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 2 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: It’s home repair because we care. What do you care about? What are you working on? What are you doing around your house? Call us. We want to know about it. We want to talk to you about it. We want to help you get through it. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: You know, Tom, I think I am a constant mover.
TOM: You are?
LESLIE: There’s just something about moving to a new house or renting a new apartment. I like packing and unpacking and being organized and I kind of think I’m getting the bug again.
TOM: Well, you know, it is a very confusing time in the housing market. There’s a lot of inventory out there. Prices are still kind of high. So if you’re thinking about moving, you’re wondering which way to go, there are a bunch of things that you do need to keep in mind. I think right now, frankly, Leslie, it’s not a bad idea to rent for just a little bit longer, as this market starts to cool off, before you tear into that house.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s – you never know what’s going on. And there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about selling or renting or moving or staying. One thing you need to think about is make sure that if you’re going to sell your house that it’s the right decision for you and not just your wallet or portfolio. You don’t think about it because you’ve got dollar signs in the eyes. And don’t let a hot –
TOM: Yeah, you know, especially right now because everybody thinks their house is worth like a zillion dollars. But the problem is there’s so much inventory out there it’s going to sit on the market for quite a while.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you’ve got to make your house really appealing to really jump out and get that money that you’re thinking about.
And don’t – just because it’s a hot housing market, seriously, look before you leap. Really think about. You know, there’s a couple of things to think about. Do you want to uproot your kids from school? They’ve made friends. You’ve made friends with your neighbors. You’re finally starting to know them and like them. Do you want to just leave everything?
TOM: Well, maybe you can’t stand them and you want to get away from them (laughter) as fast as possible, too.
LESLIE: Yeah, but it might be worth it, then, to stay just because of the housing market. (laughing)
TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s a factor. It’s a factor. (laughing)
LESLIE: That is so funny. And you know, a lot of times you’re likely to fall into the trap of choosing a trade-up that’s too up for your budget and bank account and then you’ll find yourself with a host of another bunch of problems.
TOM: But if you are thinking about moving, how do you get that house ready to go? Call us right now. We’ll tell you the five things you need to do to get your house ready to go on the market and get the highest possible asking price. Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Another reason to do just that is the prize we’re giving away this hour. It’s from Husky. It’s a cordless air compressor. It’ll keep all of your inflatables properly plump; your kids’ pools, your bicycle tires, volleyball, whatever you got. It’s worth 100 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller this hour. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let’s get to the phones.
LESLIE: Jim in Texas has a question. What can we do for you?
JIM: My daughter – my 12-year-old daughter – thought she was helping her mother and I have an acrylic bathtub. And I don’t know what cleaning agent she used, but it’s left a stain around the tub. You can …
TOM: Oh, boy.
JIM: … (inaudible) actual run marks where she sprayed it in the tub.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
JIM: It may have been something that might have contained orange oil. It has like an orangish tint to it.
JIM: And I’m afraid to use anything that’s too abrasive on an acrylic tub.
TOM: Yeah, you almost need a resurfacing material for that, Jim.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right, Tom.
You know, Jim, depending on what type of chemical your daughter used, it’s very possible that the chemical attacked the structural integrity of the acrylic of the tub. And now you’re seeing maybe a scratch or some sort of chip or even just a discoloration. And what you could try to use to restore it is a liquid polisher; you know, something like Gel Gloss. And if you’re finding that you have deep scratches that are in the acrylic, use a very, very fine sandpaper – I mean 600 grit or higher – and then you can refinish it with a liquid polish. And that should help.
JIM: OK, that’s fine. Hey, I appreciate your help. This stain has been annoying and my wife (laughter) was a little afraid to tell me who did it. You know? (laughter)
TOM: Well, you know, at least she’s trying, you know?
LESLIE: That’s the most expensive chore you’ll ever give your child.
TOM: Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Walter in Alabama’s got an unwanted odor in his house. Tell us about it.
WALTER: We bought a farmhouse that’s about 30 years old and apparently the people that owned it before us kept animals inside. And we bought it, unfortunately, in November when it was nice and cool and then (laughter), when it got warm, we started noticing …
LESLIE: Ah, welcome the humidity.
