need to do with goggles on and gloves, off a ladder, maybe with a pump sprayer and spray that area down with the bleach solution and let it sit for a bit. And then, you can gently scrub those areas and have the moss loosen up. You can also use a pressure washer on a light setting.
Once you get that roof cleaned up, to try to keep it from growing moss moving forward, there’s two things that you could do. Number one, if there’s any tree trimming that you could do that will shed some more light on that roof, the sunlight is a great moss killer. And that will stop …
ELIZABETH: Yes, it seems to only be on the west side of the roof.
TOM: OK, well – but if you have a lot of shade in that area, if there’s any way you can get more sun on it, that’s one thing.
The second thing is a bit of a trick of the trade and that is, you can get a piece of copper flashing or nickel flashing or you could use a copper or nickel ridge vent. Put it across the peak of the roof. And what’s going to happen is as rain strikes that piece of copper and then runs down the roof, the copper is going to release and that acts as a wash and it will actually clean the roof on the way down.
And if you want to see examples of this happening in real life, you drive an old neighborhood that has copper flashing around chimneys. You almost always see the roof streaked right underneath that. The reason for that is because the copper acts as a mildicide or as an algaecide and it cleans the shingles. So that’s a way to always keep the roof looking pretty clean; by having a copper or a nickel ridge vent. Works with nickel as well.
LESLIE: Amy in Michigan finds The Money Pit on WTOD. What can we do for you today?
AMY: Yes, I have a cement back porch that, right now, is like skating on ice. It is so slippery when it is wet. And I’m …
TOM: Oh, but it’s fun.
AMY: (laughter) Not really when we are falling down. I wanted to find out if there’s anything that I can put on the cement to make it so it is non-skid; so we’re not slipping when we walk out the back door.
TOM: Is there any kind of finish on the cement porch right now, Amy?
TOM: Good. That’s the right answer. (chuckling) Because what we’re going to probably recommend for you is an epoxy floor finish because whenever you’re trying to finish concrete, the best finishes today are epoxy-based, where there’s two parts that mix together and then it’s air and sort of chemical cured together. But in addition to that, you probably are going to need an antiskid finish.
LESLIE: Yeah, actually, Behr makes an excellent additive that you can mix into – even if you weren’t going for a paint and say you had a wood surface, you could mix it into a stain. And it’s their Nonskid Floor Finish Additive and you can get it at any Home Depot and mix it right into any paint or stain; whatever type of finish you want to put on that concrete. And that should keep you from falling down and, much to the dismay of the rest of your family members – who I’m sure get a kick out of it.
AMY: Yes, they do find it funny. (laughing)
TOM: There you go, Amy. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, next up, we’ve got East Tennessee Radio and David from Tennessee. What can we do for you?
DAVID: I’ve got a problem with masonry – stone masonry. We’ve got a stone stairway outside and mortar is breaking – and a wall around it. The mortar is falling apart and some of the stones are very loose and dangerous.
TOM: Well, it sounds to me like what you need to do is to re-point that masonry wall because with the irregular stones, it is going to loosen up. And so, what you’re going to need is to scrape out the deteriorated, broken up masonry …
LESLIE: And pointing is just another fancy word for masonry – for grouting, right?
TOM: Yeah, pretty much. (chuckling) Yeah. It’s the reason we can charge more; because we know the bigger SAT words in home improvement. Like pointing …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) Pointing.
TOM: … when we’re just talking about slapping some of that cement stuff in between those stones. (chuckling) So that’s what you want to do.
By the way, when you mix the cement for pointing, you want to use a little bit extra lime because it kind of makes it stickier and it’s easier to apply. But what you have to do is to scrape out the loose stuff and to re-point it. It’s not a terribly difficult job and, frankly, I think it’s kind of a fun job to do yourself. But if not, you could hire a mason as well.
DAVID: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Water pumps are on Steve in Missouri’s mind. What can we do for you?