TOM: Ew. So you’re in all kinds of …
WALTER: Yeah, we’re redoing the house …
WALTER: … and we’ve stripped the floors down to – there’s a pine subfloor with particleboard that’s been glued to the top of it.
TOM: Are you going to leave that particleboard in place?
WALTER: You know, it’s really been nice to know I have to get in there and pull it all up but if I have to, I have to.
TOM: No, here’s what we want you to do. Whenever you’re trying to seal in an odor or a smoke stain or anything like that, you need to use a very, very, very good quality primer. Because – what I mean, good quality, I mean not only good brand but also oil-based, as opposed to water-based. Because the oil-based primers do, really, two things: they seal in whatever’s there; and secondly, they give you an excellent very sticky surface that the new paint or the new whatever’s going to go on top of that can be applied to.
So what I would do is I would go ahead and clean it as much as you can. Then I would use an oil-based primer. You can get a good one from Behr or a good one from KILZ. But not – remember, they come water-based and oil-based. Buy oil-based and then paint that subfloor with the oil-based primer. Let it dry and then go ahead and put your – what are you going to put, carpet down on top of that?
WALTER: No, actually, we’re going to put tongue-and-groove pine down on top of it.
TOM: Oh, great. So go ahead and do that and then put the pine down on top of that. But oil-based primer, even though you’re not painting it as a finished surface, is going to seal in that odor.
WALTER: That’s great, y’all.
TOM: Alright, Walt. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
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’ve converted it into 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 necessary (ph) remove the sealant (ph) 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: 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 on line 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 weather strip all of the sides of that door. And the other thing I would do is I would get some foam weather stripping 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 weather stripping 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 in 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 it 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 with 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 weather stripping for all the other gaps. Got it?
DANA: Weather stripping. 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: (laughing) 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. (laughter) 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 you know …
LESLIE: Oh, you’ve just made half of our listeners call.
TOM: … 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. (laughing)
LESLIE: Uh-uh, I’m not moving into your neighborhood.
TOM: 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.
TOM: So storm windows. You think that you’re only going to need them in the fall and in the winter when it gets very, very cold. Well, you know what? They are very, very important in the summer. You know why?
LESLIE: That’s right, Tom. They actually help to keep your house cooler when it’s warm outside. We’ve got tips for just that, next.
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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We’re like your handy neighbor who knows everything about home repair (laughter) but we will not loan you our power tools.
LESLIE: (laughing) No, that’s right. We’re very, very possessive. But we will give you free advice any time you want and 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. So we’re good friends to have, folks, and don’t be shy.
Alright, Money Pit listeners. Do you have central air conditioning? Well, if you do, you want to keep those storm windows down in the summer. It’s a great way to keep that cool air in and that warm, humid air out. Because home’s leak just as much in the summer as they do in the winter.
TOM: That’s a good point. You know, you don’t really think about windows leaking in the summer but they’re just as leaky when the warm air’s coming through; except, in this case, it’s costing you some of that cooling money. So unless you’re Mr. or Miss Moneybags, it’s important to keep those storm windows down in the summer if you have air conditioning running.
Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You could win a great prize from Husky. It’s the Cordless Air Compressor, worth 100 bucks. It’ll inflate just about anything from a bike to a car, trailer tires, sports equipment, volleyballs, basketballs; whatever you got, it’ll inflate and it’s also great for those air tools you might have around the house, like staple guns and things like that.
LESLIE: Yeah, and don’t forget that this air compressor features a radio so you can listen to The Money Pit while you’re doing your home improvement projects so you’ll never miss a thing.
TOM: You can ask us the home improvement question and we will literally step you through it while you’re listening to the program on the air. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That Husky Cordless Air Compressor is available at The Home Depot but, for you, call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Out in Florida, Timmy’s got fiberglass doors on his mind. What can we do for you?
TIMMY: Well, I’ve got – I bought this door and it’s fiberglass and it’s black (inaudible) leaded glass; a real nice door. And the problem is I don’t know how to finish it because we didn’t get it in a – it’s not pre-hung because of my – I didn’t want to rip out all my door jambs because of where the door is located.
TIMMY: So I got the door – just the door. And the outside edge is wood and it’s – but it’s fiberglass. And I’m – it’s been laying on these two sawhorses for about a couple of months because I’m not really sure how to finish it and seal up the wood.
TOM: Does it have a graining to it? Or does it have a – is it smooth?
TIMMY: Yeah, it’s got a grain. It’s made to look like wood.
TOM: Well, there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, know that you’re only doing this for cosmetic reasons. You don’t need to, you know, stain it for structural reasons because it’s plastic; it’s fiberglass.
TOM: But if you’re going to paint it, then I want you to use a primer first and then a regular topcoat. Would you rather see it to be stained?
TIMMY: I would rather see it stained. I’d like to have it match some trim work I did …
TOM: You want to go – there’s a number of different fiberglass door manufacturers out there. There’s JELD-WEN – J-E-L-D-W-E-N. There’s Therma-Tru – T-h-e-r-m-a-T-r-u. And they’re going to – they have stain kits for fiberglass doors because the staining material itself is different than the actual stain that you would use for wood.
TOM: And the difference is that wood stain has a lot of pigment in it. But the fiberglass door stains have very little pigment in it. And it looks real good. It has just enough pigment to give you the differentiation in the colors, but not enough to look muddy. You follow me?
TOM: Because it’s not absorbent. You can’t use a standard …
LESLIE: It just sits on top.
TOM: Yeah. And it looks sticky.
TIMMY: And you layer it like you do regular stain, to get it darker so you can adjust the shade?
TOM: No, you actually buy the physical color that you want.
TOM: And it will have a little bit of deflection but it’s not as much as wood. OK? It’s not like you put on multiple coats.
TIMMY: (overlapping voices) What about the wood on the outside.
TOM: Then that you can probably simply stain with the same material or, if it turns out too light, you could use a tad – a bit of wood stain on that. Just mask off the other edges.
TOM: And then, you know, once you’re done with the wood stain, you can put a layer of polyurethane just on the wood – on the wood edge itself. But the reason that wood is there – because that gives you the ability to adjust it a bit. You know, you can sand it, you can plane it and make it fit. But remember, the key of the fiberglass stain is to use one that’s designed just for fiberglass and not for wood; otherwise, it’s just not going to look right. OK?
LESLIE: And Tim, remember, when you’re working with the wood surfaces around the door, if you’re trying to layer stain and match up a stain to the – whatever fiberglass stain color you’re going to get, if you buy a stain that’s either a gel stain or something that already has the finish mixed into it, don’t do it. Because if you try to layer one layer over another to get a deeper color – especially if it has a finish built into it – it’s not going to layer properly and it’s going to look very muddy as well. So make sure you buy the proper thing if you’re trying to layer to get a good color.
TOM: I would go direct to the door manufacturers because it’s not going to be one that you’re going to find over the counter, so to speak.
Tim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dan in Kansas has a question about replacement windows. What can we do for you, Dan?
DAN: I’m going to add on to my house. And the area where I’m adding onto my house is going to encase the back side of my house and there’s four replacement windows that we just had put in a couple of years ago. And what I was trying to find out is if it’s – if it’s smart to move those windows to the new addition because we were going to, you know, just fill in those holes; we were going to make one on the door and then fill in the other holes.
TOM: Did the replacement windows fit inside the existing openings of some old windows?
TOM: OK. Because what you have to do in that situation is, basically, you have to kind of frame out what was …
LESLIE: In the same exact way that the old windows were.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, because they were – yeah, they were custom made for those holes.
So, yeah, you can use them, but I don’t know that it’s really worth it, to be honest with you. I think if it was me, I’d probably toss them and put in new construction windows. Because otherwise, you’ve got to kind of build a wood frame, stick it in and then trim it out in such a way that it doesn’t leak. And that’s going to be …
DAN: So that probably wouldn’t be square or, you know, they’d be designed – if the old window wasn’t square, they wouldn’t be square either.
TOM: Well, I think …
LESLIE: Right, then you’d have to build an unsquare frame. You’d have to match it exactly.