STEVE: Hi. I’ve got a two-story home and it seems like I have a hard time getting hot water up to the second level. I have to wait a few minutes and I was considering putting in a hot water recirculation pump and was wondering if they were worth the cost and effort to put them in.
TOM: Well, there’s two costs you have to be concerned about, Steve. Number one is the install cost and number two – which could be, potentially, even more expensive – is the loss of energy. Because what’s going to happen is if you’re circulating that hot water – that domestic hot water – back through the water heater all the time, the water heater’s going to run like a heck of a lot longer than it’s running right now.
STEVE: It has a – it has a 24-hour timer so you can set the peak times that you want to …
TOM: OK. You’re saying that the pump itself has a timer.
STEVE: Yes, the pump itself has a 24-hour timer.
TOM: OK, well that’s fine except just be advised that for all the hours that that’s going to run – I mean I presume that it’s going to be running, you know, from when you wake up in the morning to when you go to work, maybe when you come home at night to when you take your showers and so on – you know, it could probably quadruple or more the cost of heating your water. So will it work? Yes. But there are some hidden costs associated with that that you need to be aware of.
I’ve got to tell you that it’s going to be less expensive for you just to run hot water than it is to probably put that pump in and spend the money heating the water. You might be better off just running the hot water until it gets hot because it is probably the farthest one away. If you’re going to keep hot – heat it the whole way, remember, that pipe is going to be hot all the way from the water heater to the faucet all the time. And that means it’s going to be a lot more expensive to heat that water. Because all of the space that pipe runs through the wall, it’s going to be hot. And those pipes are not insulated – you can’t insulate them now because they’re kind of buried in the walls, they’re buried in the ceilings and you just can’t get to it, Steve. So, if you want to put a recirc pump in, you can. But just keep in mind it’s going to cost you a lot more.
Steve, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So, are you thinking about heading outside with the family to take on some yard work? Lots of us are. But you need to make sure how to keep everybody safe.
LESLIE: Up next, master gardener Rebecca Cole has tips for us to steer clear of poison ivy and make sure we’re safe in any backyard task, coming up.
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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
What do you do when you’re working inside your house? You’re working outside your house? Well, you know, in warmer weather, green thumbs of all ages are whipping those gardens into shape and kids are spending more and more time outside. According to the National Garden Association, two out of three American households will take on some form of gardening or lawn care together. It’s a family affair. Whether it’s planting flowers, pulling weeds or mowing the lawn.
That’s what I have my teenagers doing.
LESLIE: (laughing) And I’m always trying to borrow your kids, Tom, because I could use somebody to mow my lawn.
TOM: Rent-a-kid. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) Well, with all of these activities come risks that you might not even realize are present, including injuries from lawn and garden tools and reactions to poisonous plants. Well, master gardener Rebecca Cole serves as the gardening and lifestyle contributor for ABC’s Good Morning America and she’s got a new magazine called Seasons and a book, Four Seasons to Grow On. And joining us, celebrity garden expert, Rebecca Cole.
My gosh, you’re so busy.
REBECCA: Oh, I am, I am. I’m under the wire trying to get the next issue of the magazine out and, you know, it’s crazy. I’m already talking about holidays and here I can’t even get summer out of my system. (laughter)
TOM: Isn’t that the weirdest thing for those of us that write for magazines. We’re – this whole idea of long-lead publications. We have to write now for like Christmas.
REBECCA: Yeah, I’m already writing for next year this time. So, you know, it’s easy for me to write about what’s going on now and just save it for a year. But when you have to write, you know, six months in advance, then it becomes a little more difficult because that’s not the moment.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about what’s happening right now with households across America. It’s still summer. People are still trying to spend as much time outside. By now, at least in my garden, the weeds are starting to overtake the plants. And you know, we want to get out there, we want to do a lot of work but we want to do that staying safe. What is the most common garden injury, first off, Rebecca?