TOM: Yeah, but I don’t think squareness is the issue. I think, more importantly, it’s not going to seal right against the weather. So, I would recommend getting new ones. You know, windows are not that expensive today. I mean you could buy a good window for $300 to $500. And so, if you’re going to do all this work, I don’t think it’s worth the extra labor it’s going to take just to be able to reuse the old one.
TOM: Alright, Dan?
DAN: That’s what I wanted – that’s what I wanted to find out; if it was worth it or not. So …
TOM: Nope, don’t think it is. But – it’s a good thought, but I don’t think it is, in this case.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, Leslie, sometimes it’s just not worth the extra work.
LESLIE: Yeah, but it’s a good idea.
TOM: It’s a good idea but you know what? Save them for your garage, save them for your shed, save them for something else, give them to a neighbor that you could use them for some other place in the house. But if you’re going through the trouble of building an addition that way, you know, the windows are really going to be a small part of that cost and I just don’t think you’re going to be able to put in replacement windows twice into new construction openings and have them sealed and weather stripped properly so that they don’t leak. And remember, if they leak, you know, any savings that you realized from …
LESLIE: Are going to be spent and more …
LESLIE: … with all the damage it’ll do.
TOM: Yeah, you know where the money goes? Right out the window. (laughing)
LESLIE: Well, plus, think about all the advancements in energy efficiency. You know, you’ve got a really good chance here to upgrade to a really high quality window.
TOM: Yeah, not to mention the fact that with the new federal energy tax credits, by changing to Energy Star rated windows now you could actually get some money back that you didn’t have available to you when you put those in …
TOM: … a few years ago.
LESLIE: Gil in Maryland’s up next who finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And what’s going on with your pets?
GIL: Well, we just moved into a new home; have new carpeting throughout the home. And I have a miniature schnauzer that has picked a spot to urinate on.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Ew! (laughing)
GIL: Got rid of the smell – yeah, ew. I agree. Got rid of the smell but the stain is still there. It is a lighter colored carpet; it is a cream colored carpeting. I’m looking to see what might I be able to use that won’t destroy the carpeting that’ll get rid of the stain.
LESLIE: I’ve got two options for you, Gil. One of them is called 1-2-3 Odor Free. It’s from a company called Just Rite out of the Midwest. And it’s a series …
GIL: 1-2-3 Odor Free?
LESLIE: Odor Free, yep. And it’s from Justrite.com and it’s R-i-t-e. And there’s several products that work together to get rid of the odor that may cause your pet to go back to the same spot. There’s another product that gets rid of the yellowing and another product that gets rid of the bacteria that grows under the rug. So it’s a series of steps but it really does work.
If the spot is super-duper stubborn, Bissell has a product called the SpotBot. I don’t know; you might have this or you might have seen one somewhere at a store. And it’s basically a miniature robot that uses a cleaning fluid and you just put it down on top of the stain and within five minutes, it’s made the stain disappear.
So one or two of those or both are really going to make your stain go away.
TOM: The other thing I want to give you a heads-up about, Gil, is that sometimes, when you’re dealing with pet stains like that, part of what’s down there is ureatic acid and that can react with some carpet dyes and make it lighter. And it could look like a stain but it actually could be that some of the carpet is sort of dyed out. And then, if that’s the situation, then, unfortunately it’s permanently stained and – or permanently discolored and you would have to replace that.
So give these products a shot but don’t be surprised if you have a situation where – especially if it sat there for a long time – it could be that the pets’ urine reacted with the carpet and that acid just lightened up the whole thing.
GIL: OK, I appreciate the information. I will give these items a try.
TOM: Alright, Gil. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
So, you got some of that old, sturdy lacquered furniture that’s out there? Perhaps it’s looking a little worse for wear. Well, up next, we’re going to give you some tips on how to give it new life.
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.
Alright, all you lacquered furniture owners out there. The good news is the shape is still in style. The bad news – maybe the finish isn’t. Maybe you don’t like it. Maybe that candy apple red just isn’t working for that space anymore. Well …
TOM: That hot 80s candy apple red.
LESLIE: I know, exactly. Or maybe it’s that beautiful mauve or gray combination screaming 80s …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, but it matches my beanbag chair, Leslie.