REBECCA: Well, you know what’s funny is 50 percent of all emergency room visits are a result of injuries in the back yard.
REBECCA: And it might be something as simple as falling over a hose. I mean, you know, I don’t know about you guys. I have kids, I have a dog, I work, I’m out there watering and yeah, I turn off the hose, I leave it there and, of course, whoever designed these hoses to be the same color as grass should be shot. (laughing) They get lost and especially at night you can’t see them. And one simple fall – easy break of the wrist, you know, breaking the arm. And so that’s really an issue. You’ve got to roll up those hoses.
And you know, it’s kind of like a comedy or a sitcom to think about somebody stepping on maybe a shovel or a rake and the rake comes up and hits them in the head. But you’d be surprised how often that happens!
LESLIE: I can even tell you, I’ve actually done that. (laughing)
REBECCA: I have, too. And let me tell you, the tines between your toes doesn’t feel really good.
TOM: Well, it’s the same thing with tackling a home improvement project. You know, the later the day gets, the more tools you have on the floor and stuff all about you and the easier it is to trip. I’ve done it, too. We’ve all done it. So I guess the tip is to don’t work tired.
But let’s talk about another type of garden risk. You know, fall’s right around the corner. We’re going to be outside and cleaning up all of those trees and limbs and working in areas that perhaps we don’t get to. What about the risk from poison ivy and poison oak and poison sumac?
REBECCA: Oh, you know, poison ivy is the bane of every backyard. And what’s funny about poison ivy, first of all, you don’t even have to touch it to be affected by it. If you live anywhere near a wooded area – and let me tell you, poison ivy grows just about anywhere across the country – but if your kids have a ball that goes into the woods and the woods brushes up against a bruised plant, one millionth of an ounce of that oil, that wicked oil inside, is all it takes to rub off on your skin, your hand, to start that awful itch or the rash. So, it could be if you’re out there pulling the weeds and you accidentally pull up a plant. Well then, the oil is either on your hands or your gloves.
And it used to be, you know, the old remedies were to get inside, wash it as quickly as possible and that is still true. But nothing has ever worked to actually get rid of that oil completely because it’s like super glue; it really is. And …
TOM: You know something weird? I have actually never gotten poison ivy.
REBECCA: Hey, you know …
LESLIE: Yeah, you better knock on wood, Tom.
TOM: I’m telling you, I’m either …
REBECCA: Well …
TOM: … not allergic to it or just very, very lucky.
REBECCA: Fifteen percent of the – of people are not allergic to it. I’m not. My husband gets it, sometimes, three times a year.
LESLIE: So, Rebecca, if you’re not allergic to it you would never, ever get any symptoms of it? It’s not like …
REBECCA: Well, that’s not – no, that can change. Now, you better watch it, Tom, (laughter) because the second you say that, maybe next year …
TOM: I’ve jinxed myself now.
REBECCA: … you might develop a reaction to it. So, be lucky that you don’t have it but, yeah, 15 percent do not experience any kind of problem with it.
TOM: Now, how do you teach your kids to avoid poison ivy? Because it’s hard to spot.
REBECCA: Well, first things first. I would go online – there are so many pictures – great pictures – of poison ivy and show them what it looks like and then have them do a treasure hunt to see if, in fact, it is growing in your yard. It could be vining up a tree, it could be on the fence, it could be sitting down, you know, off a slope, in the woods, anywhere.
LESLIE: But that would be a treasure hunt where you don’t actually collect the prize.
REBECCA: (overlapping voices) Exactly. Don’t pick up the prize.
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, there’s no treasure at the end of that rainbow.
REBECCA: I was – you know, something to help them remember. If they – if they just can’t figure it out, ‘Leaves of three, leave them be.’ That’s real simple. If they’re a cluster of leaves, have three, don’t touch them and stay away from it.