LESLIE: (laughing) Alright, well maybe you need to get rid of that, too, Tom. (laughter) But that’s a whole other discussion. Let’s get to your furniture and make it work.
There’s a couple of things you can do to make that new paint job really stick and give that piece of furniture some wonderful new life. Remember, preparation is the key to a great paint job on anything that’s been previously stained or lacquered. So start by washing those surfaces with a cleaning solution and rinse it really well with some clean water. Make sure it’s super-duper dry, then give those cabinets or furnishings – whatever it is you’re working on – a good sanding with a 320-grit sandpaper; something that’s fine. And lastly, wipe all those surfaces down with a tack cloth. That’s going to get rid of any of those little dust remnants that might stick around and that you might not be able to see but would hinder the paint sticking. Once that’s all done, your furniture is ready for that fresh coat of paint and a whole new look. So enjoy it again.
TOM: 888-666-3974. You got a painting project you’re tackling? You got a home repair project you need some advice on? Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re talking to Rich in Pennsylvania. And you’ve got some asbestos siding. How can we help?
RICH: Hi, how you doing? So I have a six-year-old house with asbestos siding on it. And a couple things. I’d like to know what I should do with it. But the most – the one thing I want to bring up is that there’s actually a piece that’s inside the house. Apparently, they put on a walkout basement on the back of the house and there’s one or two tiles that actually are inside the house because of the walkout basement. I’d like to know some options in terms of removing it. I do know I would need somebody who’s licensed to remove it. But should I remove it? It’s not like it’s leaking or moving or anything but I’m just – I’m really concerned because I have kids and all that kind of stuff.
TOM: No risk, really, from asbestos exposure if it’s a cement tile. You know, asbestos tile, where the asbestos is contained inside of a cement binder, has to really be crushed or broken to give you a risk. So, in fact, by taking it off the house, if that’s not done properly, you could expose, you know, certainly the air to asbestos fibers and, in turn, you could breathe it.
But really, you know, asbestos has a bit of a bad rap in the sense that it’s not organic, so it doesn’t wear out; it doesn’t rot. It doesn’t look all that good after some time because it tends to sort of grow mildew on it.
But really, Rich, if you paint it, there’s nothing structurally wrong with leaving it. There’s no health effect from leaving it. It’s the type of asbestos inside the house that’s airborne that we’re more concerned about. Generally, in a residence, you’re thinking about air cell asbestos insulation, which is the stuff that kind of looks like white, corrugated cardboard sort of wrapped around heating pipes or loose asbestos wrapping on heating pipes. But the stuff that’s hard tile, like asbestos siding, is not that much of a health risk to be concerned about.
So if you’re thinking about replacing your siding because you’re just tired of it and you want a different look, fine. But I wouldn’t take it off your house because you’re worried about the health effects because I just don’t think there’s a risk there.
RICH: That’s fine. And the piece that’s inside the house, again, so like you – again, not an issue for …
TOM: Yeah, if it’s a tile …
LESLIE: As long as it’s solid.
TOM: If it’s – right, if it’s a tile and it’s cement – it’s cement asbestos is what that’s known as. And not an issue.
RICH: (overlapping voices) Right. And it is inside the house. OK. And I’ve painted over it, just to make sure it’s locked. But, you know, I’m just concerned.
TOM: Yeah, I think you’re …
LESLIE: Just don’t let the kids eat it. (laughter)
TOM: That’s right.
RICH: (laughing) I won’t. (laughing)
TOM: By the way, Rich, I’ll give you one more trick of the trade. If you ever have to replace broken tiles or something like that, they do sell, in the home centers now, these replacement tiles that look like asbestos but they’re not. But the way to get that off of your house, if you ever have to do that, is to take a nail set and punch the nail through the tile. And this way, it’ll sort of lift right off and come out. Don’t try to pry a shingle off because it’ll crack and break. You just punch the nail through. There’s usually three nails in your average piece of asbestos siding and the old one will slip right out. You slip the new one in and you’re good to go.
RICH: Well, interesting. One quick thing, too. Painting. I’ve noticed that paint flakes off of the tile as well.
TOM: Different issue. You’ve got to – if – you may have a lot of coats of paint on that. You’re probably going to have to try to get rid of all that loose paint. I would use a primer next time because you have an uncertain surface there and it’s not sticking properly.
RICH: Thanks so much for your help.
TOM: Rich, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So, are you thinking about replacing your carpeting? Trying to figure out how much of that stuff you might need?
LESLIE: Yeah, but how do you know how much you need? Well, we’re going to tell you, everybody, so stay with us.
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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So, are you thinking about replacing some carpet? You’re trying to figure out how much you need? We’ve got a trick of the trade. Here it is. You ready?
To buy the right footage, you want to multiply the room’s length by width in feet and then divide by eight. Why eight and not nine even though we’re talking about square yards here?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that’s so crazy.
TOM: It’s a built-in fudge factor. It’s the extra amount that you’ll need in square yards with enough extra to be safe and not sorry.
LESLIE: That’s right. Coming up in our next e-newsletter – what you don’t know what The Money Pit e-newsletter is? Well, it’s our fun, free, chock full of information newsletter that you get every week in your inbox and you can sign up for it at MoneyPit.com. Coming up, we’re going to have, in our next edition, the best online calculators. They’re going to help you find out exactly how much you need of any kind of supplies; from paint to flooring to tile. So again, go to MoneyPit.com to sign up for your free e-newsletter, now.
TOM: Or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT to win this hour’s prize. It’s the Husky Cordless Air Compressor with a radio built (audio gap) 100 bucks. It’ll inflate just about anything. We’re going to give it away to one caller on this program. Call us now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Wayne in Virginia who’s got some unwanted visitors at the house. What’s going on, Wayne?
WAYNE: I’ve got a basement that’s unfinished and a number of spiders that seem to find it to be a pleasant place to live. (chuckling) And trying to cut down on the cobwebs and things that get on my tools and other things. I’ve sought a solution to that and I had a friend mention a temple orange and another item was camphor cakes. And I was told that temple orange is not an orange but some sort of a fruit that you wouldn’t eat but spiders don’t like it.
TOM: You know, that sounds like some commercial products that they’re recommending. And certainly, there are pesticide products that will help with common household bugs.
What’s interesting that’s happening in the pesticide industry is that the actual products that are being used are getting more and more and more specific. Now, one of the reasons that we may see more spiders in our homes today, as well as other insects, is because of that specificity of the products that are out there. It used to be that there were sort of broad spectrum pesticides that killed everything at once. But now, as we’re becoming more careful about how we handle pesticide, you’re finding that you have to use specific products to take care of specific insects.
And while I don’t recognize the products that you mentioned, I know that there are products that are professionally applied that control those as well. So there’s over the counter and there’s professional and, in my estimation, you’re almost always better off using the professional products because they can do it once, do it right and they don’t come back again. And they’re not going to over-toxify your basement by spraying a bunch of stuff that you don’t need.
LESLIE: Well, and it also doesn’t put you in any danger because you’re not applying the pesticide itself.
WAYNE: And that’s why I was hoping there was a natural, let’s say, a more organic thing, as a homeowner, that I could use; like the camphor cakes or one of these citrus fruits that may give off an odor that spiders find offensive and would seek residence elsewhere.
TOM: Wayne, I understand that you would prefer to have a natural solution. But the problem is that it’s just not that effective. If you want to control spiders in the long haul, you need to use a product like diazinon or Dursban and they’re both professionally applied products. And you know, what happens is these products stay around for enough time so that as other spiders start to walk through them and on the surfaces that have been treated, that they get lethal doses as well.
So it’s just not possible, in my estimation, to find a product that’s completely natural that’s going to be as effective as what you would like it to be to control spiders. Does that make sense to you?
WAYNE: Yes. Yes, it does.
LESLIE: And the orange that you were talking about is called the osage orange – o-s-a-g-e – and they say it’s mildly effective. So that’s an option. There’s also something that’s called a cobweb eliminator, which is completely … you know, it’s biodegradable; it’s non-toxic; it’s 100 percent natural. And it’s like a liquid that you put on the walls so that spider webs can’t attach. Well, it’s not going to get rid of the spiders but it’ll keep the webs from forming.