TOM: Terrific. Rebecca Cole. She’s the master gardener for ABC’s Good Morning, America. Thanks so much for sharing those safety tips with us, Rebecca. Come back again, would you?
REBECCA: You betcha. Thank you.
TOM: Rebecca Cole, master gardener, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
Hey, you can look for Rebecca’s magazine, Seasons, and her book, Rebecca Cole: Four Seasons of Growing. And you can visit Rebecca on her website at Rebeccasgarden.com.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. Are you frustrated by low water pressure? I know a lot of you are. Coming up, Tom’s got a tip that’s going to help you out.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you’re putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one – getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at faucetcoach.com.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The phone number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us now. Our advice is always worth more than you pay for it.
LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s because you pay nothing. It’s free, folks.
TOM: Ah, that’s right and it’s great. So call us now. 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, speaking of free advice, here’s a – here’s a free sample of our free advice. It’s about water pressure problems in your house. Have you ever had a situation where the water’s just not flowing from the faucet too well? Well, guess what. There may be a simple solution. And here’s the way you know if this solution will work.
First of all, the problem that causes it is a blocked aerator. This is the tip of the faucet, the tip of the bath or, perhaps, even the showerhead can have a blocked aerator, so to speak, as well. If everything else in your house has good water pressure but just these one or two fixtures, then it’s always a blocked aerator.
Now, on the faucet head, what you want to do is unscrew the tip. And when you unscrew the tip, you’re going to find a screen inside. You have to take it apart and take a tip from Leslie and I. As you take it apart, put the parts down in the order in which you took them out because putting it back is a bit of a puzzle piece sometimes (inaudible) …
LESLIE: Sounds like you’ve had experience with this, Tom. (laughing)
TOM: I have had experience with that and it took a bit of time, you know. It was a little tricky but I got it back together and it worked great.
But inside that little screen, you’ll be amazed. A little tiny chip of say solder or (inaudible) some other type of grime that’s inside the plumbing, can actually slow down the water dramatically.
Now, on your shower heads, the same thing applies. Take it apart and look behind it for any debris that’s inside. And also on the showerheads, you very often get a lime deposit; sort of a mineral deposit. A good way to clean that: soak it in a bowl with some white vinegar. The white vinegar will melt away the salt. So clean the aerator and soak those shower heads and you will be feeling the pressure once again, without paying a plumber’s bill.
LESLIE: Yeah, you know, white vinegar is just a miraculous thing. It cleans. You can cook with it. It takes things off. It puts Easter egg dye on. It’s just amazing the countless uses that there are for white vinegar. So it’s a good thing to keep around your house because you never know what the heck you’re going to do with it next. And we can give you tips on your white vinegar usage in our Money Pit e-newsletter.
You know, you might not know what that is. You don’t know? You didn’t get it? Why didn’t you get it?
TOM: Big mistake. Big mistake. Missing out on a lot of great information that’s also free. It’s a theme, you see? The phone number’s free; the advice is free; the newsletter’s free.
LESLIE: Yeah, and the newsletter is so fantastic. Not only is it free, it’s always full of great advice, lots of information and, in fact, did you know that a weak garage door can lead to you losing your roof? That’s right. During a major storm, strong winds can blow in through a weak garage door and create enough pressure to blow that roof right off.
In our next e-newsletter, you can find out exactly how to prep for a severe weather situation, including the easiest way to brace your garage doors. So subscribe right now. Remember, it’s free. Go to MoneyPit.com for that.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Something else that’s free this hour. One caller is going to win the Husky Cordless Air Compressor, with a radio built right in. Worth 100 bucks. So I guess that means that you can blow up your bike tires and listen to the radio at the same time. Plus you …
LESLIE: Well, it’s always so much more fun to do your work when you’re listening to tunes.
TOM: Absolutely. Especially when you listen to The Money Pit.