TOM: Yeah, but if you control your moisture and try to keep it as dry as possible and if you have it professionally treated, then I think that’s going to be a lot more comfortable for everybody. You won’t be … you’ll be fairly bug free and you won’t have to worry about these other products.
WAYNE: And what would be the frequency of application of this? Is this an annual application? Six months or …?
TOM: Probably about every … probably … you would probably do it in the spring and in the fall.
LESLIE: Jody in Texas is building a new home and looking for some advice. What can we do for you?
JODY: I’m planning on building a concrete home. I live in hurricane territory in Corpus Christi, Texas. And I wanted to build a home either out of concrete block or just concrete walls. But I had no idea if you could do it and where to start.
TOM: Oh, I have a third option for you, Jody, which is even better. Have you heard of insulated concrete forms?
JODY: I have, yes.
TOM: That is really an awesome technology. What these are, are they look like foam blocks; like large, foam blocks. Think of huge LEGO blocks.
TOM: That’s what they look like. Except, Leslie, they’re hollow …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They’re hollow on the inside.
TOM: Yeah, hollow on the inside. So what you do is you stack them up to form the wall. And then, inside of them, you snap in rebar – the reinforcing steel bar – and then once it’s all in place and it’s exactly where you want it to be and it’s all braced in place, then the concrete truck comes in and it pours a fairly loose mixture of concrete in between the insulated foam blocks. So what happens is that hardens and then you get this like super-insulated, super-tough wall. So I really like insulated concrete forms. And I’ll tell you, if I was building a house today, Jody, that is definitely the technology that I would take advantage of.
JODY: How does the price differ from a wood house? Is it more expensive?
TOM: No, it’s about the same price as a wood house, to do this. But the advantages are you get the storm resistance; you can’t have a … the walls are absolutely rock solid. They’re also quieter homes.
LESLIE: It’s good at insulation value, as well.
TOM: They’re super-insulated. In fact, if you build an insulated concrete form home, you can downsize the heating and cooling system by a third. So you’ll actually realize some savings on the flip side there, as well. You know, a good website for those, Jody, is ConcreteHomes.com. It’s a … it’s a website that’s managed by the Portland Cement Association. Got great ideas, lots of great photos and you get more information on it. And there’s a whole bunch of manufacturers, out there, that make ICF blocks today.
JODY: OK. Do they have any kind of plans? Like house plans (inaudible)?
TOM: Well, I will say this. I don’t think that building a concrete form house is a do-it-yourself project. (chuckling)
TOM: It’s a little … you have to work with the stuff.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But you can incorporate it into any style of home being built.
TOM: Well, you certainly can.
LESLIE: It just replaces the wood framing.
TOM: Yeah, you certainly can incorporate it. But I would hire a crew that’s used to doing this. I would not do it myself. If I was doing it, as much as I know, I’d hire people that work with these blocks everyday to get the walls up in place. I might take it over from there. But, you know, it’s just like anything that you work with it everyday, you get pretty good at it.
JODY: Right. And what about the roofing? Would you use like wood to do the top roof or steel or …?
TOM: Correct. The roofing … the roofing would be standard and as long as it was tied down to the walls properly, then it’s going to be secure. And if you’re in a hurricane area, you’re probably not going to want to do a gable roof. You’re going to want to do a hip roof because they have the best hurricane resistance. It doesn’t have that flat end wall for a hurricane to sort of grab onto.
JODY: What’s it called?
TOM: A hip roof. Where all sides slope up, like a triangle. Or like a pyramid, I should say.
JODY: Oh, OK. A hip roof?
TOM: A hip roof. Yep. H-i-p.
TOM: OK? Think pyramid.
JODY: OK, thank you.
TOM: Jody, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
So what happens if you buy a home and it turns out to be a real life money pit?
LESLIE: Yeah, what do you do when you find out that that new home you bought has a ton of problems; one thing’s going wrong after another? Well, that seems to be the problem for Linda from Indiana. And we’re going to help her get the step-by-step to tackle all of her money pit woes, next.