So, it’s for do-it-yourselfers around the house. Worth 100 bucks. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also use this cordless Husky Air Compressor with the radio built in for any air tools you have. If you’ve got a nailer or you’ve got a stapler that runs on pneumatics, you can plug it right in and away you go, without the hassle of cords to plug in because it is cordless. Available exclusively at The Home Depot but, again, one caller this hour is going to win that Husky Air Compressor. So call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Mary in Virginia’s next and what’s going on with your deck?
MARY: Yeah, we’re having tremendous problems on our deck. Within the past year – we’ve had it on for a year and it just started developing these black spots on it.
MARY: Sort of like mildew spots.
MARY: We’re not quite sure how to get rid of them.
TOM: It’s not the fault of the decking. The composite decking will grow mildew or mold or can land on there. But what it sounds to me like what’s happening here is – are these very small spots?
MARY: They’re about the size of a baseball.
TOM: Of a baseball. OK. Because what I’m thinking is you may have something called artillery fungus, which gets into the air and lands and leaves these big black spots around.
LESLIE: Is that generally in areas where you have mulch or gardens? Doesn’t that come from that as well?
TOM: Yeah, and is this a very shady area, Mary?
MARY: No, actually the sunshine hits it every day, all day long.
TOM: Well, let’s see what we can get rid of whatever fungus is stuck there and growing. What I want you to do is to go out and buy a product called Jomax – J-o-m-a-x – which is a cleaner that you mix with bleach that, once you apply it, you let it sit. You want to let it sit for a good 15 or 20 minutes. Don’t let it dry on there. Keep it wet. And that’s going to kill all of the spores that are making this fungus grow. And then you can scrub it off with a stiff brush – you can use a floor brush – and then rinse it off with lots of water. But you have to use a bleach-based solution because if you don’t kill those spores, some stay behind and it will come back up.
It sounds to me like you’ve got some sort of an infestation there that just really likes your deck because it’s so nice and sunny there. That’ll get rid of it.
Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Discovery Radio Network is where Charlie from Oklahoma finds The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
CHARLIE: I’m looking for new rollers for a pocket door. I’ve …
CHARLIE: I’ve got a pocket door that’s – it’s an entry into a closet. It’s a single door and I’m trying to find rollers that are compatible with the existing rail that it rides on and I’m not having any luck with it. I’ve gone to the home improvement stores. I’ve gone to some specialty door companies. And no one has anything that’s nearly the size that – it’s about an inch-and-a-half or an inch-and-a-quarter roller.
TOM: I’m presuming it’s an old door, Charlie?
TOM: Alright. You’re going to have to jump online for this.
LESLIE: There’s a bunch of websites. There’s a good website and catalog that I like and it’s Van Dyke’s Restorers and their website is VanDykes.com and they specialize in antique hardware for just that situation.
And another good source is AntiqueSupply.com. They do the same; antique hardware for doors, windows, drawer pulls, hinges, anything that you need to sort of match a period home.
And there’s a third website – SignatureHardware.com. And between those three, you should be able to find it.
Is there anyway to see who the original manufacturer was of this roller?
CHARLIE: No, it’s – it’s not a high-end home. It was probably a – oh, a moderate or medium-priced home. And it’s a – I’ve never seen a roller like it. I took the pieces that we could find to the home improvement stores. Couldn’t find anything that was even close. The only thing that they had was a new roller kit that you had to put a new rail in, which …
TOM: Right. Well, that would be – that would be so hard to do because it’s all built in.
Yeah, I love pocket doors and I especially love old pocket doors because they’re just so solid compared to the new ones. But I think if you get online and check the antique supply places, you’re going to be able to find these parts. Because there’s a lot of people that are in the same situation.
CHARLIE: OK, great. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up next, we’re going to reach into our Money Pit email bag. What do you do when fire damage is proving hard to cover up?
TOM: Well, hopefully, you’ve already put out the fire. (laughter) Now you need to put out the fire damage.
Well, we’re going to tackle that question from an e-mailer, next.