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.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and watching our email screen as the email questions shoot through to MoneyPit.com. Let’s tackle this question from poor Linda in Indiana who bought a real life money pit.
LESLIE: Alright. She writes: ‘I bought a 1910 Craftsman house in Indiana and I was …’
TOM: Great house, by the way.
LESLIE: I know. I bet it’s beautiful.
‘I was ready to remodel when I was told by the contractor to consider selling because of structural issues in the front of the house. The brick stairwell support is crumbling and two front bedroom floors are sloping three to four inches. I also found out that there was a fire in the attic at some point, none of which was disclosed to me before purchase or found by the inspector. I’m ready to retire on a limited budget. Do I hope the house will last another hundred years or do I remodel and just fix the damage?’
TOM: Well, Linda, I think if the house lasted this long, it’s probably going to last a lot longer. While these problems sound serious, I would suggest you tackle them step by step.
Now, the most important one that we heard you talk about are these front bedroom floors that are sloping three to four inches. We’ve got to get to the reason for that. So for that particular situation, you may want to get some advice from the contractor on why it is sloping and then we can determine what needs to be done about that; whether it’s just normal sagging and settling or perhaps there’s a termite issue or something of that nature. Get to the structural problems first. The crumbly brick stoop – not a big deal. It’s detached from the house; easy to repair.
And the other question I would have for this contractor is did he tell you to sell it only because he wants to buy a fixer-upper? (laughter) Because it doesn’t sound that terrible. You need to start with the structure and then work on the cosmetics next.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you do those things, you’ll be enjoying your Craftsman house for many years, Linda.
TOM: Well, as any avid home improver knows, over the years we all develop our favorite tricks of the trade to help save time, save money and just make those do-it-yourself projects easier to do. Well, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word, some tips from our personal treasure trove of time-saving secrets to help you get out of those home improvement jams.
LESLIE: Here are a couple of tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years.
Did you know that you can use a rubber pencil eraser if you lose a glue cap? And you can also use it for in back of your earring if you ever lose one of those, Money Pit ladies out there. Did you know that toothpaste could be used to spackle in a pinch? I learned that in college; not that I ever adhered anything to my dorm room walls.
TOM: You know what I also learned that toothpaste was good for?
LESLIE: Getting rid of pimples.
TOM: No, I had – I had textured ceilings (laughter) and we used to throw darts into them upside down. And it made a great spackle paste. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) And it stands up so nicely.
TOM: Yeah, and it has that texture look for it. So you can repair you textured ceilings with it, too. (laughing)
LESLIE: Alright. Well, if you’ve got a roll of masking tape around and a measuring tape as well, you can run some masking tape along one edge of your measuring tape. This way, it gives you a place to write down any sort of measurements or notations that you might have while you’re working on your project. And here are some quick measuring tips.
Keep in mind that a dollar bill is six inches long, so you can use that when you’re in a pinch to find your measurement and you’ve forgotten your tape measure. And here’s a couple of other measuring tips. From your tip of your thumb to your knuckle is roughly one inch, so that’s always something to think about if you’ve forgotten your tape. And from the tip of your fingers to the middle of your throat is roughly a yard. So if you ever get to a fabric store and they have a great bunch of remnants but no one’s measuring for you, that’s a good way to know exactly what you’re getting.
TOM: But if you have size 12 feet, is that a foot?
LESLIE: I don’t think so. (laughter) But it’s a good way to figure out, roughly, 12 inches. You know, if you walk the expanse of a room and just go end-to-end, toe-to-heel, toe-to-heel, it gives you a basic idea of the square footage.
TOM: You know, one of my tricks of the trade for that is most floor tiles are 12×12 …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) 12×12.
TOM: … so you can just count them and know how wide a room is.
Do you have a home improvement tip? Tell us about it. Write us at MoneyPit.com by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie.
Hey, next week on the program, we’re going to tackle a stinky problem. Stinky plumbing! How do you deal with it? How do you fix that smelly garbage disposal? That water that stinks? The drains that stink? There are ways to cure the bad breath that your plumbing (chuckling) might have and we’re going to tackle that one next week on the program. Until then, thank you so much for stopping by The 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.
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(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.)