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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com. Head on over there to shoot us an email question by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie.
Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Okey-dokes. This one is from Meryl in Ottawa, Kansas who writes: ‘I have a home that was built over the basement of a previous home that had burned. The basement floor has been overcoated twice in several places with some kind of sealer but the sealer is separating from the floor again and it’s crumbling. Do you have any suggestions for what I could use to seal and level this floor so that it doesn’t crumble underfoot again?’
TOM: Hmm. The problem here is that you’ve got multiple layers of sealer on there now and we don’t know what that was. If it’s coming apart, if it’s not adhering to the old floor anymore, the first thing you have to do is get rid of the old stuff. So you’re going to have to strip this floor. I hate to tell you that, Meryl, because it’s a – it’s a dirty, nasty job. But you’ve got to get that old, loose paint off or at least as much of it as you possibly can.
LESLIE: So you couldn’t put a leveling compound over the entire floor just to sort of give it a new skin-coated surface?
TOM: No, because what’s going to happen is you’ve got the sealer on there. Think of that as sort of the wax paper in between the new leveling compound.
LESLIE: So nothing’s going to stick.
TOM: Right. Now, you’ve got to get down to something raw, something gritty, something that can actually hold it. And then, once you’re at that surface, then you could add a leveling compound if that’s required.
And when you get done filling in all those gaps, what you absolutely must do is use a really good quality primer and sealer. Because when you have smoke damage, it really takes an oil-base primer and sealer to seal that in. Behr, for example, has one that is called Behr Plus Primer and Sealer that’s designed for floors. There are other ones that are designed for walls. But in this case, you’ve got to use a very good primer for a couple of reasons. Number one – to seal in the smoke damage. And number two – to give it something that can really adhere that new paint to.
The primer’s really the glue, folks, that makes your paint stick. So it’s definitely a step that you do not want to skip. Whenever you’re working with something that’s new or raw, you’ve got to put primer on it. And if you’re working with something that’s got an undetermined surface under it – like this situation or something that’s been fire damaged or smoke damaged – you’ve got to use a good quality primer first and then put the top layers of paint on.
LESLIE: Alright, Meryl. Well, that doesn’t seem too bad. It does mean you’re going to have quite a bit of work on your hands for the next couple of weeks, but at least your basement will be back into good-as-new condition and you’ll be enjoying your house in no time.
TOM: Well, did you ever feel like your life is involved with lots of tasks where you’re trying to fit square pegs in round holes (chuckling) because you just didn’t have the storage room that you needed? Well, up next, Leslie’s got some tips on how to find spaces where you least expect it.
LESLIE: That’s right. Just because your bathroom is small doesn’t mean that you don’t have a lot of places for storage. You just have to be creative. There are hidden storage areas and they’re easy to find if you know where to look. That’s right.
The space above the toilet is large enough for a full 12-inch by 30-inch storage cabinet. And some of those freestanding units that mount behind the toilet – those are really attractive and also provide a lot of space. You just have to look around for one that suits your styles.
Also, inverted sink base cabinets have a large drawer that’s designed into the bottom of the base to give you some extra storage. And racks on the back of the door is another great idea to get some things out of the way and up off the floor.
You can also get a towel rack that places right into the hinges of your door and it swings out when you open the door and it swings away when you close it. So that’s a great idea for towel storage.
And if you’ve got a small bath that’s got a shower, why not sew some pockets onto that shower curtain so you can store your kids bath toys, shampoo, conditioner, whatever you need. You just have to be creative and there are plenty of storage spaces all around you.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our lines are always open as is our website at MoneyPit.com.
Hey, coming up next week on the program, we’re going to teach you about a new word; it’s one that Leslie and I like a lot. It’s called lightscaping; how you can use lights outside your house to create a beautiful, beautiful landscape. We’re going to talk to an outdoor lighting expert next week on the program.
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.)